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Nasmith to Illustrate GAME OF THRONES

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You've been asking for it. And now we're doing it.

I'm delighted to be able to announce the forthcoming publication of a new, deluxe, limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES, to be published by my friends at Subterranean Press, and illustrated by the massively talented TED NASMITH.

Ted is widely considered to be one of the "Big Three" of Tolkien illustrators; along with Alan Lee and John Howe, he has brought Middle Earth to life like no one else. And he he is no stranger to my own world, either. Ted painted the all of the wonderful landscapes for the gorgeous 2011 Ice & Fire calendar, with what I consider to be THE definitive depictions of thirteen of the great castles of Westeros.



It will be a thrill to work with Ted once again. You can see a lot more of his work on his own website at http://www.tednasmith.com/

I have always loved illustrated books. No doubt that's an artifact of my childhood, and early exposure to the work of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth in books like MEN OF IRON, ROBIN HOOD, and TREASURE ISLAND. Almost since the day I started writing, I've wanted to see my own novels done in the same manner. Pyle and Wyeth are long gone, alas (though their work remains, and if there is anyone out there reading this who loves it as much as I do, be sure and visit the Brandywine Gallery should your travels ever take you to Philadelphia), but their heritage lives on in the work of today's top illustrators. Nasmith is one.

This will be the second illustrated edition of A GAME OF THRONES (actually, the second ENGLISH LANGUAGE edition... my Finnish publishers also issued a nice illustrated edition in honor of my visit to Finncon, and the Chinese and Japanese editions have also included some nice interior artwork). Long-time fans and collectors will recall that my dream of having the series published in a series of beautiful illustrated books was initially brought to fruition by Meisha Merlin, a small press out of Atlanta, who released numbered limited editions of both A GAME OF THRONES (illustrated by the late Jeff Jones) and A CLASH OF KINGS (illustrated by John Howe). Lovely books, both... though not without certain flaws, admittedly, but...

Meisher Merlin GAME OF THRONES


Meisha Merlin CLASH OF KINGS


The original plan was for Meisha Merlin to do the whole series, of course. Unfortunately, the press ran into certain financial difficulties, as small presses often do, and ultimately went bust. Fortunately, I was able to get off the ship before it sank, and move the limited edition series over to Subterranean Press. Subterranean picked up where Meisha Merlin had left off, and issued signed, numbered, limited, slipcased editions of A STORM OF SWORDS (illustrated by Charles Vess) and A FEAST FOR CROWS (illustrated by Tom Canty). The Subterranean edition of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (illustrated by Marc Fishman)is in the works even as I write.

Which is not to say the changeover was without problems. The Meisha Merlin books are gorgeous, and so are the SubPress books... but they are also different. Subterranean has its own views on book design, its own ideas about graphics, its own way of doing things, and its own likes, dislikes, and preferences. When Subterranean took over, they changed the size of the book, dropped some of the features of the Meisha Merlin limiteds (the gilded pages, for example), even split the books into two volumes (in a single slipcase). All of which led to a certain amount of unhappy collectors. While I think everyone appreciated the quality of the books, and the love that had gone into them, the Meisha Merlin and Subterranean editions could not really be considered a SET, except in the broadest terms. The books did not match. Lined up side by side on the bookshelf, they did not look as if they belonged together.

Meisha Merlin STORM OF SWORDS
((never published))


Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS



Small wonder then that, almost from the day that the Subterranean STORM OF SWORDS was first published, both Bill Schafer and I began to receive letters from collectors asking that SubPress do its own editions of A GAME OF THRONES and A CLASH OF KINGS, in a format similar to their later limiteds, to make a true set. There has been a steady stream of such letters and emails over the intervening years... enough so that Bill finally decided that they had a point and, with my blessing, went to Bantam Spectra and secured the license.

As with the other Subterranean editions (and the Meisha Merlin editions before them), the Nasmith GAME OF THRONES will be signed and numbered and slipcased, limited to 52 lettered copies (A through ZZ) and 448 numbered copies (1 through 448). First right of purchase will go to those customers buying the SubPress limited of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. The series is fully subscribed at the moment, I fear... but there are always drop outs, so I expect some copies will become available to new buyers (though probably not many).

