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on 28 August 2017
Nothing really to say. I love maps. I love the series. The depth and scale of the detail contained is mind blowing
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on 21 July 2013
Its a must for any true fan of Game of Thrones. Its worth every penny. Drawn in such amazing detail.
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Okay, this is going to be a bit of a non-review because you probably already know if you are going to be getting this or not. Basically, it's a collection of full-colour maps of Westeros and Essos, the two continents which form the setting for the Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin. Either you're going to go, "Hey, awesome! I'm all in!" or be running away screaming for fear of being infected with Nerditis.

The map collection comes in a smart but somewhat non-durable folder. Don't put anything on top of it for long, as it really cannot support much in the way of weight. There's a single pull-out piece of paper with marketing speak on it (more or less the same as the blurb on the back ) and that's it for any kind of textual accompaniment. Those familiar with John Howe's excellent Tolkien maps, or the maps accompanying Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, will likely find this disappointing as those maps were accompanied by small booklets packed with geographical information (and in the Pratchett case, new canon material on geography). As it stands, we will have to wait another year for The World of Ice and Fire to clarify some of the new locations on these maps, and even then only some will be covered.

There are twelve maps drawn by Jonathan Roberts, each measuring 61cm x 92cm in size. There is a large map of the known world, which then has three larger, blown-up versions accompanying it, dubbed 'The West', 'Central Essos' and 'The East'. There are then larger-scaled-still maps of Westeros, Beyond the Wall, the Free Cities, Slaver's Bay and the Dothraki Sea. There are city maps of King's Landing and Braavos, and rounding off the set is a map called 'Journeys', which tracks the movements of the major POV characters across the five novels published to date.

In general terms, the art design for the world and continent maps is decent, falling between the aesthetically-pleasing and the informative. A selling-point of the set is the brand-new maps of central and eastern Essos, including the far east. This is the first time that Ibben, Qarth, Asshai, the Shadow Lands, Yi Ti, the Jade Sea, the Summer Islands and other oft-mentioned lands and cities have been depicted on a canon map: the map accompanying the HBO website for the TV series is canon only for the TV series and is based on early drafts that George R.R. Martin later substantially revised. There are also new lands and locations not previously mentioned in the novels, such as a newly-revealed fourth continent (named Ulthos) and a new, huge island just off Qarth named Great Moraq which seems to be a centre of trade. This stuff is interesting, but also highlights a problem with the map set: Martin seems so keen to provide new information about Essos that Westeros feels slightly neglected. But since Daenerys has apparently already reached the eastern-most part of her journey (in Qarth), showing these eastern lands is nice but ultimately irrelevant for the books themselves.

Westeros itself is mapped much as in the novels, with little or new information of note. Indeed, it's even less well-fleshed-out than the maps and info in the books: the castles and towns on the Iron Islands apart from Pyke are not mentioned, and whilst the Quiet Isle is shown, the Whispers (also from Brienne's storyline) are not. Long-standing fan questions, such as where Stone Hedge and Raventree Hall (the seats of Houses Bracken and Blackwood) are located, remain unanswered, whilst the huge tributary of the Mander (which is almost as big as the Mander itself) remains resolutely unnamed. The map is nice - although not quite as nice as the infamous map by forum-member 'Tear' on the Cartographer's Guild website - but not particularly useful compared to the maps in the books or available for free online. Also, given the fact that we have a fairly reliable scale bar with the Wall (which is almost exactly 300 miles long), the refusal to put a scale bar on the maps is strange.

Of the city maps, King's Landing is curiously lacklustre. The mapmaker was going for a sort-of 3D depiction but seems to have given up at some point, with lots of the buildings being rendered as 2D squares sitting alongside more pictoral 3D depictions, which doesn't really make sense. It's the weakest map in the collection, though fortunately also the least essential: Green Ronin's far superior colour map of the city (for the roleplaying game) is easily findable online, as is the handsome black-and-white map from the Meisha Merlin limited edition of A Clash of Kings. The city map of Braavos, on the other hand, is pretty good and definitely worth keeping a hold of during future reads of Arya and Sam's adventures in the city. However, the decision to map Braavos and not, say, the more vital locations of Winterfell, Harrenhal, Dragonstone, Castle Black or Meereen is curious.

The journeys map is a nice idea, but ultimately impractical with just one image. Maybe one map for each book would have worked, but showing the journeys of some twenty characters across five novels simultaneously on one chart results in an image that is overloaded. It particularly breaks down in the Riverlands, which ends up almost buried under multiple layers of arrows and lines. Still, a nice idea and it does clarify the immense distances that Daenerys has travelled compared to other characters.

