Not a Blog

Random Updates and Bits o’ News

March 9, 2022 at 8:42 am
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I look around, and I don’t know where 2021 went.   I blinked and it was gone.   Not a year that I am going to mourn much, any more than 2020.  A global pandemic, so many deaths (including friends of mine, as well as celebrities of all sorts), politics grown increasingly toxic… it was a year best forgotten.   I did, however, get a lot of work done in 2021.  An enormous amount of work, in truth; I seem to have an enormous number of projects.

(I am not complaining.   I like working.   Writing, editing, producing.   There is nothing I like better than storytelling).

I know, I know, for many of you out there, only one of those projects matters.

I am sorry for you.   They ALL matter to me.

Yes, of course I am still working on THE WINDS OF WINTER.   I have stated that a hundred times in a hundred venues, having to restate it endlessly is just wearisome.      I made a lot of progress on WINDS in 2020, and less in 2021… but “less” is not “none.”

The world of Westeros, the world of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, is my number one priority, and will remain so until the story is told.   But Westeros has become bigger than THE WINDS OF WINTER, or even A SONG OF ICE & FIRE.   In addition to WINDS, I also need to deliver the second volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, FIRE & BLOOD.   (Thinking of calling that one BLOOD & FIRE, rather than just F&B, Vol 2).   Got a couple hundred pages of that one written, but there’s still a long way to go.   I need to write more of the Dunk & Egg novellas, tell the rest of their stories, especially since there’s a television series about them in development.   There’s a lavish coffee table book coming later this year, an illustrated, condensed version of FIRE & BLOOD done with Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson (my partners on THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE), and my Fevre River art director, Raya Golden.   And another book after that, a Who’s Who in Westeros.  And that’s just the books.

There are also the successor shows.   Those have taken a ton of my time and attention this year.    I have seen some comments out there questioning how much I am involved in these new series.   The answer is: a lot.   Deeply, heavily involved in every one of the new shows.  It’s my world, and while I have been working closely with some fantastic writers and showrunners, ultimately it is up to me to try to keep the canon… well, canonical… and to do all I can to help make the new shows great.  (And I love these stories too).

So far, I am very excited.   HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has wrapped in London and is now in post-production.   What I have seen, I have loved.    I am eager to see more.   I am excited about the other successor shows as well, however.   I am dying to tell you all about them, but I am not supposed to, so…

Well, maybe there a few things I can tell you.   Things that HBO has previously announced, or hinted at, or…

We are developing live action shows for HBO, and animated shows for HBO Max.   No, can’t tell you how many.   But it is my hope that a number of these shows will get on the air.  Not all, no, it is never all, but more than one.   I certainly hope so.  Some of the ideas we are working on are quite different in tone and approach than what has gone before, and that thrills me.   The world of Westeros (and Essos, etc) is huge, and there is room in it for many types of stories, about a wide range of characters.

What can I tell you?  Well, let’s see.   Bruno Heller, the creator and showrunner of ROME, is writing his pilot script for the Corlys Velaryon series.   That one started out as NINE VOYAGES, but now we’re calling it THE SEA SNAKE, since we wanted to avoid having two shows with numbers in the title.   The other one TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, the Nymeria series.   Amanda Segel, our showrunner, has delivered a couple drafts of that one, and we are forging ahead.   The third of the live action shows is the Dunk & Egg series, helmed by Steve Conrad.   My team and I have had some great sessions with Steve and his team, and we really hit it off.   He’s determined to do a faithful adaptation of the stories, which is exactly what I want; these characters and stories are very precious to me.   The first season will be an adaptation of the first novella, “The Hedge Knight.”   Contrary to what you may have read on line, the show will not be called DUNK & EGG, which could be mistaken for a sitcom by viewers unfamiliar with the stories.   We’re leaning toward A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS for the series title, though THE HEDGE KNIGHT has its partisans as well.

Over on the animated side… well, I am not allowed to talk about most of what’s happening, except to say that things are moving very fast, and I love love love some of the concept art I am seeing.   And.. wait, come to think of it, the news leaked several months ago that one of the animated shows would be set in Yi Ti.   That’s true.   Our working title is THE GOLDEN EMPIRE, and we have a great young writer on that one too, and I think the art and animation is just going to be beautiful.  I would tell you more if I could.   I don’t think I can say a word about the other animated shows.   Not yet.

So… there is lots going on.

And HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is coming soon.   That’s what you will see first.

And me?  I will continue to work with the writers and showrunners and directors and producers on all these shows.   Plus ROADMARKS for HBO, and DARK WINDS for AMC, and WILD CARDS for UCP and Peacock.   And NIGHT OF THE COOTERS should be finished this month.

And in addition to all that, let me say one again, yes, I am still working on WINDS OF WINTER.

