Can you read Fire & Blood without reading Game of Thrones? Should you read it if you haven't seen House of Dragon? Will it make sense if you turned off your TV before the Red Wedding and pretended that this was canon? The answer to all of these questions is yes—though, be warned that the first 420 pages of the book will spoil the television show. No matter your level of GoT expertise, Fire & Blood is a unique and worthwhile read for reasons that are best summed up by its reputation as the “Targaryen Encyclopedia.”
The highly anticipated addition to the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood covers the history of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros, from their arrival to the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war that occurred centuries before the events of the main series. It is the source material for the hit television series "House of Dragons,” which hones in specifically on the reigns of King Viserys I and his successor, King Aegon II. If you can’t get enough of the Targaryens, then Fire & Blood is for you.
Unlike his other novels, the prequel is told as a retrospective historical account written by Archmaester Gyldayn, a maester of the Citadel. Because it is a collection of different secondary and tertiary accounts—sometimes from a court jester named Mushroom or a knight that served under Prince Aemon—the book is framed as an incomplete work, and the narrator openly admits that there are gaps in the historical record and that some of the events may be based on rumor, hearsay, or speculation. This creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and ambiguity throughout the book, as the reader is constantly reminded that the events being described may not be entirely accurate. Martin’s choice to essentially write a fictional textbook makes for a fascinating read as it allows the reader to dive deeper into Targaryen lore while still exploring the nuances of history as a form of storytelling and the nature of truth and memory.
Today, we are excited to release the expansion to our Game of Thrones Armor Set! You can add Fire & Blood to your collection, now with a custom-printed jacket modeled after intricate antique leather and metal-bound tomes. Who knows, maybe with enough studying you could become the next Archmaester!