In an e-mail to a fan a few years back GRRM stated that Dorne could raise roughly the same number of troops as the North and the Vale. Is this still true?
Did not technically answer the question. He mentioned the size difference between the North and Dorne and talked about the climates for each. He also mentioned that Dorne likes to exaggerate their numbers a bit so as not to seem militarily weak to the other great houses. Reminded us that the men in Westeros have medieval type education. Not every man can count, not every man can read. Gave the example of different mens viewpoints regarding the same army. The first mans count would be 10,000 men. The second man seeing the same host would say it was 5,000...
When did Robert proclaim his intention to take the throne? At the outset of the war, or was it a relatively late development?
Robert proclaimed his intention to take the throne ... around the time of the Trident. Would not elaborate any further. Mentioned Robert's claim being stronger than Eddard Stark's and Jon Arryn's, the leaders of the two other great houses that spearheaded the revolution, due to blood ties to the Targaryen's.
He has had numerous offers to get a video game made based on world of Westeros. However, no company has stepped up to the plate in meeting his three major concerns. The three concerns he listed were:
1. Money. He will not give up the rights without getting some form of payment up front.
2. Size of the video game company. He will not hand over the rights to a fly by night video game company that may or may not be in business next year.
3. Type of game. He is only interested in creating an RPG type video game. Absolutely no first person shooters.
Jon Targaryen has already reported the important stuff, so there's not much to add. It looks like the Jaime/Loras shippers are out-of-luck, as are those wishing for an explicit flashback to Renly and Loras in bed. Caress of Cersei was entertaining throughout. She said "We've had descriptions of Tyrion's bulbous purple head, and Sam's fat pink mast, when are we going to get a detailed description of Rhaegar's cock?" George laughed all such suggestions off, good-naturedly but you could tell he found the idea dubious at best. Sally/Arya/Asha from Berkeley was very outspoken about wanting Sansa to die and George kept a straight poker face through that and all similar serious pronouncements about where people wanted the plot to go. The same sort of breakdown was evident at the Half Moon Bay signing. He was quick to squash suggestions that Brienne and Tyrion might be a couple, but gave no reaction at all to questions about R+L=J. I think we can trust that if George says no, it means no, and if he says nothing, it could go either way.
At both signings George talked mostly about the history of his writing career, the ups and downs of being an author (at Half Moon Bay he told some anecdotes about Stephen R. Donaldson, who also lives in New Mexico and is a long-time friend of George's), and stories about past signing tours. The one about the -4 turnout in St. Louis has been reported here already. At Kepler's he told another story about being upstaged in Dallas by Clifford the Big Red Dog, with some miming of a person in a dog suit signing books with a big red paw print. He didn't say much at all about the plots or characters of Song of Ice and Fire unless asked by the audience. The Half Moon Bay audience asked more of those questions than the audience at Kepler's did. I got the impression that the audience in Half Moon Bay was younger than the audience in Menlo Park, probably because of the time. It's easier to cut work in the early afternoon than to cut school...
[Note: Teri is asked about GRRM's Donaldson anecdote.]
Well, let's see. It came up in a context of someone asking him if, after he completes Song of Ice and Fire, he intends to write more stories in that world, or whether he will switch to something different. To which he said that he would prefer to do something new, but he really likes his work to be read (the biggest reason he left the film industry was frustration at writing pilots and concept treatments that nobody but the studio execs ever saw). Then he listed a number of authors who had trouble selling anything set outside the world and characters that made them famous, including Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes, Frank Herbert with Dune, etc.
