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Dublin Days

And here we are in Dublin. Ireland has been exciting but exhausting. We had a huge turnout last night for the signing at Eason's, with a queue that seemed to go on forever, but I finally scrawled everyone into submission, and afterwards I signed all the stock as well. If you missed the signing, or happen to live a thousand leagues away, you can still get an autographed copy of the SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH hardcover or any of the Ice & Fire paperbacks by phoning, emailing, or dropping by Eason's on O'Connell Street. They even have a few trade paperbacks of DREAMSONGS.

Afterwards we adjourned to a nearby pub for a lively evening of Guinness and conversation with the local fans. I met the good folk who will be running next year's Octocon, where I'll be GOH, and hoisted a few with the hardy survivors of the Eason's event. Didn't stagger back to the our hotel till after midnight, by which time Temple Bar was roaring. Ah, if only I were twenty years younger...

The Belfast event on Tuesday was also a hoot and a half. The crowd was much bigger at Dublin, but in Belfast some of the cast of the HBO pilot dropped by to sign books and meet the fans as well. My thanks to Ron Donachie, Richard Madden (Best Dressed Man in Scotland), Alfie Allen, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner (and their moms) for joining the festivities. And to the lovely Ros, Esme Bianco, who dropped by McHughes afterwards for the moot. Matthew Hughes, one of the authors who contributed to our Vance tribute anthology, also turned up at Eason's to help me sign SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH.

In between signing and mooting, I've been hanging round the shoot, trying not to get underfoot. "How is it going?" everyone wants to know. I think it's going great. Wednesday's location was amazing, so real I could hardly tell where the real castle ended and our fake castle began. I saw Bran and Tommen swatting at each other in the yard, Joffrey taunting Robb, the Hound growling at Ser Rodrik, while Arya displayed her wretched needlework to Jon above, and it all looked wonderful. Saw some of the footage from the crypts too, and that looked amazing as well. Yes, some things are not exactly as they were in the books, that's inevitable with any adaptation... but these are my characters and this is my story, and it's thrilling to see 'em come to life.

Last night in Belfast I got to meet two more of the cast, quite unexpectedly. Some of the Moroccan players were in Ireland for costume fittings. I ran into Ian McNeice for a brief moment outside the hotel, as we were waiting for our rides, and the night before we bumped into Dany -- the amazing Tamzin Merchant, who is even more beautiful in person than she is on screen -- into the dining room. What a terrific cast Nina Gold has assembled.

Also toured the Paint Hall, though we didn't do any shooting there while I was in Belfast. Some of our sets are going up, and look great. And in another part of the building the huge castle sets from the big budget (compared to us, anyway) feature YOUR HIGHNESS are still standing. Their great hall is pretty eye-popping and they built an impressive castle yard as well.

Tomorrow I'm off to London . Signing at Forbidden Planet on the 11th, Then it's off to Marrakech.

Life is magical and full of joy (but no, I have not been seeking out football scores, so don't tell me. TIVO is getting all my games).


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
good to see you in easons last night!! twas well worth the wait for the signing!! hope you enjoyed ireland!! :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear your enjoying the trip.
Nov. 6th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
It's probably amazing
For a writer, to see his world imagination come to live.
I just hope it wont have any effect of how the books will end, you know, now you see how sweet Sansa and Arya are :)

Have fun George!
Nov. 6th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
About the pilot
Will some photos from the pilot be released?
Nov. 6th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
Well Done
I'm really glad for you and that you are enjoying yourself in Ireland. It must be amazing so see something you have created and put down on paper brought to life around you.

To say I love your books would be an understatement, but there we go :D

All the best.
Nov. 6th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad I came up to the signing in Dublin - the 7 hr car trip there and back was completely worth it, just to say hello and get a scrawl! I wish I could have stayed for a drink, but I must say the turn out was great and it sounds as though you had a merry evening! Hoping to get to Octocon next year!

*happy fan*
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
I would like to write some useful comments on these posts, but all my mind can do while reading about the show is go 'Aaaaaahhh!!! YES! Yes! Yesss! This is so exciting! Aaaaaahh..!!'

