At this time frame, there are a very few people and millennials all over the world who don’t know the world-famous award-winning show Game of Thrones. The infamous quotes “winter is coming” and “winter is here” were almost every die-hard fan’s captions and status up until May 2019. The series, based on the book series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, took over the world and broke various records despite leaving a lot of fans disappointed and heartbroken with its ending.

The mastermind behind this phenomenal masterpiece is George RR Martin, who started this series in 1996. Till date, five books have been released in this series; Book 3 and 5 coming in two volumes with two more yet to be out. However, finishing this series, Martin announced the release of a new book ‘Fire and Blood’ that is set in the same universe as that of Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.

The book, named after the motto of the House Targaryen ‘Fire and Blood’, covers the history of the said house and the time when dragons ruled the world. This is the first volume with regards to the prequel, said to be written by the Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel, which focuses on various characters who have been mentioned in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ from the Conquest of Aegon the Conqueror, who brought the Seven Kingdoms together, through the next 136 years, up to the 16th name day of Aegon III Targaryen. The story starts with the Doom of Valeria and Targaryen fleeing to Dragonstone and the game of thrones people play to take over the infamous throne and obviously, dragons. The book covers years and years of history of the Westeros moves steadily from various kings and their era to the queens and their rules chapter after chapter, providing us a clear view and understanding of the present case scenario with the books in A Song of Ice and Fire.

When Martin first came up with the announcement of releasing this book, there were a lot of controversies and backlashes as he did not release ‘The Winds of Winter’, the 6th part of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ before this one, however, ‘Fire and Blood’ is no less. It is written like a history book; the type that would be found in the depths of Citadel and Sam the Slayer and Tyrion Lannister would enjoy reading in front of a fireplace with a glass of wine. It is not written like the typical franchise, rather written as how a history textbook would be written through the eyes of the Grand Maesters of the seven kingdoms. It is incredibly fascinating and goes with a smooth flow and makes one feel like they are reading a true history and not merely a fictitious one. We do not get the same pace and flow as that of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ which covers a short period of time focusing more on details rather, this moves at a fast yet engaging pace covering almost 136 years.

The history provides us with very accurate portrayal of humanity with all the betrayals, brutality, struggles, love, sex and emotions; something Martin has been know to make a mixture of in his work. The book is full of illustrations as well, drawn by Doug Wheatley who is well known for his illustrations on Star Wars comics for ‘Dark Horse’. The illustrations are so alluring and life-like that it feels like they are going to jump right out the book. These drawings make the book so much better and the experience of reading it even more.

However, at times, it does feel like you are reading a fan made page regarding information about different character. Sometimes it tends to be confusing and convoluted because of marrying of the Targaryen and there are just too many ‘Aegon’ to keep track of. It also kind of mirror’s Martin’s companion book; ‘The World of Ice and Fire’ which is considered as a historical compendium, written by a maester regarding various lineage and family trees. Nonetheless, ‘Fire and Blood’ is a beautiful masterpiece that dives deeper and makes you feel like you’re standing in Tyrion’s shoes; mind full of enchanting history of Westeros and the powerful bloodline; the Targaryens.

If you are a fan of just the series, then you might not like it as much but if you are a die hard fan of the series as well as ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ then this is a must read to understand between the lines of the world renowned series.

Contributed by Isha Bhusal

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