Here’s the depressing thing. There are some great stories out there that don’t have very interesting covers. Such as the subject of today’s cover analysis: A Game of Thrones.
Where do I begin? I don’t ask that question because there’s a lot to discuss, mind you. Just the opposite, in fact.
This is a prime example of a cover without much thought put into it. It’s definitely function over form. It isn’t stylistically interesting, it doesn’t give many insights into the story itself, nor does it do much to communicate the tone. It’s just something slapped together lickity split near the end of the production process so they don’t have a blank book with only a title on the spine.
Now, to be fair, it does give you a little to work with. Daggers (I assume it’s a dagger because the hilt looks much too small to be a sword) are commonly used as weapons of assassination and betrayal. This could be seen as a subtle hint about the political games played in this story; the titular Game of Thrones, if you will. It doesn’t present you with a sword, a weapon typically seen as honorable and heroic. This is a story of subtleties and betrayals.
It’s also a very realistic dagger, which can be seen as a hint as to the tone of the story. It isn’t some fun illustration, like you’d see on a Harry Potter cover. It reflects the realistic world of Westeros itself.
And… yeah, that’s it. There’s nothing to be gleaned from the background or the colors. From the perspective of someone who knows nothing of this story (which isn’t really a thing anymore, thanks to the show), you can’t really glean anything other than ‘oh, it’s a medieval story, probably a fantasy or something’.
But which one told them that? The cover? Or the fact that it’s in the fantasy section of your go-to book-buying store/service?