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.
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!
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)
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!)
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!)
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Almost a year ago, George R.R. Martin revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview that he was contemplating a twist to the story of a character—and a group of characters connected with them—that he had never contemplated before and which, more notably, was something HBO’s Game of Thrones could not do because of choices the show had made that precluded it:
In one intriguing new wrinkle, Martin says he just came up with a big, revealing twist on a long-time character that he never previously considered. “This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teases, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist… But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already—on this particular character—made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.”
The fandom was abuzz with it—it sparked several threads on our forum, for one—as people puzzled over who it might be. As I recall, at the time speculation was centering on Sansa Stark because of signs that the show was going to diverge heavily from her storyline in A Song of Ice and Fire (as it indeed did). However, a brand new interview with George from IGN revisits the topic and reveals some significant new information:
We’d be remiss not to note that the popularity of the Wild Cards series of superhero stories has continued unabated, so much so that Random House Audio has signed on to continue the release of audio books of the original series of shared-world anthologies that started it all. As reported by George R.R. Martin at his “Not a Blog”, Random House started with the third volume, Jokers Wild, after the first two volumes had been released earlier by Brilliance Audio.
Random House’s first entry features a pretty noteworthy cast of readers: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown, Smallville, Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Guild), and Ron Donachie (Game of Thrones) are among the contributors.
More recently, George has noted that Aces Abroad —the fourth volume in the series, expanded with two newer stories—has just finished recording, and it has an even larger cast including Selma Blair (Hellboy), Adrian Paul (Highlander), and Armin Shimmerman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Deep Space 9). Shimmerman will be reading the parts of the joker Xavier Desmond, and as it happens Aces Abroad is best known for George’s interstitial “From the Journal of Xavier Desmond”. This should be quite good! Next to get the audio treatment will be the fifth book, Down & Dirty.
In related news, GRRM has shared that the latest book in the new Wild Cards series, High Stakes, will be published in hardcover by Tor on August 23rd. George has also pointed to the latest Humble Book Bundle for fans interested in getting two of the more difficult to acquire Wild Cards novels, Deuces Down and Death Draws Five, as well as other works by the likes of the great SF writers Alfred Bester (a personal favorite of mine), Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Roger Zelazny. The Humble Bundle uses a “pay what you want” model, though certain levels are required to get certain works. Best of all, those who pay can decide how to divide up their contribution between the publisher, the Humble Bundle group, and a selection of three worthy charities.
Colony, a new science fiction series that premiered on the USA Network last month, is going to recieve a special screening of two episodes at George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following the two episodes, the co-creator of the series Ryan Condal will be taking the stage with George R.R. Martin himself for a Q&A that will be moderated by IGN’s entertainment editor Terri Schwartz.
All well and good—this should be a great experience for those who manage to get into the screening! But for those of us not so lucky, it happens that IGN shall be broadcasting the Q&A tonight at 1930 Pacific / 2230 Eastern / 0330 GMT (Friday) via their Periscope Channel. Schwartz has put out a call for questions to GRRM and Condal regarding science fiction and fantasy, Colony, and of course A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones:
George R.R. Martin’s “Not a Blog” features the announcement of the the anticipated 2017 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.
As noted by GRRM’s assistant Raya Golden, French SF/F artist Didier Graffet (for those keeping track, that’s the third French artist whose work will grace the calendar series, joining Marc Simonetti and Magali Villeneuve) will be handling art duties this time around. Graffet’s work has been featured in several past editions of Spectrum, and has been a nominee for the World Fantasy Award while also winning the Ravenheart award at the 2013 David Gemell Legend awards.
We’ve known about Graffet’s involvement since last year, but never had a chance to see any of the works in progress so this first look at the cover is quite impressive! Raya’s post also features another, unrelated piece of art to give a taste of what’s to come. Graffet’s website features an extensive gallery of his work, for those who want to see more.
Subterranean Press, one of the premiere small publishers in the SF/F world, has been noted for their handsome limited editions of George R.R. Martin’s works—not just A Song of Ice and Fire, but also books such as Dying of the Light and Fevre Dream—has stepped once more into the breach by producing a limited edition of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Featuring Gary Gianni’s gorgeous artwork from the wide release—but augmented by new end-papers, richer paper and binding, and eight of the interior illustrations presented in color (as shown here)—the lettered edition sold out immediately (doubtless fueled in part by the fact that the books would be custom bound, a first for Subterranean), while the limited edition of 750—priced at $295—is still available.
For the die-hard fans of GRRM, the Dunk and Egg novellas, or Gary Gianni’s work, this seems like a genuine must-have!