Game of Thrones is already rife with inbreeding, rape, and blood magic, but as it turns out, the worst parts of the story aren't even on the show or in the main novel series. They're in The World of Ice and Fire, an extension book which George R R. Martin co-published in 2014 instead of working on the books we actually care about.
World of Ice and Fire is a great read, with scandalous deets about everyone from the Tyrells to Daenerys's great great grandfather. It also reveals how horrendous the Game of Thrones universe truly is. In comparison to World of Ice and Fire, the chaste beheadings and patricides of Game of Thrones' main story are basically a Disney movie. Some of the most disturbing things in The World of Ice and Fire don't even have to do with humans: They have to do with killer butterflies.
If you want to give yourself nightmares, or if you just can't get enough GoT before the next episode comes out, then click through this list for a deep dive into the terrifying, intense and deeply creepy Game of Thrones extended universe.
When Missandei tells Davos in Season 7 that she's from the southern island of Naath, he mentions the island's butterflies. This makes it seem like Naath is a peaceful tropical paradise. This is horribly, utterly wrong.
According to lore, any non-native who stays on Naath for longer than a few hours succumbs to "butterfly fever." It sounds kind of delightful, like a disease a kitten would get, but it's actually a pathogen carried by Naath butterflies that causes you to sweat blood and shed all of your flesh until you die. It's the only reason Naath remains unconquerable.
Understanding Melisandre's homeland of Asshai-by-the-Shadow shines some light on why she's such a huge bummer. This gloomy Essos city – built entirely of pitch black stone – is devoid of markets, taverns, and joy in general. There are also no children anywhere, which means that everyone is either asexual, infertile, or eating babies as soon as they're produced.
What really makes Asshai a realtor's worst nightmare, however, is the lack of potable water. The population of Asshai – which consists of taciturn sorcerers, necromancers, and other weirdos – has to rely solely on trade in order to acquire fresh drinking water. All of the water in Asshai itself is toxic, and full of hideously deformed fish.
If Game of Thrones were set on Sothoryos – a mysterious continent to the south of Westeros and Essos – the series would be over in one episode. Between the countless diseases, enormous crocodiles, giant piranhas, basilisks twice the size of lions, parasitic worms, velociraptors (!), gargantuan bird/dragon hybrids, and cannibalistic Neanderthal-like natives, everyone would basically only have time to make out once and die.
Considering the continent is basically like the show 1000 Ways to Die – but with all 1000 things happening at the same time – it's unsurprising most of its inhabitants bounced a long time ago, only leaving behind mysterious ruins.
In the far, far east, past a body of water called Leviathan Sound, there is an archipelago called The Thousand Islands. The women there are green, bald, and have mouths of filed, pointy teeth. If the parallels to the Wicked Witch of the West aren't already strong enough, they're also terrified of water.
The women of The Thousand Islands are incredibly savage. Seemingly frustrated by the fact no one can understand their alien language, they regularly sacrifice friendly, innocent sailors to a hideous, fish-headed god.