We’re sad to share the news that actor Roy Dotrice, whose collaborations with George R.R. Martin began with Beauty and the Beast and continued right through providing his voice to the audiobook of The World of Ice and Fire, has passed away at the age of 94. Dotrice was well known on stage and screen, and genre fans will have seen him in a host of notable shows such as Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and (of course) as the pyromancer Hallyne in Game of Thrones.
Linda and I corresponded with him briefly, years ago, and remember him as a perfectly gracious, charming person who seemed amazed and pleased with the enthusiasm for his recordings of the novels. He’ll be much missed.
For those in the UK, I will be appearing at the QED conference devoted to discussions of skepticism, science, and rational thinking. Specifically, I’ve been invited to take part in a panel on October 15th titled “The Science of Game of Thrones”, inspired by the book of the same name by Helen Keen. Keen will be joining us, as well as a number of other panelists. Here’s the full details from the conference site:
Do dragons actually exist? Is it possible to crush a person’s head with your bare hands? What really happened when royal families interbred? How does wildfire win wars? Can you really kill someone with molten gold?
These burning questions (groan) will be bravely tackled by our crack team of Game of Thrones experts.
Join Maesters Helen Keen, Dr Gerardo García, and Elio García as they discuss the science behind the Seven Kingdoms under the skeptical eye of Grand Maester Deborah Hyde. With luck and careful analysis we may at last discover the airspeed velocity of an unladen Westerosi raven.
QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today.
We’ve been referring to this for a couple of months as something in the works, but Linda and I are now very happy to join in making the official announcement of the launch of Martin Studies International Network.
What’s that, you may ask? See the press release below to learn more:
The Martin Studies International Network is the first scholarly association devoted to the work of George R.R. Martin. It is dedicated to academics and fans of the worlds created by George R.R. Martin. Its aim is to provide George R.R. Martin’s work with the academic and expert attention it deserves.
The founding members of the Network are active members of the fan and academic communities:
Linda and I recently published a video on our Westeros.org youtube channel regarding annulments in Westeros. This is in reaction to something on Game of Thrones—Linda explains more in the video—but suffice it to say, it contains spoilers for season 7 of the series.
(And no, still not watching myself, but I know the general gist of what’s been happening so far, which is more than enough to confirm that I made the right choice for myself.)
Update: We’re pleased to say that we’ve been invited by Casa del Libro to sign at their store at Gran Via 29 prior to the talk. The signing will be from 5pm to 6pm.
Linda and I will be speaking at Espacio Fundación Telefónica, who have kindly invited us with the collaboration of the Spanish publisher of A Song of Ice and Fire and our The World of Ice and Fire, Gigamesh, the organizers of the Celsius 232 convention, and streaming source of Game of Thrones in Spain Movistar+. A few years ago GRRM took part in a similar event.
Fans in Madrid can visit the event page for information regarding the time and details of the event, as well as reserving a free pass. For those who can’t make it, the website will stream the event live.
As always, we’re very much looking forward to visiting Spain. That said, since we’re traveling late Sunday evening, busy in Madrid on Monday, and traveling homeward on Tuesday, Linda’s coverage of the season premiere will likely be delayed and/or be briefer than normal.
Last week we shared reports that an adaptation of Nightflyers—based on the rights to the film made in the 1980s based on George R.R. Martin’s award-winning SF horror novella—was in the works. Now The Wrap reports that SyFy has gone ahead and ordered a pilot to produced based on the script by Jeff Buhler.
As Martin has noted, his overall deal with HBO means he has no involvement in this adaptation, but it’s clear that Martin’s work is a hot property in Hollywood right now. In his most recent “Not a Blog” post, Martin provided an update on progress on a number of adaptations:
LOTS of things going on with television and film. Season 7 of GAME OF THRONES will be here on July 16 (and we’re doing a season 6 marathon at the JCC), the five successor shows are moving forward at various rates of speed, and we’re talking with UCP about not one, not two, but three possible Wild Cards series. And there are a couple other TV projects that I can’t tell you about… how much of this will come to pass, nobody knows. Ah, the joys of development…
The New Year has begun, and Random House has informed us that this Friday—January 6—will be the last day they will be taking orders on the GRRM Box with its collection of collectibles and goodies for fans of both A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Thanks to Random House, we’re glad to say that fans can order any of the available boxes at 15% off with the code LASTCHANCE if they order here.
