After a whirlwind of travel to Ireland from Sweden, then back for two days before going to Northern Ireland, I’m sufficiently recovered to try to (briefly) cover the amazing time Linda and I had at Dublin 2019 and that I then had at Titancon, the 2019 Eurocon. I probably spent more time chatting with George since ... hmm, maybe 2015 when George visited Sweden and Åland. Much to report, but I really, really want to try to be succinct. So as a general overview, I’ll just say it was fantastic, filled with meeting old friends from the Brotherhood without Banners fan group and making new acquaintances from the ASoIaF/GoT sphere. Many discussions were had—on the SF/F genre, on the Hugo awards past and present, on Worldcon bids, and of course on various matters related to ASoIaF.
(Photo courtesy of Joey Yu, the inaugural winner of George’s Terran Prize writer’s scholarship.)
The first significant event with GRRM was the Wild Cards trivia panel with a host of writers: Walter Jon Williams from the original writers and roleplayers was teamed with Carrie Vaughn, the much-in-demand Wild Cards trivia guru and writer Kevin Andrew Murphy was teamed with Charles Stross and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Peadar Ó Guilín was joined by Paul Cornell. It was very amusing!
It’s just two weeks to the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, and three weeks to Titancon, Eurocon 2019, and there’s a lot of things to see as both conventions have now published their schedules. Below, we’re going to list appearances, events, panels, and so on featuring George (who actually has one public event taking place before Worldcon) as well as Linda and I, and others who have worked with him in adapting or illustrating his work at one time or another, or otherwise have some connection to the larger universe of Martin’s work. Among these others are the artists John Picacio, Charles Vess, and Raya Golden, actor Miltos Yerolemou
The Unseen Westeros art exhibit was a great success in Berlin, and the media who visited it during its run are still producing content. While the one we’re embedding below is mostly in German, it gives a great view of the ambiance of the location and artworks, and also happens to feature me providing some commentary starting at the 6:50 mark:
There are still some limited supplies of the art book and art prints, for those interested
This year’s European science fiction and fantasy convention is Titancon, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland; it runs from August 22nd to August 25th. Founded as the world’s first Game of Thrones-focused convention, it has for years now provided fans a chance to meet notable authors and actors. As a full-on Eurocon, however, this year’s Titancon will be the largest ever, and will feature scores of authors, artists, and creators. And to mark such an occasion, Titancon has just announced—after a long silence—that they have secured George R.R. Martin as their guest of honor.
Suffice it to say, Titancon’s organizers have for years been interested in bringing George to Belfast. This will be a rare opportunity for fans to take part in a European convention where George is in attendance, and in a location that has won global attention as the home of Game of Thrones. We’ve had the pleasure of having visited several times (including attending a previous Titancon), and think there’ll be a lot of interest for fans of George, of fantasy and science fiction, and of course of Game of Thrones. For one thing, the touring exhibition will be in Belfast, and for another just a week prior Dublin will be hosting the 77th Worldcon (which George will also be attending—as will we!).
There’s quite a lot to see in Northern Ireland for those interested in Game of Thrones tourism, as we’ve covered before. George at Titancon just makes this August all the more tempting a time to visit.
Though the initial, ambitious exhibition fundraiser did not quite pan out, the organizers behind the amazing Unseen Westeros project have bounced back with a new initiative that’s done very well indeed!
The new Kickstarter has already beaten its goal as it provides funders the opportunity to support the artbook, with any funds raised beyond what’s needed to produce the books to be put towards realizing the exhibition in some form (perhaps in a new location, or for fewer days) with a prospective exhibition date still set for January.
There’s just one week left before the Kickstarter closes out, and it looks like it will be the only way to get a hold of the professionally-printed, 150 page art book featuring all the artworks by professional artists.
We’ve been referring to this for a couple of months as something in the works, but Linda and I are now very happy to join in making the official announcement of the launch of Martin Studies International Network.
What’s that, you may ask? See the press release below to learn more:
The Martin Studies International Network is the first scholarly association devoted to the work of George R.R. Martin. It is dedicated to academics and fans of the worlds created by George R.R. Martin. Its aim is to provide George R.R. Martin’s work with the academic and expert attention it deserves.
