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. With the debut of the show’s pilot episode on Sunday, August 21, 2022, critics are calling it spectacular and captivating, bringing back everything that made the world fall in love with George R.R. Martin’s world to begin with.

Thus far it promises to deliver on the graphic depictions that enthralled fans with the original HBO adaptation. Fans from the premiere in London left saying the first hour of the show was captivating and jaw-dropping.

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 captures the vain and 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
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords
  4. A Feast for Crows
  5. A Dance with Dragons
  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
  2. The Sworn Sword
  3. The Mystery Knight
  4. The Princess and the Queen
  5. The Rogue Prince
  6. The Sons of the Dragon

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

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

A Game of Thrones

Winter is coming. This is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the lands that owe their allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in King’s Landing. Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules there in Robert’s name. Wildings and worse abound far to the North, behind the towering Wall.

At the turning of the season, the things relegated to myth throughout the centuries-long summer prove to be real and dangerous. The Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, has died in mysterious circumstances to the south, and a more immediate threat awaits.

In the meantime, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, son of the fallen House Targaryen, a powerful family which once ruled Westeros, plans to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki- whose loyalty he will buy using the only coin remaining in his pocket: his beautiful yet innocent sister.


A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

A Clash of Kings

In this fantasy world, a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms are in the hands of six factions, ready for battle to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. The story tells of brothers plotting against brothers and the dead rising to walk in the night as they plot to harm each other.

A princess disguises herself as an orphan boy; a knight of the spirit carefully prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress, and the Mountains of the Moon become the setting for a wild deluge. There may be a victory for the men and women possessing the coldest heart… and the coldest steel.


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

A Storm of Swords

As the wars rage as violently as ever, alliances are made and broken among the five powerful contenders, one dead, two disfavored, and two others are disfavored. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits atop the Iron Throne, governing the Seven Kingdoms with unease. Lord Stannis — his bitterest rival — stands defeated and disgraced, betrayed by the jealous sorceress who has taken him into her evil thrall.

Robb Stark, the young ruler of House Stark, still rules the North from his fortress in Riverrun. Robb plans a plot against his hated Lannister adversaries as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, home to the Iron Throne.

Meanwhile, the exiled queen Daenerys, mistress of three of the world’s remaining dragons, is crossing a bloody continent as she makes her way across the continent  . . .


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

A Feast for Crows

There’s no way this could be real. Seven brutal powers that divided the land have demolished each other by centuries of bitter fighting and treachery, leading to an uncertain truce. Or so it appears. . . .

Cersei reigns as regent in King’s Landing following the death of the monstrous King Joffrey. Northern rebels have been weakened by the death of Robb Stark, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds upon barren ground. It is thought that few legitimate claims to the once highly sought Iron Throne remain, and those that do are held in hands that are too weak, too distant, or too weak to effectively leverage them.

After a long and out-of-control conflict, the war has burned itself out. Wisdom, ambition, deceit, and power will abound as they acquire the skills, power, and magic needed to face the closest and bleakest of times.

The time has come for nobles and commoners alike, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to combine their forces and stake their fortunes . . . as well as their lives. During a crow’s feast, many guests attend-but few live to tell the tale.


A Dance with Dragons George RR Martin

A Dance with Dragons

With the Seven Kingdoms in ruins after a mammoth battle, new threats emerge from every direction, threatening their future. Located in the east lies the city of dust and death ruled by a scion of House Targaryen, Daenerys Targaryen.

Despite this, Daenerys has thousands of enemies who are on the hunt for her. Amid the gathering, a young man embarks on his own quest for the queen, with a completely different goal in mind. The exiled Tyrion Lannister, who, too is fleeing Westeros, makes his way to Daenerys.

But his latest allies in this quest are not just another ragtag band, and at the core of the group resides the one person that could undo Daenerys’ claim to Westeros forever.

The novellas and companion stories are simply a combination of the companion stories that were previously published in other versions and publications.


A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George RR Martin

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

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


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

Fire and Blood

This novella gives a complete history of the House of Targaryen. It includes 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.

6 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.

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