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).