The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Reports from Signings, Conventions, Etc

Interaction (Glasgow, Scotland, UK; August 4-8)

[Note: The following report comes from the kaffeklatsch held at Interaction.]

1. How do you deal with the writing if/when you get to a "sticky" bit that slows you down?

GRRM writes each person's POV story in isolation and then weaves/edits them into 1 piece. So if he gets stuck on, say an Arya chapter, he changes to writing Tyrion stuff and then goes back later.

2. There is a song about the seven gods, but only six are mentioned. Is there a verse that is missing/cut out?

Sorry - got a bit sidelined on this question and digressed to Magic & Gods in Westeros. More about that later.

3. There seems to be an awful lot of suffering in these books (especially the female characters, who get treated pretty brutally). Should we expect the next books to get lighter or darker?

On this one, he said that a lot of the male characters got it pretty rough too - Robb losing his dad, thinking he'd lost his brothers + Arya and then dying. But he said that at least in the short term, it's going to get darker.

4. How important is your fans opinion of the books to you? Would you ever consider making a change for the readers?/Do you know what will happen in Westeros in the next books, have a definite ending in mind for it, or are you now letting the story evolve as you write?

As they were related, I asked this as 1 question. He was a little cagey about it, but he pointed to the planned "5 year gap" between ASoS & AFFC (books 3 & 4 for the layman!) as an example of where fan's opinions - as well as his own efforts, pushed him into changing his storyline slightly. He made the point that his overall story hasn't changed but certainly elements of the sideline stories have become more fleshed out than he'd originally intended. Thats about as much as he went into on that one.

5. You're pretty active on the Internet forums and discussions f your work, albeit sometimes as a "lurker"...Have you ever changed something you'd planned to write because a fan's theory got too close to the mark, in order to keep the element of surprise?

He says he's stopped doing this for that reason! Well not really, but he doesn't change storylines because people have guessed where its going. He just hopes his work doesn't get that predictable!

6: Magic has steadily increased throughout your novels from pretty much non-existant in book 1 to rising prevalence by book 3. Will this trend continue in future books?

"That's a fairly safe assumption, yes". Good news for you magic fans out there I briefly discussed the role of Gods in the magic of Westeros. R'hllor etc. He has ruled out any appearances of "demigods" or direct involvement from the Gods in Westeros though.

7. Will there be life after "A Song of Ice & Fire"? In other words we will see any more stories set in Westeros?

Yes. He's already working on another Dunk & Egg story and plans to continue to putting these out whilst writing his new ASoIF books. Interestingly one of his fans (not GRRM himself) pointed out that he'd mentioned to GRRM that as Dunk ends up as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and each short story so far has been "a step up" (Hedge Knight, Sworn Sword etc) will he continue making the title of each story another "level". Apparently he's considering it, but hasn't decided yet.

To continue in the same view he has comprehensively ruled out ever doing a 'prequel' novel on Robert's Rebellion. Some ideas he has for future Westeros stories are (and again I stress he has not confirmed yet that he will do these) a novel on Aegon IV "The UnWorthy" from his POV and also a story set in Braavos and the Free Cities - possibly some kind of murder mystery type thing.

For potential future topics, GRRM is very keen on doing a novel set in a Roman-era fantasy world.

Interaction (Glasgow, Scotland, UK; August 4-8)

I asked if George really had an idea for an Aegon IV the Unworthy novel, first mentioned in this report.

Yes. He's a very interesting person. The idea would be to do it as a first person novel, a kind of I, Claudius meets Flashman thing. Aegon had something like nine mistresses, he had a difficult relationship with his queen and his brother, and so on. He was the worst king Westeros ever had. It's just an idea, though -- nothing set in stone, as he wasn't sure how well a first person story featuring that sort of character would work with readers.

Zollo asked if a Targaryen family tree will ever be published.

Eventually, perhaps. Right now there's lots and lots of names in there. Originally GRRM had the problem of too many names being too similar, which he tried to correct by making many new names only to decide he wasn't too happy with a lot of them. The current tree is something like the third or perhaps fourth version, he's not quite sure. For now, though, nothing is canon until it appears in the books.