The founding members of the Network are active members of the fan and academic communities:
Although the ultra limited edition of the GRRM Box, with a run of just 200 priced at $600 each, sold out almost instantly (the limited and deluxe limited sets are still available), publisher Random House has announced that they are donating the rarest of them all—Ultra Limited Edition Box #001—in an auction to benefit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.
Here’s the press release with the full details regarding the auction, which will be hosted on EBay and will begin tomorrow, December 2nd:
Random House donates George R. R. Martin Box ultra limited edition #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Box will be Auctioned Off by Wild Spirit to Raise Money for the Wolf Sanctuary
NEW YORK, NY â`• December 1, 2016 - Today, Random House announced that it will donate GEORGE R. R. MARTIN BOX ULTRA LIMITED EDITION #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary of Ramah, New Mexico. Wild Spirit will auction the box to raise money for rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolves and wolfdogs. The auction will begin on December 2nd, and the winner will be announced at a red carpet premiere of a film about Wild Spirit at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 13th. The auction will be held online at:
Colony, a new science fiction series that premiered on the USA Network last month, is going to recieve a special screening of two episodes at George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following the two episodes, the co-creator of the series Ryan Condal will be taking the stage with George R.R. Martin himself for a Q&A that will be moderated by IGN’s entertainment editor Terri Schwartz.
All well and good—this should be a great experience for those who manage to get into the screening! But for those of us not so lucky, it happens that IGN shall be broadcasting the Q&A tonight at 1930 Pacific / 2230 Eastern / 0330 GMT (Friday) via their Periscope Channel. Schwartz has put out a call for questions to GRRM and Condal regarding science fiction and fantasy, Colony, and of course A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones:
For those in Europe, here’s some news regarding George R.R. Martin’s appearances starting this weekend, as well as our own!
First up, George will be in Hamburg for the Harbourfront Literature Festival, where he’ll be reading a chapter from The Winds of Winter, and likely to be answering questions as well. Despite early reports that this event would be livestreamed, this event is apparently not being streamed at all. It’s not impossible there’ll be an after-the-fact video from the event (as there have been with a number of GRRM’s public speaking events), but we’ve no information as yet whether that will be the case.
From there, George is off to Stockholm—and so are we! On Tuesday, the SF Bokhandeln bookstore has invited George to speak at the Royal Armoury. Although this event is sold-out, it’s worth noting that SF Bokhandeln’s three branches—Stockholm, MalmÃ¶, and our own GÃ¶teborg—will all offer livestreams to customers who could not attend the event. So far as we know, there will be no internet-wide stream, but again, there may be post-event videos. And for those in Stockholm, prior to the event—at 5PM—Linda and I will be at the bookshop to sign copies of The World of Ice and Fire, for those who want us defacing their copies!
After that, we’re all off to Ã…land for Archipelacon, the SF/F convention (sold out, alas!) where George is Guest of Honor, and his partner Parris is the Fan Guest of Honor. The convention has posted its schedule, and there’s a deal of interest for fans—we’ll share the highlights below:
We’ve not yet had time to fully write up our wonderful visit to Spain to promote the Spanish-language release of The World of Ice and Fire by Gigamesh, but at least we thought we should share some of the interviews and photos from our events in Barcelona and Osuna.
In Barcelona, we had the great pleasure of speaking before a packed room of fans at Gigamesh’s amazing bookstore (easily one of the finest SF/F bookstores—with added attention to games and comics besides—we’ve ever visited, right up there with Sweden’s own SF Bokhandeln). This was live streamed, and you can see it below:
But before that happened, we managed an interview with the extremely amiable Javi Marcos of the Podcast de Hielo y Fuego. The interview was done on behalf of Spanish fan site Los Siete Reinos, who’ve released the first part of the interview in written form (in Spanish). But they’ve gone the extra mile. Not only have they released the original, English-language audio of the interview, but they’ve released a dubbed version as well! Javi “dubs” himself (hah), while his partner-in-podcast Carlos handles dubbing me and the fan we know as Lady Ashara (who gave us a lovely necklace and bracelet featuring the arms of our mutual favorite house, the Daynes of Starfall) handling dubbing Linda.
Fans curious about some of the details we cut from the world book due to space constraints may find this one particularly interesting, as we drop a few tidbits of information.
