“Game of Thrones: A Pop-up Guide to Westeros” illustrated by Michael Komarck, designed by Matthew Christian Reinhart (Insight Editions, 2014) [REVIEW #800!]

Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros

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It’s that time of year again, deep in the dark of winter, when Christmas is almost upon us; and we sit a fair distance away from the next riveting season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and even longer from the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. You’re probably thinking in these dark times what possible gift could I be rewarded with that will make everything feel better, what pricey item would make the perfect Christmas present or possibly a worthwhile spending of the Christmas money? Why not take a look at Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros.

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There aren’t many books out there to which nothing bad can be said about them, and this is one of those very rare books. However, there is a dilemma with this beautiful pop-up book, which is that you want to continuously open it and lift every flap and card and pop-up section and study and read and admire; but at the same time you also want to keep everything pristine and mint and unopened to preserve its value and perfection.

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Much as with anything Matthew Reinhart puts his mind and skill to, this is simply an astonishing work of art. One of his more recent popular works of genius is Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy. The level of detail and work that has gone into this pop-up book knows no bounds.

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Generally, your average pop-up book will have maybe one or two on a page, and sometimes none to continue whatever story it is trying to tell, not so with Game of Thrones. Reinhart pushes the envelope with multiple levels of pop-ups cunningly conceived and designed to defy artistic logic, while other great page-spanning scenes rise up from the paper like Lazarus to dazzle your very eyes.

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In addition to the main pop-up on each page, the smaller sub-pop-up has a little corner cover to be folded into so that it remains firmly locked in place and protected, making it easy to release and open up and admire, and then put back again in safety. This device also makes it easy to know how to open up a pop-up so it doesn’t bend the wrong way and possibly get damaged.

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The book takes you across the scenes and locations of Westeros, showing you the lands and its citadels, giving you information on the people and characters and some of the familiar story pieces you have come to love and hate and perhaps love again.  Whether you’re an addict of the books, the TV show or both, as you slowly and delicately leaf through this incredible book you will no doubt have the Game of Thrones theme song running in your head.

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Originally written on November 23, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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“Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy” by Matthew Reinhart (Orchard Books, 2007)

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In celebration of the 30th anniversary since the release of Star Wars, along with The Star Wars Vault, there is this true gem for all fans alike: Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy.  You may be turned away by the term “pop-up,” thinking it something that applies only to children’s books and to be ignored, and I would tend to agree with you, except in this case.  The Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy is the only pop-up book you will need to and ever want to own.

The thick but light book is divided into six double-spread pages.  It does not tell the chronological story of Star Wars from episodes I-VI, but is instead more like a report from someone who traveled to this galaxy, far, far away, and came back to tell of what he or she saw and learned there.  The copy on each page is detailed and complex.  This is not for anyone (if there is anyone) who has yet to see Star Wars, for prior understanding is required, since on each page facts, stats, and details are thrown at you along with incredible colorful pictures that pop-out before your very eyes and almost become real.

To say there is just something for everyone would be like saying the Millennium Falcon could “probably” make the Kessel Run in maybe 12 parsecs.  The most impressive tableau is the pop-up of a large Mos Eisley spaceport where our heroes Luke and Obi-Wan first met Han and Chewie.  Organized in wonderfully complex 3D fashion, we see the familiar scene with different groups of people and lots of familiar faces, who are all explained.  But whether you’re hoping some of the lesser known bounty hunters, like IG-88 and Bossk get mentioned; or whether Jabba the Hutt’s Desert Skiff can hover up to 50 meters and travel up to 250 kilometers per hour; or whether they remembered to mention the formidable but often forgotten Wedge Antilles; rest assured they are all recorded here.

And if that isn’t enough for you, why then you can turn to the last page where you will be greeted by Lord Darth Vader coming out at you with the scarred old man’s face beneath.  After recovering from that, you turn to the fold-out panels either side of the black helmet which discuss Anakin Skywalker who became Darth Vader on the left and Luke Skywalker on the right.  The key here is to open both at the same time, as each character pops out in miniature, each holding their familiar lightsabers which actually light up red and green.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on January 14th, 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.