A Song of Ice and Fire has established itself as a determining work of fiction in the last 25 years. George RR Martin’s fantasy saga became the zeitgeist thanks to a series of best-selling novels and an HBO adaptation that met with unprecedented success. And its prevalence in pop culture persists thanks in part to the recent HBO series House of the Dragon.
The House of the Dragon just wrapped up its first season, leaving viewers with a Vhagar-sized hole in their Sunday afternoons. With the second season more than a year away, now is a great time to dive into the source material and visit Westeros through the lens of its architect. For those who haven’t yet read George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels (and their companion books), we’ve put together this guide on how to read the Game of Thrones books in order.
How many Game of Thrones books are there in total?
Posted by George R. R. Martin five novels of his saga A Song of Ice and Fire. She is working on two future volumes in the series: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Martin has also posted several complementary works of the saga, including three Dunk & Egg novels (collected in 2015’s Knight of the Seven Kingdoms), three Targaryen-focused novels (collected and expanded in 2018’s Fire and Blood), and a world compendium titled The World of Ice and Fire. Learn more about all of them below.
How to read the Game of Thrones books in chronological order
With newcomers to the series in mind, these brief plot synopses contain only minor spoilers, such as general plot points and character introductions.
1. Fire and Blood
Fire and Blood, the source material for HBO’s House of the Dragon, is a tale of the 300-year reign of the Targaryens in Westeros. Unlike the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Fire and Blood is not told from the perspective of the characters involved in the plot, but rather is framed as an account of the Targaryen dynasty by a character named Gyldayn, an archmaester. of the Citadel who lived towards the end of the Targaryen reign in that of Robert Baratheon.
Although this places Gyldayn’s act of writing around the start of A Song of Ice and Fire, the actual events recounted in the Archmaester’s story begin 300 years before Game of Thrones and span approximately 150 years (the second 150 years are expected to of the Targaryen reign are covered in Volume 2 of Fire and Blood.)
Fire and Blood covers the lives of six Targaryen rulers, beginning with Aegon I Targaryen and his conquest of Westeros. Within these 150 years, The Death of the Dragons (also known as The Dance of the Dragons) occurs, which is the story told in HBO’s House of the Dragon.
Fire and Blood includes and expands on three of Martin’s previously published A Song of Ice and Fire novels: The Princess and the Queen, or, The Blacks and the Greens (2013), The Rogue Prince (2014), and The Children of the Dragon (2017). .
For its part, the recently published The Rise of the Dragon is a condensed and illustrated version of Fire and Blood.
2. Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a collection of three novels featuring a knight named Ser Duncan the Tall (Dunk) and his squire Aegon V Targaryen (Egg). His adventures take place approximately 90 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
It’s not essential reading, as it’s not part of (nor is it set in) the main novels, though the novels are great for those looking for more adventure or new perspectives in the Seven Kingdoms.
The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms collects three novels: The Errant Knight, The Loyal Sword and The Mysterious Knight.
3. Game of Thrones
The book that started it all in 1996, Game of Thrones, is the first A Song of Ice and Fire novel. It introduces the reader to the world of Westeros, its surrounding regions, its prominent families, and many of the colorful characters that make up the series’ heroes and villains.
Game of Thrones is set in the reign of Robert I Baratheon, after Robert’s Rebellion and the end of the Targaryen dynasty. Starts the War of the Five Kings, during which five men dispute the Iron Throne. This is followed by political intrigue, backstabbing, family feuds and bloodshed, themes common to all of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The story is told through points of view that alternate from one chapter to another. Excluding the prologue, the characters from a Game of Thrones point of view are Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen, whose story takes place across the Narrow Sea. , on the eastern continent of Essos.
Martin’s novel “Blood of the Dragon” is largely reused material from Daenerys’s “Game of Thrones” chapters, hence its exclusion from this list.
4. Clash of Kings
Clash of Kings continues the War of the Five Kings. The pronounced kings gather their banners, the Lannisters try to consolidate their power in King’s Landing, Jon Snow marches north of the Wall with the Night’s Watch, and Dany sails into a foreign land.
Excluding the prologue, the characters that appear in A Clash of Kings are Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Theon Greyjoy, and Davos Seaworth.
5. Storm of Swords
The third A Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Storm of Swords, essentially brings the War of the Five Kings to an end, save for a few claims and lingering conflicts.
As war dies down in the Seven Kingdoms, the children of the Starks face crises near and far as Jon Snow ventures with the wildlings beyond the Wall. In the East, Dany learns to lead.
Excluding the prologue and epilogue, the characters that appear in A Storm of Swords are Catelyn Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Davos Seaworth, Jaime Lannister, and Samwell Tarly.
