History in school was never my favorite subject – but reading the history of Westeros totally satisfied me.
“The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones” is one of the longest titles but also a nearly complete collection of the most important aspects in the history of Westeros and everything that affects or could affect the story of “A Song of Ice and Fire”. So if you’re interested in the coming of the first men, the reign of the Targaryen kings, Robert Baratheon’s Rebellion or the reign of Aegon III this book is perfect for you!
The first thing I did when I received this book as a christmas present was an uncommon thing to do for me – I flipped through the book and gazed at the absolutely stunning illustrations in there! The contributing artists did such a great job in designing castles and people and creating a certain feeling with light and colors. For me, personally, it’s way more impressive and fitting than the graphic novel style and character designs. It’s really a masterpiece!
Also, there are super interesting pages with family trees of the important families (which I look at very regularly, when I read the books or watch an episode and find a name I cannot allocate). The only thing I missed were big maps or maps in general. When you want to know more about the lands of ASOIAF you should rather buy “The Lands of Ice and Fire”.
But even if it’s called “The Untold History of Westeros” you still can read about the Free Cities and even a bit about super distant places like Sothoryos.
When it comes to the text, which is most important of course, there are a few things you should know. The book isn’t a complete George RR Martin book, Elia Garcia and Linda Antonsson were his co-workers and without them this book wouldn’t be finished yet I guess (still waiting for the sixth volume of ASOIAF). Those two are the founders of Westeros.org and they seem to know Westeros just as well as Martin does! We could only guess how much work it must be to research such an amount of information, anyone who knows ASOIAF knows how complicated and encompassing the universe and history of this story is!
And of course, you shouldn’t expect a reading experience equal to reading the five novels. It’s still a history book, even if it’s a fictional one and has super impressive illustrations. For me it wasn’t a book I’ve read at a single stretch, always only a few pages or chapters. And even now I sometimes re-read certain articles when I feel I still don’t understand the full history or events happening in ASOIAF. The narrative is at its strongest when it focused on the stories of characters or stories that are told in Westeros or Essos.
For me this is an essential book when it comes to fan theories and nerdy conversations about ASOIAF. Maybe it’s sad I know the history of a fictional world better than our own but what can I doooo – We have no dragons in the real world!
You definitely don’t need this book to understand A Song of Ice and Fire but it helps to understand it better. Overall this is a lovely designed and well-written book which is perfect for every serious Game of Thrones fan!
|The World of Ice & Fire | George R.R. Martin | 28.10.14 | Bantam | 336 pages | Hardcover | 33,99€