The quality of the paper used to print the maps on has come under some fire, with good reason. Unfolding and refolding the maps results in noticeable wear on the creases, with white lines and cracking noticeable after just a few viewings. This encourages keeping the maps on permanent wall display (that is, if you have enough space). However, the pre-folded nature of the maps means that they show visible creases which makes that not an altogether satisfactory solution either. Some fans have reported success in getting rid of the creases, though the results are apparently variable.

Is The Lands of Ice and Fire worth getting? Despite the problems, it's still a fairly handsome collection of maps. If fantasy cartography is your thing and you're a fan of ASoIaF, then it's a reasonable purchase. However, if you're more interesting in hard information about the setting you're better off waiting a year or so for The World of Ice and Fire instead. As it stands it's more of a curiosity and a gift idea for people who are fans of the books than anything essential.

Disclosure: I am a moderator on the Westeros.org forum and the founder of the Game of Thrones TV Wiki. I did not receive a review copy of the maps and had to purchase them for myself.
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on 7 February 2013
I took my time in deciding whether to purchase this or not, mainly because of the few criticisms I read here, and the fact I had not seen this in a store to get an idea of what it was like. What made me finally buy this was due to digging around the internet and thankfully there are some videos of people on Youtube opening up The Lands of Ice and Fire and I did not fault the book. So if you're like me who wants a `try before you buy' I would highly recommend looking these up beforehand.

Already expecting the content I was still impressed overall, despite being a diehard fan of maps and cartography filled with dense material that may not be easy on the eye to everyone. These maps are very appealing and compared to the more complex and jam packed maps I enjoy reading, these seem a little cartoonish. However, this is not a bad thing as the illustrations of the major monuments (in the Westeros map, for example) and the bright colours work really well.

I suspect there will be two types of people wanting this - those who have read the books so far and those who currently are or waiting to. For those already up to date on the books like myself, I found the maps more as a scale of distance and reference point for characters than anything else. For example I never realised the sheer scale of Dany's movements. Additionally it was great to finally scale up how far away certain lands were such as Asshai. When reading the books without this it can be a little daunting trying to keep up with locations (I found the tricky-to-pronounce names in Essos hard to place). If you're still reading through the books then these would be a great addition to have as a reminder of where places are that are out of reach in the little maps in the actual books...

...but not the Westeros map. Personally, the map of Westeros is slightly tedious for me. It had more detail in the books than this map, which is why I would have preferred an alternative to a regurgitation of what's already in the books. I would have liked a `House map' of Westeros, not only showing where the major houses are depicted on the map but also the lesser known, and possibly Houses that have died out. However, I know Westeros is imperative to A Song of Ice and Fire so it obviously has to be in this content, but something a bit more informative would have been better. Finally the journeys map has a sense of redundancy to it once the next book will be released, and to follow the journeys of the POV characters is hard work. Once you decipher whose line you're following it then takes some figuring out which way the arrows are going as some characters loop back into places. This is just mainly inside Westeros though, as the journeys of Dany, Victarion and Barristan Selmy seem to flow nicely.

A quick note about the quality of the maps. Yes they do have slight wear with the creasing and folding but that seems inevitable with a greater quality of paper that these maps are on. The creases have had no impact on this product so far. One major point (which I haven't come across a review that has picked up on it) is that they are fingerprint proof. With a lot of fiddling getting these in and out of the holders and pointing and finger tracing, I'm glad I have something that won't get ruined with unnecessary things like that.

There are some very good meticulous reviews on this already which is why I've not mentioned everything in it but overall this is a very good piece of kit and I would recommend this to any Game of Thrones fan as the distance of the Known World stretches far beyond what we've seen in the little maps within the books. Like a geek I will give it its own place next to the books and I will even open it up to my friends who enjoy the TV series, because, despite the criticisms I mentioned, it is an excellent addition to have. So if you're undecided about buying this, have a look at a few videos floating around the internet so you know what to expect first.
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on 28 November 2014
You should know by now whether or not you want these. If you are a casual fan of the series and do not partake in "nerdy memorabilia" then I would not recommend these at this price. I would wait for special offers or discounts etc. However, if you are hardcore fan of a Song of Ice and Fire, these maps are an absolute must. Utterly breathtaking, staggering and beautiful, these maps are extremely well done and are printed on good quality paper. If you have purchased 'The World of Ice and Fire' it has a similar feel to the pages within that glorious book.

