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Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  861 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Foreword by New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore

Go beyond the Wall and across the narrow sea with this collection about George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, from A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons.

The epic game of thrones chronicled in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. In Bey
ebook, 220 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by BenBella Books
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This book is basically a collection of essays on “A Song of Ice and Fire”. It was better than I expected and I really enjoyed reading some of these essays. It’s true that there are many amazing essays on ASOIAF available online, most of them created by devoted fans and for free. I have read many of these amazing online analyses but I still found very interesting information and thought-provoking analyses in this book. Some of the essays were very fascinating and informative and thought-provoking ...more
Oct 25, 2014 Petra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this book contains spoilers up untill A Dance with Dragons, so if havent read it yet, catch up before reading this book.
Before I get to the review, I want to share this quote from the book;

"GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S A Song of Ice and Fire has been a success, in large part, because it has recaptured fans of the fantasy genre who had grown bored and moved away from the standard fare, and because it has reached a wide audience of those who traditionally do not read or watch fantasy genre e
Aug 16, 2012 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert A. Salvatore’s “Foreword” to Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, From A Game of Thrones to A Dance with Dragons sets a near-perfect tone for this entire book of criticism on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. He says all of those things we’d like to say to those who demean the fantasy genre in specific (and fiction, in general) and he says it all with his particular flair. I must take slight issue with his description of Martin’s work as the ...more
♥~♥Geri ~ the Racy Lit Reader ♥~♥
I'm a huge fan of the books and the series, so this was a fantastic read for me. A fantastic exploration of the themes in the book A Song of Fire and Ice. I think this book is worth the read whether you're a fan of the books or the series.

A copy is provided by the publisher through NetGalley exchange for an honest review.
May 15, 2014 Kifflie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Disclaimer: I personally know the publisher, editor, and one of the contributors to this volume -- but will strive to be as objective as I can in my comments.

Beyond the Wall is a series of essay on George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire," which had managed to stay out of my consciousness until the HBO series began airing, and certain friends of mine within the gaming community were talking about it. So I started reading the series, and was caught up in it almost immediately -- finishing t
Jan 13, 2015 Stella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-literature, 2015
A really good collection of essays on A Song of Ice and Fire Series, exploring many different themes, from feminism to religion and redemption in the books.

I really enjoyed this. It opened up the world of Westeros in so many different ways i haven't previously thought of.
I wasnt interested by all the chapters at first, but I read them all anyway and I ended really glad I did. Most of them are well written and enlightening.

INTRODUCTION: As a huge series fan and also as I own the art books inspired by the novels, I was very curious about this essay book since I heard about it some months ago.

While the recent A Feast of Ice and Fire is a bit "too out" for my interests, the upcoming map book "The Lands of Ice and Fire" is another huge asap, so this year we will have been treated with a lot of ASOIAF material, from the excellent HBO series, to three related works including the one discussed here!

Note that Beyo
Eustacia Tan
Jun 27, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Beyond The Wall is one of those books that explores the world behind the books. In this case, it explores the world in the A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin. You may be surprised to see this because I haven't talked about A Song of Fire and Ice before and you're right. Before I picked up this book, I had absolutely no knowledge of this amazing world.

It seems counterintuitive, not to mention spoiler-ish, but I actually became interested in this series because of this book. I'm t
The Lit Bitch
Jun 02, 2014 The Lit Bitch rated it really liked it
I’ve read a lot of reviews about this anthology, and most people say that you can find better material online in the discussion groups for free.

While there is a plethora of material online, a lot of it isn’t structured or supported by research which was what I was looking for….something a little more organized.

This novel had a broad selection of essays about A Song of Ice and Fire and Westeros. Some were interesting and thought provoking while others left me wanting.

Some of the essays I could ha
Mar 16, 2016 Saphana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not what it claims to be.

A typical "companion" to a well-received and award-winning series should delve into insights in the background, the characters, maybe even enlighten us to mysteries or prophecies which permeate the series.

