It was not entirely without trepidation that I gave Fantasy Flight Games the rights to do a board game and collectible card game based on my fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
That they would do good games, I had no doubt. Before I accepted the offer I'd had extensive discussions with Fantasy Flight Games about the approach they wanted to take to adapt my novels for gaming. I felt that I was in good hands, that Fantasy Flight would create excellent gameswhile remaining faithful to the spirit and essence of my books. As indeed they have.
It wasn't the details of rules and game play that concerned me. It was the fact that I knew these games would both require artwork. The collectible card game, in particular, would require lots and lots and lots of artwork. Every card would have a picture, and there were going to be hundreds and thousands of cards. My world and characters were about to be illustrated, big time.
That's a prospect that would make any writer nervous.
Mind you, I love illustrated books, and always have. I started out as a comic book fan, after all, and once aspired to write "funny books" (and even draw them, an aspiration derailed by a total inability to draw). Even "real books" often featured artwork during my childhood; a frontiespiece at the very least, and often more. I still can't think of Treasure Island or Robin Hood without remembering the wonderful N.C. Wyeth artwork that helped bring them to life.
I loved the stories and I loved pictures, and it seemed to me that the two of them belonged together, like peanut butter and jelly, Abbott and Costello, milk and cookies. You could have cookies without milk, or Costello without Abbott, sure, but why? They worked so well together ... and so did words and pictures.
Of course, when the words in question are your words, sometimes you feel a little different, as I discovered when I grew up and became a writer...
You can read the rest of this Forward, in addition to some other notes on Westeros and its Great Houses in The Art of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.