Fire and Blood by George R R Martin: Review

Book:  Fire and Blood

Author: George R.R. Martin

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Pages: 706;

Price: Rs 999

Fire and Blood might seem tedious for an average fan, but for hardcore RR Martin followers, who stay in the Game of Thrones universe, this book helps you geek out on dragon wars while we wait for the final season to go on air in April this year. This is the first volume of two-part historical fiction of Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of the Game of Thrones unfolded — House Targaryen, the only ones surviving the doom of Valyria, took refuge in the Isle of Dragonstone. Fire and Blood takes us through the journey of this dynasty which begins with Aegon The Conqueror’s arrival in Westeros with his sisters Visenya, Rhaenys and dragons and ends with Descendant Aegon III on the Iron Throne. In between, there is civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons where generations of Targaryen dynasty compete for the crown in King’s Landing while marrying their sisters and waging bloody wars.

Fire and Blood answers many questions in its definitive coverage of events inside Westeros for over 100 years. It takes us through the seesaw battle in the Dance of the Dragons and satisfies the ever-so-curious Game of Thrones fan base by depicting the origin of Daenerys’ three dragon eggs. On its way, the story also introduces us with ancestors of other popular characters —the Lannisters and Starks in changing political landscapes. The book deals with events that occurred 300 years before the happenings in Game of Thrones.

This carefully-crafted chronicle, though voluminous, ensures that each chapter is clearly transferred to the next and builds the dramatic tension by festering neat behind-the-scenes plot twists from Aegon’s first sons till the young Aegon III gets on the Iron Throne. The book through its length manages to untangle complex details while depicting colour of dragons, the attire of royals on different occasions and its significance while the battles between armies and the fire-breathing reptiles play out.

One aspect the book falls short on is the dry style of writing adopted by RR Martin. The best part of Fire and Blood, however, is that you don’t have to read previous RR Martin works to understand minute details that it throws at you and blossoms at later stages of the story.

Let’s just hope that the second part of the book shifts gears from textual overdose to a narrative which does better justice to epic and gripping battles, betrayals and of course, incest, so to make an average fan care a little more. For now, keep your popcorn ready for the final season of Game of Thrones.

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