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GRRM On 2020

In a brief post at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin shares some thoughts on the previous year. A dark time, as he notes, with the global pandemic, and the loss of a number of friends such as Susan Ellison, Kay McCauley, Ben Bova, and Phyllis Eisenstein, while other friends are in poor health. Still, he is hopeful for the future, especially as one of the more positive developments last year was the best writing streak he’s ever had on The Winds of Winter.

In his own words:

“I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020.  The best year I’ve had on WOW since I began it.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe the isolation.  Or maybe I just got on a roll.  Sometimes I do get on a roll.

“I need to keep rolling, though.  I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.

“That’s what 2021 is for, I hope.”

New Details Revealed About the Failed Original Pilot

We’ve reported previously that James Hibberd will be publishing an in-depth oral history of Game of Thrones—filled with new interviews and never-before-heard anecdotes from behind the scenes—titled Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. Over at EW, a lengthy excerpt has been posted sharing a wide-array of comments from producers (Benioff and Weiss first and foremost, as well as Bryan Cogman), actors (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy, Iain Glen), and executives (most notable Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler) concerning the original pilot which was heavily reshot by Tim van Patten, including recasting of several key roles. There’s some decidedly new details just in this short excerpt, which bodes well for the rest of the book’s insights. Below are a couple of quotes from GRRM himself that are interesting.

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GRRM on Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

George R.R. Martin has posted a new entry to his Not a Blog, titled “Back in Westeros”, which discusses the self-imposed isolation he’s been in for much of the year. In a mountain cabin somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, George has been making progress on The Winds of Winter, and reflects on how the periods in his career where he’s been the most isolated have also been among his most productive.

Towards the end, he gets a little more specific about what he has been working on lately in terms of point of view characters, and one of the one he names is a bit of new information as their presence as a POV had not been confirmed until now.

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(No, this is not actually his cabin!)

GRRM on Mice, TV, and Writing The Winds of Winter

In a new Not a Blog post titled “Writing, Reading, Writing”, GRRM has written from his cabin hideaway about his isolation during the global pandemic. In the course of being up there, his assistant captured two mice that they’ve now made into pets named Timmy and TomTom, and George notes they have not been too helpful in advising him on The Winds of Winter...

... but he actually has a deal to say about the progress he has made, even if he thinks he won’t be able to recapture the blazing rate of speed in which he wrote A Storm of Swords (which peaked at about 150 manuscript pages a month).

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Here’s what he has to say:

“If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write.  I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress.  I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week.  But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week.  It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.  Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”

And below the fold, here’s some additional details that are slightly spoilerish in nature:

GRRM Updates on Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

George R.R. Martin has updated his “Not a Blog” page with a long post discussing the current state of affairs in the world, a number of which impact businesses and initaitives he is involved in: Meow Wolf has closed its doors for now, and GRRM has followed suit by temporarialy shuttering the Jean Cocteau Cinema as well as the Stage Coach Foundation (however, he notes employees of both organizations will be paid for the forseeable future). However, in the interim, the Beastly Books store that shares a location with the Jean Cocteau does remain open for the time being for those looking to take some comfort in the familiar act of browsing shelves and picking up something to read.

In the course of writing on this, however, George does touch on those who are concerned about his own well-being. Never fear, he says:

For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition.  But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions.  I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone.  Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day.  Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.

That certainly does sound foreboding.

Dance of the Dragons Pilot Nears Order

Exclusive word from Entertainment Weekly, who has the scoop that HBO is “nearing a pilot order” for a second prequel, this one with a script written by Ryan Condal (who is noted to be one of several writers who have worked on it). And the subject of that prequel? The Dance of the Dragons, first described in detail in The World of Ice and Fire and then expanded upon in even greater detail in Fire & Blood.

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Worldcon and Eurocon Wrap Up

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.

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(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!

 

Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience in Santa Fe

At the end of September, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will perform at the Santa Fe Opera. Santa Fe happens to be George’s home turf, and as it happens this performance will be extra special because it’s being put on as the first major fundraising event for the Stagecoach Foundation, founded by GRRM to advance education and opportunities in the film and television field in New Mexico. Net proceeds from the event will be donated to the Stagecoach Foundation, and to entice attendees some very unique opportunities are being offered as part of various VIP packages which include a pre-show meet and greet with both George R.R. Martin and award-winning composer Ramin Djawadi as well as a photo opportunity. Some additional goodies listed below, according to the various tiers.

