Inside the Complete Guide to Westeros

HBO recently distributed a number of press-kit goodies for its upcoming Game of Thrones: Season One Blu-ray.

The press kit was accompanied by a disc with one of 24 animated shorts, collectively known as the

Complete Guide to Westeros – which will be included as special features on the discs.

Winter is Coming, a Song of Ice and Fire fan magazine, has posted a copy of the video from its kit.

Yes, it’s quite short, but remember, there are 23 more of them on the disc covering a wide variety of topics in the development and history of Westeros. The narration is voiced by Michelle Fairley and Isaac Hempstead-Wright, who play Catlyn and Bran Stark respectively.

These animated shorts will undoubtedly be a great refresher on the canon for those who haven’t read the first books since they were initially released, and a great supplement for those who never read the books at all.

They offer a peek into the great depth of background that the show only scratches the surface of, while featuring an interactive compendium which indexes the houses of Westeros – similar to the house guide located at the back of each book in the series.

The backdrop is the strongest part of the series. Frankly, Martin isn’t exactly an incredible writer, but he more than makes up for it in world-building skill. The best part of his stories is learning about the various worlds they take place in, and Westeros is the best developed of them all. 

Unfortunately, the world is, by necessity of a television show, left more in the background than in the books. Yet, this alone makes the Blu-ray pack worth the cost of admission – even if you don’t want to watch the season again.

Here’s the description from the press release:

Complete Guide to Westeros – an interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one, PLUS 24 exclusive histories of the Seven Kingdoms as told by the characters themselves done with animated illustrations that provide more information on the background of Game of Thrones.

The Blu-ray will also feature an in-episode guide which provides text information about characters and places while the episodes are playing, an in-depth look at the creation of an episode, a ‘Hidden Dragon Eggs’ game, and more.

The Game of Thrones: Seson One Blu-ray hits stores on March 6, 2012.