I was reading an old New Yorker I found at the gym the other day when I came across a tasty little tidbit I just had to share. The article was about George R.R. Martin, writer of the book and TV series A Game of Thrones. I wouldn't necessarily classify myself as a fan—the medieval fantasy storyline has a little too much rape and incest for the average Sunday night at our house, but I'm old-fashioned that way. Still, I'm always curious about my fellow writers, and the story was mostly about how Martin contended with his fans' insatiable appetite for entertainment, specifically the resentful impatience and impossibly high expectations that characterized it.
What interested me most, however, was the following story about one of the first gatherings of his fan club in Philadelphia. Laura Miller writes:
"At that first Brotherhood party, in 2001, a tipsy reveller (this is a crowd that likes to lift a glass) asked Martin to knight him. Martin said, "I can't knight you. You haven't gone on a quest yet!" When his petitioner implored Martin to invent one, he sent the fan and several others off in search of Philly cheesesteaks. When their prize was secured, Martin dubbed the group the Knights of the Cheesesteak. So began the custom of Martin sending fans off in the middle of the night with orders to bring back local street food."
Great Scott! I had no idea that this was one of the perks of being a successful writer! Who cares about fame or royalties when people are always bringing you delicious snacks? (Although I've heard that cheesesteaks aren't really what you want in Philly—what you really want are the pork and broccoli rabe sandwiches from Tony Luke's or DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. True fans, take note.)
Fast forward to an event hosted by Martin in Kansas City several years ago:
"It was a brisk night, and as we clustered by a clay fireplace…Martin commanded [some fans] to retrieve barbecued smoked brisket tips. But by the time Martin issued his decree, restaurants had closed. In desperation, the fans rooted through garbage left outside one establishment. Finally, they tried to cook the dish themselves, in a drug-store parking lot. Martin was impressed enough by the effort to dub them the Knights of the Dumpster."
First off, let me just say that I would totally eat Kansas City barbecue from a dumpster. I just want to put that out there should we ever find ourselves in Kansas City. We bloggers-turned-authors can't be too choosy (but food not from a dumpster or drugstore parking lot is always preferable). Just so we understand the order, it should be:
1. Food NOT from a dumpster or drugstore parking lot
2. Food from the dumpster of a respectable eatery
3. Food from a drugstore parking lot
4. Food from the dumpster of a drugstore parking lot
Let's keep this edible quest concept in mind for future book events, shall we? And to avoid any catastrophic late-night restaurant closings, it might be best to start early. Like at the crack of dawn. With doughnuts, perhaps? Like the maple bacon ones from Union Square Donuts in Somerville? Now that would be a true fan!
Photo by Rachel Blumenthal