Game of Thrones has finally returned, and to celebrate the first episode of the final season, fans are flooding social media with talk of the show.

Among the memes, theories, and episode recaps, however, was an extraordinarily moving fan story about a past encounter with George R.R. Martin, author of the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the show.

In a Twitter thread, Dan Fogelman, creator of the hit NBC drama This Is Us, told the story of a time his friend Alex Hanan met the famous author. And like most everything Fogelman writes, it was an emotional roller coaster.

Fogelman began by recalling the time he and his pal Alex went to see Springsteen on Broadway more than a year ago. Alex got to the theater early and called Fogelman, who was on his way in a cab.

“While waiting outside the theater, he [Alex] has spotted George R. Martin. He says he’s going to talk to him. I beg him not to. He hangs up on me,” Fogelman tweeted.

Since Fogelman knew Alex so well, he was confident after hanging up the phone that his friend would ignore his advice and introduce himself to George R.R. Martin. He was absolutely correct, and it turns out Alex made quite an impression on the author. Not only did he manage to get a picture with Martin, but he also “miraculously” snagged his phone number.

Martin told Alex that he and his wife were planning to grab pizza after their show, so as soon as Springsteen on Broadway ended Alex decided he would text the author in hopes of meeting up for some dinner.

Fogelman did not think a meeting let alone a text back would happen, but he was wrong. Fogelman and Alex met George R.R. Martin at a local pizza joint and spent hours together. After dinner, Martin even gifted Alex a Westeros coin.

If you thought that was the end of the story, it wasn’t. Remember, this is the Dan Fogelman, so of course there’s a twist coming. 

“Here’s what George 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,” Fogelman tweeted, explaining that Alex died a year after the interaction with Martin. Fogelman ended up dedicating the Season 3 premiere of This Is Us to him.

“…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,” Fogelman continued.

Fogelman went on to remind his followers how important it is to be kind to others, encourage them to keep Alex in their thoughts when watching the final season of Game of Thrones, and thank George R.R. Martin for the memory.

He also shared the photo of the two from that night to serve as the ultimate visual end to his moving story.

Shoutout to George R.R. Martin for being so kind to a fan, and to Dan Fogelman for sharing the touching memory with Twitter.

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