[Note: There is a very large potential spoiler contained herein. We must note that there are contradictory claims from those who say GRRM addressed the issue at ConJose the previous year. It is entirely possible GRRM changed his mind between one point or the next, or that one person or another misheard him -- although the present reporter has said in a later mail that she is 99% certain that she heard correctly.]
I just came back from a weekend book convention in Boston at which George R.R. Martin was present. I went to several panels where he debated many issues with other fantasy authors. He talked about the difference between sci-fi and fantasy (or the lack thereof) and several other things. My husband and I got to go to an event called a Kaffeklatsche where about 10 people get to sit around a table with an author and ask questions. I will detail some of the questions that I recall.
"IS A FEAST FOR CROWS DONE YET?"
(Pointing to his hat that says, "No, AFfC is not done yet") He has several hundred pages of manuscript but he is not finished yet. This one is taking a lot longer to write than he expected. He hopes to be done with the manuscript this fall. He said that he started writing the book set several years after the events of the last book but after he was several hundred pages in he decided that that just wasn't working; that he had to leave too much out. He is doing a different type of prologue this time. It has chapters. He says that he is also planning on adding Theon (I think that was who he said) as a viewpoint character.
"DO YOU HAVE CULINARY EXPERIENCE?"
(asked since he has a wonderful knack for describing food) No, he doesn't love to cook, but he loves to eat. (a direct quote I swear!) He just thinks that in in order for something to seem "real" you have to describe the sights, smells and tastes of everything around you.
"DO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN HERALDRY?"
Yes, he does. He in fascinated by heraldry though the "tossed out" one of the major heraldic laws, the tincture rule.
"HOW MANY BOOKS WILL THERE BE"
He says there were only supposed to be three but he couldn't fit everything into three books. He says that he hopes there will only be six (but where have we heard this before?).
"WHY DO YOU KILL OFF EVERYONE?"
Because wars don't care who is "good" and who is "bad"
"WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER"
"DO YOU HAVE THE LANGUAGES ALL PLANNED OUT?"
No he'll make up a word here and there but he does NOT have the whole language written.
There were a whole bunch of other questions that I don't recall well enough to rewrite their answers. He did a signing on Sunday and after his line disappeared I got to go over and schmooze a little bit with Him, Alex Irvine and Tamora Pierce. And, the crown jewel of the weekend was the reading that he did. an hour and a half (two chapters) from AFfC that won't be in DRAGON magazine this month (for those who don't know, there will be four chapters from the prologue in DRAGON magazine this month and these were not two of the four). Martin seemed way more "down and dirty" with his fans that Jordan was. Jordan was a very pleasant individual but he seemed intent on keeping himself wrapped in a cloak of mystery. With Martin, what you see is what you get. In general, a way cool individual to chat with!
Wow, Jordan and Martin in three weeks! I don't think I'll get to Terry Goodkind until this summer. My mom is hoping to have him come and sign at her bookstore when his next book comes out. I will give you a full report after that happens as well. Have a wonderful evening!
The visit to Boskone was fun. I got there around 11:00 am and paid my fee and then went over to the book signing. There was about 35 people in line and it moved pretty quickly. I was one of the last people to get an autograph. I thought he was real nice and you can tell he has a pretty ggod sense of humor. I intro'd and asked him where i could track Parris down. He pointed me over to the art exhibit so i left GRRM to finish signing and met Parris.
She was looking at some exhibits (she and George were bidding on some art) along with 2 gentlemen. She remembered me from the board so that was pretty cool. She introduced me to her 2 friends who turned out to be Les and Ernst from Roaring Studios so we talked about the progress of the Hedge Knight for a while and they made me promise to go on their site and check out The Battle of the Trident picture they did (Robert vs. Rhaeghar). They are really hoping the Hedge Knight does well so they can hopefully do some comics of ASOIAF. We talked about how difficult the skope of something like that would be but they were confident it could be done. They were great guys. Parris said a lot of nice things about Ran (as did Les and Ernst). She dropped Lodengarl's name too. She told me not to asked Trebla's question about Bill Parcells. George is pretty pissed that Parcells is coaching the Cowboys. She said George spends time on the Usenet groups talking Jets and Giants. She reiterated to me that he does not go on this board.
