I saw him tonight.. twice actually! Once from 4pm-6pm at a live radio interview that was put together at the last minute with almost no advertising... It was mostly an interview, with two readings, and a long Q&A. At this first event, I asked him about the POVs. I basically said he's known for it, and so far each book has had new ones, and that Feast seemed to contain the most new ones yet. But I asked if he was planning to continue introducing new POVs, or if he was worried about potenitally losing control of the story. I mentioned "other best-selling fantasy authors who shall remain nameless" who some say lost control of their series.
He spoke about all the balls he's juggling in the story, and wondering at times if he really needed the last few balls, but he's juggling them all now so he's gotta keep going. But he said he only hopes to introduce one new POV in Dance with Dragons, and then to probably stop introducing new ones. He wants to start bringing it to a close, and he thinks it will still be 7 books.
At the end of this radio interview, they had a draw, and since only about 20 people were there, I managed to win a hardcover signed copy of Feast! Too bad I already have one though...
The second event was at 7 pm, at Chapters bookstore. At this one he didn't do any reading, he simply spoke for about 45 minutes, about Fantasy and fiction in general. It was really interesting. He spoke about Lord of the Rings for a good 10 minutes, which was awesome. Again they had a Q&A, and again I managed to ask a question. This time I asked about the 5 year gap, and since Feast only covers a short period of time, was there still going to be a gap? He had a long, pretty funny answer, all about why the gap was a terrible idea and why it's now totally scrapped. He said he had opened his big mouth and mentioned the gap in so many interviews and conventions that he kept sticking with it, even after he should have stopped, realizing that it was not working. He spoke of how in King's Landing so much stuff had happened over the 5 years that he was basically writing non stop flashback scenes. Then, in the North, he had to write about how nothing had been happening... he actually imitated Jon Snow, saying "It's been a slow 5 years here... at the Wall... hanging out with Stannis... but now a bunch of stuff is about to happen!". He said the gap would have been good to allow the dragons to grow bigger, and the children to grow up, but that for better or worse it is now gone.
Biter's Untold Backstory!
At the first event, the CBC radio interview, a girl asked him about Biter. She said most of his characters are somewhat grey, not totally evil.. but that there was something about Biter, and she had suspicions about him. Martin seemed to love the question, and laughed about it, and then he told us the as-yet-unwritten backstory to Biter! Here it is, if you want to know, but I guess it's SPOILERS!: Rorge owned a pot shop or bar in Flea Bottom, the really bad part of King's Landing. Rorge would stage rat fights, and dog fights, bear cub fights, etc., and make money of these fights. At some point he found young Biter, a big ugly kid with no parents or something like that, and took him in. Rorge starting putting Biter into the fights, fighting mastiffs and bear cubs, etc. And then he said something like "And all of this led to his winning personality! So there you go, that's the backstory for Biter that I haven't written yet, but I might!"
A couple other people asked some good questions, and a couple that I thought were bad. Someone specifically asked about who Jon Snow's parents were, and someone asked about Syrio and Jaqen H'gar! He basically laughed and said "I'm not gonna tell you!"