As HBO’s Game of Thrones gears up for its seventh year, it’s easy to forget that George R.R. Martin’s first book has been around nearly three times that, as August 1, 2016 marked the official 20th anniversary. Now, Martin reacts to that momentous occasion with news of a special edition for October, and maybe … maybe, an update on Winds of Winter.

Martin reflected on the initial Game of Thrones release over LiveJournal, sharing a photo of himself at a time when the Song of Ice and Fire series was intended to be only three books, each completed inside of a year. And while the novels have never gone out of print, and Martin could pack almost any signing, the same wasn’t necessarily true back in 1996:

Reviews were generally good, sales were… well, okay. Solid. But nothing spectacular. No bestseller lists, certainly. I went on a book tour around that same time, signing copies in Houston, Austin, and Denton, Texas; in St. Louis, Missouri; in Chicago and Minneapolis; and up the west coast to San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Portland, and Seattle. Turnouts were modest in most places. The crowds didn’t reach one hundred anywhere, and at one stop (St. Louis, if you must know), not only was attendance zero but I actually drove four patrons out of the bookshop, allowing me to set my all time “bad signing” record at minus four (on the plus side, I had the time for long friendly talks with the readers who did show up).

But my oh my, things have changed a bit in these last twenty years.

To help celebrate, Martin will release A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition on October 16, described thusly:

An anniversary like this requires something special, something more than just a reprint and a new novel. This new edition will be very special, I think. Same story, of course. But we’ve added an introduction by the World Famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman… and a truly astonishing amount of artwork… a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates. Some of the artwork is drawn from the Ice & Fire calendars, from The World of Ice and Fire, and from the card and board games and RPGs… but forty-eight (48) of these pieces are completely new, never-before-seen artwork. Bantam says, “With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before.”

Good stuff! But you know we have to ask about The Winds of Winter, George. It’s up for debate how much Season 6 spoiled, but might the sixth literary chapter at least beat Season 7 to the punch, given its later premiere?

But here I am, twenty years later… still working on book six… ((and no, sorry, I have no announcement to make on that front)).

Twenty years have earned you some patience, George. Take your time.