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A Few Words from Switzerland

I can't give you an exact count... but I must have done at least fifty interviews over the past two months.  Maybe as many as a hundred.

Radio interviews, TV interviews, magazine and newspaper interviews, private interviews, group interviews, public interviews... in France, in Switzerland, in Scotland, in London, in San Diego, and most recently in LA, on the Red Carpet for the Emmys.

On some of the foreign trips, I did entire days of interviews.  They would park me in a hotel suite, usher in a journalist or a film crew, we'd talk for a half hour, then my hosts would escort that reporter out, and bring in a new one.  Some of the journalists were very sharp.  Some... ah... weren't.  (A few made me wonder what the hell has happened to the standards of the profession that I once got my degrees in, back at Northwestern.)

Sitting around a hotel room talking doesn't sound so hard, but it can be grueling.  Especially when they all ask the same damn questions. 

(Tyrion is my favorite character. Okay?  OKAY?  Can we PLEASE put that one to rest??  I love all my viewpoint characters, Arya and Sansa and Bran, Jon Snow and Brienne, Arianne and Cersei and Jaime, Theon, even Victarion and the Damphair, ALL of them, but I love Tyrion the bestest.  Tyrion son of Tywin, the Imp, second son of Casterly Rock.  How many bloody times do I need to say it??  I swear, from now on, whenever anybody asks me, "who is you favorite character," I am going to start naming characters from other people's books.  Cugel the Clever.  Flashman.  Gatsby.  Hotspur.  Solomon Kane.  A different one each time... )

But I digress.

Anyway... I did the interviews, so I might as well share them as they come up.

Did a whole bunch in Neuchatel at NIFFF, as I said.  Journalists from Switzerland, France, Germany all came.  The worst of those.... well, that one most of you have seen, I suspect, it's the one where I gave the guy the finger.

Here's a much better one, an in-depth piece that actually covers some ground about my life and writing that hasn't been covered a thousand times before.  If that's of interest to you, you may enjoy it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/song-of-ice-and-fire-author-george-rr-martin-on-success-chess-and-the-wrath-of-superfans-9652448.html

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( 57 comments )
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ashayatara
Aug. 30th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
I would call the interview where you gave the interviewer the finger the best of the lot, personally.
Eric Couchman
Aug. 30th, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
Well obviously Tyrion is your bestest most favourite, everyone knows that. What I want to know is who you relate to the most. Is it Sam? I think it's Sam, oh I know it's Sam. Oh oh oh can you make sure the next interview you give they make sure to ask you when the books are coming out? Oh and make sure they mention fans worry about you health.

Yeah I get annoyed reading the same thing over and over again, I imagine it is much more annoying for you. Thanks for taking the time to do this stuff though. It is appreciated. It's awesome finding out you're a Marvel fan, what other bodies of work have inspired you over the years and I love the little hints you drop in interviews about content for the next book. Those single sentences turn into massive conversations in the sub reddits and forums and I'm finding myself enjoying speculating and discussing ridiculous theorys (Roose is totes a vampire) as much as reading your books. Thank's George, sincerely.
Sarah Pell
Aug. 31st, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
Lol. Yes, some interviews can seem repetitive. However, I still look forward to watching anything new! Definitely of interest & thank you for sharing! :)
inizitu
Aug. 31st, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
George RR Martin: Still Not Your Bitch <3 Rest up, Sir. Thank you for the links!
Eugene Toussaint
Aug. 31st, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
What your favorite character?
at least you provided everyone that reads your not a blog a good way to break the ice if they ever meet you.

Edited at 2014-08-31 01:17 am (UTC)
scarybaldguy
Aug. 31st, 2014 02:13 am (UTC)
I swear, from now on, whenever anybody asks me, "who is you favorite character," I am going to start naming characters from other people's books.

Sam Vimes. I mean, duh.
aulus_poliutos
Aug. 31st, 2014 11:31 am (UTC)
And Errol. Now there's a dragon. :-)

I admire your patience. I'd have refused to do more than one interview per day, and hide in some castle ruins instead. Got plenty of those here in Europe.

