The Citadel: SSM

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July 2006

Comic-Con (San Diego, CA; July 20-23)
Submitted By: Xavier

Here are some recollections from GRRM's panel on Friday (I apologize if these have been previously reported):

- The spoiler chapter he read was the same as this one.

- GRRM realized that AFFC was going to be too unwieldy when his prologue alone weighed in at 200-250 pages. He then chopped the book in two, introduced a new PoV, and weaved the prologue into the main story.

- When asked about killing PoV's off in the near future, GRRM commented that he managed to keep the number of PoV characters fairly steady until AFFC, when he introduced several and didn't kill of any.

An amusing incident from Saturday... Veira called me on my cell phone (thanks Veira!) and told me that GRRM was signing comics at a booth but no one was around. I had yet to meet him, so I quickly rushed over. GRRM was there signing preview copies of the Fevre Dream comic with no one paying any attention to him. Unlike his other signings, this one had not been publisized at all and there was nothing at the booth mentioning GRRM at all.

Comic-Con (San Diego, CA; July 20-23)
Submitted By: Jon Targaryen

Alright, I am the designated reporter for the brunch. I made the same mistake I made for my first two signings and didn't take notes for most of the brunch until we thought of the report and I got some pen and paper and jotted down all we could remember of what was said previously, as well as putting down everything else that came after. Hopefully, this will jog some other people's memories and they can add some stuff I missed, especially Jaehaerys who will now be known as the Questioner because of his fearless barrage of varied questions to George.

I'll leave the book tidbits for last as I am a book junkie and I always like to save the best for last.

The attendees were George, Blackfyre Heir, Bronn Stone and gf Yelena, KatieG, Veira, Xavier, Jaehaerys and his wife, and myself.

I arrived early and hung out in the lobby after checking to see that our reservation was in place. Bronn Stone and Yelena came in then we chatted for awhile. Then George arrived followed by Blackfyre Heir soon after. Then Xavier arrived and Jaehaery and his wife. We went upstairs to find KatieG and Veira in the brunch lobby.

The food was fabulous. I told George it was like a feast from ASOIAF. George replied he hoped they didn't play the "Rains of Castamere."

We discussed the RPG and how it is going under. Some of their freelancers have not been paid.

George is not pleased that Roy Dotrice was left out of the AFFC audiobook. Roy had other committments and the suits didn't want to wait for him; they wanted to get the audiobook out at the same time.

Blackfyre Heir and KatieG were displeased with Testors and how they cashed their checks/credit cards but didn't send them the goods. Evidently, the guy who did the work is the best in the business.

George is enthusiastic about the Giant's prospects but not so much for the Jets though he thinks they are not the worst in the NFL.

George is excited about Subterranean Press.

George thinks an HBO series of miniseries' would be best for the book. All offers must come through him and he is open to something.

George wants us to go easy on Terry Goodkind. His webmaster said to George, "If you can't something say something nice, don't say anything at all" to which George responded, "Am I Thumper?"

We talked about the fandom and its diversity, how we're pretty even in our male to female ratio (the brunch was 5 to 4 male). Lodengarl and Aghrivaine were mentioned and how Aghrivaine is a flake smiley2.gif (He didn't make it to the brunch).

He is looking forward to getting back to work and not really looking forward to it. He wants to work but dreads looking at the blank screen.

ComicCon is a humongous affair with 100,000 people IIRC. WorldCon got to 8,000 in 1984 and everyone freaked. So they toned it down and that was as high as it ever got. As a professional, George would want WorldCon to be bigger but he likes the smallness as a fan. He knows about the chess match we are planning. BH said that it slipped out. George is not sure what team he will take and he gets to choose who he will play.

For those that volunteer at WorldCon, George will give a collectible ASOIAF item. We know but we'll never tell. smiley2.gif Now you can all speculate on what it is.

He is meeting with DC comics today about a Wildcards comic. The new WildCards are not set in comic book time so they will have new characters. George wrote the Turtle, Xavier, Popinjay, Desmond and the Body Snatcher.

He liked working on Windhaven with Lisa Tuttle but the time has past for a sequel though he pushed for it when the time was right.

Dajamieson will run the trivia contest so my chances went up by about a factor of about, oh, infinity.

Book Stuff

George regrets that Cersei and Dany will not be contrasted directly. I told him of how some dedicated boarders try to defeat him and piece together a timeline. George replied that he tries to keep it vague.

He likes the extra breathing room to flesh out the characters. Bran didn't have any chapters and Dany's ending was different. Now he likes the way she ended. I think he actually may be doing more with Dany.

He repeated that some characters from Feast will come in at the end of ADWD.

