author events in the past, but this was, by far, the most well attended event I've been to yet and serves as a testament to GRRM's soaring fame.
When I arrived on the scene, about 30 minutes prior to the event, SOLD OUT signs were posted up around the venue and there was a line of about 60-75 hopefuls waiting to see if there would be extra space for their "didn't-think-it-would-be-this-crazy" asses. Thankfully, I had bought my ticket ahead of time and didn't fall into that camp.
I met my fantasy readin' friend and fellow blogger, Justin outside and we headed in to grab seats. The main hall, where the event was held seemed packed when we got in there, but it continued to steadily fill up as the time for GRRM to hit the stage drew near. On multiple occasions the crowd was asked to squeeze in so more people could have seats. By the time things began, I'd say the venue was pretty much full to capacity.
George hit the stage and kicked things off by reading not one, but two chapters from The Winds of Winter; a Victarion chapter and a Tyrion chapter. He lead into the readings with the caveat that though the chapters were "complete" there was a good chance they could change or be heavily edited by the time the book was published, thirteen years from now. (A really good joke if you ask me!) Both chapters were quite good, and it was pretty flippin' amazing to hear them read by GRRM, who is a great live reader.
After the reading, he opened things up for a Q&A, and curtailed some obvious questions by stating that the book would be done when it is done, no promises, and that the HBO show is doing really well. As I've typically experienced from these author events, the fans asked a variety of questions ranging from really dumb ones like "Can you tell us if Jon is still alive?" (Read and find out) to "Will we find out what Howland Reed knows about Ned Stark?" (Read and find out) to some that were actually interesting and yielded interesting answers that are far too long to recap here.
One woman actually had the gall (and poor taste) to ask if GRRM died before the series was finished, does he have in mind anyone who would be able to carry on for him and see the series through. George related how his departed friend and author Roger Zelazny, who passed away at the relatively young age of 59 had more Amber books planned, but felt such a strong attachment to the world and the characters that he didn't want anyone else to write the stories. Martin said he felt the same way about Westeros and his characters, then paused, and said: "You are basically asking me if I think I'm going to die soon, and if that is the case, I have more serious concerns than the fucking series." The perfect answer in my opinion. I hope that woman felt ashamed.
Martin stayed on stage long enough to take all the questions from the people that were lined up, and also provided a few hundred signed editions of his various works, which were for sale in the lobby.
Overall, I would say that it was one of the best if not the best author events I've been to in my life. Martin was lively, engaging and quite funny too. He made fun of his writing pace, and made jokes about the "porn" in his books, and gave witty and thoughtful answers to the questions people had for him. The only drawback to the whole thing was that my anticipation and excitement for The Winds of Winter went from level 2 all the way up to about a 7 or an 8...*sigh* it could be a long wait. Still, my whining aside, it was an awesome author event with an even more awesome writer. Thumbs up for GRRM.