The Complete Guide to Westeros is a series of short videos that appear in the Game of Thrones Season 1 bluray set. Actual cast members, in-character, narrate the major events of the 12,000 year long history of Westeros. The "Complete Guide" for each season has a combined running time of 60 minutes, thus each functionally constitutes a full-length "bonus episode" of sorts. The featurettes were written by series staff writer Bryan Cogman. The illustrations in the Complete Guide are created by the TV series' storyboard artist, William Simpson.
The goal is that viewers new to the TV series that are not familiar with author George R.R. Martin's books are given within the space of an hour a thorough crash-course on all of the vital things one needs to know about the backstory of the world of Westeros.
Similar to the theme of the books, each of the characters gives their own perspective on historical events. For example, Robert Baratheon is filled with self-righteous fury when he describes the Sack of King's Landing, while Viserys Targaryen stresses what a betrayal it was and how the Targaryen children were butchered. The House Stark characters are horrified by the bloodshed in the Sack of King's Landing, while Tywin Lannister considers it to have been a necessary evil.
The Complete Guide to Westeros is broken in two groups of featurettes: "Houses" featurettes are in full-color limited animation and explain the specific history of main Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms; meanwhile, "History and Lore" explain the nature of institutions, cultural aspects, and historical events of the Seven Kingdoms, and are presented in charcoal-style drawings.
History and Lore
- "The Children of the Forest, the First Men, and the Andals": Bran Stark speaks of the original inhabitants of Westeros, their conflict with the First Men and the later invasion of the Andals.
- "The Age of Heroes": Bran Stark briefly narrates the stories of legendary figures of several of the seven independent kingdoms that existed prior to the War of Conquest
- "The Old Gods and the New": Bran Stark and Catelyn Tully explain the nature of the two largest religions in Westeros: the Old Gods of the Forest and the Faith of the Seven.
- "The History of the Night's Watch": Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Maester Luwin, and Lord Tywin Lannister separately narrate the origins and purpose of the Night's Watch and describe its current status from their own perspective.
- "The Order of Maesters": Maester Luwin explains the role and function of the Order of Maesters in the Seven Kingdoms as well as studies aspiring Maesters undergo.
- "Valyria and the Dragons": Viserys Targaryen narrates the origins of the Valyrian Freehold, the role of dragons in Valyrian supremacy and the consequences of the Doom.
- "The Field of Fire": Viserys Targaryen and Robb Stark give separate accounts of the War of Conquest and the consequences of the Field of Fire.
- "Mad King Aerys": King Robert Baratheon, Maester Luwin and Lord Tywin Lannister speak their own accounts of the actions of King Aerys II Targaryen that led to Robert's Rebellion.
- "Robert's Rebellion": King Robert Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen give their own perspectives on the events of Robert's Rebellion up from its beginnings to the Battle of the Trident.
- "The Sack of King's Landing": Viserys Targaryen, King Robert Baratheon, Maester Luwin, and Lord Tywin Lannister describe the Sack of King's Landing and offer their own conflicting opinions on the event.
- "House Stark": Bran and Robb Stark narrate the ancient origins, history and particularities of House Stark.
- "House Lannister": Lord Tywin Lannister speaks of the origins, status, and power of House Lannister and his role in the Reyne Rebellion.
- "House Targaryen": Viserys Targaryen narrates the origins of the Targaryen dynasty, the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms and the exile of himself and Princess Daenerys Targaryen.
- "House Baratheon": King Robert I explains the origins of House Baratheon in the War of Conquest and its rise to royalty after Robert's Rebellion.
- "House Arryn": Catelyn Tully speaks of the origins of House Arryn and the conquest of the Vale during the Andal invasion and its role in Robert's Rebellion.
- Charles Dance as Lord Tywin Lannister
- Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn Stark
- Richard Madden as Robb Stark
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark
- Donald Sumpter as Maester Luwin
- James Cosmo as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont
- Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon
- Harry Lloyd as Prince Viserys Targaryen