Dan Fogelman, writer/producer on the mega-hit tearjerker This Is Us, delivered an unexpectedly poignant tribute to Game of Thrones and its creator, writer George R. R. Martin, last night on Twitter during the final season premiere. The story centered on an evening that he and a friend spent with Martin, and the impact that evening had on them. You can check out the thread below, which we have collected and cleaned up for non-Twitter display -- but be aware that this is Dan Fogelman, which means you're likely to get a little emotional reading it. You've been warned.
"Anyone want a quick personal story about George R. R. Martin/Game of Thrones? 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 theater, he has spotted George R. 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. R. Martin. I arrive at the theater. Alex is waiting, bursting with energy as always. He tells me he approached George. Got a picture. And, somehow - miraculously - got George R. 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. 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. 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 then 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 also a reminder of the importance of kindness (for no other reason than being kind) these days. Our friend, Alex Hanan, is watching TV tonight from above. Spoiling every single reveal for everyone up there, driving everyone nuts. Thank you George R. R. Martin for making what would turn out to be Alex’s last year. And thanks to all involved for making his favorite show."
Fogelman's This Is Us just wrapped its third season and will be back on TV in the fall. Game of Thrones just began its final season, and airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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