I asked on behalf of Ormond how George came up with names and whether Joffrey and Sansa were named after Jofrie Borgia and his wife Sancia of Aragon.

Originally, George had babyname books and that sort of thing, and very carefully tried to pick out his names. By now, however, he has a feel for it and he just makes names up and sees if they sounds right to him. Joffrey and Sansa were not named after Jofrie and Sancia.

I asked GRRM about the curious response he gave to someone once, as reported in this report regarding whether Duncan the Small or Jaehaerys had been heir to King Aegon V (Egg).

He intends to keep that vague, because it's supposed to be a revelation for future Dunk & Egg stories.

Zollo asked George whether he would continue with the naming pattern that he has used for the first two Dunk & Egg stories, essentially titling them after what stage Duncan is in his career. At one point I mentioned that the last could just be called "Summerhall".

He said he was considering it, and might well do so if he could come up with good titles in that mode and they actually fit with the story. When I fished with that suggestion for the last Dunk & Egg story, I believe -- but cannot verify -- that George gave me a curious look. It may be that I hit close to the mark, or it could just be my imagination.

Cerys the Patryn talked to George about Samwell. At the end, she asked if Sam would ever have some sort of revenge on his cruel father, Lord Randyll.

He said to read and find out.

George was asked if there'd be any more sex scenes involving two women.

Yes, there's one in A Feast for Crows, and it does not involve Daenerys.

I asked George about the new covers that both editions were receiving, for Mean Mr. Mustard.

Basically, the idea is that a lot of his publishers realize that GRRM already has a high recognition value in the fantasy market, and it's a good time to try and expand his readership to a broader range. So, the marketing and new covers, etc., are aimed at trying to bring in the sort of people who read, say, Bernard Cornwell and the like -- historical fiction, etc. Martin did say some fans were upset at it, wanting all the covers to be the same, but what can you do? It's a business decision (which, I gather, he really doesn't have much say in) and it's one that seems to make sense.

Jane Johnson, head of Voyager in the U.K., added more information regarding their thinking. British booksellers are very unsupportive of science fiction and, especially, fantasy. So the new covers are one attempt to try and get them to take the books more seriously and display them more prominently. There was a strong sense that there's a strong current of elitist snobbery both among critics and booksellers in the U.K. Even now, Voyager feels that GRRM's books are being underordered. On a related note, Voyager cannot afford to republish the series with the new-style covers in hardback, because they operate on thinner margins than their American counterparts.

Cteresa asked George if Harry the Heir was going to appear in AFfC. I later asked the same for the King of the Mummers. The names from this mail.

Harry would not appear, but would be mentioned. The King of the Mummers would not be appearing until A Dance with Dragons.

Maltaran asked about comparisons of Bretan Braith (from Dying of the Light) to the Hound.

He said yes, they are similar, but Bretan has much more duality in him, as he is handsome on the unburnt side, while Sandor was only average before the burning.

Cteresa talked with George about how very long summers can be as bad as long winters, because of drought, forest fires, etc.

He was very vehement that they had enough rain in Dorne so they should be ok.

Cteresa comments on the fact that George said something regarding Sam and Jon. Others add further details

I remember GRRM talking about writing a chapter with Sam and Jon on the wall from Sams PoV , and that he was thinking of writing the same chapter for ADwD but from JonԴs PoV. Mormont added that he had first mentioned that George had once shown the same scene from two different POVs in the Wild Cards series once, and that it was this remark which led him to reveal his thinking regarding the Sam and Jon chapters. But he also said he had to try it to see if it worked first. If it didn't work, he'd junk it.

I asked George about where AFfC was in the editing process.

He still had a last proofing/copyediting to go through. At this juncture, it was just a last pass through to try and catch any minor errors that hadn't been caught by himself, his editors, his copyeditors, and his proofers in previous pass-throughs. Hopefully no significant errors would be found, as it was pretty much too late to try and insert corrections.

At the Creating Characters panel, George makes some remarks relevant to ASoIaF.

