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Fire & Blood: George R.R. Martin’s latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

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Fire & Blood George R.R. Martin's latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

Westeros has a lot of families, royal and otherwise. So many that you wonder how did George R.R. Martin come up with such diverse names. Of all the families though, the most sought-after and mysterious has been House Targaryen. Power, magic, dragons, incest; a history that promises far more than a meager number of Targaryens in Game of Thrones (the show).

Fire & Blood George R.R. Martin's latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

 

Martin has come out to quench that thirst with Fire & Blood, the first of a two-volume set dedicated to the history of Targaryens essentially after they took residence on Dragonstone. It is not a traditional novel and is written in the style of a textbook, covering 150 years of Targaryen generations in Westeros. Unlike the books in ASOIAF, Fire & Blood is narrated by a single person; a maester of the Citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn. He also made an appearance in a previous history book called The World of Ice and Fire, which released in 2014 and was dedicated to the history of Westeros.

The new book is supposed to shed light over some important conundrums. What really happened during the Dance of Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the doom? What is the origin of Daenerys‘ three dragon eggs? Albeit Martin has forewarned to take the information with a pinch of salt because there’s no absolute certainty about what’s being told by Archmaester Gyldayn. “Readers will have to find them and puzzle out whether they’re hints or red herrings,” GRRM told Entertainment Weekly.

Fire & Blood George R.R. Martin's latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

 

The World of Ice and Fire was also an account by a politically motivated maester Yandel, who could have tweaked or elided details about some of the more recent events such as Robert’s Rebellion. This, in turn, helped GRRM to keep some secrets up his sleeves. A similar strategy ensues here, that the versions of history could always have a potential of political motivation or superimpositions over time. And thus there is no commitment to any one of them. This helps in accommodating the changes in the narrative that could happen in the final two books of the ASOIAF series.

Fire & Blood is an unabridged version of the material that was originally written for The World of Ice and Fire but couldn’t find a place in its original conception of being a big coffee book table. The new book also has its own added flesh. George Martin had initially made a jape about naming it GRRMarillion, after J. R. R. Tolkien‘s Silmarillion.

A more detailed look at the world of Valyria or the doom that the Targaryens could foresee would have been a pleasant surprise. But the events in Fire & Blood are essentially Westerosi in nature. Thus, the book starts its journey from Aegon’s Conquest and creation of the Iron Throne, that took place some 300 years before the events in A Game of Thrones.

Fire & Blood George R.R. Martin's latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

 

It moves forward with the tales of future Targaryen generations that fought to retain control over the seven kingdoms brought together by Aegon the Conqueror. And ahead into the civil war (Dance of the Dragons) that vanquished most of the dragons from Westeros and proved almost apocalyptic for the Targaryen dynasty.

There are some noteworthy Easter eggs; the mention of Alyssa Targaryen who closely resembles Tyrion Lannister, thus teasing at Tyrion’s parentage; Dany’s dragons being related to Queen Rhaena‘s Dreamfyre, one of the last and strongest of the dragons killed during the Dance of Dragons;

Fire & Blood George R.R. Martin's latest addition to A Song of Ice and Fire

Queen Alyssane Targaryen‘s dragon Silverwing refusing to fly north beyond the Wall. And her subsequent championing of the Night’s Watch to ward off the threat in the north; Queen Alicent Targaryen, who strikes a close proximity to Queen Cersei when it comes to let-the-world-burn-and-save-our-own instinct. Eventually, Alicent has a grim and lonely fate waiting for her.

With this 736 page-long first volume, Martin promises the grandeur and scope of Edward Gibbon‘s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon’s celebrated work contains six volumes and chronicles the journey from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of the Byzantium. Fire & Blood also contains more than eighty black and white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. The book has been published by Bantam Books on November 20, 2018. You can purchase the book on Amazon.

As we wait for the finale of the showstopper called Game of Thrones, Martin has thrown a big pile of backlog at everyone interested. Let’s hope Daenerys and Jon (or Aegon) have something to learn from it. What are your views about this historical addition to Westeros? Talk to us in the comments.


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George R. R. Martin announces the release of three titles in the Wild Cards series

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George R.R. Martin announces the release of three titles in the Wild Cards series

Reading is an activity that needs both attention and imagination. It’s not a passive chore, rather it puts you into an active role in the story it’s telling. Literature has inspired a large part of cinema and TV. The most popular show of the last decade, Game of Thrones got its flesh from the books of A Song of Ice and Fire series. But the wizard behind that series, George R.R. Martin does a lot of other literary work apart from the Westerosi saga. It involves being an editor and author of the stories in the Wild Cards series. George recently announced the arrival of three offerings from the series on his Not a Blog. Read on to find out more.

