Ice Dragon by George R R Martin, illustrated by Luis Royo

The Ice DragonA review by Nalini Haynes

ISBN: 9780008118853
Format: Hardcover, 121 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (HarperCollins)

The Ice Dragon is set hundreds of years before Game of Thrones. It tells Adara’s story, a child-like story for children.

The winter killed Adara’s mother while she was in labor with Adara. Adara is a Child of Winter who enjoys cold weather and hardly feels the cold. As she grows, Adara plays alone in the snow, building ice castles during winter. She has a symbiotic relationship with an ice dragon, a relationship she keeps secret from everyone.

A never-ending war escalates, threatening Adara’s family’s way of life.

I’m unsure if The Ice Dragon is intended as a fable for children in Game of Thrones‘s culture or whether it’s meant to be canon, a hint for twists to come in the story for adults. Either way, The Ice Dragon is a lovely story for generations to share at bed-time.

It’s a lovely little hardcover with a painterly color illustration of Adara mounted on the ice dragon. Detailed pencil drawings illustrate the story with the frequency bridging the gap between picture books and novels without pictures. Interior pencil drawings are grey scale leaning toward the pale as befits a tale of an ice dragon set in the snow. Chapter headings are accompanied by a stylized ‘woodcut’ image.

Death, the life event not the mythological being, features in The Ice Dragon but it’s not nearly as brutal as in the adults’ series.

If The Ice Dragon was a movie, it would kind of pass the Bechdel Test. Not because of interactions between women but because Adara’s relationship with herself is so independent and strong, as is her relationship with animals.

Overall, The Ice Dragon is a lovely little book, highly recommended to Game of Thrones fans, those who can’t read the adults’ books because “they’re too long”, and to fantasy fans raising their Padawans in the way that they should go.

Rating: full starfull starfull starfull starEmpty star 4 out of 5 stars