The "Boba Fett effect" has struck him before. In Wild Cards, a throwaway Ace named the Howler was created specifically for the purpose of being killed off. He had, perhaps, one line in the series. But he actually had a fan following, for no reason George could understand. Similarly, Tytos Blackwood has developed a similar following, though he's hardly had more lines, and his main distinguishing feature is his raven-feather cloak and his yellow and black armor.

At the Collecting Miniature Knights presentation, George makes a remark concerning armor in Westeros.

When discussing the Courtenay figures he collected, he noted that their period was more or less during the Hundred Years War, and that the sort of armor they wearing was what he imagined for many of the knights in Westeros. There was variation, of course, as some knights are poorer and some richer and so on, but that gives a rough starting place.

SirRots asked GRRM about the size of Dany's dragons, and whether they were going to be large enough to ride by AFfC/ADwD.

George said that they were not big enough to be ridden at this time.

Bastard of Godsgrace talked with George about the very large cast of POV characters he now had in the books.

George meentioned that he had too many POVs - 19 - and he has to go down to about 9. When it was suggested that he could just drop them rather than kill them off, said that he doesn't have to kill them off, he can just drop them, he said that he could possibly do that, but seemed rather dubious about it.

Bastard of Godsgrace spoke to George regarding the third Dunk & Egg story.

George mentioned that since Silverberg is not interested in doing Legends 3, he signed a contract for the third story with some small press publisher. Rhelle added that she was almost sure that published was Subterranean Press, so that's the probable (but not absolutely certain) publisher.

Mormont learned some information regarding Wild Cards from John J. Miller.

John has written (and George has edited) the MS for the next book, which will feature 5 PoV characters, three of which are new characters. The ID of the other two is spoilerific. John also said that, due to a death at the head of the publishing company [Byron Preiss], this might be delayed, but that they have a contract to publish a further two new WC books and reprint some of the older ones (7-10, IIRC).

Following the "Creating Characters" panel, Linda and I mentioned to George that some people gave Sansa and Catelyn a lot of grief, claiming they "whined" too much.

George was quite adamant that he disagreed with those readers. He pointed out that the problem is that readers often don't seem to make a distinction between internal thought and external speech in a way that an author might prefer. Specifically, in terms of "whining", to him whining is a verbal act -- you actually have to speak to whine. Cat doesn't do that, though -- all her dark, depressed thoughts are kept to herself. Yes, the reader is aware of them, because they read her POV, but she absolutely does not burden other characters with them. Basically, everyone has bad times among the good times, and they think negatively then but just having negative thoughts isn't whining.

Bastard of Godsgrace overheard GRRM remark on the Boltons in ADwD.

George mentioned that we will see a lot of Roose and Ramsay in ADWD.

Finally, some pronounciations: Ghis sounds like Geese (with possibly a little bit of the h apparent). Dothraki = Doth-, not Doath-. Pyat Pree = Pee-at, not Pie-at. Myrcella = Mer-sell-ah, not -kell-ah.

Conestoga (Tulsa, OK; July 15-17)

But, on to book signing. There was a 3 book maximum per trip through the line. I was through the line in about 20 min. Which was nice. Mr. Martin had been through the dealers room and when I got up to have my books signed he asked about the swords and what we used them for. Turns out that he used to be a chess coach, and is very into the human chessmatch concept. I thought that was neat. I had brought the first two books in the series in paperback, but the 3rd in hardback, so I got a little more personalized autograph in the hardback. He signed it " To Chris- Keep your Swords Sharp! George RR Martin. " Which I personally thought was cool. After the signing he came back through the dealers room again and we got a chance to chat some more.

...

