Cover image for Fire & blood
Title:
Fire & blood

Fire and blood

History of House Targaryen of Westeros ;
Title:
Fire & blood
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York : Bantam Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
706 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Series:
History of House Targaryen of Westeros ; bk. 1
Abstract:
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.

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Summary

Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * 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 .

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 the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.


Author Notes

George R. R. Martin was born on September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He began writing at an early age, selling monster stories for pennies to neighborhood children. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Journalism from Northwestern University. In 1986, he worked as a story editor for the CBS series The Twilight Zone. He was also an executive story consultant, producer and co-supervising producer for CBS's Beauty and the Beast.

In 1970, he sold the story The Hero to Galaxy magazine. Since becoming a full-time writer in 1979, he has written many novels, stories, and series including A Song for Lya, Portraits of His Children, The Pear-Shaped Man, and the Song of Ice and Fire series. He has won numerous awards including five Locus Awards, three Hugo Awards and two Nebula awards. In 2013 he made The New York Times Best Seller List with his titles A Dance with Dragons and A Game of Thrones: a Clash of Kings, a Storm of Swords, a Feast for Crows. His title's Rogues and The Ice Dragon made the New York Times List in 2014. Martin's title, A Knight of Seven Kingdoms, A Song of Fire and Ice novel, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2015. He is number 4 on the Hollywood Reporter's '25 Most Powerful Authors' 2016 list.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Martin's evocative storytelling style and gift for gripping narrative are mostly absent from this dry history of the blood-drenched Targaryens, one of the central dynasties of the land of Westeros (setting of the Song of Ice and Fire series and the HBO show Game of Thrones). Beginning with the Targaryens' fortuitous escape from the destruction of Valyria and Aegon Targaryen's subsequent conquest of Westeros, and concluding with the ascent of young King Aegon III to Westeros's Iron Throne some 130 years later, Martin gives equal weight to each member of the Targaryen family. The deliberately inbreeding Targaryens share a number of characteristics through the generations-chiefly brutality, snobbishness, and the single-minded pursuit of power-and it can be hard to keep track of who's who. Brief sections are dramatic ("the golden dragon devoured the queen in six bites") or salacious ("it aroused the princess to watch the men disporting with one another"), and there are entertaining snatches of dialogue and detailed depictions of battles, but they only last a few pages before a return to brisk summary. The conceit of the history being written by one Archmaester Gyldayn ("author" of several other works of Westerosi scholarship, most recently The Sons of the Dragon) mostly gives rise to images of unhappy Westerosi schoolchildren being forced to study this weighty textbook. Fans hungry for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel will find this volume whets, but does not satisfy, their appetites. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Martin has done it again. Delving even deeper into the already deeply explored world of the Song of Fire and Ice series (which began with A Game of Thrones , 1996), he has composed a broad, sweeping exploration of the Targaryens, one of the most prominent families of the Seven Kingdoms. Fire and Blood is a history of the only dragonriders to escape The Doom of Valyria, beginning with King Aegon I and extending to the coming-of-age of Aegon III, some 130 years later. Presented as the transcription of an archmaester's writings, this first volume of the History of House Targaryen of Westeros reads a lot like Thomas B. Costain's Plantagenet histories. Rather than a dry recitation of dates and names, the dragonriders' history is brought to life with carefully chosen facts alongside brief descriptions of conflicting sources and stories where those facts are in dispute. This leads to a beautiful weaving of the wars, marriages, deaths, dragons, and politics that shape the world Martin has created, leaving the reader feeling like this is a true history rather than a piece of fantasy. This is a masterpiece of world-building, with much attention given to intricate details about the colors of the dragons, the clothing people wore on certain memorable occasions, and how the battles they fought played out. The tangled web of intrigues is laid out clearly, noting how each succeeding generation navigated the turbulent political landscape. While not structured like a conventional novel, the book tells a coherent story, and it does not require that the reader have a familiarity with previous books in the Song of Fire and Ice series; on the other hand, the maps found in Martin's nonfiction The World of Ice and Fire (2014) are very helpful when trying to picture where events occurred. Beyond Martin's legions of fans, anyone with a taste for richly, even obsessively detailed historical fiction or fantasy about royalty will enjoy this extraordinary work. HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY : It's not the long-awaited sequel to A Dance with Dragons (2011), but Martin fans who can get over their disappointment will be rewarded with a richer, deeper exploration of the world of Westeros and this is just volume one.--Rebecca Gerber Copyright 2018 Booklist


