The Citadel

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

So Spake Martin

Reports from Signings, Conventions, Etc

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.

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

Ok, I was woken up in the middle of the night to post this hot off the presses summary/ answer to questions. Any omissions are purely due to my sleep addled brain :b

1) Does the Baratheon name come from Orys, or did he take up the name from the Storm Kings?

Ro informed me that the Baratheon name has always been there (not sure that is an answer, but it's the one I got)

3) Catelyn recalls that at Riverrun, Brandon told her that he would return soon for their wedding. Where was he going?

GRRM refused to answer where Brandon was going.

4) What happened to the last King of Mountain and Vale?

Nothing happened to them, they continue to be the lords of Arryn.

6) When, specifically, did Benjen join the NW? Was it a couple of years after Ned returned, or immediately?

It was within a few months of Ned's returning. The reason being that there always was a Stark at Winterfell, so he had to stay there until Ned returned. GRRM refused to say the reason why Benjen had to join the NW.

Now as to the questions of which POV's show up in which book, the following will show up in AFFC:

Jamie, [Note: Spoiler POV redacted], Arya, Sansa, Sam (Jon will be in the first Sam chapter), the Iron Isles, Dorne, mystery POV (we don't know who the mystery POV is yet!). Asha will be in AFFC, in fact, all the chapters in Arms of the Kraken will show up in AFFC.

The following will show up in ADwD:

Arya, Bran, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, and Asha (she will be in both books, as she gets involved in affairs of the North)

Other tidbits: [Note: Spoiler POV redacted] has the most number of chapters in AFFC, while Dany has the most in ADwD. Also, the number of Tyrion chapters is going up from 4 to 7 in ADwD (his storyline is basically beinbg expanded).

[Note: Next is a clarification from a later post.]

Davos is in ADwD, according to Pod and Ro from last night. Also, I didn't mean to imply that Benjen "had to " join the NW. We don't know because GRRM wouldn't elaborate on the reasons for Benjen joining the NW.

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

Well GRRM explained it as follows.

The book was still incomplete and it was 80 (book) pages longer than aSoS. He thought it would take an extra 100 manuscript pages to finish it fully. His publishers were really anxious to get it published this fall so he was left with 3 choices.

1) Find a quick way to wrap up the remaining chapters and try to sweat the stuff he has already done to reduce the size of the book. Even though it was unfinished, it was already too big for them.

2) Cut the book in half by timeline, publishing the first half this fall.

3) Cut the book in half by POV.

The first option was a bad one in my opinion. You don't want the author to cut chapters, or characters because of the publishers. GRRM didn't like that either.

The second one has advantages in that it updates us with all the POVs but OTOH it leaves the stories all unfinished. Everything just suddenly ends.

Option 3 means a tighter book. We get 7 or 8 POVs like aGoT, rather than 15. We don't get lost by the huge number of plotlines.

GRRM said Dany and the Wall is excluded. That removes Dany and probably Tyrion plus the Wall which presumably means Jon and Davos. Probably Sam too although he may be going south. This leaves the Dorne chapters, Jaime, [Note: Spoiler POV redacted], Sansa in aFfC. Arya is hard to say. Similarly the Iron Islands. The latter seems more like the North to me. But I haven't read them. And who knows where the mystery POV falls into.

So aFfC gets published this fall. In October or September. Its likely that the books will be published in the US and the UK at the same time. Although the UK may get a couple of weeks headstart.

The next book will still be called aDwD. (Dany will be in it after all). This is where things get oblique again. Even though he was 100 pages away from finishing aFfC originally, he says he has 600 of an expected 1100 pages yet to write in aDwD. So clearly he feels he is putting stuff into it that he originally earmarked for the old version of aDwD.

This might refer to something he mentioned earlier in May about finding a way to deal with some characters been too young and he wants to skip ahead, while others are too active. He will just drop them.

He has offically announced that the book will take 7 books. I think aDwD will take 1 to 2 years to come out after aFfC. Getting aFfC will relieve a lot of pressure and make things easier to progress.

I think Davos will be in aDwD instead. Sam is the question.

He didn't mention changing the title of the book, so I don't believe it will change.

We all would have liked him to publish when he feels happy, but the publishers were very anxious and he has put them off long enough already. And they said the book was too big to publish as one volume anyhow (since it was still getting bigger). (I don't care if other hardbacks were published that were bigger. That is what GRRM publishers told him. And that is all that matters. Not what other publishers did). I'm happy with that. And making a tight book has a lot of advantages.