So, there you have it.
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info George! Can't wait to get the good news from HBO!
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
reading about you getting excited is getting me even more excited! I absolutely can not wait :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear things are going well. I can't wait to see the crypts (assuming that the series is picked up).

Too bad there aren't any more NFL games at Wembley. Then again, the crowd was kind of lame for the Pats game, so it's probably better that they don't play over there again this year.
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Dublin signing
Thanks again for signing my books! It was great meeting you!! I wish I could have stayed for the gathering afterwards but I had to run to catch my ferry back home. Glad to hear it was a nice evening, though.
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
This is the most excited I've ever been about a filming, can't wait to see it on HBO! Thanks for all the updates!
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
You were lovely too. :) Really looking forward to hosting you in October! The signing was epic.

-Danielle (of Octocon)
Nov. 6th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
glad to hear you're having a great time, albeit exhausting. It must be magical to see your story come to life in any form, let alone a fairly well funded HBO pilot. I hope you enjoy the rest of your journey and may the scenery inspire you to tackle that knot! ;)
Nov. 6th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Saw werthead's review of events in Belfast; it sounds like everyone had a glorious (albeit exhausting) time! I heard that "Arya" even did a little "Stick em with the pointy end!" for the fans.
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're pleased with the progress they're making! That, to me, is the best indicator of whether or not it's going to be a good adaptation.

Rock on!
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
I remember back when Lord of the Rings came out and they did a informational section on Minas Tirith. Their styrofoam scale model was amazing. You couldn't tell the difference either until someone walked up to it and you saw it was only 7 feet high, hahah. I bet the set is great George. I'm so glad you like it, because the point is its your world.
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Really looking forward to the signing in London! *^_^*
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to tell you that I am a big fan. Im in the Air force and ASoIaF has gotten me through some boring times. But I am from Dallas, So I do love the Cowboys. Sorry. But they are starting to look tough, arent they? :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Trivial question (provoked by a brief discussion on one of the web boards regarding whether the TV production would include flashbacks and, if so, what they would look like)-- when Robert and Rhaegar fought at the Ruby Ford, were they next to the water or actually in it? When Robert swung the killing blow, were they both on horseback, or both on foot, or one on horseback and one on foot? (I'm asking the latter question because I'm having difficulty imagining someone swinging a warhammer from horseback).

Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Nov. 6th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Ned says this in the book:

"The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Robert's hammer stove in the dragon and the chest beneath it. When Ned had finally come on the scene, Rhaegar lay dead in the stream"

You can definitely swing a warhammer from horseback. Historically, a typical horseman's hammer would be about 2 feet long and weigh not much past 3 lbs. A sword would be as much as a foot longer, and weigh right around or under 3 lbs. typically. So, very similar, although obviously the weight distribution is different.

Robert's warhammer seems to be a bit fancifully heavy, and presumably a bit larger than the norm in history, but he's supposed to have been almost superhumanly strong.

There were also somewhat larger warhammers in existence, probably two-handed weapons used by infantry. Not hugely bigger or heavier, though.
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
Signing in Dublin
Hello Ser,
I met you yesterday at the book signing in Dublin and it was well worth the effort. For someone who's hand must have been ready to fall off your warmth and willingness to interact was impressive. Unfortunately my housemate Clive forgot to put the battery back in the camera(the only time i was angrier was the Red Wedding).

Would have loved to join you for a pint afterwards but we had to catch a bus back west(next time you are in Ireland you should come to Galway, a small, beautiful, fun city). Nearly mentioned the NFL as well, just remembered not to say a word as i stepped forward.

Will do my best to make it to Octocon next year to get my other aSoIaF books signed.
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
Sounds like exhausting fun. Have fun George! Keep us posted....
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
I always love it when actors are classy enough to interact with the fans. (And you're classy too of course, but everyone knows you go out of your way to interact with your fans.)
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
I'm extremely excited for you and for the potential of this show
George, I'm happy for you - it must be like a dream come true. Great fantasy has needed a miniseries to be able to break out of the action/one-dimensional character format, and I'm thrilled that it's happening with perhaps the best fantasy series I've ever read.