Excerpts

Excerpts

Several years had passed since the king had last made a progress, so plans were laid in 58 AC for Jaehaerys and Alysanne to make their first visit to Winterfell and the North. Their dragons would be with them, of course, but beyond the Neck the distances were great and the roads poor, and the king had grown tired of flying ahead and waiting for his escort to catch up. This time, he decreed, his Kingsguard, servants, and retainers would go ahead of him, to make things ready for his arrival. And thus it was that three ships set sail from King's Landing for White Harbor, where he and the queen were to make their first stop. The gods and the Free Cities had other plans, however. Even as the king's ships were beating their way north, envoys from Pentos and Tyrosh called upon His Grace in the Red Keep. The two cities had been at war for three years and were now desirous of making peace, but could not agree on where they might meet to discuss terms. The conflict had caused serious disruption to trade upon the narrow sea, to the extent that King Jaehaerys had offered both cities his help in ending their hostilities. After long discussion, the Archon of Tyrosh and the Prince of Pentos had agreed to meet in King's Landing to settle their differences, provided that Jaehaerys would act as an intermediary between them, and guarantee the terms of any resulting treaty. It was a proposal that neither the king nor his council felt he could refuse, but it would mean postponing His Grace's planned progress to the North, and there was concern that the notoriously prickly Lord of Winterfell might take that for a slight. Queen Alysanne provided the solution. She would go ahead as planned, alone, whilst the king played host to the Prince and Archon. Jaehaerys could join her at Winterfell as soon as the peace had been concluded. And so it was agreed. Queen Alysanne's travels began in the city of White Harbor, where tens of thousands of northerners turned out to cheer her and gape at Silverwing with awe, and a bit of terror. It was the first time any of them had seen a dragon. The size of the crowds surprised even their lord. "I had not known there were so many smallfolk in the city," Theomore Manderly is reported to have said. "Where did they all come from?" The Manderlys were unique amongst the great houses of the North. Having originated in the Reach centuries before, they had found refuge near the mouth of the White Knife when rivals drove them from their rich lands along the Mander. Though fiercely loyal to the Starks of Winterfell, they had brought their own gods with them from the south, and still worshipped the Seven and kept the traditions of knighthood. Alysanne Targaryen, ever desirous of binding the Seven Kingdoms closer together, saw an opportunity in Lord Theomore's famously large family, and promptly set about arranging marriages. By the time she took her leave, two of her ladies-in-waiting had been betrothed to his lordship's younger sons and a third to a nephew; his eldest daughter and three nieces, meanwhile, had been added to the queen's own party, with the understanding that they would travel south with her and there be pledged to suitable lords and knights of the king's court. Lord Manderly entertained the queen lavishly. At the welcoming feast an entire aurochs was roasted, and his lordship's daughter Jessamyn acted as the queen's cupbearer, filling her tankard with a strong northern ale that Her Grace pronounced finer than any wine she had ever tasted. Manderly also staged a small tourney in the queen's honor, to show the prowess of his knights. One of the fighters (though no knight) was revealed to be a woman, a wildling girl who had been captured by rangers north of the Wall and given to one of Lord Manderly's household knights to foster. Delighted by the girl's daring, Alysanne summoned her own sworn shield, Jonquil Darke, and the wildling and the Scarlet Shadow dueled spear against sword whilst the northmen roared in approval. A few days later, the queen convened her women's court in Lord Manderly's own hall, a thing hitherto unheard of in the North, and more than two hundred women and girls gathered to share their thoughts, concerns, and grievances with Her Grace. After taking leave of White Harbor, the queen's retinue sailed up the White Knife to its rapids, then proceeded overland to Winterfell, whilst Alysanne herself flew ahead on Silverwing. The warmth of her reception at White Harbor was not to be duplicated at the ancient seat of the Kings in the North, where Alaric Stark and his sons alone emerged to greet her when her dragon landed before his castle gates. Lord Alaric had a flinty reputation; a hard man, people said, stern and unforgiving, tight-fisted almost to the point of being niggardly, humorless, joyless, cold. Even Theomore Manderly, who was his bannerman, had not disagreed; Stark was well respected in the North, he said, but not loved. Lord Manderly's fool had put it elsewise. "Methinks Lord Alaric has not moved his bowels since he was twelve." Her reception at Winterfell did nothing to disabuse the queen's fears as to what she might expect from House Stark. Even before dismounting to bend the knee, Lord Alaric looked askance at Her Grace's clothing and said, "I hope you brought something warmer than that." He then proceeded to declare that he did not want her dragon inside his walls. "I've not seen Harrenhal, but I know what happened there." Her knights and ladies he would receive when they got here, "and the king too, if he can find the way," but they should not overstay their welcome. "This is the North, and winter is coming. We cannot feed a thousand men for long." When the queen assured him that only a tenth that number