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

[Note: This is a response to a query regarding the publication date of the book, in terms of whether it'd come out first in the U.S. or the U.K.]

Sorry all we are having net problems. We will not have to order from the UK this time, thank god. The dates are supposed to be the same this time.

[Note: The next is from cyranovice, who spoke with Rhelle on the phone and got the following from her.]

Expected release date is Sep-Oct, around the same time in US and UK (maybe slightly earlier in UK but not significantly so).

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

[Note: Parris is GRRM's SO and official Mud Clerk.]

And no one is more pleased with this announcement than George and myself. There will be an formal announcement posted to his web site Monday, and as he said at the reading, as soon as the publishers have firm pub dates, he'll let you know.

I've read many drafts of the book, and given the complexity of the greter story he is creating for us, this is not only a good solution to the problems of manufacturing such a huge book, it gives us complete arcs for several characters sooner, rather than telling half the story of more characters over a longer period of time. There's enough blood and treachery and gorgeous writing in FEAST to satisfy us for a good long read, I promise.

I hope most readers are happy about this, in the longer view of the strength of the series. I have been saying for several years that ASoI&F would be at least 7 books long. Check with me again in a year and we'll see if that's changed.

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

This is no hoax.

I swear it by ice and fire. I swear that I will never post again should this prove false. I swear I will never touch wine again, if it is not true.

George said it is done.

But he had to make a major change. It had grown too large.

Daenerys will not appear. There will be little if any action in the North. Those chapters will be moved into the next book, which should come out shortly thereafter.

AFFC will be the size of AGoT.

...

I swear to you that this is no hoax. I put more details in the AFFC forum.

I assure you that I have told you the truth. And that if it proves otherwise, I hereby request permanent banning.

This is not a joke, unless GRRM himself is lying to the whole room for his reading, and that simply is not so.

As a joke, it would be a lame one.

I am not a party to lame jokes.

...

You will definitely see the POV bounce around as before. It just won't go to Meereen or beyond.

And we know how close GRRM was to done with the whole book. He wasn't firm about the timeline for book five, but expect it soon.

...

This is no hoax. I swear it by ice and fire. I swear in the names of the Old Gods and new.

George told us a long tale. His publishers told him the mostest it could be was 1600 manuscript pages. He passed that and a decision was made that it would have to be split in two. He thought about that and rejected it and proposed an alternative.

AFFC will be the size of AGoT. There will be no Daenerys chapters. There will be none of the chapters up North. The chapters in the South are done and in the hands of the publishers - George expects to announce a specific fall publication date. That means he can spend a little more time cleaning up the events in the North and present a coherent tale with a beginning and an end.

He expects some of his fans to be upset when their favorite characters don't appear. But they can take comfort in the fact that the fifth book is now 60% or more done. And they will have the fourth in the fall.

...

I will confess that the 60% number is mine not his. He said '600 manuscript pages'. For a shorter book, I guessed 1000 manuscript pages.

And I don't think he'll be tempted to extend the fifth book. He knows he is letting down his fans of those POVs that will be excluded.

...

One of George's comments when he made the announcement was that he was surprised just how easy it was for him to split the book into two along POVs. It seems that the more he looks at it, to date he has been writing several novels at a time that interweave but really do stand alone. He assured us that in the end, it would all tie together nicely.

To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8)

Whoa. I haven't posted here in a very long time. I also happened to be at To Be Continued, attended the various panels that George was at, and also got to attend the Koffeklatche on Sunday (which was pretty cool, there were only five or six of us there).

George was very gracious. He used to live in the town that my husband and I currently live in, (Dubuque, IA) so we updated him about some of his favorite old haunts. He said he once helped organize a science fiction convention here.

He told me that Feast for Crows would certainly be out THIS YEAR. He said around November, but could not be sure, it depended on how quickly he got the last chapter out. This was not in a panel, it was when we were getting our books signed by him on Friday when we ran into him in the dealers' room.

The panel was pretty much as described. I had asked the Harrenhal question--it was more to find out if there would be more backstory about the Grand Tourney at Harrenhal. George said there would be, a lot happened at that time that was important.

