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The Science of Game of Thrones: From the genetics of royal incest to the chemistry of death by molten gold - sifting fact from fantasy in the Seven Kingdoms

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  55 reviews
A myth-busting, jaw-dropping, fun-filled tour through the science of your favorite fantastical world.

Award-winning comedian and popular-science writer Helen Keen uncovers the astounding science behind the mystical, blood-soaked world of Game of Thrones, answering questions like: Is it possible to crush a person's head with your bare hands? What really happens when royal f
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  276 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Heidi The Reader
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Readers beware: there are major spoilers contained within the pages of The Science of Game of Thrones. Do not read it (or this review) unless you've read all of the books that are currently out or have watched all of the seasons of the HBO show! That being said: if you are a fan of the Game of Thrones, in any format, you simply must read this book. From dragons to the effectiveness of female body armor, poisoning to the real possibilities of our world ending in ice or fire, Keen takes us on a sc ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

I'm one of those that never jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, but I'm always up for some science learning.

The author discusses the science surrounding all of the series' creatures, like zombies, spiders, dire wolves, and especially dragons, and discusses how they would be able to function in the real world. Magic seems to have a great deal to do with all of that.

Pretty good. The author knows her science and her series.
* I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for a review *

I liked bits of this and didn't like other bits. I'm a big fan if Game of Thrones, both the books and the show so I wasn't sure if this would be good/bad. Turns out it's a little if both for me. Whilst I did find some fact interesting and some of the research and mini experiments included were fun, the humour fell totally flat for me. This book tries a little too hard to be witty and funny, and it just didn't come across to
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a blast on audio, thanks to author Helen Keen’s dry sense of humor and reader Christian Coulson’s performance. I ordered it from my library based on the fact that Coulson was the reader, and it turned out to be a double delight.
In short, fun segments, Keen takes a scientific approach to elements of the Song of Ice and Fire series. Would the Dothraki’s campfires get hot enough to melt gold? Would dragons as large as Dany’s really be able to fly? She poses these questions and many more,
Andy Hickman
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The Science of Game of Thrones” (2016) by Helen Keen
Wonderfully insightful, interesting and comical read. Excellent. *****

Part 1: FIRE

Dragon Flight:
“But [Katsufumi] Sato's conclusions about weight, flapping and flight are disputed by those who definitely believe pterosaurs could fly, who believe that pterosaurs could, pretty much, touch the sky. And they've been thinking about it every night and day.” (p16)

Fire Breathing:
“A cow can produce between 250 and 500 litres of highly
Michelle Only Wants to Read
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hard core GOT fans and science geeks
I had such a good time reading this book. A highly humorous investigation and comparison of the world of The Song of Ice and Fire and the real world. It is highly informative! In the midst of silly comments and lines that had me cracking up, I learned a big deal about weaponry, climate, ravens, creating new languages (Dothraki) and merfolk.

Under Keen's microscope I came to appreciate George R.R. Martin's creative writing even more. Westeros is a complex place, and he placed much attention to de
Trevor Sherman
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences what I say. As always, my opinions are completely my own.
This was an interesting read but read more like a text book from a very twisted middle school then ... well what ever it is supposed to be. Most of the topics were guesswork and that would be fine if the word Science was not in the title. But still it did bring up a few things that I had never thought of, and that was pretty cool. I g
Angela Smith
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I would have given this book more stars if the last chapter hadn't almost sent me into a coma. The book started out well with interesting facts and science about things portrayed in GoT. I am sure all of us fellow fans remember key scenes such as when Viserys Targaryen is given a fetching new golden hat from his brother in law. It debunked the scene as being highly improbable due to the fact that the camp fire would not have been able to reach the temperature required to melt gold.

There were sec
This was so much more fun than I was expecting. I bought it on a whim because:
1) It was super cheap at £4, and
2) Game of Thrones is life.

That was as much thought as went into the purchase, and I didn't even really read what it was about until I got it home, at which point I promptly devoured it within the day. If you're looking for in-depth explanations and explorations of dragon-lore, weaponry, magic and psychology as they apply to Game of Thrones then you'll probably be disappointed. However,
Oct 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, read-in-16
But [Katsufumi] Sato's conclusions about weight, flapping and flight are disputed by those who definitely believe pterosaurs could fly, who believe that pterosaurs could, pretty much, touch the sky. And they've been thinking about it every night and day.

This book is, in one, oversimplifying word, cool. It just is. It's Game of Thrones, Mythbusters, and the history channel. And it was absolutely fascinating.

With section titles like Sex and the Single Dragon, the essays are sharp, funny, and well
Stephen Yoder
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
I expected this book to be some droll fandom with a dash of science, but I was delightfully mistaken. I actually learned a few things about science while also spoiling the heck out of the two remaining seasons I need to watch in order to catch up. Genetics, astronomy, seasons, dragons. . . this was some entertaining reading blending some real knowledge with the wacky violent world of GOT. Rather funny as well. I got an advance reading copy in exchange for the possibility of writing a review. I'm ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Confession. I didn't expect much from this book. I thought it would be a "make basic science interesting to dumb people" kind of read. As a 'self identifying non-practicing scientist' I don't look for remedial science curriculum made easier. But here is my verdict. This book is good. Really good. It assumes you have read/watched all the GOT content and doesn't pull back on wild tangents. Do your fire and ice pre-reading.

