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on 15 October 2013
I must admit to having downloaded a few of the many books about the books; giving in to my inner geek. One of the first I read was "Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper Than Swords" by Henry Jacoby. This is a truly excellent compilation from many writers, all of whom seem to know about their subject and offer new insights. This excellent start may have set the bar a little high, but there are several other similar books that do a pretty good job of at the very least entertaining the reader.

Valerie Frankel seems to be a true fan of George RR Martin and is clearly thrilled to have met him and heard him speak. This makes her my type of person. She has also written parodies of Harry Potter which by all accounts are extremely entertaining, so she can obviously write. Unfortunately, if you are going to write a book for geeks you have to have facts and most of them have to be accurate. This is where she falls down, she wanders into regions of history and geography that are clearly not her area of expertise. There may, for instance, have been 300 Spartans at Thermopylae - but I doubt there were many ships; the oracle was supposedly alluding to Salamis when talking of wooden walls. A geek would not get this wrong. Similarly, while George RR Martin did indeed say he based much of his book on The War of the Roses, I suspect he based it on the real war and not on the group of disjointed half facts about the war presented in Winning the Game of Thrones and I truly hope that "based" does not simply refer to a few coincidental similarities in the spelling of character's names.

Playing the name game is great fun and a favorite geek pursuit - but if you are going to write a book based on that either get really credible examples or evidence that they really were the intention of the original author. Valerie Frankel really goes to town trawling examples from the Blogosphere. Strangely she does not go with Joffre and Sansa being Gioffre Borgia and his wife Sancia (Sancha) of Aragon (my personal favorites)... and here lies the nub of my criticism. Valerie Frankel is a fan and she has read blogs from geeks that she happily has transposed to her book - but she is not a geek and she does not have the sad obsession for facts that we geeks are subject to.. so perhaps this was not the ideal book for her to write.
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on 15 September 2013
The book was has been written with the TV audience in mind and does not spoil their fun with spoilers or revelations that occur in the latter books (but have not been filmed and televised yet). It spells out some situations that are less clear on TV than they are in the books – and takes the trouble to spell out some issues that blatantly transparent. There are some other elements addressed about ‘Game of thrones’ such as the role of women in this universe and where some of the references and homages that colour the book come from, however, in all honesty it offers nothing that reading the original source material won’t provide. I bought this entirely on a whim and I wish I had taken a little more time to research my choice. I won’t call it a shameless cash in because it is better than that but I found it to have a lot of filler material, and having read it once i then sent it to the charity shop. I could only recommend this if you like the TV show, want to know more, but are averse to reading anything more than an inch thick.
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on 25 March 2014
I often read for 10 minutes before falling asleep, but very little actually seems to penetrate my brain so I find myself constantly going over what I have previously read, on subsequent attempts to read.

So for me, it was nice to have this book to explain things for me. Not sure of it's usefulness for younger, nimbler (is there such a word) brains but for the price, I think you will have noth to complain about.
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on 13 March 2015
Meh. Nothing too exciting. Good storyline analysis / comparisons
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on 21 April 2014
Some people can do this for themselves. For the rest of us, this book just adds and adds to the joy.
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on 8 July 2013
In many ways a very captivating exploration into the characters of "A Song of Ice and Fire". I admit, I read the whole book in one bite !! I like the theories, ecpecially the one about Jon Snows parentage. I had thought before that something was amiss there, with Lord Eddard Starks silence on the matter, but this theory makes very much sense, and promises the outcome of the Game of Thrones much more believable and magic. IF the theory is correct, that is... One never knows with George Martin as the true mummer.
There is much and more in the book, all of it good, making you wishing for more.
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on 23 October 2013
good insight into the books, buyers beware, fans of the series are in for spoilers galore and a great look into all the major and minor characters
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on 10 August 2013
Great book if you are 'into' the Ice and Fire series of books. Lots of background but no spoilers included.
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on 8 July 2013
Very good book. Will be on hand when the next one is published. Helps to keep all the characters fresh in ones mind with a hint of speculation.
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on 5 December 2014
This for the price, is an excellent little book, picking up themes relating to the series. Thoughtful and well researched. Recommended for Games fans
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