Westeros

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain

News

A Game of Thrones Enhanced Digital Edition

Random House have just announced that the first in a series of digital, enhanced editions of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series has been released exclusively for Apple’s iBooks.

Featuring new cover art, numerous illustrations, enhanced maps, sigils, a glossary, and detailed annotations to provide a richer experienced for readers, and to help guide new readers through the dizzying number of characters and locations in the novels. As it happens, Linda and I have known all about this for awhile, since we’ve worked with Random House and Apple on the project—it’s been a really interesting, often very complicated, project!

There’s a lot more information, so here’s Random House’s press release. A tip, however, for those who simply can’t wait and read through it all: if you have iTunes installed, make sure to visit Apple’s launch site for an exclusive video interview with GRRM about the novels and the project, which features some really cool animation:

Westeros.org Redesign & Restructuring

We are currently in the process of a long overdue website update. You have undoubtedly noticed that the layout has changed (and continues to fluctuate somewhat) and we are also reorganising the site somewhat. For our regulars, we wanted to provide a brief overview of what we’ve done so far and what we plan to do within the coming weeks.

We have more or less completed a transition to a more responsive design. There are still elements that do not work on mobile, such as the fixed navigation at the top of the screen and various images, but we’re working to try and sort these problems out. We have also removed the All Sorts of Weird Stuff section of the site; you will now find news at http://www.westeros.org/News/ instead.

Relating to the removal of All Sorts of Weird Stuff we are working on creating a new Gallery at http://www.westeros.org/Gallery/ which will merge the contents from All Sorts of Weird Stuff and the Citadel. We are also creating a new home for the book reviews at http://www.westeros.org/Books/. While we are setting up these new sections and moving data around, you may run into broken links and other problems, but hopefully this won’t take us too long.

Illustrated Edition Preview

Vanity Fair has a brand new interview with series editor Anne Groell regarding the soon-to-be-released A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition due to hit shelves next month. The interview also includes a gallery of ten images from the book—some which fans will have seen before, but also a number of new pieces by Magali Villenueve, Levi Pinfold, and Arantza Sestayo. The interview goes into some detail of how Groell and Martin have each worked with artists to develop the artwork Random House has commissioned over the years… and of course also touches on the as-yet-unknown release date of The Winds of Winter.

Check out the interview, and let us know what you think of the featured artwork!

Daario’s Ladies are Coming

Valyrian Steel, who have created a range of officially licensed replica swords and other items based on both the books and the TV show, have announced a new replica weapon—or two of them, rather—based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books. Daario’s Ladies are a recreation of the notorious arakh & stiletto set worn by the equally notorious Daario Naharis. Designed with input from George R.R. Martin—meaning that we now know what an arakh is supposed to look like—the swords come with a certificate of authenticity personally autographed by GRRM. The set will be produced as a limited edition of 5000 pieces where each item will be engraved with the edition number.

  • Blades: Stainless Steel
  • Lady Parts: 24k gold plating, matte finish, antique wash.
  • Hilt: Cast metal, antique brass plating
  • Plaque: Silkscreened fiber board. Includes mounting hardware.
  • Arakh Blade Length: 33 1/8 inches.
  • Stiletto Blade Length: 12 1/4 inches.
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Preorders for Daario’s Ladies open on the 27th of August and the estimated shipping date is late Winter or early Spring 2017. The price for the set will be $350.

Wild Cards Series in Development

Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has some exciting news for fans of the Wild Cards series: Universal Cable Productions (the studio behind shows like Mr. Robot, The Magicians, Battlestar Galactica, and more) has acquired the rights to adapting the series to television. Development work begins immediately, with Melinda M. Snodgrass (an originator of the Wild Cards series, and GRRM’s right-hand so to speak) attached to executive produce alongside Gregory Noveck.

Interestingly, GRRM notes that due to his development deal with HBO, he will not be working on the series.Of course, he cautions that as with all things, development is never certain to produce a series. Finally, Martin notes that he’s pretty sure that no matter when the series takes place, if it goes forward Croyd Crenson (“The Sleeper”, a beloved character created by the late, great Roger Zelazny) will almost certainly make an appearance.

