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SYFY WIRE Game of Thrones

First look: The Art of Game of Thrones explores fiery and icy artwork from Westeros and beyond

By Josh Weiss
Theon Greyjoy Game of Thrones

There's a reason HBO won seven Primetime Emmys for the cinematography on Game of Thrones: the series just looked so darned gorgeous. Whether the show was depicting a royal wedding or fully-grown dragons torching soldiers, every frame resembled a carefully-constructed piece of artwork.

A lot of the credit goes to production designer, Deborah Riley, and her team who made sure that every piece of concept art would actualize the world of Westeros down to its last minute detail.

You'll be able to see Riley's hard work in a new book coming out next month, The Art of Game of Thrones — the next logical step after earlier books released about the show's storyboards and costumes. Published by our friends over at Insight Editions, and co-written by Riley and Jody Revenson (Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts: An Illustrated Guide), it covers all eight seasons of the fantasy phenomenon.

"Looking through tons of concept artwork was mind-blowing, and it was fascinating to find out how design choices were made and what it was like working within the locations. I’m so grateful for Deborah Riley’s help — her expertise and insight were invaluable to telling the story from first sketches to final sets," Revenson tells SYFY WIRE. "She also gave me sage advice for working on a large project with a short deadline: 'If you think about everything you’ve got to do, it can be paralyzing. If you can just focus on what’s directly in front of you, it’s amazing what you can achieve.' She’s not only a great designer, she’s also a great person, and she’s really funny, too, so the process of writing the book was a joy."

Insight was kind enough to provide us with three exclusive interior pages. Below, you'll see concept pieces for the wedding of Joffrey and Margaery; Theon Greyjoy's last stand against the White Walkers in Season 8; and Tormund's stroll of the Wall at Easwatch.

 Game of Thrones Joffrey and Margaery Wedding

Game of Thrones Bran Stark Lures Night King

My personal favorite overall section of the book is that of Season 8. It’s clear that the concept artists became masters at evoking the mood of the places they portrayed based on the story being told, and the final season of the show was a roller coaster of emotions. The artwork of the anticipation and aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell captures how a disparate community fights together in the midst of hopelessness," adds Revenson. "There are powerful images of Daenerys’s destruction and seizure of King’s Landing as her dragon, Drogon, torches it, followed by Drogon’s torching of the Iron Throne. And amid the madness of warfare, there are quiet pieces: Bran and Theon waiting in the Godswood for the Night King, and Tyrion standing in the ruins of the Map Room after the battle. But the coolest thing was hearing how Deborah Riley and her team made all this happen!"

Tormund walks along the Wall at Eastwatch

Working closely with Riley and HBO, Jody was able to, "curate some of the best concept art that best shows off the mood and design of the various locations. Concept art is often meant to evoke a mood for each location or scene, and you'll see how the artists explore the various climates, lighting, and more as the book travels through Westeros, Essos, and Beyond the Wall. We've included a lot of paintings that show the design that was the basis for a lot of what you see on screen, as well as a few interesting iterations that showed some of the different designs the artists played with."

The Art of Game of Thrones

The Art of Game of Thrones goes on sale Tuesday, Nov. 5 for $75 a pop. Gemma Jackson, who served as production designer for the show between 2011 and 2013, wrote the book's preface, while showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff penned the foreword.

You can pre-order a copy on Amazon right here.