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A Song of Ice and Fire

John Howe to Illustrate 2020 Ice and Fire Calendar

A fan on our forum has turned up a great find: Random House has quietly revealed that next year’s 2020 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar will be illustrated by the legendary John Howe.

From the Random House listing, which reveals that this edition of the calendar is themed:

The magical creatures of A Game of Thrones and beyond come to life in a 2020 calendar inspired by George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, featuring illustrations by acclaimed artist John Howe.

Fantastic beasts are not solely the purview of Newt Scamander. Such creatures also abound in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels—one of the most successful and beloved fantasy series ever written. And who better to bring these creatures to life than acclaimed artist John Howe, who has built a huge reputation for his stunning work in Middle-earth? Here are sphinxes and krakens, sea dragons and ice spiders—a thrilling panoply of creatures both real and legendary . . . and some a bit of both. With twelve stunning full-color paintings, plus a bonus fold-out poster, this annual calendar—now in its tenth year!—is a “timely” addition to a franchise that has continued to grow with each passing year.

Howe, most famous for his outstanding art set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth and his contribution to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, is no stranger to Westeros: he illustrated Meisha Merlin’s limited edition of A Clash of Kings, a few samples of which fans can find on his website.

The calendar will be on sale on July 16, 2019.

Seeing Unseen Westeros

The Unseen Westeros art project is still raising funds, and with the help of the organizers we’ve gotten the opportunity to look at the art they’ve collected from the forty talented, professional artists (many who have worked on Game of Thrones!) for their planned art exhibition in Berlin. In the video below, we selected five of the many locales the artists have depicted to give some information and share our thoughts.

If you click through to Youtube, you’ll see timestamps to each of the particular places we talk about, but they are a Rhoynish town, Lorath, the Rhoynish festival city of Chroyane (before its ruin), the Summer Isles, and the mysterious Stygai within the Vale of Shadows. Let us know what you think in the comments, and remember to check out the Kickstarter!

GRRM Profile and Q&A in the New York Times

We knew something was up awhile back when a fact-checker for the New York Times contacted us with some questions for an article that was in the works by Charles Yu. That piece has now been published, a lengthy profile and interview with George R.R. Martin about his work with a special focus on A Song of Ice and Fire and the world Martin has built in the process of writing the novels. Westeros gets mentioned, as does the Wiki of Ice and Fire and the Brotherhood without Banners fan group, which is terrific.

As a companion to the piece, the NY Times also published a Q&A with GRRM with questions from fans. Some questions are silly, but some interesting ones as well, including one on dieties and the conflict with the Others that led George to immediately pass on answering before the question was even out.

Adobe Features Unseen Westeros

The Unseen Westeros project is still fundraising, and the organizers have done something quite cool: they’ve teamed up with Adobe (the world’s leading maker of graphics software, particularly Photoshop) to provide a number of “making of” videos showing timelapses of several pieces being created from start to finish.

As an added feature,, there’s a pretty cool set of tutorial videos by Philipp Scherer using his depiction of Norvos toward the bottom of Adobe’s feature. Well-worth checking out if you’ve any interest in digital art!

If you like what you see, considering supporing the Kickstarter to help make the exhibition a reality!

New Coins from Shire Post

The good folks at the Shire Post Mint have launched a brand new Kickstarter campaign, this time for one of the most expansive coin sets yet featuring coins of the Seven Kingdoms from before the Targaryen conquest.

The concept art is exciting, and the fact that the top tier Kickstarter reward is a limited edition of 50 wooden-and-resin maps signed by GRRM makes it clear that this is a particularly important entry in the Shire Post’s history with the A Song of Ice and Fire series that stretches back 15 years.

Fire and Blood Event in Jersey City

The WORD bookstores and George R.R. Martin have announced a special event to promote Fire & Blood: George’s only ticketed event to promote the book, with John Hodgman interviewing him with a Q&A following. The event will take place on November 19 in Jersey City, at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. Tickets will admit two people, and will include a signed copy of the book.

Besides that, a limited number of pre-signed books can be purchased without a ticket.

This is not the first time Hodgman has interviewed George—back in 2011, he interviewed GRRM for The Sound of Young America podcast.

Fire and Blood Excerpt

An excerpt from Fire and Blood volume 1, a history of the Targaryen kings from Aegon I to Aegon III, has now been posted at George R.R. Martin’s “Not a Blog”. Along with it, there’s a video from George discussing the book’s “author”, Maester Gyldayn, whom GRRM describes as a very distinguished scholar, but idiosyncratic with views that Martin doesn’t vouch for.

Also included is a portrait of King Jaehaerys I the Conciliator and his sister and wife, Good Queen Alysanne, by Doug Wheatley to go along with the excerpt recounting their famous progress to the North… a progress which did not go quite as planned, as the excerpt reveals. Among other things, it introduces the taciturn and “notoriously prickly” Alaric Stark, the Lord of Winterfell. Suffice it to say, F&B will provide a lot of surprises and nuances to the picture of Targaryen history that the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and even The World of Ice and Fire (which is “based”, in part, on “Gyldayn’s” writings).