Finally, it seems that there’s some fluidity in what the potential series will draw on from the many, many novels spanning decades. Martin asks fans to share their thoughts of which characters they’d like to see on the screen in the comments section of his post.

Happy Birthday, "A Game of Thrones"

20 years ago today, the first book in a new fantasy epic was released. Its rather striking-looking hardcover, with a silver-foil wrapper embossed with a throne, made a decent but hardly spectacular debut. Two decades later, it is a different story altogether.

When the anniversary edition of A Game of Thrones is released this autumn (October 18), it is likely to sell as well as everything else does these days that is connected to A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.

GRRM has posted about the book’s long journey on his livejournal and in the post he also gives some information about the upcoming anniversary edition. To quote:

An anniversary like this requires something special, something more than just a reprint and a new novel. This new edition will be very special, I think. Same story, of course. But we’ve added an introduction by the World Famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman… and a truly astonishing amount of artwork… a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates. Some of the artwork is drawn from the Ice & Fire calendars, from The World of Ice and Fire, and from the card and board games and RPGs… but forty-eight (48) of these pieces are completely new, never-before-seen artwork.

Make sure to check out the rest of GRRM’s post, not the least as he includes two of the art pieces, one of them a brand new image of Bran and Hodor.

Balticon Reading Features New Winds of Winter Chapter

At Balticon, George R.R. Martin finished his highly anticipated reading where he offered fans one of three chapters to read: the “Sons of the Dragon” material from The World of Ice and Fire, and two chapters from The Winds of Winter . . . but one of those George has released previously, while the other was one that he had offered to read only once before and fans had turned it down. This time, they chose otherwise.

For those who are concerned about spoilers, won’t say anything more here, but you’ll find the discussion thread—with links to various reports—on the A Song of Ice and Fire forum. It even inspired some speculation from us!

New Sample Chapters

Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has reminded fans that his official website, georgerrmartin.com, is alive and kicking… and if it hasn’t been as updated as it could be, well, he’s been busy. That said, there’s a significant update today as George shares two new sample chapters. The first excerpt is from the 23rd Wild Cards novel, High Stakes. The excerpt comes from Ian Tregillis, who wrote the excellent Bitter Seeds (a dark take on superheroes during WWII) and whose latest book The Mechanical has received rave reviews as the start of a new trilogy in a world where alchemy works and where automatons are nearly human.

The other excerpt, of course, is a chapter from The Winds of Winter. It’s one he’s read before, so there have been scattered reports, but he’s never posted it directly to his website. Here’s how George describes its contents:

“You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.”

(Coincidentally, Linda and I have returned to doing A Song of Ice and Fire videos between episodes of Game of Thrones, and we just happened to have made our first video a question of the political situation in Dorne in the novels, including information from the two relevant chapters from The Winds of Winter that George released. We’ll embed that video below. Specific discussion relevant to The Winds of Winter, and this excerpt, starts at the 32 minute mark)

The World of Ice and Fire Nominated for Ignotus Award

Here’s a pleasant surprise: the Spanish translation of our The World of Ice and Fire, El mundo de Hielo y Fuego (published by one of the very best SF/F publishers in Spain, Gigamesh), has been nominated for the Ignotus Award!  The full list of the nominees can be found here; amazing to see our names on a list that includes the great John Clute.

The premiere Spanish SF/F award, the Ignotus winners are announced at the annual Hispacon Spanish national convention… which, this year, also happens to be this year’s Eurocon.
As it happens, Linda and I are likely to go, because we adored our visit to Barcelona last year, but knowing we’ll be in attendance as nominees is kind of remarkable.

Many thanks to everyone involved in making this book happen, both in the U.S. and in Spain (especially the team of translators with the thankless task of getting such a massive tome translated, and the inestimable Corominas for his striking covers!)

(Thanks to Spanish fan blog el Caballero de la Arbol Sonriente for the tip about the nominations!)

GRRM’s Epic Rap Battle with JRRT

Some say you haven’t really made it in popular culture until Epic Rap Battles of History features you alongside the greatest figures of modern and present history. Well…

(Of course, George would never battle Tolkien. He admires his work far too much!)

