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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 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!


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

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