George R R Martin Audio book: Fire and Blood Summary
The thrilling history of the Targaryens comes to life in this masterly work by the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones.
With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.
Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.
What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why was it so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What were Maegor the Cruel’s worst crimes? What was it like in Westeros when dragons ruled the skies? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.
With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.
In 2014, more than 200,000 words were removed from the manuscript of Martin’s companion book The World of Ice & Fire and were incorporated into Fire & Blood.
In February 2017, Elio M. García Jr., Martin’s co-author for The World of Ice & Fire, reported that he had spoken with Martin at WorldCon 75, held in 2017 in Helsinki, about the first volume of Fire & Blood. According to García, in addition to the never-published material developed for The World of Ice & Fire, Martin also created entirely new material for the book, having “worked some on just fleshing out a bit” the long reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, which was previously only mentioned in “Heirs of the Dragon”, an unpublished text that Martin abridged in the novelette The Rogue Prince.
On July 22, 2017, Martin revealed on his blog that the material for Fire & Blood had grown so large that the decision had been made to publish the histories of the Targaryen kings in two volumes. The first volume, simply called Fire & Blood, is set to cover the history of Westeros from Aegon’s Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king, Aegon III Targaryen. While the first volume of Fire & Blood has been published, the second volume was largely unwritten as of July 2017.
In April 2018, when announcing the publication date, Martin revealed the manuscript to be 989 pages long. An excerpt was revealed in October 2018.
Includes a bonus PDF of illustrations from the book.
Fiction Literature Audiobooks: Fire and Blood Reviews
J. R. R. Tolkien labored at his mythology for a majority of his adult life, from the trenches of World War I until his death. He mostly thought it unpublishable. He was interested in the great histories, in the sweeping sagas, in the stories that were written not as modern novels, but as texts that might have jumped straight out of the world he created. Some of Tolkien’s mythological material made it into ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ Much of it did not. He wanted to publish the histories–the Silmarillion saga–alongside the books we all know today, but the publishers turned him down repeatedly. He died without seeing any of that work published, and when his son Christopher tried to make one cohesive text from the massive amounts of material, much of it was bastardized. Only later did Christopher edit and release over a dozen volumes of original texts, showing us a bit more of the scope of the history Tolkien had imagined.
Why am I telling you this about Tolkien in a review for GRR Martin? This should seem fairly obvious by now: GRR Martin has the same longing Tolkien did. He has the same love of the grand, sweeping historical epic. So far he has been giving us his ‘Lord of the Rings,’ his drama of the minutiae, but in the process he got caught up in the grand and glorious visions of the Targaryens, just as Tolkien was swept up into the glories of the First Age. It’s no mistake this book is being called the “GRRMillion.”
Martin’s popularity is granting him a chance that Tolkien unfortunately never had in his lifetime: To create his myth IN FULL. To give us the grand sweep of things in the greater world, beyond just the characters we know and love in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’
Please accept this book for what it is, rather than complaining about what it does not aim to be. And what exactly is it? An artefact from Westeros. It should be read not as a book Martin wrote, but one he transcribed, from the original text by Archmaester Gyldayn. It will require some work on the part of the reader. The lines have been drawn, and we are being asked to fill in the colors with our imaginations. This participatory reading is what can make history so engaging—it takes work, but the work pays off.
We have two choices: We can claw after the next GoT book, complaining that the author hasn’t yet met our demands. Or we can allow the author a chance to fill out his universe. For my part, this stuff is more exciting than the series proper. We get to see the bigger picture that all of the Song of Ice and Fire is a part of. If you don’t want this sort of thing, simply move on rather than ruining the experience for others.
I remember what it felt like to sit down one day as a boy and open ‘The Silmarillion.’ I was holding the Bible of the Elves. It was a piece of that world. It was a text that might have been read by a scholar in Minas Tirith. It was magic. Martin has the chance to give us this now. Imagine being Samwell Tarly, sitting in the Citadel’s library, opening up this ponderous and magical tome about the history of the Targaryens for the first time.
Why now, though? Why not wait until he’s finished telling the main story? For my part, I’d rather follow the passion of a writer than get mediocre work demanded by fans. Martin created this universe for us; let him follow his vision for how it should proceed. He was caught up in the glorious history of his universe as he was telling his story, and he wants us to have it in all of its rich complexity. I can only wish that Tolkien had had the same opportunity in his lifetime. We only see fragments of what that might have been. But Martin is giving us his own great mythology, in his own lifetime, whole and complete; and I am a boy again with wonder.
This, my friends, is going to be a feast.
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Fire & Blood is a fantasy book by American writer George R. R. Martin. It tells the history of House Targaryen, a family from his series A Song of Ice and Fire. Although originally (in 2013) planned for publication after the completion of the series, Martin has revealed his intent to publish the history in two volumes as the material had grown too large. The first volume was released on November 20, 2018.
The book is to be adapted into an upcoming HBO Game of Thrones prequel called House of the Dragon.
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