George R. R. Martin did not attend the House of the Dragon premiere screening in Los Angeles on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19. In a video published on his website, the Song of Ice and Fire author confirmed reports he tested positive for the virus after appearing at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to preview the Game of Thrones prequel series. Martin, who co-created the HBO spinoff with executive producer Ryan J. Condal, participated in the show's Hall H panel with Condal and cast members Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Fabien Frankele, Milly Alcock, and Emily Carey.
HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys told the audience during a screening of the House of the Dragon series premiere that Martin was absent after testing positive for COVID on Tuesday. In the nine-minute video update, which you can watch below, Martin said he's experiencing mild symptoms and feeling "a little sniffly" as he isolates himself in a Los Angeles hotel room.
"I had a trip to the West Coast, starting at San Diego Comic-Con for the big panel on House of the Dragon, the new successor show to Game of Thrones," Martin said in the video. "And that was to be followed by a week in Los Angeles where I had a lot of meetings, and I had two big premieres, and then a few other things."
Because of California's COVID surge and the spread of Omicron subvariants, Martin said, "I decided to be very cautious and conservative. I did the panel, and that was a lot of fun ... but I skipped all of the parties. I did not go on the convention floor, and I canceled my in-person autographing ... and I went out for a few meals. And that was fine."
After traveling by car from San Diego to Los Angeles, "The first day in Los Angeles yesterday, I woke up and tested positive for COVID," Martin said. "You may have heard that by now. I guess rumors have ways of spreading out on the internet. And, yes, I am positive for COVID."
"I was a startled as any of you because I did not really think I had any symptoms or very, very minor symptoms," he continued. "I was sniffling a little, and that's pretty much still where I am. This is the second day, I'm still sniffling a little and occasionally coughing, but mostly I feel fine."
Telling his fans that he didn't "want to leave the matter unaddressed," Martin said it's "a mystery" how he test positived for breakthrough COVID "because I am positive, but everybody around me is negative."
The Winds of Winter author added he's "been very careful," assuring fans, "I'm fully vaccinated, and I've had two booster shots, and I got the the best mask that one could possibly get and wore it in all public settings." Martin only removed his mask during the House of the Dragon Comic-Con panel and while eating.
"This virus is tricky," Martin said. "I feel a little sniffly, but really, nothing bad. I've had worse colds, so I hope it will stay that way for the duration of its run."
Based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood and set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon tells the story of House Targaryen. Starring Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Fabien Frankel and Rhys Ifans, House of the Dragon premieres August 21 on HBO and HBO Max.