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The Lands of Ice and Fire (A Game of Thrones): Maps from King's Landing to Across the Narrow Sea
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Praise for A Song of Ice and Fire 'After five volumes Martin is, if anything, a better writer than when he started. If you're watching A Game of Thrones on HBO, you're foregoing the great pleasure of Martin's deft prose...' Time Magazine 'A Game of Thrones has captured the imaginations of millions for the same reason the archetypal dramas of Homer, Sophocles or Shakespeare have lasted for millennia. They show us the conflict between self-sacrifice and self-interest, between the human spirit and the human ego, between good and evil. And when we look up from the page we recognise those same conflicts in the world around us and in ourselves' The Guardian 'It is hard to accept that something that enormous and that popular is as good as people tell you it is' Independent 'A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant.' Robert Jordan 'Colossal, staggering... Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world... one of the greats of fantasy literature.' SFX 'Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but the sheer-mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads... Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias.' Guardian 'Such a splendid tale. I couldn't stop till I'd finished and it was dawn.' Anne McCaffrey --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. As a writer-producer, he has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Jonathan Roberts grew up in a old farmhouse between a ruined castle and a Bronze Age fort, so lands of the imagination were never far away. These days Roberts illustrates maps of real and imaginary worlds for a wide range of clients, from brides looking for an unusual wedding map to Wizards of the Coast and IDW comics for the many lands of Dungeons and Dragons. Along with his own illustration work for books and games, Roberts has curated New York gallery shows of maps by illustrators around the world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'm a bit of a map nut, having ran a website for hand-drawn maps for a fantasy MMO, and had those maps printed in various guides as well as creating my own ebook. I also get into collecting and reading about maps and mapping techniques.
First, this is not a map book, but a collection of poster-sized maps that each focus on an interesting area of the world. They have individual cities like Braavos and King's Reach, but also a map of the entire known world and other large sections (like the whole of Dothraki). I was expecting a book, and was honestly a little disappointed since I was hoping for essentially a reference manual so I could keep track of things while reading.
That said, the maps themselves are great. They're printed on fairly heavy paper, and printed quite well, folding out to probably 3' x 2' (just a guess). The colors are well chosen to give you a good sense of the subtle changes in terrain, but simple and muted enough to keep the map focused on locations, kind of like a good National Geographic map. You can really see this in the "Beyond the Wall" map, because it's hard to make snowy terrain and large tracts of forest look interesting, but the maps manages exactly that (although it looks less cold than I expected it to). The inking is very well done as well, with lots of detail that is really obvious on the complicated city maps, but no less detailed on the broad geography maps even if it's more subtle. On the city maps it's pretty apparent that they were put together on a computer, with copy/pasting of hand-inked templates, but it doesn't look any worse for that (actually probably better than it would look otherwise if the poor guy had to hand draw hundreds/thousands of nearly identical roofs). Also acid-free paper.
My only real criticism is with the container that the maps come in. From the outside it's promising, with a very thick hard cover that holds them like a book that will sit comfortably on your bookshelf or in a stack. When you open it, though, it's not as good. The maps are split into two groups that are each placed within a cardboard sleeve inside each cover, with the maps near the spine held in place by some elastic cords. The first thing that happened after viewing the maps was that they got slightly thicker, and immediately didn't want to fit back into the sleeves without some tricky maneuvering to avoid bending the edges of the maps. Also, although it's hard to describe, the sleeve back is glued onto the inside of the cover, which leaves a cardboard edge there that will catch the back of any maps you try and slide in. They should have covered that with a piece of paper, which is what I'll probably have to do. Lastly, the elastic cords are mostly useless, and slip off on their own with minimal movement, and could easily bend the maps badly where they hold. Luckily the sleeves are tight enough that the maps aren't going to go anywhere and I just left them unattached.
While I probably would have been happier with a spiral-bound reference book of well-printed maps, this book is still very well worth having and great in its own right.
EDIT: After some use, the comments about paper in the other reviews became really apparent. I've unfolded a couple of them a few times now, and because the paper is so thick (normally a good thing), the numerous folds make it difficult to open without causing bends in the paper. The other, more significant, issue is that all of the maps have a fold that puts the map itself on the outside when folded (hope that makes sense, folded "backwards"). This not only means that the map itself will get scuffed with regular usage because it's on the outside of the folded map, but worse that the map along that crease rapidly breaks down causing a white line to appear, most apparent where there are dark colors (like water or trees). This is especially true at the 4-way intersections, and those will probably become holes in time. If they'd folded them all with the back on the outside this wouldn't be a huge problem except with heavy use. I debated trying to reverse the fold, however the paper is so thick that I think that will make it worse because the paper will not want to fold that way.
So, if you plan to post them on your wall more-or-less permanently, or otherwise store them open (like in a big map drawer - who has that?), or simply never open them, then these maps will remain in good shape. Otherwise expect that they'll have unsightly lines appear along the creases if you open them frequently. I wish that they'd included a CD of them digitally, or otherwise made that purchasable, because then I could actually reference them on my iPad while reading the books.