After speaking with them for awhile i went back over to George and hit him with a few question even though i felt like a total geek:
1. Who owns the Sept at Dragonstone?
Stannis does, the owner of the castle owns the sept within his grounds if it comes down to a question of actual ownership.
2. Why did Stannis sit silently on Dragonstone for months when he had reason to believe that Robert may have been in danger after Jon Arryn was murdered?
Stannis did not have a strong enough base of power but more importantly Robert and Stannis were just not close enough. They did not get along so Stannis may not have been considering the threat to Robert as much as he would have if they had been close.
3. Is Ned Dead?
Ned is dead.
4. My follow up question was "is he definately not coming back?"
He said Nothing is definate so the whole faceless man getting his head chopped off in Ned's place is still a very remote possibiliy (i can Dream right? )... He went on to say he does not give away specific plot details...
After that it was wrapping up and i really could not get anymore questions in at that time. Plus he was kind of stuggling to answer the questions i asked so i just felt weird. I did get one piece of info at the signing that i am not sure people know about. He is doing a story for Legends 2 that is about Dunk and Egg a couple of years after the Hedge Knight. That should be cool.
After the signing i went to the panel discussion about "What should good Fantasy do?" It had GRRM, Ellen Asher, Ellen Kushner and Beth Meacham.
It was alright but not really my cup of tea. The only parts that interested my was George's take on writing and Fantasy. Here are the details:
Sci Fi versus Fantasy - George does not see a big difference in the genre's. The main difference is in the "furniture" ie. Is there a sword in place or a space ship? Everything is story and character driven. He compared a couple of books which would be considered Sci Fi but were actually Fantasy and vice versa - "Metropolitan" by Walter John Williams and "Born to Exile" by Phyllis Eisenstein (sp?)
He was asked his favorite book and he said Lord of the Rings with no hesitiation. He went on to discuss Tolkein's use of magic as he has done in interviews in the past. The main theme was Tolkien's use of magic, or lack of "onstage magic". He thinks it is an effect way to write fantasy. Magic in writing does not have to be explained. Once it is explained it ceases to be magic.
George's take on bad fantasy was that bad fantasy often feels like someone is writing in the perspective of a lame D&D game. The more typical the worse it tends to be.
That was the panel. After that the readings were done.
When asked about the progress of his writing he said AFFC is not yet finished and it is taking a long time. He has Dany pretty much done and most of the Lannister chapters. He is still not done with the story on the Wall. He does not write in order but works on different POV's as it suits him.
I've received a couple of advance copies of the new issue of DRAGON, which contains "The Arms of the Kraken," the excerpt from the prologue from A FEAST FOR CROWS.
Looks pretty good, I think (whether it reads pretty good or not, I will leave it for the readers to decide), but in reading the story in magazine form, I came across an embarassing mistake that somehow slipped past me, despite the fact that I proofed the damn thing a dozen times on computer and at least twice on paper. There's one place in Victarion's section where two characters make reference to Lady Bolton... when it is actually Lady Glover that is meant. The only Lady Bolton at the moment is Fat Walda, who does not figure in the story at all.
This is my fault. Not the kind of glitch that I could expect the copyeditors at DRAGON to catch. I should have had you guys read the story in advance...
Anyway... please feel free to pass my "mea culpa" on to the fans on the boards and such. Let them know that I am aware of the slip, and am sorry for it. Elsewise I am going to get twenty emails pointing it out, I know. Sigh.
At least this allowed me to fix the error, so it will not be repeated in FEAST itself.
I've been informed that the Hebrew translation of A STORM OF SWORDS has won the Geffen Prize for the best fantasy book of the year in Israel. The award was announced at Icon 2002, the Israeli national SF convention. The Hebrew editions of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE are being published by Opus Press.