Book Review: The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

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The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin

The World of Ice and Fire

Hardcover, 326 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Bantam
If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork—the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time—warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site—perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers. It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon’s establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert’s Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the “present-day” struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.



To the dismay of A Song of Ice and Fire fans, this wasn’t the highly anticipated Winds of Winter. However, it certainly proved to be a great gift to fans of both the books and HBO television series. 

This book explores the history, a very well-developed history, of the fantasy universe of Westeros. There is an abundance of new material about Westeros to emerge for the first time in this book. It informs, and entertains—exactly what readers of R.R Martin can expect from his work. The true king of Westeros is a master wordsmith, and this book doesn’t disappoint. 

The history of Westeros unfolds with support of beautiful artwork, often exclusive to this collection. This isn’t some measly addition to the Game of Thrones book series in an attempt to market on the popularity of the show. This book is huge and essential to understanding the history of A Song of Ice and Fire as the series progresses towards it’s inevitable conclusion.  The events showcased happen before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. This book is a companion to the series. The depth of the history helps the reader understand, completely how the seven kingdoms came about.

This history feels very authentic, it is written as if by a Maester of the Citadel. At times it feels as if you are in Westeros and you have picked this up off some lording’s bookshelf. The pages are tarnished, covered with stains and patches appropriate to that type of parchment. The reference to other history books, of Westeros, also adds to this glorious affect. R.R Martin is very particular with details, and this anthology clearly shows that.

This is a full history of Westeros. Everything you could dream of, is covered. T he book begins with a focus on ancient history. It then goes on to give a detailed account of Aegon the Conqueror’s conquests along with his reign. We learn in explicit detail of each Targaryen King, ending in Robert’s rebellion. We then see how the historical events affected each major house and some of their major happenings. The book ends with a history of the lands beyond the sunset kingdom: the free cities and other lands. 

No matter what house you find yourself supporting, this book has something to offer to appease your appetite for Game of Thrones until the next entry is released. 

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