“I feel grateful because gratitude sets you up. Gratitude is not the same thing as being naive or settling. It’s being in a position I never thought I’d be in - I never thought I’d travel out of the US. I was not raised with expectations of myself that were that grand.“ Happy 43rd birthday, Amy Adams! (August 20, 1974)
Today I met GRRM and he held a 2-hour long session of question-answers. We were asked to write our questions on a piece of paper that were put in a box, and GRRM and his translators randomly chose them. There were silly questions and questions that he was asked many times before, but some were good questions and I took note of everything interesting he said.
- He was asked about the influence of American history on ASOIAF and GRRM said there was none. He was influenced by European medieval history, notably the Scottish history which was very violent, and not the American one.
- My question about Daenerys was chosen as the third question (I was lucky!) but he refused to answer it lol … I asked “How old was Daenerys when she left the house with the red door, and was it located close to the palace of the Sealord of Braavos?” (thanks Butterfly for suggesting it to me) I don’t know why he refused to answer about her age, but about the house with the red door he said there will be more revelations about it in future books.
- He was asked about his future projects (after ASOIAF) twice, and said that he concentrates on ASOIAF for now, and that after the main novels he has from 6 to 8 Dunk and Egg stories to write.
- He was asked where is Rickon and what will happen to him (a reader who forgot a part of ADWD it seems). GRRM said Rickon will appear in TWOW (why he answered this question but not the one about Daenerys’ age eludes me).
- There was a good question about the genders of dragons, but the whole audience laughed (“How to tell a male dragon from a female dragon?” I guess the one who asked this was more of a reader and the rest of the audience were more casual about their ASOIAF knowledge) so the question was a bit dismissed by GRRM as a joke. He said that it is not easy to understand the sex of dragons, sometimes even the dragons don’t understand it, and that if it lays eggs, the dragon is assumed female.
- GRRM said that he will not be reading any new chapter from TWOW. He has read enough of them already, and that if he keeps doing it, half of his book will be read before it is published. So I guess we won’t have new material from TWOW until it is released.
- What inspired him to create Ramsay Snow? GRRM said, and I quote, that he needed something “to bite Theon in the ass”. Ramsay was created for Theon’s storyline, and he is first presented as a prisoner and a servant and then rises to a high position while Theon becomes his prisoner and servant. Then there was a question about House Bolton in general (that they are a very interesting and mysterious House), and whether we will know more about their history. GRRM answered that he does not plan to write a book about them but probably in Fire And Blood there will be something.
- “It is rumored that there are 4 descendants of Dunk in ASOIAF. Can you say something about it?” George: “Possible, possible”.
- An interesting question was “Why are there so many sons who are unloved by their fathers, like Sam, Jon, Tyrion and Theon?” I watched George’s reaction carefully (I was sitting close to him) and he did not take issue with the assumption that Jon Snow is part of the “unloved sons” (obviously the dynamic talked about is Jon/Eddard, not Rhaegar). He nodded at the question and said that he does not have the full quote with him, but the great Russian writer Tolstoy once said that happy families are boring - this was followed by a big round of applause cause every Russian knows this quote very well (the quote by Tolstoy is:
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.)
- He was asked about the real world equivalent of the Others, and he answered that the closest to it would be climate change. He talked quite a bit about it and said humanity needs to unite to face this threat and that it is urgent.
- “Will we know more about the origins of the Others?” Yes.
- “Are there industries in ASOIAF?” No.
- A good one was about Sansa - if she had told the truth at Darry, would Lady be still alive? GRRM said it is possible - Robert was not a thinker but an impetuous man, ruled by his emotions, so it could be that he would have directed his anger towards Joffrey instead of the direwolves. But it is not certain, because Robert wanted to keep peace in his marriage and might have decided to make Cersei happy on the matter of the direwolves anyway.
- “Does GRRM believe in absolute evil?” No, there is no absolute evil. Even the worst people in history had good qualities that unfortunately they did not use often, and there is “always possibility for redemption”.
- The person who wrote this question shouted “What about absolute evil as a concept, like death and oblivion?” which was a bit philosophical and GRRM talked about religions for a while, saying that they all promise eternal life but only after death. He then again stated that he does not believe in absolute evil, and said he explores the notion of “death is relief” with Arya’s storyline among the Faceless Men in Braavos.
- He always writes the book from the point of view of his characters, he becomes that character and sees things around him as the character would.
- He was asked to comment about the differences between the book and show characters, particularly Daenerys. GRRM ignored all the other characters and talked only about Daenerys - he said that the show one is older because there are laws in USA that prevent minors from having sex scenes so the decision was made to age Daenerys. Otherwise, book Daenerys and show Daenerys “are very similar” and “Emilia Clarke did a fantastic job”. (I guess he can’t really say negative things about the show, can he?)
- “Will Jorah ever get out of the friendzone?” (side-eyeing the person who asked this). GRRM: “I would not bet on it.”
- So here I will need your help to find out who GRRM was talking about - he was asked why did he kill Ned Stark, and he said that he already answered many times why he often kills off his main characters. Then he quoted an author named “Faulkner” (I do not know him, so I googled and found this name, but it could be “Folkner” or any similar spelling) who once said that “to be a hero sometimes you need to die.” Hmmmm
- He was asked about Hodor/Hold the door and if this was planned from the very beginning, and GRRM said indeed, he is great at planing and foreshadowing stuff, and that the mystery of Hodor’ name was with him since book 1. Unfortunately the show got ahead of him and reached this plot before he could, but he hopes he will get to it soon.
That’s pretty much it for the ASOIAF stuff. Some nice things not related to ASOIAF that he said:
- He loves cats (big round of applause).
- He respects integrity, honesty and being true to their principles the most in people.
- He was asked about time-travel and said it was fascinating - he talked for a while about the butterfly effect and of the novel A Sound of Thunder, and how stepping on a butterfly in the past resulted in dramatic changes in the present of the main protagonist, who returns and sees crazy far-right extremists in his country. He then threw shade at Trump and said “someone must have stepped on a butterfly” (round of applause) (GRRM posted about this on his FB just now).
- He loves caviar and “Saint-Petersburg is an amazing city”, he wishes he could see more of it.
- What would be an ideal crew to Mars? Another shade at Trump I guess, cause GRRM answered “it depends on whether the crew plans to come back”. lol (big round of applause).
- Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny is one of his favorite books.