Westeros, according to Jar Jar Martin **Updated, with More Images!**

Hey, there’s a new George R.R. Martin book coming out on Tuesday, 11/3. Just not the one you or anyone else wants. Instead,  The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones is a book about the art and history of the world of Westeros and GRRM and his co-authors stopped by the 92nd Street Y to yammer at fanboys  & girls about it. You can listen to the yammering here and look at the pretty, pretty pictures below. After the jump, see my favorite depiction of The Wall, which I almost had in my grasp but I let it slip away. Sad face.

Dragonstone

Dragonstone by Philip Straub

Castle Black & The Wall

Castle Black & The Wall

The Red Keep

The Red Keep by Ted Nasmith

Winterfell

Winterfell

The Iron Throne

The Iron Throne by Marc Simonetti

**UPDATE** Much more after the jump:

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I’m Jar Jar Martin, And I’ve Approved These Maps

With Game of Thrones slated to return to HBO this March for the start of its third season (which, since I work in television I am privy to SECRET TELEVISION INSIDER SECRETS, will most likely be split into two smaller seasons) and George R.R. Martin is maybe? possibly? working on book six (of maybe 7, maybe 8) A Song of Ice & Fire novels, get your Winterfell fix with this series of lush maps of Westeros and beyond, blessed by the bearded & bespectacled bard (ed. note: too much. dial it back) himself.

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If you dig the above maps, check out a fully zoomable one alongside other ASOIAF goodies. Keep in mind that these are just previews of much larger, (2 feet by 3 feet!) maps which are available in book form here, as The Lands of Ice and Fire.

Link via Flavorpill

Trailer Park Two-fer: After Aperture & A Making of Game of Thrones

For those of us (me: late to the party, you: probably should have played it by now) who’ve played Portal 2 and were left with the question of, “Well…what’s next?”, someone has ginned up an answer using Valve’s Source engine.  Pretty moving:

Curious about what it takes to bring Game of Thrones to life? Well, BE CURIOUS NO MORE!!

High Falutin’ Fantasy

(New contributor thegreekdog has arrived; your reading list is squarely in his sights.)

There is some cross-genre pollination as between video gamers, comic readers, and fantasy readers. If you’re knowledgeable about arrow-studded ACLs preventing one from fighting dragons, you’re also likely knowledgeable about the newest Batman retcon, and you’re also angrily awaiting George R.R. Martin’s next book (the dude has to write faster, if only because the HBO show is going to catch up with him). In any event, I spend much of my time reading fantasy and science fiction. I skip around a lot. I may be reading a book published in 2011 (see below) or I may be reading a book published in 1959 (yes, yes, I’m a Philistine for not reading Starship Troopers until now).

In any event, I like classifications for my fantasy reading pleasure. There’s kid fantasy (David Eddings), there’s classic fantasy (LOTR), and there’s realistic fantasy (GRRM or GoT or whatever acronym we’re associating with the overrated series written by a walrus). There’s also realistic and high-falutin’ fantasy. And that brings me to Steven Erikson.

Steven Erikson (a Canadian, but we won’t hold that against him) has written one of the most epic fantasy series I’ve ever read: Malazan Book of the Fallen. If you want more biography, history, etc., hit up Wikipedia.

Erikson writes fantasy novels that are ultra-realstic in the vein of GRRM. People die. People die a lot. People that you care about. That’s surely not the only “realistic” part of realistic fantasy, but that’s the part that gets people like me to keep reading. And Erikson delivers that.

Erikson also delivers to the thinking man a version of philosophy that’s hard to resist (if you’re a thinking man… or woman). Once you get through the first book, which is as ponderous as LOTR and quite hard to follow, you’ll be treated to a treasure trove of great stories and grand philosophical ideas. There’s the mortals turned gods; there’s the philosopher king and his godly assistant; there’s a sergeant that plays the fiddle; there’s a guy that eats too much; and, of course there are dragons. There are discussions of the meaning of life, why people go to war and fight, what it means to sacrifice, and what is love. It’s a funny and intelligent series. It completely took over my personal life for the last six months. And, at the risk of killing your ability to do anything other than read ponderous fantasy, I highly recommend the series.

And, to complete matters, I literally cried real, big boy tears for the entire last two chapters of the last book.

So, start with Gardens of the Moon (published in 1999) and read through The Crippled God (published in 2011). Thank me later.