The value of those Meisha Merlin editions has reached astronomical heights on the collector's market in the last year or two, and I know there will be some concern about how these new SubPress editions will impact that value. There is really no certain way to predict that, of course; the rare book market can be volatile. But I did speak to several collectors and rare book dealers before signing off on these new editions, and the general opinion was that any impact would be minimal. The SubPress edition is in no sense a reprint of the Meisha Merlin, after all. Only the text will be the same (and the text is the same in all the trade hardcover and paperback editions as well). The size, format, type font, book design, paper stock, and everything else about the Subterranean edition will be different. And of course Ted Nasmith's art will all be completely new, and original to the book. The Meisha Merlin books will be just as rare as they are now, and I suspect their value will continue to appreciate... (at least as long as the HBO series stays on the air, but that's a different discussion). But hundreds of new fans will now have the chance to add a gorgeous limited edition of A GAME OF THRONES to their shelves, and perhaps some of the many "busted sets" out there will be completed.

I think it's a win/ win. And I know that Ted Nasmith is going to give us some stunning artwork. So thanks to all of you out there who have been pushing for this through the years, and sending us all those emails.

Comments

( 67 comments )
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twistedsheets10
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD.

/seal claps in delight
semaht
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Cool!
And let me add a shout-out to John R. Neill and Sidney Paget, whose illustrations fueled my own childhood imagination.
dscotton
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
It's cool that they're doing this... but I wish they would print enough for everyone who wants one to buy one, rather than artificially limiting the print run.
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Well, it's a sublicense from Bantam. Random House would never allow another publisher to print an unlimited number of copies of a new edition. It is only the limitation that makes a book like this possible.
(no subject) - arvernian - Aug. 14th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hippoiathanatoi - Aug. 14th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
probably a stupid question - Alex_AniPac - Aug. 14th, 2011 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: probably a stupid question - grrm - Aug. 14th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: probably a stupid question - marlowe1 - Aug. 14th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: probably a stupid question - hippoiathanatoi - Aug. 14th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: probably a stupid question - arvernian - Aug. 15th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
tully01
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
The only reason I don't consider this a win-win is that when it all started *I* was too broke to buy the limited edtions. My whining aside, ASOIAF books from SubT with Nasmith illos? That's making the world a finer place.
zeonchar
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Comic adaptations anyone?
hippoiathanatoi
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
Like this one? :)
God that looks awful - therestlessdawn - Aug. 14th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zeonchar - Aug. 15th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
stegoking
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
John Picacio for A Clash of Kings! :D
evilknick
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
I had no idea there were illustrated editions. Is it possible to see small scans or record of these images without resorting to piracy?
As an aspiring illustrator, I've always wanted to try my own hand at this for my own satisfaction, but to learn John Howe did interiors? I must see these!
hippoiathanatoi
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
John Howe has a few images from A Clash of Kings here.

Some examples of Vess's work in A Storm of Swords can be found in his recent art book, Drawing Down the Moon. I'm not sure where you can see any of Canty's work, I admit. Marc Fishman has published.

I think, but can't swear to it, that some random pieces of the A Game of Thrones art are buried amidst much other art at the official site of the late Jeff Jones. There also is/was a limited edition print of Jones' cover, here.
(no subject) - hippoiathanatoi - Aug. 14th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC) - Expand
meyertimothyj
Aug. 14th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
Forgive me for being dense, but I can't quite figure out what the cover of GoT is supposed to depict. I can't make out the rider's banner nor do I particularly remember of scene like this.

