Moench thinks of the circumstances of A Dance with Dragons' publication as a perfect storm. Thanks to particular confluence of events, George R. R. Martin has become that rare thing: a very famous novelist. Moench realized Martin was a legitimate celebrity a few weeks ago when, at lunch in New York to discuss the tour, a stunned waiter approached to thank Martin for his books.
"I am certainly being recognized more in places like airports and train stations and just walking down the street," Martin said, his hat bent over a book. "I was stopped by a guy just leaving the radio station.
"I'm a little intimidated. I just came back from Slovenia, where I had two thousand people at a signing. It almost killed me. I didn't expect so many people in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Three busloads of fans came in from Croatia. When people start coming in on busses from other countries, it's a little stunning."
He blames HBO. "Before, it was just these little pictures in the back of the books," he says, pointing to his author photo on the back flap.
PERFECT STORM Thanks to the HBO series and the publication of A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin has become that rare thing: a very famous novelist.
"It's the power of television, you know? I did my first script for Twilight Zone in 1985, and I sold my first story in 1971. So, before I wrote for television, I had already been a professional writer for 14 years. I had four novels out and 50 short stories."
At the time Martin joined the Twilight Zone writing team, the audience was small for this '80s revival of the Rod Serling–created '60s classic.
"It was one of the lowest-rated shows on television, but despite that, when my first show broadcast, I realized that more people had seen my work on just one television episode than had read all of my books in the 14 years that I had been writing."
The audience for Game of Thrones makes that of the reanimated Twilight Zone seem even more insignificant.
"There's at least three groups of fans now, with the TV show. There's the people who've been reading the books all along and have watched the TV show. There's the people who came to the TV show first who are now reading the books, and there's the people who're watching the TV show and have never read a book in their life and are not about to start now."
Martin sighs. "I've had signings where nobody came. It feels good, but I wish this had happened 30 years earlier when I was 32 and not 62. I had more stamina in those days. I could have signed all night and partied till dawn."
The royal subjects
The immense appeal of George R. R. Martin's storytelling relies, in part, on the innate thrill of the mechanics of power. Kings, justified or otherwise, move great armies of men and rely on them, too. Martin takes the reader into the war room and onto the battlefield and shows that every move a king makes, however small, has been carefully plotted by a number of advisers, each with his own motivations and fealties, discussed in similarly exhaustive detail.