When noon rolled around I went to George RR Martin's reading. He read a chapter from the new novel, A Feast for Crows. It was a Sam chapter. Sam is the coward of the series, but quite possibly one of the smartest characters as well. Is was a very good chapter and lent a lot of insight into the direction that the new book is going. After the reading there was indeed time for Q&A. A couple of people had questions, but I sat front row center in my Bellie dance garb and asked the majority of the questions. Everything from how hard is it to write from a kid's point of view. ( Very, why do you think that the 4 year old character is in hiding?) Are you going to do a time jump to age the kids? ( Nope too many balls in the air for the adults, but there has been 3 years already to pass in the books so they are growing up). Who is your favorite character? A cliche but I had to ask. ( Tyrion, For a lot of very detailed reasons that I don't have enough space to write.) My favorite character too. Where did you come up with the idea of writing from so many perspectives and why? ( Also a long answer, but the jist of it is from the Wild Cards mosaic novels, and so that you could see the stories from a lot of angles without the great author wink wink nudge nudge, so that you know what is going on even if the main character doesn't.)

Conestoga (Tulsa, OK; July 15-17)

GRRM said the series will probably total seven volumes. But it sounds as if he is being flexible about that, in case he keeps getting more new ideas that will result in additional volumes, as has already been the case with A Feast for Crows. He also said that the strange phenomenon of the fantasy world's long seasons will be explained in the final volume of the series.

GRRM said that he doesn't have a "Big Board" or a special computer program to keep all the events and characters straight. He says he does it all in his head, by means of using the brain cells that most people use to cope with everyday life!

GRRM said that his favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, and he identifies a lot with Tyrion. GRRM said the Tyrion chapters are very easy to write, and they seem to write themselves without any effort from him.

With regard to characterization and point of view, GRRM said that for any character who is a POV character he has to find something that he and readers can sympathize with even if the character in question does reprehensible things. He said there is always something he can find, or if not then it just won't be a POV character. Gregor Clegane, for example, could never be a POV character, but Jaime Lannister can be despite his bad actions, because there's more to Jaime than that. GRRM mentioned that Cersei will be a major POV character in A Feast for Crows. I was outraged by this and commented ""You just won't ever leave us any character we can purely hate, will you?". GRRM smiled at that, and that's when he gave the counter-example of Gregor Clegane.

I asked a lot of questions about the world-building involved in A Song of Ice and Fire--why the fantasy world is so earthlike in certain ways, with Caucasians in the northwest, Mongol-like Dothraki in the east, black people and zebras in the south, etc., and why some of the characters even have names from terrestrial languages such as Robert and Richard (Germanic) and Philip and Jason (Greek); his answers were that the earthlike characteristics of the flora, fauna, and ethnic groups were just something he wanted--in other words, no real answer at all--and that he viewed names such as Robert, Richard, Philip, and Jason as "neutral" names with no real ties to any language, whereas he would never give one of his characters a name such as Pierre because to him that isn't a "neutral" name. When I demurred about this, GRRM became rather testy and told me my problem was that I knew too much about languages.

...

The last question I asked him was about religion in his fantasy world.

I thought the religious tolerance in Westeros between tree-worshipers and worshipers of the Seven was remarkable. GRRM said there hadn't always been tolerance, and the situation as seen at the beginning of A Game of Thrones was a compromise that had been worked out after much conflict in the past. But this is a situation now changing with the introduction of Melisandre and her fanaticism regarding Rh'llor--essentially, religious tolerance is becoming a thing of the past in Westeros. When Robert Baratheon overcame the Targaryens, he opened up Westeros to all sorts of changes in tradition--thus, Cersei's unprecedented move in dismissing Ser Barristan Selmy from the Kingsguard, etc. Westeros is now in a state of flux.

Book Expo America (New York City, NY; June 3-5)

Just talked to George, who is very very tired after a couple of days of hard work and schmoozing with book publishers, retailers and readers at the Expo.

He's had a great time though, and the response from everyone has been so positive and encouraging, he's raring to go on the polish and proofing he's got to do in the next 2 months.

The pub dates in the US and the UK are still not completely set. They can change depending on variables too obscure and insider to go into here. But as of yesterday, here's what he has been told by his publishers:

Bantam will be publishing the hardcover edition on November 8. At least, that when they told him yesterday. Let me once again emphasize that this date may change, we'll know more in a month or so, once every one sorts out their schedules for printing, publicity, and all the rest entailed in getting this novel out to the readers.

HarperCollinsUK has not yet determined their publication date.

I repeat, HarperCollinsUK has not yet set the UK edition publication date. Got that? Good. George hopes that we'll know that date in 2-4 weeks.

