On August 1, 1996, a little-known fantasy novel called A Game of Thrones was published. No, really: “Reviews were generally good, sales were… well, okay,” George R.R. Martin reminisced on his Not A Blog earlier today. “Solid. But nothing spectacular. No bestseller lists, certainly.” Looking back on the last two decades, he jokes about modest and downright bad (his record being “minus four”) signings and the “long friendly talks” he had with early A Song of Ice and Fire readers.
But things have changed quite a bit thanks to ASOIAF fans, HBO’s Game of Thrones, and merchandising: “It has been a helluva twenty years, twenty years that have transformed my life and career, twenty years during which the novel has never been out of print,” Martin writes. “And something like that has to be commemorated.” That something is an illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones coming later this year, which Bantam Spectra announced today.
Martin shared the cover for the illustrated edition:
Plus, details about the “galaxy of talent” contributing to the black-and-white and color pieces:
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. Bantam says, “With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before.”
[…] The list of participating artists reads like an all star roster of fantasy illustrators, and includes such luminaries as John Picacio, Paul Youll, Gary Gianni, Didier Graffet, Victor Moreno, Michael Komarck, Arantza Sestayo, Magali Villeneuve, Ted Nasmith, Levi Pinfold, Marc Simonetti, and many more. We’ve had some stunning illustrated editions of A Game of Thrones before, to be sure, with the limited editions from Meisha Merlin and Subterranean Press… but each of those was illustrated only by a single artist. This will be the first edition to feature such a galaxy of talent.
Here’s one of the new illustrations, of Hodor and Bran:
A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition will be available October 18, 2016.