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The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones (Song of Ice & Fire) Hardcover – 28 Oct 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 445 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (28 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007580916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007580910
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 2.5 x 30.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (445 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Of those who work in the grand epic fantasy tradition, George R.R. Martin is by far the best’
Time Magazine

‘Colossal, staggering… Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world … one of the greats of fantasy literature’
SFX

‘The sheer-mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads … Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias’
Guardian

About the Author

In a collaboration that's been years in the making, George R.R. Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr. and Linda Antonsson – the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org – perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

George R.R. Martin is the author of fifteen novels and novellas, including five volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire, several collections of short stories, as well as numerous screenplays for television drama and feature films. Dubbed 'the American Tolkien', George R.R. Martin has won numerous awards including the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an Executive Producer of HBO's Emmy Award-winning GAME OF THRONES, which is based on his A Song of Ice and Fire series. He lives in Santa Fé, New Mexico.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you love George R. R. Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, the TV Show (Game of Thrones) that it has spawned or just fantasy world building, you will love this book. It provides an incredibly detailed "time-line" of the world of Westeros in particular, from the Dawn Age of giants and "children of the forest", right through to Robert Baratheon's rebellion and subsequent ascension to the throne. Written from the perspective of a Maester of King's Landing, the book only deals with "in-universe" knowledge, so the tales of the Dawn Age are short and shrouded in comments alluding to possible exaggeration or archaeological evidence that dis/agrees whereas the stories of the individual Kings of Westeros are fleshed out and detailed, being drawn from the historical tomes kept by the Maesters themselves.

Although I can understand the frustration that this means no really "new" knowledge is imparted to fans and several ideas (particularly of life beyond the Wall) are found commonly in the book that readers of the series will know to be inaccurate (for a non-spoilery example, the fictional author condemns the idea of skin-changers or wargs, which fans know to be very real), the book is full of little details that you could not have known (SPOILER: such as the burial of a giant with obsidian arrow heads lodged in between the ribs, suggesting animosity between the Children and Giants) and which continue to flesh out the world that surrounds them. As such, this is very much a world-building book, a source of very specific information that builds on the novels and develops both Westeros and the lands to the East very nicely, as well as providing an Encyclopaedia-like format that fans can use as quick reference.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First things first, the artwork, and layout of this book is wonderful, my family cannot stop commenting on how realistically it looks like an ancient book. It tells us a lot of the history (like you'd expect) that is alluded to or mentioned in the books. Such as the Dance of Dragons and Battle of the Ninepenny kings. It was also refreshing to hear about the major houses more in depth too, such as the Lannisters and the rock. However, for me there is a section missing, they list all of the seven kingdoms, yet do not provide a basic description of the crownlands, just a map. Yet I also feel the writing could have been more dynamic, as I struggled through the Iron Islands section which was far too long and there was not enough on other lands. Beyond the wall was a big disappointment, and instead of writing from a fictional character from Westeros's with limited information perspective, it should've have been from Martin's. Readers would have gotten so much more depth from this book and information abound. It's good but it could have so much more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As some of the more derogatory posts have (semi-correctly) asserted this book is for the "hard-core fans". Thankfully being such myself I really enjoyed what I have read, >70% at this point. However if you have only skimmed or quickly read the books once and haven't thought or read/written much about the series since this book probably isn't for you. However for anyone who is at least a semi-regular to the wiki/forum has bought merchandise besides the mains books or has had 1+ rereads then you will almost certainly enjoy this book.

Some of the parts about Essos are a little dull, probably because there is less relevance to the backstory, but there is more than enough about the Targaryen kings, the Andals and the First Men and the Rhoynar and the various historical kingdoms and the houses that ruled them to greatly entertain any fan that is even remotely interested in the backstory of A Song of Ice and Fire to make this an entertaining and "educating" (if that term can be applied to a fictional universe) read.

The errors (inevitable in a book this size and of this scope), are few and far between and are generally minor enough that it doesn't interfere with the quality of the book.
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By Sam Woodward TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow. Just wow. The amount of detail which has gone into fleshing out George R R Martin's world is just staggering. This really is proof that Martin isn't merely a modern-day Tolkien but an incredible writer who far surpasses th e earlier author who many hold up as the ultimate comparative. Don't get me wrong, because it reads like a history book, I was actually bored in places (but not for very long) & if you find the number of characters in his other books bewildering, then imagine that multiplied by generations which go back over 300 years! But when you step back from it & see it in its entirety, this is an incredible piece which puts his epic into its historical context & makes the trials & tribulations of the current Westeros & beyond seem like a mere flash in the pan.

What really struck me was how believable the characters & situations were. For instance, his history of the Targaryan Kings gives each of them & their families very human flaws. The Mad King wasn't merely mad - the causes of his paranoia are clearly detailed & very convincing. Likewise, his more good-willed ancestors inadvertently caused harm with the best intentions. There are hints that each of the hundreds of named persons has been fleshed out in Martin's mind to have three dimensions, regardless of how minor a role they had. And that's just the people - there's also the detailed maps & his meticulous analysis of how the layout of Westeros has affected its history & the psychology of the residents of each realm. The psychology of its author comes into play, too. For rather than being Martin's version of Westeros, it's actually styled as having been penned by a Maester Of The Citadel.
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