For more about the GRRM Box, you can read our announcement post sharing the full details.
Although the ultra limited edition of the GRRM Box, with a run of just 200 priced at $600 each, sold out almost instantly (the limited and deluxe limited sets are still available), publisher Random House has announced that they are donating the rarest of them all—Ultra Limited Edition Box #001—in an auction to benefit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.
Here’s the press release with the full details regarding the auction, which will be hosted on EBay and will begin tomorrow, December 2nd:
Random House donates George R. R. Martin Box ultra limited edition #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Box will be Auctioned Off by Wild Spirit to Raise Money for the Wolf Sanctuary
NEW YORK, NY ― December 1, 2016 — Today, Random House announced that it will donate GEORGE R. R. MARTIN BOX ULTRA LIMITED EDITION #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary of Ramah, New Mexico. Wild Spirit will auction the box to raise money for rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolves and wolfdogs. The auction will begin on December 2nd, and the winner will be announced at a red carpet premiere of a film about Wild Spirit at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 13th. The auction will be held online at:
Linda and I are off to Eurocon 2016 tomorrow, and looks like we’re leaving at just the right time: we got our very first snowfall in our area today, so the contrast with balmy Barcelona will be quite interesting. We’ve just one panel at the convention: The Influence of European Authors and History in the Work of George R.R. Martin. Joining us will be the esteem Alejo Cuervo, founder of Gigamesh, and our friend Javi Marcos of Los Siete Reinos. For those who couldn’t make it to the con, the good news is that Eurocon 2016 will be streamed in full in association with the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona
In fact, they’ve already got our panel set up, so keep an eye out at 6.30PM (Central European Time):
Besides that, on Saturday we’ll be joining a host of authors and artists (Ian Watson, Adam Roberts, the amazing Enrique Corominas, and more) at an epic signing session at the Gigamesh store (one of the very best SF/F speciality stories in Europe). Should be fun!
There’s a lot of other guests—including Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon, The Steel Remains, Black Man), Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Way of Kings), Aliette de Bodard (The House of Shattered Wings), and more—and some very interesting panels on a wide range of topics (some in Spanish, some in English), so do check out the streaming schedule. And if you’re going to the con, do say hello!
ETA: And of course I forgot to mention that the winners of the Premio Ignotus—the awards of the Spanish national SF/F convention, similar to the Hugos—will be announced at the convention. The World of Ice and Fire is among the nominees in the translated work category, thanks to the fantastic efforts of Gigamesh and its translators (as well as Corominas for his amazing cover art).
Following in the footsteps of the recent The World Hobbit Project and The World Star Wars Project, a group of 40 university researchers have just launched The Game of Thrones Research Project, aiming to capture the views and opinions of thousands of viewers and fans of the series through an online survey.
“Winter is coming”. Game of Thrones’ most famous saying. But what does it suggest and mean to you? We’re trying to gather the views of thousands of followers of the series, on this and a series of other questions, via a web survey at this address: www.questeros.org. Please, help us by visiting and completing it – and then passing it on. Who are we? We are a gathering of university researchers sharing an interest in the changing nature of ‘fantasy’. We’re entirely self-funded. We’re not affiliated with HBO in any way, or with George RR Martin. All our results and findings will be made publicly available – that’s a promise. If you’d like to know more about us, about the project, and why we are doing it, you can find more information on our website. Take the quiz now at www.questeros.org!
The website, with the very clever domain name of questeros.org, offers more in-depth information about what they seek to learn from the survey and how they intend to publish the results. Looking at the survey, it is (as the name would suggest) focused on the TV series, but it does include some questions that relate to—or can be related to—the novels and the TV series relationship with them. They estimate that it takes about 20 minutes to take the survey, depending on how detailed you make your responses (there’s several questions which allow for longer answers), and we encourage all of our readers to take a look at it and contribute your opinions.
The storming success of the GRRM Box limited edition collection—Random House reports that only 4 of the initial 200 Ultra Limited boxes remain—has led to the publisher and HBO offering fans in the United States (and the U.S. only, alas!) to enter a sweepstakes with the chance to win limited-edition and collectible Game of Thrones prize packs! Three winners will be selected on Tuesday, November 15th. All you have to do to enter—besides live in the U.S. and meet the other rules and requirements—is enter your email address.