The cast and crew seem talented and thrilled to be working on the project - what's not to love? Waiting for the finished show is going to be tough!
Nov. 6th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Wow. Glad to hear everything is going well. What I would've given to be able to hang out over a few pints or to see the sets and the acting in person! Now that production is fully under way, is there a rough date for when the pilot will air?
Nov. 6th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Have you come across anything in the book-to-film process that's made you say "Wait, that's not what I meant" or "That's not what's in my head"? If so, how did you handle it?
Nov. 6th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it just occurred to me. If we, the fans, are this excited to see the series come to life, imagine how you are feeling. This entire show is based on stories you made up, and characters you have invented. It must be soooooo exciting for you!!
Enjoy every moment of it, and gives us all a few more stories to share the excitement with you!!!
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
George, great to meet you yesterday in Eason's and later in the Abbey Court. It was a pleasure! Really looking forward to the pilot and would love to see some of the shoot if it were possible.
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
I find the question with adaptations is not, "Does it stay true to the letter" but rather "Does it stay true to the atmosphere and character."
Nov. 6th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the great night, George. Had to leave early of course, (perhaps the names Aaron and Ivan still linger in your memory? ;) ), but it was absolutely wonderful to finally meet you in person and get all those books signed. Was well worth lining up twice.

We'll both be at Octocon next year, of course, and we'll be burning the midnight oil this time. See you in eleven months, George & Parris! :D
Nov. 6th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
This seems like a good way to reach you...
Dear George,

I think "A Song of Ice and Fire" is a masterpiece of story telling, and I'm thrilled to see the television adaptation. With the incredible cast you have, the ideal locations, the talented writers and directors and a superb network like HBO, it seems like the show may very well end up being a masterpiece as well.
I'm writing you because I really want the show to be as good as the books and I believe strongly that the one thing that could, in the end, make the difference between a good show and a work of art often fails to receive the kind of inspired attention it deserves. THE MUSIC!! All too often the people making shows or movies of various genres hire a dull composer to write dull and predictable music that scores the action the same way a million other productions in the same genre have. Fantasy can be the worst. The music is usually something with the modal, English flavor of Vaughn Williams with a certain saccharine harmony that sounds like the worst kind of James Horner (you know, one of the standard and widely imitated blockbuster film composers,) and all the war scenes have trumpets and tympani and when bad people are on the screen they play bad people music and when something funny and lighthearted is happening they play funny lighthearted jolly music with flute and a hopping bass line and a little triangle sprinkled in, and after bittersweet victory they play, well, bittersweet victory music and so on and so forth and PLEASE DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!! I imagine you guys are more high brow than that shit, but I've seen some pretty marvelous film makers choose the most awful music.

I know, I know, you're the writer and you don't even get to choose the music, but I'm sure you must have some influence...

My thoughts for the show...

First of all, allow the dialogue and characters to speak for themselves. Don't let let the show fall into the trap of milking emotional content with emotional music. It makes for BAD TV.

I say, use music sparingly, but when we do hear music, let our ears be filled with the raw organic sounds of REAL medieval and renaissance instrumental music. Have you heard groups like ensemble unicorn play music from 13th century Jerusalem? This music is so fierce and so riveting, and it's all on these very course-sounding ancient instruments, with throaty drones and raw drumming and haunting melodies. It could be perfect for the music of the Free Cities. Or if you don't use the real thing, find a composer who knows the stuff, and could write interesting music for unusual instruments. In the Dothraki camps, people should be pounding strange rythms on horse-skin drums, and this could be the soundtrack to Dany's relationship with Khal Drogo. In the Seven Kingdoms, there could be music on shawms and hurdy-gurdies and rebecs and horns playing at all the parties...
The songs of love and chivalry which Sansa loves so much, they could be real lute songs from the 1500's! None of that stuff is copyrighted, and so much of it is anonymous anyway.

I could write a long list of specific suggestions but i just want you to hear the heart of what I'm saying:
Think what an unusual flavor artful scoring choices would lend the show. It wouldn't matter so much to your fans, but this key difference could bring in a whole new kind of audience. I really really think so. Have you hired a music coordinator?

