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Mich

Canada Book Signing

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I got there about 4:30, simply because I did not want to fight traffic. When I got there there was 2 people there. Once they finished setting up the chairs I moved to the front row and stuck my nose in a book. I looked up about 6:00 and the chairs were just filling up, which might have been about 80 people. (thats conservative, 10 chairs per row, I think there was a lot more than 8 or 10 rows, possible 15 rows) I looked up again around a quarter to 7 and the line wound from the back of the chairs, did a u-turn at the first row of fantasy/sci-fi, moved all the way to the back wall and turned 90- degrees stretching about half way down the entire wall. I looked up again just before it all started and the line had completely gone along that back wall and was working its way along the very far wall.

In other words, most people arrived late, so I question when you did your headcount. By my estimate, you had say 80 people in chairs, then about 50-60 feet around the corner to the back wall, then a rough guess of about 250 feet all along that wall, then another 40 or so feet halfway along that very, very back wall. That is a helluva lot of space, and people weren't lined up in single file. If it wasn't 500+ it was a whole lot closer to 500 than your estimate of 200.

They don't call it the world's biggest bookstore for nothing, there is a ton of space in that corner of the store, and a pretty large portion of it was full of people waiting for George.

Anyway, I guess its not really worth arguing about, but there is no way that there wasn't more people standing than sitting, and sitting was at the very least 75 or 80 people.

Cheers

Dutch

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So here's my report from the CBC Book club event in Vancouver (for our international friends, the CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - public radio and tv and I cannot live without it!)

The event was not all that well attended....I was shocked! I arrived quite early, so got a front row seat. The event was moderated by Sheryl McKay (a local radio host - most excellent) and John Burns (book editor for a local paper)

George came in, and joked about the weather...its been raining here for a month solid, bad even for the Wet Coast. It went well with the first chapter - the Cersei one, on the way to the funeral, with all the rain. After, Sheryl and John made some comments and posed some questions.

J commented on how G's reading aloud conveyed the gamesmanship and paranoia on every page and asked G if he found imagining and writing all that intrigue exhausting. G said no, not that part of writing, he actually enjoys that part quite a bit. He writes books that he would want to read and finds alot of fantasy deficient because everyone is as they seem-called it lazy writing; said we all wear masks and people are complex--they have heroism and monstrosity. The exploration of character is the most interesting aspect of people and he tries to celebrate it in his books.

S - commented on how he offs his main characters. G - fiction is too predictable, esp in fantasy, where you know a main character will survive, no matter how many orcs are chasing him. G is not interested in this fiction of comfort- wants to shake up readers, make the danger feel real.

S - wanted to know how readers felt about it

G - most love it

J - commented on sex in the books

G -says there should be more sex in fantasy, more sex in life; gets more letters of complaint about sex than about death, G marvelled that "the penis obscene while the ax is just cool fun"; said that anything gratuitous is that which does not advance the plot directely, but big deal - plot alone makes a 20 page book; he wants you to smell the smoke and food at a feast, see the fools - trying to do complex characters...you need to show it--cant just say "this character here is complex, you know"

then he talked a bit about oaths, and how they are lost in modern life. the books grapple with this

after a few more questions/comments, the floor was opened, and the first question, I kid you not, was "who are Jon's parents"

In response to another question about why this book took so bloody long, G admitted to mistakes in structure. he talked about Tolkein, and how he did something great in LotR by starting with the Shire, which is the whole world at the beginning, and when the story grew, so did the world. He is trying to do this, and from the beginning had planned to introduce new parts of this world, and new characters - found himself with too many balls in the air but he needed to keep them there, otherwise they would fall on his head :rofl:

break over.....continuing later

(and yes Ran, you can edit and include my ramblings on the SSM page

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Very interesting, Whoresbane. Could you expand on his remarks regarding oaths? Was his saying that they're lost in modern life just an observation, or was it phrased in a way that gave an opinion regarding whether he thought that loss was good or bad?