The first to arrive was TEXAS HOLD ‘EM on April 28. It’s the third book in the American triad of the Wild Cards series, released by Tor Books as a paperback reissue of the 2018 version. The earlier two are Mississippi Roll and Low Chicago and GRRM has edited all three of them. “Hop on the bus with Amazing Bubbles, Rubberband, Rustbelt, and the Jokertown mob and travel down to San Antonio for a high school jazz competition like none you have ever seen before!” George wrote for the novel.

The local bookstores might have copies, but they perhaps remain closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns. So, you can buy it online on “Amazon, B&N, or Beastly Books”.George R.R. Martin announces the release of three titles in the Wild Cards seriesWild Cards is a series of science fiction tales that consists of anthologies, mosaic novels, and solo novels. The stories play out in an alternate historical period after World War II in the USA; where human beings have contracted an alien virus called, Wild Card virus. Unlike the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (don’t blindly trust the conspiracy theories), this is a man-made bioweapon. The virus has varying effects on everyone. Although it kills almost ninety percent of the infected, it provides superhuman abilities to one percent (called Aces) and crippling/physically repulsive conditions to the remaining nine (called Jokers). More than forty authors have contributed to the series for which GRRM has served as an editor since 1986.

The second offering is a new one; it’s the hardcover edition of THREE KINGS, the twenty-ninth volume in the Wild Cards series. Harper Collins Voyager released it on Friday, May 1 in the UK. “This one is a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles, featuring a cast of English and Irish aces, jokers, and knaves, including the Seamstress, the Green Man, Badh, Double Helix, and Enigma”. Martin wrote about Three Kings.

Three Kings is a mosaic novel where different authors weaved a single-story, each writing from the point of view of their characters. The writers who contributed to the story are Melinda M. Snodgrass, Peadar O Guilin, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Caroline Spector, and Peter Newman. It’s a complex collaborative effort edited by GRRM and assistant editor, Melinda M. Snodgrass. However, George states that Melinda’s work deserves more credit than his own on Three Kings. But since George has constantly held the editor’s position from the start, the cover classifies Three Kings in the same series of GRRM edited Wild Cards books.George R.R. Martin announces the release of three titles in the Wild Cards series

Tor Books will also release an American edition of Three Kings, but that might take one or two years. Currently, you can read a preview and buy the book here.

The third arrival is also a new story, Berlin Is Never Berlin by Marko Kloos. It will release on May 6 on Tor.com. It features “Khan, half man-half tiger kicking ass and taking names”, shown in the cover art by Micah Epstein. GRRM describes it as “a helluva trip”. Moreover, it will be available to read for free, alongside many other Wild Cards tales by Daniel Abraham, Carrie Vaughn, Stephen Leigh, and more. So, you can check these out on Tor.com. It’s not The Winds of Winter but GRRM has always recommended the Wild Cards stories.

What are your thoughts about this news? Tell us in the comments section.


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The Folio Society releases a new collector’s edition of ‘A Clash of Kings’

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The Folio Society releases a new collector's edition of A Clash of Kings

Great work starts with great imagination, be it any form of art. An artist’s creative force builds a world that imitates reality closely. The visionary depth of George R.R. Martin gave us the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, which then translated into the commonly known TV show Game of Thrones. But now that the show is over, and we await the arrival of the last two books in the ASOIAF series, The Folio Society has treated us with its special edition of the second book, A Clash of Kings.

It’s a collector’s edition with an entirely reimagined physical make-up of the book; albeit its soul of Martin’s literary power remains intact. The London-based publishing house excels at producing such prized editions. The quality of pages, the method of binding, type size, illustrations, maps, cover, family trees, formal house listings; everything updated to a high-end form. To maintain ease of keeping and reading, The Folio Society has turned the original single volume into a two-volume set. They released a similar version of the first book, A Game of Thrones last year.

However, such a luxurious read and beautiful design do not sell cheap. Priced at $195, the book aims at avid fans who intend to enrich their collection with this elegant variant; containing six full-page illustrations and two double-page spreads in each volume by the artist, Jonathan Burton. The art and publishing team at The Folio Society explained their interest in revisiting the old in an exclusive chat with The Verge.

