And in a now-viral thread that Dan Fogelman, creator of “This is Us,” recently shared on Twitter about his friend and “Game of Thrones” superfan Alex Hanan, it seems that life imitates art.
“It was the stuff that really only happens in a movie,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “But on top of that, for Alex’s sheer larger-than-life personality to have willed the connection to happen … it made it all a little magical.”
In honor of the HBO hit show’s eighth and final season on Sunday, Fogelman tweeted about Hanan, whom he described as “handsome and charming as hell, with the best head of hair you’ve ever seen” and also “obsessed w Game of Thrones like no one you’ve ever known.”
Hanan loved to give away spoilers about the show, Fogelman told HuffPost.
“He would announce that he wasn’t going to tell you something, then tell you because he couldn’t help it,” he said.
Fogelman began his story by explaining that he and Hanan were meeting up to see Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show about a year ago. Hanan got to the show early and called Fogelman while he was on his way over in a cab.
“…[Hanan] never listens to anyone so I just KNOW he’s going to go accost George R. Martin,” Fogelman wrote.
Ends up, Hanan did exactly that.
During the entire show, Fogelman said, Hanan fretted about whether to text Martin. Fogelman said he tried to discourage his friend because he didn’t think Martin would text back and Hanan would be disappointed.
Despite Fogelman’s best efforts, he said, Hanan did exactly what he wanted to do.
Fogelman said they showed up at the pizza place and that he was convinced Martin would ghost them, but thought, “At least it will be a funny story.” Plus, the pizza was bound to be good, since Martin is a huge NYC pizza fan.
But then … Martin and his “lovely wife” arrived, Fogelman recalled.
This is when Fogelman’s story took a somber turn.
“Alex had been having a tough year. He refused to wallow in it (or even admit it) but his health was failing,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “I think it was a real spark for him at a time when he needed one.”
Fogelman stressed how much the dinner meant to his friend.
“After the night with George, Alex occasionally texted with George,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “Nothing about his health — I don’t think George ever knew — just an occasional message here or there. George always wrote him back, never knowing Alex was sick.”
Fogelman said he learned an important lesson from that experience.
He ended his thread on a beautifully affecting note that honored his dear friend.
A mutual friend also provided photographic evidence of the encounter, which Fogelman retweeted.
Fogelman also noted to HuffPost that he kept in touch with Martin himself, and their interactions have had a lasting effect on him.
“George and I kept in contact. Not a lot, but I’d see him at awards shows a few times, or we’d exchange texts, and it was always such a treat for me,” he said. “Not just because he’s such an icon and invented my favorite characters on TV, but because hearing from him instantly reminds me of one of my favorite people ever, and one of the favorite nights of my life.”
Now, excuse us while we grab some tissues.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Fogelman.