General George R. R. Martin Tywin Lannister

A Look at George R.R. Martin’s “A World of Ice and Fire”

Ever since I picked up George R.R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire at the 92Y event this weekend, I’ve been combing through it like a kid in a candy store. It reminds me of when I was younger and would buy a “making of” book of my favorite film, and then block out the whole weekend to do nothing but read it cover to cover. Martin’s 300-page tome is a true treasure for devoted fans of the Game of Thrones world, and I could spend hours looking at photos or reading excerpts.

At the 92Y event, a large portion of the evening was spent looking at the book’s gorgeous artwork, while Martin talked about how each one depicted a certain moment in A Song of Ice and Fire‘s history. It was intriguing to see the pictures up on a big screen, but having them at my disposal — being able to look closely at the details of each work and spend time analyzing everything that’s happening — is what makes me love this book so much.

But really, what I’ve been struck most by while exploring this is the history that Martin brings to life that adds to the feelings I already have for characters and houses that I love. I tend to like the the black sheeps of a dramatic series, and my love for the Lannisters (particularly Cersei and Tywin) are no exception. One of the most interesting things in Martin’s book is a recounting of the Mad King’s backstory, which includes the history of the Lannister family, from the very beginning. To attempt to discuss all of it in this post would leave me here for hours, but while we learn more about the details behind the Mad King’s rule, we’re also drawn into the detailed, intense conflicts that make Game of Thrones so fun to watch.

And we learn about Tywin Lannister. We learn about the deeds that he did prior to when we came to know him on Game of Thrones, how he’s killed and threatened and when asked to pardon hostages in war, failed to respond (which in turn reminds me of they Jaime treats Cersei in A Dance With Dragons…like father, like son.) We learn that he himself was injured in battle by a crossbow while leading a counterattack, forcing him to leave half his men for dead. We learn that he’s beheaded others (like father, like son) and that he’s never been particularly kind, and maybe we don’t like him more because of it…but we do have an understanding of the character that goes beyond what even the great Charles Dance can’t convince us of on a weekly basis.

Excerpts like this, where I can lose myself reading in pages and pages of history about my favorites, are what I love about this book. And having just breached the tip of what I know awaits, I’m eager to explore what else I can learn about Martin’s world.


  • That jab on Chuck D has more to do with the writers tho they made changes on his storyline particularly season 2.

  • From what Ive read it appears a wonderful tome.
    A couple of my favourite sites have done quick overviews and it appears the histories are written from a number of different pont of view. One of the narrators – Yandel – appears to be a Baratheon/Lannister loyalist. So the histories still highlight GRRMs theme of the unreliable narrator.
    Nothing will ever convince me to like the Lannisters even if it was revealed that Tywin was really the second coming who was kind to pussycats and Cersei? Even if? Well nothing. Even if her character suddenly became kind and empathetic, na, hate her.

    Looks like I will succumb and get this book after all.

  • Im planning to get the book by the end of the week. Ive heard good things about it as well and Im looking forward to checking out the illustrations. In particular I cant wait to see the Stark family tree.

    Ive heard that some viewers/readers will boycott the book due to the participation of Ellio and Linda, particularly Linda. I can understand that as I was considering it myself. However in the end my love of anything GOT related wins out.

  • Redraven

    Yes I was one of those readers who considered not getting the book due to Ellio and Linda, and was derided for it. However after reading all about it and hearing positive feedback I decided I would give in and get it.
    Im most interested in the recent history of Westeros rather than Essos and am also fascinated by Bloodraven. Most particularly his part in quelling the Blackfyre rebellions, the development of his greenseeing and his family tree as well.

  • Its a fantastic book. But Lindaaaaaa, and I suppose by extenstion Elio.
    Ughh. Hopefully now that they’ve finished this book for me GRRM sends them into exile away from his franchise :P
    How such a misogynistic, racist and sexist person got to be the forefront of the GoT and ASOIAF fandoms is beyond me. Oh and ableist and rape apologist! How can we forget! Don’t boycott it if you want it, but make sure everyone is aware of her true nature.

  • Ghasterly Rock,

    Yeaaay Ghasterly! Im glad you’ve come out and said it. I wish GRRM would finally get rid of them. He doesn’t need them. I just hope they haven’t been influencing his writing.

  • Neds no Loraq,
    Well someone had to. GRRM hasn’t displayed the sorts of attitudes that Linda does, but shes toxic, and he need to get away from her, lest she influences him.

    Basically Linda is racist (she claims to be a book purist), so when a character that is a different colour in the show then from the books (think Xaro, Sallador Saan and Talisa Mygear) she complains, saying that a Lyseni such as Sallador would be white. Which is racist, as she says he can’t portray the character because he isn’t white! And is also ridiculous, as Lys is totally a city of white people (its not).

    She constantly uses misogynistic and ableist words to describe people who disagree with her (or people who write fanfiction, the horror!)
    She has said that Cersei being raped is her own fault (because Cersei is totally in a position to defend herself from rape against a King) and told someone to go write smut about their neighbours children to masturbate to.

    A vile person on all accounts.

  • Ghasterly
    Man what is GRRM doing collaborating with people like that? I hope he’s heard what a lot of fans think about Linda, she does sound totally vile.
    She’s also called Arya a psychopath which doesn’t go down well with myself and other Arya fans.

    What can one do though? Ah stuff Linda, I’ll get the book despite them and pretend its written by GRRM alone.

  • Redraven,

    I know right!
    Don’t worry, when I found out most of the source material was Georges and they had just sort of filttered it and little was written by their own hand I was quite happy.

  • I didn’t think this website allowed such open attacks on call someone racist without qualifying that the poster meant racist in the terms of a fictional character. These posts should be vetted!

  • David Carlile,

    Oh please, it is not an attack. I’m stating facts here.
    And you can hardly call actors (you know, real people) fictional characters. Racism is a huge issue in fiction as well as a real life issue.
    Are you actually trying to say she isn’t racist? Cuz she is.