George was not able to talk to his producer in the audiobook division, so we don't know when the audiobook will be released. First they have to find Roy Dotrice who might be off acting in New Zealand or on stage at the West End for all we know, and get on his schedule. But my hope is that since Bantam is going for a later pub date, that production of the audiobooks will be complete and will be released about the same time as the hardcover.

Haven't heard from the Australian publisher yet, so we have no idea what their plans are.

As for non-English editions, once we hear from those folks, we'll let you know on GRRM's web site. He is trying to shorten the time it takes to get foreign langauge editions in print by providing the publishers/translators with the proofed gallies directly when possible.

Right now, the Bantam publicity department is beginning to plan George's US tour based on a November 8 pub date. It will be at least 2 weeks long, and will most likely include cities like LA, the SF Bay area, Vancouver BC, a couple of cities in Ohio, and even New York City at a Barnes and Noble. If you work in a book store, or have the ear of a book retailer, and want George to come to your store, then NOW is the time to contact the Bantam publicity department and ask what the criteria are for arranging a visit by George. As you might know, George really likes to sign in independent and speciality SF stores, so if you are a regular customer at your friendly local SF shop, you might want to give them a heads up. Beyond the basics I've just given you, we don't know where and when he'll be appearing at US bookstores, and won't until just before the tour begins in November. I'm just hoping that he'll be home in time to carve the turkey on Thanksgiving.

So, let's recap, just make sure everyone understands what I'm telling you and there's no room for rumours and speculation.

US Bantam edition release date is currently set for November 8, 2005. George will do a US tour in November, lasting at least 2 weeks. We do not have information on the tour dates or cities yet.

HarperCollinsUK has not yet set their release date. We hope to have that date in 2-4 weeks from now. Again, HarperCollinsUK has not yet set their release date.

As far as publication dates for the rest of the world, the release of the audibooks or any other tours in the UK, Australia or Europe, we do not have any information we can share with you at this time.

As always, the best places to check for updates with solid information about what's going on with GRRM are on his web site, Ran's most excellent Westeros.org, and here amongst the Bros.

So thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding, this has been a long hard five years for George, and I hope you'll understand that we both are looking forward to a break once he hands over the completed and proofed gallies to his publishers in a couple of months. But we'll always appreciate the support and enthusiasm of his readers, and thank you for the many kindnesses and gifts of friendship you give us.

Book Expo America (New York City, NY; June 3-5)

I've returned from the Book Expo in NYC. What an event! It's like Geek Christmas there. I got about 12 free ARC books (most of the authors I've never heard of) which I will be exploring this summer. It was fun but crowded.

And I met "the man" for the first time! GRRM is extremely accomodating. He was surrounded by 4 or 5 Bantam reps hawking over him, making sure he didn't talk too long, etc, but were generally very amiable themselves. I think George's editor was one of them.

George, to the minor chagrin of his publishers, kindly signed my copy of RRetrospective that I hauled from the East side of Manhattan, all the way through the Javitz Center (picture the airplane hanger where they'd keep, say the entire Air Force for Canada). George grinned broadly when I pulled it out. There weren't many "superfans"" there due it being an industry-only event, so I think he was a bit surprised to see one.

I also picked up the excerpt from A Feast for Crows (got it signed), which is subtitled "An appetizer before the feast..."

And the moment we've all been waiting for...

The publication date has been announced!

November, 2005.

I wasn't able to ask about a UK pubdate, but that is the US one. Who knows how different they will be, if at all. But, this is straight from the horse's (genius') mouth. George said it, his entourage confirmed it.

...

I looked again. It's Dany's first 3 chapters. Thought it was a bit long for being one chapter. They're just broken up by these little section marks, not page breaks.

Bretano’s Signing (Kansas City, MO)

I just got home from a GRRM book signing at a Kansas City Brentano's and had a great time. He signed for about 45 minutes, read a Samwell Tarly chapter, and answered several questions. About 40 people were there. He was in town for an area SF convention.