 

 

 

Current Mood: tired tired

Dates and Days and Dragons, Oh My

August 11, 2020 at 10:16 am
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They keep telling me that calendars are on their way out, that nobody uses them any more, that hip folks just check the day and date on their smart phones.   Maybe so, maybe so… but I am old school, and I love them, can’t help myself.  And I love great fantasy art as well, so our annual SONG OF ICE & FIRE illustrated calendar is one of my favorite things.

Every year we feature the work of a different artist, each one bringing their own unique vision to the Seven Kingdoms and my characters.   This year — well, next year, actually, the 2021 calendar — the paintings are the work of an amazing British artist named SAM HOGG… and damn, but they are gorgeous.

 

The calendar is now officially ON SALE, and available at your favorite local bookstore (if they are open) or online bookseller, or wherever fine calendars are sold.

If you’d like an autographed copy, we have them in stock at Beastly Books.   https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/   Write for details.   Those are signed by me, of course.

I believe that our amazing artist, Sam Hogg, also has some copies set aside, signed by her.

She’s in the UK, though, and I’m in the New Mexico, so getting one signed by both of us is… tough.

More of her work can be found at www.artofsamhogg.com

twitter: @zephyri

Instagram: @thewhalergirl

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Irish Book Awards

October 7, 2019 at 11:30 am
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The days are rushing by faster and faster, it seems.  We’re already into October and I haven’t yet mentioned all the highlights of our travels to London, Dublin, and Belfast in August.

One of those highlights, beyond a doubt, was when I was presented with the An Post Irish Book Award in Dublin.

The presentation was made at Dublin’s historic General Post Office, the center of the 1916 Easter Rising… the Irish Alamo.  The significance of the site was not lost on me, and inspired my remarks, which centered around history and the need to learn from it.

Accounts of the presentation can be found online at:

https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2019/0820/1069905-george-rr-martin-to-receive-irish-book-awards

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/george-r-r-martin-wins-international-recognition-award-irish-book-awards-1070641

https://www.irishpost.com/news/game-thrones-author-george-r-r-martin-honoured-irish-book-awards-170445

In addition to the trophy shown in the photographs above, I was also presented with a marvelous bronze statue of the Irish warrior  hero Cuchulainn.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

I Could Tell You…

September 16, 2019 at 5:18 pm
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… but then I’d have to kill you.

Yes, yes, I know.   The internet is full of stories about a second GAME OF THRONES prequel moving closer to  production.   There are stories in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, DEADLINE, dozens of other places.   You’ve seen them, I suppose.   Since one cannot put the genie back in the lamp, here’s a link to one of the most complete, from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

https://ew.com/tv/2019/09/12/game-of-thrones-prequel-targaryens/

Many people have been emailing me since these stories hit the web, asking me to confirm or deny.

Sorry.   Can’t.   Well, not much, in any case.   Yes, I can confirm that HBO put several GAMES OF THRONES successor shows in development at one point.   There were four to start with.   Then five.   Then three.   I’ve said all that before.   Jane Goldman’s as yet untitled show, which I am still not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT, is one of those.   The pilot on that one wrapped a month ago and has been in post-production.  I am expecting to see her first cut soon.   (Last month in Belfast, I got a behind-the-scenes look at some of her sets, and they were spectacular).

The show stirring up all the internet headlines right now is one of the others.   Also a prequel.   Set thousands of years after Jane’s show in the history of Westeros.  And yes, it is based on material from one of my books.

((FWIW, those who have read FIRE & BLOOD will realize it contains enough materials for a dozen shows)).

This one has a title, but no one else has revealed it, so I had better not either.  ((But it’s not the obvious title)).

It has a script and a bible, and both of them are terrific, first rate, exciting.   They’re the work of RYAN CONDAL.   I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico a couple of years ago to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western called THE SIXTH GUN, based on the comic book.   That show did not go, though I had the pleasure of screening the pilot at my theatre, the Jean Cocteau.   Later we also did a premiere for COLONY, the aliens-in-LA series that Ryan created and ran.   He’s a helluva strong writer, and a huge fan of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, Dunk & Egg, and Westeros in general.   I’ve loved working with him, and if the Seven Gods and HBO are kind, I hope to keep on working with him for years to come on this new successor show, the title of which is…

Ooops.  Almost slipped.   Can’t say yet.

I can say that there will be dragons.   Everyone else has said that, so why not me?

I do want to point out that “moving closer to a pilot order” is NOT the same thing as “getting a pilot order.”  Would that it were.   This is encouraging, this is exciting, but don’t buy the couch just yet.   When HBO actually gives us a pilot order, you will hear me shouting it from the rooftops.   A series order, and I’ll be shouting even louder.    But we’ll see.   Right now all the signs are good, but nothing is confirmed.