At the koffeklatche, George said the two favorite characters [of readers] were Tyrion and Arya. The least favorites were Sansa and Catelyn. (This annoyed me to no end, as Sansa is my personal favorite.)

When asked about the Clegane's mother ("Where the heck was she when Gregor was dipping Sandor's face in a brazier?", one lady wanted to know), he said that he didn't know. Probably dead by that time.

Sandor actually admired knights as a child, but was greatly disillusioned when his brute brother was actually knighted, by Rhaegar, no less. Hence his bitterness. He really hates Gregor.

Gregor is extremely dim.

I asked about the previous day's panel, when George had mentioned intentional mistakes. Was Sansa's memory of the Hound kissing her when he actually had not an intentional mistake? Why would she think that? He said it was in fact intentional, but he would not tell us why. I said he was mean, and he laughed at me.

I also asked if Sandor would be in the upcoming book. He pleaded the fifth. I said he was mean, and he laughed at me.

We talked a bit about the children and their wolves. I mentioned Sansa just having a poor old crippled dog (the one in the Aerie) because she lost her wolf. He got a queer smile about his lips when I said that and nodded. Make of that what you will.

There will be more tourneys, in the Dunk and Egg books. But first he wants to finish the ASOIAF series.

Westeros is big, about the size of South America. He deliberately does not make a map to scale because he doesn't want people writing saying "Hey, it's impossible for so-and-so to go so far in such-and-such a time." The continent is even larger.

He does not include a world map because he wants his readers to see the world through the characters' eyes. In medieval times, world maps as we know them did not exist. There would be arrows "To Cathay" "Here Be Dragons" and that sort of thing.

That being said, Dany will be presented with a map of the world from a fellow whose name I cannot remember because the pronunciation was very odd indeed.

There was some talk about Eddard Stark and why he made the mistakes he did. People who are honorable cannot always see the intentions of people who are dishonorable.

When asked, he admitted that yes, it is very difficult for him to brutally kill off these characters that he has written for so long. Hence his avoidance in writing the Red Wedding until the very last.

There was some talk about the Targaryen bloodline and how it worked when there weren't enough siblings to marry. Uncle might marry niece or aunt, nephew. There were also cousins in that family at one time. But when Rhaegar was born, the bloodline had decreased and there was no one available for him to marry. The problem Steffon (sp?) Baratheon faced when looking for Valyrian blood was not that there wasn't any left, but that he couldn't find any appropriate females of noble-enough birth. Then, of course, he and his lady died on the way back, a tragedy for Stannis and Renly. Rhaegar ended up marrying Elia of Dorne, another tragedy.

To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8)

Eric told us the story of how they acquired the ASOIAF license. They had been working on an original scifi/fantasy CCG in house, and at first it appeared to be going well, but then they realised nobody in-house was excited about playing it. So they began to look for something to license.

Now, Fantasy Flight is up in Minnesota, and it gets COLD up there. So for fun they started ending their rants with the phrase "Winter is coming", as they were all fans of the books. So then one day they received an email from someone: "You keep using Winter is coming. on your webpage. Does that mean their is an ASOIAF CCG or board game in the works?"

That put the wheels in motion. One day, Eric was called into the office, and asked if he would like to work on an ASOIAF CCG. He just handed them the book he had been reading over his lunch break: A Clash of Kings. :)

George said that he didn't have much input into the CCG, except for the artwork. He's very protective of his characters and wanted the art to be good. He did provide some input into the board game, telling them what kind of games he likes to play (Risk: "I have to play the red pieces. I always win when I play the red pieces"). He said that any kind of licensing inquiry gets turned over to his agents. He has received some inquiries for computer games, but has turned them down because they were all from developers, who wanted the license for free so they could then find a producer/publisher who would pay them the money. George didn't like that, and I don't blame him!

Eric was asked if the CCG would last forever, or if it was expected to be fully complete in a set time frame. He said the plan has always been for it to last forever; because of this, he's had to hold back some of his good stuff for later use. They've received 10,000 card ideas from the card designer section of the website, which he checks nearly every day. They've only used six cards, but have taken ideas from others. He said it's hard for the fans to design a card because they don't know what's being planned for the future.

Each release has a theme. He's got the next two sets planned out, but also has enough card ideas (his slush pile is very,very large) to last until 2010, by his calculations. And that's if George never releases another book, and without them adding another House into the play!