I'll try to relate what I remember, and if I miss anything I apologize, because I didn't write any of this down until after I left. And if I repeat anything from the post two down, well, this is first-hand info.

Questions:

1) Will FfC and aDwD cover the five-year span that you initially planned to skip?

He said the five-year hiatus is as dead as his plan to finish the series in a trilogy. While he would like to skip ahead to age the children (esp. Bran and Arya), he feels the back-story is too interesting and important. He needs to focus on their development. While he would like to find a time to skip ahead 6 months in the story, it's unlikely.

2. When/how do you decide a new character point-of-view is necessary?

He compared this to LotR. You get a full page map of the Shire. You think it's big, because it takes up so much space, but you realize it's a small part of a big world. He started out with a few PoV and gradually expanded to include more, just as the hobbits in LotR learned there was more to the world than the Shire. He has reached a maximum number of PoV and feels that he needs to narrow the focus, and start eliminating them, which he says, we know he can do by killing off people.

He introduces a PoV to give a different perspective, and also when a character's story needs to be told.

3. Will we see Sandor again, especially in replacing Sansa's lost wolf?

Yes, we will see Sandor (in the next book I think he said) and Gregor. After that, he said he can't comment on the rest...

His Rretrospective is still available, and he says the publisher will consider a reprint when the initial copies sell through. It is too big to publish in paperback format.

Some of the other questions...

Seven books, not six. (Looks like Parris was right)

Book four will be 1100 pages, the size of GoT. As such, he has the 500 pages of book five already written.

He does not do outlines before writing the books, but he will take notes. He feels like the outlines boggle him down. He may write a chapter where, when it ends, he paints himself into a corner, and may back-track as a result.

He discussed RPGs, card games, miniatures. He is not a game designer and has no plans to help develop the games, even though he does like to have input.

He doesn't feel that it's fair to call his work gratuitous. He wants the reader to live vicariously though his books (a function of fantasy writing), feel the characters emotions. If a character is at a feast, he wants the reader to smell the food, experience Dany's discomfort at being served an unappetizing dish. The same with the sex scenes-he wants his readers to feel like they are there.

This is why he kills off his characters. He wants the suspense to be real. When the 'hero' is in a risky situation, you really don't know if he'll survive, whereas in a typical fantasy, you just wonder what will happen to the hero next, because he's never in any real danger anyway.

He has two editors: one in the UK and one in the US. The entire book is in their and the copy-editors hands. He seemed somewhat worried that with the book being published this fall (sep/oct) that they would have enough time to proof-read. He would prefer more time, but if he had finished in 2002, as expected, they would have had plenty of time to edit

What he intended to be one book will be split into two parts: aFfC and aDwD. The book was too long, longer than SoS, which was the upper-limit in size as far as his publishers were concerned.

Crows will deal with Kings Landing area, Lannisters, and Dorne, the South. The Samwell chapter should be the only one from the North.

Dragons will deal with Daenerys and the North. He decided to split by character, rather than in the middle of the story, as he wanted a complete book, rather than FfC part I and II.

We will hear snippets about Lyanna Stark.

He knows more about his created world than the real world

And for you midwesterners, he said the book signing he did in St. Louis for GoT was the worst he ever had, because no one showed up. I meant to ask him more detail but forgot.

I got four books signed, GoT, CoK, SoS, and Fevre Dream. He allowed people to go through the line multiple times if they had more than three books.

I had my picture taken with him and will post it in my profile once the film is developed and coverted to cd.

He was super nice, looked you in the eye when answering questions, answered with much detail, very polite. He was very apologetic about the book taking so long, but as much as he tours, and as much as he does for the fans, he has good reason. He's very personable and I recommend meeting him if you have the chance.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

Another thing that interested me is that he pronounced Elia as "Elly-uh" (not "Eh Leah") and Doran with the stress on the second syllable (as in the band Duran Duran) (Doh Ran) rather than "Door Ann" which is how I had always thought it.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

Pub Dates not yet fixed and don't believe anything you read about pub dates except from George's site or by Ran or my postings here. Right now, the publishers are looking at possible release in mid-fall.

Everything else is just conjecture and speculation.

