As a fan of Game of Thrones, I must admit I was really looking forward to peaking behind the pages of The World of Ice and Fire, as I, like so many other fans, patiently wait for the next installment in the Game of Thrones series. This book was a special treat because George R.R. Martin teamed up with the founders of the renowned fan site/encyclopedia Westeros.org Elio M. Garcia, Jr. and Linda Antonsson to publish a complete history of the seven kingdoms filled with both facts, educated guesses and speculations. The World of Ice and Fire covers the complete family histories of the Starks, Targaryens, Lannisters, as well as how a great many houses came to promise, like the Baratheon’s and Tyrells. Hint, the Tyrells started out as stewards to the Gardeners and the Baratheon’s as bastards.
The World of Ice and Fire is an anthology, something like a historical compendium being told through the narration of a Maester. Unfortunately, that would be my major and overwhelming point of contention with this master work. It’s told from the perspective of an extremely knowledgeable narrator as opposed to as an engrossing story with points of supportive, if not sublime narration. When I purchased this book, I thought I was going to be reading something written more like World War Z with points of narration sprinkled in amongst great first hand accounts of the action. Unfortunately, what I read was far more like reading a dry monotone history tome. However, this is not meant to take away from the brilliance of what has been produced.
If you are a true hardcore fan of the world George R.R. Martin has created, learning about what truly took place during the dance of dragons, or how King’s Landing got its name, will truly fascinate you. If you were a history major in college, this book will probably have a similar impact. But, if you’re looking for an exciting read, this is not the book for you. Ultimately, your level of enjoyment from this book will rest on what kind of reader you are. If you’re a true fan, who’s totally enthralled by the history and culture, and obsess over every detail as you argue the finer points of the Targaryen dynasty with anyone who will listen, this is a must read! If you love the story, but more for its entertainment value and story telling, skip the book and get the cliff notes.
These are just my thoughts and like always I look forward to hearing yours on twitter @potbellysamurai or in the comments.