Our other visit was to Osuna, and though I’m not sure our presentation of the book or the separate interview we did for it have been released, Gigamesh has released some terrific photos of the visit we and their team had there. More about Osuna in particular later, when we’ve some more time!
All in all, it was a fantastic visit and a terrific opportunity to meet some of the world’s most dedicated A Song of Ice and Fire fans, and Linda and I are already trying to figure out when we’ll be able to make another visit to Spain.
In January, nominations opened for the 2015 Hugo Awards, which will be presented at the Worldcon in Washington, Sasquan. The ballots will close on March 10th, so if you’ve yet to nominate but are eligible to do so, best get cracking. Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading List is always a good place to start reviewing some of the literature from last year… but we’ll focus on things connected to GRRM, one way or the other:
George is again each eligible this year for Editor- Short Fiction, thanks to Rogues, and co-editor Gardner Dozois is eligible several times over due to other collections and anthologies he’s edited in the previous year. And speaking of Rogues, all the stories therein are individually eligible in their respective categories. The Locus list linked above notes several of them, by writers such as Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch, but it’s worth noting that Martin’s novelette “The Rogue Prince” is also eligible. (And as to Best Editor - Long Form, Jane Johnson of HarperCollins Voyager and Anne Groell of Random House should be perennial nominees.)
Also eligible, of course, would be Game of Thrones in the Dramatic Presentation - Short Form category; we’d recommend nominating “The Watchers on the Wall”, the spectacular Neil Marshall-directed penultimate episode, and GRRM’s own contribution, “The Lion and the Rose”.
The 92Y, which will be hosting George R.R. Martin in a public discussion on October 26 at 8PM EST, is offering a livestream of the event over at its Tumblr page. Journalist Laura Miller, who has previously profiled George, will be joining him on stage and interviewing him as he discusses his work on A Song of Ice and Fire, the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire that hits shelves on Tuesday (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK).
Speaking of the 28th, George will also be appearing on the Seth Myers show that day (or at least, he’ll be filming his appearance, we’re not sure if it means it’ll air that same day or not).
Back in March, Linda and I were invited to the grand opening of the Power Games (Maktspel) exhibit in Stockholm’s Royal Armory, featuring a replica of the Iron Throne as well as numerous costumes from Game of Thrones alongside with historical costumes from Sweden’s royal history as well as costumes from the award-winning Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It was a fine occasion, and the quality of the exhibit itself was exceptional.
Now, we’ve been invited back on October 4th for a special event built around the exhibit. Beginning at 11AM, with a chance to have a photo taken by a professional photographer as attendees sit on the Iron Throne, the event will include guided tours of the exhibit, as well as a couple of seminars which begin at 3:00PM. One will focus on on the burgeoning popularity of fantasy, featuring the founder of Sweden’s excellent SF Bokhandlen SF/F bookstore… and the other will be all about The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order:US, UK), Westeros.org, and history in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, featuring Linda andme as well as genre experts from SF Bokhandlen.
Hope to see some fellow A Song of Ice and Fire fans there!
Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones—or of Wild Cards, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Tuf Voyaging, The Dying of the Light, Beauty and the Beast, or dozens of short stories, novellettes, and novellas—should feel free to lift a glass to celebrate George R.R. Martin’s 66th birthday. May there be many more birthdays to come!
(Also on this day in history: the aftermath of the Battle of Poitiers during the Hundred Years War, which has a bit of influence on the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Curious coincidence!)
We have two pairs of tickets to see George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb on Tuesday 19th August at the Freemasons Hall in London! This event is a once in a lifetime chance to see to two of the world’s greatest storytellers discuss how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality, their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes. A must-attend for all fantasy fans. To enter the competition, just answer two simple questions:
* The Stark children aren’t the only people in the fantasy genre who have a close association with a wolf. In fact, Robin Hobb has a particularly notable example of this in her Farseer trilogy. What’s the name of Fitz’s wolf in that series?
* Which of the Stark direwolves is your favorite, and why?
You can leave your answer in comments below. The contest closes Thursday evening, so be quick ... and be ready to keep an eye on your Facebook messages in case you’re a winner as we’ll need your contact information!
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