Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros Seasons 1-5 is coming soon, just in time for the holidays. The new book comes from the makers of Game of Thrones: In Memoriam (out earlier this year). The book aims to help viewers stay on top of who is who on Game of Thrones, with complete family trees and more, creating an essential companion guide to the series. Luckily, we’ve got our hands on a review copy, courtesy of publishers Running Press, for an early look.
So how does the newest addition to the official HBO line of products measure up? Let’s break it down.
The Style: The beautifully bound book is stamped with Great House sigils on the front cover, exactly as shown above. (Might I say how nice it is to see both Baratheon branches recognized, with their different sigils?) The back cover holds a map of Westeros, a map which will reappear in closeup throughout the book to guide readers through different Houses and their associated regions. In terms of aesthetics, this is a very attractive coffee table book packed with high-quality color photographs from Game of Thrones. In addition to the functional purpose of The Noble Houses of Westeros, the book has been put together with the eye for elegant detail the show is known for.
The Content: The book is broken down into twelve sections, with areas focusing on Houses Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Greyjoy, Tyrell, Frey, Arryn, Tully, Bolton, Martell and the two branches of Baratheons- the Stannis side and King Tommen’s branch. Each section depicts the House’s sigil, home and family tree, contains historical info and character profiles, and photographs of their weapons, costumes, and more.
Since the book is up to date, some of the info is quite useful. I tweeted about one of the tidbits already and that news made the rounds- the book confirms that Stannis was killed by Brienne in season 5. There’s also a confirmation of Myrcella’s death in her father’s arms, and of Jon’s murder at Castle Black. (Debate amongst yourselves how dead Jon will stay.)
I have a few quibbles, such as why are there no photos of some show characters listed on the family trees when there are character profiles of them in the book, such as Kevan Lannister and Ilyn Payne? It gives the book a bit of an unfinished feel on those pages. There are a couple odd choices as well, like leaving out Hizdahr zo Loraq from Daenerys’s council but still including the briefly seen Mossador. These are minor criticisms, however.
Fans hoping for more details about minor houses will have to look elsewhere, as this book is focused on the Great Houses of Westeros, and is more aimed at show viewers.
On the whole, Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros is a lovely book to pore over at leisure and refresh your memory as needed.
Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros arrives in stores and is available online on December 8th. The book retails for $16.00 US/ $19.99 CAN.