You may or may not remember the article I wrote a month ago about this event, but I’ll give a quick explanation for those of you who have no idea what this is. Deeper Than Swords was an event (March 21-22) and an exhibit (March 22-End of Year) celebrating the Works of George R.R. Martin. The exhibit and event were put on and hosted by Texas A&M’s Cushing Memorial Library. Why, you ask? Cushing has been Martin’s official writing repository for 20 years! The event started out with a special, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, themed dinner with Martin on the 21st. I did not attend this, due to high ticket prices. The exhibit opened on the 22nd and featured a two hour autograph session with Martin. I did visit the exhibit, but did not get an autograph. I was considering it, until I heard how long the line was. Aggies started lining up at 8am! At 6:30, it was time for Martin’s lecture at Rudder Auditorium. Deeper Than Swords ended the night with an early screening of the Season Three Premiere of Game of Thrones!
The first thing I noticed as I walked towards Cushing Memorial Library was a line that stretched out the door and around the building. As I mentioned before, Aggies had been lined up since 8am to get a $25 autograph from Martin. I had already heard about the line and had only come to see the exhibit. As I was walking in, I was handed a free book, that you can see in the above picture. It’s called, “Deeper Than Swords”, and goes in-depth into the history of Martin’s career and works. It’s pretty awesome. It’s even more awesome, because it was free. The exhibit itself is very cool and has a lot of stuff to check out.
“Deeper Than Swords will present objects, editions, and manuscripts from the full scope of George R. R. Martin’s career, from early letters and stories to his most recent writing. Major sections of the gallery will be devoted to the writing and reception of A Song of Ice and Fire, the range of his other novels and collaborations, and the international impact of Martin’s work.” -Deeper Than Swords
Here’s the best way I can describe the exhibit: if you live here in College Station (TX) or plan to visit, and you are a fan of George R.R. Martin, then you should definitely check it out. If you don’t fit that criteria, don’t check it out. It’s not cool enough to come to town only to see the exhibit. As I did fit the criteria, I did enjoy it. One thing that stuck out to me, for whatever reason, is that Martin adapted a screenplay for “A Princess of Mars” in 1994. It’s the first book in the Barsoom sci-fi book series from the early 20th century. His version didn’t get made, but a version, John Carter, eventually made it to the big screen last year. Unlike some people, I actually really liked the movie and plan to read the books in the near future. I would have been interested to see Martin’s vision for the movie, but it was deemed not plausible to film at the time. I agree. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that 1994 FX would not have done the movie justice.
Anyway, there’s lots of cool stuff like that to see at the Deeper Than Swords exhibit. You’ve got all year to check it out at the Cushing Memorial Library. For more information on the Deeper Than Swords Exhibit, visit their website here:
(From the Exhibit: Time Magazine named Martin the ‘American Tolkien’ and I agree.)
After I perused the Deeper Than Swords Exhibit at Cushing, I made my way to Rudder Auditorium to find my seats. And what seats they were! I found myself sitting on the front row! I went by myself. My best friend and I had been planning on going together, but as some of you may know, he passed away this past Christmas. I still wanted to go, but I didn’t really feel like going with anyone else. I still had a good time and there were plenty of Aggies to chat about Game of Thrones with before the lecture started.
Here’s the program:
As you can see, the Lecture started out with a couple of introductions: the Dean, the Director, and the Curator. Those three worked hard to make Deeper Than Swords happen! Finally, Mr. George R.R. Martin himself took the stage. He discussed his life, his works, his connection to A&M, and more. Martin also held a good Q&A session with selected questions chosen earlier in the day. I didn’t take notes during either, but I will express what I took away from the lecture.
Part of the reason that I think Martin writes such good books, is that he loves book himself. That might sound ridiculous, but while I’m sure most authors love writing, I’m not so sure that most authors love books. Martin really loves books and stories. He really stresses the importance of stories in all mediums and I agree. The story is the most important part. That’s why I truly love. In video games, movies, TV, books. It’s all about the story!
Something else he touched on, was the fact that he liked to bring some reality to fantasy. That’s another reason why his books are so amazing. I think we’ve all experienced loss before. It’s usually unexpected, but it happens. Martin brings the reality of death into his books and that’s a good thing for more than one reason. The reader likes to not know what to expect and be surprised from time to time. Martin used Raiders of the Lost Ark and Schindler’s List as examples to this point. Both are good movies. Both involve Nazi’s. However, they share a very big difference. In Raiders, the viewer knows that Indiana Jones isn’t going to be killed by Nazi’s. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there isn’t much reality there. He faces impossible odds and you know that there is no way that he will fail. In comparison, Schindler’s List, the viewer knows that no character is safe. This adds drama and suspense to the movie and a sense of realism. When compared to Tolkien, Martin made the same comparison. A Song of Ice and Fire is Schindler’s List, while Lord of the Rings is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those two book series are two of my all-time favorites. Top 5. It’s funny how similar and different they are at the same time.
Continuing on with the theme of realism, Martin also touched on how his characters are imperfect and gray. What is the real, human element? They’re human! Imperfect beings. And the line between good and bad is blurred more often than not. In LOTR, good and bad guys are clearly defined and even attached to the colors of their clothing (white=good, black=bad). In life, there are no completely pure people, nor are there completely evil people. That’s why in A Song of Ice and Fire, you can empathize with most of the characters. I believe his characters are more authentic because he realizes this. It’s another dose of reality in fantasy.
Martin comes across as a smart, funny man. Thinking back to the lecture, I feel like I saw a glimpse of Tyrion Lannister in him. I don’t know if that’s intentional, subconscious, or if I’m just imagining it.
Overall, it was a very intriguing lecture. It was about an hour and a half long, but I could have sat there longer listening to his stories.
Here are some pictures from the lecture:
Sorry for the poor quality. I should have taken my actual camera and not relied solely on my phone camera.
A&M has some good pictures you can check out here: Deeper Than Swords Photo Album
After the lecture, there was a short intermission, and then it was finally time for the screening of the Season 3 Premiere of Game of Thrones! I had been looking forward to this lecture for a year now, so when this screening was announced a month ago, it was a nice surprise! The cherry on the top, if you will. Some might have gone just to see the show, but I was there for both. That being said, I was pretty stoked.
I re-watched the first two seasons in the past two weeks, in anticipation. I watched them last year, before reading all of the books. Season Three is based on the first half of “A Storm of Swords”. This was easily my favorite of the five books released, so far. I couldn’t/can’t wait to see how the TV shows makes the Storm come to life. I’m not going to say anything about the episode that I saw last night, but I can tell you that it was AMAZING! I will be re-watching it again on March 31st (after I get back from the Rangers-Astros game) and I will review each episode this season.
You guys will have to wait 8 more days to see it, but here’s the trailer to tide you over:
I’m not sure what was more awesome: the actual episode or seeing it on the big screen. Game of Thrones is meant to be seen in movie theatres. I got chills during the scene with Daenerys and her Dragons at sea. I’m spoiled now. It was epic! HBO has problems with pirates, so I think they should simultaneously release them in movie theatres each week. I’d be there each week, begging them to take my money from me. I really think that making it available like that, may help them make more money off of the series and curb the piracy. I don’t really know what I’m talking about, though. I just really want to watch Game of Thrones on the big screen every week. Please make this happen, HBO!
As you can probably tell, it was an awesome night.
I leave you with a George R.R. Martin quote. A quote that I, as an avid reader, strongly believe in. Thanks to Martin, I’ve lived the lives of some of the most interesting, most favorite characters, I’ve ever read (and watched).
P.S. My favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George R.R. Martin. What’s with all of the initials??