Friday, August 12, 2011 at 1:23 PM
It was an epic geekfest that could only be matched by the likes of a Comic-Con or a Star Trek convention: Googlers flocked to hear master fantasy writer George R. R. Martin talk at our Mountain View headquarters last month, in the first-ever live-streamed event for the Authors@Google series. Though you may have missed Martin live -- in which the Game of Thrones author took a variety of questions from Googlers as well as the general public -- you can now watch the recorded talk on YouTube:
Martin answers questions about the Game of Thrones books and HBO® series at Google. (Warning: slight spoilers during the talk, but nothing major revealed.)
The catalyst for Martin's visit to Google was a happy accident -- or as some might say, the work of the old gods. Last May, Nicholas Farmer was at Professor Thoms', a New York City bar, where a viewing party for the HBO® series Game of Thrones was being held. The bartender nudged him: "Hey Nick, there's the author of Game of Thrones." Farmer went and struck up a conversation with Martin, eventually asking if he'd heard of the Authors@Google series, which his mother Ann Farmer was an organizer for. Martin, friendly guy that he is, was open to the idea of visiting Google, saying "Have your mother contact my publicist, it's up to him." The rest is history.
At the event in July, Googler moderator Dan Anthony kicked things off by noting, "The only thing that would be cooler than this was if Joss Whedon came rushing in the door, and said he suddenly had to cast a Googler to star opposite Scarlett Johansson." Anthony praised Martin for creating the "world's favorite dwarf Lannister," quickly adding, "that doesn't mean you can kill him now."
Martin -- on tour promoting his latest book A Dance with Dragons -- was himself an engaging and humorous speaker. He answered fan questions and topics from "How did you get the TV show creators to stay so true to the novels?" (Martin: "Candy and chocolates"), to why he doesn't read internet fan forums ("What if they come up with better ideas than the ones I had?"), to his being something of a post-modern Tolkien ("There's an unspoken assumption in [Tolkien's] Return of the King that Aragorn is the king now and everything will be hunky dory. You never actually get into the nitty gritty of Aragorn ruling. And what is his tax policy?").
He also answered other questions often asked by fans, like why he kills off major characters so often ("There's a reason") and whether he plans to do any prequel books to the fantasy series (Maybe).
After the talk, I was able to chat with Martin a little about ebooks. The author says he carries his e-reader with him now whenever he travels, whereas in the past, he would incur overweight baggage charges because of the 10 or more physical books he would inevitably bring along. But he was also concerned that digital piracy might do to the book industry what it did to the music industry.
Martin, holding a Google eBook version of A Dance with Dragons on the Story HD from iriver
If you haven't already, make sure to get a digital copy of Martin's just released book from the Google eBookstore, A Dance with Dragons, for your smartphone, tablet, PC, netbook, laptop or e-reader device (see a full list of supported devices).
If you're new to the series, catch up on the previous books:
Or grab the boxed set:
A Game of Thrones Boxed Set
Finally, during the talk, Martin was presented with a dragon-ized Android t-shirt, designed by Googler Michelle Nguyen and made specially for this event. You can now get your own Android Dragon T-shirt at the Google Online Store: