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When the Game Began

Pictures of HBO's version of the Iron Throne are all over the internet these days -- in publicity stills, in the teasers and trailers, probably as wallpaper. Love it.

I thought some of you might enjoy having a look at the FIRST Iron Throne: the one that Bantam had built as the centerpiece of their booth at the 1996 American Booksellers' Association (ABA) show in Chicago.

photo copyright Andrew I. Porter

The official publication date of A GAME OF THRONES -- first edition, first printing, with its now infamous embossed silver foil cover -- was still months in the future when the 1996 ABA was held, but Bantam had hundreds of glossy hardcovers there at the show, and gave them all away to booksellers. Which is why I have always regarded the US edition as the true first of GAME, even though the British edition from Harper Collins had an earlier official pubdate. The American edition actually EXISTED earlier, and I handed out hundreds of them to the schools of piranha... er, retailers... who appeared out of nowhere whenever a new giveaway began.

Signed most of 'em too. Often while sitting in the giant Iron Throne. Which was actually made of wood, for what it's worth. As the show was winding down, Bantam offered to let me have it, but somehow I didn't think the airline would accept it as checked baggage.

Besides, the thing was really uncomfortable. That part they got just right.


Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Too fun. I still have my foil cover editions, too. :)
Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:51 am (UTC)
So, then, do you know what happened to it? Does it still exist?
Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
No doubt melted down into a heap of slag in the basement of the BDD headquarters.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
Never loan someone a first edition. I haven't seen my Game of Thrones in 10 years, and assume that I will not.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 07:12 am (UTC)
Awesome! It would be fun to see a then and now comparison - did you get to take any pictures on the new Iron Throne?
Mar. 2nd, 2011 07:27 am (UTC)
That is a fantastic picture, and also a really nice post about it. It looks uncomfortable, if only by the sheer size of it!
Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:27 am (UTC)
I like the ominous and kind of cobbled-together look of the HBO throne; I imagine it's hard to get swords into the shape of any kind of chair.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:27 am (UTC)
*laughs8 Wow. That *looks* really uncomfortable!
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
I think I like HBO's better. Looks more terrifying and able to cut a mad king.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
This is great, I love it when you share pics! I, too, am curious about what happened to the throne! I think I would have had it shipped home. lol
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
The HBO version is much more like what I imagine (there's a few inches of blades pointing out of the back to force you to sit up straight), but I quite like this one, especially with the sword-stag.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC)
Print Run
Do you know how many US 1st/1st's were printed? I was curious how rare this edition is.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Print Run
The British edition is much rarer, which is why it goes for more, even though the US edition was the true first, IMNSHO.

Best as I recall, Bantam shipped about 50,000 of those silver firsts. Harper Collins did maybe 2,000 of theirs.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 06:26 am (UTC)
Re: Print Run
To be clear, the first edition, it's the silver one, with the painting of I think one of the Starks in that wide panel shot looking over the castle? My dad handed me a copy that looks like that. Poor thing's got the first thirty pages falling out, but it's dated '96.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 06:54 am (UTC)
Re: Print Run
No, the first edition has no painting, just an embossed throne behind type, on bright silver foil.

Beware of ebay sellers who try to pass off the book club edition as a first. The book club is smaller, and the cover stock is a dull grey rather than shiny silver... but on ebay pix they can look the same.

The first edition is worth hundreds of dollars. The book club is worth maybe five bucks.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Print Run
Yep! That's the one I have, signed by George and purchased from his website years ago. I about fell out of my chair when I saw a)you were selling them so cheap, b) you would personally sign them and I didn't have to wait in line at an appearance! Although I did miss out talking personally, I have the book and I will treasure it always!
Mar. 2nd, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
I wonder if they sell its replicas.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
You Should Have Kept It
I would have.

If I were you I would have it as an explicit part of my contract. That it goes where ever I go; be it a book signing, con, on the set of the TV show, the washroom. All at the publisher's expense of course.

Surround it with beautiful women. Lord it over the other writers.

A little discomfort is a small price to pay for reminding others of their place.

That chair looks too damn cool to not have around.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
I'll go out on a limb and say the new iron throne looks much cooler. That one doesnt instill the sense of menace and danger quite like the HBO one does. Cool pic though.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
HBO > Bantam
Let's be glad Bantam is not on the production team for the series. I mean, even with the HBO version of the throne, I'm not seeing how one cuts themselves so easily.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: HBO > Bantam
I think they didn't want it to be too likely to cut anyone, given that actors did have to sit in it! I love the HBO version, but that old original is way too cool!
Mar. 3rd, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. Cute photo.
Mar. 3rd, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)
awesome photo!!!!

Mar. 3rd, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
That's awesome! Although I do think I like the HBO set version better. The ideal version is still the one with Jaimie sitting across it with the bloody sword in hand. I don't remember whether it was from a calendar, or the card game art.
Mar. 7th, 2011 10:20 am (UTC)
Glad to see you an Andy got this done. It looks great here.

Congratulations on the pubdate announcement of the new book. As your friend, I'm delighted you're finally getting this monkey off your back. As your impatient fan, I can't wait to read it!


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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