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The Ice Dragon
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The Ice Dragon

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by George R. R. Martin, Yvonne Gilbert
     
 

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The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of

Overview

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child—and the ice dragon who loved her—could save her world from utter destruction.

This new edition of The Ice Dragon is sure to become a collector's item for fans of HBO's megahit Game of Thrones.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Melissa J. Rickey
The Ice Dragon evokes a beautiful yet foreboding world of physical and spiritual cold and detachment, as well as sacrifice and courage in the face of extraordinary personal loss. Written in the tradition of a hero quest, Martin's high fantasy is a work of beauty with simple, elegant language and drawings that provide a sweeping sense of the wintery landscape as well as detailed, close images of the hero, Adara, her family, and her beloved ice dragon. Adara is a winter child "born during the worst freeze that anyone could remember…." Early in Adara's life, an ice dragon comes and stays with her through part of the winter months. Each year the ice dragon stays longer, and eventually lets Adara touch its icy skin and then climb on its back for a short flight. Adara takes quiet pleasure in her secret friend and for the next several winters she and her ice dragon travel farther through and above the land, reveling in their own special world of icy calm and death. As the years pass, winter stays longer and spring comes later. Fields begin to die, and the war encroaches on the boarders of Adara's family farm in the late-summer heat. Adara must decide whether to flee to the land of never-ending winter with her ice dragon, or stay and save her family with the ice dragon's help. Both Adara and the ice dragon sacrifice their special world in order for the tangible one to survive. Read this book aloud to early primary students as an introduction to the genre, and have it available for readers who love fantasy and are ready for a chapter book.
Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
Adara was born on the coldest day that anyone in her town had ever known. Her mother died giving birth to her. It seems that as a result, she is a winter child both beautiful and cold. Unable to relate to her remaining family or the other town folk Adara is drawn to solitude. She longs only for the cold of winter and a visit from the Ice Dragon. But when war reaches Adara's little town, a dormant part of her awakens and she discovers her humanity. This slim book holds a world that is active and dangerous. It is a well crafted world where the reader willingly suspends their disbelief. They believe that there is a distant war that is coming closer with each year. One can believe that there is an emotionless child and an Ice Dragon. Even better is the author's ability to create so distant and cold a character. Adara is cold enough that there will be moments when you will truly dislike this child character. Yet she is compelling enough for the reader to continue with her on her journey to redemption. This is an interesting read and a must for fans of George R.R. Martin. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
VOYA - Jing Cao
The Ice Dragon brims with the magic and beauty of Martin's velvety rich prose and Gilbert's lush, stunning illustrations. Although more sophisticated readers might find the story's development too simple, audiences of all ages will be enchanted by the fantastic delivery of this timeless tale of heroes and dragons, the strength of a family, and the coming-of-age of a very special girl. It is a great book to share.
VOYA - Diane Emge Colson
Unlike the rest of her family, winter child Adara longs for the freezing cold that comes with the appearance of the ice dragon each year. From her earliest years, she has understood her unique bond with the creature, perhaps stronger than the emotional bonds that she feels for her family. Adara's uncle, Hal, has been fighting a war against enemy invaders for as long as Adara can remember. When he brings news of defeat and the ultimate terror of an approaching enemy, Adara's father chooses not to leave their farm. Adara herself has the chance to escape on the back of the ice dragon, but she returns to fight the enemy soldiers and save her family. Many readers will anticipate the predictable conclusion by this point in the story, but it does not necessarily detract from the sweet simplicity of the telling. This book is certainly geared toward the youngest spectrum of the young adult audience and only barely so. The story itself, written by a prolific fantasy author, was originally published in an anthology titled Dragons of Light (Ace, 1980). Gilbert's elegant illustrations distinguish this edition. Even so, it features a heroine who is a mere seven years old at the height of the action. Most libraries will probably want this title in the juvenile collection, despite a dash of violence (Uncle Hal burns to death), but it could be introduced as a fantasy appropriate for older reluctant readers.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5
Seven-year-old Adara was born during the coldest chill of the coldest year ever, a chill that killed her mother during the girl's birth. Ever since then, she has been a remote and chilly child, living for winter when the ice lizards come out and forming a bond with a mysterious ice dragon. When war comes and dragon-riding invaders threaten her home and family, the ice dragon helps her to thwart them, leading to its own demise. Filled with illustrations of swooping dragons and folks in medieval-type garb, this fantasy is a slim but rich introduction to the genre, one that should appeal to both boys and girls. Give it to readers who are not quite ready for Emily Rodda's "Deltora Quest" series (Scholastic) or to fantasy fans who want a quick but meaty read.
—Eva MitnickCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

