Archive for January 31st, 2015

George R.R. Martin – The World Of Ice And Fire

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

This is not an ‘official’ review to my intent, but I do want to make some comments on a somewhat peculiar but beautiful work. I don’t count books covering backgrounds on a series as true novels (and I won’t do so for this one either). They are usually encyclopedic in nature, with no story and mainly infodumping. I do like to buy them if it is of a series I like. This particular background work I want to say a little bit about is The World Of Ice And Fire (2014) by George R.R. Martin and two of his fans. They deserve credit, but Martin remains the inventor and the one who decided the events and names (for as far as I know). Such collaborative works are fairly common if I look at the other similar works that I have. In most case a dedicated fan or assistant has kept track of all the details and then was allowed to expand it to a full published work.

What makes The World Of Ice And Fire different is that it is not presented as a large set of infodump but as an account written by a character from the world of the books. The background and history is thus more presented in the style of the classic historians which present their view on history with some comments on the credibility of the events described. The work is not unique or the first to do so. I have A Visual Guide To Castle Amber and Midkemia: The Chronicles of Pug as works which were set up in a similar way. The first has however a very limited focus and his more of a tourist guidebook while the second is summarizes the novels of the series (unfortunately in a rather poor way). What makes The World Of Ice And Fire different is that it gives a history of the world told in a series of stories containing a large number of mostly new characters which are now given flesh. Not in detail but sufficient to create a good picture. What makes it even more better is the large amount of stunning artwork of places and characters. There has been put some real effort into it and it looks amazing.

Even if you are not much into histories this work is a must-have if you are a fan of A Song Of Ice And Fire. I took my time reading and enjoying it because it is something that does not pushes you on to read but it is very enjoyable to discover the rich mythology that Martin has crafted.