Anybody got any ideas?
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
A knight on a horse looking across the sea to a castle.
(no subject) - hippoiathanatoi - Aug. 14th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
darkyo
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:07 am (UTC)
oh my god
hippoiathanatoi
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:36 am (UTC)
Now, we just need Alan Lee...
elpinoino
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:39 am (UTC)
This quite simpy sucks, I understand why it is so limited but I don`t have to like it ;)

Is there any chance that the illustrations by Ted Nasmith can be sold on its own? Art book, poster folder or something like that.
sini74
Aug. 14th, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
Illustrated edition of Finnish Kuninkaiden koitos (A Clash of Kings) is available now, I'm sure your copy is in the mail somewhere. Hope hat not be stolen.
jolaf
Aug. 14th, 2011 10:21 am (UTC)
Great news!
Is it going to be illustrated with old known Nasmith's works, or he's gonna paint new ones for the case?
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Great news!
All the art will be brand new, done especially for the book.
(no subject) - jolaf - Aug. 14th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
dajamieson
Aug. 14th, 2011 10:25 am (UTC)
Honestly? I think this is a terrible idea, and I've said as much already on the Westeros forums. I'd go into more detail, but it seems the decision's been made so there's not much point.*shrugs*
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
Surprised to hear that, Daj.

Are you and Vanessa coming to worldcon? Maybe we can talk about it in Reno over a beer or three.
(no subject) - dajamieson - Aug. 14th, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Aug. 15th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC) - Expand
egleriel
Aug. 14th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Wow!
This sounds amazing, wish I could have one! It's great that such high-profile artists are on board; the art in the calendars is already fantastic. Is there any chance the illustrations will become available separately/online at some point?
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow!
"At some point?" Yes, most likely.

It's the publisher (Subterranean, in this case) who contracts with the artist, not me, and I am not privy to the details of their agreement. But usually there's some period of exclusivity, after which the artist can reprint the artwork elsewhere... in a book of his own work, on posters and prints, whatever.

mufajir01
Aug. 14th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
payment
hello,
ive downloaded the books illegally and i was wondering if there was any way in which i could make a payment directly to the author?
thanks
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: payment
I would prefer that you stop downloading books illegally, myself.

Though I appreciate your offer to pay.
Re: payment - mufajir01 - Aug. 14th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: payment - floorgoblin - Aug. 25th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: payment - jesfor - Aug. 15th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: payment - patrick_tully - Aug. 14th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
mishellbaker
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Leather fetish
Last night I dreamed there was an Easton Press version of Game of Thrones.
patrick_tully
Aug. 14th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
Delighted
I'm looking forward to this. It will be nice to see Nasmith's new illustrations. His interpretations of the castles in the 2011 calendar are wonderful.

This should be good for the users with "broken" sets who cannot afford the MM edition in the current market. As to looking like a set, the Subterranean editions of Storm and Feast had fairly different styles, unlike the MM books which used a similar cover and font style.
thrawn2010
Aug. 14th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Dear Mr. Martin,

I own a Meisha Merlin copy of Clash of Kings and Subterranean Press copies of Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows.

I recently ordered A Dance with Dragons from Sub Press.

So, luckily I will be able to acquire a copy of A Game of Thrones by my favorite artist Ted Nasmith.

My question:

When will AGOT appoximately go on preorder?

Lets just say after having just spent some good money on Dance I'm not exactly a swimming in money.

So I would really appreciate a gap between preorders of Dance and Games.

Thanks
Marc
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
There will definitely be a gap. We've just signed Ted Nasmith. He hasn't even begun to do any of the art yet. I don't know his schedule or what other obligations he has on his plate, whether SubPress gave him a delivery date, or what it might be.

