The World of Ice & Fire
|The World of Ice & Fire|
George R. R. Martin
Random House Publishing Group|
|Released||October 28th, 2014|
|Cover Artist||Ted Nasmith|
audiobook & e-book
|Purchase||The World of Ice & Fire|
The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones is a companion volume to A Song of Ice and Fire, provisionally known as a "world book".
George R. R. Martin announced on his website that he had signed a contract with Bantam Books for The World of Ice & Fire on September 2, 2006. To write the book, Martin enlisted the aid of Elio García and Linda Antonsson, founders of Westeros.org, the largest A Song of Ice and Fire community and online concordance of information on the series on the internet. At the time, Martin envisioned The World of Ice & Fire to be done "in just a couple of years". However, the project took much longer to complete, and grew larger than initially intended.
In September 2012, Martin mentioned on his blog that he had been writing about Rhaenyra and Aegon II Targaryen and revealed that he had a hundred and three manuscript pages finished. A release was eventually set in late 2013, and in February of that year the book became available to pre-order at Amazon.com. However, in May 2013 García confirmed that the book was pushed back a full year. In March 2014, the book's final title was decided upon and the final piece of text, on the Iron Islands, was completed. The book was released on October 28th, 2014.
Martin wrote a lot more text for The World of Ice & Fire than at first intended, delivering 350.000 words for the sidebars in the book while the volume itself was to have only 50.000 words of text. Using abridged versions of the texts for The World of Ice & Fire, the longer, unabridged version is set to be released in a history book called Fire and Blood.
The World of Ice & Fire is divided in several parts:
- Ancient History, starting with the Dawn Age, and ending with the Doom of Valyria
- The Reign of the Dragons, telling about Aegon's Conquest
- The Targaryen Kings, about the reigns of all Targaryen kings, beginning with King Aegon I Targaryen and ending with the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen
- The Fall of the Dragons, about the year of the false spring, Robert's Rebellion, and its aftermath.
- The Glorious Reign
- The Seven Kingdoms, histories about the North, the Wall and Beyond, the Riverlands, the Vale, the Iron Islands, the Westerlands, the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne.
- Beyond the Sunset Kingdoms, about the Free Cities, and the lands east from there.
- Appendix, consisting out of a family tree for House Targaryen, a family tree for House Stark, a family tree for House Lannister, and an overview of the reigns of the kings.
A few sample chapters were released in the months prior to the release of the book:
- Sample Chapter: Aegon's Conquest
- Sample Chapter: The Ten Thousand Ships
- Sample Chapter: "The Westerlands", released on George R.R. Martin's website.
- Sample Chapter: a selected part of the chapter detailing the history of the Vale, released in the official app, A World of Ice and Fire. This sample is available in the free version of the app.
Further, Harper Voyager released a Fact of Ice and Fire in the days leading up to the release of the book, through their Twitter account.
The English language versions of The World of Ice & Fire are available in two versions: the red cover, displayed on the top of this page, and a black cover. The former version of the book is published by Bantam, the latter by Harper Voyager.
Elio & Linda explained in several subsequent interviews that for space reasons, not all of the notes Martin gave them were included in the The World of Ice & Fire. This goes beyond the "sidebars" that he wrote for Targaryen history, which grew into full-length novellas, which later were released in Fire & Blood.
These were mostly limited to "trimming" other chapters here and there, such as the chapters on the regional histories of each of the Seven Kingdoms. For example, Martin did release an early draft of the chapter for the Westerlands on his website, which compared to the print version contains a small handful of extra details on army numbers, etc. The sample chapter, however, is only a rough draft and therefore "semi-canon", as it contradicts the final print version on a few points (i.e. how Ellyn Tarbeck died).
According to Elio & Linda in a Reddit AMA from 2015, the largest amount of abridged material was from the chapters on distant lands east of the Free Cities:
- "95% of the far east material was written by George, and we’d say 90% of what he wrote is what actually made it into the book -- there was a bit of trimming here and there, mostly in the sections on Yi Ti and the Dothraki."
The print book has about 20,000 words of material on the lands east of the Free Cities, thus there are roughly 1,000-2,000 words of unpublished notes on Yi Ti and the Dothraki. Given that these chapters were written much more as outlines with broad sweeps of history spanning for centuries, however - compared to the more detailed chapters on the Targaryen reign - even one thousand words could still contain substantial information. Several small bits from these notes were released under various local headings in the A World of Ice & Fire app.
Elio & Linda did confirm that there was never an entire chapter dedicated to Slaver's Bay, simply due to lack of interest. Qarth only got a large sidebar in the Dothraki chapter. There was also never a regional history chapter for the Crownlands (including King's Landing), because its history is comparatively short, and largely overlaps with the chapters about the reigns of the Targaryen kings.
Behind the Scenes
There were a few typos and mistakes in the first editions of the book. Among these is that Alysanne Blackwood was the aunt of Benjicot Blackwood, not his sister, as well as a few mistakes in the genealogy trees. Garcia has stated these will be corrected in future editions.
The conceit of the book is that it is an in-universe history text written by Maester Yandel, originally for Robert I Baratheon. However, Yandel has lived through the deaths of both Robert and Joffrey. The edition published in 2014 is the version produced by Yandel at the time of the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons, for Tommen Baratheon.
As a result, Garcia explained, for fear of angering the Lannisters, Yandel cut out from his original draft all but the bare minimum of material on Eddard Stark, Stannis Baratheon, and several other figures:
- "In particular, Yandel starts to get quite careful when he writes about events in which various important, influential, powerful, and (most of all) still living people had a role. He has an interest in keeping his head on his neck. Ned and Stannis practically disappear from the account of the rebellion because Yandel has cut out his original account of the rebellion after Robert's death, Eddard's execution for treason, and Stannis and Renly proclaiming for the throne, and hastily did a revised and more politically acceptable one."
- The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved April 16 2014.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Harper Voyager
- GeorgeRRMartin.com: Bantam to publish the World of Ice and Fire (September 2, 2006)
- Rolling Stone, George R.R. Martin Admits His Dragons Couldn't Beat Tolkien's Smaug in a Fight (October 28, 2014)
- Not a Blog: Still Writing (September 15, 2012)
- Westeros.org: Pre-Order The World of Ice and Fire (February 11, 2013)
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: When is the World of Ice and Fire Coming Out? (May 9, 2013)
- Westeros.org: 
- Not a Blog: Farewell to the Iron Islands (March 8, 2014)
- Not a Blog: A Bit More (Fake) History (January 31, 2017)
- The World of Ice & Fire.
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: Comments about the artwork & the family trees
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
- Reddit AMA, March2015
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: Looking in the MUSH for some World Book content
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: (TWOIAF Spoilers) Inconsistency or Intentional?
- A Forum of Ice and Fire: The ASOIAF wiki thread
- The World of Ice & Fire, Preface.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of Kings.
- So Spake Martin: Stockholm and Archipelacon Report, June 28, 2015