The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

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Overview

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Elio Garcia, Linda Antonsson

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Perfect for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones—an epic history of Westeros and the lands beyond, featuring hundreds of pages of all-new material from George R. R. Martin!

If the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork—the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time—warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice & Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that’s been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org—perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers, including
 
• full-color artwork and maps, with more than 170 original pieces
• full family trees for Houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen
• in-depth explorations of the history and culture of Westeros
• 100% all-new material, more than half of which Martin wrote specifically for this book

The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin’s dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice & Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553805444
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Series: Song of Ice and Fire Series
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 15,899
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 11.80(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons—as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts. As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
 
Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson founded and run the popular site Westeros.org, which is the definitive source for all things George R. R. Martin.

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

Read an Excerpt

THE DAWN AGE
 
THERE ARE NONE who can say with certain knowledge when the world began, yet this has not stopped many maesters and learned men from seeking the answer. Is it forty thousand years old, as some hold, or perhaps a number as large as five hundred thousand—or even more? It is not written in any book that we know, for in the first age of the world, the Dawn Age, men were not lettered.
 
We can be certain that the world was far more primitive, however—a barbarous place of tribes living directly from the land with no knowledge of the working of metal or the taming of beasts. What little is known to us of those days is contained in the oldest of texts: the tales written down by the Andals, by the Valyrians, and by the Ghiscari, and even by those distant people of fabled Asshai. Yet however ancient those lettered races, they were not even children during the Dawn Age. So what truths their tales contain are difficult to find, like seeds among chaff.
 
What can most accurately be told about the Dawn Age? The eastern lands were awash with many peoples—uncivilized, as all the world was uncivilized, but numerous. But on Westeros, from the Lands of Always Winter to the shores of the Summer Sea, only two peoples existed: the children of the forest and the race of creatures known as the giants.
 
Of the giants in the Dawn Age, little and less can be said, for no one has gathered their tales, their legends, their histories. Men of the Watch say the wildlings have tales of the giants living uneasily alongside the children, ranging where they would and taking what they wanted. All the accounts claim that they were huge and powerful creatures, but simple. Reliable accounts from the rangers of the Night’s Watch, who were the last men to see the giants while they still lived, state that they were covered in a thick fur rather than simply being very large men as the nursery tales hold.
 
There is considerable evidence of burials among the giants, as recorded in Maester Kennet’s Passages of the Dead—a study of the barrow fields and graves and tombs of the North in his time of service at Winterfell, during the long reign of Cregan Stark. From bones that have been found in the North and sent to the Citadel, some maesters estimate that the largest of the giants could reach fourteen feet, though others say twelve feet is nearer the truth. The tales of long-dead rangers written down by maesters of the Watch all agree that the giants did not make homes or garments, and knew of no better tools or weapons than branches pulled from trees.
 
The giants had no kings and no lords, made no homes save in caverns or beneath tall trees, and they worked neither metal nor fields. They remained creatures of the Dawn Age even as the ages passed them by, men grew ever more numerous, and the forests were tamed and dwindled. Now the giants are gone even in the lands beyond the Wall, and the last reports of them are more than a hundred years old. And even those are dubious—tales that rangers of the Watch might tell over a warm fire.
 
The children of the forest were, in many ways, the opposites of the giants. As small as children but dark and beautiful, they lived in a manner we might call crude today, yet they were still less barbarous than the giants. They worked no metal, but they had great art in working obsidian (what the smallfolk call dragonglass, while the Valyrians knew it by a word meaning “frozen fire”) to make tools and weapons for hunting. They wove no cloths but were skilled in making garments of leaves and bark. They learned to make bows of weirwood and to construct flying snares of grass, and both of the sexes hunted with these.
 
Their song and music was said to be as beautiful as they were, but what they sang of is not remembered save in small fragments handed down from ancient days. Maester Childer’s Winter’s Kings, or the Legends and Lineages of the Starks of Winterfell contains a part of a ballad alleged to tell of the time Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall. He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here. But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from, the sounds they heard every day.
 
The gods the children worshipped were the nameless ones that would one day become the gods of the First Men—the innumerable gods of the streams and forests and stones. It was the children who carved the weirwoods with faces, perhaps to give eyes to their gods so that they might watch their worshippers at their devotions. Others, with little evidence, claim that the greenseers—the wise men of the children—were able to see through the eyes of the carved weirwoods. The supposed proof is the fact that the First Men themselves believed this; it was their fear of the weirwoods spying upon them that drove them to cut down many of the carved trees and weirwood groves, to deny the children such an advantage. Yet the First Men were less learned than we are now, and credited things that their descendants today do not; consider Maester Yorrick’s Wed to the Sea, Being an Account of the History of White Harbor from Its Earliest Days, which recounts the practice of blood sacrifice to the old gods. Such sacrifices persisted as recently as five centuries ago, according to accounts from Maester Yorrick’s predecessors at White Harbor.
 
This is not to say that the greenseers did not know lost arts that belong to the higher mysteries, such as seeing events at a great distance or communicating across half a realm (as the Valyrians, who came long after them, did). But mayhaps some of the feats of the greenseers have more to do with foolish tales than truth. They could not change their forms into those of beasts, as some would have it, but it seems true that they were capable of communicating with animals in a way that we cannot now achieve; it is from this that legends of skinchangers, or beastlings, arose.
 