That led into an account of Donaldson's publishing career. He told about how Donaldson wrote all three volumes of the first Chronicles of Thomas Covenant before sending any of them to a publisher, and he sent the whole package of three books to all 43 companies that were publishing science fiction and fantasy at the time, and got rejected by them all. The publishers all felt the basic premise was unmarketable. "Who is going to want to read about a leper?", they asked. Then he started over at the beginning of the list, modifying his cover letter to address some of the objections. He finally got someone to take a risk on it, and it became a best seller. Suddenly the publishers were all over him to write more of the same. The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant was also a big hit, and he got begged to do a Third Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. But Donaldson was wanting to try something different. So he wrote "Mordant's Need", and, as George quoted Donaldson "lost three quarters of his audience". Not learning his lesson, he followed that with the Gap series, and "lost three quarters of the readers he had left." He found that his best sellers were not due to millions of Stephen R. Donaldson fans, but to millions of Thomas Covenant fans. After that, publishers wouldn't touch a non-TC Donaldson novel with a ten foot pole. Finally he came back in 2004 with The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, which is selling again.
Then GRRM recapped his concern that he hopes he doesn't just have Song of Ice and Fire fans, and suggested that the audience buy the reprints of his earlier works like Fevre Dream, Dying of the Light, and Armageddon Rag, to prove to his publishers that there's a readership for GRRM works set outside the world of Westeros.
I asked "Will we get information in A Dance for Dragons to resolve any of the cliffhangers from A Feast for Crows, or will we have to wait for book 6 to find out what happens?" And his reply was that first he wants to bring all the POV characters not in A Feast for Crows up to roughly the same time period that A Feast for Crows ends. Then, depending on how many pages that ends up being, if he has room he will start mixing in points of view from the characters in the south. So probably we will get some information on the cliffhangers in A Feast for Crows, unless the North and East storylines end up taking more pages than he expects them to.
This was in the kitchen when we were both topping up our wine glasses. I don't think anybody else was in the kitchen right then.
One thing to consider is that for each book, he likes to end each point of view either on a cliffhanger, or on a full resolution (like a definite death), or on a major change of scene (someone leaving for a new destination or arriving at one.) So he may be a bit reluctant to continue from a particular cliffhanger if he doesn't have time to develop that character to the next good stopping point.
We had some rather interesting discussions both of science fiction/fantasy in general, ASOIAF specifically and many other topics. Several notes:
1. George was asked "Will we find out more about Jon Snow's mother", his answer was "yes".
2. When asked if Maesters could earn multiple links in the same discipline, he said "yes".
3. WRT Dornish troop counts, that Dorne's strength in numbers varied from person to person. Tyrion might have one perspective, Daeron (the young king) another, and Oberyn Martell a third. Each POV is of course right in his/her own mind, and the reader must judge who has the best info. I'll vote for Doran Martell on this one, rather than Tyrion.
4. A very young child asked if Brienne and Tyrion would make a good couple, which George answered "no". My comment: "Can you imagine a four foot tall dwarf in bed with a 6'6" giantess?"...probably not.
In response to the why was LF fostered at Riverrun when he was a insignificant lord question: GRRM said that Petyr's father and Hoster met up during the War of the Ninepenny Kings and became friends. Apparently that was a time when a lot of people from all over the realm forged friendships. LF's dad later "cashed in" on the friendship to get LF fostered at Riverrun.
The next Dunk & Egg story will largely involve a wedding and a tournament. He hasn't decided on a title.
At half of the signings George went into a brief history of his writing career. How he published his first story in 1971 and won a lot of acclaim with short stories in the 70's. The early novels he published (Dying of the Light, Windhaven, Fevre Dream) culminating with Armageddon Rag in 1983. He said Armageddon Rag was supposed to be his breakout bestseller that would make him a household name. At the Booksmith he asked us if any of us had heard of AG and a half dozen of us raised our hands. He then said we were the only ones that bought the book. tongue.gif
After the Rag he couldn't get a bite in the novel publishing world so in desperation he went to Hollywood. There he worked on the Twilight Zone and the Beauty and the Beast, writing and producing 12(?) episodes for the latter show. That lasted a few years. Then he entered the world of developing or, as some call it, "development hell." Apparently you can make a lot of money writing and re-writing pilots and such but only the network execs get to see em and George said he needs to have an audience.
