The seventh season of HBO’s Game of Thrones may feel a hundred Westeros winters away right now but fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series will at least have something to tide them over until then – with the announcement of an illustrated edition of the first book in the series, A Game Of Thrones.

The news was delivered by the New Jersey-born author himself as a way of celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the book’s initial August 1996 release when it was no more than a relatively unassuming, chunky, fantasy hardback in a silver foil jacket.

The book’s publishers Bantam Spectra added to the announcement, saying:

“In celebration of the fantasy masterpiece that started a cultural phenomenon, we’re excited to announce the publication of a special illustrated edition. With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before.”

Check out the book cover and two pieces of artwork below:

A Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition cover Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition Announced For 20th Anniversary

Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition Bran and Hodor Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition Announced For 20th Anniversary

Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition artwork Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition Announced For 20th Anniversary

Martin offers a little more detail as to what fans can expect from the new edition, stating that although the story will remain the same, there will be an introductory foreword from “world famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman“. As for the illustrations themselves, readers can expect seventy-three black and white images and eight full color plates. Only forty-eight of these can be considered previously unseen though, with the other illustrations having been taken from A Song of Ice and Fire calendars, card games, board games and RPGs that have been released previously.

The author generously shared two of the black and white images, one old and one new, although fans of the HBO television adaptation be warned: the first of these depicts a young Bran Stark riding on the back of his loyal friend and protector Hodor, a picture that may just stir up some painful emotions remaining from Game of Thrones season 6’s ‘The Door‘.

Although long-time book readers may be quick to point out that illustrated editions of A Game of Thrones have been printed before, this will be the first book to feature more than one artist, with a wide variety of respected fantasy illustrators taking part including John Picacio, Paul Youll, Gary Gianni, Didier Graffet, Victor Moreno, Michael Komarck, Arantza Sestayo, Magali Villeneuve, Ted Nasmith, Levi Pinfold and Marc Simonetti.

In his blog post, George R.R. Martin also shares some memories and reflection on the past twenty years, recalling modest sales for A Game of Thrones and a promotional book signing tour around the U.S. where crowds turned up in their…tens. He goes on to compare that to the international renown the story has now achieved and the turnabout in his own career as a result and reaffirms that at the outset, he had no idea of the future fame that awaited him.

NEXT: Game of Thrones Season 8 Confirmed to Be the Last

A Game of Thrones: An Illustrated Edition will be released on October 18th, 2016.

Source: George R.R. Martin blog

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