The Game Of Thrones Books By George R.R Martin: Two Ways To Read The Series In Order

A Song of Ice and Fire is a series of epic fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin.

The series is known for its richly detailed world-building, complex characters, and intricate plots filled with political intrigue, war, and magic.

The Game Of Thrones Books By George R.R Martin Two Ways To Read The Series In Order

The first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996, with subsequent books released over the next two decades.

The series currently consists of five published books, with two more planned.

The popularity of the series exploded with the release of the television adaptation, Game of Thrones, produced by HBO.

The show premiered in 2011 and ran for eight seasons, concluding in 2019.

It is widely regarded as one of the most successful television series of all time, winning numerous awards and breaking records for viewership.

The success of the TV series also led to the creation of various spin-off products, including video games, board games, and merchandise.

The series has also been translated into dozens of languages and has a large fan base around the world.

It is no surprise that millions of people have turned to R.R Martin’s books to see what all the fuss is about and if you count yourself in that group, but are unsure of what order to read the books in, keep reading as we are going to be looking at two different orders that you can read the Song of Ice and Fire series!

About A Song Of Ice And Fire

A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast of Crows / A Dance with Dragons

A Song of Ice and Fire is a sprawling epic fantasy series, with an intricate and multi-layered storyline set in a fictional world resembling medieval Europe, with a touch of magic and supernatural elements.

The series is known for its complex characters, intricate plots, and deep exploration of themes such as power, honor, loyalty, love, and family.

The series is set in the fictional world of Westeros, where seven noble families struggle for control of the coveted Iron Throne, the seat of the King of the Seven Kingdoms.

The series begins with the sudden death of Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, which triggers a power struggle between the various factions, including the Starks of Winterfell, the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, and the Targaryens, the deposed rulers of the realm.

The story is told through multiple perspectives, with each chapter focusing on a different character, including the Stark family, the Lannister family, the Targaryens, and other important figures.

As the story progresses, new characters are introduced, and the web of alliances, betrayals, and conflicts becomes increasingly complex.

In addition to the intricate plot and characters, A Song of Ice and Fire also explores themes such as politics, war, religion, family, love, and honor.

The series has been praised for its realistic portrayal of war and politics, with Martin drawing inspiration from real historical events and conflicts.

Two Ways To Read The Game Of Thrones Books In Order

When it comes to reading George R. R. Martin’s epic novels, there are two ways that you can go about it: in order of publication or in chronological order.

Chronological Order

Reading the series in chronological order allows you to enjoy the events of the story in the order they happen in the world of Westeros.

The chronological order is as follows:

Fire And Blood – Companion Book

Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (The Targaryen Dynasty: The House of the Dragon)

Fire and Blood is a companion book to the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.

It tells the history of the Targaryen family in Westeros, from their arrival on the continent to the events leading up to A Game of Thrones.

The book is divided into two parts: the first part covers the reigns of the Targaryen kings from Aegon I to Aegon III, while the second part covers the reigns of the “Dance of the Dragons” Targaryen civil war, which took place 170 years before the events of the main series.

Pros

  • The book provides a deep dive into the history of the Targaryen family, which is essential to understanding the events of the main series.
  • The writing style is engaging and immersive, with Martin’s signature attention to detail and world-building.
  • The book features beautiful illustrations by Doug Wheatley, which bring the world of Westeros to life in a new way.

Cons

  • The book does not provide any answers to the lingering questions and mysteries of the main series, and may even raise new questions that are left unanswered.

The Sons Of The Dragon – Novella (Part Of The Book Of Swords Anthology)

The Book of Swords

The Sons of the Dragon is part of The Book of Swords anthology, and it tells the story of the reigns of the Targaryen kings Maegor the Cruel and Jaehaerys I, who ruled over Westeros after the death of Aenys I.

The novella explores the political and personal conflicts that shaped their reigns, as well as the ways the dragons and their riders influenced Westerosi society.

Pros

  • The novella provides an in-depth look at a fascinating period of Westeros’ history that is not explored in detail in the main series.
  • Filled with political intrigue, battles, and tragedies, making it a compelling read for fans of the series.

Cons

  • The novella is quite short, with only about 80 pages of text, which may leave some readers wanting more.

The Rogue Prince – Novella (Part Of The Rogues Anthology)

Rogues

Part of the Rogue’s anthology which also features stories by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Joe Abercrombie, and Connie Willis, The Rogue Prince focuses on the Targaryen prince Daemon Targaryen, who was known for his fierce personality and his tumultuous relationship with his family.

The novella explores Daemon’s life, including his marriages, his military campaigns, and his role in the “Dance of the Dragons” Targaryen civil war.

It also provides insight into the politics and power struggles of the Targaryen dynasty.