The FFG guys have had a sneak peek into AFfC. Some aspects of AFfC have already made it into the game.

Eric wants George to design three cards for an upcoming release. Someone remarked that George will need to learn how to play first! So George was asking a lot of questions about the mechanics of the game. He found it interesting that a good deck is actually quite small, and not a thousand cards high with every card you own.

I have a few items from the Q&A session. You might know all of this already; I'm not too up-to-date with spoilers and information, but these items caught my ear.

The next Wild Cards book is forthcoming. I'm unsure if it's a re-release or a new one. Wild Cards has also been optioned to the Sci-Fi Channel as a two-hour movie, to potentially become a weekly series.

There was a long discussion about mistakes and inconsistencies. He used the eyes changing color example, and also mentioned receiving an email about horses changing sex. George gets frustrated when there's mistakes in the books--not just because mistakes can be embarrassing, though. He said there are inconsistencies in the books that are NOT mistakes. He believes in the "unreliable narrator" -- you can't always trust what people say because they might be remembering it wrong, or you get two different stories depending on who's doing the telling. He feels that mistakes such as eye color changes can distract from the planned inconsistencies, making them less effective.

Someone asked about the titles of sample chapters that have been posted online in relation to POVs. The person asking the question used the examples [NOTE: Redacted spoiler POV name] and "The Prophet" (Prophetess? -- I missed this chapter). From what I understand, the prologue has grown so much that instead of just one chapter, there are several; instead of being titled with a character name, they have titles such as "The Soiled Knight", etc. It sounds like there are a lot of different viewpoint characters in the prologue. Arianne was specifically mentioned as such a viewpoint.

To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8)

Pronouciations:
Tyrosh = tie-ROSH
Lys = lEEse
Tysha = TISH-a

The first parts of the book are already being put through the editing process, so this will help facilitate the rush to publish the book.

The publishers are shooting for a fall release date, and want to do a book tour in Septmber or October.

To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8)

[Note: This report draws from two separate events at the convention: a reception for GRRM as Guest of Honor on the 6th and a Q&A on the 7th.]

The book is not done, but he did say "soon". He has 1527 manuscript pages done, making it bigger than aSoS. He says he has about 100 pages left to go, in various stages of doneness.

He confirmed that the publishing will be rushed, since the book is so late, and that the American and the British publishers are working together so that the UK version will not necessarily come out earlier than the American version. Maybe a *little* earlier, but not by much.

He has "a few" chapters done for aDwD, with a [spoiler removed] chapter specifically mentioned.

Dany has more chapters than anyone. He also said that Dany's love life is going to become "extremely complex"

Dorne and the Iron Islands will be a big part of the book.

The name pronoucinations on the audio books are NOT necessarily per George. The people doing the recording asked him about maybe 15 of the harder names, but they screwed up some of the simpler ones, Petyr Baelish being one of them (it's just Peter, not Pee-tier).

The names Arya and Sansa are meant to represent the polar opposites of their characters, Arya being a hard sounding name, Sansa a softer more pretty name, etc.

Parris has proclaimed that Arya cannot die! (No, she wasn't there :( but he mentioned it when someone said that he's not allowed to kill Dany)

He has half of the next Dunk and Egg story finished.

Hammer, I asked him about the women taking over, and all he really said was that he realized it after he had four female chapters in a row, and with the breaking down of the prolouge it gave him more female POVs.

The Rainbow Guard isn't meant to symbolize Renly's sexuality. It was more of a culmination of several unrelated things, such as the fact that he'd already used white for the Kingsguard and black for the Night's Watch. A rainbow is seven colors combined together in one object - he compared it to a shamrock being a Irish Catholic symbol of the Holy Trinity, three parts which make up one thing. Plus it has seven colors and is tied to the Seven, plus worshipers of the Seven use prism rainbows in their temples.

And speaking of Renly and Loras...

George specifically stated "Yes, I did intend those characters to be gay." Not that we didn't already know that of course, but I don't believe it's ever been actually confirmed before.

All of this information came from a GOH reception party, which was specifically open to people who registered early and paid to be a "premium" member, so it was a really small gathering and a really great experience just to sit and listen to George talk for about two and a half hours straight. And he knows me! This amuses me to no end. :D

So yeah, in short, book not done but soon, lots of Dany, the Ironborn, and the Dornish, and Renly and Loras were INDEED knocking boots.

