It’s been postponed for months, so I was excited when I finally received notification that Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones had finally shipped. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I had watched the preview video, and was excited to see the costumes, props, and the world of GoT in depth.
The outside of the book is pretty. While the cover is plastic-y, it has a gorgeous deboss with each House’s sigil animal. The end papers are also well-designed with the various House sigils on a checkered background.
There’s the pre-requisite section on George R. R. Martin and the series head writers, but then, the book becomes less about what one would thing going “inside Game of Thrones” would be (props, costumes, sets, locations, special effects) and more a crib sheet for lazy viewers with sections like “The White Walkers: A Brief History” or a full-page spread of a House’s family tree.
That’s probably my biggest problem with the book: The design feels like a lot of wasted space. The chapter breaks are huge two-page spreads of Celtic knotwork and calligraphy fonts – a shame in a book that’s only 192 pages long. There are some two-page image spreads, but most of are simply promotional photos that can be seen online or if I pressed pause on my HDTV. Lesser-seen set photos or behind-the-scenes photos were relegated to tiny inserts in the text. Now, this could be due to a lack of resolution on the behind-the-scenes photos. All the spread images are crisp and clean, the paper stock and printing quality of the book are excellent.
In case you can’t read the text, this is Jon Snow. I guess there were a bunch of left-over pics from this photoshoot.
While a great scene in the show, why was this chosen as a two-page spread?
Design-wise, the book is all over the place. Some pages have a parchment background with more Celtic clip-art elements and massive illuminated calligraphy. Some pages are a more traditional white. Even the reading font changes from an antique-style roman font to a more modern roman font.
Content-wise, the book maintains a good balance of between explaining plot elements and insider commentary. I liked the multiple perspectives on characters, locations, and storylines. Adding Martin’s thoughts as well made things even more interesting.
In the end, I wish I’d just bought this for the Kindle so I could have turned off the design and just read the text.