Droughtlander suggestions: Check out Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

If you've not delved into Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin, you'll want to do so right now. It will help through Droughtlander.
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala
2023 Atlanta Film Festival - Image Film Awards Gala / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

If you have watched House of the Dragon, you’ll need to turn your attention to the book that the series is based on. It’s all about Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin.

The series actually follows a middle storyline in the book. Rather than picking it up from the beginning of the Targaryen reign, the series picks up from the buildup to the Dance of Dragons, the Targaryen Civil War. The book tells us a lot more about the family and how this dynasty started.

It will certainly help you through Droughtlander, too. This isn’t an easy read—as in, you’re not going to get through it in a weekend.

What is Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin about?

The novel is more like a historical explanation of the Targaryen family. It is one book about the family that is taken from multiple accounts. It’s what others would read in Old Town if they were in the world of House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones.

This can be a little dry, but I also love how different people will have their own take on things that happened. There is an element of hearsay and there are plenty of embellishments to make sure people feel more important to the story than they are. It’s a great reminder that we can’t always believe the story we’re told.

It picks up with Aegon Targaryen and his sisters taking over Westeros. We learn how they did it, how it led to the fall of one of them, and how this started a dynasty that would rule for 300 years. This book doesn’t cover the entire dynasty, though. We only get up to toward the end of the Civil War, before the monarchs that would lead to the Mad King and then Daenerys Targaryen, who we met in Game of Thrones.

We get to see how people play for power. There’s a chance to see how powerful the dragons were, and a chance to understand how there ended up being none left. And those three eggs that Daenerys was given at her wedding to Drogo? Well, they come up in this book.

Why you need to read Fire & Blood during Droughtlander

This is not one of those books that you’ll read in a weekend. It’s dry at times, which I don’t say as a bad thing. Despite being dry, it’s interesting to see how the Targaryen dynasty grew. And if you love English history, you’ll see a lot of the Wars of the Roses in it.

On top of that, there are romances, growing families, betrayal, and much more thrown in. This is one of those stories where you don’t really trust anyone. And there are times that you won’t even side with anyone. I think a lot of the time, you’ll be more concerned about the dragons than anyone else.

The most important thing for me is to stop trusting narrators of the story. This book is an account of three different accounts of a story. The maester who is writing it even makes it clear that he doesn’t know which of the accounts to trust—and that maybe they all carry a bit of truth. I think with Outlander, we get so focused on Claire telling us the truth about someone that we forget she’s often an unreliable narrator. We hear her point of view about a character, forming connections or dislikes in ways that we shouldn’t. Fire & Blood allows us to have more of an objective view, and it can be used in other books.

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Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin is available to buy on Amazon.