Thursday, August 4, 2011

George R. R. Martin draws hundreds to Joseph-Beth in Lexington

Last night, author George R. R. Martin drew a crowd of around 900 to Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington. In case you've been living under some sort of rock, Martin is the author of five books in the epic fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" which has inspired the HBO series "Game of Thrones." The first season of GoT garnered massive attention to both Martin and the books, which I think is absolutely spectacular. The series was nominated for 13 Emmy awards including Best Drama and Best Supporting Actor. Peter Dinklage, who is a total rockstar by the way, totally deserves the award which Martin expressed to the crowd last night.

The signing in Lexington wasn't even supposed to happen. George R. R. Martin specifically requested that Joseph-Beth Booksellers be added at the end of this leg of his tour for the newly released "A Dance With Dragons," the fifth book in "A Song of Ice and Fire." Joe-Beth was particularly sentimental for Martin because he came to Lexington on his initial tour for "A Game of Thrones." That book tour was drawing crowds of less than a dozen, but in Lexington, hundreds came out to support him. Fifteen years later, Lexington showed that it still loves its fantasy and it still loves George R. R. Martin. But Lexingtonians weren't the only attendees of last night's signing. According to the store's Facebook page, people drove down from Columbus, OH and up from Tennessee and South Carolina to see the author.

George (we're on a first name basis, you know... okay not really, but that would be cool) opened up by telling  the crowd about his experience at Joseph-Beth fifteen years ago. He jokingly said that he even had one signing that year that had -4 people. "I drove four people out of the store," he laughed. He said that he loves opportunities where he can meet his readers, but said that book signings are sadly not the right place for a conversation. With nearly one thousand people in attendance, having a personal conversation with every single person would cause the event to last hours. So, Martin suggested coming to one of the six science fiction conventions that he attends per year.

He answered some frequently asked questions before the Q&A started. He explained that "A Dance With Dragons" took five years due to being a "monstrous tome." ADWD is actually the second half of "A Feast of Crows" the fourth book of the series and tips the scale at 1500 pages. Martin said that he hopes to keep the series to seven books, but that is yet unseen. However, the titles for the next two books are "The Winds of Winter" and "A Dream of Spring." When discussing the possibility for the series to have been made into a television show, he said that he knew it couldn't be on any of the major networks, that it had to be on cable. For many networks, fantasy and sci-fi was placed in the earliest time-slots because it was considered to be more family friendly programming. "'A Game of Thrones' and its sequels are many things, but 'kiddie stuff' is not one of them," he said.

During the Q&A, George R. R. Martin was asked a question about the craft of writing itself. When talking about writing he said that on good days there is a part of him that is lost in the story. He talked about character creation and said that for a writer the easiest character to write is the one that is most like them. Bran Stark was the hardest character for him to write, though he had to get into the mindset of all of his characters, especially his viewpoint characters (of which there are sixteen in ADWD.) He laughingly said that he needed to get his axe ready. The question was asked about the role of women in the world that he has created. Martin explained that it is a patriarchal society, but many of the women have done (and are doing) their best to overcome this in their own way. I think of Cersei and how she works hard to take control or Sansa how in AGoT, she is so conventional. There are so many characters to love, to hate, and to mourn, as the case may be.

One who doesn't read lives a single life, but a reader lives a thousand lives. ~ George R. R. Martin
Image by Leila. He's signing my book!

In all, the signing was an amazing experience. I sat with my best friend and fellow Kentucky Geek Girl, Leila and our friend Jake who was actually the person who got me interested in reading Martin's books. I had my very own copy of AGoT and ADWD signed, and of course the box set for the giveaway. I was able to take some really great pictures as we had a fine view of table where he sat to speak. I even was able to present him with a small poster that I made of the Geek Girls Book Club Logo. I told him about the GGBC and thanked him on behalf of the other members. He said,

Keep geeking out.
I'm still excited from it all.

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