Tag Archives: GRRM

Love This? Try This! – “The World of Ice & Fire”

pixshark.com; click here for Amazon.com

I’ve decided to review this book by creating a new “If you like this, you might also like this” segment. A lot of my reading choices are based on comparisons to other things I’ve liked (thank you, Goodreads; find me at lindsayjohnna!), so I’m hoping to find a few similarities along my reading road that might offer some helpful insight! Let me know what you think.

Photo from bgr.com

The first one is a little obvious, but this past Christmas, Brice got me The World of Ice & Fire by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson since he’s aware of my love for Martin’s magnificent series and also for tracing literary lineages. Martin worked closely with the other authors to ensure that the book read as a history, much like J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (another reason I simply adore it). He also worked with the artists to ensure that the book’s illustrations captured his mind’s image of his imaginary world, and thank God for that because these pictures are above and beyond the reach of TV.

Photo from inspirationhut.com

I’m the kind of reader who loves to know back story; throughout the series, we come to understand how the realm came to be a unified kingdom, but The World of Ice & Fire elaborates on the migration of the Targaryens to Westeros, the conquering of the kingdoms, the reigns of many Targaryen kings, Robert’s Rebellion, the many houses and realms in Westeros and Essos, etc. I loved reading this and I go back frequently to check my facts & review the mesmerizing illustrations on every page. Truly, I cannot praise the artwork enough. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the series of novels and wants to know more than can be contained in the already very long books.

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Reading Room – Issue 1

In addition to my “Read This, Drink That” posts, I got a bit inspired and decided to create an awesome Reading Room based around A Song of Ice and Fire. Old world charm and a neutral pallet are perfect for staying in the Westeros mindset.

Check it out!

Candle Chandelier; Kraken Print; Leather Armchair; Heart Tree Painting; Dornish Wine Cabinet; Trunk Sidetable; Manderly Merman Print; Rug; Star Mirrors; Cashmere Throw; Westeros Wall Decal; Clock; Dark Wings, Dark Words Pillow; Lannister Lion Lamp

Happy Dreaming!
-H

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A Song of Ice and Fire – Hannah’s Review

Well, I too finished reading A Dance With Dragons. Being a lifelong Harry Potter superfan, I never thought I would pick up on another series the way I did with little Harry. This was my second time reading the series, and I will admit, I enjoyed it much more the second time through, specifically book 4, A Feast for Crows.
George RR Martin has managed to create a massive world filled with characters, languages, and rich history that all readers can enjoy, then live and breathe. Every character is so real, and sadly, some of the most honorable and like-able characters die because of their will to do the right thing. Sometimes I would find myself rooting for the “bad guys” because just like in life, no one is all good and all bad, but instead, a bit of both. Picking sides is frightening, because the characters are disposable, just like we are in “real” life. As to where I stand and what I desire for Westeros, I will say this: Winter is Coming.

Favorite Characters: Arya Stark (DUH!), Robb Stark, Jon Snow (basically, I love all the Starks but Sansa, but I am holding out hope that she becomes a total BA later in the series), Olenna Redwyne, and Jamie Lannister

Least Favorite Characters: Cersei Lannister (disgusting), Petyr Baelish, House Bolton, Quentyn Martell (idiot), Lysa Arryn (CREEP!)

Favorite Quotes: “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.” -Ser Loras Tyrell
“I expected the old weasel to piss in our wine and make us praise the vintage.” -Edmure Tully
“And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” -Maggy the Frog
“…A naked man has few secrets, but a flayed man’s got none.” -Reek

In truth, I could write pages and pages of reviews for each book. Reading this series has reminded me why I love reading: getting lost in the Riverlands, being chilled to the bone on the wall, tasting the sweet Dornish wine, sweating with Dany in the Free Cities, feeling the wind from the Moon Door, and best of all, watching the writing jump from the pages to television with HBO’s Game of Thrones. 

GRRM himself said it best:

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”

Because I love images, here is a beautiful one of each major house sigil.

And now, we are onto The Great Gatsby! If you would like to read along with us, we are setting our first goal of finishing 81 pages (the end of chapter 4, for those of you, like me, reading on eReaders) by Friday. That is tomorrow, which means I need to get to reading!

