Anyway, by "much-anticipated" I mean it's been six years since the last book. (I was in Oregon, penniless, had to wait for it to come to the library, and then, wtf, the new POV is Cersei? Sorry, this is probably getting unintelligible again.) Add that to the new popularity thanks to the show, and this was a pretty huge event. When I happened to have the day of release off from work and the author happened to be doing his first signing one state over from me, it seemed my destiny was awaiting me.
I took the train into Boston - making a mental note here; this is the way to travel. Comfy, direct, and quite possibly the only vehicle in which I can read without getting horrendous motion sickness. From there I hopped on the subway and rode to where I could be picked up by ladydorotea, who also had a yen for some much-anticipated epic fantasy.
The signing was in a big cavernous Barnes & Noble, which we entered to find a mountain of crisp new hardcovers that could kill a man with one good bludgeon. We purchased our copies and received wristbands that authorized us to take our places in the line.
Well, that line. It wrapped around the store and doubled back several times. I'm not sure what happened to those who didn't have wristbands, unless they were sent to the Wall. Lady D and I decided to fortify ourselves at the Chili's next door before we got down to business, and had a nice lunch involving guacamole and books by Christos Gage. The line grew in our absence, of course, but it was worth it and we got a decent spot that only had us waiting for a couple hours.
My favorite thing about events like this is always the sight of geeks en masse. We're such friendly, fun people when you get us off the internet. Okay, so maybe Lady D can attest to me having enough of our loud pal just in front of us, but on the whole, it was a great mix of people in wonderful t-shirts, and how cool is it to randomly overhear conversations about Cersei Lannister? I might even forgive the guy singing the praises of Piers Anthony...actually no, I probably won't. (I had a Winterfell shirt on myself, by the way. I mean, obviously.)
We got just a few brief glimpses of GRRM - his helpers were hustling us like newly recruited soldiers and I was afraid that if I didn't present my book with the right page up, they were going to haul me back to the end of the line and tell me I deserved no less for holding everyone up. However, I did smile and thank the man as my book whizzed under his pen and returned to me, and I do believe he smiled back. He was wearing his sea captain hat and suspenders, no less than every picture I've seen.. Have I mentioned yet this was my first book signing? I'm recording the details because they interested me.
After that it was back to the home of Lady D, where her family entertained me graciously and I got to hold her beautiful cats and deadly blowgun. She even got me back to the train station the next morning so I could get back into town in time for work (yeah, they made me work after a mini vacation, how cruel is that?).
I don't know how long GRRM was there, but I heard that after the event, Samuel L. Jackson showed up and asked him to join the Avengers. Here's his account of the last few days, during which he apparently ate at Pepe's, which I could have walked to but didn't because I didn't know he would be there, well, such is life eh.
I haven't started reading A Dance With Dragons yet, because I'm re-reading the whole series first and still on the first one. It's very much worth it; I'll have to do some posts on that too. In the meantime I've been great at not spoiling myself. I have a habit of opening up an unread book to the middle or last page just to read half a tantalizing sentence, and sometimes this does not work out too well. This time it did, because the word I saw was "warg", and that's not a spoiler, that's just exciting.
Oh, and his dedication on this one was fabulous - he thanked the fans, many of them by name thanks to the Brotherhood Without Banners, and all of us for our patience.
I forgive you, GRRM. You're worth it.