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

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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 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 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”.

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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