Valar Morghulis. Valar Dohaeris.
-Hannah

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Enter My First Book Review, Stage Left

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not like to read contemporary literature. After focusing on classical and medieval literature for the extent of my college career, reading anything post Victorian-Era feels like a waste of time. Nothing can be written without being influenced by everything that came before it; for that reason, and many others, I feel like it is my duty to read all those works which shaped the literary world to come. Of course, there are times when I encounter contemporary works which prove me wrong and show that there are still literary gems to be found, if only I am willing to search for them. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is the perfect example.

The idea for our “book club” (of exclusively two people) stemmed from the fact that Hannah and I both seemed to enjoy this series so thoroughly. It only made sense, therefore, to begin our book-blogging expedition with our reviews of the 5 books that have been written thus far. The trouble with that, however, is that among our millions of avid readers, I know of at least one (holla, Addie!!) who is in the process of reading the series. For that reason, we will be doing our best to keep our reviews spoiler-free. Of all the reviews I’ve read, a general synopsis is given along with opinions-a-plenty. I plan to follow that format but comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Knowing my taste in books, Hannah convinced me to read the series by describing it as being “really similar to Lord of the Rings” (a primo example of exquisite contemporary lit). She wasn’t wrong. It takes place during what feels like the same unknown time period in a similarly unknown land and focuses on the ever-dramatic journeys and relationships of several main characters. Martin adopted more than Tolkien’s time period and ambiguous “R. R.” though. Every time I read something reminiscent of Tolkien’s legendary series, I’d be outraged for about a minute and, after voicing my offense to Hannah, I’d forgive Martin and happily press on like the literary soldier I am. If it were any other book being so blatant in it’s theme copying, I’d throw it back in my librarian’s face with scoff and some sort of “long live LOTR” comment; in Martin’s particular case, though, I find myself forgiving his many copyright crimes and racing on to the next chapter.

Martin’s series is quite different, don’t get me wrong. He gives us exponentially more characters and plot lines to follow. His story is far less magical and fantastical, at least beginning with a world we can easily imagine having existed in days of yore. The focus of his story also seems to be more upon the individual character and relationships, rather than the journeys being made. I have to say, I was enthralled and completely captivated throughout, to the point where I was experiencing similar story lines in my dreams more often than not. I absolutely loved these books. The fourth book was slightly long-winded and slow-paced, but I was able to see the necessity in the developing of story lines. Loved it. Can’t wait for the sixth book to come out. So many ends were left loose, but in a way that gave momentary resolution; at least until Martin graces us with the next installment. Until then, I’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Favorite characters: Reek!!! Jon Snow, Tyrion & Arya (of course), Tormund Giantsbane

Favorite quotes: “Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs” -Patchface

“A man should smell of sweat, not flowers” – Barristan Selmy

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Read This, Drink That – Issue 1

For every book we read, I want to do something super fun and unique (blog flair!), so I decided on a fabulous section called Read This, Drink That! Even more fun, I have made this diagram of everything you could possibly need while reading GRRM’s Dance with Dragons. I have done this because I am awesome.

I was a wee bit inspired from Fashionably Bombed‘s Drink This, Wear That posts. Side note: obsessed with their blog.

Anyway, this cocktail is a delicious-looking Green Dragon. It uses Skyy Dragon Fruit Vodka and apple liqueur. How reminiscent of Rhaegal! Dany should raise a glass and toast (HAHA! PUN!) her dragons with one of these delicious concoctions.

Hope you enjoy (the diagram and the cocktail, that is)!

Read This! Drink That!

Sources:
#1. Dance with Dragons #2. Green Dragon #3. Pint Glasses
#4. Game of Thrones Soundtrack #5. Hand of the King Pin
#6. Mugs #7. Iron Throne

Cheers!
-H

PS: If anyone actually sees this post and then decides to buy the Iron Throne (replica), I expect an invitation and photo shoot as a thank you gift.

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Westeros Map

While I am finishing up Dance with Dragons, I thought I would post this extremely awesome (and helpful) map I have been using to guide my travels through Westeros. Not only is every castle ever mentioned in the series included, but the creator, Other-In-Law, has also included the castles and sigils mentioned directly from GRRM’s mouth in interviews found on Westeros.org. Check out Littlefinger in The Fingers and Tyrion down in Casterly Rock! Even Rhaegar with his harp sailing from King’s Landing! I could literally stare at this thing all day. And sometimes I do.

Map Credit – Click through

Happy staring!
-Hannah

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