Bantam and HarperCollins UK are in the first throes of sorting out the issues surrounding the actual FEAST that George is delivering.

The chapters in the booklet being given out at the ABE were chosen and planned back in February. The changes to the structure of FEAST were not even in George's mind a month ago, and there's still a lot of production planning that needs to be done. Bantam and HCUK had already agreed to share the same set of proofs and corrected gallies from George, and that is not a common practise. My impression is that the release dates in the UK and the USA will be very close.

Don't believe anything about publication dates you read any where else. Once George has firm dates they will be posted on his web site, and I'll come by to give the heads up to the Bros.

The publishers want to see FEAST hit the stands as much as you want to see it there, once George comes back from the ABE, he'll devote himself to the final polish of the MS. If you would like that to go faster, please don't send him an email about your personal feelings about the decisions he has made as a writer. There's more than 1,000 emails sitting in his box right now. He'd have to take a year off just to answer all of those emails that are awaiting him then he returns.

Friends, quit angst-ing so much, it's June and summer beckons, there's a thousand great books out there for you to discover, you'll barely notice the next few months roll by.

And as my one of my favorite SF characters once taught:

Waiting Is.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

The best part of the reading for me was at the end.

I came in near the end of the reading, because I knew what George was going to announce that FEAST was finished.

Most of the Bros were listening to the story with intensity. When George started his explanation of the status of FEAST, folks seemed to look a little resigned, as if they were expecting another explanation on why this book was not finished.

As George started explaining the various choices presnted to him as a writer, and the needs and demands of the publishers, people started sitting up a little straighter, leaning forward, and then as it slowly dawned on them that George was telling them the book was finished, well, the smiles stared blooming, and that was a thing of beauty.

And I could finally call the travel agent and tell her to start checking on the availability of hotels and flights for the vacation we've been waiting to take for 4 years.

ConQuest is my favorite convention, almost like home to me, this year was made even more special with George and Joe as guests, with the announcement that the FEAST is ready to serve, and with so many Bros present, so many good times experienced, I am delighted that Bros and KC fans are deepening our relationships, mutually beneficial on so many levels, because there are so many things we hold in common, our friendliness, our openess to new people and experiences, our understanding that what matter most is the fun and joy we create when we gather together.

It was one damn fine time, one fine time.

Thanks everybody, thanks a lot.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

Another bit of information that I found interesting- we *WILL* hear about the POVs who will not have front stage as it were, but will have it in ADwD. The reports of those chars will be somewhat garbled and messy as can be expected from any news that has travelled that distance and is that important. ex) Varys' manipulation of the Dany information, or Theon's skinning of the miller's information (we didn't know it wasn't Bran and Rickon until later). *THOSE* are the kind of reports we will see in AFFC about the missing POVs. We will get information on them, but have no idea which parts, if any, are correct.

I have some more things to add about things I asked, but I will probably trickle out things as I sober up and recall them. :p

Bran will have one or two chapters in ADwD, where otherwise he would have been left out of the what would have been the fourth book entirely. He remains one of the most difficult POVs to write due to his youth, crippled status and the magic.

[Note: Description of a spoilerish question regarding unreliable narrators removed. GRRM laughed at the question and gave no answer.]

He did skillfully change the convo to conversation about what would be one of the most fun unreliable narrarators in history- Aegon IV The Unworthy's POV. He sounded very interested and determinded to do a novel about that VERY interesting char. I would beat you all down with a stick to be able to read it.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

I'm glad that people are delighted that the next book is on the way overall. GRRM and Parris themselves were worried about the reaction on the board. GRRM even mentioned yesterday that he heard that people weren't happy here. But flicking through a couple of threads I think that, ignoring a few, people are just glad that the new book is finally on the way. :D

GRRM will tell you himself its not an ideal situation. But its definitely the best way to go IMHO. (The ideal situation is that he spends years working on the whole series until it is completed. And not be pressured by publisher and fans' demands. Because of course he feels a certain obligation to his fans. :)

Just to cover a few things that I saw mentioned...

The focus in FEAST will be on Westeros, King's Landing, the riverlands, Dorne, and the Iron Islands.

