Book Finished: April 8th, 2015
A couple years ago, I had heard of Game of Thrones, but wasn’t that interested in the premise. I hold a proud stake in nerd-dom (my Ravenclaw banner hangs proudly by my bed, I frequent opening day showings of Marvel films, and I made a successful crusade to turn my boyfriend into a lover of the Lord of the Rings)- but something about GoT seemed just – meh. My sister (if I have a “stake” in nerd-dom, she has a castle) watched the first season of the series for a class in 2013, and was immediately hooked. She started the books soon after, and then spent a great deal of time prodding me to do the same. This past fall I finally gave in, and recently got my boyfriend into the TV show as well.
I got this book along with the five books that are out in A Song of Ice and Fire for Christmas. The book itself is gorgeous; it’s large with a soft cover, and filled with incredible artwork of the lands and characters that make up Westeros. As fans of this series know, the amount of characters the story follows can make it confusing to keep up with. I was hoping for a book that could serve as a reference guide as I continue to read the books and watch the show to help me remind me of who’s who. This book does achieve that, but not in the manner I anticipated.
One important note: this book is definitely based on the books rather than the TV show. Despite the “and the Game of Thrones” tag on the front, this book mentions things that have been slightly altered or removed in the TV show.
I am only through the first two books in the series, so some of what I learned from reading this book may be addressed in the next three anyway. Still, this was extremely helpful in understanding the background that got the characters to where they are at the opening of A Game of Thrones. There’s a lot of history behind the rebellion that put Robert Baratheon on the throne, and this book does a fantastic job of telling the story.
An interesting aspect of this text is that since it’s written from the perspective of a maester in the realm, there are a few places that the history given may not be the total truth. The maester is definitely a fan of the Lannisters and of the royal family, as is apparent in the discussion of Robert’s Rebellion.
Another small con is that even though the history is helpful, it’s still difficult to keep up with at times. The Targaryen family line in particular is confusing with the same names used over and over.
Overall, with the inclusion of the beautiful artwork, I would definitely recommend this to fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. There’s also a few subtle hints that one of the best known fan theories about Jon Snow’s mother is, in fact, true.
Have you read this, or the A Song of Ice and Fire series?