Hippoi Athanatoi

WorldCon: Day 4

Woke up around 9 AM, having decided that most everyone in Cairncross would be sleeping in later just because of the very late partying the previous evening. Didn’t stress too much, other than determining that we wanted to be at Boisdale at least twenty minutes early so as to make sure we could get a place during GRRM’s reading. We marvelled at the obviously too-small room he was given, but what can you do? We popped into Ops briefly, to see if my jacket had been returned, then went over to the cafe where a number of the BwB were. When we mentioned that we shouldn’t stay long, given that his reading was bound to be popular, new information was laid on us: it had been moved to Hall 5, which had plenty of seating. Wonderful! No stressing at all, then.

Of course, the highlight was when George came walking into the area and waved a hand. He said he’d join us, but he needed some coffee. Cool. I made him take my seat while I went and fetched a new one. This was really an excellent chance to chat with him in a more intimate setting, because it was rather quiet and people weren’t trundling by all the time. A number of small ASoIaF tidbits came out of this, but that’s for the So Spake Martin collection. Eventually we all decided to shuffle on towards the Hall, where a lengthy line was beginning to form. We chatted quite a bit with one another. Daj was there, looking quite tired, but unfortunately he forgot his badge and some activity that was going on at the front of the line suggested they were going to keep a close eye to make sure people were con members, so he left (as far as I could see, they didn’t actually do that.) We were let in after a sizable crowd had gathered.

Some info from his preamble to the reading will go into the SSM, but basically he explained where AFfC was at and why he split it as he did. For the first time that I know, he cited a specific person for pointing him in that direction (Daniel Abraham, a young writer GRRM seems to have taken under his wing). He then read from the A Feast for Crows excerpt booklet which, ironically enough, contains Dany chapters which won’t be published until A Dance with Dragons. The only thing I’ll say about it is that George is an excellent reader, giving each character his or her own distinct voice but (and this is crucial, I’ve found) not overdoing it. After he took some questions, the details of which are also for the SSM.

Now, after this we had thought to go to the dealer’s room to actually buy some things we had picked out. But it turned out that the second of Testor’s presentations on their miniatures was going to take place right at 12. We had thought it was at 6:00 PM, and everyone else did, too, but for whatever reason we decided to double-check. When we saw it was happening right now, we walked quickly to the Armadillo… and found Jamie, Parris, Joanna, and not a lot of other people. Like, none, more or less, except for Ser Sean and Ser Barry who hung out for awhile. It was a bit of a surprise, especially as Jamie had received pictures of the prototype miniatures designed by Tom Meier. Oh, well—it just meant we got to look at them without him being distracted. Parris was very fun and mentioned some fun and/or interesting tidbits, like how George would paint his miniatures while watching football games. All in all, it was nice, and the only shame was that more people hadn’t been there. Parris was very effusive in her praise of us—I think she exaggerates somewhat, but we were certainly very pleased.

After that, we went along with Jamie to Operations to deliver a digital projector to them, and chatted a bit more. He had been invited to George’s miniatures presentation (scheduled for 1:00 PM), but wasn’t sure where it was, so we pointed it out to him before leaving him as he went hunting for something to drink. We took a good place, and saw that Parris had beaten us there, and looked ready to play gadget-person for George as well as she was at the podium and had a laptop in front of her. What followed was a fascinating and arcane mixture of personal history, miniatures history, and miniatures minutae. George was fun and amusing as always, and knew the most obscure things about the figures (Parris would bring up a new picture and he’d rattle off things like, “This knight’s pose is known as C14 ....”). Very cool. Particularly interesting for me was his discussion of the modern miniatures coming out of certain Russian studios, because they’re gorgeous and they present a certain problem for collectors. Because they’re large studios, rather than the individuals of the past who sculpted and then painted the figures themselves, there’s a question as to how “valuable” they are since they lack that individual historic touch.

George finished up with his pride-and-joy, his miniature Tower of Glim, and explained the history of the real castle, which is the one and only fortress ever sunk by a submarine. See his website for that and more.

After this, we ran into Pod, Iceman, and SKD. We accosted Padraig and asked him if he could get a hold of daj (no one seemed to have the right phone number for him), so he called mormont for us, as someone had suggested that he had a jacket from the previous night. Mormont told us to meet Cheryl at the flat they were staying in, so we thanked Pod and headed out that way. Alas, it was not ours. We stopped at Cairncross for a little to rest our weary feet (and recharge our weary camera) before trudging back to the SECC. Ran into Joanna, who accompanied us to the dealer’s room for a bit and told us that she and Parris were going to go to Alan Lee’s slideshow at 3:30 PM. We browsed a bit more before wandering back in search of someone who might have daj’s number. Ran into Parris just outside of the Loch Suite of rooms, where she asked us to tell Joanna that she was going to skip the Lee program because she was famished and had to get something to eat. Asked her if she had daj’s number, but no luck. Looking at our schedule, we saw we had nothing more to do for awhile, so we decided to see the slideshow, in part so that we could be sure to pass on Parris’s message to Joanna.