GRRM said he is unsure why he has kept the Mystery POV hidden all these years but he isn't going to reveal it now. ;) But i'm thinking we don't have a POV directly set in the Riverlands so the quote above may be a hint. Of course, Sansa, Jaime and [Note: Redacted spoiler POV] can give us info on those areas. But we can assume that it is a southern POV anyhow (It isn't Theon for example but definitely could be Brienne or Sandor).

AFAICT the only Iron Islands chapters in aFfC will be the Arms of the Kraken story. Asha will feature in at least one chapter in aDwD (which is already written).

Arya will have 3 or 4 chapters (I can't remember exactly) in aFfC. But she will be one of the characters that will also feature in aDwD. We don't know how many chapters because he hasn't written them.

He says he has currently 600 pages written for aDwD. He is expecting a 1100 page book. (All in manuscript pages.) Which is just over the size of aGoT. He probably is underestimating again. But that gives you an idea. Tyrion's story arc required 4 chapters but he thinks with another 3 chapters he can have a far more satisfying story. In other words, he is just continuing the existing story.

Other POVs characters may also feature in both books. I get the impression he doesn't want to give away too much info about aDwD or he will end up feeling straitjacketed again. That he wants to avoid feeling he has to do something because he has already commented on it. Thus he is mainly commenting on what is already written.

This is actually one of the potential benefits of the books being done this way, but because it wasn't planned this way from the beginning, I'm not sure how much he can take advantage of it

GRRM himself stated this is an advantage of this book. That we will get some hints of what is going on in the North and East but we wouldn't know what is true and what not. We may learn that Stannis is killed for example but that could easily be a red herring. :p Look how Varys often manipulated the truth.

I asked GRRM about the title no longer referring to the Nights Watch and as people explained already, the title always had multiple meanings. So it merely loses one level of significance. And when I think about it, the Crows on the Nights Watch are unlikely to have much of a feast. Except of death. :p

GRRM did mention late September/October as a publishing date but nothing has been finalised. He has to meet his publishers. I think he is doing so this week in NYC. It sounds like they are trying to publish asap. His editor has read the new version of aFfC and has not come across anything obviously wrong with the new format but is currently rereading to make sure nothing is missed. GRRM did admit that a few lines may require tweaking to ensure he doesn't give away too much.

...

He has suggested there will be 3 or so extra Tyrion chapters, a couple of Bran chapters (he originally wasnt going to appear in the old version of aFfC) and a few more Arya chapters (to go alongside those that will appear in the new version of aFfC). They are not going to add up to 500 pages. He could be expanding a few other POVs that we know will be appearing in aDwD. Or perhaps others from aFfC will be appearing. I wouldnҒt be surprised if GRRM isnt sure himself yet. He probably has a few ideas but isnҒt ready to commit publicly.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

Was Baratheon the house name of the last Storm King?

NO. Baratheon is Orys' surname.

Where was Lord Rickard when the news arrived that Brandon had raced off to King's Landing?

GRRM did not say. He gave us very little information on this.

5) Is there a Lord Selmy, or are they just landed knights?

They are landed knights. Would not go into detail.

...

Arya WILL be in Feast. I asked GRRM specifically and he said, yes.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

Just returned from the con. At the reading, George said that he realized that this decision would be upsetting to some of his readers, but it's really the only option that didn't make him writhe in misery. And the more he worked with it, the more he liked it. Switching between POVs is fun and all, but there's only so many unrelated POVs that a reader can keep track of. This way he gets to put in a lot of the details he was having to leave out (like 3 extra Tyrion chapters), and have books that are more cohesive.

I think it's cool because you will probably be able to ultimately read books 4 and 5 in either order and get the same tale, since they take place over the same time period.

And to sum up George's advice to those who are really, really, really upset by this: Buy both books, take an exacto knife, and dismantle the books into individual chapters. Shuffle.

ConQuest (Kansas City, MO; May 27-29)

I'm almost certain that at soom point last night George stated something to the effect that the Baratheon name was Orys' family name. He did not take the name of the Storm Kings.