Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones


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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



4.5 stars. This was better than expected, even with the hype. At first I hesitated to buy it. I mean, why do I want to sink this kind of money into one of GRRM's distractions? All that does is encourage him to work on stuff that isn't The Winds of Winter. Right?

That, and I'm not even sure how much of this he wrote. He has endorsed it heavily, and I know that he's very protective of his material. So that kind of won me over, and I added it to my Christmas list. At least it isn't a snoozefest of an anthology, right?

Right. This book is brilliant. I wouldn't even call it something to tide me over while I wait on TWOW. It's a great work on its own. This is a history textbook that is way more interesting than anything I had in school. And the artwork is breathtaking - it's worth picking up this book just for the pictures, even if you never read a word of it.

That said, the "story" here is wonderful. We go all the way back to the Dawn Age and it comes full circle back to the time just after Robert's Rebellion. (There are a few spoilers of the "present" narrative of the series, but not many). All those places and peoples and old events that get quick mention in the series, they're here. And in the context that brings it all to life.

It made me want to read the series again. Now. And it's only been a little more than a year since the last time I read it. But I want to go find all those Easter eggs and see how they relate to the main story. Armed with the knowledge of old history, this could be fun.

I will say that my rating dropped slightly by then end as the last few chapters were pretty dry. It was still interesting, but lost a lot of the richness that made the first 2/3 of the book so great.

Favorite parts? The histories of the Targaryen kings. By far the best section of the book, it was worth the read all by itself.

What's missing? Well, I would have liked a few more maps. I loved the maps that depicted the indiviual Westeros "kingdoms", but would have liked to see more of the areas of Essos and a world view.

There were also a few sections of the history with noticeable gaps: the Tragedy of Summerhall, the final story of Rhaenys Targaryen, and the cities of Slaver's Bay. I did feel that these were intentional, maybe a clue that GRRM doesn't want those stories told just yet. That makes sense with Summerhall, as I could see that being told at the end of the Dunk & Egg stories. But we'll see. I'm sure there's a reason for it.....



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