Fire & Blood (novel)

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Fire & Blood
Fire & Blood (2018) hardcover.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorGeorge R. R. Martin
IllustratorDoug Wheatley
CountryUnited States
SeriesA Song of Ice and Fire
PublisherBantam Books
Publication date
November 20, 2018[1]
Preceded by 
Followed by 

Fire & Blood is a fantasy book by American writer George R. R. Martin and illustrated by Doug Wheatley. It tells the history of House Targaryen, the dynasty that ruled the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in the backstory of his series A Song of Ice and Fire.[2] Although originally planned for publication after the completion of the series,[3] Martin has revealed his intent to publish the history in two volumes as the material had grown too large. The first volume was released on November 20, 2018.[1]

The second half of this first volume (an expanded version of The Princess and the Queen) has been adapted into the HBO series House of the Dragon, a prequel to Game of Thrones.

Publication history[edit]

In 2014, more than 200,000 words were removed from the manuscript of Martin's companion book The World of Ice & Fire and were incorporated into Fire & Blood.[4]

In February 2017, Elio M. García Jr., Martin's co-author for The World of Ice & Fire, reported that he had spoken with Martin at WorldCon 75, held in 2017 in Helsinki, about the first volume of Fire & Blood. According to García, in addition to the never-published material developed for The World of Ice & Fire, Martin also created entirely new material for the book, having "worked on just fleshing out a bit" the long reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, which was previously only mentioned in "Heirs of the Dragon", an unpublished text that Martin abridged in the novelette The Rogue Prince.[5]

On July 22, 2017, Martin revealed on his blog that the material for Fire & Blood had grown so large that the decision had been made to publish the histories of the Targaryen kings in two volumes. The first volume, simply called Fire & Blood, is set to cover the history of Westeros from Aegon's Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king, Aegon III Targaryen. While the first volume of Fire & Blood has been published, the second volume was largely unwritten as of July 2017.[6]

In April 2018, when announcing the publication date, Martin revealed the manuscript to be 989 pages long.[1] An excerpt was revealed in October 2018.[7]


Rather than a novel, Fire & Blood takes the form of a scholarly treatise about the Targaryen dynasty written by a historian within the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Archmaester Gyldayn.[8][9][10] Gyldayn cites a variety of fictional primary sources for the historical events he describes, whose accounts sometimes conflict with each other, reflecting medieval methods of historiography and thus making Gyldayn an unreliable narrator from the reader's perspective.[11][12]

The first volume of Fire & Blood contains the following texts:

  • "The Targaryen Conquest": Aegon I Targaryen's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.[13] Published in more or less same version in The World of Ice & Fire.[7]
  • "The Peace of the Dragon": Aegon I's reign after his Conquest.[14][better source needed] While Aegon I's reign is briefly glossed over in The World of Ice & Fire, no parts of the text have been published before.
  • "The Sons of the Dragon":[15] Focuses on the lives of Aegon I's sons, King Aenys I Targaryen and King Maegor I Targaryen, ending with Maegor's death and the ascension of Aenys's son Jaehaerys I Targaryen to the throne. An abridged version of The Sons of the Dragon was released in October 2017 titled The Sons of the Dragon in the anthology The Book of Swords.[15]
  • "Heirs of the Dragon": Being about 17,000 words long, it focuses on the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen and the succession crisis following the deaths of his sons. An abridged version, The Rogue Prince, previously published in the anthology Rogues in 2014, uses the majority of this text.[16]
  • "The Dying of the Dragons": Being about 60,000 words in length,[16][N 1] it focuses on the great civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between Rhaenyra Targaryen and her half-brother Aegon II for the throne. An abridged version of 30,000 words was included in The Princess and the Queen,[18] which was published in the anthology Dangerous Women in 2013.
  • "Aftermath — The Boy King and His Regents": Covering the first few years of the reign of Rhaenyra's young son Aegon III, when the realm was ruled by Aegon's regents. According to García, it is "almost as long" as The Dying of the Dragons in total word count.[16][13]

Fire & Blood is illustrated in a similar fashion to A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. The book contains more than seventy-five black and white illustrations by Doug Wheatley.[19][1]


