View Full Version : Winter is Coming... from my macbook pro

04-04-2012, 12:17 PM

It's official! I am working on the maps for A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. The image above is an early mockup of the cover and the full map folio is due to come out in October of this year. Now obviously I can't say too much about the project, but here's the description from the product page (http://www.randomhouse.com/book/221316/the-lands-of-ice-and-fire-a-game-of-thrones-by-george-rr-martin):

George R. R. Martin’s beloved Song of Ice and Fire series, which started with A Game of Thrones, is bursting with a variety and richness of landscapes—from bitter tundra to arid wasteland and everything in between—that provide a sense of scale unrivaled in contemporary fantasy. Now this dazzling set of maps, featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, transforms Martin’s epic saga into a world as fully realized as the one around us.

The centerpiece of this gorgeous collection is guaranteed to be a must-have for any fan: the complete map of the known world, joining the lands of the Seven Kingdoms and the lands across the Narrow Sea for the first time in series history. But this is just one of many unique maps that aren’t available anywhere else. There is an alternate version that tracks the movements of the series’ protagonists throughout their vast world, along with more detailed versions of the western, middle, and eastern thirds of the world; a full map of Westeros, combining North and South; one of the Dothraki Sea and the Red Wastes; and the Braavos city map. And here, too, are fan favorites detailing everything from urban sprawl to untamed wilds: maps of King’s Landing; The Wall and Beyond the Wall; the Free Cities; and Slaver’s Bay, Valyria, and Sothyros.

Never before has the entire scope of Martin’s universe been so exhaustively and fascinatingly depicted. The maps in this beautiful, one-of-a-kind atlas will enrich your reading or viewing experience, provide another view of your favorite characters’ epic journeys, and open up captivating new worlds—plus, they’ll look great on any castle wall.

It's hugely exciting to be involved in a project set in a world I've followed for so long. You can find out more information on the project here (http://www.randomhouse.com/book/221316/the-lands-of-ice-and-fire-a-game-of-thrones-by-george-rr-martin) and here (http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780345538543), and the Amazon page here (http://www.amazon.com/Maps-Fire-George-R-R-Martin/dp/0345538544/?tag=westeros-20).

04-04-2012, 12:25 PM
That's awesome, Torstan! I envy your opportunity. Look forward to seeing what you create.


04-04-2012, 12:54 PM
Wow, that's amazing! Congratulations!

04-04-2012, 01:06 PM
read the books/saw the series, and I love them.... a cartographer's dream to map all these for the offcial publishers, congratulations man!! cheers, DJ

04-04-2012, 01:20 PM
Thanks guys!

In unconnected news - it turns out macbook pros can actually take 16Gb of RAM :)

04-04-2012, 01:47 PM
Torstan, congratulations and well done! :)

04-04-2012, 02:38 PM
Awesome! And congrats! :D

04-04-2012, 03:24 PM
Congratulaions, dude. That's an awesome opportunity, especially with that awesome show running these days. I'll definitely pick this one up when it's ready.

04-04-2012, 06:55 PM
Wow thats the most awesome commission I have seen yet. Kudos.

04-04-2012, 10:32 PM
Congrats! I am so excited to see the book!

04-05-2012, 12:28 AM
congratulations on the job.. and well deserved :)

04-05-2012, 12:41 AM
So awesome man!! I can't wait to see these. What a fantastic opportunity I'm totally stoked for ya.

04-05-2012, 10:26 AM
That's frickin' great news man. Totally envious here. :)

04-05-2012, 07:23 PM
Just saw this on the front page...wow, that's pretty amazing! I don't follow it but I know it's right up there.


04-05-2012, 11:54 PM
Kudos to you, brother! I'll buy one (or several) as soon as they hit the stands.

04-06-2012, 02:20 PM
Congrats again Jon! So happy for you and thanks for all those great map lessons on Wordpress!

04-06-2012, 03:21 PM
Congratulations! That is really some great news, looking forward to see the result :-)

04-06-2012, 05:06 PM
Congrats. I would have been tempted to purchase that before, knowing that a guild member is involved makes it a definite!

04-07-2012, 10:35 PM
Incredible news! Congratulations on what must be a dream commission!

04-09-2012, 10:40 AM
Yep, I still have to pinch myself to remind myself it's real. Then I see the amount of work still to be done, and the deadlines :)

Thanks for all the kind words! I'll surface again when it's done.

04-10-2012, 03:41 PM
I am looking forward to this so much. Extra exciting when it's a site member, too! Huge congrats

04-11-2012, 11:38 AM
This is fantastic news, Torstan!! Congratulations! When you become a big Hollywood cartographer, don't forget us. :)

04-16-2012, 08:26 PM
That is excellent news! You do realize you are finalizing his world in cartography. His fantasy series is considered one of the most popular since Tolkien... yeah, Eddings, Moorcock and Feist are great, but Martin has taken fantasy to a whole new level. Congratulations and I know you will do a fantastic job!


04-16-2012, 09:08 PM
Better get your amazon affiliate link set up! Looks like there might be a few purchases coming from the appreciative folks here!

-Rob A>

04-18-2012, 12:04 PM
I'll be one of the folks making a purchase. Just saw this - great news! I feel somehow connected now to the book! I can't wait to see the awesome maps you come up wtih.