I told George that when he changed Viserys I from a son to a brother he created an error in that Baelor's sisters did not inherit the throne after him, George replied that women came after all men in the Targaryen succession after TDWD. Something interesting and neatly explains Daena and the rest not becoming queen.

To settle an old debate on EZBoard, any king can make a knight but any lord cannot. That lord must be a knight as well. So Baelor I could make knights but Eddard could not. George said the more important thing for kings is making lords. The problem is giving lands.

[Note: The struck claim below is being kept in to highlight the fact that it is struck. The original submitter has come forward to admit that GRRM did not state this, and that it was his own insertion. We are very disappointed, and offer our apologies for offering an erroneous report, especially one on such an important matter to fans who have wondered about this particular topic and have been misled by this entry in the So Spake Martin.]

To all those who doubted, Azor Ahai Reborn and the prince that was promised are two versions of the same prophesied savior/redeemer that is supposed to come.

And the biggest tidbit, in my humble opinion, is:

SPOILER: Possible for ADWD

The second Dance of Dragons does not have to mean Dany's invasion.

Geroge stopped himself short and said he shouldn't say anymore. The response came because of my question of whether the dance would take place in ADWD because AFFC and ADWD parallel. So now my friends, speculate away.

That was all I wrote down or remembered. Hopefully others will come up with stuff. Thanks BH for getting this thing together. It was nice to meet all of you and I look forward to seeing most of you at Worldcon (make it up for the party Saturday Jaehaerys).

Comic-Con (San Diego, CA; July 20-23)
Submitted By: Ben

[Note: The following post refers to the re-release of GRRM's novella, "The Ice Dragon", as a children's novel from Tor's Starscape imprint. It discusses claims that the story has been relocated to Westeros and the changes that had to made to it to be suitable for a younger audience.]

Martin was asked about this on one of the panels I saw him on at San Diego Comic-Con. He didn't indicate that it was part of Westeros at all. In fact he said it was based on an old story that he wrote.

He also didn't really say it was a kid's story, but that it was modified to be one. To be specific, he said, "I just had to edit out > the brutal rape and it was good to go." He also said that the editors had pressed him to give them something else along similiar lines, and he couldn't come up with anything with as sweet a tone...

Comic-Con (San Diego, CA; July 20-23)
Submitted By: tepintzin

Just so everyone knows where on the page I am, I've read the first two books and have the third sitting in the "to read" pile although I'm re-reading the second. The fourth I have to wait to come out in paper, until/unless I get a job. The names of the books, as I told [info]electorprince play tag with each other in my head so it's just easier to call them "first book", "second book" etc. Or I'll have to make up a little mnemonic sentence.

He started by answering everyone's number one question, that he doesn't know when the new book will be out. He's aiming to hand them to the publishers by the end of the year, and after that it's out of his hands. The British publishers manage to consistently put the book out a month before the Yanks though.

The concoction of this book involved splitting the fourth book into two because he'd gone so long, revising and expanding it.

He said that if you want to know all he knows about publication dates and the like, go to his web site (http://www.georgerrmartin.com). Don't believe Amazon, your local bookseller, the rumour mill etc, go to his website and that's the truth right there.

He then proceded to read for about 45 minutes. The scene ended with Melisendre talking to Jon Snow. She observes that it's cold today and he says it's always cold on the Wall. "Do you think it?" she asks. "I know it," he answers. "Then you know nothing, Jon Snow," she whispers.

At the Q&A session, the first question asked was how he'd come up with the idea for this monstrous series. GRRM said that the first chapter of the first book "just came to him" with all the characters and situations involved. He was actually writing another book, Avalon, which of course ended up never being written. His Hollywood work slowed him down with "Game of Thrones" but when he finally got back to it it was still fresh and vivid in his mind, unlike other works he'd had to take hiatuses from in the past.

He was asked about how he balanced killing off characters with keeping readers involved with the surviving ones. GRRM admitted that he likes outraging readers. "Writing is all about emotion," he said, as reading is for vicarious intense situations. He likes to read books that engage his emotions and so likes to write them. He wants the reader to be almost afraid to turn the page, in order to establish that he plays for keeps and no character is safe. He started doing this in the Wild Cards series.

He was asked about viewpoint characters, of which there are many. He said that even for minor viewpoint characters he gives them a few chapters so that he is telling a story about that character and not just using them for point of view.

GRRM warned that we should expect a sizable body count soon, as he's been introducing characters without killing any of them off.