Not so. Instead we get a rambling opening article (I refuse to use the word "essay") that honestly tries to place Martin's writing in the era of "Romanticism", not even once analyzing or comparing Martin's prose to an author of said era. The history of art
Apr 10, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This is welcome addition to Smart Pop's series of books collecting essays about popular novels. All the essays are well written and informative, finding a perfect balance between academic depth and accessibility, and each reader will find what appeals the most. My personal favourite was the analysis of how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is depicted (apparently it is meticulously accurate) as it gave me new insight into the characters.... however, it is very similar to one on PTSD in The Girl Who ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting compendium of essays on Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. As with any collection of essays, some were better than others, and some appealed more to me than others. My favourite chapters included Alyssa Rosenburg's examination of the use of rape as a war weapon in the series; the character study of Littlefinger through the lens of psychopathy; and Whitehead's chapter on the uncertain history of Westeros. The chapters on religion, magic, the Dunk and Egg ...more
L. Lawson
May 27, 2013 L. Lawson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
The main reason I didn't like this book very much (despite a few standout essays from Rosenberg, Cole, Staggs and Spector) is that the authors tried so hard to be 'academic' in their treatments of Westeros, tried so hard to sound so serious, but ended up not saying very much--and when they did have something valuable to say, took several paragraphs to make a very basic point (as though, to be taken seriously, judicious use of words goes out the window).

Several of the essays were also quite repe
Jen*The Geeky Book Gal*
I enjoyed most of the 14 essays in this book. Some were a bit dry or overly analytical but, some were extra compelling, such as "Petyr Baelish and the Mask of Sanity" by Matt Staggs which discussed Petyr Baelish's psychopathic nature as a clinical rather than a popular definition of the often used term. Andrew Zimmerman Jones discusses the various religions of Westeros in "Of Direwolves and Gods" ;and the essay on romanticism "The Palace of Love, the Palace of Sorrow" by Elio M. Garcia Jr goes ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is a must have for ASOIAF fans, and even aspiring authors.

This book is a series of essays exploring various aspects of ASOIAF. Written by mostly authors, bloggers and dedicated fanboys. The book hits ASOIAF from pretty much every angle, and will have you looking at the world, the history, and it's characters in new or different ways

Some of the highlights

Author Daniel Abraham's essay on the transition of the series to a graphic novel was fascinating. I found his chapter to be full of informa
Sarah E.
Beyond the Wall is a good educational companion to George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. It's a compilation of different essays written about different subject matters relating to the books. I personally found R.A. Salvatore's foreward fascinating, as well as, Alyssa Rosenberg's essay about the sexual politics in the series. I also found the founders' essay about romanticism really interesting and talked about it with my husband (who has also read the books). The ...more
Ami Kismet
This was a really fun and interesting read, but I can't help but feel that some of the essays could have gone a little deeper in their analysis. This could very well be because the series itself is not finished and Martin defies what readers expect at every turn. It was a fun quick read though that allowed me to spend some more time in Martin's world. I am sure once the series is completed, there will be more variety and deeper explorations such as this book. As it is, check it out. Gives new ...more
Ryan Curry
Jul 06, 2016 Ryan Curry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, non-fiction
This book was absolutely incredible. Thoroughly enjoyed all of the articles. Particularly the one about collecting the song of ice and fire, touched a special place in my heart. Also loved how intense the final essayist got about the "genre war" and how fantasy is finally starting to come into its own! All in all, i loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who has finished the series up to date!
Dec 17, 2012 Emanuele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of essays on the great A Song of Ice and Fire, a few of them very interesting, most of them totally forgettable.

There is a lot which could be discussed, but must authors end up trying to create a philosophical system around the book to prove their personal, and sometime questionable points.

Not really recommended, unless maybe for a selective skim over
Cheryl Hall
An interesting collection of essays about A Song of Ice and Fire.

My favourites included:

An Unreliable World by Adam Whitehead
Back to the Egg by Gary Westfahl
Petyr Baelish and the Mask of Sanity by Matt Staggs

There were some essays in this collection that were somewhat boring or weirdly written (I do not know whether the typos were the author or the publisher's fault), but overall it was an enjoyable read.
Jul 22, 2012 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn’t write this review without some spoilers (so if you haven’t finished the series so far please stop reading right here, right now!).