05-01-2012, 10:50 AM
gratz indeed , love the books, love the Show and love your work , i cant wait for this book its a certain i will be getting it , again gratz mate

05-11-2012, 07:40 PM
Agreed - having just recently started watching the series on DVD, I've been wondering whether or not to try the books, and.. well. I always love a good map in a fantasy book, and this is about the coolest excuse I could think of to buy into Martin's books. Many congratulations, and have fun! I shall look forward to parting with money for this collection, once it's out. :)

Steel General
05-13-2012, 08:01 AM

01-04-2013, 05:25 AM
So, after finally having the spare shekels to buy a copy of this, I have a few thoughts:

1. The maps are fan-freaking-tastic. Of course.

2. The paper quality is crap. It's too heavy to fold easily once opened, and the way the creasing was designed, color is already flaking away as a white line develops at the creases. At the points where creases meet, holes are already forming. The maps all seem to fold 'outwards', instead of 'inwards', which might've protected them a bit better. It's also a pain in the @$$ to try and get the folded maps back into their sleeves.

3. I feel like GRRM was kind of a dick for making it look like he did the lion's share (or all) of the work on the portfolio in this blog entry: Not A Blog - Maps! Maps!! Maps!!! (http://grrm.livejournal.com/297016.html) But that seems to be nothing out of the ordinary for him. The more I learn about him, the more I think that while he is a gifted (if glacially slow and procrastinating) writer, he's kind of a let-down as a human being. YMMV. And even after being called out on not mentioning the actual artist (by someone in the comments on that blog entry), he still didn't go back and give credit where credit's due. Meh.

4. But congrats to Torstan for this opportunity! I hope it leads to many more great things for you, and by extension fantasy cartography in general.

01-04-2013, 09:24 AM
I entirely agree with what Diamond said. GRRM is a dick on the issue of not giving credit where it is due.

The map is beautiful but it looks like GRRM is after the credit. In his post he says:

Got to admit, I am kind of a map geek myself. This one was more work than I anticipated, but I had a lot of fun doing it, and I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

When Andrew Males (someone I happen to know through the CG) pulled him up on it and said that it might be nice for GRRM to mention Torstan, GRRM's reply was:

Quite right. My mistake. I never worked directly with the artist on these, everything was through my editors, so I did not have the kind of personal relationship that I've enjoyed with Tom Kidd, Ted Nasmith, Marc Fishman, John Picacio, Marc Simonetti, etc. But there's no doubt that the art on these maps is magnificent.

GRMM then proceed not to edit his original post to mention Torstan. Ah well.

Well done, Torstan for producing such beautiful work. At least you'll get feted for it here and nobody will try to leave your contribution in the dark.

01-04-2013, 09:31 PM
I had completely forgotten about these - thanks for remind me.

As to GRRM's post - I understand of course that it makes marketing sense to fully bill him as the author but that blog post is indeed douchy - he doesn't even mention Torstan by name in the comment. Even the random house product page gives full credit to Torstan in the description. Oh well I guess it comes with the territory when you are a big shot. I'll continue to watch game of thrones but I'll be damned if I buy any books from the guy.

Torstan, do you have copies of the map set you'd consider selling instead? If I can support you directly that way, I will prefer that.

01-11-2013, 07:45 PM
Thanks guys.

There's enough credit linking me to these maps around the web that I'm not likely to end up losing my name on them due to GRRM not crediting me. However I agree that it was a bit odd.

It's extremely surreal seeing these in stores and seeing the reviews, posts and unboxing videos around the web. Personally I've got North of the Wall framed in my living room. It looks great.

It has indeed opened up some interesting options. More about those in due course (and one of the reasons for me being MIA for the last couple of months). Hopefully I'll be around a bit more in the near future!

As for selling the maps - I can't sell them directly but you can pick them up via the affiliate link and I'll get a small cut! http://amzn.to/SkK4oQ

01-11-2013, 08:07 PM
Yeah, I SOOOO wanted to pick this up. In fact I was at Barnes and Noble in the new year and had this in my hand for at least 15 minutes but after that and NOT being able to convince the wife that I needed it, I had to put it back. Christmas and Disney have a way of making any purchase a need it or don't sort of thing... :(

Was real nice holding something done by someone I "know", even if only over the interweb. :)

01-12-2013, 12:06 PM
It's much cheaper on Amazon than in B&N. I'd definitely recommend going for the cheaper option!

And I know the feeling around Christmas - our list of nieces and nephews keep getting longer and that's an expensive business.

01-17-2013, 03:19 PM
You should get a bigger cut! The maps are beautiful and the comments about the map raise the ratings for the whole product!

01-19-2013, 06:35 AM
You know, I joined this community to get some feedback on my maps. I had no idea it was this deep and professional!

It's still kind of surreal to see threads will these. This is just plain awesome!

Haven't delved into this book-series yet, though I'm a huge fan of the TV-series. Maybe it's worth picking up just to behold your splendid cartography skills torstan?

01-25-2013, 03:03 PM
They're handy to go with the series too - but I'd steer clear of the Journeys map if you're following the TV series. That one's got a load of spoilers...

01-25-2013, 06:02 PM
I just ordered my copy from amazon so you could get your cut torstan :-) I may have to mail it to you to get a john henry LOL deets!!

01-28-2013, 09:18 AM
I have my copy, the maps in them are excellent. luckily I also have a table with map draws, so I can avoid the damage from repeated folding & unfolding

01-29-2013, 04:29 PM
torstan I want to really commend you on a mighty fine job!!! The maps arrived today, so I stopped work on the kitchen, opened the package and spread em out on th edining room floor!! These babies are really nice :) Neat to have them in hand to look at!! I know you really put some hard hard work and time in on these and I just wanted to say thanks, if I could add an award to your avatar I would!!

01-30-2013, 10:53 AM
Thanks Vellum - I'm glad you're enjoying them. They definitely took some work :)