The World of Ice and Fire

Earlier this year, I acquired and read “The World of Ice and Fire”.

As a book, it’s gorgeous. The illustrations are beautiful, the typography is great and basically everything about it is amazing.

Most of what’s in it isn’t hugely surprising, but there are a few intriguing revelations. First of all there’s a strong implication that the seasonal cycle is indeed unnatural – in fact one of the maesters speculates basically in as many words that the planet “should” be behaving normally (i.e. an Earth-style annual seasonal cycle, driven by latitude-dependent changes in solar insolation), but isn’t for some reason.

We also get some more detail about what happened to Valyria. Intriguingly, though, the Doom is actually sounding a bit less classically-volcanic. There’s talk of birth defects in the surrounding areas for years afterwards and the surviving Valyrians seem to be a bit damaged genetically, to put it mildly.

Then there’s the suggestion that there may be other human or inhuman civilisations somewhere on the planet, such as the Seastone Chair in the Iron Isles and the bizarre ruined city of Yeen in Sothoryos.

I was also interested to see that there is a section on Asshai. It doesn’t tell us very much, but there is a strongly-evocative sense of “something not quite right” about Asshai-by-Shadow. As for the Shadow itself, we don’t really find out much, but there is a hint of a suggestion that although Asshai is a human city now, it once wasn’t. The current occupants apparently found it rather than built it.

Food for thought…

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3 Responses to “The World of Ice and Fire”

  1. Maybe GRRM got tired of seeing people develop speculative orbital arrangements that would cause the seasons to work the way they do in SOI&F, and decided to tell them “a wizard did it” was a better explanation.

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