On this #TargaryenThursday, we’re publishing an exclusive interview with Doug Wheatley, the artist whose work is featured throughout the forthcoming Fire and Blood. A veteran artist long associated with Star Wars comics, Wheatley has a wide portfolio, including having provided illustrations for our own The World of Ice & Fire (a fact we reference in our first remark).
There’s a number of images illustrating the piece, including an exclusive revealing the hapless Aenys I! Here’s the interview:
The full chapter list Fire & Blood (on shelves from November 20th) has been posted at GRRM’s official Facebook page for the forthcoming. The book, the first of two planned volumes covering the history of the Targaryen dynasty from its beginning to its end, is over 709 pages long.
Here’s a sneak peek of Fire & Blood’s Table of Contents, including the Targaryens who will be featured in the upcoming book (available Nov. 20)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
As we’ve noted in our recent Game of Thrones news roundup, Linda and I were away to Northern Ireland this past weekend on a trip sponsored by Tourism NI to see the Winterfell Festival at the beautiful Castle Ward estate that served as a filming location for Winterfell and much, much more. It marks my fourth visit to Northern Ireland, and each time has been a pleasure from the very first visit to look at the set and watch some of the filming with George to the previous visit thanks to Tourism NI to see the beautifully carved Doors of Game of Thrones, and now on to this one.
We’ve captured a lot of photos and video footage from the junket, just over 30 gigabytes. Keep an eye out over the coming days for posts and videos featuring some of the iconic locations, and even actors—we met with Mark Addy and Ian McElhinney when they were there at Castle Ward, and filmed a lengthy interview McElhinney held before an audience that we’ll publish soon.
And as it happens, some of the treasures are still coming—such as the following treat from Boyd Rankin, weaponmaker-extraordinaire responsible for many of the iconic weapons on the show who also served as Mikken on season 1 on the show (he says it was his well-worn, slightly charred leather apron that was cast) . We’ve already shared a couple of photos on our Instagram from seeing Boyd at Castle Ward, featuring an image of the original Longclaw before it was burned, bear’s head-pommel and all, and another of a new memento for us in the form of a knife made for season 4 that was never used…. but this is a bit different.
Boyd happens to have been involved with the show right from the pilot, and was on hand for filming in Morocco where the original meeting and wedding of Daenerys and Drogo was filmed (that’s when Tom McCarthy was directing, and Tamsin Merchant was playing Daenerys). As fans may know, George R.R. Martin had a cameo during the filming, a cameo that was never repeated… and never made it to air, as the Dany role was recast and the whole of her sequences were reshot. There have been one or two leaked photos from the pilot since then, but none has ever shown George in his costume for his cameo…
... until now, that is. Taken by Mr. Rankin, and used with his permission, this is the first time that we know of that anyone outside of the production has seen this:
Adapted and illustrated by Hugo Award-nominee Raya Golden, who was nominated for her adaptation of Martin’s Meathouse Man, this new graphic novel is a science fiction police procedural set in Chicago. Martin pitched the script in 1994 for the Fox Network; that year was particularly auspicious, despite the pilot not going anywhere, because it was the very same year that he began working in earnest on A Game of Thrones.
Here’s the blurb for the graphic novel:
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.
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.
At SDCC, Random House has made a poster available featuring the Targaryen family tree that will appear in Fire and Blood, and provided a signup link for their mailing list that leads to a PDF of the same. We don’t have that handy, but what we do have is an image of the poster:
Fans have already starting poring over it, and we thought we’d comment on a couple of things that have been pointed out