ASOIAF is born
Around the summer of 1991, George didn't really have anything on his plate so he decided to give another go at prose which he had been away from for some time. He started work on a novel called "Avalon." Sometime into his writing of that, he woke up one day with the first Bran chapter vividly in his mind. It took him two or three days to write that chapter. Then the next chapter was in his mind. And the next and so forth until he had half a dozen chapters give or take.
However, at that time, Hollywood called. A pilot he had been trying to produce, "Gateways", about alternate dimensions was going into production and George was needed. So he spent the next three years working on that while ASOIAF sat in a drawer.
The Architect and the Gardener
At the Booksmith signing, George went into how he sees a general division between writers. Some are "architects." They create languages, write character biographies and map out plot points all before ever writing a word of their series. Then there are the gardeners, of whom George is one. They plant a seed, water it and let it grow. The thing is, they usually have to water it or it dies. Unfortunately, Avalon and something George worked on right after AR died. But AGOT refused to do so. George said Tyrion kept whispering in his ear over the years and when he went back to it in 1994 it was as if he had left it for three days instead of three years.
George told the now familiar story of St. Louis a few times over the last two days. I laughed each time as he has great elivery. "Some authors say no one showed up to their signings. Well, I can beat that. I drove four people away!" lol.gif Teri Pettit covered the Big Red Dog which was also hilarious. Unfortunately, Texas is SOL unless someone can convince George's publicist it won't be like AGOT. Kepler's is one of the only bookstores George has made for all four ASOIAF books. He was surprised in 1996 to see a huge AGOT display in the window and learned later that Kepler's sold the most hardcover AGOTs of any bookstore in the nation.
NYT List and Thanks
At all the events, George mentioned debuting at #1 on the NYT list and made sure to give many thanks. There were a lot of people at Bantam and his agents. He thanked the independent bookstores and their employees who handsell ASOIAF. Finally, he thanked all of us. He said some books go on the list because they have million-dollar advertising budgets, some go on the list because a celebrity writes them and some go on because Oprah likes them. But AFFC is there because of word-of-mouth and fans like us who introduce the series to everyone we know that ever periodically opens a book.
Shout-outs to the BWB
At every signing where Lodengarl, Caress of Cersei, Skylark the Red and Bronn Stone were in the back, George would somehow make sure to mention the Brotherhood without Banners as being the largest ASOIAF fan group. Lodey even spoke a few words at Kepler's. At the Booksmith, he also mentioned Ran and Linda in connection with "compendium" type resources and getting help with details. He said he goes to Westeros.org if he really needs to remember something. He also mentioned Dajamieson as someone he can call if he's really stumped since he wins all the trivia contests.
In my arrogance, I thought I could remember most of the Q+A without writing it down so I didn't write down the questions for Stacey's and the Booksmith. Alas, when I tried to post at the Best Western I was in for a rude awakening. Chastised, I bought a notebook and wrote down the Q's for Kepler's and Bay Book.
Q: Are there logistic aides?
A: It's all in his head aside from some charts, maps and word documents.
Q: Any type of film project?
A: He doesn't really see how it could work. An old-school miniseries of Shogun type length might work but the networks aren't really into those anymore. OTOH, if someone wants to give him a "dump truck full of money" and try their hand at the series then he will consider it. His Hollywood agent is getting alot of calls recently with the dubbing of GRRM as the "American Tolkien" but George thinks they will run screaming into the hills after they get ahold of the books. George also mentioned he would pen the screenplays if the films are made after the completion of the series.
Q: Action figures?
A: Testors will have a miniature's game with three sizes. Not sure on this but I think 33mm, 54mm and 118mm.
Q: Did the publishers have a problem with killing main characters?
A: No, apparently everyone liked it. smiley2.gif He went into how he likes to play for keeps by killing someone important early on. He wants the readers to feel the suspense of the character's predicaments. He mentioned how Indiana Jones would always win even against the 47 Nazis.
