(Facebook post, Wednesday 15 August, following the event on Tuesday the 14th.)
The onstage interview last night with George R.R. Martin and John Picacio was very good. Both George and John have stage presence; they speak fluently and engagingly and have immediate rapport with the audience. Picacio began with the history of how they met, doing a Song of Ice and Fire calendar a decade ago, and about Martin’s admiration and support of fantasy artists.
The principle interview included discussion of the HBO TV series, how it’s passed the story lines of the books, and how HBO is developing not one, not two, … but *five* potential spin-off series from Game of Thrones, all set in the past and based on the sidebar books George has been writing and publishing. George described the ups-and-downs of his career: his early success as a science fiction writer, in the ’70s, until his unusual book THE ARMAGEDDON RAG didn’t sell and his career crashed; his dalliance in Hollywood, with the 1980s version of Twilight Zone, Max Headroom, and Beauty and the Beast, with his frustration that his elaborate scripts and grandiose visions could not be produced and had to be cut back, and so his career crashed again; and then his channeling those energies to his visions of a world with dragons, beginning with a novella, then a novel and a planned trilogy that grew into an ongoing series of books, which were great successes long before HBO came along. Don’t take on debt, he told aspiring writers.
Martin was especially good taking questions from the audience. He gave every question, no matter how off-hand or frivolous, serious consideration and an often lengthy reply. What was it like working in Belfast? He made a defense of politicians and their decision, for $1 million credit, to bring in a production that’s brought $40 million to the city every year. What’s the most difficult character to write? Bran, because of the difficulty of writing from the point of view of an 8-year-old. There was much more, and I suspect it will be recorded or transcribed and put online.