We were starting to run on empty, so we got a bit drowsy mid-way through the slideshow, but that’s just because it was (relatively) quiet and quite dark in the room. Alan gave some new information (to us, anyways), such as the fact that over the course of the films he used up some 3,000 sheets of loose paper and some 30 sketchbooks besides. At the end he took questions, and Linda just had to ask one: what impact, if any, would working on the films so extensively have on his future Tolkien artwork? Alan paused for a long while and then said that was a good question, which certainly excited Linda—she stumbled across a question no one had thought to ask before? And one that wasn’t stupid? Cool. In fact, Lee got so involved in answering the question that he wandered off from behind the podium (and the mike) to address Linda more directly. He was called back to the podium so we could all hear his answer, which was that it absolutely did have an impact, not so much because he’d feel constrained to depict things exactly the same from now on but because he would be more ambitious and think beyond the narrow confines of paper or canvas.

Afterwards we saw Joanna again, who was enthused as we were with Lee’s thoughtful response to the question. I believe she said that she thought he got into it in part because he’d naturally like girls who look a bit like elves. Which is a great line, even if Linda seems to be in denial that she’s at all elvish. Heh. Also passed on the message from Parris, and saw Joanna off.

Then it was to the dealer’s room, where we bought two very fine U.K. first edition hardcovers of Legends (containing George’s “The Hedge Knight”) and The Lions of Al-Rassan which we believe is signed by GGK (must verify somehow). Both books were officially at list price (about £34 together), but as it was Sunday they were offering 25% off (or about £26), but we bargained down to £20 and felt like we came off well. We did, though not as well as we thought we did when we later checked on-line used bookshops and found out that first editions of these two books are not particularly valuable, as we had thought. The prices we paid are a little under the usual, still, so we’re plenty pleased, but I’ll have to work on the bargaining skills.

We determined to see George (he was doing a YAFA thing, which we were quite envious about—just four or five people sitting in a circle chatting with him; we’re a bit out of YAFA’s target audience, but we were tempted to just pull up a couple of chairs and maybe take some notes of any interesting questions answers), to see if he would sign the book (of course he did—he signed it to both of us, with the message, “Great to see you at a con at last—you should leave the hedges more often”) and to ask him if we’d see him at the post-Hugo parties. But while we waited, we saw the incomparable Dave Axler, who we had a great time talking with while he waited. We wandered out of the SECC for a little bit so that he could smoke while we looked over some of his great pictures (he had some particularly interested cab shots). He took some nice ones of ourselves and promised to send them to us some time. As we weren’t sure we’d see him again before leaving, we made preliminary goodbyes, but fortunately we’d see him later.

Caught George, got the book signed, and determined that we had a good chance of seeing him at the Hilton provided that the Hugos did not run too long. We repaired to Cairncross then, to freshen up and change clothes before going to Mr. Singh’s for a final dinner in Glasgow. However, right around then I got the brilliant idea of using Skype to call daj’s house, because someone had said that morning that they may have had a coat as well. Somewhere over the day, the idea that daj had a jacket from the party had turned into the idea that that jacket had ended up in mormont’s hands, and I realized there was no particular reason to think that. Anyways, it turns out they did have a jacket. Weren’t quite sure how to meet up, but GoN mentioned a big group were going to volunteer around the Hugos, so we figured we’d try to see them then or, if not, at the Hilton.

So, a small change of plans followed, as we returned to the SECC again, only to discover that there was no need for volunteers in the run-up to the Hugos (yeah, we decided to volunteer more). We saw Sophelia and SKD then, and they hadn’t seen any of the group, though SKD informed us that the big group volunteering was after the Hugos, handing out flyers (specifically, it turned out, the results announcement). Doh. We just had to eat, so we took off and walked to Mr. Singh’s, where we had a fabulous meal involving chicken pakoras for both of us, chicken rogan josh for myself, and chicken south Indian garlic chili for Linda (which her waiter later told her was too hot for him; it was very, very hot, I can attest, from my one brief sampling). Then we went to the Hilton and largely waited around.

The parties were, naturally, fewer, and less lively as most people were at the awards. Then they started to trickle in. Then more. Then some came in bearing Hugo awards. And George came by, who confirmed the Best Novel winner and the fact that this was a very fast ceremony by Hugo standards. And then the Bros. arrived—hurrah! We talked and hung out for a couple of hours, and I got into some interesting book-related discussions with Padraig and cteresa, and had a good talk with mormont about this and that. Saw Parris there, as well, who was gracious as always as we decided around 1 AM that we had to get going to bed. She sorely tempted us with promises of a lovely guest room in Santa Fe should we happen by next year. We took a group picture and took our leave of everybody and walked home, buoyed by the exceptional time we had and sad only that we couldn’t spend more time with everyone (especially with a fine Monday barbecue planned). Also did my good samaritan deed as we walked, helping one petite older woman help a less-petite, even older, and quite a bit drunker woman back onto her feet where she was laying on the sidewalk. A taste of Glaswegian weekends, I suppose.

And that is about that.

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