The Ice Dragon brims with the magic and beauty of Martin's velvety rich prose. […] Audiences of all ages will be enchanted by the fantastic delivery of this timeless tale of heroes and dragons, the strength of a family, and the coming-of-age of a very special girl. It is a great book to share.” —VOYA

“[T]his fantasy is a slim but rich introduction to the genre, one that should appeal to both boys and girls.” —School Library Journal

“A must-buy for all Martin fans.” —SFRevu

“Like the type, Royo's lush ink-and-wash illustrations are all set in blue, heightening the icy feel. They sprawl across spreads, complementing the generously leaded text and providing ample resting place for readers' eyes. Despite the war and destruction, this is very much a children's story, told in a distantly folkloric tone that evokes the stylings of Jane Yolen. Adult fans will find neither gore nor sex, but kids will find an evocative original fairy tale with an unexpectedly complex protagonist.” —Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-11-08
In a clear attempt to capitalize on the wild popularity of the HBO series Game of Thrones,Martin's 1980 novella sees a second repackaging with new illustrations by Royo, replacing the 2006 edition illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert. No alterations have been made to the story, aside from setting it all in blue type. Adara, a motherless "winter child," loves the ice dragon that visits her every year. A cold, contained little girl, Adara keeps to herself, her grieving father and older siblings just as happy to be too busy for her. She gives all the emotion she withholds from her family to the ice dragon, first touching it at age 4 and riding it at 5, all in secret. As this is the world of Game of Thrones, war is being waged all around, though Adara's remote northern country remains largely untouched, save for the annual visits by her uncle, who rides a fire dragon for the king. But the war eventually comes to them the year she turns 7, when the enemy's dragonriders overpower the king's and begin to burn everything in sight—till Adara and her ice dragon fly. Like the type, Royo's lush ink-and-wash illustrations are all set in blue, heightening the icy feel. They sprawl across spreads, complementing the generously leaded text and providing ample resting place for readers' eyes. Despite the war and destruction, this is very much a children's story, told in a distantly folkloric tone that evokes the stylings of Jane Yolen. Adult fans will find neither gore nor sex, but kids will find an evocative original fairy tale with an unexpectedly complex protagonist. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765355393
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.58(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Ice Dragon


By George R. R. Martin, Luis Royo

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 1980 George R. R. Martin
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7877-4



CHAPTER 1

WINTER'S CHILD


ADARA liked the winter best of all, for when the world grew cold the ice dragon came.

She was never quite sure whether it was the cold that brought the ice dragon or the ice dragon that brought the cold. That was the sort of question that often troubled her brother Geoff, who was two years older than her and insatiably curious, but Adara did not care about such things. So long as the cold and the snow and the ice dragon all arrived on schedule, she was happy.

She always knew when they were due because of her birthday. Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone could remember, even Old Laura, who lived on the next farm and remembered things that had happened before anyone else was born. People still talked about that freeze. Adara often heard them.

They talked about other things as well. They said it was the chill of that terrible freeze that had killed her mother, stealing in during her long night of labor past the great fire that Adara's father had built, and creeping under the layers of blankets that covered the birthing bed. And they said that the cold had entered Adara in the womb, that her skin had been pale blue and icy to the touch when she came forth, and that she had never warmed in all the years since. The winter had touched her, left its mark upon her, and made her its own.

It was true that Adara was always a child apart. She was a very serious little girl who seldom cared to play with the others. She was beautiful, people said, but in a strange, distant sort of way, with her pale skin and blond hair and wide clear blue eyes. She smiled, but not often. No one had ever seen her cry. Once when she was five she had stepped upon a nail imbedded in a board that lay concealed beneath a snowbank, and it had gone clear through her foot, but Adara had not wept or screamed even then. She had pulled her foot loose and walked back to the house, leaving a trail of blood in the snow, and when she had gotten there she had said only, "Father, I hurt myself." The sulks and tempers and tears of ordinary childhood were not for her.