The Folio Society releases a new collector's edition of A Clash of Kings

“The culmination of the television series of Game of Thrones marked a new level of passion and commitment in its fans, but it also took many thousands back to Martin’s books,” the publishing director Tom Walker said. “Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire are dedicated by nature. The Folio Society can now reward their dedication by bringing them the most perfectly realized editions of the books they so admire; editions that they will be able to hand down through generations,” he said.

While The Folio Society ran each and every single detail through GRRM’s team, they worked upon new changes that reflect their originality. Jonathan Burton has worked on both the books in the series. He created cover designs that represent the major houses locked in a conflict with each other through the length of the story in a volume. Another striking feature of the new book is its “narrator motifs”. Each character comes as a distinct persona in an image at the top before the start of its new chapter. The image combines the house sigil and traits of that character to make it unique and exciting. The use of black and gold ink throughout assigns a regal look to the book.

The Folio Society releases a new collector's edition of A Clash of Kings

The illustrator Jonathan Burton shed light on his work in an interview with tor.com. “I am coming to these novels completely cold having not seen the TV series; so, I was excited to see what happens to these characters. I was constantly surprised by the unfolding events and I had a few jaw-dropping moments; including Melisandre’s true nature and what happens to Renly. The new character of Brienne is a gift. My favorite is Arya with her feisty yet innocent character constantly up against the most monstrous and manipulative.”

The illustrations need to cover the book with an even spread-out. So, the struggle with the choice of scenes to illustrate led Jonathan to make “a balancing selection of main characters and settings, iconic moments and things that he couldn’t stop himself drawing”. Rather than the “political intrigue” that surrounds the story, Jonathan chose to draw the moments that were “visually evocative”.

The Folio Society releases a new collector's edition of A Clash of Kings

Moreover, he used different colors to draw different characters in order to ground them in their view of reality. Thus, Sansa’s “romantic view of the world” got vivid greens and reds, Jon’s dismal inner world depicted by whites and blacks, and Arya’s harsh reality drawn with earthy tones. “Renly’s death” and “Arya facing up the prisoners in the wagon” (including Jaqen H’ghar) stood out as favorite illustrated scenes for Jonathan.

The Folio Society wants to publish the series right to its end. And they are quite ready to wait alongside the fans for the upcoming books. Well, that’s the attitude the fans of ASOIAF have developed over the years. They will wait till their watch ends.

A new illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords is due for the coming November. But this amazing edition of A Clash of Kings has arrived and you can buy it here.

What are your thoughts about the new book? Tell us in the comments section.


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George R. R. Martin offers an exclusive look at the new illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords

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George R.R. Martin offers an exclusive look at the new illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords

Game of Thrones has been one of our favorite things from the last decade. The story of Westeros spanning over eight seasons thrilled us to our core. However, before the show, there were books. And as much credit Game of Thrones owes to its creators, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, even more, remains due to the author, George R. R. Martin. Starting in 1996, the American writer has published five books in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire along with a few novellas and reference books. There are two more in the frontline of the story – The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, which are long-awaited. While there are no signs of The Winds, GRRM has thrown some color at us by announcing that A Storm of Swords (ASOS) is set to appear in a new illustrated form.

George broke the news through his twitter handle, and let us know that the illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords, the third book in the series, will release on November 3, 2020. His post offered an exclusive look at the artwork from the book. He shared a picture that shows Daenerys Targaryen trying to feed her three dragons while on a ship. The dragons are growing, but are still very small. The mother of dragons is seemingly tangled in her adventures in Essos.

Gary Gianni, an American artist, has done the artwork for the book, that Martin describes as “lithograph-like”. Before ASOS, the first two books – A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings – have also released in illustrated forms. Gary Gianni had also contributed to the artwork for A Game of Thrones. We also have a look at the cover for the illustrated version of ASOS.

(Spoilers ASOS) A Storm of Swords illustrated edition coming November 3, 2020 from asoiaf

This is definitely great news during these grim times of coronavirus lockdowns. Martin had informed us through his Not a Blog, that he is in a “remote isolated location” and he “feels fine”. He also wrote that he’s “spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day”. So, that means we might just get The Winds earlier than expected. It would be a delight on the other side of the global pandemic tunnel.

You can pre-order the new edition of ASOS here.

What are your thoughts about the new illustrated edition? What time do you expect The Winds of Winter to release? Tell us your views in the comments.


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