Long after HBO wrapped up the <ahem> forgettable final season, and long after GRRM practically gave up writing the final two books in the series, I chanced up a few books that were released alongside the original book series. And while GRRM published a number of books with an assortment of characters that ensure we can revisit Westeros whenever we want, there are two books I particularly enjoyed.
Both these books focus on the larger Westeros universe and give a good insight not only into the unbelievable amount of research that GRRM put into creating this world, but also into some supporting cast who go on to influence some major characters and plotlines in the main GoT series.
And therefore, I’m wrapping up my 4-part Blog Series on GoT with small-ish list of books to help you with your GoT withdrawal symptoms 🙂 I have discussed two of these in detail and provided a full list of books at the end.
Fire and Blood
This massive volume is in essence the untold history of the Targaryens. With an exclusive focus on the Dragon Lords of old Valyria, we learn about how they first reached Dragonstone, we read about Aegon’s conquest, meet Balerion, the biggest and mightiest of all the dragons and – my favourite part – learn how the Iron Throne was forged from the swords of the fallen enemies.
A thrilling history, full of the fire and fury that GoT have come to expect from the series, this book holds the answers to all the questions that have been mere statements in the GoT series – what happened during real Dance of the Dragons? What was so dangerous about Valyria after the Doom? And most importantly, what was Aegon’s conquest really like?
The World of Ice and Fire
While Fire and Blood focusses exclusively on the history of the Targaryens, The World of Ice and Fire is the comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, written by George RR Martin in collaboration with Elio M. Garcia Jr. and Linda Antonsson. Starting with the history of the ancient world and the arrival of the First men, we slowly journey through time to see what really happened during The Long Night, the rise and fall (doom) of Valyria, Aegon’s Conquest (but more in-depth in Fire & Blood), leading up to the Seven Kingdoms as we know them at the start of Game of Thrones.
Of particular interest to me were the customs, traditions, religions and folklore, as documented and told by septons, maesters and also the feared maegi.
While both these books together form the perfect prequel to A Song of Ice and Fire, I have detailed below the full list of books – most of these, as I like to call it, are spin-offs but equally thrilling and delightful to read.
To read, in no particular order, except perhaps, the first two:
- The World of Ice and Fire
- Fire & Blood
- The Ice Dragon
- A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms
- The Hedge Knight
- The Sworn Sword
And so, to wrap up ….
With nearly two decades worth of content spanning over books, a massively successful TV series and some incredible live concerts, Game of Thrones is something you can choose to love or hate, but you certainly cannot ignore it. As someone who spent 8 years of her life devotedly reading the books and following the HBO series, I can say with certainty that it is now an inseparable part of my life.
I typically do single tribute posts about my favourite authors, but at the time of conceptualising content for GoT, I knew I would struggle fitting it all into one or even 2 posts. The cynic in me tells me that even a four-part blog series is probably not enough, so perhaps, if time allows, I hope to revisit this series with a part 2. Until then, if you’ve stayed with me this far, thank you for reading. Valar Morghulis.
P.S. Cover Image : Aegon and his Dragon burn Harrenhal, Image Courtesy : Throneslife.com