Solomon Kayne rocks, btw.
(no subject) - wookiemonster - Aug. 31st, 2014 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Great Red Dragon
Aug. 31st, 2014 03:16 am (UTC)
Q&A
I am an Administrator from the Game of Thrones Wiki.

Yes, I noticed that most "Q&A" tends to repeat "who is your favorite character?" "Tyrion!" over and over again (or, "who is Jon Snow's mother?" "Well, it was supposed to be a surprise, but on a whim I've decided to reveal it at a convention panel...)

Which is why I've been keeping a running list over on the wiki of "Questions we the Admins would ask the writers if we ever manage to get into contact with them". It currently contains over 70 questions...it is my living revenge against low-quality Q&A which repeats the same senseless questions over and over again. Moreover, most of them are not subjective, but to clarify facts within the story.

I call it the "Cargo Cult": http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Forum:The_Cargo_Cult

I've divided it between "Questions about the TV adaptation" and "Questions from the books":

"Questions from the books" are things like "Is the Grand Maester the head of the order of Maesters, or is the Conclave?"

"Questions due to changes in adaptation" are as you might expect more...diverse. I supposed the biggest one is how the Baratheons intermarried with the Targaryens in the TV continuity if they cut out Jaehaerys II. I even managed to get this question in to Cogman in a WiC.net Q&A, but in response to my question "Has Jaehaerys II been cut from the TV continuity" his answer was a curt "Yes"...you see I can't finish the Baratheon/Targaryen family trees on Game of Thrones Wiki as a result -- then the animated featuerettes went and said that Robert "had Targaryen blood...on his mother's side"...so was Rhaelle changed to be a sister of Aegon V or something? The Florent family tree is also all over the place. And what's going on with Willas? And I'm also not sure where whores go.

Well, thank you for your time, ser.
dragonborngurl
Aug. 31st, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
thanks for sharing this interview. I know a writer for the independent, it's a cool paper. I did enjoy the one where you told the interviewer "frack you to those (imbeciles) who comment on your health. A fave interview of mine was a radio one I heard last year where I learned for the 1st time all about your comic book days and how your comic meetup in the village (i think) back in 1961(?). I just keep imagining all these truly geeky boys back then who became famous writers and illustrators. Not the Big Bang cute nerds, the nerds I knew and loved in school when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's. :)

Edited at 2014-08-31 04:24 am (UTC)
ddfreese
Aug. 31st, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
favorite character
You might tell them "e," cryptographers say it is the most commonly typed letter in the English language. I'm not sure, though, about Westerosish or Braavosi, though.
Michael Kobus
Aug. 31st, 2014 06:40 am (UTC)
how do you pronounce Damphair?
is it dam-phair or damp-hair?
grrm
Aug. 31st, 2014 06:46 am (UTC)
Re: how do you pronounce Damphair?
Damp hair.

Maybe I should have named him Wet Head.
Re: how do you pronounce Damphair? - werthead - Aug. 31st, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: how do you pronounce Damphair? - Michael Kobus - Aug. 31st, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: how do you pronounce Damphair? - WarsofASOIAF - Aug. 31st, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
ookpik
Aug. 31st, 2014 06:49 am (UTC)
Maybe he won't be anybody's favorite (yes, we all love Tyrion bestest of course), but Varys needs more appreciation.

OK, I'm weird.