Even her family knew that Adara was different. Her father was a huge, gruff bear of a man who had little use for people in general, but a smile always broke across his face when Geoff pestered him with questions, and he was full of hugs and laughter for Teri, Adara's older sister, who was golden and freckled, and flirted shamelessly with all the local boys. Every so often he would hug Adara as well, but only during the long winters. But there would be no smiles then. He would only wrap his arms around her, and pull her small body tight against him with all his massive strength, sob deep in his chest, and fat wet tears would run down his ruddy cheeks. He never hugged her at all during the summers. During the summers he was too busy.

Everyone was busy during the summers except for Adara. Geoff would work with his father in the fields and ask endless questions about this and that, learning everything a farmer had to know. When he was not working he would run with his friends to the river, and have adventures. Teri ran the house and did the cooking, and worked a bit at the inn by the crossroads during the busy season. The innkeeper's daughter was her friend, and his youngest son was more than a friend, and she would always come back giggly and full of gossip and news from travelers and soldiers and king's messengers. For Teri and Geoff the summers were the best time, and both of them were too busy for Adara.

Their father was the busiest of all. A thousand things needed to be done each day, and he did them, and found a thousand more. He worked from dawn to dusk. His muscles grew hard and lean in summer, and he stank from sweat each night when he came in from the fields, but he always came in smiling. After supper he would sit with Geoff and tell him stories and answer his questions, or teach Teri things she did not know about cooking, or stroll down to the inn. He was a summer man, truly.

He never drank in summer, except for a cup of wine now and again to celebrate his brother's visits.

That was another reason why Teri and Geoff loved the summers, when the world was green and hot and bursting with life. It was only in summer that Uncle Hal, their father's younger brother, came to call. Hal was a dragonrider in service to the king, a tall slender man with a face like a noble. Dragons cannot stand the cold, so when winter fell Hal and his wing would fly south. But each summer he returned, brilliant in the king's green-and-gold uniform, en route to the battlegrounds to the north and west of them. The war had been going on for all of Adara's life.

Whenever Hal came north, he would bring presents: toys from the king's city, crystal and gold jewelry, candies, and always a bottle of some expensive wine that he and his brother could share. He would grin at Teri and make her blush with his compliments, and entertain Geoff with tales of war and castles and dragons. As for Adara, he often tried to coax a smile out of her, with gifts and jests and hugs. He seldom succeeded.

For all his good nature, Adara did not like Hal; when Hal was there, it meant that winter was far away.

Besides, there had been a night when she was only four, and they thought her long asleep, that she overheard them talking over wine. "A solemn little thing," Hal said. "You ought to be kinder to her, John. You cannot blame her for what happened."

"Can't I?" her father replied, his voice thick with wine. "No, I suppose not. But it is hard. She looks like Beth, but she has none of Beth's warmth. The winter is in her, you know. Whenever I touch her I feel the chill, and I remember that it was for her that Beth had to die."

"You are cold to her. You do not love her as you do the others."

Adara remembered the way her father laughed then. "Love her? Ah, Hal. I loved her best of all, my little winter child. But she has never loved back. There is nothing in her for me, or you, any of us. She is such a cold little girl." And then he had begun to weep, even though it was summer and Hal was with him. In her bed, Adara listened and wished that Hal would fly away. She did not quite understand all that she had heard, not then, but she remembered it, and the understanding came later.

She did not cry; not at four, when she heard, or six, when she finally understood. Hal left a few days later, and Geoff and Teri waved to him excitedly when his wing passed overhead, thirty great dragons in proud formation against the summer sky. Adara watched with her small hands by her sides.

CHAPTER 2

SECRETS IN THE SNOW


ADARA'S smiles were a secret store, and she spent of them only in winter. She could hardly wait for her birthday to come, and with it the cold. For in winter she was a special child.

She had known it since she was very little, playing with the others in the snow. The cold had never bothered her the way it did Geoff and Teri and their friends. Often Adara stayed outside alone for hours after the others had fled in search of warmth, or run off to Old Laura's to eat the hot vegetable soup she liked to make for the children. Adara would find a secret place in the far corner of the fields, a different place each winter, and there she would build a tall white castle, patting the snow in place with small bare bands, shaping it into towers and battlements like those Hal often talked about on the king's castle in the city. She would snap icicles off from the lower branches of trees, and use them for spires and spikes and guardposts, ranging them all about her castle. And often in the dead of winter would come a brief thaw and a sudden freeze, and overnight her snow castle would turn to ice, as hard and strong as she imagined real castles to be. All through the winters she would build on her castle, and no one ever knew. But always the spring would come, and a thaw not followed by a freeze; then all the ramparts and walls would melt away, and Adara would begin to count the days until her birthday came again.