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Ok, here's a bit more:

Next question was on POV's and whether G was worried about creeping Jordanism

G - Only one new one in DwD - see above for juggling analogy; he's gonna kill some off too. He wants all POV's to have a story arc even A VERY SHORT ARC (a significant statment, I thought); some readers were displeased with all the new ones in Feast....wanted old familiars, but the new ones were neccessary geographically. With Dorne and the Iron Islands he had originally tried each with one single POV, but it wasnt working, hence more delay.

Then he read a second chapter, the Captain of the Guards. Afterward, talked about Dorne a bit....separated physically and culturally, but joined due to a dynastic marriage.

Question from John:

what was the hardest thing in writing about such an alien world

G - the vast majority of fantasy is middle agey time wise, and he himself finds the period fascinating; glad to adopt it for novel writing - likes knights and castles and such. He objects to bad fantasy practice which adopts a time setting without accepting the culture - imposing 20th century values like the cheeky stableboy telling off the princess (in reality cheeky stableboy would lose his tongue - look what happend to Micah); the class system was not just and ornament and these people truly belived in blood, and the rank and priviledge that came with "good" blood. He discussed the role of women - in bad fantasy where the princess refuses to marry the old ugly fart - women were raised to accept this as their fate (ie Sansa and Tyrion); he castigated the warrior princess in a chainmail bikini, who in that reality would get chopped in two with a longsword. You needed brute strength to fight a la middle ages (voila Brienne); but women could fight with other weapons (sand snakes), it was just very very rare.

Question from Sheryl:

Heard that the series came from an image of direwolves and winterfell

G - yes, and the growth of the story from there was very exciting....he sees his writing style as being more like a gardener...planted a seed and watered it and let it grow, as opposed to writers who are like archtects, who plan everything out before they write the first word.

Audience questions on maps and size and population- we've heard it before.

Question on characters - very similar to characters from classical literature - is it intentional?

G- everything he experiences goes into the hopper, gets ground up and comes out in the books; but he tries not to draw direct analogues.

Question - have the mechanics of scriptwriting affected his fiction writing?

G - improved strength of structure and dialogue; his practice of repeated cliffhangers is directly from tv writing - act breaks - but- he is anti hollywood in many ways- his work is too long, too extravegant and has too many battlescenes for film/tv...fiction allows him to indulge his love of scale and detail.

Question (from yours truly) what the hell is with Biter? Is he just a bad guy or is he something more....

George treated us to a never before heard back story of Rorge and Biter.....Rorge ran a dog and bear fighting place in Flea Bottom. Biter was an orphan whom Rorge grabbed up and raised ferally to fight in the pits. ( I was most pleased to actually elicit something totally unknown)

DwD? Hoping for early 2007. Going home to write now.

George buggered off right away- he had the chapters gig in a few hours and likely wanted dinner and some quiet time. Hope he availed himself of our world class sushi. I didnt go to the chapters gig - a was a bit worn out and had my head full - funny aside...the library where I work is across from the CBC building, so I went in the staff entrance thinking I'd hop on a computer and do this report. I was so distracted by my musings about the reading that I got to the 6th floor before I realized that the library was closed. duh!

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Ran- as regards oaths, he seemed to lean toward the loss of the oath as bad, but said that first, he was grappling with the issue himself, and the second, he didnt want to get all didactic about it, and wanted readers to draw their own conclusions about the value of an oath.

ps - Lodey, he wasnt signing anything, so I never did get my boob signed - it would just wash off anyways

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That's a great report Whoresbane! :) What in the world made you think up a question about Biter? Never crossed my mind that there "might be something more" to him. :P

And one new POV in aDwD. The missing Dornish POV perhaps? Interesting.

The other significant thing is that he is moving the release date to early 2007. That's unsurprisingly but I did hope.

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Yup, the Biter thing is great.

Maybe GRRM has developed automatic Pavlovian reactions to all plot-related questions that he already knows the answer to. Ask him something relevant and he will just say "Keep reading".

Possibly, the Biter question was something that he never thought about before, so while his brain started to process the question, his conditioning slipped and he just answered it while the answer was being developed and before the encryption was in place.

