Wow, no kidding?! It must have been amazing to meet him Yeah, I did sort of suspect that. The level of detail and intricacy in his descriptions of clothing, architecture etc. as well as societal structure and the political twists and turns, he seems very knowledgeable about medieval European history. And in the end, what manner of armour a knight or man-at-arms wears is of very little consequence to the story.
I think the armour worn in the show is very well done, the budget notwithstanding, just not in accordance with my vision. The armour of the Northern nobility looks great, as does that of Loras Tyrell and the Cleganes. Mostly, it's the helmets that bother me, especially those of the Lannister soldiery, the Kingsguard and the Northmen. The Lannister one looks way too much like a Japanese kabuto, the Northmen one is a bit oversized and the Kingsguard one is just completely unappealing, like an oversized barbuta with three ridges across the dome. The Stormlands armour as seen in the last two episodes of season two, looks the most realistic with their kettle helms and quilted jacks. I liked that they decided to arm the Stormland archers with recurved composite bows. It did look rather strange to see them fight the Lannister forces, though, with their laquered leather armour and kabuto helmets.
I actually only started reading the books at the time the show came out. I'd had it recommended to me tons of times, but never got around to it. When I found out that HBO were making a show based on them (which was pretty long after it was first announced) I decided to get through them all before it aired so I could develop my own images of the characters and environments. I only got about half-way through AGoT before the show aired, so like you I had a hard time getting the images of the cast of the show out of my head. Now I'm rereading the books and trying my hardest to stick to my own images.
I am very fond of your interpretations of Westerosi armour. This sort of "transitional" armour of the latter half of the 14th century is much closer to what I imagined than that worn in the HBO show. The original books are ultimately the canon, of course, but I always felt a bit annoyed at Martin's description of the armour worn in Westeros. Suits of mail, mail-and-plate, full plate and even scale armour are all used according to Martin, and while it is a fantasy story, I imagined a more homogenous level of armour "technology". The level of detail is great, the armour looks realistic, practical and gritty. I especially like the helm, the vizor is perfect and the wings are very well done. Wings on helmets usually make them look either silly or way to decorative. Well done!!
Thanks for the feedback! I actually had the good fortune of giving some of my artwork to Mr. Martin last year when Dance came out. He is an avid fan of armor and I think a lot of the descriptions in the books are simplified to make them accessible for readers who aren't quite 'in the know'
As much as I love the show, I realize that they have not only the limitations of their budget but a specific vision which is separate from mine and that is great. Occasionally they think of something that really inspires me in a way that I wouldn't expect. Since the show came out I have been trying to get my ideas of how characters and costumes/armor look down on paper so that I have a point of reference for when I can only see Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage as Ned and Tyrion.