One of the people asking questions was Army, and has just gotten back from Iraq. He thanked GRRM for all he'd written and GRRM thanked *him*. The question was on how GRRM came up with the characters, and GRRM said ultimately, he is all of them. At this point some wag in the audience chimed up with "Cersei?" GRRM said that of course he's never been a woman, or a dwarf, or an 11 year old girl, although he has been a fat guy. He said it was necessary to try to see the world through their eyes although ultimately as humans the only person we ever really know is ourselves. This character development is why the books don't come out once a month.

On being asked about "the casting game" (picking actors to play the characters), he said the only one who he would definitely choose was Ron Perlman to play Sandor "The Hound" Clegane because of Perlman's aptitude for acting through prosthetics. Child actors are hard to find, good ones at least, and Tyrion would be the most difficult adult to cast because of the very small pool of talent who are dwarves.

He said Arya may appear at the end of book 5.

As for his writing process, he starts every day with his morning coffee, sits down, and tweaks what he wrote the day before. That usually gives him the momentum to keep going. Some days he "falls in through the computer screen" and next thing he knows it's dark and the coffee is still there and cold. On the other hand, some days he just checks his e-mail over and over.

He assured us that we will someday find out how seasons work in his world, and that it will not be a scientific explanation because hello, it's a fantasy novel. He said that some fans have written him with fantastic explanations involving two suns, one of which is a black dwarf but that they will be disappointed.

Finally, he said he'd love to see, say, an HBO mini-series, but would HBO love to see it?

Comic-Con (San Diego, CA; July 20-23)
Submitted By: Veira

I went. He read the first Jon chapter from Dance with Dragons (which I won't go into here because of obvious spoilers). Then he took questions from the audience for the rest of the time. For the most part he didn't say anything we haven't already heard from other interviews. I haven't read every interview with him ever so it may be something people already know, but someone asked him about the whole "dream casting" thing, and he said that he thinks Ron Perlman would make a great Sandor Clegane. Let's see what else... It was mostly stuff he's said other places, that there will be one new POV in the next book and that people we adore are going to die. Most of the questions people asked were about his writing method and such. I had to leave a little early to get to the Battlestar panel (sacrilege, I know), so I may have missed some. He did an extra signing today too and was giving away free copies of Game of Thrones (paperback reissues). Anyway I took notes on the Jon chapter, but I imagine someone might already have posted that from another con. If not I'll post something after the end of the weekend if people want and it wouldn't be a total faux pas.

[Veira later noted that the word "adore" was part of his paraphrasing, and was not necessarily a quote of what GRRM said. Suffice it to say, in any case, GRRM indicated that significant characters from the novels can be expected to die.]

He did another panel yesterday with R.A. Salvatore and a few other authors that was really entertaining. I missed the beginning of it on account of the shuttle being late, did anyone catch it? Also if anyone saw the Snakes on a Plane thing today I'm curious what they did. As far as I know he won't be doing a reading on Saturday since it's another shared panel. So there won't really be time for that.

[Additional reporting from the panel.]

It seemed like not many other people made it to the Thursday panel, or if they did they haven't posted anything about it. If you missed it and were wondering what was talked about, a lot of the same questions were asked on the Friday & Saturday panels. Of course, not all the questions were for GRRM; he was sharing the panel with R.A. Salvatore, Elizabeth Bear, Jenna Rhodes and Anne Groell. That's what the program said, anyway, but there was another author there whose name I didn't catch who is a veterinarian (?). I was late, afterall, but I really do suck at this. No more note taking for me! Since no one else has posted about Thursday, I'll keep on going, but it ain't gonna be pretty

There was some fairly humorous banter between GRRM and Salvatore, who at one point asked GRRM if he has a giant, wall-sized whiteboard in his house to keep track of all the ice & fire characters that he then puts red X's through when they get killed. GRRM replied that's what his fans on the message board are for lol.gif

Some of the points that wound up being repeated in later panels included some discussion of the "architect" (build the world first, a la Tolkien) vs. "gardener" (plant a seed and tend it as it grows) approaches to writing, GRRM coming from the gardener camp. He also talked about making danger to any given character feel real by establishing early on that he's "playing for keeps" by killing a main character. Otherwise, readers tend to think of main characters as invincible (the whole 'he's not going to die, he's the hero!' thing) and as a result the story isn't as engaging. At one point an audience member asked the panel something about making young-reader-friendly material, in response to which GRRM expressed his concern at receiving fan letters from 11 year olds, wondering if their parents know what they're reading.

R.A. Salvatore said some pretty funny stuff too, such as one time he couldn't remember what various tricks/goodies/whatnots a particular character had used up, so he anonymously posted on a message board asking what people thought that character had left in his backpack. He got about 10 pages in response and saved himself a lot of work. He also said that he majored in math in college. At least for me, it was very reassuring to hear that if you 'accidentally' went into math/science it's still possible to change careers so dramatically.