The Stagecoach Foundation, founded by George R.R. Martin to help provide education, support, and facilities for film and television production aspirants in New Mexico, has a fundraising raffle going on right now that features a rather neat prize: a customized Vespa 946 scooter themed after House Stark, and signed by GRRM himself.
A one-of-a-kind, this Vespa 946 is inspired by the legendary 1945 MP6 that started it all with the classic design language (in fact, the name “Vespa” comes from the company founder’s response to the MP6 prototype that it looked like a wasp). With the additional Game of Thrones-inspired Stark detailings, such as the direwolf sigils and the leather-and-iron effects (unclear if it’s from paint or vinyl wrap), it’s a striking and unique vehicle.
The raffle runs through December 28th.
After a whirlwind of travel to Ireland from Sweden, then back for two days before going to Northern Ireland, I’m sufficiently recovered to try to (briefly) cover the amazing time Linda and I had at Dublin 2019 and that I then had at Titancon, the 2019 Eurocon. I probably spent more time chatting with George since ... hmm, maybe 2015 when George visited Sweden and Åland. Much to report, but I really, really want to try to be succinct. So as a general overview, I’ll just say it was fantastic, filled with meeting old friends from the Brotherhood without Banners fan group and making new acquaintances from the ASoIaF/GoT sphere. Many discussions were had—on the SF/F genre, on the Hugo awards past and present, on Worldcon bids, and of course on various matters related to ASoIaF.
(Photo courtesy of Joey Yu, the inaugural winner of George’s Terran Prize writer’s scholarship.)
The first significant event with GRRM was the Wild Cards trivia panel with a host of writers: Walter Jon Williams from the original writers and roleplayers was teamed with Carrie Vaughn, the much-in-demand Wild Cards trivia guru and writer Kevin Andrew Murphy was teamed with Charles Stross and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Peadar Ó Guilín was joined by Paul Cornell. It was very amusing!
It’s just two weeks to the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, and three weeks to Titancon, Eurocon 2019, and there’s a lot of things to see as both conventions have now published their schedules. Below, we’re going to list appearances, events, panels, and so on featuring George (who actually has one public event taking place before Worldcon) as well as Linda and I, and others who have worked with him in adapting or illustrating his work at one time or another, or otherwise have some connection to the larger universe of Martin’s work. Among these others are the artists John Picacio, Charles Vess, and Raya Golden, actor Miltos Yerolemou
Two new collections of A Song of Ice and Fire artwork have come out this month, and we highly recommend them as they come from two of the greatest living artists to work in the fantasy genre.
First, the A Song of Ice and Fire 2020 Calendar illustrated by the legendary John Howe (recently revealed to be part of the creative team behind Amazon’s forthcoming 2nd Age Middle-earth series) is out today. Focused on the mystical side of the series, it primarily features the strange and exotic creates of Westeros and beyond, including giant krakens, mammoths, direwolves, and ice spiders(!) But it also has a surprise or two waiting within its covers. It looks spectacular.
Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has shared thoughts on the close of Game of Thrones, how it might be compared to his plans for the final two novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. Well worth a read as a reminiscence and commentary for those who wonder about these things. It’s been a long road for George, for everyone who worked on or covered the show, and for the tens (hundreds?) of millions around the world who’ve watched it.
I had the great privilege to accompany George and Parris to a visit to the set as the first season filmed (the image above comes from that visit, George and I moving down a dark hallway in the Paint Hall studio, led by Bryan Cogman to one of the several sets in that colossal space).
The amazing Unseen Westeros art exhibition, which we reported on and which I attended during its preview opening in Berlin, has in collaboartion with Adobe decided to provide a unique VR look at just a fraction of the gorgeous artworks created by the talented professional concept and matte artists (many of whom have worked on Game of Thrones). You can see the VR experience here on Youtube:
Below is the press release as well as details for the nine images shown:
The A World of Ice and Fire app (iTunes, Google Play), the only official app companion to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, has received a complete refresh providing a snappier user interface, new maps from The Lands of Ice and Fire, and additional as well as updated entries. Behind the scenes, the app also has had some changes to how data is stored which will make it much easier and quicker for future updates to take place.
Those who already own the app can just update it via the appropriate store, and once you’ve opened it you’ll get the option to restore any of the packs you’ve acquired to extend the information in the app.
Linda and I have worked on this ever since its inception—when it started from the seed of the 70,000 words of “Who’s Who” material we had written for the 50,000 word-contracted The World of Ice and Fire (oops!)—and think Random House has done fine work integrating dynamic map markers and character portraits to give it that much more appeal and usefulness.
Ahead of the Game of Thrones final season, Random House Audio has for the first time released A Game of Thrones—Juego de tronos—as a Spanish-language audio book for the Latin American market. The rest of the series, as well as Fire and Blood (Fuego y sangre) will be released from now to September 2019.
Juego de tronos has released today, and is available at a number of vendors—most notably Audible.com, which gives new members two free audio books when they sign up for a membership.
You can read the press release below, which reveals that all the books will be read by famous Mexican voice actor Víctor Manuel Espinoza, the voice of Homer Simpson for millions of Latin Americans:
Fans of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire will now be able to hear the audiobooks in a new language: Spanish. Penguin Random House Audio will release Spanish-language audiobooks of the bestselling series beginning this spring, just as the final season of the hit TV series premieres.