Some websites are suggesting that the news about Ryan’s show moving forward means that Jane’s show won’t.   If that’s so, no one has told me.   I don’t think it’s so.   I love what Ryan has done, but I’m excited about the possibilities for Jane’s series as well.  Jane and I had dinner in London (at Rule’s, great spot, oldest restaurant in England, Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells ate there, it was a thrill to break bread with their ghosts), and her enthusiasm was palpable.   The world of Ice & Fire is a WORLD, boys and girls.   Huge continents, ten thousand years of history, cities, deserts, oceans, mysteries, triumphs and tragedies.  If there were indeed eight million stories in The Naked City in the 50s, surely there are eight billion stories to be told about Westeros, Essos, Sothoryos, and the lands beyond the Sunset Sea, south of Oz and north of Shangri-La…

And in these days of a hundred networks, channels, and streaming services, I think television has plenty of room for two shows set in Westeros… or hell, maybe three or four… I still want to do SPEARCARRIERS, after all.

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Stuff and Nonsense

May 4, 2019 at 9:24 am
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Just a few jots about various things going on these days, in my life and in the world at large.

Saw the new Avengers movie last night.  ENDGAME is amazing.  Kudos to the writers and director.  I cannot believe they got all those characters into one film, and still managed to do them all justice.   The final battle was epic, exciting, thrilling, full of twists and turns… and strangely beautiful.  But the character scenes earlier in the film really made it for me.   The opening with Hawkeye, the Ant-Man scenes, Tony Stark’s moments communing with his helm… so many more.  There’s plenty of action here, but this is not just A Big Dumb Action movie, of which there are far too many these days.   Stan Lee would have been proud.  Could he ever have dreamed that all those characters he and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and the rest of the Marvel team created in the early 60s would one day come to dominate global culture?  There’s an amazing story for you.

Oh… and yay for the rat.   The unsung hero.   They should make him an honorary Avenger.

On other fronts… my imaginary history book, FIRE & BLOOD, had a good long run on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List, hanging on for more than three months in the top ten before finally sliding off.   But hey, hey, hey, as of this week, I’m back!   My Targaryen history has reappeared at #9 on the hardcover fiction list, up from #12.   You can’t keep a good dragon down.

(You can get autographed copies of FIRE & BLOOD from the bookstore at my Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.  We also have signed copies of all my other books, as well as novels by many other writers… most recently, Alan Brennert and Marlon James).

The graphic novel of STARPORT, adapted and drawn by the talented Raya Golden from a television pilot I wrote in 1994, is also out, and doing nicely.   Raya did a beautiful job, and there’s a chance that there will be more STARPORT graphic novels coming your way in the future.  ((Based on my world and characters, but no, not written by me, I don’t have the time, so calm on down)).   Who knows?  Maybe even the TV series it was originally meant to be.  And wouldn’t THAT be wonderfully exciting.

Oh, and speaking of television, don’t believe everything you read.   Internet reports are notoriously unreliable.  We have had five different GAME OF THRONES successor shows in development (I mislike the term “spinoffs”) at HBO, and three of them are still moving forward nicely.   The one I am not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT will be shooting later this year, and two other shows remain in the script stage, but are edging closer.   What are they about?  I cannot say.   But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.

Purely as a viewer, no connection whatsoever, I am enjoying the hell out of the new HBO drama GENTLEMAN JACK.  Only two episodes in, but it’s very well done.  And of course, VEEP is as funny as ever… much funnier than real politics.

Out in the real world, I was pleased that Joe Biden finally announced his candidacy for president.   There are a lot of good Democrats running, maybe too many, and I’d probably vote for any one of them over the present blot upon the Oval Office.  The main things I want in a nominee, however, are twofold: (1) someone who can beat Trump, and (2) someone who would actually be a good/ great president.   Biden qualifies on both counts.  Also, the speech he gave announcing his run was kickass… and so, so true.  I wish him well.

Lots lots more going on, but I have pages to write.   ’nuff said.

 

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Watchers on Hadrian’s Wall

March 30, 2019 at 7:44 am
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The Wall in A SONG OF ICE & FIRE was inspired by Hadrian’s Wall, which I first saw in 1981 with my friend Lisa Tuttle.  I’ve told that story about a thousand times in a thousand interviews.  (Of course, the Great Wall of China was also a factor, but I’ve only read about the Great Wall, I’ve never seen it.  One day I want to visit China, but not until I’ve finished these books).

Hadrian’s Wall is the reality.  My Wall is the fantasy.   In fantasy, you take reality and turn it up to eleven.   (I have used that line in numerous interviews as well).

But now something very strange is happening.  Reality is turning around to imitate fantasy.

English Heritage has appointed Watchers on the Wall.  On Hadrian’s Wall.

Dressed as Roman legionaries, you say?   No, dressed as brothers of my Night’s Watch.