Q: 5-year gap?
A: It worked for characters like Arya and Dany but not so much for the adults or those who had a lot of action coming. He was writing chapters where Jon thought, "Well, not a lot has happened these past five years, it's been kinda nice." And Cersei chapters where she thought, "Well, I've had to kill sooo many people the last five years." So he ended up dropping it. He said he would have done it sooner if he hadn't told so many fans about it. And there is no gap anymore. "If a twelve-year old has to conquer the world, then so be it."
Q: Companion Guide to ASOIAF?
A: He prefers we read the books over again rather than have a companion because they are meant to be re-read and pored over. He will not do a synopsis in the beginning of each book as he sprinkles little nuggets to the books mysteries throughout the books and if he had to do a synopsis he would either leave those out or include them and reveal them to everyone. He then mentioned the Art of ASOIAF book, the RPG and Westeros.org and the chapter summary site.
Q: Do you play the games?
A: GRRM has played the board game but not the collectible card game.
Q: Do you have a history background?
A: History was his minor in school. He likes historical fiction and ASOIAF is meant to have a HF feel but he won't write it because we all know how it will end already.
Q: Do you know the entire story already?
A: It's like a journey from the West Coast to NYC. He knows his final destination, the interstates he will take, the hotels he will stay in. But he doesn't know what detours there will be along the road, where he will eat, what hitchhikers he might want to pick up, etc.
Q: How much does a character lose through death?
A: "Death is hard." lol.gif The character gets more and more removed from his or her former life. The main thing remaining, what brings Beric back, is the sense of purpose, the mission he has yet to accomplish.
Q: Will we see Willas Tyrell?
A: Yes. (now we can all speculate how)
Q: How long until next D+E story?
A: The story is half-written. It will not be in Legends are there are no more Legends. He wants to do 9-10 D+E stories covering their life. There will be comic book covering TSS.
Q: Favorite character?
A: Tyrion - smart mouth, very driven and tormented and easy to write about. He likes all the POV characters and understands them. He thinks everyone thinks of themselves as the good guy.
Q: Which characters are based on which aspects of personality?
A: All character are based on George to some degree. The close ones are easier to write about and the different ones are harder. The writer can't say, "What would a twelve-year old girl do?" he has to say, "I am a twelve year old girl. What do I do?"
Q: Did you envision Brienne as an XXY?
A: She is supposed to be freakish. She was an answer to the bad fantasy cliche of warrior women.
Q: When creating a character, do you have their fate envisioned?
A: Yes, to major character, no to minor characters.
Q: Are we ever going to learn about Jon's mom?
A: Yes. (Asha flat out asked if Jon was the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna just to see George's reaction)
Q: How many books?
Q: What books stuck with him as a child?
A: LOTR, Robert Heinlen
I did get to ask GRRM a question, though I'm sure this isn't really news to Ran and other devotees. I asked if we'll ever get maps of the whole world, or specifically areas like the Free Cities or Asshai. He said that he adds one map per book, but didn't expand on that. (if that's interesting enough for SSM, feel free, I just assume that isn't news to you).
The Q&A in SF was rather standard stuff.
Do you plan to give more information about Joffrey's murder, regarding involvement of Margaery or whether it was the chalice or pie, or do you think we pretty much have enough to know the answer?
Maybe a tidbit here and there, but I think you have the answer.
We have never had a POV near Casterly Rock. Can you tell me more about the lions of Westeros? Are any still around?
A few survive in the outlying hills. For the most part, they have been hunted down. In antiquity, they actually made dens in the rock itself".
