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16th Jul 2019

This collector’s edition of A Game of Thrones might just heal the wounds of season eight

Kyle Picknell

The perfect antidote to a disappointing final season of the show

The first book of George R. R. Martin’s series of epic fantasy novels, A Game of Thrones, was originally published in 1996, 15 years before the HBO show arrived on our televisions and took over the world.

This was the book that started it all; introducing everyone to the worlds of Westeros and Essos, the famous houses – the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens, and captivating readers with its complex plots and multiple viewpoints.

For any serious fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series, the Folio Society’s new collector’s edition is a must-have. It’s presented in two volumes and features gorgeous colour illustrations from the award-winning Jonathan Burton. Just look at it.

The attention to detail is staggering, from the shimmering, embossed cover art to the feel of the biding to the black and gold chapter heading illustrations to the extensive family trees mapping out all the titles and ranks. Oh, and there’s a rather menacing image of the Night King hidden on the inside of the slipcase, but I won’t spoil that by showing you.

As for the illustrations themselves, well, they are full-page masterpieces in their own right. And crucially, they are distinct from the appearance of the now-ubiquitous TV show.

Illustration ©2019 Jonathan Burton from The Folio Society’s edition of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones

Every page of the book both looks and feels special, which is exactly how it should be given the weight Martin’s work has taken on in popular culture. Holding this double-spread out in front of you is honestly quite something. You can probably tell why.

And if you’re like me, you’ll also spend as long agonising over the wonderfully executed pullout map entitled ‘The Known World’, which is bound in cloth and presented as a separate volume, as you will actually reading through the story. It’s the exact same feeling of wonder I felt pouring over J.R.R Tolkien’s maps of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings books as a child.

You will no doubt have your own opinions on the divisive final season of the television series, you may even have loved it, but this book, for me, certainly reminded me why I became such a fan of Game of Thrones in the first place. It’s spectacular.

The Folio Society edition of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, introduced by Joe Abercrombe and illustrated by Jonathan Burton, is available exclusively from