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Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

Book Review By Mrinal Chandra

I have always loved stories and therefore, the majority of my time as a reader has been spent reading fiction. Hence, it is fitting that the first bit of reading that I share here on this page with you is a glorious piece of fiction.

Over the past couple of months, I endeavored to take some time out of work/friends/usual rigmaroles of daily life to read ‘Fire & Blood’.

It tells the story of the Targaryen dynasty starting from the time of the conquest till a little after the event known as the ‘Dance of the Dragons’ (essentially, a bloodbath, where numerous Targaryens and Targaryen Dragons met their demises).

It describes the various Targaryens, their virtues, and vices, their great deeds, and sins, and most interestingly, their lusts and leisure.

It also goes into great detail about the various Targaryen dragons, their temperaments, and their loyalties. Similar to how, Ollivander (Harry Potter universe) describes the loyalty of wands and the nitty-gritty of the various cores used within wands (phoenix feather, dragon heartstring, unicorn hair, etc.), we are familiarized with the various dragons (from Vhagar to Caraxes to Vermithor, an individual personality, each of them). We learn about the difficulties of hatching a dragon’s egg and the bonds between a dragon and its rider(s). We get to understand the true meaning of ‘Zaldrizes buzdari iksos daor’ - ‘A dragon is not a slave’.

It starts off as a glorious account of a man with vision who built an empire for himself and moves forward in time (after the demise of Aegon, the Conqueror) to show us the various peaks and troughs that the dynasty finds itself in owing to schemes of various noble houses as well as differences between various branches of the royal house itself. Moreover, the reading of this book also impresses upon the reader the intricacies and fallacies of Monarchy and how the inability of a weak/meek ruler can result in chaos for entire realms of people.

‘Fire & Blood’ does not absolutely mandate the reader to go through the series of literary masterpieces that came before it (though, it will be desirable to read “A Song of Ice and Fire” beforehand).

It is a curious reading that takes into account various sources of diverse reliabilities.

The narrator (Archmaester Gyldayn), a historian within the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, molds the entire book into a sort of scholarly treatise about the Targaryen dynasty.

At last, it is soothing and joyful to be made aware of the gaps in the accounts provided by the various sources quoted in the book - which also lets us have an insight into the challenges of being a historian in a medieval era.

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Originally posted on A Tale Of Few Books.

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