Thanks for reading


Leo Tolkin
Nov. 7th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Re: This seems like a good way to reach you...
You may be interested to know that Corvus Corax, a German medieval-inspired band, performed over two days of filming for the Winterfell feast scene. According to Norri, a member of the band, they performed "Ballade de Mercy" (less the Old French lyrics) and "Skudrinka". Although they have a very percussion-heavy approach, and are rather colorful in how they portray themselves on stage, apparently they draw their inspiration and tunes from genuine medieval music.

I have no idea if bands like Corvus Corax will be used for the general scoring, but I agree that seeing music more typically medieval would be great. There's a lot of things like saltarellos (Ensemble Unicron's Saltarello No. 1 is a good example) which could really be shaped to fit modern scoring conventions.
Nov. 14th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
Re: This seems like a good way to reach you...
But who my friends, who are going to perform 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' ;) I would love to see a bunch of bands performing acoustic versions of the songs in the novel. Rogue from the Cruxshadows would make for some great imagery and I'm sure put on one hell of a rendition of the Rains of Castamere.
Nov. 7th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
You really trust people not to post the NFL scores from last week? HERE YOU GO:.....ARGHH! I can't do it.

I will say this though, the Jets don't miss Kris Jenkins. I thought they would, terribly. But no.
Nov. 7th, 2009 06:13 am (UTC)
Envious. Cheers to you and all.
Nov. 7th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
Hey GrrM,
This may be a question too stupid to ask/answer, but is the production shooting on film or the Red Camera? I hate to think that Pineapple Express in Tights has sets that put A GAME OF THRONES to shame, and an easy way to save a few coppers is to shoot Red...that and then we could have Westeros in 3D someday down the line....
Nov. 7th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
I swear, sitting here reading your description of seeing your characters come to life and doing what they do in the books, and all I can say is WOOOOOOWWWWW...... I can only imagine the sheer thrill that comes with that. I truly, truly hope HBO picks this up; there might be riots if they don't. ...kidding! But seriously, they had better. I want the season boxed sets of ASOIAF on my shelf, there's a space for them right next to the extended LOTR DVDs. *grin*
Nov. 7th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Highlight of the year, meeting ye !!!
Nov. 7th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I know you're excited about it all comming together more than we are. But out of simple curiosity how well will the script stay true to the books?

I saw what they did to Sword of Truth and I just wanted to lynch something. Don't know how I'd feel if they did that to Ice and Fire as it's much more close and loved.
Nov. 7th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
To quote George almost exactly one year ago:

"David Benioff and Dan Weiss did a terrific job with the script. And yes, all of you can relax, it's very faithful."

This is confirmed by those who've seen a draft of the pilot script, which was indeed really close -- some changes for logistical reasons (some of the characters are a bit older), some for less clear reasons, but nothing major.

I think a selling point for HBO is that the producers want to stick very, very closely to the novels -- even True Blood is only loosely based on the books -- because this means that HBO basically has a fully-realized road map for several seasons in front of them.
Nov. 7th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
Good show
It was great to be there. I'm Matt the guy who met a girl in the queue and walked to the bar with you.

The girls who hadn't read the books all said you were a really nice bloke as well.

Wish I'd had the time to stay longer, but it was grand share a beer with you and your lovely wife.
Nov. 9th, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
Description of the shooting
... is tantalizing to say the least. Wish I could properly catalog the number of times I've been painfully excited by the good Master's descriptions of the Works made into Real Life in the past few weeks. But thank you! On pins and needles till the release, really!

An Ogre.
Nov. 9th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Costume Stills
Any chance of pictures from the set?

Cast in costume?

Look of the sets?

Did the costumers go high medieval? (or Zena?)

Nov. 16th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC)
easons dreamsongs
i had one of those copies of dreamsongs! i spent the summer traveling and when i went to dubln needed some new reading material, so i went by easons and picked it up. sadly it was too big to keep for the rest of the three months and i passed it on in rotterdam. alas! at least now someone else can discover that truly awesome book. waiting with breath that is bated for a dance with dragons!!
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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