Furthermore, the hardcover case the maps are stored in is very sturdy and I can tell that it will last a long time. The maps are bigger than I thought they would be (to my increased satisfaction) so make sure that if you are planning on putting them on a wall/s, you have enough space to accommodate the maps.

To all fans I would recommend these maps as they are utterly sensational, however at such a price one can assume that more casual fans may be reluctant to purchase them. To all hardcore fans who are unsure whether to get these or not, GET THEM!
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on 16 November 2012
I'm not quite sure why there's so much hate from the other reviewers regarding this product, I'm extremely happy with my purchase. Some people seem disappointed that this is not an atlas, but in fact a series of 12 posters, so please ensure you read the product description before purchasing!

Some of the complaints made by other reviewers are perfectly valid. The maps are printed on thick glossy paper (not cheap at all!), which unfortunately means that they don't like being folded and unfolded. I'd suggest placing them in a portfolio, or rolling them up in a poster tube, if you're especially worried about them.

The 12 maps are 24" x 36" (just over A1 size) and come folded in up in a handsome case. The maps included are:

- The Known World: Stretching from Westeros to Asshai (finally!)

Main Regions:
- Westeros
- The Free Cities
- The East

You also get a slightly "zoomed out" versions of the above:
- The West (featuring Westeros, the Free Cities and the Summer Isles)
- A map of Central Essos

And there are three "zoomed in" detailed maps:
- Lands Beyond the Wall
- Slaver's Bay region, including Valyria and northern part of Sothoros continent
- The Dothraki Sea

There are two city maps:
- A city map of King's Landing
- A city map of Braavos

Finally there's a "Journeys" map, which shows the paths traveled by all the major characters.

The maps themselves are beautiful, and the printing is very high quality. Maps have never been a strong point of A Song of Ice Fire, with the maps included in the books lacking in detail, and sometimes clashing with descriptions in the book(!). Finally we have solid details on where things are supposed to be, and also a real idea of the size of the Dothraki Sea compared to Westeros (fan-made maps have been very wrong it seems).

In the past I bought Jon Howe's maps of Middle Earth and was extremely disappointed by them (he looked like he phoned it in, if you ask me). This is not the case with these maps. Each one is meticulous.

I have deducted one star for the problems arising from the paper's thickness, and because I'm not entirely sure if some of the maps are needed. The Lands Beyond the Wall are pretty barren, for instance, and I don't see the point of the "mid-distance" maps when you have a Map of the Known World and the more zoomed in maps for each region, too.

Still, if you're a die-hard map nerd (like me), these are excellent. Just be extra careful when you're taking them out of the box!
review image
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on 9 November 2012
I was expecting an Atlas, an atlas of maps. Instead, this is a collection of posters, something the original description did not make clear. The maps are very nice, but the production quality is poor: the 'hardback' cover is not very substantial and the maps are printed on thick glossy paper with multiple folds and will rapidly deteriorate if taken out, opened, and placed back into the book too often, perhaps, judging the difficulty I've had with one, immediately.

This book is sadly a rip-off and should be avoided. It gains stars for the artwork, loses them for the cheap badly designed over-priced packaging.
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on 29 December 2013
These maps are a brilliant accompaniment to the either reading the books (or having read the books already, like me) or watching the tv series. I think one of the issues i eperienced was that the maps in the books at the start just dont give enough information, scale, or where places are in relation to other places. These maps give all that and more. Finally i have felt i now understand where stuff is and where people have gone. Also there are loads of places that we havent heard of yet, i wonder if they will feature in future books? I loved the map of braavos, and the map of the known world is very useful. I think they are beautifully presented. To be honest, i love asoiaf/goft but i also love maps!
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on 26 December 2013
Both the geographic information provided and the quality of this set of maps is impressive. The design, color, attention to detail, artistic quality, etc.. are outstanding. They are an ideal complement to the books, and helps us to dive deeper into the world of Song of Ice and Fire.

For me this set of maps has only one flaw: the format used for storing the maps. The chosen format is a folder, so each time you want to look at a map: you have to get the map from the folder, open it, close it again and put it back in the folder with the other maps. This entire process does not help the durability. Probably the "atlas book" format was a better solution.
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on 30 March 2014
This set of maps in several scales, from one showing the whole of the "Known World", in which "The Game of Thrones" is set, via maps of the continents and larger scale regional maps, as well as those showing the journeys undertaken by various characters and even complete city plans, is both informative and fascinating. There is really no excuse for not being able to follow the story geographically, either whilst watching the brilliant televisions series, or when reading George R. R. Martin's great books. If you are a follower of the "Songs of Ice and Fire/ Game of Thrones" saga, then you really must have this set of maps.
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