Game of Thrones will return to its literary roots ahead of its final season, with a collection of tie-in books set for release. Run by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones has become a cultural phenomenon since it debuted on HBO back in 2011. A cross between epic fantasy and historical fiction, the series told the story of the on-going battle between the various noble houses of Westeros - as they fight for control of the coveted Iron Throne. All the while, a very ancient evil awakens in the far north. As the series progressed across seven already-aired seasons, the looming battle between the living and the White Walkers came more and more to the fore. With season 8 confirmed as its last, the remaining six episodes will finally bring that epic war to a head, with a huge battle at Winterfell already teased.
Game of Thrones is based on the 'A Song of Ice of Fire' book series by George R. R. Martin. Although first published in 1996, the sprawling saga remains unfinished, with Martin still at work on the sixth novel: 'Winds of Winter'. As such, the show has since surpassed (and wildly deviated) from the popular source material. Whilst fans continue to speculate furiously at what's in store whilst engaging in an epic rewatch of classic episodes, concrete details remain firmly under wraps. With even Martin himself having no idea how the show ends.
Ahead of the show's highly anticipated return, HBO will once again partner with Insight Editions to produce a collection of tie-in novels. Rather than continue or expand upon the show's events, much like Marvel does with prequel comics ahead of an MCU film's release, the four-book collection will instead go behind the scenes of the show. The collection will be comprised of 'Game of Thrones: The Storyboards' by storyboard artist William Simpson, 'The Photography of Game of Thrones by principal unit photographer Helen Sloan, and 'Game of Thrones: The Costumes' by costume designer Michele Clapton. A fourth book - 'The Art of Game of Thrones' - will also be released, showcasing a multitude of fascinating and beautifully rendered images and previously unpublished works of art. The first will be released in Spring, whilst the rest will follow later in the year.
Raoul Goff, founder and publisher at Insight Editions, expressed gratitude for the fruitful partnership with HBO and that they are “thrilled to be able to participate in the grand farewell of one of the greatest TV shows ever made.” The conclusion of Game of Thrones won't be the last fans see of Westeros, however. As well as the companion books, there are a number of spinoffs and prequels in various stages of development. Most prominent of these is the one rumored to be called The Long Night. Set thousands of years in the past, the show will star Naomi Watts in the lead role. Jane Goldman (Kingsman) will serve as showrunner, with S.J. Clarkson (Jessica Jones) directing the pilot. Filming is due to begin this summer.
The release of the books has an element of bringing things full circle. After all, the saga began on the page and now, even after the show has concluded, it will be memorialized as such. Besides, fans will no doubt be eager to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped void left in their hearts when the credits roll for the final time. As such, the new companion books will assuredly be a good addition in the collection of those looking to return to the world in a new way before Martin completes his next book and one of the many in-development spinoffs come to air.
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres Sunday, April 14 at 9 pm on HBO.