Anyway, George was pretty close to being on time...by the time he arrived, there seemed to be a pretty good SRO overflow crowd nestled in among the book shelves on the second floor. George was entertaining...brief remarks, most pertinent being the new (to me, I guess it was first mentioned at his signing last night) information that he just got advance word from his publisher that Feast will debut at #1 on next week's NYT bestseller list. He said the previous two books had made the list, but the highest they'd reached was #12, and he liked this position better. He told the GoT St. Louis signing story which seems to be a staple at stops on this tour, but he has a nice delivery, so it was fun to hear in person. There was a brief Q&A, maybe 5-6 questions, nothing of note (in my opinion, at least--I hate "process"" questions, like "how do you keep all the details straight"? and "what is the writing process like for you"? both of which we got variations on...oh well, people would probably find my questions boring, too. If I had a chance to get called on, I would ask "I hear Dunk & Egg III is almost done. Can you tell us 1) where it's set (e.g. do they make it up to the Wall), and 2) how long after The Sworn Sword does it take place?"" Maybe he would have refused to answer, but, no risk, no reward).
I left after the Q&A, since they were acting pretty firm about enforcing the "you must buy Feast here to get it signed" policy...that, and there looked like there were about 200 people in line, at least, and I had to get back to work. It was fun though...first time I'd seen George in person, and he presents well, meaning personable and down to earth.
George RR Martin recieved the news that on the November 27th edition of the Bestseller list, Feast For Crows will be #1. He got that news just a few hours before his booksigning in Petaluma California, which I got to attend. Good news, he looked to be in very descent shape, full of vigor, and hopefully no where near kicking the bucket without finishing A Song of Ice and Fire.
I got the chance to ask George a question tonight, and I asked him what he thought of being called the American Tolkien in Time Magazine. He said he would like to take the person home, marry them and have thier children. He said it was the best compliment he'd ever heard and he was humbled by it.
Oh, one more thing, I am traveling to Texas this morning, so I'll be brief. My father is getting married on Saturday, but we held up leaving a day so that I could go to the signing. I took 3 teenage boys with me, they were the youngest there, but they had a great time. Alot of people there felt especially priviledged to know that this was the day that George first found out that he was the top selling author in the land. You could feel the excitement,and the humility there as well. George will be signing 200 books for the Webmaster here at terry brooks site for the Signed Page when he is in Seattle, and I also got to tell him that a great guy named Andreas (King Grub here) was the person that introduced me and many others here to a Song of Ice and Fire. George's comments on being Called "the American Tolkien" were fantastic too. Anyway, I had a great time.
Martin definetly seems like an awesome guy, someone who would be great to go to the bar with and knock back a few brews. He was happy to take a picture with me and my wife and to sign our book with "To Elijah and Leila, I hope you do better than Ned and Cat!" (I had wanted Jaime and Cersei but my wife said hell would break loose if I got that)
One small note, when I got my books signed I noted that I loved all the other licensed products including the CCG and board game. I also noted how both were like the books with all the scheming, ploting, and backstabbing and joked that many a friendship were ruined because of the board game. He responded by saying he had played the board game several times and "lost every time." He also joked that there should be a rule that if you INVENTED the series a board game is based on you could never lose!
Like I said, he seemed like a simply awesome guy.
The other details including the content of his talk and the Q&A have already been reported, so I won't repeat it, except to say that I was the one to ask if he intended to issue a pronunciation guide. I've always been a stickler for pronunciation, going back to being a lifelong Tolkien fan (the Professor was extremely particular about this, of course), so I've always wanted to know how Martin himself pronounces names. But I guess it's nice to know that Martin is pretty flexible about. His exact words were "You can pronounce it however you like."
Since I got to ask my question during the Q&A, I didn't want to hog the signing time with another question, so I just thanked him for taking the time to do this, and for writing the books and for introducing me to Jack Vance. I could tell he was pretty tired from the tour, yet he was very gracious to everyone. Although, I did notice this exchange between him and someone ahead of me: He asked her how she was doing, and she said she was tired. He said "YOU'RE tired?" He left unsaid the obvious "...how do you think I feel."
All in all, a very good experience for my first signing/meeting ever, mainly because I was extremely lucky to be have been 'upgraded' as it were. I'm positive it sucked for 75% of the people who were there who couldn't sit/hear/etc.