[Note: Immediately below is a quote of GRRM's response to the question of how much time does A Feast for Crows cover internally.]

"Way, way, way, way, way, way short" He didn't give an exact time though 'cause he refused to call on me until the very end. Figures!

George wanted to be able to announce the completion of the book this weekend, but obviously he can't do that if it's not done. Is it wrong that I'm hoping for KC? ;)

He has one chapter left to largely still be written, the rest of the unfinished chapters are mostly done. He repeated the fact that the book will be done "soon".

He's still saying that he's planning on 6 books, maybe pushing it to 7.

Coming up with the names for the characters is very tough. They can't be too weird (with like apostrophies and stuff) and they can't be too "real", like Francois or Patrick or any kind of a name that is tied to a place (Sandor being a Hungarian name was unintentional)

Many things happened at Harrenhall. Some are known, some are unknown. Yeah, we mostly knew that already, but I thought I'd mention it.

The seasons are "completely fantasy based". There's no sci-fi type element to it at all.

After the third Dunk and Egg novella is published, he is thinking about binding all three stories into one book, with some "linking materials" (no details given). He wants to do "six, or seven, or eight" and then do the two or three bound copies of multiple stories.

Hopefully we'll learn more at KC...the problem with these panels is that people ask questions we already know the answers to. :)

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 18-20)

I arrived Friday night, and after registering, went straight to George's panel on Writing the Fantasy Trilogy. GRRM, together with Wen Spencer and Juliet McKenna, all agreed that the best advice they could give is "don't do it." GRRM thinks it's a terrible idea for new writers to start out with novels in the first place. They should start with short stories. This allows them to learn their craft and build their names. Also, there are artistic and commercial reasons to write short stories first. If you write a bad novel, everyone will have a bad opinion of your work and you will have wasted a year working on something not worthwhile. On the other hand, if you write a bad short story, you don't feel so guilty tossing it out. He suggests spending 4 or 5 years writing a series of stories. Then, people will be excited about your novel.

GRRM also thinks the trilogy is somewhat false as a form of fantasy. No one actually writes a trilogy -- they just write a very long story that happens to be divided up. He pointed out that Tolkien, the genesis of the fantasy trilogy, did not set out to write one. Tolkien instead divided his work into 6 books. GRRM writes a series because one volume would be "obscene" and take up an entire shelf in the bookstore. Apparently, publishers don't like to have their books take up too much shelf space. GRRM also observed that fantasy stories tend to be longer because the author has to explain the world to the reader. Mainstream stories can work off people's existing knowledge.

GRRM also stated that he does not do any worldbuilding before he starts writing. He has an idea of the plot in "broad strokes" and tends to build the world as the story progresses. He wrote a few chapters and figured, "Hmm. I had better draw a map." The downside of this is that the author has to stick to what he wrote before despite some good ideas he may have later. GRRM envies Tolkien because he took so long to write his story, he could go back and change things. At some point, according to GRRM, the author has to stop going back and changing his earlier work -- unless it's Stephen King.

Wen Spencer brought up the way GRRM likes to kill off characters. GRRM said it's much easier to kill off characters when you have so many. He's always believed in killing characters because it makes the story more exciting. He wants the reader to be afraid to turn the page - to feel as the characters feel - that sense of danger. He does it intentionally. As for those readers who don't like that, GRRM says he doesn't write comfort fiction. You have to write what you want to read.

According to GRRM, in writing fantasy, you have to go back to Tolkien and the bittersweet ending of the scouring of the shire. Although when he was younger, he thought that part was extra, the bitterness stayed with him and he realized that it was the point of the story.

With regard to the length of ASoIF, GRRM had 150 pages plus the outline before he even sold the books. As he began writing, the story just grew and grew from 3 to 4 to 6 books.

Responding to the question: "Can you kill of the main character from the prior 5 books in book 6?" GRRM said yes, you can do anything you want if you make it work. They killed off the main character in "Psycho" and it worked.

Responding to a question, GRRM said he does not have a "first reader." He sometimes has other writers read sections, but ultimately you have to trust yourself. Ultimately it's your book.

Phew! Well, after that we took the long route to the Korean buffet, and later George and Parris met us in the Sheraton's bar. They chatted with us until 4:00 a.m.!