Bill Schafer would know more of these details than I would. You might ask him. But with Marc Fishman almost done with the DANCE art, and Ted not yet begun, I would expect a fairly substantial distance between pub dates.
patpatrson
Aug. 14th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
"has brought Middle Life to life like no one else"
You mean Middle Earth? =P
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
Ooops. Yes indeed. Fixed. Thank'ee.
hagtbg
Aug. 14th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
The losers in win-win
I am an owner of the original limited edition. I recognize that with new art, new layout, etc. its unlikely there is any legal claim by those who purchased the prior editions. (In fact, that's probably the real reason you are redoing the art work.) But I do not believe that the impact of what you are doing to the value of the "limited edition" books I bought from you is "minimal." Come on, by the rationale here there is nothing stopping you from coming out with a new deluxe edition every year with new artists. Of course there is an impact. There is crazy demand for deluxe editions and scant supply, you are doubling the supply here and re-releasing new "limited edition" books does not increase demand for the volumes I own and paid a not-so-cheap price for. In short, I don't see how I end up worse off here. The old "limited editions" will not increase in value like they did and those of us who knew the quality of your work early on are the worse off for it. So it is not win-win. Not for me and not for the other purchasers of your first "limited editions."
grrm
Aug. 14th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Re: The losers in win-win
You write, "I don't see how I end up worse off here," and you're right... although I suspect that's not what you meant to say. I don't see how you end up worse either.

You don't believe the impact on the value of the old MM editions will be minimal. Maybe you're right. I am not going to predict the ups and downs of the rare book market. However, I did consult a couple of dealers in rare books before I signed off on this. Experts on this subject. One of them said, "Well, I'm not going to lower MY prices, I can tell you that." The other one, when asked if the new SP editions would lower the value of old MM editions, said, "If I'm buying, sure it will. If I'm selling, not at all." Time will tell.

You're just flat out wrong when you say I am "doubling the supply," however. This is a totally different edition. Meisha Merlin printed 500 copies of their GAME OF THRONES, 52 lettered and 448 numbered (actually, an unknown number of PC editions are floating around out there as well... only a few, I'd hope, but I don't really know). That's all there is. There won't be any more. No one is printing any more of those books.

When you do a limited edition, it is the EDITION that's limited.

The Bantam hardcover of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is already in its seventh printing. Hell, by now, it may be in its eighth. The ONLY difference between the first printing and the seventh printing is a few tiny missing numbers on the copyright page. Yet for collectors of first editions, only the first printing will do, not the third or fifth or seventh. Later printings will not impact the value of the first in the slightest... and that's when the books are absolutely identical, but for that line of numbers.

In this case, we have two editions that are completely different in every respect. It makes no sense to me that the existence of the new one will cause the value of the old one to fall.

If you really believe it will, however... well, the value of those MM books is astronomical at present... so by your belief, there could not possibly be a better time to sell.

Edited at 2011-08-14 09:08 pm (UTC)
Re: The losers in win-win - hagtbg - Aug. 14th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The losers in win-win - grrm - Aug. 15th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The losers in win-win - hagtbg - Aug. 15th, 2011 11:39 am (UTC) - Expand
coscaram
Aug. 14th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
A few years ago, I saw a wonderful exhibition, at the Illustration museum (Newport, RI), of the artists of the Brandywine school. I had to fight the urge to hock all my belongings and invest it all in Howard Pyle books. I think that I'm feeling that urge again! ;-) I am not familiar with Mr. Naismith. I'll have to remedy that.
ps. I loved A Dance With Dragons and will, patiently, wait for the next one. (and your football posts, even though I follow the evil Patriots)
memyselfandrye
Aug. 15th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
This is great for those lucky enough to get one
But I doubt I am one of them. when I first started reading this post, I hoped the news was Naismith was going to do another Ice and Fire Calendar, with more castle art. Portraits of characters are great and all, but it's the castles and locations which truly have the power to take my break away.
jasonww
Aug. 15th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
Transferring Legacy Purchasing Rights
Hi GRRM,

Can you please ask Subterranean to stop transferring the legacy purchasing rights for your books? People are dropping out but they are selling their legacy purchasing rights on Ebay. I know it's very unlikely I'll get the chance to buy any of these books but at least this would improve my odds.

I emailed Subterranean with this request but unfortunately got this response:

"Sorry, from the beginning, customers have had the ability to transfer rights if they sold the most recent volume in the series -- in this case A FEAST FOR CROWS. It's not a policy that we're going to go back on.

Best,

Bill"

diabolikal
Aug. 15th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
I would kill for that John Howe CLASH and the Charles Vess STORM.
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