What a treat this book is for any George R. R. Martin fan who loves to delve deep into the story and engage in discussions regarding the series, explore deep into the characters’ minds, analyses the plot closely and read interesting theories. This rich collection was an absolute pleasure to read, a collection brimming with the m
Feb 15, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Too many feels to not start reviewing this right away. :P Hopefully I'll be finished with the entire book in a few days. DONE! Spoiler warning--this review contains spoilers for all published ASOIAF books.

Overall, this book is what I've been hoping for--literary criticism worthy of me adding a new shelf to GoodReads. :P We start with Elio and Linda's (the uber-fans who even GRRM goes to for fact checking, amongst other things,) and their essay romanticism, pulling me into the deep tapestry of AS
Shellie Kennedy
I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Game of Thrones series. I always enjoy over-analyzing fantasy series. I do it with Lord of the Rings ALL THE TIME! These essays covered a wide variety of topics from gender roles, religion in Westeros, to the mental stability (or instability) of Littlefinger. It really made me appreciate the complexity of Martin's universe and his creativity.

I will say that my one argument with this book is that several of the authors states they felt that GRRM
Aug 08, 2012 Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Originally posted on The Librarian Next Door:

Since the first novel was published in 1996, George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire (better known by the name of the first novel, A Game of Thrones) has captivated thousands of readers, many of whom vowed a dislike of fantasy novels until they read Martin’s work. Originally a trilogy, the series has expanded twice – first to five novels, and currently to seven (as of today, anyway). With more than 15 million copies published
the golden witch.
When it comes to series I love, I love reading any kind of scholarly (or even pseudo-scholarly) discourse and discussion on it. George R R Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” has long warranted at least one kind of anthology with essays about the series, and I’m happy to say that Ben Bella books has really done fans a solid by releasing this gem of a book. “Beyond the Wall” isn’t just useful for fans, but for aspiring authors, as well (regardless if you’re writing fantasy or contemporary). Whether ...more
Amanda Pearl
I am a huge fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series. I think it's absolutely brilliant and by far the best epic fantasy I have ever read. The characters are complex and they live in a rich world with long running history, religions, and cultures (not to mention some fantastic geography, the backbone of any good fantasy in my opinion). I love discussing the different themes and events that occur in the series so I was very interested in this collection of essays about the popular series. However, ...more
May 19, 2015 Jarrah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
Beyond the Wall is a collection of essays looking at A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) from a variety of angles.

I definitely appreciated Brent Hartinger’s article on the “role of freaks and outcasts” in the series. Hartinger argues, I think fairly, that Martin has created a significant number of underdog characters who “violate major gender or social norms” and are not stereotyped (examples include Tyrion, Aria, Jon, Bran, Samwell, Brienne, and Catelyn). I thought it was interesting how
Apr 27, 2014 Joana rated it liked it

"We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La."

This book is an insightful look in the world created by George R.R. Martin in the A Song of Ice and Fire seri
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aka Richard Awlinson, J D Lowder

James Lowder has worked extensively in fantasy and horror fiction on both sides of the editorial blotter. He's authored several best-selling dark fantasy novels and has had short fiction appear in such anthologies as Shadows Over Baker Street and The Repentant. He's penned comic book scripts for several companies and the city of Boston. His book and film reviews, fe
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“And as for the gods, I’ve never been satisfied by any of the answers that are given. If there really is a benevolent loving god, why is the world full of rape and torture? Why do we even have pain? I was taught pain is to let us know when our body is breaking down. Well, why couldn’t we have a light? Like a dashboard light? If Chevrolet could come up with that, why couldn’t God? Why is agony a good way to handle things?” 1 likes
“Here’s where PTSD is particularly nasty. It isn’t really a “disorder” as modern medical experts understand it. It’s a shift in perspective. Being forced into Condition Black and being trained to live in Condition Yellow are both highly traumatizing. Both shift your worldview, often permanently. Both become hard-coded into personality, changing the individual in ways they never expected. Sometimes, amazingly enough, for the better.” 1 likes
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