would be coming, Lord Alaric grunted and said, "That's good. Fewer would be even better." As had been feared, he was plainly unhappy that King Jaehaerys had not deigned to accompany her, and confessed to being uncertain how to entertain a queen. "If you are expecting balls and masques and dances, you have come to the wrong place." Lord Alaric had lost his wife three years earlier. When the queen expressed regret that she had never had the pleasure of meeting Lady Stark, the northman said, "She was a Mormont of Bear Isle, and no lady by your lights, but she took an axe to a pack of wolves when she was twelve, killed two of them, and sewed a cloak from their skins. She gave me two strong sons as well, and a daughter as sweet to look upon as any of your southron ladies." When Her Grace suggested that she would be pleased to help arrange marriages for his sons to the daughters of great southern lords, Lord Stark refused brusquely. "We keep the old gods in the North," he told the queen. "When my boys take a wife, they will wed before a heart tree, not in some southron sept." Alysanne Targaryen did not yield easily, however. The lords of the south honored the old gods as well as the new, she told Lord Alaric; most every castle that she knew had a godswood as well as a sept. And there were still certain houses that had never accepted the Seven, no more than the northmen had, the Blackwoods in the riverlands chief amongst them, and mayhaps as many as a dozen more. Even a lord as stern and flinty as Alaric Stark found himself helpless before Queen Alysanne's stubborn charm. He allowed that he would think on what she said, and raise the matter with his sons. The longer the queen stayed, the more Lord Alaric warmed to her, and in time Alysanne came to realize that not everything that was said of him was true. He was careful with his coin, but not niggardly; he was not humorless at all, though his humor had an edge to it, sharp as a knife; his sons and daughter and the people of Winterfell seemed to love him well enough. Once the initial frost had thawed, his lordship took the queen hunting after elk and wild boar in the wolfswood, showed her the bones of a giant, and allowed her to rummage as she pleased through his modest castle library. He even deigned to approach Silverwing, though warily. The women of Winterfell were taken by the queen's charms as well, once they grew to know her; Her Grace became particularly close with Lord Alaric's daughter, Alarra. When the rest of the queen's party finally turned up at the castle gates, after struggling through trackless bogs and summer snows, the meat and mead flowed freely, despite the king's absence. Things were not going as well at King's Landing, meanwhile. The peace talks dragged on far longer than anticipated, for the acrimony between the two Free Cities ran deeper than Jaehaerys had known. When His Grace attempted to strike a balance, both sides accused him of favoring the other. Whilst the Prince and the Archon dickered, fights began to break out between their men across the city, in inns, brothels, and wine sinks. A Pentoshi guardsman was set upon and killed, and three nights later the Archon's own galley was set afire where she was docked. The king's departure was delayed and delayed again. In the North, Queen Alysanne grew restless with waiting, and decided to take her leave of Winterfell for a time and visit the men of the Night's Watch at Castle Black. The distance was not negligible, even flying; Her Grace landed at the Last Hearth and several smaller keeps and holdfasts on her way, to the surprise and delight of their lords, whilst a portion of her tail scrambled after her (the rest remained at Winterfell). Her first sight of the Wall from above took Alysanne's breath away, Her Grace would later tell the king. There had been some concern how the queen might be received at Castle Black, for many of the black brothers had been Poor Fellows and Warrior's Sons before those orders were abolished, but Lord Stark sent ravens ahead to warn of her coming, and the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Lothor Burley, assembled eight hundred of his finest men to receive her. That night the black brothers feasted the queen on mammoth meat, washed down with mead and stout. As dawn broke the next day Lord Burley took Her Grace to the top of the Wall. "Here the world ends," he told her, gesturing at the vast green expanse of the haunted forest beyond. Burley was apologetic for the quality of the food and drink presented to the queen, and the rudeness of the accommodations at Castle Black. "We do what we can, Your Grace," the Lord Commander explained, "but our beds are hard, our halls are cold, and our food--" "--is nourishing," the queen finished. "And that is all that I require. It will please me to eat as you do." The men of the Night's Watch were as thunderstruck by the queen's dragon as the people of White Harbor had been, though the queen herself noted that Silverwing "does not like this Wall." Though it was summer and the Wall was weeping, the chill of the ice could still be felt whenever the wind blew, and every gust would make the dragon hiss and snap. "Thrice I flew Silverwing high above Castle Black, and thrice I tried to take her north beyond the Wall," Alysanne wrote to Jaehaerys, "but every time she veered back south again and refused to go. Never before has she refused to take me where I wished to go. I laughed about it when I came down again, so the black brothers would not realize anything was amiss, but it troubled me then and it troubles me still." Excerpted from Fire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) by George R. R. Martin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.