Pros

  • Delves into the history and politics of the Targaryen dynasty, offering new insights and perspectives on the world.
  • The character of Daemon Targaryen is complex and engaging, with his rebellious personality and turbulent relationships making for a compelling read.
  • The novella provides answers to some long-standing mysteries of the main series, such as the true parentage of certain characters and the origins of the Targaryen civil war.

Cons

  • The novella does not provide much new information or perspectives on some of the main characters of the series, focusing instead on the backstory and motivations of Daemon Targaryen. This might be frustrating to those looking to read about their other favorite characters.

The Princess And The Queen – Novella (Part Of The Dangerous Women Anthology)

Dangerous Women 1

Featured in the 2014 Tor Books anthology Dangerous Women, this next novella is the story of the Targaryen civil war known as the “Dance of the Dragons”, which occurred about 200 years before the events of the main A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The novella focuses on the conflict between the two Targaryen princesses, Rhaenyra and Alicent, as they fight for the Iron Throne and the future of the Targaryen dynasty.

Pros

  • The characters of Rhaenyra and Alicent are complex and well-developed, with their personalities, motivations, and relationships making for a compelling and nuanced story.
  • The novella is filled with action, drama, and suspense, making it a page-turner for fans of the series.

Cons

  • The novella is filled with a large cast of characters, which may be overwhelming or confusing for some readers.

The Hedge Knight – Novella

The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel (A Game of Thrones)

First published in the anthology Legends in 1998, and later collected in the anthology A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms in 2015, The Hedge Knight tells the story of Ser Duncan the Tall- or Dunk- who travels to a tournament in the hopes of making a name for himself as a knight.

There, he befriends a young boy named Egg, who becomes his squire, and the two of them get caught up in the political machinations of the Targaryen court.

Along the way, Dunk faces a number of challenges and obstacles, including rival knights, treacherous lords, and his own personal demons.

The novella is set about 90 years before the events of the main A Song of Ice and Fire series and provides a rich and detailed look at the history and culture of Westeros.

Pros

  • Provides an immersive and detailed look at the world of Westeros and the culture of knights and lords, with Martin’s signature attention to detail and world-building making for an engaging and absorbing read.
  • The characters of Dunk and Egg are likable and well-drawn, with their relationship forming the emotional core of the novella.

Cons

  • Some readers may find the story to be predictable or formulaic, as it follows many of the tropes and conventions of traditional knightly tales.

The Hedge Knight II: The Sworn Sword- Novella

Sworn Sword (Hedge Knight, 2)

Following on from The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword continues to follow the adventures of Dunk and his squire, Egg, who find themselves caught up in a conflict between two neighboring lords over a dispute about water rights.

Dunk and Egg become sworn swords to Ser Eustace Osgrey, who has lost much of his lands and titles due to his support for the Blackfyre Rebellion.

As they seek to resolve the conflict and bring peace to the region, they encounter a number of challenges, including betrayal, treachery, and political intrigue.

Pros

  • A continuation of the story of Dunk and Egg.
  • A self-contained and satisfying story that can be enjoyed on its own, or as part of the larger A Song of Ice and Fire universe.

Cons

  • Like The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword may not offer as much depth or complexity as the main series, as it is a relatively short and self-contained story.

The Mystery Knight – Novella

The Mystery Knight: A Graphic Novel

The final adventure for Dunk and Egg, The Mystery Knight follows the tournament progression as Dunk becomes embroiled in a complex web of political intrigue and conspiracy, involving several powerful lords and their various schemes.

Ultimately, Dunk and Egg must use their wits and skill to uncover a dark secret that threatens to upend the fragile balance of power in the realm.

Pros

  • Much like the other novellas featuring the characters, Dunk is a compelling and sympathetic protagonist, and his relationship with his squire Egg adds a layer of emotional depth to the story.
  • The tournament at Whitewalls provides a rich and immersive setting for the story, and the descriptions of the jousting and other events are detailed and engaging.

Cons

  • The novella is relatively short, and some readers may feel that certain aspects of the story are not fully explored or developed, such as the mysterious identity of Ser Maynard Plumm.

A Game Of Thrones – Book One

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.

It is a sprawling epic fantasy novel set in the fictional world of Westeros, where noble houses compete for power and influence, and the threat of supernatural forces looms on the horizon.

The novel follows the story of several major characters, including the Stark family of Winterfell, the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, and the Targaryens, who once ruled over Westeros and seek to reclaim the Iron Throne.

The story is full of political intrigue, betrayal, and violence, as the characters navigate the complex and treacherous world of Westeros.

Pros

  • The world-building is rich and detailed, with a complex history, mythology, and culture that is deeply immersive.
  • The characters are complex and well-developed, with their own unique motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • The plot is full of surprising twists and turns.