Fire & Blood received mixed reviews from critics. Hugo Rifkind of The Times described it as "interminable, self-indulgent crap."[9] Roisin O'Connor of The Independent faulted the book for its dry tone and stated that reading it feels like "you've been assigned a mildly interesting, but often tedious, piece of homework".[8] Publishers Weekly stated that "Martin's evocative storytelling style and gift for gripping narrative are mostly absent from this dry history".[20]

Conversely, Dan Jones of The Sunday Times praised the book, calling it "a masterpiece of popular historical fiction".[21] Similarly, Chris Lough of described the book as "... the best Song of Ice and Fire book in 18 years",[22] a comparison to A Storm of Swords.


The HBO series House of the Dragon, a prequel to Game of Thrones, is based on material from Fire & Blood, which covers the Dance of Dragons civil war. The show is produced by Martin, Vince Gerardis, Ryan Condal, and Miguel Sapochnik; in addition, the latter two are its showrunners.[23]


  1. ^ Previously reported to have a word count of 80,000.[17] García stated he believes Martin reached 80,000 in prior interviews by accidentally considering the combined word count of both The Dying of the Dragons (then called The Dance of the Dragons) and Heirs of the Dragon as one big story.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d Not a Blog: Fire & Blood: On The Way (April 25, 2018)
  2. ^ Martin, George R.R. (March 12, 2014). "The Rogues Are Coming..." Not A Blog. Archived from the original on March 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2021 – via LiveJournal.
  3. ^ Martin, George R.R. (December 2, 2013). "The Dangerous Women Are Coming". Not A Blog. Archived from the original on November 7, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2021 – via LiveJournal.
  4. ^ Not a Blog comment: Ten Thousand Ships (May 20, 2014)
  5. ^ Westeros (February 22, 2018). " Discusses... Worldcon" – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Not a Blog: The Swords are Drawn (July 22, 2017)
  7. ^ a b "A FIRE & BLOOD Excerpt just for YOU! - Not a Blog".
  8. ^ a b O'Connor, Roisin (November 20, 2018). "Fire and Blood, George R. R. Martin, review: New Game of Thrones book is exhaustive but often tedious". The Independent. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Rifkin, Hugo (November 17, 2018). "Review: Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin — a dire prequel to Game of Thrones". The Times. Retrieved November 24, 2018.(subscription required)
  10. ^ McNutt, Myles (May 9, 2022). "This summer, be free of the need to read Fire & Blood". Polygon. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Goslin, Austen (August 18, 2022). "House of the Dragon is missing its source material's most fun character". Polygon. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Mondschein, Ken (August 27, 2022). "Badgering on Mushroom: Historiography and Outsiders in House of the Dragon". Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Youtube: Discusses... Fire & Blood, (Retrieved on July 27)
  14. ^ Vassals of Kingsgrave podcast, Elio M. García Jr.
  15. ^ a b Not a Blog: A Bit More (Fake) History (January 31, 2017)
  16. ^ a b c d r/ (Spoilers Extended) The Possibilities for GRRM's New Novella in the Book of Swords Anthology
  17. ^ Not A Blog: The Princess and the Queen (August 31, 2013)
  18. ^ Not A Blog: The Princess and the Queen (August 31, 2013)
  19. ^ Not a Blog: Hugo Nominations Open (Feb 7th, 2018) – comment (Feb 14th, 2018)
  20. ^ "Fire & Blood". Publishers Weekly. November 20, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  21. ^ Jones, Dan (November 18, 2018). "Review: Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin — the Game of Thrones prequel is a masterpiece of popular historical fiction". The Sunday Times. Retrieved November 24, 2018.(subscription required)
  22. ^ Lough, Chris (November 21, 2018). "Fire & Blood is the Best Song of Ice and Fire Book in 18 Years. But Will Anyone Read It?". Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  23. ^ Patten, Dominic; Andreeva, Nellie (October 29, 2019). "'Game Of Thrones' Prequel House of the Dragon Gets Straight To Series Order From HBO". Deadline Hollywood.