The world has gone mad watching the final season of Game of Thrones. Dan Fogelman, the creator of US show This Is Us, recently described a celebrity encounter with GoT writer George R Martin. Fogelman and his friend Alex Hanan, a big GoT fan, met Martin after a Broadway show.
Here is Fogelman’s story . . .
George R Martin
Dan Fogelman’s account:
Anyone want a quick personal story about George R. Martin?
Over a year ago a close buddy and I get to see Springsteen’s Broadway show. It’s a big deal for us. My buddy, Alex, gets there super early, because he’s excited, and calls me as I’m in a cab heading there.
He’s talking a mile a minute. While waiting outside the theatre, he has spotted George R. Martin. He says he’s going to go talk to him. I beg him not to. He hangs up on me.
Now, a bit about Alex. He is larger than life. Handsome and charming as hell, with the best head of hair you’ve ever seen. He’s also obsessed w Game of Thrones like no one you’ve ever known. And he never listens to anyone so I just KNOW he’s going to go accost George R. Martin.
I arrive at the theatre. Alex is waiting, bursting with energy as always. He tells me he approached George. Got a picture. And, somehow - miraculously - got George R Martin’s cell phone number. George was with his wife and told Alex they usually go for pizza after a show.
Alex says to him: “maybe we will join you.” Alex and I chuckle at his chutzpah.
We see Springsteen. The entire show Alex is debating when to text George. I beg him to let it go. I know George will never reply and Alex will he disappointed
The Springsteen show ends. It’s amazing. Alex, as I knew he would, immediately texts George. And to my absolute shock... George R Martin writes Alex back! He tells us to meet them at a local pizza joint.
Alex and I go. I’m convinced it’s going to end badly. A weird miscommunication. We are going to get ghosted. At least it will be a funny story. And then...
George and his lovely wife arrive.
We eat pizza for an hour or two. George and I talk shop. Alex tries to play it cool, only makes a few nerdy Thrones references. At meal’s end, George gives Alex a Westeros coin. Alex reacts stronger than is appropriate for a 40-something man.
We all part ways. Alex is giddy.
Here’s what George R Martin didn’t know that night. My handsome, well-haired, larger than life pal Alex is battling a random case of stage 4 lung cancer. He will pass away a year later. I will dedicate the S3 premiere of This Is Us to him.
But for that entire year, Alex never stops talking about his night with his hero. And, in turn, I will never stop telling that story. Or, bigger picture: Alex’s story.
For our friends, watching this season’s GOT will be bittersweet without Alex texting us annoying spoilers.
But it will also be a reminder of our friend, who we miss terribly. And for me; not just a reminder of the power of storytelling. But also a reminder of the importance of kindness (for no other reason than being kind) these days.
Alex Hanan with George R Martin