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

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. Martin 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 five Game of Thrones books. However, the Game of Thrones book series is not complete. That’s because there are supposed to be seven books in the series.

Martin has said the ending of the book series will be different from the TV series, which garnered disappointment from most fans. However, with two more books yet to published, fan have no idea when to expect this different ending. In the meantime, there are also some novellas and companion books in this world which you may wish to check out.

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 six Game of Thrones spin-offs in some stage of development from HBO with two others having been cancelled. In addition to the House of the Dragon prequel and the Jon Snow sequel, there are two live-action spin-offs and two animated spin-offs.

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 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. This is the reading order that many original fans followed, picking up Martin’s next book as soon as it became available.

  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, you should only read the Game of Thrones books in this order as a reread of the series.

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.

Should I Read Fire and Blood First?

The chronological order of the Game of Thrones books should only be used as a reread of the series, or to better understand the timeline. Therefore, you should not read Fire and Blood first.

The most common reaction from fans after reading Fire and Blood is that it reads like a textbook. That’s because it is a 700-page deep dive into the Targaryen family history. This book reads like a history textbook, because it is; it’s a historical recount of the rise and fall of House Targaryen.

So, this will not be your best introduction to the world of Westeros. Lots of readers found the book to be too dry and even though who loved learning more about the Targaryen dynasty agree that the book was a little bit dry.

It’s best to read Fire and Blood after you’ve read the main books, which follows the publication order, because by that point you will already have a strong interest in this world. This will make learning about this era so much more interesting, because you’ll already know the ramifications from the events and feuds that took place.

A Summary of Game of Thrones Books

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

1. A Game of Thrones

In Westeros, the seasons have been out of balance since a preternatural event in a time long forgotten. Summers last decades and winters can last a lifetime. In the north the cold is returning and sinister forces are gathering beyond the protective Wall, while the king’s powers fail in the south.

As enemies emerge, Lord Eddard Stark is called to be the king’s new Hand, putting all the Starks of Winterfell at risk alongside the kingdom. Amid tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all are vying to win the game of thrones.

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

2. A Clash of Kings

Two great leaders who held power in an age of enforced peace are dead following acts of royal treachery: Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon. Now chaos reigns from Dragonstone to the shores of Winterfell as six factions are scrabbling to control the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.

It is a plight that pits brother against brother as the dead walk in the night. The one who will sit on the throne will require the coldest steel and the coldest heart. That’s because when kings clash, the whole land will tremble.

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

3. A Storm of Swords

The game of thrones continues to unravel. One of the contenders is dead and another is in disfavor as alliances break almost as soon as they are made. Joffrey sits on the throne, but his control of the Seven Kingdoms is tenuous.

Lord Stannis is his most bitter rival and appears utterly disgraced in the vice grip of a sorceress. Meanwhile, Young Robb is ruling the North from Riverrun and Daenerys is making her way across the continent.

As forces move into place for the final showdown, an army of wildlings and a horde of Others, a mythical army of the living dead, arrives onto the scene. The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance as a maelstrom of danger descends.

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

4. A Feast for Crows

The Lannisters control the Iron Throne with boy-king Tommen in its seat as the war in the Seven Kingdoms has fizzled out, but new conflicts are sparking to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell are seeking vengeance for their dead. From the smoking ruins of Valyria the terrifying figure of Euron Crow’s Eye is returning to claim the Iron Isles. Finally, in the far north, as Others threaten to breach the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious child to the Citadel.

A Dance with Dragons George RR Martin

5. A Dance with Dragons

The Seven Kingdoms is under attack from every direction as its future hangs in the balance following a battle.

Daenerys rules her city in the east with her three dragons, but she has thousands of enemies seeking her and one young man with a different intent in mind. Tyrion Lannister is also seeking Daenerys as he flees Westeros with a price on his head. But the company he keeps is harboring a secret that would destroy Daenerys’s claim to Westeros.

Meanwhile, the Wall still stands in the North…for now. It is only as strong as its guardians and Jon Snow, the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, is about to face his biggest challenge yet.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George RR Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

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

These three novellas document the adventures of Dunk and Egg. Ser Duncan the Tall, Dunk, is a young hedge knight who is naïve but courageous. At his side is his diminutive squire Egg, whose real name remains a secret to everyone they meet.

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

Fire and Blood

This novel gives a complete history of the House of Targaryen and has an edited version of The Sons of the Dragon. It reads much like an in-universe history textbook from the time of Aegon the Conqueror, who created the Iron Throne, right up until the civil war which threatened to unravel their dynasty.

Looking for more books in order?

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

16 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.


    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.

  6. What a sincere disappointment! I finally started reading the much vaulted Song of Ice and Fire series (excited by the prospect of differences from the TV series) only to discover (some 3500 pages in) that books 6 & 7 are not even written! I ask; Why is this incomplete series so lauded? And why are Martins readers (valued fans?) not made aware this series is incomplete…? Instead the 7 book set is widely advertised as a complete set. Readers, like myself, who, after seeing the 7 book set advertisement, decided to buy the books individually may well feel ripped off! Didn’t Mr. Martin make enough money selling series rights? And before you blame the publisher know that I hold Bantam responsible too and will not be buying any books they publish any time soon again.

  7. Hello! I am a huge fan of the series both, got and hotd, and I want to read all books that would help me expand my knowledge in this fictional world. Which order of books and which ones should I read? Thanks!

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