Author George R.R. Martin caused a unintended stir on his Twitter when he shared the cover art for a Game of Thrones-themed wall calendar. As the Tweet says, "Here's an official sneak peek of John Howe's cover art of our 2020 SoI&F calendar featuring the legendary ice spiders which haunt old Nan's creepiest bedtime stories."
Upon Martin's sharing of the image, many fans first assumed that it the cover art for the long-awaited novel The Winds of Winter, only to find out it was for a calendar instead. Though they were disappointed after being faked out by the clearly labeled Tweet, the art itself is impressive.
Here's an official sneak peak of John Howe's cover art of our 2020 SoI&F calendar featuring the legendary ice spiders which haunt old Nan's creepiest bedtime stories. pic.twitter.com/5Tm0FbPFpC— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) December 13, 2018
"It’s December and the 2019 Song of Ice and Fire Calendar is NOW available and as our tradition goes it’s time to share some of the art for NEXT years 2020 Calendar." Martin wrote on his blog. "We’re proud to be featuring John Howe as our 2020 SoI&F calendar artist. John will be focusing mainly on the beasts of Westeros bringing you a whole new year of lush imagery."
Howe displays the majestic nature of what would be a truly terrifying creature to encounter - an ice spider. The first we hear of Ice Spiders is in A Game of Thrones when Old Nan tells Bran about the long night and spiders as large as hounds. They are referenced in later books by Samwell Tarly, but as of yet remain unseen.
Howe is no stranger to the world of Ice and Fire, having previously worked on a limited edition of Martin's novel A Clash of Kings in 2005. Additionally, within the fantasy world, Howe has worked on recent editions of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion, and even worked as a consultant on Peter Jackson's films. He also contributed to the film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering.
The 2020 edition is still a little ways out, but until then, you can purchase the 2019 calendar with illustrations by John Jude Palencar, which doesn't feature any ice spiders though.
No exact release date has been announced yet for either the 2020 calendar or for the sixth book in Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series, The Winds of Winter, which is a few years past its original expected release date.