The Ice Dragon


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 ...

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The Ice Dragon

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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.

The Ice Dragon marks the highly anticipated children's book debut of George R.R. Martin, the award-winning author of the New York Times best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire and is set in the same world. Illustrated with lush, exquisitely detailed pencil drawings by acclaimed artist Yvonne Gilbert, The Ice Dragon is an unforgettable tale of courage, love, and sacrifice by one of the most honored fantasists of all time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With this novel, George R. R. Martin, the famed author of the high fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, makes his children's book debut. The Ice Dragon recounts the story of winter child Adara, her animal companion, and their courageous attempt to save the world from catastrophe. The subtle, artful pencil drawings of Yvonne Gilbert add a mythic edge to this endearing story.
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.
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
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.
Kirkus Reviews
A repackaging of a 1980 fantasy story about Adara, a winter child who is called on to save her world from destructive fiery dragons. Seven-year-old Adara has always been a different sort of child. Even her father, who can't forget that his beloved wife died in childbirth with Adara, admits that his daughter, the one he used to love best, is a cold little girl. She does love the ice dragon who returns each year in winter, and this love is what saves her and her family. When the ice dragon, bearing the little dragon rider, defeats the marauding fire dragons, Adara becomes the warm little girl her father has been missing. Exciting battle scenes and complex psychological back story make this a story for older readers, but the cover art, young heroine, generous typeface and frequent pencil illustrations make this feel like a book for much younger readers. Fantasy readers who want a shorter read might like this offering. (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Ice Dragon:

The New York Times Bestseller

“Martin’s charming tale is filled with passion and power…a touching adventure with all the taut storytelling skill one would expect from this award-winning author.” —January Magazine

“Martin goes beyond the expected to bring us an extraordinary children’s tale. A must-buy for all Martin fans, this is a good book for anyone…who loves winter and dragons.” —SFRevu

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765378774
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 10/21/2014
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 298,446
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin is the author of the acclaimed, internationally bestselling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, adapted into the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. He is also the editor and contributor to the Wild Cards series, including the novels Suicide Kings and Fort Freak, among other bestsellers. He has won multiple science fiction and fantasy awards, including four Hugos, two Nebulas, six Locus Awards, the Bram Stoker, the World Fantasy Award, the Daedelus, the Balrog, and the Daikon (the Japanese Hugo). Martin has been writing ever since he was a child, when he sold monster stories to neighborhood children for pennies, and then in high school he wrote fiction for comic fanzines. His first professional sale was to Galaxy magazine, when he was 21. He has been a full-time writer since 1979. Martin has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


As a child growing up in New Jersey, George R.R. Martin displayed an early interest in "the writing life" by selling monster stories of his own invention to the children in his Bayonne neighborhood. In high school he became an avid comic book collector and began to write for comic fanzines. He sold his first story to Galaxy in 1970 when he was 21 years old.

Martin received his bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. After graduation he served two years in VISTA, then worked as a teacher and chess tournament director in the Midwest, while continuing to craft award-winning short fiction. His first full-length novel, Dying of the Light, was published in 1977. A dark, lyrical sci-fi tone poem set on a doomed world without a sun, the book was nominated for a Hugo Award.

Throughout the 1980s, Martin worked in television, writing for science fiction- and fantasy-themed shows like The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. At this time he became involved with Wild Cards, a long-running anthology series composed of "mosaic stories" written by multiple authors and set in a shared universe. In addition to editing the series, Martin has contributed stories to the Wild Card books.

In 1996, Martin published A Game of Thrones, the first installment of his magnum opus, the epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice. Set in the Seven Kingdoms, a realm resembling medieval Europe, the internationally bestselling series has provided the ultimate showcase for Martin's formidable world-building and characterization skills.

During the course of his long, prolific career, Martin has accrued every major literary prize for science fiction or fantasy writing, including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, Daedelus, and Locus awards. But what endears him especially to his readers is his extraordinary accessibility. A tireless participant in genre conventions and festivals, he maintains a cordial relationship with his fans through his website and blog. He is also a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Good To Know

Christened George Raymond Martin, the author has this to say about his unusual name: "I arrived short one 'R' but fixed that at my confirmation 13 years later."

As a conscientious objector, Martin did alternative service from 1972-1974 with VISTA, attached to Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation.

Martin was class valedictorian of his high school. In 1970, he graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University.

In the mid-1970s, Martin supplemented his income by directing tournaments for the Continental Chess Association.

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Fe, NM
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 20, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bayonne, NJ
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northwestern University, 1970; M.S., Northwestern University, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Ice Dragon

By Martin, George R.R.


Copyright © 2007 Martin, George R.R.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780765355393

Chapter One
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 neverwarmed 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.
Copyright © 1980 by George R. R. Martin


Excerpted from The Ice Dragon by Martin, George R.R. Copyright © 2007 by Martin, George R.R.. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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