WiC Reads: Fire & Blood

House of the Dragon
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We’re reading every chapter of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, and reviewing them as we go. Join us for a trip into Westeros’ past!

Critics have not exactly been kind to Fire & Blood, George R. R. Martinʼs history of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros. Reviews of the book, which came out on November 20, have been mixed at best. However, a lot of the criticism boils down to people upset that Fire & Blood isn’t a novel in the mold of A Song of Ice and Fire, specifically The Winds of Winter. I want to invite you on a journey to discover the treasures hidden within this volume, and we can make up our own minds about whether Martin buried them a bit too deep under the surface of stories we have partly heard.

So, what is Fire & Blood and how does it relate to A Song of Ice and Fire, the Dunk & Egg novellas and The World of Ice and Fire? Much like the latter, Fire & Blood is a fictional historiographic work, a history book “written” by in-universe character Archmaester Gyldayn of the Citadel. Gyldayn is also the author of The Princess and the Queen, The Rogue Prince and The Sons of the Dragon, and arguably the most important source for Maester Yandelʼs The World of Ice and Fire. Gyldayn as a character does not only connect Fire & Blood to the other historiographic works, but also to the Dunk & Egg novellas, eventually.

While much of The World of Ice and Fire is written by authors Linda Antonsson and Elio Garcia, Fire & Blood is all Martin, which in some ways makes it a more authoritative, more detailed version of parts of World. If you want another way to think of it, let’s say this is Martin’s take on The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien’s exploration of the mythic history behind his Lord of the Rings series. (Or at least half of it — there’s still another volume of Fire & Blood to come.) The Silmarillion is not the Lord of the Rings and Fire & Blood is not A Song of Ice and Fire, but both are still worth reading. Let’s find out if this book is worthy of the comparison!