This means that for future signings we have to think of more questions that GRRM himself doesn't yet know the answer to.

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Great report! I liked that chainmail bikini comment. Brienne is how female knights should be written, though Martin is sinning himself with making Asha the warrior princess type. :)

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I don't know...I wouldn't be surprised if he knew the details of Biters origins already . It sounded like a very detailed response to give to something that was asked on the spur of the moment. Since Biter was dead, he probably wasn't sure whether he would get the opportunity to tell us more about him. So he took this opportunity.

One could conclude that one should ask questions about dead people. Although he doesn't give much away about Tywin still. :)

While Asha is a warrior princess, I don't get the impression that she is a mighty warrior. She clearly can fight but while Brienne is one of the best, I never had the same impression regarding Asha. OTOH I might have forgotten something. She is very sound tactical judgement though.

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I certainly get no sense from Asha that even for a moment she thinks she could stand up to her nuncle Victarion or Qarl the Maid in battle. She is smart enough to know her limitations. She might bare steel with Tris Botley, but not with a man worthy of the name.

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I don't know...I wouldn't be surprised if he knew the details of Biters origins already . It sounded like a very detailed response to give to something that was asked on the spur of the moment. Since Biter was dead, he probably wasn't sure whether he would get the opportunity to tell us more about him. So he took this opportunity.

That's precisely how GRRM framed it--he said that he might still include this backstory, but that he simply hadn't found a place to include it thus far in the books. He seemed happy enough to give us this little tidbit, so, knowing the way he likes to guard secrets, I doubt it will pertain to anything major in the series.

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Another addition as well. In Toronto when George answered the "Who is the most underrated character?" question he pronounced Catelyn's name quite differently than I've heard others saying before. George said it as Kat-el-in *steals Ran's phonetics*

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George said it as Kat-el-in *steals Ran's phonetics*

That was one of the worst things to happen for me. Now I'm going to have endless awkward pauses in my reading as my brain tries to read Cate-lyn and some part of me is pseudo self-correcting to Cat-el-in.

Happens to me every time, murders my flow. :(

Dutch

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:rofl: try actually physically talking about it dutch. My friend and I will be talking about the books then pause, look at each other funny and say kat-el-in and shake our heads

George has said though to pronounce the names however you see fit ;)

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There were about 210 people at the WBB to see GRRM. It was not 550. Not even a remote chance of that.

That is a helluva lot of space, and people weren't lined up in single file. If it wasn't 500+ it was a whole lot closer to 500 than your estimate of 200.

Frankly, I found the 550 number unbelievable, but that’s what the woman said. I heard it right. OTOH, Steel_Wind, I’m with Dutch that there were far more than 210 people there. Perhaps the count includes everyone who was standing around listening, and not just the people in line. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the people who came opted not to wait in the signing line. I came shortly after 6:30, and got in the line near the back of the Poetry section, but I can understand if people showing up at 7:00 took one look at the back of the line snaked to the back wall of Fiction, and said *uck it, listened to the talk, and then left.

Also, from my vantage point, I’m certain the line looked more sparse at times than it really was. I noticed many people in front of me leave their friends in the line to wander about and come back later. Heck, I did that.

Regardless…

The Biter back story was a great dig. Nice work, Whoresbane.

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Mich, during my reread of ACoK I was amused to note on p. 181 (US hc) that Varys tells Tyrion the tunnel into Chataya's was built for another Hand, "whose honor would not allow him to enter such a house openly." If indeed it was built for Tywin (odds on), he's definitely the sort of guy who'd have no problem offing the workers afterwards, to make sure no one blabbed.

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Thats a very good point Angalin, however I suspect Varys would have found out anyways. He has ways of knowing things people like to keep hidden.

Killing workers after the fact does not necessarily mean no one blabbed or overheard while the tunnel was being created/planned out ;)

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Yes, Varys does mention that his little birds can fly through tunnels. And if Littlefinger owns Chataya's, he might know about it too. Almost surprises me that no one tried to stick it to Tywin with the whoring, but maybe they were all saving it up for when they really needed it.

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