A Game of Thrones Comic Sale

Over the course of three years, the novel A Game of Thrones was adapted to the graphic form by writer Daniel Abraham and artist Tommy Patterson. 24 issues in total, it hews very closely to the novel that started off the A Song of Ice and Fire series, not least because Abraham had weekly lunches with Martin during the process during which they discussed adaptation issues. In fact, in an interview, the writer revealed that he had learned of a connection between an early line of dialogue and the end of the series:

“There was one scene I had to rework because there’s a particular line of dialog—and you wouldn’t know it to look at—that’s important in the last scene of ‘A Dream of Spring.’”

Suffice it to say, many have tried to figure out what the line might be. And for those who haven’t had the chance to read the comic? It turns out that Comixology has you covered because of their massive bundle of an assortment of comics which includes the first four issues of A Game of Thrones, as well as issues of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and the Pathfinder comic based on the roleplaying game setting. The 18 comic bundle is just $2.99 in the US, (2.69 euros in Europe!), and as it happens it’s very likely that the dialog Abraham was speaking of is in one of those first A Game of Thrones issues.

For those who have the comics, or get the bundle, feel free to comment below as to which line(s) in the comic are connected to the finale of the A Song of Ice and Fire series!

Tower of Joy Fan Film

A fan film project that raised over $15,000 dollars to recreate the tower of joy flashback from A Game of Thrones has successfully completed filming and post-production. You can see “Tower of Joy” below:

It’s pretty much a word-for-word recreation of the scene as described in the novel. And there are aerial shots, to. Pretty amazing what can be done with drones and commercially-available digital cameras!

20th Anniversary Edition of A Game of Thrones

Here’s an interesting discovery at Amazon.com: a 20th Anniversary edition of A Game of Thrones from the publisher of the series, with indications that it will be illustrated. It’s due for publication this October, so it’s a ways off yet, and there’s not much more information in the accompanying description.

Truth be told, we were told that something like this was in the planning stages, so it’s good to see that Random House is ready to start revealing some information about it. Whether the illustrations will draw from the rich body of artwork that Random House has already commissioned over the years, or will commission a single artist to illustrate all the pieces (as with the Subterranean Press limited editions), appears to be something fans will have to wait to discover.

Student-made Ice and Fire Data Site

A team of students at the Technical University of Munich have worked hard over a month and more to apply their JavaScript and machine-learning knowledge to cull data from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels (as well as cross-referencing with our own A Wiki of Ice and Fire, as well as looking into what’s been going on on Twitter) to present it all in new, novel ways… and, most interestingly, to make a series of predictions on the likelihood of certain characters dying in the course of the books. The site, A Song of Ice and Fire data, explains how they used machine learning for death predictions, for those curious about the nitty-gritty of the whole process.

It’s been impressive seeing the site develop over the last weeks (one of the teachers of the seminar got in touch with us to make sure they could use the wiki data). Great work from the students, and a deal of interesting insights. We’re not sure if all of their predictions are that spot-on, but there’s certainly a method to the madness!

Our Game of Thrones Coverage for S6

As you are likely aware, at the end of S5 we were both left highly dubious of ever watching another GoT episode, both due to the sometimes abysmal quality of the show and the risk of spoilers for the books. We later said we would wait and see if The Winds of Winter would be completed before S6 and then make our final decision. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Since that became clear, we have received a lot of questions about what we mean to do regarding our coverage, as well as a lot of requests for us to continue. Some of the commentators have argued that its important to have a news/commentary source for the show that isn’t just eating up the hype and praising it no matter what. We have talked a lot about this between ourselves, taking all of this into consideration, and ultimately we have come to a decision.

Elio has no interest in watching the show.  However, I will bite the bullet, so to speak. In part because of work-related reasons, in part because I do think there’s something to be said for a more critical look at the show than other sites may be offering. That said, the coverage will change, as I do not have the time (or inclination) to make it as complete as what we did for previous years. There will unfortunately not be any recap, which was the most time-consuming part of the process. The actual review format is something I am still considering; I may do a shorter written review and a video review, or I may just do one or the other. The book-to-screen will definitely remain, but the format will change to reflect the fact that the show is passing the books for many storylines.

Finally, I am hoping to open the coverage for each episode with a new section, giving book fans a non-spoilery sense of how potentially spoilery for future books this episode may be. This will then tie into the book-to-screen where I expect more speculation regarding what may or may not be spoilery.