Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire

This is a little known book in the world of Westeros, and I figured I would give it its moment of fame this week before Season 8 of Game of Thrones comes out this weekend. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Author: George R.R. Martin

I’m a big fan of history, as you probably know by now, and I’m an even bigger fan of fantasy book series, which you should know by now and if you don’t then you do now.

The World of Ice & Fire was a perfect combination of both worlds because it’s an annotated history of the Game of Thrones world that I’ve fallen in love with since reading the books and watching the shows.

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That’s one great thing that Martin has done with his Song of Ice & Fire world. He has built it up so well and so perfectly that you could probably make stories for years to come, just based on information that has already been written.

He’s created the history of these kingdoms and their stories that The World of Ice & Fire can feel like you’re reading a real history book sometimes.

If you want to pick this one up, don’t expect much of a “story”. It reads a lot like a history book. Each of the major houses in Westeros are written about, showing their history since their founding basically, with a few major events highlited for each.

Most of the names in the book one will be one’s you’ve heard before, but only the more dedicated fans will know how everything connects together. Just watching the shows and then reading this might make you a bit confused, but you can definitely do it.

Probably about half of the books gives a brief overview of what each of the Targaryen kings during their reigns. Since there has been so many it sort of glances over each of them and their more notable events, with the more important ones getting more pages than the less important ones.

The other half of the book is about the major houses’ histories, and the history of some of the other cities and countries in the world that you may have heard of at some point.

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It talks about white walkers, the first people in Westeros, some major battles, Old Valyria, Robert’s Rebellion, and everything in between. It’s a nice little book to read if you’re big into trying to predict theories for upcoming books or episodes.

What I really love about the book, and what really made me enjoy the experience of reading it is the beautiful artwork inside. Almost every page has some illustration on it, and some pages there’s nothing but.

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It almost feels like what I imagine the history books of Westeros to look like, which is a little added bonus I really enjoy. It’s really a piece of art, and if you want to consider yourself a Game of Thrones nerd you definitely need to give it a read.

I don’t really know what else to say. It’s a history book of the entire world, so there’s not even moments I’d want to point out that really stood out to me because that’s not the type of book it is, and I don’t think that was the intent of it.

The intent wasn’t to tell a story, the intent of the book was to help create the story that was already being told. I think that’s the case with all of the supplemental Game of Thrones materials.

They aren’t made to tell their own stories, they’re ment to tell the complete story of A Song of Ice and Fire, which they are all only an aspect of.

Next week I’m going to be taking a look at another Game of Thrones related book, but I’m not going to spoil it just yet. 

I would love to hear what you guys are most excited for in the upcoming season though. Let me know in the comments!

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5 responses

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap « On My Bookshelf

  2. I thought it would be in chronological order, but this sounds a lot better! A brief history on each house and more about the White Walkers? I’m hooked already.

    I don’t think the show did justice to Highgarden, I had always visualised it to look like it does in this book.

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    • The show hasn’t done a few places justice. Also in the books it’s mentioned a few times that the Eyrie is impregnable and nobody has ever taken it before, which is also said in the show, but the same thing is said about pretty much every castle in the show and clearly that doesn’t stand for much any more lol

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      • I think that’s also been said about Casterly Rock and the Red Keep as well, but if I recall, it’s only the Eyrie that hasn’t been taken, right? But they’re usually far removed from Southern and Northern politics so that may also be a contributing factor.

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