Not to be biased as a native New Jerseyan [ok, stop with the jokes, besides GRRM's from Jersey, too], but they really should hold these things in more spacious venues - the B&N in Paramus or Clifton would be perfect - they're huge. Plus half the crowd was probably from Jersey anyway. Or at least they could have a NYC signing and Jersey signing. I guess the organizers just didn't expect the crowd they got, but how could they not?? He's a best-seller and this was basically the only signing in the NE corridor. Ah well, I can't imagine what time he left the place, there were probably about 400-500 people there when I left. Cheers to him for putting up with it - it's gotta be harder on him than us.
I thought the funniest part was when the Hodor POV question was asked. Although a wasted question, it was still hilarious when he again mocked his editor by wondering what she would think if he had 27 pages of "Hodor hodor hodor hodor..." That drew a big laugh. (For the sticklers, btw, it's pronounced HOE-door.) Also his pronunciation of Brienne threw me, too. BREE-eh-knee, accent on the 1st syl. Always thought it was bree-EN. Well, since he gave us license to pronounce how we like, maybe I'll go with my original.
I do wish he would have read. At first they said he was doing a reading, but then he didn't do it. Maybe because the signing was so big they realized he wouldn't have time to both read and sign, or maybe he's just exhausted from the tour - I don't know. Either way, I'm glad I got to see him and when he signed I asked him a question about whether he originally intended for the theme of religious fanaticism to become so prominant in the story or if that was partially informed by our real-world events of the last five years. He said that no, it was really pretty much his intention and that Melisandra was kind of the beginning of that. It's totally fitting for the setting, though. The Middle Ages were all about Crusades, Jihads and a lot of general religiously induced lunacy. If anything, Martin's inclusion of these elements were maybe more prescient about our world than the result of what's going on in our world.
P.S. - I didn't think he would sign so many books, otherwise I would have brought more. I only brought AFFC and my old, 1977 hardcover edition of "Dying of the Light." He kind of liked seeing the old book and commented about it.
That was fun even if it was very hot and he did not read.
I got there around 12:20 and much to my surprise noone else was there so I was first in line to get my wristband (there were maybe 7 people in line when they started giving them out at 1). When I returned around 5 they still had wristbands which shocked me and made me rue giving up my lunch to go down there.
Whoever thought that having this at the Astor Place B&N was a good idea needs to not be in charge of picking locations in NYC any more. The second level was jammed with people and it was so hot. The second level is narrow and long and while there were speakers I'd imagine it was very difficult to hear what he was saying if you were not seated.
I even got to ask a question. Apparently we will not be getting a Hodor POV chapter any time soon.
When I left the line went all the way down to the first level and almost out the door into a rainy night. I don't want to think what time George will get to leave.
I just got back from George R.R. Martin's New York City signing. I got there at about six for a seven o'clock event, and the 150 bracelets that allowed you to get a seat were already gone. It was packed! The Astor Place B&N is not a large space so it got hot and yucky. I stood for like an hour in the back until the lady running the show asked people to raise there hands if there were free seats that bracelet people weren't taking so I managed to get up front! Score!
George didn't come out until about 7:05 or so, to loud applause. He talked to some people before they gave the official introduction and then he got up. He said that his flight from Michigan had left without him this morning so he didn't think he'd get there. But he did hurrah!
He was pleased with the turnout and told the -4 signing story. He spoke about why the five year gap didn't work and why this book took so long. He talked about how he liked to end books with stopping points and that's why he didn't just cut the thing in half.
Then people asked questions. Someone asked if Syrio was dead. And he said to "draw your own conclusions" based on the fact that his sword was broken, etc, which I took to mean yes. Someone asked if he had to go back and change things so information in ADWD wasn't revealed in AFFC and he said not really but he did do some retouching in spots.