 

Here’s the whole story:

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/search-news/pr-game-of-thrones/

So far there are no plans to raise rebuild Hadrian’s Wall in ice and raise it up to 700 feet high, but the way things are going, that might be next.

Current Mood: amused amused

A New Year and a New SoI&F calendar!

January 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm
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Minion Raya here,

It’s a brand new year, and we’re proud to announce next years Song of Ice and Fire official calendar.  2019’s calendar will feature the stunning work of John Jude Palencar, who will bring his uniquely haunting visions of the SoI&F world to your home eleven months from now.

Check out some more of Jean’s work here at his website http://www.johnjudepalencar.com.

The calendars will be available from Random House, Amazon and other book seller later this year, so be sure and look them before the supply is gone.

Check out this cover art exclusive featuring a forlorn unnamed member of the Nightswatch. Keep and eye out for updates on John Jude Palencar’s 2019 calendar.

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Jon Snow Goes Lame

November 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm
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Damn.

Jon Snow has gone lame.

https://www.punters.com.au/news/jon-snow-out-of-melbourne-cup_163670/

There goes my plan to wager my entire fortune on the Bastard of Winterfell.

Current Mood: sad sad

Run Fast, Jon Snow

October 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm
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Jon Snow is running in the Melbourne Cup.

Or so my Aussie friends inform me.

https://www.justhorseracing.com.au/melbourne-cup/

For those who don’t live Down Under, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest horse race in Australia, and one of the biggest in the world. Like our Kentucky Derby, but much much older.

Phar Lap won it once.

Can Jon Snow do the same?

Current Mood: amused amused

Rest in Peace, Roy

October 17, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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The world became a little poorer this week. Roy Dotrice has died. He was ninety-four.

Roy first took up acting in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II, and went on to become one of the giants of British stage and screen, decorated by the Queen. He set a record for his one-man play BRIEF LIVES, and performed the key role of Mozart’s father in the film of AMADEUS, among a hundred other credits. He was a supremely gifted actor.

He was also my friend. He lived in the United Kingdom and I lived in New Mexico, so we did not see each other often, but whenever we did get together, it was a delight. I will always treasure the memory of the dinner I shared with Roy and his wife Kay (who passed away a few years ago) at his club, the Garrick, a centuries-old haunt of the legends of the British stage. That was a truly amazing evening. The last time I saw Roy was in Los Angeles, however, at the party his daughter threw him on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Many of the news stories about Roy’s death identified him as a GAME OF THRONES cast member. He was that, of course. He played the pyromancer Hallyne in two episodes during our second season… and, as with everything he did, he played him wonderfully.

Truth be told, Roy might have had a much larger role in the series. When we first cast the show, he was our choice to play Grand Maester Pycelle, and I have no doubt that he would have been magnificent in that role. Sadly, health problems forced him to bow out. Julian Glover stepped up and performed admirably in his stead, but sometimes I still wonder at what might have been.

Roy’s association with GAME OF THRONES runs far deeper than the television series. He was also the reader of the audiobooks of all five volumes of the series… though calling him a “reader” does not truly reflect his work. Roy performed those books. He gave every character his (or her) own distinctive voice, despite the fact that there were hundreds of them. So many, in fact, that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized him for voicing the most characters in an audibook for his work on A GAME OF THRONES, a record he still holds today (though actually I suspect he broke it himself for his readings of the later books).

I loved what Roy did on the audiobooks. He did not just read my words aloud, he brought them to life, in a way few actors could. And the fans agreed. Roy did the audiobooks for A GAME OF THRONES, A CLASH OF KINGS, and A STORM OF SWORDS, to great acclaim. When it was time to record A FEAST FOR CROWS, however, he was unavailable. Off doing a play in Birmingham, I was told. So my publishers used another reader. But the fans were having none of it. After the audiobook of FEAST was released, Random House received so many complaints that they had no choice but to go back and re-record the book with Roy, and release a second version. So of course when it was time to tape A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, there was never any question as to who would read it.

With Roy gone, I have no idea who will can possibly get to do the audiobooks for THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING. But whoever it is, they will have a hard, hard act to follow.

For all the great work he did on A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, my own memories of Roy Dotrice go back earlier, to the three years we worked together on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for CBS. Great memories, for me; that was a wonderful show, and a joy to work on. We had an amazing team of writers, and of course a terrific cast, with the likes of Jay Acovone, Linda Hamilton, Jo Anderson, the incredible Ron Perlman… and Roy, of course, as Father. It was an honor and a privilege to write for him.

Those years on B&B meant a lot to Roy as well. Just last month, he posted a farewell messages to all the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans around the world. You can find it on YouTube:

Such a fine actor. Such a sweet man.

Everyone who knew him is sad today.

Current Mood: sad sad