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Search tags: the-world-of-ice-and-fire
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review 2015-06-14 20:09
The World of Ice and Fire - I knew nothing.
The World of Ice and Fire: The Official History of Westeros and The World of A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin,Linda Antonsson,Elio M. Garcia jr.

 

 

Have you read every book in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, a Song of Ice and Fire? Have you seen every episode of it’s incredibly popular television adaptation, A Game of Thrones? Are you drinking out of an official House Targaryen glass stein, with a map of Westeros on your bedroom wall and the series 2 soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi playing in the background? All whilst waiting for winter to come?

 

Well, if you match these specific criteria, as I do, then you’re probably in the target audience for the giant wikipedia entry that is A World of Ice and Fire, the Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones.

 

I compare the book to a wikipedia entry because that’s how the book reads. It’s a historical encyclopedia and anthropology text, with it’s subject being the setting of a series of fantasy novels rather than the real world, thereby making it a lot less useful for pub quizzes. The book begins with a broad ancient history of the world, followed by a detailed description of the reigns of each of the Targaryen kings. It then moves onto the histories and customs of the various realms and houses of Westeros and beyond, broken down by region.

 

 

My urge to read this book was primarily spurred by the an obsessive need to fill the infamously lengthy void between Ice and Fire book releases. It’s written by the big man himself, George R.R. Martin, in collaboration with Elio M. García, Jr. and Linda Antonsson, founders of the fansite Westeros.org.

 

It’s a book for truly dedicated ASOIAF fans only. Getting through the whole thing was quite an undertaking; more than once I felt like a literary wildling climbing a gigantic ice-wall of words. Personally, I loved it. Presented as though written by a Maester of the Citadel, it’s full of glorious little tid-bits, intriguing mysteries and flavourful descriptions of far-flung places never mentioned in the book series. All this new content makes The World of Ice and Fire much more than just a cataloguing of the information presented to us in the book series.

 

The book does require patience. If you ever tried and gave up with Tolkien’s similarly encyclopedic Silmarillion, then this isn’t the book for you. The good news is that as well as being a trove of information, The World of Ice and Fire is also a fantastic art book. Each page is adorned with beautiful art depicting the various locales and famous faces of Westeros. Ever wondered what the ancient city of Valyria looked like before the Doom? Or how it looks when a Triarch of Volantis is pulled apart by war elephants? Then you’re in luck. In my opinion there could be a few more dedicated full-page artworks, but even so I’d say that this gorgeous book is worth the price for its art and design alone.

 


Now I’ve finished the book, I truly feel like a Game of Thrones master. I literally can’t wait to go outside and impress girls with my detailed knowledge of Targaryen lineage and Dothraki history. If you’ve got the patience, and a wildfire-like desire to consume all things Game of Thrones, then this is the book may just tide you over until The Winds of Winter sees a release. If not, then turn your ship around, because here be dragons. 326 Pages-worth of the fiery bastards.

 

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review 2015-05-18 17:38
The World of Ice and Fire: An Informative Textbook on Westeros
The World of Ice and Fire: The Official History of Westeros and The World of A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin,Linda Antonsson,Elio M. Garcia jr.

 

 

Does George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy masterpiece A Song of Ice and Fire even need me to introduce it?

 

Hell, no. If you aren’t a devoted lover of the book series, then, no doubt, you are a follower of Game of Throne on television. (And if you aren’t, what have you been doing the last decade and a half, huh?) So this guide to Martin’s Westeros will, most likely, be a book that you have been eagerly awaiting or, at least, a little interested in, and you’d probably like to know if it is worth picking up, right?

 

awkward

 

Yeah, what I’m about to admit next is a bit awkward, because I am a great lover of SoIF, but the simple fact is I didn’t love this book. It was exactly what I’d always wanted to know about Westeros’ history, but I suppose, it is also a case of “Be careful what you ask for because you might get it.” Or, to put it another way, The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones is a true-to-life history book; an especially boring history book at times, which is painful for me to write since I am actually a history lover.

 

Okay, now before anyone gets the pitchforks out and starts to light the torches, I want to say that there were some amazing things in this book. The pictures, maps, and illustrations throughout were stunning, capturing the essence of this amazing series beyond my wildest expectations. There really were not any that did not impress, as illustrated below by the stunning image of the Battle of the Trident.

 

Battle-of-Trident

 

There were even some sections of The World of Ice and Fire that were good, though not great. The beginning of the book from “Ancient History” through the “Glorious Reign” were as interesting as most well written real world history books that I’ve read, though the chapters became a bit repetitive and dry at times. I also found “Beyond the Sunset Kingdom” a decent overview of the world, just not as much as the beginning chapters of the book. The illustrations were great though!

