Sunday, 15 April 2012

Belated George R.R. Martin Blog

I went to see George R.R. Martin at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London on Monday.

Organised by Gower Street Waterstone's, and moved to the Bloomsbury because of high numbers, GRRM came and had a little outing in London following on from his headline slot at Eastercon 2012. I enjoyed what I got of it, but I had a few issue: more of that later. First of all, a recap:

My view of the stage
 GRRM came on, to rapturous applause, and had a little ego-trip, where he announced a third season for HBO's A Game of Thrones, as well as his nomination for best novel Hugo. He was then interviewed by his UK editor, and author in her own right, Jane Johnson. There were some genuinely revealing questions and answers. Asked whether history was an influence, GRRM answered that heloved historicl novels, and wanted to try and right one, and AGoT is history without the boring bits.

He claimed his characters where his 'children' and that he saw the 'angel and the demon in them all'. Difficult Points of View include Tyrion, for his wit, and Bran, for his youth and disability.

While being an engaging speaker, and genuinely funny, GRRM still answered just 7 questions, in only 50 minutes. I (sat maybe 20 rows back) then had to queue 50 minutes for a generi-cut signature. I bought a beautiful hardback special-edition before the show (the last one\o/) just to get him to sign it:

However, not only was my request for a personalization rejected (albeit politely), I couldn't even get a photo with him. To my mind, the signing was poor. I was bored shitless for 50 minutes, checking twitter and reading the book I'd brought with me. I can't imagine how poor old Johnson and Martin were feeling, doing the same thing for 50 minutes, plus the balcony and back-row after me. If GRRM/Waterstone's had had some generically signed copies on sale beforehand, those who just wanted the signature could have gone home happy. Those of us who aren't jumping on the bandwagon, who have enjoyed GRRM for more than just the HBO series, could have had a little bit of personalized time with him. It's not much to ask for: I saw Stephen Fry at The New Theatre in Oxford, and, while the queue was swiftly moved along (with much more efficiency than here), personalization occured: yes, we were given post-it note to write our 'To xxx' on, but it was something. And he allowed time for pictures. To GRRM, it seemed a chore. The Mr. Fry, it seemed a privilege. To me, I'm not going to be as famous as either, so a chance to meet them, one of my favourite novelists, and a man a admire a great deal for his wit, intellect and genuine niceness, its a pleasure. I don't know if I'll see either again, so surely it's as much their duty to me, a fan, to make me as happy as possible, as it is vice versa?

Also, £10? for 50 minutes? A bit of a push. So all in all, a bit meh, really. I've met him, heard him speak, and enjoyed it, but it could have been better, both on the part of Gower Street/ Harper Voyaer's organising, and GRRM's treatment of his fans.

A stranger getting a signing

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