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When two worlds collide- George RR Martin and Robin Hobb Enthral Fans.
August 22, 2014 By Jason Hibbitt
It was a grand setting befitting two of the world’s greatest fantasy storytellers. The creators of the ‘A Song and Ice and Fire’ and ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’ series were in town. Freemason’s Hall in London could easily have been mistaken for a royal court, and from golden thrones on a raised platform, George RR Martin and Robin Hobb delighted their courtiers.
It was a grand event. Organised by the authors’ UK publishers, Harper Voyager, it was also streamed live to a worldwide audience by Blinkbox. Upon entry, the audience was greeted by an array of cosplayers from the A Song of Ice and Fire series, including Cersei Lannister, Robert Baratheon and Robb Stark (both with and without Direwolf head attachment).
Those who had become accustomed to seeing George RR Martin in his trademark black cap were to be disappointed. A hatless Mr Martin revealed that it had been sold for $10,000, with the money going towards the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, an organisation that is close to the author’s heart. Unsurprising really as wolves feature prominently in both author’s fantasy worlds.
The authors talked touchingly about the first books they had written and published. Robin Hobb (real name Margaret Linholm) first attempted to sell her stories at the age of 18, and made $5 when selling her first story to a sunday school magazine. Ominously, Mr Martin revealed that he did not always finish his first stories, and fans of the series will hope this is not an omen. His first published story was called ‘The Hero’, which he sold for the grand sum of $94 in the summer of 1970 to Galaxy Magazine. So, from little acorns do great oak trees grow.
Robin Hobb talked with great eloquence about the challenge of transferring a beautiful story with wonderful scenes and characters from the mind of it’s creator onto the page, describing it as like ‘chasing butterflies whilst trying not to crush them’. That beautiful story that is in the mind of the creator can always be ruined with the wrong words or phrases.
Interestingly, it was revealed by George RR Martin that the ‘A Song Of Ice and Fire’ series was originally conceived as a trilogy, that being ‘A Game of Thrones’, ‘A Clash of Kings’ and ‘The Winds of Winter’. However, “The tale grew in the telling” and as the fantasy epic forms, “The stew is much richer but takes more bowls to fill up”.
Both authors were also asked why their books were so violent and why so many of the characters were killed off. Robin Hobb wittily replied, “When I get beyond four of five characters, there is one way to easily sort out the story line’ to great laughter from the audience.
In a similar vein, Mr Martin said that he could easily write about, “A well-adjusted family…the seven kingdoms have a great period of prosperity and there is an occasional currency crisis or something, but that wouldn’t be so exciting….. conflict and danger and all these things are the good strong spices we want’.
And we all say bravo to that.
When asked if whether, looking back, they would have done anything differently, Mr Martin replied that he would have carried out all promotions for A Game of Thrones in disguise, and that the success that the story has bought him “never ceases to be surreal”. When asked the same question, Robin Hobb responded that the only thing she would change would be to start writing sooner- a sentiment that all actual and aspiring writers will relate to.
Fans of Robin Hobb’s work will be delighted to know that ‘Fools Assassin’, the latest book to feature Fitz, has been published and is receiving great reviews.
And as for the next book in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, well, as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait’
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