Winter is coming to HBO on Sunday, April 17.
But on Friday, April 8, dinner was coming to Venice Beach. [Or a tasty pre-dinner appetizer.]
After visiting locations in New York and Los Angeles, the “Game of Thrones” food truck made its final stop on Friday evening, delivering “a taste of Westeros” with a free tasting menu devised by “Top Chef” favorite Tom Colicchio.
Friday’s menu offered the choice between suckling head cheese (accompanied by farro and dried fruits) and venison skewers (with baked apple, barley and cinnamon). Both featured options were accompanied by moist lemon cakes. Many people in the long line stretching down Abbot Kinney selected first one entree and then circled back around for another stint in line to try the other. The head cheese came only in a thin sliver and while savory, it could have been any tasty terrine or luncheon meat. The venison, though, was tremendous and I could have made a meal of it, if I’d gone back through the line five or six more times. [Instead, I went across the street and whetted the rest of my appetite at one of the seemingly dozen Korean-Mexican fusion trucks that prowl LA’s streets.]
Fans at the “Game of Thrones” truck were treated to a surprise guest, “A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin, who greeted every patron through the line as they neared the end of their journey. Some of the diners were clear fans. A guy in front of me told Martin that he’d previously met him at a book-signing in Dublin. Others had no clue who they were seeing, but they were at least appreciative of the camera crews surrounding Martin and the pilgrims coming up to be photographed with the author.
As food quantities ran low and the gaggle diminished, I snagged a few minutes with Martin, who saw the first two episodes of “Game of Thrones” earlier this week.
Click through for the interview…
HitFix: Have they let you try to food yet?
George R. R. Martin: I had the venison. The venison was great. It was magnificent.
HitFix: And I assume you had no connection with Tom Colicchio and the designing of this spread?
GRRM: None at all.
HitFix: What goes through your mind when you see something like this?
GRRM: It blows my mind. Mind you, I’ve been out of television for 10 years and I’ve never worked with HBO before, so I don’t know what’s customary in way of promotion, but this is certainly not something that I anticipated. If there have been previous foodtrucks running around for “The Sopranos” or “Deadwood,” I’ve missed them. Or they haven’t come to Santa Fe, anyway. But a foodtruck by a world-class chef is astonishing. And here I am about to eat a lemon cake… It’s amazing.
HitFix: Has anything else from the scale and scope of HBO’s promotion for this amazed you?
GRRM: Well, there’s one I haven’t seen. Tonight they’re taking me to see a wall? At Hollywood & Highland? I haven’t see that. I don’t know what it is. But it sounds pretty amazing? You know anything about that? [I don’t.] No? Well, come to Hollywood & Highland tonight and who knows what we’ll find!
HitFix: Is this fun for you? Or is it just overwhelming?
GRRM: It’s both. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews. It’s my 15 minutes of fame, I’ve been telling people. I’m sure a year from now, you’ll be doing a “Where Are They Now?” feature on me.
HitFix: I know you finally saw the first two episodes this week. Give me some early reactions…
GRRM: They’re amazing. They’re gorgeous. I saw them on a big screen and it looked like a movie. The special effects hold up to giant magnification. The visuals are just gorgeous. The directors really have great eyes. And, of course, I knew that the acting and writing would be first rate. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] are terrific writers, both of them, and we have a world-class cast, with people like Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, amazing discovery, Kit Harrington, the kids. So I loved it.
It was the scenes from my book, many of the scenes from my book pretty much as a wrote them. Original scenes that have been added because of the change of medium, those were pretty good too. I did occasionally miss a scene. I know the book so well. I said, “Well OK, now this scene is coming… Awww. They left that scene out. Oh, that’s too bad.” Unless they did a three-hour every week… But I don’t think HBO was going to give us that. I think my fans will be overjoyed by this series. I think 95 percent of them will love it. There are always a few who are like, “You left out Tom Bombadil! How could you leave out Tom Bombadil!” So there will be those people. But, for the most part I think it should be very successful.
HitFix: Were you particularly impressed with how well they realized any moment or image?
GRRM: The Wall is the biggest fantasy element in the books, really. And The Wall is astonishing, both shots of it, both the opening and later when Jon sees it for the first time, which is a different angle and different painting or CGI thing.
HitFix: And going forward this season, what are you most excited about seeing?
GRRM: Well, I’m looking forward to seeing my own episode, which is Episode Eight, “The Pointy End,” which introduces some characters like Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, who will be seen for the first time there, and there’ll be other cool stuff in that chapter. And I’m looking forward, I don’t want to spoil things here, but I’m looking forward to the final shot of the first season, which is a rather big and important shot, but I’m not going to say what happens in it, because that would give away too much.
“Game of Thrones” premieres on HBO on Sunday, April 17.