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As I can read, the author of the series created several books in the series starting with the book A Game of Thrones. I'm watching the series on TV (I haven't read the books).

When I watched something in the show that I do not fully understand or want to brush up on, I go search the web and usually find the information in Wikipedia. Often I also find a full timeline from before the first book, and I wonder where does this information come from? Whoever wrote this must have this information from somewhere - I just don't seem to understand where, since the first book starts around the same time the first episode of the first series in the TV show?

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I'm cool with people down voting, it would just be nice if someone would write what is wrong? Is it a duplicate, then link to the duplicate post, is it badly worded, then edit the post. Is it obvious? It wasn't for me. Please elaborate people (had several both upvotes and downvotes) – Per Hornshøj-Schierbeck May 27 '14 at 7:30
Wikipedia (and other Wikis) generally have sources for information listed on the page somewhere, that's always a good place to start. – Anthony Grist May 27 '14 at 8:52
up vote 27 down vote accepted

There's a lot more history (both ancient and recent) discussed in the books than on the TV series, since if you're adapting close to 10,000 pages of novels (including the as-yet unpublished ones) to maybe 70 hours of TV you obviously have to leave a lot out. While the action starts in the same place, the characters spend a lot longer talking about the history that has got them to this point. There's also a series of novellas by George R R Martin (the "Dunk and Egg" stories) that's set in Westeros around 90 years before the beginning of A Game of Thrones and fills in a lot of historical background from that period.

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There's also tons of info that GRRM has revealed outside of the books (from readings, conventions, the Amoka portraits ... etc). – System Down May 27 '14 at 17:32

All info about the world of A song of ice and fire comes from the author in one way or another. Most likely some people have collected all references to the history from the books and used those for the wiki. This is the book that is planned that contains just that.

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The information comes from the books themselves. There are tons of (in-world)historical mentions on the books that are not mentioned on the TV series.

There are also 4 prequel books (Dunk and Egg) that take place some years before A Song of Ice and Fire and give more historical insight to the series.

I would recommend reading all the books (the A Song of Ice and Fire series at the least) if you want to fully understand what is going on.

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Four prequels now. The Princess and the Queen has been out for a while now. – System Down May 27 '14 at 17:31
@SystemDown, Sorry, didn't know it was out! – Shevliaskovic May 28 '14 at 11:01
No worries. You can find it in the anthology "Dangerous Women". It's not a Dunk and Egg story though. – System Down May 28 '14 at 14:04

A lot of important backstory comes from the first book. AGoT tells us why Robert Baratheon is so adamant about trying to kill Daenerys and Viserys and thus wipe out the Targaryen name completely.

On top of that, the story of Robert's Rebellion (which predates AGoT by about 14 years, as I believe Catelyn mentions that Ned was at war when Robb Stark was born) is detailed greatly, as it tells how the story of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, how the Baratheons became the rulers of Westeros, and how the Targaryens are all but extinct. Robert's Rebellion ties many of the major characters together and helps define them, as Jaime and Tywin Lannister, Robb Stark, Gregor Clegane, and Robert and Stannis Baratheon (Renly was only a few years old at this point) all had important roles in this story.

As with any adaptation, there are changes that have to be made, and details that have to be left out. Unfortunately, that meant that most of the series' "prologue" (for lack of a better term) in the form of Robert's Rebellion and other stories that predate the events of the show were left out. There are pictures from unaired footage (most likely from the original pilot) that show the deaths of Ned Stark's father and brother at the hand of Mad King Aerys. It is likely the original pilot would have gone into some depth on this, but where film is the art of showing, not telling, giving long flashbacks like the book does (thus taking us out of the main story) would detract from the story and confuse watchers. Keeping this in mind, the show's writers put in the most important details, and that is enough to keep the show-only folks on track.

In short: The books have a TON of content pertaining to backstory, especially the first book. However, in order to keep a season's adaptation in 10 hours, a lot of material will still be cut. Unfortunately, a lot of the cut material was backstory. If you're interested in backstory, check out the books. They're definitely worth a read.

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