Thank you for writing complex and fascinating characters, Mr. Martin.
northofboston
Aug. 31st, 2014 07:23 am (UTC)
Try to carve out some down-time for yourself.....this really is too much.
mizkit
Aug. 31st, 2014 07:58 am (UTC)
I think starting to give character names from other people's books is a *wonderful* idea. Just to see if any of them catch on. :)
Caner Ataseven
Aug. 31st, 2014 08:03 am (UTC)
finger
When I saw that finger interview I called my wife from the other room and showed her the video, we both cheered for you. THEY had it coming.
Cameron Paterson
Aug. 31st, 2014 08:15 am (UTC)
What's your favourite colour George? Ha ha, only kidding. It sounds like hard work. Although I rarely do interviews in my own profession as a journalist, when I do I try and make an effort to be at least a little bit original and avoid the interview-by-numbers approach. At least you got some relatively interesting questions at the event I attended in London.
howlandr
Aug. 31st, 2014 09:12 am (UTC)
Reality
ASOIAF is a standout because of its closer to reality vibe. We found that out when Lord Stark was killed on the orders of twisted boy "king" Joffrey. The man that won his most dearest friend the Iron Throne and overcame so many difficulties in his own life to rule as the perfect Lord of Winterfell. Doubtless, most would agree that he was as perfect as a lord could get. But you killed him to make the point that "anything can happen". Although it was very sad, I understood your point of view. And I don't think you even know how much your characters influence people. The depth you go into is astonishing.

But, as I read on and finished the 5 books eventually, I felt like you were trying to put up the message that "nobleness and honor only dig your grave". This is the part that saddens me, because heroes do win sometimes in real life, if not always.

Yes, we still have likable centric characters left. We have Tyrion, Snow, Arya and the others. Tyrion most importantly, a good and funny man, not the most honorable. And over the past couple of books Jaime is being portrayed as a "good man the world never understood" type of character.

Yet, whomever will sit Iron Throne at the end of the day I feel like it will not be "fair". Because we will be always left with the thought of how peaceful Westeros could have been if it saw Robb or Eddard as the King.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, bad things must not always happen to good people.

I cut through the "I love your books and big fan" part because that doesn't need to be stated. I just wish you liked heroes more than fixed and turned good kind.

My apologies if I caused any sort of annoyance or offense in any way. Peace.



Edited at 2014-08-31 09:18 am (UTC)
volturnus8
Aug. 31st, 2014 09:16 am (UTC)
About the maps in The World of Ice and Fire:
Will we see the locations of castles such as Willow Wood, Ninestars, Darkdell, Harvest Hall, etc?
westeroswolf
Aug. 31st, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
That is a really good interview, but portly? How dare they!
sourbillytipton
Aug. 31st, 2014 10:23 am (UTC)
Yea I've been wanting to mention that
I have definitely watched too many of your interviews in the past. I enjoy all of them for the most part.

The real reason I watch though is to extract any new info on TWOW. And the worst is when you only receive one question about it and they decide to ask when it's coming out. It's infuriating that they can't research and determine what's the most cliché fucking question to ask you.

But I have to say, you're often complimented as a gifted storyteller. But one example of your gift that may go unnoticed is your ability to retell the same stories and make them interesting each time.

Edited at 2014-08-31 10:25 am (UTC)
Palamar Bogdan Alexandru
Aug. 31st, 2014 11:21 am (UTC)
Second Favorite Character
What is your second favorite character ? I`m kidding...
Baher Ziad
Aug. 31st, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
Cant wait
I wish you would tell us before publishing winds of winter giving us time to reread the 5 books again :)
Calle Johansson
Aug. 31st, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC)
Elaborating
I like that you elaborate the questions. Giving a much richer answer than their actual question is actually worth.

Must be tiring though, answering the same questions all the time.
aegonyrface
Aug. 31st, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
Tyrion the Impetus
Tyrion is a very special one.
He holds a dear place in my heart because, though I'm not a dwarf, I'm 5'1" and it's tough. But cultivating wit and educating yourself along with having a sense of humor is like...armor. Or Valyrian steel.
My first name is Tierney, and boy do I enjoy a good character with short stature, rapier wit and a badass T name.

Thank you for sharing your mind with us.
wookiemonster
Aug. 31st, 2014 05:09 pm (UTC)
Tyrion is also my favorite, largely because I am also short and like to read.

Crap...did I just contribute to his demise? o.O
apostle_of_eris
Aug. 31st, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that if I were an interviewer I would prep by asking the interviewee what he thought he should be asked, or what he wanted to be asked.

I hadn't made the connection before, but was Abe Peck at Medill yet when you were there? He's still my personal champ for a weird career path.
grrm
Sep. 5th, 2014 06:17 am (UTC)
Doesn't ring a bell.
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