Parris decided we should have a party, and I volunteered my room. We somehow planned in in 15 minutes and within the hour, we had a party ready to go. Unfortunately, I didn't have a party room, so we got busted by the hotel at 10:00 p.m. Parris jumped in and saved the party for us by renting out a room on the party floor. I couldn't believe that it took only 5 minutes to get 50 people and ALL the party stuff out of my room. Everyone was great. The Drabel brothers were there. Such handsome young men! And so successful! They gave us all the new edition of the Hedge Knight. Ernst came mighty close to stealing Stegos book of short stories to make into another comic book.

As usual, our party was the hit of Boskone.

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 18-20)

[Note: The following report explains the discrepancy in the total number of POVs, which GRRM has given as 19. 9 characters are carried over from ASoS and 8 new POVs have been announced so far. It appears that Sansa's chapters count as two POVs.]

Alayne is that missing POV.

...

Parris told us that George wants to write a trilogy about one of the Targaryen Kings.

She did not hesitate to inform him that he needed to finish this series first or might face a riot. So I guess this is a far-future event.

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 18-20)

GRRM most assuredly stated the book covered more like FIVE months (not four) than five years. As drunk as I have been in the past few hours, I am certain of this.

The Dabel Bros, (Ernst, Les, and later on Pascal) were there. Seems they were ironing out a deal to adapt 'The Sworn Sword' into comic book form.

The Hedge Knight TPB is being released in a second edition with a new cover by Boris Vallejo and additional art by AMOK. Ernst and Les gave me a copy of this as of yet unreleased book. They also gave one to a few other fans. (Babyraven, Frisco, Banipal, and a new fan that came from NY to see George) The Dabels are really great guys...... they always have been. I went to High School with Ernst, and he is one of the genuinely good guys out there.

The unofficial BwB party was the hit of the convention on Saturday night. We made you all proud. (despite being kicked out of our first site for not being on the 'party floor.') We quickly picked up and moved to a new location and the party did not skip a beat. It was not to the scale of a Worldcon party, but it was QUITE large for a regional con. Parris, George, an the Dabels were there all night and were still partying when we made an exit at approximately 2:30am. Living on 'Worldconesque' amounts of sleep.

It's really really great to spend time with BwB members again. Babs, Yags, Banipal, Frisco, Arend, and of course Lady Stego, are amazing people to spend time with. I suck, but they more than made up for me. :P

From what I gather, AFFC is not finished yet, but George said what I stated he said about this summer.I can only asume he's on the verge of completion. He did make reference in the reading to the fact that he HAS to finish sooon. (Publishers being anxious and such.)

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 18-20)

GRRM is here at Boskone again this year. He had an hour reading which I attended. I was at a previous reading so I didn't get to the room early. People usually line up early to get into his readings even though they are held in one of the larger rooms for a reading.

He had started on time, so I came in after he had already begun reading. I don't know if it was a 'new' Feast of Crows chapter, or a previous one that he was re-reading. He stated at Worldcon that he would only do one more reading with new material, but who knows if he kept to that or not. Anyway it was a Sansa chapter. It was good. He read for about 40 minutes and then answered questions and spoke about the situation.

He is still working on the book, though close to the end. He will post it as soon as it is done on his web site. It is only real when you see it there, not what publishers, or booksellers say. He has over a 1000 pages written, and possibly 1300 or is thinking he will end at 1300 -- not sure which, he was rather unclear. He said he had enough to send it in to be published, but he didn't want to end it with: To Be Continued. He wants the book to be something he can be proud of, and not just acceptable for publication. He is struggling with the ending of the book now. He also said he had most of the parts done, but was now trying to string it together into a complete whole that worked.

He knows where he wants the series to end, but he does not have a mapped out route of how to get there. He said sometimes he takes the interstate, and sometimes he takes a small scenic road, and finds really interesting stuff along the side of the road, and sometimes he breaks down. He then said that at one time he was talking about a 5 year gap between the end of the previous book and the start of this one. He announced that at cons and in interviews and so felt he had to keep to it even when it wasn't working for some characters - they just had too much that would have had to happen in the past and be explained through flashback. So he didn't change but kept fighting to make it happen. He finally realized he had to let it go, and throw out a lot of writing he did, and start over. He wants the 5 year gap because he wants the kids to grow up, but some of the adults have too much going on for that to work. He now thinks he needs to somehow put the characters on different time-lines, so that those who are kids can grow up, and he can still detail the adults activity. He said he has an idea how to do it, but since he felt trapped the last time he said what he was going to do, he wouldn't talk about the specifics.