Her winter castles were seldom empty. At the first frost each year, the ice lizards would come wriggling out of their burrows, and the fields would be overrun with the tiny blue creatures, darting this way and that, hardly seeming to touch the snow as they skimmed across it. All the children played with the ice lizards. But the others were clumsy and cruel, and they would snap the fragile little animals in two, breaking them between their fingers as they might break an icicle hanging from a roof. Even Geoff, who was too kind ever to do something like that, sometimes grew curious, and held the lizards too long in his efforts to examine them, and the heat of his hands would make them melt and burn and finally die.

Adara's hands were cool and gentle, and she could hold the lizards as long as she liked without harming them, which always made Geoff pout and ask angry questions. Sometimes she would lie in the cold, damp snow and let the lizards crawl all over her, delighting in the light touch of their feet as they skittered across her face. Sometimes she would wear ice lizards hidden in her hair as she went about her chores, though she took care never to take them inside where the heat of the fires would kill them. Always she would gather up scraps after the family ate, and bring them to the secret place where her castle was a-building, and there she would scatter them. So the castles she erected were full of kings and courtiers every winter; small furry creatures that snuck out from the woods, winter birds with pale white plumage, and hundreds and hundreds of squirming, struggling ice lizards, cold and quick and fat. Adara liked the ice lizards better than any of the pets the family had kept over the years.

But it was the ice dragon that she loved.

She did not know when she had first seen it. It seemed to her that it had always been a part of her life, a vision glimpsed during the deep of winter, sweeping across the frigid sky on wings serene and blue. Ice dragons were rare, even in those days, and whenever it was seen the children would all point and wonder, while the old folks muttered and shook their heads. It was a sign of a long and bitter winter when ice dragons were abroad in the land. An ice dragon had been seen flying across the face of the moon on the night Adara had been born, people said, and each winter since it had been seen again, and those winters had been very bad indeed, the spring coming later each year. So the people would set fires and pray and hope to keep the ice dragon away, and Adara would fill with fear.

But it never worked. Every year the ice dragon returned. Adara knew it came for her.

The ice dragon was large, half again the size of the scaled green war dragons that Hal and his fellows flew. Adara had heard legends of wild dragons larger than mountains, but she had never seen any. Hal's dragon was big enough, to be sure, five times the size of a horse, but it was small compared to the ice dragon, and ugly besides.

The ice dragon was a crystalline white, that shade of white that is so hard and cold that it is almost blue. It was covered with hoarfrost, so when it moved its skin broke and crackled as the crust on the snow crackles beneath a man's boots, and flakes of rime fell off.

Its eyes were clear and deep and icy.

Its wings were vast and batlike, colored all a faint translucent blue. Adara could see the clouds through them, and oftentimes the moon and stars, when the beast wheeled in frozen circles through the skies.

Its teeth were icicles, a triple row of them, jagged spears of unequal length, white against its deep blue maw.

When the ice dragon beat its wings, the cold winds blew and the snow swirled and scurried and the world seemed to shrink and shiver. Sometimes when a door flew open in the cold of winter, driven by a sudden gust of wind, the householder would run to bolt it and say, "An ice dragon flies nearby."

And when the ice dragon opened its great mouth, and exhaled, it was not fire that came streaming out, the burning sulfurous stink of lesser dragons.

The ice dragon breathed cold.

Ice formed when it breathed. Warmth fled. Fires guttered and went out, shriven by the chill. Trees froze through to their slow secret souls, and their limbs turned brittle and cracked from their own weight. Animals turned blue and whimpered and died, their eyes bulging and their skin covered over with frost.

The ice dragon breathed death into the world; death and quiet and cold. But Adara was not afraid. She was a winter child, and the ice dragon was her secret.

She had seen it in the sky a thousand times. When she was four, she saw it on the ground.

She was out building on her snow castle, and it came and landed close to her, in the emptiness of the snow-covered fields. All the ice lizards ran away. Adara simply stood. The ice dragon looked at her for ten long heartbeats before it took to the air again. The wind shrieked around her and through her as it beat its wings to rise, but Adara felt strangely exulted.

