[Note: This podcast was recorded during Fantasy Flight Games' "Days of Ice and Fire" event.]
George swore that if he was ever going to consider doing another cameo it would involve sitting in a chair, preferably with a large drink in hand. The life of an extra, standing hours in costume during dozens of takes was not high on his list!
One bit I found amusing was talking about creating names for writing. George first did a brief rundown on English names during the middle ages. Essentially a few simple names dominate. If your name wasn't Henry, Edward, or possibly Richard, you weren't going down in the history books. Then he talked about hearing interesting names and keeping those for future stories. He said when watching the NFL draft each year he picks up a couple of neat names for future use. Now I won't be surprised when Ser Ochocinco pops up in book 7...
George did mention you a few times Ran, He said he thought his hearaldry was pretty awesome until you actually produced them.
A few of the interesting bits that I recall off of the top of my head were some questions about the heraldry and armour. Westeros has better technology with dyes, than Medieval Europe did. Thats why they are able to great consistent colors such as scarlet, crimson, or burgandy rather than just red. Also they have ways to enamel or infuse colors to armour which weren't available to medieval smiths.
During the first Q&A someone asked if he had plans if he was "unable to finish the series." George asked for him to be stripped naked and be tossed out in the snow. :P He then said well at least you didn't say "pulled a Jordan". He actual did go on to reiterate he had no plans, but that if he were in a sitation like Jordan, he could forsee making contingency plans.
Then during the HBO Q&A he was asked what would happen when the TV show caught up to his writing. The audience groaned. George asked for this person to be stripped naked and tossed in the snow. He did say he felt he had a pretty decent head start, so hoped it wouldn't come to that. He also said that if something should happen to him , that David, and DB do know how the series ends. That was news to me.
The other bit of news was that at one point George tossed out the phrase 7 or 8 books in the series. I had not heard mention of a possible expansion to 8 books before.
One thing that I GRRM mentioned that I had not read before was that he filmed a cameo for the pilot in Morocco. It had been subsequently cut because everything was refilmed in Malta. Sorry if that is old news and I missed it.
After the reading, GRRM talks for awhile. He apologizes for the delay with aDwD. He states that past claims to have the book nearly finished were not attempts to deceive, just that he is guilty of "bouts of excessive optimism". He also comments on how his publishers claimed at the San Diego Comi-Con that there are only 5 chapters remaining. He states that this is true until he finishes one of those chapters and then decides that that chapter is too long and needs to be split into two chapters and then that causes adjustments needing to be made to other chapters, etc. Please be patient, he is honestly working on it the best he can. He talked about some other stuff, but none of it was especially note-worthy. Fun for those in attendance, but really worth rehashing here.
Then he did a non-HBO series Q/A (There is another Q/A later this evening dedicated specifically to the HBO series). Zero spoilers were released here. Any question even slightly spoilerish in nature was turned away, not even any subtle hints. I found only 2 questions especially interesting. Someone asked whether any of the songs in asoiaf were fully fleshed out (The Bear and the Maiden Fair, The Reynes of Castamere, etc)? GRRM replied that only the portion of the songs that exist in the books has been written and nothing else. He did comment on how he wished he had more musical talent. He joked about how so many of his former works have the word Song in them (A Song of Ice and Fire, A Song for Lya, Songs of Stars and Shadows, Songs the Dead Men Sing, Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death, etc). He says that when he was younger he was friends with a group of kids that had their own garage band and once they threw a party and a lot of pretty girls showed up and the band members were having a lot of luck with the girls and when 2 pretty girls asked him what instrument he played he replied, "the typewriter". "I went on to use that line many times but it never got me laid", he joked. The other question was how does he pronounce some of the characters names? He pauses, looks at us and goes, "Jon Snow, Ned Stark". After the laughing died down he did go through some of the more challenging names, though I don't have the linguistic ability to reproduce them phonetically here.