The maps are beautiful. When you open up the binder, which is really nice and sturdy, there are maps on two sides. On the left you have:
1. The Known World
2. The West
3. Central Essos
4. The East
6. Beyond The Wall
And on the right is your introduction paper and these maps:
7. The Free Cities
8. Slaver's Bay
9. The Dothraki Sea
10. King's Landing
It's really so nicely put together that it almost makes me not want to touch it! Great, high quality maps, and I think I'll frame a few.
I should say I hate giving this two stars. I want to give it 4 stars, or even 3.. but I have a reason for giving it 2. The maps themselves are gorgeous. The work done on them is fantastic, and the quality of the cartography is everything I was hoping for. So why 2 stars? Well, I don't know if this is the type of paper they are printed on, or the way they are folded, or the ink, but every single one of my maps has a white line on the creases where the paper tore a little. On top of that the paper is really thick, which actually is not good on maps like this because whenever you unfold them it causes the paper to bind up. I know these things are really anal, and it sounds like I have OCD, but a list price of $40 (I paid amazon price of $25) is a lot to pay for just 12 maps, and I don't think it is too much to ask that you get maps that are going to last a while. Even though they have some issues, I would still buy them again.. so maybe 2 stars is unfair. I just think people should understand that they are not as good of quality as they maybe could be.
EDIT: After opening the maps back up I have decided to give them 1 star. I have now only opened them up twice, both times I have been exceptionally gentle with them (I used to work in a historical document repository, so I have some idea how to carefully handle documents), and I noticed something unacceptable. On the map, where the creases from the folds cross, the folds have made the paper so weak that there will soon be holes in the middle of the map. Like I said, I have opened these maps exactly 2 times; I would maybe expect that kind of wear after more extensive use, but not from opening it twice. The paper that was used was entirely wrong for all the folds that were needed. Imagine what happens when you fold poster-board and you will kind of get what I am talking about. It is a real shame because these are absolutely beautiful maps, but the quality of the paper completely ruins them.
This is not an atlas for easy reference while reading.
Moderate usage will cause the creases to tear or whiten.
The sleeves are poorly engineered resulting in difficult stowage.
Folding vs rolling the maps makes them not conducive or 'perfect for framing'.
Journeys map is VERY confusing--a total mess.
Too many individual region maps included without adding significantly more detail or value.
Here are my nitpicks to improve the next batch:
Cities/castles such as Winterfell, Casterly Rock, Oldtown, Pentos, Volantis, Mereen & Qarth should replace regional maps.
The character journeys needs to be completely revamped. I appreciate the effort but this is probably not the right format to detail all the characters travels in a single map. At the very least, an inset map(s) focusing on Winterfell, King's Landing & Harrenhal should have been added. More vivid coloring and better labeling would have helped.
Also, why are the cities in Essos & beyond all marked with city icons and no castles?
Based upon other reviews its clear an atlas should be offered as an essential reading companion.
Some of the complaints made by other reviewers are perfectly valid and are in regard to the thick glossy paper that they're printed on. Unfortunately this means that the maps don't like being folded and unfolded. Personally, I'd suggest placing them in a portfolio, or rolling them up in a poster tube, if you're especially worried about them.
The 12 maps are 24" x 36" (nearly A1 size) and come folded in up in a handsome case. The maps included are:
- The Known World: Stretching from Westeros to Asshai (finally!)
- The Free Cities
- The East
You also get a slightly "zoomed out" versions of the above:
- The West (featuring Westeros, the Free Cities and the Summer Isles)
- A map of Central Essos
And there are three "zoomed in" detailed maps:
- Lands Beyond the Wall
- Slaver's Bay region, including Valyria and northern part of Sothoros continent
- The Dothraki Sea
There are two city maps:
- A city map of King's Landing
- A city map of Braavos
Finally there's a "Journeys" map, which shows the paths traveled by all the major characters.
The maps themselves are beautiful, and the printing is very high quality. Maps have never been a strong point of A Song of Ice Fire, with the maps included in the books lacking in detail, and sometimes clashing with descriptions in the book(!). Finally we have solid details on where things are supposed to be, and also a real idea of the size of the Dothraki Sea compared to Westeros (fan-made maps have been very wrong it seems).
In the past I bought Jon Howe's maps of Middle Earth and was extremely disappointed by them (he looked like he phoned it in, if you ask me). This is not the case with these maps. Each one is meticulous.
I have deducted one star for the problems arising from the paper's thickness, and because I'm not entirely sure if some of the maps are needed. The Lands Beyond the Wall are pretty barren, for instance, and I don't see the point of the "mid-distance" maps when you have a Map of the Known World and the more zoomed in maps for each region, too.
Still, if you're a die-hard map nerd (like me), these are excellent. Just be extra careful when you're taking them out of the box!