Interactive 'Game Of Thrones' Books Make Westeros Way Less Complicated

George R.R. Martin collaborated with Apple to bring his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series to life, spoiler-free.
Maps in the <em>Enhanced Editions</em> show main characters' journeys.
Maps in the Enhanced Editions show main characters' journeys.

The ability to keep track of people, places and things in George R.R. Martin’s sweeping medieval saga is a point of pride for fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. What is the name of Stannis Baratheon’s son? What color is the bear on the Stark family crest? How did the Mad Queen Aerys die?***

There is now an easier way to submerse yourself in the “Game of Thrones” fandom, at least for owners of Apple gizmos.

Beginning Thursday with Book 1 and ending in March 2017 with Book 5, iBooks will offer interactive annotated editions of each volume in the book series. At the very end of each is an excerpt of the highly anticipated Book 6, The Winds of Winter, previously shared on Martin’s blog.

The <em>Enhanced Editions</em> feature original cover designs.
The Enhanced Editions feature original cover designs.

With new covers in a specially commissioned typeface (called “Castle”) the books feature illustrations from many of the artists whose work is also seen in the Penguin Random House illustrated print edition slated for release in October.

But the eBook editions offer interactive resources for readers, too. Martin’s team worked closely with Apple to provide notes ― 277 annotations and 278 definitions throughout Book 1 alone ― that are spoiler-free. Definitions and annotations were written carefully so as not to reveal information the reader hasn’t yet learned.

Bolded terms reveal pop-up windows with more information on characters and places.
Bolded terms reveal pop-up windows with more information on characters and places.

New characters (or ones that haven’t appeared in a while) are bolded in the text; tap them and their descriptions pop up. Annotations noting background information on thematic elements, Martin’s creative process and observations on characters’ perspectives are marked with gold crowns. There are a few per chapter, and they all expand with a tap, too. A glossary at the end lists terms to know, like “Iron Islands,” the inhospitable realm of House Greyjoy.

“Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips,” said Martin in a statement.

An appendix at the end of each book is home to more information, including maps documenting main characters’ journeys, information on each major house, their sigils, and an expandable map of the “Known World.”

This isn’t the first annotated edition of “Game of Thrones” ― writers Sean T. Collins, Elio Garcia Jr. and series editor Anne Groell teamed up with the reading app Subtext to offer an annotated edition in 2011 that’s no longer available ― nor is it the first illustrated edition. But the Enhanced Edition, meant for both fans and newcomers, is certainly the most helpful.

***Trick questions, all.

A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition is available for $8.99 on iBooks for Mac computers, iPads and iPhones.

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