In truth, the legends of the skinchangers are many, but the most common—brought from beyond the Wall by men of the Night’s Watch, and recorded at the Wall by septons and maesters of centuries past—hold that the skinchangers not only communicated with beasts, but could control them by having their spirits mingle. Even among the wildlings, these skinchangers were feared as unnatural men who could call on animals as allies. Some tales speak of skinchangers losing themselves in their beasts, and others say that the animals could speak with a human voice when a skinchanger controlled them. But all the tales agree that the most common skinchangers were men who controlled wolves—even direwolves—and these had a special name among the wildlings: wargs.
 
Legend further holds that the greenseers could also delve into the past and see far into the future. But as all our learning has shown us, the higher mysteries that claim this power also claim that their visions of the things to come are unclear and often misleading—a useful thing to say when seeking to fool the unwary with fortune-telling. Though the children had arts of their own, the truth must always be separated from superstition, and knowledge must be tested and made sure. The higher mysteries, the arts of magic, were and are beyond the boundaries of our mortal ability to examine.
 
Yet no matter the truths of their arts, the children were led by their greenseers, and there is no doubt that they could once be found from the Lands of Always Winter to the shores of the Summer Sea. They made their homes simply, constructing no holdfasts or castles or cities. Instead they resided in the woods, in crannogs, in bogs and marshes, and even in caverns and hollow hills. It is said that, in the woods, they made shelters of leaves and withes up in the branches of trees—secret tree “towns.”
 
It has long been held that they did this for protection from predators such as direwolves or shadowcats, which their simple stone weapons—and even their vaunted greenseers—were not proof against. But other sources dispute this, stating that their greatest foes were the giants, as hinted at in tales told in the North, and as possibly proved by Maester Kennet in the study of a barrow near the Long Lake—a giant’s burial with obsidian arrowheads found amidst the extant ribs. It brings to mind a transcription of a wildling song in Maester Herryk’s History of the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall, regarding the brothers Gendel and Gorne. They were called upon to mediate a dispute between a clan of children and a family of giants over the possession of a cavern. Gendel and Gorne, it is said, ultimately resolved the matter through trickery, making both sides disavow any desire for the cavern, after the brothers discovered it was a part of a greater chain of caverns that eventually passed beneath the Wall. But considering that the wildlings have no letters, their traditions must be looked at with a jaundiced eye.
 

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The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
DomJC More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for something like the ASOIAF books, then you have come to the wrong place, but if you are looking for what this product is - essentially an encyclopedia of Westeros up through the reign of King Robert Baratheon - you'll love it! I am in the latter category and am thoroughly enjoying reading the history of the continent, a bit of background of the great houses, etc. The illustrations are incredible as well. 
MikeFA More than 1 year ago
I recommend getting the hardcover book compared to the NOOK version to enjoy the art/drawings relating to the series' historicals. This book fills in storyline gaps and comes off as its own collection of short stories. Owning the hardcover gives you that feeling of looking into the collection of the Citadel's maester's point of views. Still awaiting the Winds of Winter after is thorough look back.
Shadows_Dana More than 1 year ago
From the studies of a Maester, this history is presented to Tommen, First of his name, and to us, the patiently ASOIAF obsessed. This book is not only beautiful, but filled with stories of the past which provide more insight into the present world of Westeros.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting but more for hardcore ASOIF fans rather than the casual fan of the book series or show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! It is exactly as it claims to be: history of the world up to King Robert. The pictures are absolutely beautiful, and the book helps to fill in the gaps of history that the series doesn't. I loved being able to read background information about all of the houses and how they came to be. This book was just absolutely amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the history of the seven kingdoms and the known world beyond - knowledge from the citadel and maesters within it - all in one book! Yes - I wish GRRM would get a move on with THE WINDS OF WINTER - but am beginning to think he cut a strange deal with the TV SHOW to not release his own story until they've told their version of it. That said, these histories are constantly referenced in the book series beginning with A GAME OF THRONES. Arm yourselves with knowledge fir the Long Night!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GOT fans gotta read this, tons of background info
Karagin More than 1 year ago
This has it all. Want to know the whys and how fors of the world of Ice and Fire then this is the book!
legalmomNK More than 1 year ago
A must for all who have ventured to Westeros! Awesome read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must have for Game of Thrones fans. Beautifully illustrated.
momof3AR More than 1 year ago
Gives all the backstory alluded to in the SoIaF book series. Explains a lot but still leaves some unknowns. Cleverly written as a scholarly historical recount but what was most impressive and interesting to me was the illustration. Beautiful and worthy of being shown in an art gallery. Was interesting to finally see visual representations of many of the small "ensemble" characters mentioned in the books. If you are a fan of the show, there is so much story you aren't getting - read the books and then read this. The entire song becomes an entire world of its own complete with detailed history. A great tale overall and this just added a whole new depth to it. Highly recommend.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Good read if you're needing something to hold you over until Winds of Winter.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I absolutely loved this book. I wish we knew more about it all. Too many unsolved mysteries in the world of ice and fire that leave you wondering in a childlike good way! Thank you GRRM.
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CMAJORME More than 1 year ago
Ostensibly a history of the seven kingdoms but con be taken as an excellent satire of History books in general.Neat illustrations.
hombreSimple More than 1 year ago
Its a great product, all ASOIAF and GoT fans must have one of this!
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