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George R.R. Martin Announces Special 20th Anniversary Illustrated GAME OF THRONES

Twenty years ago today, August 1st, 1996, the first novel in George R.R. Martin‘s series A Song of Ice and Fire was released, a book titled A Game of Thrones.

That turned out to be a big deal.

In honor of two decades of blue-eyed ice monsters, dragons, Starks, Lannisters, hard-to-spell names, and the most popular television show on the planet, the author announced on his LiveJournal that a special illustrated edition of the book that started it all will be released later this year on October 18th.

Bantam Spectra will be re-releasing the book, and it will contain 73 “black and white interior illustrations and eight spectacular full color plates.” Some of the art will come from the Ice and Fire calendars, others from the series’ supplementary history book The World of Ice and Fire, with further additions from various card and board games based on the story, but 48 of the images in the book will be brand new, never-before-seen pieces.

As Martin pointed out, this will not be the first illustrated edition of the book released, but unlike past copies that were only illustrated by a single artist, this version will draw on a large list of contributors, including John Picacio, Paul Youll, Gary Gianni, Didier Graffet, Victor Moreno, Michael Komarck, Arantza Sestayo, Magali Villeneuve, Ted Nasmith, Levi Pinfold, Marc Simonetti, and others.

It’s very cool to see how much the cover of the book itself will have changed in twenty years, as Martin posted the original first edition with its silver foil cover, which is dramatically different than the new gold and red copy of today.

Martin also shared two images that will appear in the book, one of Ned cleaning the Stark ancestral Valyrian sword Ice in Winterfell’s Godswood, a piece that originally appeared in The World of Ice and Fire book, and a brand new one of (like the character is described in the book) a bearded Hodor lugging around Bran on his back.

It’s impossible to discuss Martin and the release of a new book though without wondering about the announcement we are really waiting for: when is The Winds of Winter going to be finished? Sad to say but he said he has nothing on that front for any of us. Considering his original plan for A Song of Ice and Fire was to tell the story in three books, all written in three years (a book a year!), and that he then missed his first deadline, we should probably all just give up trying to guess when it is coming.

But why dwell on the negative today? Having an excuse to go back and start re-reading the series (again) is worth getting excited over. Especially because if this is as successful as we imagine it will be, it will probably mean illustrated copies for the rest of the series eventually.

While the big takeaway for us is this new edition, make sure to head over and read his LiveJournal entry to read just how different his life is nowadays compared to when A Game of Thrones was first released. It’s impossible to imagine him doing a book signing–or any kind of appearance–and having zero people show up for it.

But these things have to start somewhere, and sometimes you need more than twenty years to finish it.

What scene or character from A Game of Thrones do you most hope to see illustrated? Tell us in the comments below.

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Featured Image: NBC
Body Images: Bantam Spectra/George R.R. Martin

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