Cons

  • The story can be quite dark and violent, with depictions of rape, murder, and other graphic content that may not be suitable for all readers.

A Clash Of Kings – Book Two

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2)

A Clash of Kings continues the story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the struggles for power and control that plague its noble houses.

The book picks up where the first book left off, with the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros torn apart by civil war and with multiple claimants to the Iron Throne.

The book follows the story of several characters, including Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon, and Daenerys Targaryen, as they fight to claim power and control over the Seven Kingdoms.

Pros

  • The world-building continues to be rich and detailed, building upon what was established in the first book and expanding it to new regions and cultures.
  • The introduction of new characters adds depth and complexity to the story, and their interactions with established characters provide new insights into the politics and intrigue of Westeros.

Cons

  • The introduction of new characters and plot threads can make the story feel fragmented at times

A Storm Of Swords – Book Three

A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

The third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords continues the story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, with its noble houses vying for power and control of the Iron Throne.

The book follows the story of several characters, including Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen, as they face new challenges and make difficult choices in their quest for power and survival.

Pros

  • The characters continue to be complex and well-developed, with new character arcs and alliances forming throughout the book.
  • The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns that keep readers engaged and invested in the outcome of the various conflicts.

Cons

  • The sheer size of the book may be intimidating to some readers, as it can be a lengthy and challenging read.

A Feast For Crows – Book Four

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4)

This book primarily follows the story of the Lannisters and their allies, as well as the characters in the Riverlands and Dorne.

The story takes place after the events of A Storm of Swords, with the Lannisters having control of the Iron Throne, but still facing threats from rival houses and the rebellious Iron Islands.

Meanwhile, in the Riverlands and Dorne, new characters are introduced, and new alliances are formed as the story continues to build toward its ultimate conclusion.

Pros

  • The book continues to develop the rich and complex world of Westeros, with detailed descriptions of new locations, cultures, and traditions.
  • The character development in the book is strong, with many characters going through significant changes and growth throughout the story.

Cons

  • The pacing of the book is slower than the previous ones, with a lot of time spent on character development and world-building rather than action and plot.

A Dance With Dragons – Book Five

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)

A Dance with Dragons continues the story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the fight for power among the noble houses.

Some of the key plot points of this book include Queen Cersei’s imprisonment by the Faith, Jon Snow’s ascension to Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and his dealing with the aftermath of the wildling invasion and the growing threat of the Others, and Daenerys Targaryen ruling over the city of Meereen and struggling to maintain peace among the warring factions as her dragons grow wilder and less controllable.

Pros

  • Depth of world-building
  • Strong themes such as power, identity, morality, and loyalty to name a few
  • Compelling characters
  • Unpredictable plot twists

Cons

  • Pacing issues
  • Lack of resolution

There are also two more books due to be released in the A Song of Ice and Fire series- the sixth being The Winds of Winter and the seventh being A Dream of Spring-, though both have yet to be given a release date.

Publication Order

You can also choose to read the books in the order of publication. Reading them in this order can help you to understand the evolution of the series, so it is certainly a viable choice should you wish to do so.

The publication order of the A Song of Ice and Fire series is as follows:

  • A Game of Thrones (1996)
  • A Clash of Kings (1998)
  • The Hedge Knight- Novella (1998)
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)
  • The Sworn Sword- Novella (2003)
  • A Feast for Crows (2005)
  • The Mystery Knight- Novella (2010)
  • A Dance with Dragons (2011)
  • The Princess and the Queen- Novella (2013)
  • The Rogue Prince- Novella (2014)
  • Fire and Blood- Companion Book (2018)

Final Thoughts

Reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series in publication order allows readers to experience the story and world as it was originally released, which can provide a greater appreciation for the evolution of the series over time. It can also help readers avoid spoilers and discover the various novellas and non-fiction works that are related to the series.

Reading the series in chronological order, on the other hand, can provide a different perspective on the story and world, and can help readers understand the events and characters differently.

However, reading in chronological order may spoil some of the surprises and plot twists that were intended to be revealed later in the series.

Ultimately, both orders have their benefits and drawbacks, and it’s up to you to decide which approach works best for you!

No matter the order chosen, the A Song of Ice and Fire series is a rich and complex world that rewards careful reading and attention to detail, and provides a thrilling and epic story that captivates readers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Read The A Song Of Ice And Fire Novellas?

No, the novellas are not essential to understanding the main plot of the series.

However, they do provide additional context and detail for the world of Westeros and its history and can be enjoyable to read for fans who want to explore the world in greater depth.

Will I Miss Anything Important If I Read The Books In A Different Order Than Publication Or Chronological?

You may miss some of the nuances and details that the author intended, but ultimately the order in which you read the books is up to you.

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Noah Burton