2 Ways to Read Game of Thrones Books in Order | George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones Books in Order

HBO’s Game of Thrones TV Series was one of the top-running shows the network could boast of for years. You’ve watched the show, now you’d like to read the books, but where to start? That’s where this list of the Game of Thrones books in order can help!

Game of Thrones on HBO is known to everyone who loves fantasy books, films, and TV shows. Fans of this highly-rated TV series know that it is a fantasy adaptation of the series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire.

If you’ve ever read a book and watched the film or TV adaptation, I’m sure you will agree with me that they aren’t an exact replica of each other. Very few movies have kept up with up to 80% of descriptions or storylines from the books they are adapted from.

The HBO Series, Game of Thrones, isn’t any different. Although the TV series captured lots and lots of details in the book, you can only get all of the actual juicy scenes from reading the book series.

Game of Thrones Books in Order

Summary of A Song of Ice And Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in Essos and Westeros’ fictional continents, where the seasons stretch and last for years, then end at times you can’t predict. The whole story revolves around 9 different families who are in a war for the control of Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen wanting to assume the Iron Throne, and the increase of supernatural Others in the northernmost part of Westeros.

George R.R. Martins began the first book in the series in 1991 and published it in 1996. He initially envisioned the story as a trilogy.

Currently, there are 5 novels in the series. However, Game of Thrones isn’t completed. Two more books are still to be released, which the author says won’t have the ending the TV series did. There are also some novellas in the Game of Thrones world.

This is where the confusion comes in, so where do you begin to read?

House of the Dragon TV Show

Though the ending of Games of Thrones left many fans dissatisfied, by the end of its run it was still the most popular TV show in the world. It’s no wonder that HBO decided it needed to create more Thrones content.

House of the Dragon Game of Thrones HBO

Enter House of the Dragon, a prequel set 200 years before Game of Thrones that centers on House Targaryen. The show debuted on Sunday, August 21, 2022, and brings back everything you fell in love with A Song of Ice and Fire to begin with.

It also became HBO’s biggest premiere ever with nearly 10 million viewers for the first episode. In comparison, Game of Thrones brought in 4.2 million viewers for its series premiere in 2011.

Matt Smith stars as Daemon Targaryen and embodies the bitter antagonist brilliantly. Other cast members include Paddy Considine as Viserys I, Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra, and Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling. George R.R. Martin is a co-creator and executive producer of the show.

Just like its predecessor, it depicts a brutal feud for power full of betrayals and allegiances.

Thanks to House of the Dragon, even more fans are discovering Westeros for the very first time.

Jon Snow Sequel TV Show in the Works

There is also another Game of Thrones spin-off show in the works. Fans of Jon Snow will be happy to hear that he will be the star of this new sequel, with Kit Harington set to reprise his role.

Harington’s only comment so far is to say that he knows nothing about it, which is a cheeky nod to an iconic line from the original series. However, George R.R. Martin himself has confirmed the existence of the project on his blog. Martin credits Harington with the idea for the show and for recruiting the creative team, who have not yet been announced.

The project is still in early stages of development, but will follow Snow’s journey after the conclusion of the eighth season of Game of Thrones. The working title is Snow. While nothing has been green lit yet, the show is in the writing stage as per Martin this summer.

This new sequel might also give fans some reprieve after the controversial ending to the original series, and offer this creative team an opportunity to right some alleged wrongs.

In total there are eight Game of Thrones spin-offs in some stage of development from HBO. In addition to the House of the Dragon prequel and the Jon Snow sequel, there are three live-action prequels and three animated prequels.

2 Ways to Read the Game of Thrones Books in Order

A Song of Ice and Fire Novels

For the Novels, reading the Game of Thrones books in order is quite simple. There are five published books and two more to come. The books in the main series of these books are:

  1. A Game of Thrones (1996)
  2. A Clash of Kings (1999)
  3. A Storm of Swords (2000)
  4. A Feast for Crows (2005)
  5. A Dance with Dragons (2011)
  6. The Winds of Winter (TBA)
  7. A Dream of Spring (TBA)

Game of Thrones Novellas & Companion Books

For the Novellas and Companions Books, there are quite a few books. They were written by G.R.R. Martin to offer an insight into past events in the same set world. These aren’t a necessity to read. However, they give information about past events, giving the story a good background. 

The novellas are 6 in number. They are:

  1. The Hedge Knight (1998)
  2. The Sworn Sword (2003)
  3. The Mystery Knight (2010)
  4. The Princess and the Queen (2013)
  5. The Rogue Prince (2014)
  6. The Sons of the Dragon (2017)

Then there are the Game of Thrones companion books. Some are collections of novellas, while other are illustrated volumes meant to enhance your understanding of the world. They are:

  1. A Knight of Seven Kingdoms
    Collects The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight
  2. The World of Ice and Fire
    An illustrated volume providing an epic history of Westeros.
  3. Fire and Blood
    A prequel that serves as the inspiration for the forthcoming HBO series House of the Dragon.