6. A Feast for Crows
Picking up on the events of the previous novel, A Feast for Crows takes place at the same time as the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons. Several of the saga’s most beloved characters (Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen) are saved for the next book, which focuses on the characters on the Wall and across the Narrow Sea. In his absence, Feast focuses on new characters and those returning to play politics in King’s Landing, the Iron Islands, and Dorne, as winter comes to Westeros.
“It occurred to him [a Martin] that the book had become too big to be published in a single volume”, published the author in a note after Feast with Crows. For this reason, the story was divided into two books (Feast and Dance) and each of them tells ” the whole story of half the characters, instead of half the story of all the characters”.
Excluding the prologue, the characters appearing in Ravens Feast are Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, Samwell Tarly, Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Aeron Greyjoy, Victarion Greyjoy, Arianne Martell, Asha Greyjoy, Areo Hotah and Arys Oakheart.
7. Dragon Dance
A Dance with Dragons brings back the beloved characters missing from Feast and picks up after the events of the third book, A Storm of Blades. As Martin points out in his prelude to A Dance with Dragons, Feast and Dance “are parallel…divided geographically, rather than chronologically.” However, in the end it goes beyond the events of Feast, making it the furthest novel in the chronology of A Song of Ice and Fire.
In A Dance with Dragons, a new Lord Commander leads the Night’s Watch, Dany navigates the charges of power, the Greyjoys move east, a Martell flies too close to the sun, Brienne is reunited with an old friend, Arya continues his training, Tyrion is on the run and a new contender for the Iron Throne appears.
Excluding the prologue and epilogue, the characters that appear in A Dance with Dragons are Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Bran Stark, Arya Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Quentyn Martell, Davos Seaworth, Barriston Selmy, Asha Greyjoy, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Jon Connington, Victarion Greyjoy, Areo Hotah, and Melisandre.
Bonus: The World of Ice and Fire
The World of Ice and Fire is a companion compendium to the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. It’s a great tabletop book, full of illustrations and a deep history of Martin’s world dating back to the arrival of the First Men in Westeros during the Dawn Age (about 12,000 years before Game of Thrones).
The story spans from the reign of the Targaryens to Robert’s Rebellion. Includes family trees of the Targaryens, Starks, and Lannisters, as well as information on the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the Free Cities of Essos, and overseas lands.
How to read the Game of Thrones books in order of release
- Game of Thrones* (1996)
- Clash of Kings* (1999)
- A Storm of Swords* (2000)
- A Feast for Crows* (2005)
- A Dance of Dragons* (2011)
- The World of Ice and Fire (2014)
- Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (2015)
- Fire and Blood (2018)
*A Song of Ice and Fire novels
Upcoming Game of Thrones books
Martin has two novels left to publish from his planned seven-book A Song of Ice and Fire series. The sixth (and next) book is The Winds of Winter. The sixth novel will pick up after the events of A Dance with Dragons.
Martin has already published several blogs and chapter previews of Winds, revealing that there will be chapters with the point of view of Tyrion, Cersei, Sansa, Arya, Theon, Barriston Selmy and others.
The author said that with The Winds of Winter, A Song of Ice and Fire will move “more and more away from the television series”. Recently, Martin said that he is 75% done with Winds, which he predicts will be over 1,500 pages.
The final book of A Song of Ice and Fire will be titled A Dream of Spring, should Martin complete and publish it.
Fire and Blood, Volume 2
In addition to writing the main saga, Martin has confirmed that he is working on the second volume of Fire and Blood. The Tale of the Targaryens is planned as a two-part series, with this second volume presumably covering the second 150 years of the family’s 300-year reign.
Future Dunk & Egg Novels
Martin has also expressed a desire to write more Dunk and Egg novels. He said that these would not be published until he finished work on The Winds of Winter, though “it has always been his intention to write a whole series of Dunk and Egg novels, chronicling his whole life.”
The fourth Dunk & Egg novel (unfinished as of 2014) is set in Winterfell, according to Martin, and involves “a group of formidable Stark wives, widows, mothers and grandmothers whom I nicknamed ‘the She-Wolves'”. He added: “The final title, when the story is over, will be something different. There is also another Dunk & Egg novel I have in mind, with the working title of ‘The Village Hero’. This one takes place in the Lands de los Ríos. There’s no telling when I’ll have time to finish any of them, or which one I’ll write first. I don’t expect to know more until I’ve delivered The Winds of Winter.”
An HBO series is in the works that will follow the adventures of the duo and whose first season will be an adaptation of the first novel, The Errant Knight. The development of the series is in charge of Steve Conrad.