 

Announcing Unseen Westeros

Unseen Westeros is an ambitious project by a group of matte painters and visual effects artists who have all worked on HBO’s Game of Thrones. With the approval and support of George R.R. Martin, German publisher Penhaligon, and Westeros.org, the artists have produced scores of paintings depicting locales from The World of Ice and Fire, many of them first introduced in that book.

Suffice it to say, it’s very flattering to have been a part of something that has inspired so many artists. Linda and/or I are likely to attend one or more of the days of the exhibition, and we may have some more to announce in that regards down the road. We’ve seen quite a bit of the art, and suffice it to say these artists are all extremely talented, and it’s remarkable to see how they bring some of the many fascinating, strange, or epic locales described in the world book to life.

The exhibition is targeting January 23rd to January 27th, with an impressive venue—a former powerplant in Berlin—for the art to be displayed in. Of course, all these things cost, and the project has a Kickstarter to help cover the costs (which they itemize). Supporters to the Kickstarter can get anything from a credit on the backers’ wall at the exhibition to an album from official exhibition music composers Wolf & Moon and on through a limited edition art catalog or even (at the 2500+ euro level—two of those are gone, already!) an original painting.

To learn more about the project and support it, visit the Kickstarter. To apply for free tickets in advance, go to Eventbrite.

Keep an eye out on our Youtube channel, as we’ll be making a video or two responding to some as-yet-unseen artwork to give everyone a taste of what’s to come!

GRRM at SF in SF

Last night, George R.R. Martin and John Picacio took the stage at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City for what turned out to be two and half hours of conversation and Q&A. We believe the SF in SF organization, along with co-sponsor of the event Locus Magazine, will be posting the audio (and perhaps video) of the full event at their site, but in the meantime there have been reports, and even a bit of video.

One of the detailed reports from the Q&A comes from Twitter user clintw, which we’ve threaded and posted to the So Spake Martin collection. In the course of the interview and Q&A, Martin remarks on the name of the latest Princess of Dorne, the whereabouts of the Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, hints about the various ideas HBO is still exploring for successor shows, and more.

Book of Swords Nominated for World Fantasy Award

This year’s World Fantasy Award finalists have been announced, and The Book of Swords anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and the late Gardner Dozois is nominated in the anthology category. The award winners, which are juried (but include a popular component in that two finalists in each category are chosen by popular vote), will be announced during the World Fantasy Convention taking place on November 1st through 4th in Baltimore, Maryland.

For the full list of finalists in all categories, see this post over at Tor.com.

2019 Ice and Fire Calendar Out

Yesterday, the 2019 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar was published, containing art by award-winning artist John Jude Palencar.

Just before the release, Palencar shared a preview of the artwork over at the excellent Muddy Colors blog, including some initial sketches for pieces that you’ll have to get the calendar to see in finished form.

GRRM at Thrillerfest

While Linda and I were in Spain for Celsius 232, George R.R. Martin was in New York City for ThrillerFest, where among other things there was an interview and Q&A (we’ve embedded the video!) with editor Anne Groell. Topics discussed include the new Nightflyers TV show from SyFY, the history of The World of Ice and Fire and Fire and Blood, and more.

At the close of the festival, Martin was named that year’s Thriller Master, the lifetime achievement award from the International Thriller Writers association. Here’s a press release, and the video of the awards ceremony below!

Dark Sword Reveals 18 New GRRM Masterworks

A big, but very pleasant, surprise for fans of Dark Sword Miniatures and their GRRM Masterworks line of officially-licensed A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures: DSM and the legendary sculptor Tom Meier have put together a 15th Anniversary package of eighteen new miniatures. There’s an amazing gallery of images of the figures at Dark Sword’s order page that we highly recommend fans checking out.

Among the characters depicted? Maester Aemon, Darkstar, Grey Worm, Jon Snow as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Dunk & Egg, Rhaegar at the Ruby Ford, Syrio Forel, the Blackfish, and ... well, more, including a spectacular Cersei Lannister piece. Plus, on top of that, Dark Sword has thrown in five additional figures to the bundle, also sculpted by Meier, to help fill out the cast of a tavern or inn where some of the most memorable scenes in the novels have taken place.

Supplies are limited, according to Dark Sword, so don’t delay on ordering if you’re a fan of miniatures or a collector of ASoIaF memorabilia—these are really amazing works of art, as Tom Meier is one of the very best miniaure sculptors in the world.

An Evening with GRRM in San Francisco

Worldcon 76 is coming to San Jose in August, but a couple of days prior to this the SF in SF organization has put together a special event: an evening with George R.R. Martin and award-winning artist John Picacio.

Organized as a benefit for Locus Magazine, the chief trade magazine of SF/F publishing, the event promises to feature “a discussion on literature, art, and life” between the famed writer and artist. Signed copies of their works will be available for purchase.

The event takes place at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on August 14, the Tuesday before Worldcon. For more information, see the event site.

2019 Ice and Fire Calendar Details

Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin’s assistant has revealed the cover of the A Song of Ice and Fire 2019 Calendar, with art from the great John Jude Palencar. This continues the trend of award-winning artists gracing the calendar series, making it one of the most vividly illustrated literary universes since Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Interestingly, Palencar seems to have not done much SF/F genre work for the last four or five years—we’re going to guess he’s done personal projects and private commissions in the interim—so this calendar will mark an exciting return for the artist.

According to Amazon, the calendar has a July 17, 2018 release date.