Someone asked about R+L=J and if he would change the story because everyone seems to be on to that. I thought it was interesting that he didn't restate the part about Rheager/Lyanna when he repeated the question so everyone to hear. He restated it as, would you change something because people online have theories (ie to make them be wrong). And he asked how many people talked on internet boards and only a few people raised their hands, so he pointed out that theories that are rampant on the internet aren't known by everyone.
He also says he doesn't read the online posting boards so he doesn't see the theories unless someone emails it to him.
Someone asked if he forgets details and has to look them up in the old books. He said yes. He mentioned that people have pointed out to him that his horses tend to switch genders and he said mocked his editor for not catching these sex changing horses.
Someone asked about his future plans and he said to collect social security. Basically he wouldn't commit but did say he wanted to write different stuff.
My favorite question was when someone asked if he would consider writing a pronunciation guide to the series. He laughed and said no because he doesn't really know how to pronounce them himself. He did say that the Audio Books do have errors in pronunciation. (Petyr is just Peter, for example.)
Some he did say during the course of the evening:
Cersei = Sir-say
Jaime = Jamie (I think that was obvious but just in case)
Sansa = Sahn-sa
Tyrion = Tear-ion
Brienne = BriennE (pronounced long e at the end there)
Arya = Ar-Ya (Ex, Are ya?)
Daenerys = Dane-err-is
That was the end of the questions, there were a lot more people with their hands up but he couldn't accomodate them all.
I did get to ask him a question when I went up to have my book signed. The guy before me had the British AFFC and he asked the guy if he had finished and the guy said no. So I spoke up and said I had finished it. And he was like, "yeah?" and I said I had lots of questions but I couldn't ask without spoiling people who just got it today.
So I asked if there would be any new POV characters in A Dance With Dragons and he said he hadn't really sat down to deal with that yet, but that the way he plans it now (which could change) he does hope to include one new POV character in ADWD.
I can't remember who wanted the question asked, but I asked about the gold cloaks. My phrase and his answers as best I can remember:
Q: What were the gold cloaks called before Robert's Rebellion?
A: Probably gold cloaks.
Q: Did they still wear gold or some other color?
A: Still gold and black.
After dinner we went straight to the store, arriving there about half an hour early. It was already standing rooming only by then even in a store that had a decent sized events area. The enthusiasm was palpable. By the time they introduced George, which happened 10 or 15 minutes latter than announced, it was packed shoulder to shoulder in any area that had any kind of visiblity of where George was going to be speaking from. After a brief introduction by a staff member of the store (who coincidently was the person who convinced me to read AGoT way back 7 or so years ago) George spoke for about 30 minutes or so. He talked some about his history with the Madison area, having come up here back in his college days at Northwestern for away football bames against UW and latter attending WisCon and other events. He then went through the history of the develpment of AFfC a story that is so very familiar to us on these boards.
He seems very confident that the the PoV split while, not ideal, was the best way to address the problems he was dealing with. There was then about a 15 minute question and answer period. All of the questions that were asked were of a more general sort, about his writing process and the like. The one thing I did take note of, though I'm sure he's said this before, is that he admits ,that while he still intends to finish in 7 books, it may not be possible to do so. After the they cut off the questions the signing started, which was still going strong ( and probably would for quite a while) by the time we got out of there. I did get my copy of Feast signed but not able to do much more than say hi to the man and introduce him to my eldest daugther, who had waited in line about as patiently as a 6 year old could just to meet him.
What really impressed me was not only how many people were there, and there were a lot, but also how really excited everyone was both about George and about the book. Having worked for that border's years ago, when they were in a smaller location half a block down, I knew this by a far exceded the turn out for any event I had worked there. Speaking to the staff, some of who are still around from back then, the turnout they had for this is matched only by the most important 2 or 3 mainstream writers they had in. At least at that location Feast has been selling very, very well. It made me feel very, very positive about the future of the series in terms of exposer and publicity. This kind of response, if its any indication of what's out there, has to be getting the attention of a lot of people in the industry.