The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

The Ice DragonInformation

Goodreads: The Ice Dragon
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: 1980


No one has ever tamed or ridden an ice dragon, but Adara, child of the winter, knows nothing of that.  Every year she waits for the appearance of the ice dragon on her birthday and one year she finally climbs upon its back.  Then enemy soldiers come from the north, their dragonriders burning everything in their path.  Can on young girl save her village?


George R. R. Martin’s debut children’s story seeks to recreate the magic of fairy tale, employing references to vague legends, alluding to far-off and unknown lands, and providing an overly generous dose of repetition in the narrative.  These strategies, along with the harping on the specialness and the innocence of the young protagonist, at time make the story almost too forced to be believed; rather tan find myself in a world of ice and dragons, I found myself reflecting upon Martin’s writing decisions,

The fairy tale inspiration means that the characters are sparsely drawn and the driving forces behind the plot receive only the vaguest of mentions.  The heart of the story must not come from sympathetic characters or stirring actions, or even large-scale political drama.  Rather it must come from somewhere deep within the story itself–the loss and change it hints at must become the reader’s own.

Unfortunately, my detachment from the story meant I never claimed the emotions in the story as my own.  I real clinically, wondering how Martin would proceed, what methods he would employ.  And, in the end, I felt the story had failed to capture the true spirit of Faerie.  Martin may be considered a giant of modern fantasy, but fantasy and fairy tale are very different.  Perhaps it is a rare individual who can enter both worlds.

Krysta 64


4 thoughts on “The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

  1. jubilare says:

    “Perhaps it is a rare individual who can enter both world.” Hello, Tolkien. 😉 Also, missing an “s” on the end?

    I’ve shied away from A Song of Ice and Fire, largely because I don’t think I could handle it, emotionally. It makes me sad to do so, though, because I think I would probably love much of it. From what I understand, he’s a masterful worldbuilder and creator of complex characters. But those things don’t translate into an understanding of what makes fairy-tales tick. From the choices I understand he has made in his most famous work, it seems unlikely that he understands/values faerie. Politics and humanity, however, those he seems to understand extremely well. He gift is for the epic. What do you think? Have you read many of his other books?


    • Krysta says:

      Look at that typo awkwardly hanging out in the most obvious of places…. Thanks for catching it!

      This is the only boo by Martin I’ve read. I’ve been watching A Game of Thrones, but I haven’t read the books because I heard they were long-winded and somewhat tedious. (Briana wrote a review of the first book ages ago and I think she said something similar.) I do love the political intrigue and the complex characters, but it was tiresome having to skip scenes all the time. I haven’t seen the last season, but from what I’ve heard, I’m not sure I want to. I don’t think I want to deal with all of that. Much of it isn’t even to advance the plot or develop character–I really think it’s there for the shock value.

      I would say from the show, though, that Martin is strong with politics and characterization, as you said, but he doesn’t have the strong moral philosophy behind his world like Tolkien does. Or at least I don’t see it in the interpretation given on television.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jubilare says:

        Typos love to do that, little jerks that they are.

        That matches up with much of what I’ve heard about him. My brother loves his work, but acknowledges much the same. My brother, of course, loves political/social complexity in books, and complex characters, so Martin is right up his alley. 🙂
        I am absolutely sure I wouldn’t handle the show very well.


        • Krysta says:

          When I first watched GoT, I had the benefit of having friends with me who had seen the show before and could tell me to look away. There is no such thing as “fade to black”. If someone’s going to be horribly injured, viewers see it. But then I watched other seasons on my own and it was difficult. I’m not sure I want to expose myself to more.

          Liked by 1 person

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