George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice is one of the most popular fantasy book series, and the success of the HBO television series Game of Thrones has only brought more attention to the world of Westeros where the stories take place. While we have mostly looked at real world maps of locations from literature on Booma, maps of fantasy worlds are enormously popular.
The A Song of Fire and Ice books include their own maps, which have inspired others to create interactive digital maps of their setting. One of my favorites is this fan created project. The map, which consists of a drawn image of Westeros broken into map tiles and laid over a Google map to create interactivity, has numerous features.
One of the most unique is a spoiler control slider. In creating any bookmap, the difficulty of providing useful information to both readers who are just beginning a work and others who have read it multiple times creates a challenge. The slider limits information displayed on the map to the point in the series that the user selects. The tool is not foolproof as links lead to information pages on a wiki without any spoiler control, but it is the first device of this type that I have seen on a map.
The other features of the map–travel lines for individual characters, toggling overlays that reveal more information, the ability to share links to specific locations–appear on other maps, but their execution here is impressive. The depth of information and organization in this map reveals the devotion of its creators. Personally, I find the fact that this was a project produced by fans adds to its appeal.
The HBO Game of Thrones series has made the maps of Westeros central to each episode by including them in the opening sequences. As a part of the show’s online material, HBO has produced its own digital map. Visually this map, with its blue black waters and sandpaper landmasses, is much different, and unlike the fan created map, which takes precautions not to use copyrighted material, the HBO map presents beautiful images of the locations clipped from the show.
This map crosslinks to other information on the site about characters, houses, and important histories, each with the polish and cleanliness expected from a high cost production. Compared to the obsessive detail of the fan created project, however, this information feels light.
Which do you prefer? What features would you want to see in a map? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know there are other A Song of Fire and Ice and Game of Thrones maps out there too–share your favorites in the comments below.