To paraphrase Douglas Adams, Game Of Thrones is big – vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big. And even two seasons of a very dense TV series are piddling and insignificant next to the sprawling majesty of George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire novels; way too much, in fact, to cram into one 192-page book. Even so, this companion to the TV incarnation offers a decent crash course in the basics of Westeros lore.
For anyone yet to read Martin's novels, the book is a godsend. For all its epic brilliance, Game Of Thrones ' multiple complex story threads can leave you befuddled, but thanks to profiles of the major characters, family trees and more, you soon know how to tell a Greyjoy from a Tyrell.
The book's also a solid "Making Of". Author Bryan Cogman (a story editor on the series) has interviewed the show's key creative forces, and between them they reveal the attention to detail that's gone into realising the Seven Kingdoms. Particular focus is given to pivotal scenes like the storming of King's Landing, and it's here – when things get properly geeky – that the book's at its best.
The endeavour’s let down by the choice of images. The costume designs and concept art are fantastic but they're underused, with priority being given instead to stills and uninspiring behind-the-scenes shots. And because it only goes up to the end of season two, it does feel incomplete – don’t be surprised if this show spawns a behind-the-scenes series as long as Martin’s epic book sequence.
Richard Edwards twitter.com/RichDEdwards