Later that winter it returned, and Adara touched it. Its skin was very cold. She took off her glove nonetheless. It would not be right otherwise. She was half afraid it would burn and melt at her touch, but it did not. It was much more sensitive to heat than even the ice lizards, Adara knew somehow. But she was special, the winter child, cool. She stroked it, and finally gave its wing a kiss that hurt her lips. That was the winter of her fourth birthday, the year she touched the ice dragon.

CHAPTER 3

THE RISING COLD


THE winter of her fifth birthday was the year she rode upon it for the first time.

It found her again, working on a different castle at a different place in the fields, alone as ever. She watched it come, and ran to it when it landed, and pressed herself against it. That had been the summer when she heard her father talking to Hal.

They stood together for long minutes until finally Adara, remembering Hal, reached out and tugged at the dragon's wing with a small hand. And the dragon beat its great wings once, and then extended them flat against the snow, and Adara scrambled up to wrap her arms about its cold white neck.

Together, for the first time, they flew.

She had no harness or whip, as the king's dragonriders use. At times the beating of the wings threatened to shake her loose from where she clung, and the coldness of the dragon's flesh crept through her clothing and bit and numbed her child's flesh. But Adara was not afraid.

They flew over her father's farm, and she saw Geoff looking very small below, startled and afraid, and knew he could not see her. It made her laugh an icy, tinkling laugh, a laugh as bright and crisp as the winter air.

They flew over the crossroads inn, where crowds of people came out to watch them pass.

They flew above the forest, all white and green and silent.

They flew high into the sky, so high that Adara could not even see the ground below, and she thought she glimpsed another ice dragon, way off in the distance, but it was not half so grand as hers.

They flew for most of the day, and finally the dragon swept around in a great circle and spiraled down, gliding on its stiff and glittering wings. It let her off in the field where it had found her, just after dusk.

Her father found her there, and wept to see her, and hugged her savagely. Adara did not understand that, nor why he beat her after he had gotten her back to the house. But when she and Geoff had been put to sleep, she heard him slide out of his own bed and come padding over to hers. "You missed it all," he said. "There was an ice dragon, and it scared everybody. Father was afraid it had eaten you."

Adara smiled to herself in the darkness, but said nothing.

She flew on the ice dragon four more times that winter, and every winter after that. Each year she flew further and more often than the year before, and the ice dragon was seen more frequently in the skies above their farm.

Each winter was longer and colder than the one before.

Each year the thaw came later.

And sometimes there were patches of land, where the ice dragon had lain to rest, that never seemed to thaw properly at all.

There was much talk in the village during her sixth year, and a message was sent to the king. No answer ever came.

"A bad business, ice dragons," Hal said that summer when he visited the farm. "They're not like real dragons, you know. You can't break them or train them. We have tales of those that tried, found frozen with their whip and harness in hand. I've heard about people that have lost hands or fingers just by touching one of them. Frostbite. Yes, a bad business."

"Then why doesn't the king do something?" her father demanded. "We sent a message. Unless we can kill the beast or drive it away, in a year or two we won't have any planting season at all."

Hal smiled grimly. "The king has other concerns. The war is going badly, you know. They advance every summer, and they have twice as many dragonriders as we do. I tell you, John, it's bad up there. Some year I'm not going to come back. The king can hardly spare men to go chasing an ice dragon." He laughed. "Besides, I don't think anybody's ever killed one of the things. Maybe we should just let the enemy take this whole province. Then it'll be his ice dragon."

But it wouldn't be, Adara thought as she listened. No matter what king ruled the land, it would always be her ice dragon.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin, Luis Royo. Copyright © 1980 George R. R. Martin. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

George R.R. Martin, a six-time Hugo and two-time Nebula Award winner, is the author of the most wildly acclaimed and anticipated fantasy series in recent history, A Song of Ice and Fire, the basis of HBO's megahit show, Game of Thrones. TIME named him "One of the Most Influential People of 2011." He currently resides in Santa Fe, NM.

LUIS ROYO is a prolific Spanish artist best known for his lush fantasy illustrations. Over 30 books of his collected art have been published including Women, Dead Moon, and the Malefic Time series. Royo's artwork is featured in Spectrum 3 and has been exhibited in Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, New York, Seattle, and St. Petersburg.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Santa Fe, NM
Date of Birth:
September 20, 1948
Place of Birth:
Bayonne, NJ
Education:
B.S., Northwestern University, 1970; M.S., Northwestern University, 1971
Website:
http://www.georgerrmartin.com

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