#1 Game of Thrones Books in Order by Publication

There are two ways you can read the Game of Thrones books in order if you’d like to read everything available. The first is publication order.

  1. A Game of Thrones (1996)
  2. The Hedge Knight (1998)
  3. A Clash of Kings (1999)
  4. A Storm of Swords (2000)
  5. The Sworn Sword (2003)
  6. A Feast for Crows (2005)
  7. The Mystery Knight (2010)
  8. A Dance with Dragons (2011)
  9. The Princess and the Queen (2013)
  10. The Rogue Prince (2014)
  11. The Sons of the Dragon (2017)
  12. Fire and Blood (2018)
  13. The Winds of Winter (TBA)
  14. A Dream of Spring (TBA)

#2 Game of Thrones Books in Chronological Order

Despite the order in which these books were written and published, they are all set in past and present times that don’t follow the publication order. So, if you would like to start from the very beginning of how it all started, this would be how to read it. A word of caution, this reading order should only be done as a reread of Game of Thrones.

Here’s the list of George R.R. Martin’s books in chronological order.

  1. Fire and Blood (Companion)
  2. The Sons of the Dragon (Novella)
  3. The Rogue Prince (Novella)
  4. The Princess and the Queen (Novella)
  5. The Hedge Knight (Novella)
  6. The Sworn Sword (Novella)
  7. The Mystery Knight (Novella)
  8. A Game of Thrones (Book 1)
  9. A Clash of Kings (Book 2)
  10. A Storm of Swords (Book 3)
  11. A Feast for Crows (Book 4)
  12. A Dance with Dragons (Book 5)
  13. The Winds of Winter (Book 6 – TBA)
  14. A Dream of Spring (Book 7 – TBA)

So, there you have it. Those are the two possible ways you can read the Game of Thrones books in order.

Game of Thrones Books

1. A Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin

2. A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

3. A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords, Game of Thrones Books in order, George RR Martin

4. A Feast for Crows

Game of Thrones, A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin

5. A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons George RR Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George RR Martin

This novella is set 90 years before the events of A Song of Fire and Ice starts. It includes The Hedge Knight, The Mystery Knight, and The Sworn Sword.


Fire and Blood

Fire and Blood, George RR Martin, Game of Thrones books in order

This novella gives a complete history of the House of Targaryen and has an edited version of The Sons of the Dragon.

Looking for more books in order?

Check out my list of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Reading Order.

14 thoughts on “2 Ways to Read Game of Thrones Books in Order | George R.R. Martin

    1. Sometime in the future, never, who knows?

      It’s a bit of a sore subject in the fantasy community. There’s a running joke that George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson have a running agreement to shave every time they publish a book. If you don’t know what those authors look like, I recommend googling that and you’ll find the meme. Haha.

      Unfortunately, the fantasy community has been waiting a very long time for the next Game of Thrones book, and it’s anyone’s best guess as to when or if it’ll ever publish.

  1. “A word of caution, this reading order should only be done as a reread of Game of Thrones.” Please provide some context / explanation for this statement to help newbs better decide.

    Thanks

    1. It means that new readers shouldn’t read the series in Chronological order because of possible spoilers and lack of story foundation in earlier tales before reading at least A Game of Thrones (Book 1). In other words, as I’ve already written, that reading method is for rereads of the series only. After you’ve already been through everything once before.

  2. If someone just wanted to read the book that “House of the Dragons” is based on, what book would you recommend?

    1. House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire & Blood. It is not a traditional book, but more a history of events. But Fire & Blood is the book you’ll want to read to understand more about House of the Dragon.

  3. Hi there

    I have watched Game of Thrones on TV around 5 times. I have also watched House of Dragon. Would you still recommend I read Game of Thrones first? I quite fancied reading it chronologically.

    1. I would say chronological order would be okay for you. You’ve got a good handle on the story. It wouldn’t make much sense for a newcomer to start chronologically without knowing the basic lore of the world, but with a strong awareness of places, events, and characters, I would say you’ll be okay.

  4. Hi I just finished the TV series House of the Dragon and have watched the entire Game of Thrones series. I have not read any of the books. I want to read what happens after the finale of House of the Dragon. Which book should I pick up? Would it be The Sons of the Dragon? Thanks!

    1. Chronologically speaking, Sons of the Dragon is next after Fire & Blood. However, it’s just a short story, as are all the entries on this list between Fire & Blood and Game of Thrones. Well, the Hedge Knight series is a comic, and a hefty one at 180 pages, but it’s a comic nonetheless.

      The only books GRRM has written that will fulfill that novel itch are the main Game of Thrones books. Fire & Blood is more of a history book (and what House of the Dragon is based off of), while the remainder are tales here and there.

  5. Having trouble finding The Princess and The Queen,The Rogué Prince and The Sons of the Dragon. Any ideas on where I can purchase them online?

    1. The links in the article takes you to the book on Amazon to purchase them. They are apart of a fantasy anthology, so the only way to read the individual short story is to purchase the anthology.

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