The Ice Dragon
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publish Date: December 4th 2014
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
From ancient times the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child — and the ice dragon who loved her — could save her world from utter destruction.
This little book is a family favourite in our house. I originally heard it on audio years ago and fell in love with the beauty of the story. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a massive fan of GRRM. I read the Song of Ice and Fire series before I got around to this gem, but I could never be disappointed with GRRM beautiful prose. The illustrations are the finishing touch to a beautiful yet devastating story. No-one can write fantasy and capture the magic just like George can. He brings life and vitality to his characters, they grow up with us, they stay with us and we introduce them to our children like a family member to care for them once we’re gone. George’s stories will stand the test of time, his are the stories that borne my love for the fantasy genre.
It’s a hauntingly devastating story. It is penned as a children’s story, but it is for sure murky waters and there are some very adulty themes. It has Martin’s impeccable ability to incorporate the fragility of life and the darkness of the human condition. The writing as per usual is perfect. Everything is tightly wound together, and character development is well developed and systematic. A book by Martin is always going to be a winner.
The story is based around Adara. She lives on her father’s farm with her brothers and sisters. There’s always going to be an interesting back story with Martins characters and this family is no different. Adara’s mother died in childbirth with her. This is the kind of thing lifelong fans of Martin have come to expect from him (told you that real life is unkind, and he doesn’t sugar coat shit). Adora has a beautiful and kind nature and is known as the winter’s child. This reminds me so much of the idea of the undead wight children in the TV show, I can completely imagine her made of ice, with bright shining eyes and a captivating look about her. Devastating beauty. Being a winters child means she is completely unaffected by staying outside in the harsh winters. Cue her uncanny relationship to the Ice Dragon. This would lead to a strong bond of trust between them and her ability to ride the Ice Dragon.
Like I said this is an equally beautiful but heart-breaking tale of the fragility of life. We have a soulmate in life that doesn’t always take the form that is expected. A complex tale of love, war and death.