Boing Boing 

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

Like any epic fictional world, the setting of George RR Martin’s massively successful A Song of Ice and Fire series is rife with a labyrinthine backstory and complex history that drives the story’s action and helps explain some of its characters' deeper motivations. At first blush, The World of Ice and Fire is just a lore book meant to set the record straight on historical events and eras preceding the series. However, through the voice of Maester Yandel, the work’s biased narrator and compiler, Martin, Garcia and Antonsson spawn more questions and greater uncertainty, with the Maester himself even admitting at times his ignorance as to crucial details. There are the necessary elements of rich and plentiful artwork, maps that seem torn and affixed to the page, and disconcertingly intertwined family trees that connect this history to the events of the books and television show. Then there is the attention to the small details, like the use of fancifully script-like fonts in titles, the depiction of heraldry with attribution to certain houses, and especially the dedication by Maester Yandel, “To his most esteemed and gracious lord, Tommen,” with the names of “Robert” and “Joffrey” barely distinguishable and faded underneath Tommen’s name.

As a physical object, The World of Ice and Fire also feels like an artifact plucked from the universe that it describes. To hold this book and read through its pages is to inhabit the world of ice and fire and to be presented with the same kind of piecemeal knowledge of that world with which its characters themselves struggle.

The book’s structure fittingly rambles from the series’ mythical prehistory to the more political historical present. A section on The Seven Kingdoms looks in depth at the various realms and sub-geographies of Westeros in terms of their history, culture and geography. A number of subsequent sections describe the increasingly foreign and exotic locales of Essos and Other Lands. From the obscure myths of the past, to the known present and familiar realms, and then back to more legendary lands, the subject matter’s transition into the known and then back out keeps with some of the overall themes of the series: fantasy threatening the periphery while human foibles form the core. The lineages and family trees appended to the end of the book give a succinct visualization of how the series and its myriad history intertwine.

A Song of Ice and Fire’s fandom has recently reached a critical mass. The viral popularity of the TV series has brought an influx of new readership and more voices to debate the final trajectory of the as-yet unfinished series. Martin’s co-authors, Garcia and Antonsson, gained their expertise through managing the online forums that have served as homes to Game of Thrones fans. Perhaps spurred by the endless theorizing of fans and definitely urged by wild popularity, The World of Ice and Fire is a shift back from this digital realm to a physical and printed object.

The World of Ice and Fire is many things. It is a fictional tome seemingly transported from the fictional world itself, a lavishly illustrated art book to gush over for hours, and a dubiously authoritative account of the history that motivates the series. In a world of social reading and communities of readers whose speculations often preempt the intentions of authors themselves, The World of Ice and Fire uses historical uncertainty to undermine even the savviest of theorizers. When you play the Game of Thrones with George RR Martin, you mettle with the author and the authority, and there are no sure bets. This wonderful book is that truth made manifest. – Stephen Webb

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin, Elio Garcia, and Linda Antonsson
2014, 336 pages, 9.3 x 12.1 x 1.4 inches
$25 Buy one on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Game of Thrones deaths as pixel art animations

got“All Pixels Must Die” is the work of Filipe Costa, Matheus Muniz and Paulo Bohrer II. Spoilers! Nasty, nasty spoilers. [via]

Oh m' god, listen to Game of Thrones' Emilia Clark do a perfect "Khali from the Valley" accent

As if Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke (Khaleesi) wasn't amazing enough, she's just revealed yet another talent: her perfect Valley girl impersonation. After talking to Jimmy Kimmel about ghosts she encountered while shooting Terminator: Genisys in New Orleans, she explains how she disguised herself before heading off to Home Depot at 3am. Part of the disguise was her perfect Valley girl accent. All I can say is, totally awesome!


Game of Thrones editor killed by lion at safari park


The tourist who was mauled by a lioness at a South African safari park was 29-year-old Katherine Chappell, an American who worked as a special effects editor on Game of Thrones. She was snapping photos from her car with her window down and was unaware that a lion was approaching. Other cars honked, trying to warn her, but the lion attacked before she was able to react. Chappell was in South Africa on an anti-poaching mission. Read more of the story here.

A director on Game of Thrones' epic White Walker battle

The latest episode recapped with a special eye on its screencraft. Read the rest

Game Of Thrones characters sing “I’m So Excited”

Well, kind of.

Game of Thrones' creepy cult was inspired by Catholic reformers, says G.R.R. Martin


The current season of Game of Thrones saw the rise of a powerful sect in King's Landing, led by a down-to-Earth but ruthless leader bent on imposing religious law on Westeros's corrupt aristocracy.

Read the rest

Coldplay turns Game Of Thrones into a musical

Chris Martin reveals his unexpectedly solid comedy chops in this Red Nose Day sketch. Oh and Peter Dinklage sings.

Read the rest

In "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", Game of Thrones mocks the power of powerful women

Game of Thrones was dealt a card denied by history to George Lucas: when everything gets buried in walking, talking and politics, it can always just have someone raped. Read the rest

Death—and dragons—stalk the powerful in Game of Thrones

An expert film-maker reviews the latest episode of the elaborately-staged historical fantasy series.Read the rest

What Westeros would look like in Google Maps


Forget George R. R. Martin's map book: an Etsy user called MongoLife has reimagined the Game of Thrones continent of Westeros in Google Maps.

Read the rest

Game of Thrones heads for uncertain destinations

Journeys are common threads woven to form epic tales, and "Sons of the Harpy" saw key characters embark, abducted or pursued toward Game of Thrones' far-flung theaters of action. Read the rest

Stuff happens in Game of Thrones

Someone gets his head chopped off, it's pretty cool.Read the rest

HBO drops Wildfire on bar that hosted Game of Thrones viewing parties

wildfireHBO's lawyers defended its intellectual property law by figuratively dropping Wildfire on the Brooklyn bar Videology. The owner tweeted that the Wildfire was "very polite but official."

Read the rest

Remembering the lives of Game of Thrones characters who died

Joe Sabia got some crazy Russian animators to make a web video series recapping the lives of major characters who died in Game of Thrones.

Read the rest

Drink like Cersei Lannister at Blackbird in SF

If you're in the San Francisco Bay area, you can pregame Season 5 of Game of Thrones at my new favorite SF bar, Blackbird. Why? Because Cersei throws down, and you should too.

Read the rest

HBO Releases Deleted Scenes from Game of Thrones Season 4

Notably, they are both scenes in which characters try to comfort one another, and fail.

Read the rest