 

reignofthedragons

 

Unfortunately, though, there were some rather boring, or bad, sections of the book; at least, sections that I personally did not find very compelling or moving. The worst culprits to me were the chapters on each of the Seven Kingdoms. These were brutal to read, reminding me of nights in college when I sat up into the depths of the night trying to force myself to finish some dusty history book for class the next day. And I honestly had to do that with the Seven Kingdom chapters. It got so bad that I found myself skimming much of it, which is a pity since these sections were detailed, filled with historical facts and descriptive details that could have been very moving, but quickly, they turned into walls of text for me with similar names and similar stories that were just brain numbing.

 

Highgarden

 

Does all this mean I’m recommending people not pick up this book? Not at all, I still believe that many Martin fans will adore it, but anyone diving in should merely be warned that this reads more like a history tome than the forthcoming The Winds of Winter.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2015/05/16/the-world-of-ice-and-fire-the-untold-history-of-westeros-and-the-game-of-thrones-by-george-r-r-martin
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review 2015-03-28 07:50
The World of Ice and Fire - George R.R. Martin,Elio M. García Jr.,Linda Antonssen

This was actually a lot better than I expected it to be, although it was perhaps the cynical part of me that expected it to suck (it's telling that I would still buy the book even though I half expected it to be lame). I bought the Wheel Of Time worldbook back in the day and was disappointed, so that maybe coloured my expectations for this one, but the two couldn't be more different from each other.

 

In the first place, the art in this book is fantastic. I actually feel a little bit strange even reviewing this book, as I tend to not write reviews for graphic novels that I read, but this had far more writing than it did art, so I count it like I would a novel. The art, however, is one of the main reasons to purchase the book, as it looks incredible. The average level of quality is extremely high, which is impressive given that there are nearly thirty different artists who have work featured in the book (my favourite was probably a fellow named Chase Stone, who drew the incredible Ser Duncan The Tall Vs. Lord Lyonel Baratheon, as well as The Death Of Meraxes). Even if you have no interest in buying this book, you should at the very least do yourself a favour and page through it at some point just to check out the artwork.

 

As much of an ASOIAF fanboy as I am, though, I am cognizant of the relative weaknesses of a book like this. I love reading about history, and I love fantasy, so a book like this is practically made for me, but I understand that reading 300+ pages of fake history is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Also, the whole book is written as if it were a history book from Westeros, authored by one Maester Yandel. The authors did a fairly good job throughout of maintaining the sceptical, pedantic, and in some cases rather sycophantic tone of a Maester trying to tell a history and still curry favour with his contemporary political elites. Still, this is going to come off as rather dry to some, and there were a few spots where the quality of Garcia and Antonsson's prose was not up to Martin's standard.

 

I loved reading about Martin's world, though, and this book takes us to many places never seen in the novels of the main series. I was fascinated by the mysterious legends of fallen Valyria, and also the stories of the fabled empire of Yi Ti, although I was a little disappointed that the cities around Slaver's Bay were conspicuously passed over. The highlight of the book, to me at least, was not the more atlas-like sections but instead the history of all the Targaryen kings ever to sit the Iron Throne. This was incredibly interesting, and I would happily have read a whole book of this type of stuff.

 

Lots of cool names in here, too, and Martin also gets pretty referential. There were a number of H.P. Lovecraft references (Ib and Sarnath from The Doom That Came To Sarnath, Leng and K'dath in the Grey Waste from The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kaddath, the Deep Ones from practically every Cthulhu mythos story). There were references to other authors (House Vance is an ode to Jack Vance, House Peake of Starpike refers to Mervyn Peake and his character Steerpike from the excellent Gormenghast trilogy, House Jordayne of the Tor is a nod to Robert Jordan and his publisher, Tor). R'hllor, the Lord Of Light gets his title from the Roger Zelazny novel, I believe. I think Hyrkoon the Hero is a reference to Yyrkoon, a character from Michael Moorcock's Elric stories. Martin gets fairly muppetish with his history of House Tully, as some of the men of that family boasted the names Lord Grover, Lord Elmo, and Lord Kermit. There are probably a ton of other references that I missed, too.

 

To sum up, a very enjoyable read with beautiful illustrations, although probably something that I would only recommend to hardcore fans of A Song Of Ice And Fire.

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review 2014-10-28 00:00
The World of Ice and Fire: The Official History of Westeros and The World of A Game of Thrones
The World of Ice and Fire: The Official History of Westeros and The World of A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin,Linda Antonsson,Elio M. Garcia jr. Although I have yet to read the book cover-to-cover, I have skimmed the whole book and read some of the more recent history and I find it absolutely thrilling. To top it all off the maps and artwork is stunning. A must read for all Game of Thrones fans.
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