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Prisoners locked away in the United States are offered a few luxuries while serving their sentence, and apparently reading the Game of Thrones books is not always one of them. One might understand this given the series' sexual nature and gratuitous violence, although that's not the reason A Song of Ice and Fire was banned from one prison, according to a recent article from an inmate within the institution. Apparently, the books are considered contraband for a completely different reason, which sounds a bit silly:
A Game of Thrones book was withheld because it contained maps. Maps are contraband. I guess I won't be escaping to Westeros!
That's right, some prisons have banned copies of Game of Thrones books due to them containing maps to Westeros. The ban sounds a bit extreme considering Westeros is a fictional location, and that a prisoner couldn't gain any real-world knowledge from deciphering a map of the area. Hell, it might even be helpful to the show's fanbase to have prisoners analyzing Westeros as they might be able to explain how Dany managed to fly cross country on her dragon so quickly in Season 7.
The ban Kimberly Hricko wrote about in her letter to The Marshall Project sounds extreme, but often rules like these are made for a reason. Hricko mentioned that greeting cards and things with glue are considered contraband, because they can be disguised as liquid drugs, and there are plenty of other sneaky ways people on the inside have gotten items from those who send them letters in the past.
Additionally, what may look like a map of Westeros in the Game of Thrones book could've actually been a switched out map containing the blueprints of the prison so a prisoner could make their escape. It's highly unlikely, of course, but prisoners have nothing but time on their hands to cook up schemes like that, so perhaps this is one of those cases where it's better safe than sorry. Additionally, it seems logical that someone could just snip out the pages containing maps in the books, and a prisoner could read them without worry.
Some prisoners may not be able to read Game of Thrones, but the whole world is being held prisoner to author George R.R. Martin and his lack of ability to finish novels in a timely manner. Of course, he's had a lot on his plate lately, so it's not as though many can blame him. Luckily, Game of Thrones final Season 8 is set to arrive on HBO in 2019 so a conclusive ending to this series is coming sooner than later. Fans waiting for that should head over to our summer premiere guide and see what's available to watch on television in the meantime.