Book Review – Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin

fire & blood

Set in the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series, Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin is volume one of a history of House Targaryen’s reign over Westeros, including over 75 black-and-white illustrations by Dough Wheatley. Set about 300 years before the first novel, A Game of Thrones, it begins with Aegon I the Conqueror and concludes after the end of the Regency of Aegon III. This book is uniquely set apart from the main novel series because it is written as a historical text from that literary universe, rather than the narrative form fans of the series are accustomed to. As such we see this history through the lens of Archmaester Gyldayn, about whom we know little as a person, yet he serves as a passive in-universe perspective who offers academic commentary and brief tangents when appropriate.Read More »

Book Review – Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell

PrimitiveMythology

Primitive Mythology is the first volume of The Masks of God, a four volume work by Joseph Campbell. Campbell is well known for his other works in the field of mythology The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the PBS series The Power of Myth. He was the creator of the concept of the monomyth (one myth) — a word he borrowed from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake — which essentially refers to a theory that all mythic stories are variations of a single great narrative, which is made evident by themes, tropes, and other elements common among numerous great myths around the world, regardless of place and time. While The Hero with a Thousand Faces — which I understand to be his most renowned written work — approaches this idea from the perspective of psychology, The Masks of God approaches it more through anthropology and history.Read More »