Actor Víctor Manuel Espinoza, also known as the voice of Homer Simpson in Latin America, will narrate the complete series in Spanish, totaling more than 200 hours, starting with Juego de tronos, on sale April 9.
Espinoza said, “Recording the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks has been a great challenge for me. Interpreting each character and representing so many personalities through my voice has been the most complex and most satisfying part of the process.”
Audiobooks are the fastest-growing area of book publishing, a trend driven in large part by the increased availability of titles on audio. Penguin Random House Audio is expanding its Spanish-language audiobook production, publishing Dan Brown’s Origen read by Germán Gijón and Lin Manuel Miranda’s ¡Buen día, buenos noches!, read by his father, Luis A. Miranda, Jr.
George R.R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire, which began in 1996 with A Game of Thrones and has since become a worldwide phenomenon, selling over 85 million copies worldwide in 47 languages.
The Folio Society, famous for its bibliophile-oriented hardcovers with beautiful binding and interior illustrations, revealed last month that they were working on a new edition of A Game of Thrones with this tweet:
Today, they’ve now released a sneak peek at four of the eight chapter headers their as-yet-unnamed artist has created. Each represents a specific character, and draws from the heraldry of their families.
From the preview e-mail they sent out:
No release date has been announced as of yet, but the Folio Society has set up a dedicated page where there’ll be new information, as well as a way to sign up for e-mailed updates.
Yes, finally, a video about Fire and Blood ... and it’s about a topic that, I suspect, was not an obvious one to talk about for most. But for me, this particular detail is potentially the single biggest piece of world-building in the entirety of the text. And it’s all because of A Caution for Young Girls.
If you already know the gist of what the Caution is, and what manuscript culture is, jump to the 14 minute mark where I attempt to pull all the pieces together to explain why I think this is such a noteworthy expansion of our understanding of the setting. Also, as noted, the second segment had a recording issue and so I had to use a secondary audio source which doesn’t sound as nice as the rest; apologies about that!
The Unseen Westeros art exhibit was a great success in Berlin, and the media who visited it during its run are still producing content. While the one we’re embedding below is mostly in German, it gives a great view of the ambiance of the location and artworks, and also happens to feature me providing some commentary starting at the 6:50 mark:
There are still some limited supplies of the art book and art prints, for those interested
This year’s European science fiction and fantasy convention is Titancon, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland; it runs from August 22nd to August 25th. Founded as the world’s first Game of Thrones-focused convention, it has for years now provided fans a chance to meet notable authors and actors. As a full-on Eurocon, however, this year’s Titancon will be the largest ever, and will feature scores of authors, artists, and creators. And to mark such an occasion, Titancon has just announced—after a long silence—that they have secured George R.R. Martin as their guest of honor.
Suffice it to say, Titancon’s organizers have for years been interested in bringing George to Belfast. This will be a rare opportunity for fans to take part in a European convention where George is in attendance, and in a location that has won global attention as the home of Game of Thrones. We’ve had the pleasure of having visited several times (including attending a previous Titancon), and think there’ll be a lot of interest for fans of George, of fantasy and science fiction, and of course of Game of Thrones. For one thing, the touring exhibition will be in Belfast, and for another just a week prior Dublin will be hosting the 77th Worldcon (which George will also be attending—as will we!).
There’s quite a lot to see in Northern Ireland for those interested in Game of Thrones tourism, as we’ve covered before. George at Titancon just makes this August all the more tempting a time to visit.
After having revealed a few months ago that a Fire and Blood limited edition was in the offing, Subterranean Press has now made pre-orders available for this exclusive edition of George R.R. Martin’s history of House Targaryen (part 1).
This limited edition—52 lettered (all sold out) and 750 numbered—includes some bonuses over the standard edition that was published last month. It contains all the same art from the talented Doug Wheatley, but augments it with full-color artwork (such as the piece above) by the legendary Gary Gianni. Well-worth grabbing if you are a collector, or simply a fan of Gianni’s renderings of Westeros. His illustrations for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms show just how amazing his work can be.
Though the initial, ambitious exhibition fundraiser did not quite pan out, the organizers behind the amazing Unseen Westeros project have bounced back with a new initiative that’s done very well indeed!
The new Kickstarter has already beaten its goal as it provides funders the opportunity to support the artbook, with any funds raised beyond what’s needed to produce the books to be put towards realizing the exhibition in some form (perhaps in a new location, or for fewer days) with a prospective exhibition date still set for January.
There’s just one week left before the Kickstarter closes out, and it looks like it will be the only way to get a hold of the professionally-printed, 150 page art book featuring all the artworks by professional artists.
Also timed with the launch of the book, a last promotional video from George discusses how useful Fire and Blood could be for Daenerys, but alas, she has no access to it. The video was posted exclusively at Esquire.
Linda and I are planning at least a couple of videos about the book, and we’re even considering doing a livestream to interact with viewers directly, answering questions or discussing ideas they may have. Keep an eye on the site as well as Twitter and Facebook for news on that!