VIP Front Row Meet & Greet Tier: ticket, signed leather-bound set of A Song of Ice and Fire, two passes to Meow Wolf, and a Faceless Man coin.
VIP Gold Meet & Greet Tier : ticket, signed Fire & Blood, two passes to Meow Wolf, and a Faceless Man coin.
VIP Silver Meet & Great Tier: ticket, two passes to Meow Wolf and a Faceless Man coin.

 

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Tickets are sold through Ticketmaster, and a handful of non-VIP tickets still remain.

GRRM & Westeros.org Appearances!

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

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Elden Ring Interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki

George R. R. Martin‘s involvement in FromSoftware‘s newly-announced Elden Ring has created a lot of excitement, as well as questions about his contributions to what promises to be a highly-anticiapted, open world action RPG from the famed developer of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, and more. Now some of those questions are answered in an interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki, who reveals he’s been a fan of GRRM’s work going back to Fevre Dream and Tuf Voyaging.

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Elden Ring Game Announced

At the XBox E3 briefing, where Microsoft highlights many games coming to their console as well as to PC, the rumored announcement of Elden Ring—a brand new fantasy game from From Software (Dark Souls, Sekiro)—came to pass. The company’s famed president, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is cited as creator of the world ... as is none other than George R.R. Martin, who recently revealed that he was consulting on a game out of Japan.

We haven’t seen an official press release as of yet (other than a vague, leaked one), but THR reports that “the new action role-playing game centers on Viking warriors in a fantastical reimagining of Norse mythology.”

No release date exists for the game, but it will reportedly release on PS4 as well as XBox and Windows PCs.

GRRM on the Show and the Books

Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has shared thoughts on the close of Game of Thrones, how it might be compared to his plans for the final two novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. Well worth a read as a reminiscence and commentary for those who wonder about these things. It’s been a long road for George, for everyone who worked on or covered the show, and for the tens (hundreds?) of millions around the world who’ve watched it.

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I had the great privilege to accompany George and Parris to a visit to the set as the first season filmed (the image above comes from that visit, George and I moving down a dark hallway in the Paint Hall studio, led by Bryan Cogman to one of the several sets in that colossal space).

GRRM on the Red Carpet

The Hollywood Reporter has published an interview with George R.R. Martin from the red carpet of the Game of Thrones premiere.

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Musing on how time has flown since the series started, he also briefly has time to talk about the forthcoming pilot for a successor show, which GRRM has dubbed “The Long Night” despite HBO’s insisting that that’s not the official title.

Per the interview:

The logline for the pilot tells us, “it’s not the story we think we know.” Years ago, you released The World of Ice and Fire, which covers a lot of history of Westeros and beyond. If we were to truly data-mine the book, would we have a clue about what you have up your sleeve for the pilot?

“(Pauses.) You might find a sentence or two in The World of Ice and Fire. You certainly won’t find 12 pages. A lot of this is based on that line or two, and Jane then took it and came up with something.”

Tuf Voyaging Reissued, TV Projects Discussed

Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin shares the news that his science fix up novel, Tuf Voyaging, has now been reissued by Bantam Spectra. A fix up is a novel that’s constructed from a number of short stories, and in this case these stories tell the tale of Haviland Tuf—a rather eccentric merchant in the far future (in the setting Martin has dubbed the Thousand Worlds) who becomes commander of the most powerful, dangerous ship in the galaxy. They’re alternately amusing and scary, and the final part always gives me chills.

In his post and in comments, Martin ends up responding to questions regarding his recent overall deal with HBO, which will see him pitching and potentially writing and producing new series’ for HBO. Here’s what he had to say about some of the possibilities kicked around (we’ve bolded text for key points):

A Casting Clue from GRRM

And now a surprise, as George R.R. Martin trots out Froggie the Gremlin for a most unexpected casting clue. For those who’ve missed them previously, for prior seasons Martin has occasionally revealed actors who’ve been cast in roles by the use of clues. Inevitably, he’d use his Froggy the Gremlin avatar to signal when it was a clue.

This one threw me, since it’s rather early to be casting season 4 when the 5th season isn’t even greenlit. But of course, others who are smarter (or at least in earlier timezones) resolved the clue quite quickly: “It’s the Pits!” refers to a specific pit that will be appearing this season, and the “son of Homer” is, of course, Bart Simpson.