Author George R.R. Martin has released an excerpt from his upcoming Game of Thrones companion book entitled The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the World of Game of Thrones, revealing how big the massive dragons in the HBO series can get. The piece focuses on Aegon's Conquest, which gives fans of Daenerys Targaryen a look at the background of her dragons. It is accompanied by a photo that features her ancestor, Aegon I Targaryen, riding a massive dragon named Balerion the Black Dread. Take a look.

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If the past is prologue, then George R.R. Martin's masterwork-the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time, warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice and Fire.

This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO's Game of Thrones. In a collaboration that's been years in the making, Martin has teamed with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, the founders of the renowned fan site Westeros.org-perhaps the only people who know this world almost as well as its visionary creator.

Collected here is all the accumulated knowledge, scholarly speculation, and inherited folk tales of maesters and septons, maegi and singers. It is a chronicle which stretches from the Dawn Age to the Age of Heroes; from the Coming of the First Men to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror; from Aegon's establishment of the Iron Throne to Robert's Rebellion and the fall of the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, which has set into motion the "present-day" struggles of the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. The definitive companion piece to George R. R. Martin's dazzlingly conceived universe, The World of Ice and Fire is indeed proof that the pen is mightier than a storm of swords.

CLICK HERE to read the full excerpt. The book will hit shelves October 28th.

AEGON'S CONQUEST

The maesters of the Citadel who keep the histories of Westeros have used Aegon's Conquest as their touchstone for the past three hundred years. Birth, deaths, battles, and other events are dated either AC (After the Conquest) or BC (Before the Conquest).

True scholars know that such dating is far from precise. Aegon Targaryen's conquest of the Seven Kingdoms did not take place in a single day. More than two years passed between Aegon's landing and his Oldtown coronation . . . and even then the Conquest remained incomplete since Dorne remained unsubdued. Sporadic attempts to bring the Dornishmen into the realm continued all through King Aegon's reign and well into the reigns of his sons, making it impossible to fix a precise end date for the Wars of Conquest.

Even the start date is a matter of some misconception. Many assume, wrongly, that the reign of King Aegon I Targaryen began on the day he landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, beneath the three hills where the city of King's Landing eventually stood. Not so. The day of Aegon's Landing was celebrated by the king and his descendants, but the Conqueror actually dated the start of his reign from the day he was crowned and anointed in the Starry Sept of Oldtown by the High Septon of the Faith. This coronation took place two years after Aegon's Landing, well after all three of the major battles of the Wars of Conquest had been fought and won. Thus it can be seen that most of Aegon's actual conquering took place from 2-1 BC, Before the Conquest.

The Targaryens were of pure Valyrian blood, dragonlords of ancient lineage. Twelve years before the Doom of Valyria (114 BC), Aenar Targaryen sold his holdings in the Freehold and the Lands of the Long Summer and moved with all his wives, wealth, slaves, dragons, siblings, kin, and children to Dragonstone, a bleak island citadel beneath a smoking mountain in the narrow sea...

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Game of Thrones Season 4 continues Sunday nights, only on HBO.

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