He thinks there are going to be 6 books in the series, but he laughed and said that of the five year gap AFfC has only covered 4 months so far. Others have mentioned 7 or 8. He has a definite end to the series and there will be the number of books needed to get the story there. Then he talked about the next book which is tentatively called Dances With Dragons . It was supposed to be #2, then #3, then #4, and now #5. He said no matter how much he writes it recedes into the future.

He said even though he has started #5 it is not a case where it will come out 6 months after AFfC. Some of what was written is based on AFfC having the 5 year gap, so it will have to be redone.

He said the publishers have releases for all their books planned out for the year, and once you miss your slot even if only by a few weeks it may take months or another year for the next slot to come around - so he has no idea how soon AFfC will be out once he turns it in. He did say that he expects the UK version to come out first because their market is so small they have made an effort to push new US books through very fast and beat US publication -- they are trying to steal the US readers who are unwilling to wait. Simultaneous publication robs them of this edge, so they will push it out first.

He also mentioned that part of the reason for the delay was the expansion of POV characters in AFfC. He said in book one it was 8, in book two 9, and in book three 10. AFfC has 19 POV characters. He said it was due to him bringing in Dorn and the Northern Isles. He also said he needs to kill some characters off. He wouldn't say who. His favorite is Tyrion, but his is the last chapter he is having trouble finishing. He thinks it might split into 2 chapters. Bran is the character he likes least. Not because of the character, but because it is very hard for him to write from the perspective of a 7 year old, and then a crippled 7 year old. He also says the temptation when writing fantasy is to use magic to cure him, but he doesn't see that happening.

The other reasons for the delay is that he has been sucked into doing things associated with the books. He talked about the art, games, audio books, figurines and the graphic novels. He thought it would just be giving an ok, and then he is involved in picking artists, approving text. All things he enjoys but which also reduce his writing time. He is also going to be meeting with the people who did the Graphic Novel of The Hedge Knight and there may be more Duncan and the Egg Graphic Novels. He has had a few nibbles from Hollywood on ASoIaF, but he doesn't think they will be able to make a movie of the books unless they wait until the series is done and then find the central character - whittle the rest down to about 4 and tell a limited story from the POV of 4 or 5 characters.

He said in the last book (which I haven't read yet) the Red Wedding was the toughest to write out of all the writing he has done over the years. He wrote up to it, and the repercussions of it, but then had to go back and actually write it.

One of the fans asked how he was dealing with the danger that when authors got very big and were no longer edited that they produced less than wonderful work. The guy tapped dance around the question but GRRM knew what he was talking about. He said it was always a danger, and no writer likes to be edited, but he had editors he trusted, and first readers who gave him good feedback. He also takes his stuff to workshops and listens to the suggestions and criticisms. He said you have to worry about becoming self-indulgent and turning out crap. The only thing to do is try to listen to others, even though what you write and keep is really up to the writer, and be aware of the possibility. He said he thought the fans would tell him right away if that happened, and then joked that some thought it already had.

He attends about 6 cons or events a year. If he did any more he would have no time for writing. He knows he could get more done if he attended less, but he is unwilling to do so. He enjoys the fan contact and the perks of visiting different places around the world that now come with his success. What he is doing is booking events years ahead so he can keep to 6 per year and still not have to turn things down. He just agreed to do a writer's workshop in a chateau in the Dordogne in 2008.

So that is what I remember, if there are any errors it is because I didn't remember correctly.

Boskone (Boston, MA; February 18-20)

Most of you will chalk this up for a gag or joke or something of that nature. I assure you that it is not. This is the forum with the most traffic, so I decided to post it here first.

Due to the recent change in art for AFFC shown on Amazon.com, one of my first questions for George at Boksone (on the way to a hobby store to look at toy Knights) was about the new cover art. He stated that it was an attempt to bring new readers into the fold, much like the original Game of Thrones cover.

He also stated that all of he other books would be rereleased with that type of cover, including Hardcover editions. (Big news for collectors)

He ALSO stated, quite definitively, that 'A Feast For Crows' would be released this summer.

This wasn't an estimate. this wasn't 'Don't even ask.' This was, AFFC will be coming out in the summer.