You will discover all that is fun and good about speculation. Euthanasia rol
Olivia Geery
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a physicist and a GoT fan I had to read this, right? And it was hugely enjoyable! It wasn't quite what I expected, but all the better for that in the end. The author definitely takes you on a Gendryesque meander rather than a swift Varys point to point journey and there's a lot of information drawn from working scientists, science journals, etc. A light touch but a lot of science from across the board, genetics to explosions to planets, gets in there. There are also a fair few typos but it wa ...more
Holly Tracy
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was a bit of a struggle to get through this. It seemed like it was trying too hard to be funny, but doesn’t quite get there...or sometimes does, but then takes it too far and it’s not funny anymore. A lot of lazy misspellings for a “fan” of the show/books.

The content I’m reading this for - scenario on GOT meets real life potential or history was good, but sometimes went off script and never really concluded with substantive content.

It’s a short book, 250 pages, but I’d say the actual conten
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
I found this book both entertaining and educational.
I have watched some of the television series and read some of the books but would not class myself to be a Superfan . However I still enjoyed reading it and found the majority of the information in it to be interesting with the science side clearly explained. But you do need to have had some exposure to the Game of Thrones books or TV series to understand the non-scientific references.
I felt the authors sense of humour prevented the book fro
Joe Kessler
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun little pop science book, offering nuggets of learning all vaguely related to the TV show Game of Thrones. The topics range all over the place -- the section on dragons alone discusses what we know about the flight patterns of ancient pteranodons, the breeding habits of komodo dragons, and how long eggs of any species can go without hatching -- but it's all entertaining and informative, and the material is definitely elevated by author Helen Keen's sense of humor. There are spoilers through ...more
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway and gave it a grudging three stars. I had difficulty with the first few chapters because 1) they contained remarkably little science considering the title, 2) the (debatably) humorous asides and parenthetical remarks were far too frequent and far too infrequently funny, and 3) the pop culture references that might be meaningful to Brits were just distracting to me as a non-Brit. It did get better, and I learned a few things, but it was a long wal ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this quite a lot, but not because I am a die-hard GoT fan or anything like that. This is more like:
10% GoT references
20% humor
70% fun facts

which is why it appealed to me so much (and maybe not so much to some GoT fans).
The general format involved introducing some common question or development in the world of GoT and then trying to figure out if it was realistic by referring to historical events, biological effects, cutting edge technology, or referring to case studies. I really like t
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fic, auth-female
Game of Thrones + Science + History + Humor. I loved this book immensely as it combined several of my favorite things. Keen did her research in taking aspects of the show and books to find their real world counterparts, while talking to scientists, engineers, historians, etc to find out the answers. It reminded me, in a way, of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, but with the narrowed focus of Game of Thrones.
Lisa Houlihan
When I plucked this off the display shelf, my reaction was "This should be a short book." And it was; though longer than any of its science warrants, it was amusing. (I admit skipping the bit about ice spiders because spiders.) Points off for "Game of Thrones" rather than "Song of Ice and Fire," for "northwest" as two words -- on the very first page -- "privilege" with an e in the second syllable, and for other stupid slips. Some points back for TMBG, Kate Bush, and David Bowie references, and f ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
It was ok. The science was more like real world science which is tangentially related to a topic in Game of Thrones rather than how the fantastical aspects of Game of Thrones work. Sometimes the relation to Game of Thrones was really tenuous. The author attempts to be snarky through out the book but this is often over done and so frequent as to be more of a distraction than an enhancement to the book.
Stephanie Dique
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was excellent! A super easy, light read with just the right amount of science and humor and of course, Game of Thrones content. It's written in a way that is great for anyone like me with a touch of A.D.D. All the science bits were to the point and so interesting as stand alone topics, plus how they relate to concepts in the show/books.
Timothy Burbage
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
An enjoyable read full of scientific information, and far more humour than I was expecting.

This is basically a comedy book, with some science thrown in. It was funny, charming and informative on a variety of subjects.

Some of the links to Game of Thrones were stretched slightly, but I learnt a lot and really want Helen Keen to write more.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Mildy amusing book with some interesting science commentary on dragons, weaponry, linguistics, etc. It was amusing enough for me to finish the book, but there was little new material for me. Basically it's a good book, but probably better for somebody who hasn't already read a lot of science / tech books.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Plus a half star - very entertaining and easy to read. Learned quite a bit about meteorites and swords and so forth - and a good bridge between finishing the box set and series 7. Made me remember some of the things I enjoyed most and maybe wish I'd read the books as his world is very well put together.
Lisa O
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I laughed out loud several times, but was bored several times, too. If you are a die-hard GoT fan this is a worthwhile read. Does have spoilers though if you don't watch the show and only read the books.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Fun read in anticipation of the upcoming season premiere of GoT. Would have been a little more enjoyable if I hadn't had most of the in world information covered in the Binge Mode podcast.

Big thanks to Christy Willett for snagging it for me at an English Teacher's conference.
Aja Marsh
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: things-i-found
picked this up from the new shelves at the library. it's a fun book, would be a cute gift for GoT nerds but unfortunately for me, it was neither sciency enough nor game of thronesy enough. still entertaining.
Emily // Mixed Margins
This was a light, quick read. It does not go into great depth on any of the topics covered, and many of the points made are probably common knowledge, but I greatly enjoyed the humor and wit of the writing style. Highly recommend the audiobook.
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure what to expect, but my husband and I read this together and really enjoyed it. Fact, fantasy and comedy blend seamlessly. If you're a GOT fan, this is a nice companion the book/show.
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