As you likely already know, George R. R. Martin can be a weird and interesting guy. Super nerdy and up on his history, he’s thoughtful, talks a lot and giggles like a teenager. He gets a lot of criticism about his wordiness and procrastination, but there are a few cool tidbits to be found across an evening wiled away with Game of Thrones’ Shae — actress Sibel Kekilli. The two recently spent a night traipsing around Martin’s adopted hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, starting at the author’s house and ending at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, which he’s owned since 2013. It’s a long, strange trip, and if you’ve got a spare hour, there are compelling conversations herein. If you don’t feel like watching the whole thing (there are also plenty of lulls, and a lot of eating and drinking), here are some of the interesting bits.
1. Martin converted a linen closet in his home to a room that houses some of his myriad dioramas; he also has them in his library (he doesn’t know how many in total).
Kekilli: “Oh my god, what are you doing with them?”
Martin: “I play with them, and I arrange them, and…see, there’s a whole banquet…” (Hmm, if only there were some other way he could set his imagination free?) The author spoke proudly of his Song of Ice and Fire figures, unique because they were made before he signed the HBO contract. (“Once I sign the series, then HBO gets all the rights.”) The figures are made of pewter, and come unpainted, “…and I’m not good at painting, so I hire people to paint them.” He plucked out the Shae model, who “doesn’t have any clothes on” (she really did have *some*) so Kekilli could get a close-up look. Martin also noted the dragons weren’t quite accurate, because his only have two legs.
2. Martin feels the world “owes him” a Swedish girl.
Although he’s done a lot of traveling since becoming a writer, Martin laments not having roamed more when he was younger. “There’s still so much of the world I haven’t seen. It is getting harder because I’m getting older…” He went to Northwestern on a full scholarship, and every summer when Martin went back to NJ to work and earn money for books, all his friends “who were rich” went to Europe during the summers. “And they all came back with fantastic stories of hitchhiking around Europe and having affairs with Swedish girls. And I never got to have an affair with a hot, 19-year-old Swedish girl, so I’ve always felt that life owes me a Swedish girl.”
3. He could eat “a bathtub of Chile con queso” (“If only it was not fattening”); it’s his favorite thing in the world.
Some of the best moments captured were of Kekilli gamely trying every spicy food and drink Martin offered up. “I am full of chili!”
4. He was raised as a Catholic, but was never really a “true believer” (Kekilli: “Me neither”).
“I stopped going to church when I was in college. We have to adopt these laws ‘cause, you know, an invisible guy who lives in the sky said so. I don’t, uh, I don’t get it, you know?” Martin went on to explain his first great crisis of faith, at about 12 or 13, when the Catholic rules about meat eating on Friday were changed by Pope John XXIII. (This conversation starts at about the 29:30 mark.) The arbitrary demarkation line of being damned to hell or not was for Martin, too much to swallow.
5. Martin witnessed fans refusing to let Lena Headey sign their Game of Thrones posters because they don’t like Cersei Lannister.
At a particular San Diego Comic-con, Martin was sitting with a whole group of people from Game of Thrones, for a mass-signing, and as he passed posters to Headey (who sat next to him) to sign, Martin said “There were people saying ‘No, we hate you — we don’t want your signature,’ and they would go right past Lena to the next person. (Idiots!)
Here’s the whole Durch die Nacht mit…