What’s in the prize pack? Some amazing stuff, we have to say:
A fan film project that raised over $15,000 dollars to recreate the tower of joy flashback from A Game of Thrones has successfully completed filming and post-production. You can see “Tower of Joy” below:
It’s pretty much a word-for-word recreation of the scene as described in the novel. And there are aerial shots, to. Pretty amazing what can be done with drones and commercially-available digital cameras!
Almost a year ago, George R.R. Martin revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview that he was contemplating a twist to the story of a character—and a group of characters connected with them—that he had never contemplated before and which, more notably, was something HBO’s Game of Thrones could not do because of choices the show had made that precluded it:
In one intriguing new wrinkle, Martin says he just came up with a big, revealing twist on a long-time character that he never previously considered. “This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teases, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist… But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already—on this particular character—made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.”
The fandom was abuzz with it—it sparked several threads on our forum, for one—as people puzzled over who it might be. As I recall, at the time speculation was centering on Sansa Stark because of signs that the show was going to diverge heavily from her storyline in A Song of Ice and Fire (as it indeed did). However, a brand new interview with George from IGN revisits the topic and reveals some significant new information:
As George sometimes does at the close of a year, he set to writing a long, contemplative post listing down notable personal events for the previous year. Unlike these other times, however, that long post was lost to the ether thanks to an apparent glitch with Livejournal. Dispirited, GRRM said he’d try to give a “Cliff’s Notes” version of his post afterward, and over the past day he’s done so. For many fans, of course, the primary topic of interest was the status of the highly anticipated sixth novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter.
George’s final post in his “Cliff’s Notes” round up of the past year was indeed on The Winds of Winter, and it was a long and frank discussion of what’s happened in the novel. The brief version is that while GRRM aimed to finish by the end of the year, the deadlines for getting the book out in time for the sixth season of Game of Thrones have come and gone. He believed at the start of the year he could finish by Halloween, and that was incorrect; he also believed in August that he could finish by January, and that too was incorrect.
GRRM describes in some detail why the progress has been fitful at best, and admits that the pressure of a specific deadline (something he eschewed with his novels prior to “A Song of Ice and Fire”) proved a particular burden, and so going forward he intends to write without a specific deadline in mind—it will be finished when it is finished, and not before. He notes there are dozens of chapters completed, and hundreds of pages done, but “there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well.”
At the end, Martin tackles the elephant in the room, whether season 6 of Game of Thrones will “spoil” the novel. The answer? “Yes and no.” He explains in some detail that the show’s many divergences will mean that there’ll be events and characters depicted that will be very different—perhaps entirely different—from his own plans, and he includes a lengthy list of characters who are dead in the show who live on in the novels, and another lengthy list of characters who have never appeared on the show, all of whom may have important roles to play in the novels. It seems clear that the novels and shows will continue the trend of diverging significantly from one another.
The post closes (besides a small post-script confirming that this was his last “Cliff’s Notes” post), with the following:
For those in Europe, here’s some news regarding George R.R. Martin’s appearances starting this weekend, as well as our own!
First up, George will be in Hamburg for the Harbourfront Literature Festival, where he’ll be reading a chapter from The Winds of Winter, and likely to be answering questions as well. Despite early reports that this event would be livestreamed, this event is apparently not being streamed at all. It’s not impossible there’ll be an after-the-fact video from the event (as there have been with a number of GRRM’s public speaking events), but we’ve no information as yet whether that will be the case.
From there, George is off to Stockholm—and so are we! On Tuesday, the SF Bokhandeln bookstore has invited George to speak at the Royal Armoury. Although this event is sold-out, it’s worth noting that SF Bokhandeln’s three branches—Stockholm, Malmö, and our own Göteborg—will all offer livestreams to customers who could not attend the event. So far as we know, there will be no internet-wide stream, but again, there may be post-event videos. And for those in Stockholm, prior to the event—at 5PM—Linda and I will be at the bookshop to sign copies of The World of Ice and Fire, for those who want us defacing their copies!
After that, we’re all off to Åland for Archipelacon, the SF/F convention (sold out, alas!) where George is Guest of Honor, and his partner Parris is the Fan Guest of Honor. The convention has posted its schedule, and there’s a deal of interest for fans—we’ll share the highlights below: