In case you are looking to get into Westeros in an original way (through books), we have made for you a Game of Thrones reading order that will lead you through every ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book published to date.
Unfortunately, the series is still not finished. There are currently five books in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, and author George R.R. Martin intends them to be seven by the time the series ends.
But for now, our Game of Thrones reading order leads you from the first book, ‘A Game of Thrones,’ to the currently last, ‘A Dance with Dragons.’ We have also included short stories, as well as spin-off books.
Game of Thrones reading order at a glance
- A Game of Thrones
- A Clash of Kings
- A Storm of Swords
- A Feast for Crows
- A Dance with Dragons
- The Hedge Knight
- The Sworn Sword
- The Mystery Knight
- The Princess and The Queen
- The Rogue Prince
1. A Game of Thrones
A Game of Thrones is the first book of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire genre of fantasy novels. It was released for the first time on August 1, 1996.
Martin incorporates the plot lines of the noble houses of Westeros, the Wall, and the Targaryens in the book, recounting events from different points of view.
Several spin-off works, including sports, have been influenced by the book. It is also the inspiration for and the name of the first season of Game of Thrones, an HBO television series that debuted in April 2011.
Characters are often met with choices that pit one redeemable quality against another in the book. Characters are always pressed to choose between their affection for those dear to them and the larger interests of honor, and loyalty.
In Westeros, Ned eventually agrees to go south with Robert, leaving much of his family behind in Winterfell.
At the Wall, Jon is torn between joining his half-brother Robb in revolt and remaining with his sworn brothers in the Night’s Watch.
Daenerys is outraged by the Dothraki abuse of the Essos conquered. These disputes are frequently characterized by inconsistency in making decisions.
Having several points of view is critical to the characters’ grayness. You must be able to see the fight on both angles, for true humans in war go through all these self-justification mechanisms, convincing ourselves that what we’re doing is the best thing to do.
The novel’s prologue describes the Wall, a legendary barrier of rock, ice, and magic thousands of meters high and hundreds of kilometers wide that protects the Seven Kingdoms from the northern wasteland.
The Night’s Watch guard the Wall, protecting the world against the fabled Others, an ancient and hostile alien race, as well as the human “wildlings” who reside north of the Wall.
2. A Clash of Kings
The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are at war in A Clash of Kings, while the Night’s Watch conducts a scouting mission to discover the strange people known as wildlings. In the meantime, Daenerys Targaryen’s quest to rule the Seven Kingdoms continues.
With King Robert Baratheon no longer alive, his alleged son Joffrey now sits on the Iron Throne. His reign, though, is far from safe, as both of Robert’s brothers, Renly and Stannis, have assumed the throne.
Two areas threaten to secede from the realm: Robb Stark declares himself “King in the North,” and Balon Greyjoy proclaims himself “King of the Iron Islands.” The conflict between these candidates is known as the Battle of the Five Kings.
A Clash of Kings, as its sequel, was well received by reviewers. The first edition of the Game of Thrones board game has also been titled A Clash of Kings.
3. A Storm of Swords
A Storm of Swords is the franchise’s longest book to date.
It was so long that the paperback edition was cut in half in the UK, with Part 1 released as Steel and Snow in June 2001 (with the one-volume cover) and Part 2 released as Blood and Gold in August 2001. (with a specially-commissioned new cover).
In France, it was decided to divide the novel into four different versions.
A Storm of Swords is set in a fictional world resembling medieval Europe (mainly on the land of Westeros), except that seasons will last for years, if not decades, in this universe. A Battle of Blades takes up where A Battle of Kings left off.
The Seven Kingdoms are embroiled in the Battle of the Five Kings, with Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon battling for their thrones, despite the fact that Renly has already died.
The recent coalition between House Lannister (supporting Joffrey) and House Tyrell has defeated Stannis’s plan to seize King’s Landing.
George R. R. Martin didn’t even write the Red Wedding chapters until towards the end of the novel, after completing almost every chapter, because he found writing to be a traumatic process.
4. A Feast for Crows
A Feast for Crows is the fourth of seven proposed novels in American author George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel A Song of Ice and Fire.
The novel was first released in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2005, with a US release followed on November 8, 2005.
The three Daenerys Targaryen chapters were originally written in a chapbook for BookExpo 2005 but were later transferred to the fifth edition, A Dance with Dragons.
A Feast for Crows, like its precursor A Storm of Swords, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, one of the two most coveted awards in science fiction and fantasy publishing.
A Feast for Crows only features some of the POV characters from the previous books, as well as some new characters that occur only occasionally, due to complications that emerged during the writing process. The remaining characters arrive in the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons.
A Feast for Crows takes up where A Storm of Swords left off while still running concurrently with events in the subsequent book, A Dance with Dragons.
The War of the Five Kings appears to be coming to an end.
Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy are all no longer alive.
King Stannis Baratheon has retreated to the Wall, where Jon Snow has risen to the position of Lord Commander.
Joffrey’s eight-year-old brother, King Tommen Baratheon, now rules in King’s Landing under the constant watch of his mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. Lord Tywin Lannister has died, assassinated by his son Tyrion during his escape from the capital.
Sansa Stark is hiding in the Vale, guarded by Petyr Baelish, who murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and appointed himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of Lord Robert Arryn, who is eight years old. The book takes place over several months in the year 300 A.D.
5. A Dance with Dragons
After much expectation that it will be finished by late 2006, the novel was published on July 12, 2011. Martin published the book on April 27, 2011.
“The Dance of the Dragons” is the name assigned to a civil war in Westeros’ history, contributing to much anticipation that the novel will feature Daenerys Targaryen’s army’s long-awaited invasion of Westeros.
When Martin initially planned the book as a trilogy, the title of the second novel in the series was A Dance of Dragons.
A Dance of Dragons is mentioned as the upcoming second volume in some early US editions of A Game of Thrones. It was also the title of the fourth book when it was first planned.
A Dance with Dragons continues where A Storm of Swords leaves off, running concurrently with events in A Feast for Crows. The War of the Five Kings appears to be coming to an end.
In the north, King Stannis Baratheon has built himself at the Wall and pledged to gain the Northmen’s allegiance in order to pursue his fight for the Iron Throne, but this is complicated by the ironborn’s control of most of the west coast.
On the Wall itself, Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch but has enemies both in the Watch and outside the Wall.
Tyrion Lannister has been carried by ship across the narrow sea to Pentos, but his final targets remain uncertain yet to him.
On Slaver’s Bay, Daenerys Targaryen has captured the city of Meereen and has vowed to remain and rule the city, honing her leadership skill which will be required as she moves on to Westeros.
A Dance with Dragons takes place in the year 300 AC, which partially runs concurrently with A Feast for Crows, but goes on further into the year 300 than the earlier books did.
6. The Hedge Knight
The Hedge Knight is a collection of short stories by George R. R. Martin that first appeared in the Legends series, a compilation of tales by numerous fantasy writers. The plot takes place in 209 AC, about 90 years before the start in A Song of Ice and Fire.
It follows the story of how Dunk took the mantle of a hedge knight and encountered his squire, a young boy called Egg, on his journey to play in a tournament at Ashford Meadow.
The Hedge Knight was first included in the Legends anthology in 1998. The original Legends has been split into two, three, or four volumes on occasion, leading to disagreement with the true sequel, Legends II.
The second book is a completely distinct anthology, despite being edited by the same person, with six authors in common with the first and even the second “Dunk and Egg” novel.
The Hedge Knight was also included in Martin’s 2007 anthology Dreamsongs, Volume II, which was transformed into a comic book mini-series that was later published into a graphic novel.
Bantam was planning to release a collection of the first four “Dunk and Egg” novels, including Hedge Knight. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a compilation of only the three previously released novels, was eventually released in 2015 as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
7. The Sworn Sword
The book reflects on the complicated road of heroism as trivial feuds and unfairnesses are a part of what it means to be a sworn man of the feudal Seven Kingdoms.
Over a year and a half since The Hedge Knight, the Seven Kingdoms are experiencing a devastating summer drought, which has resulted from the Great Spring Sickness.
Ser Eustace Osgrey of Standfast in the Reach has sworn Dunk’s sword to him. Eustace is an aging knight who laments his family’s dual defeats and the lack of its historic honor. Dunk and Egg return to Standfast after a brief visit to Dock for supplies.
When they return, they find that a nearby stream has dried up whilst they were gone. Suspicious, and ignoring the alarm of fellow sworn sword Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield, Dunk dispatches Egg to Standfast to inquire.
Dunk and Bennis find a dam constructed on the orders of Lady Rohanne Webber of Coldmoat upstream. Ser Bennis cuts one of the workmen with his longsword as they fail to demolish the dam.
Ser Osgrey, Duncan, and Egg travel to the river and find Lady Webber and her small army. Ser Duncan requests and receives a private meeting with Lady Webber. He reveals her Egg’s bracelet, showing Egg is a blood prince.
To compensate for her man’s wounding, he slices his own buttocks. Lady Rohanne is delighted, but she insists on an apology from Sir Eustace, who declines. The parties agree to end the dispute in a battle between their champions. Duncan battles Ser Lucas and kills him, but nearly drowns in the end.
8. The Mystery Knight
The Mystery Knight is a book that appeared in the Warriors anthology in 2010. Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg, are riding across the Riverlands in the year 212 AC. They are on the way to the North to serve Lord Beron Stark, who has issued a call for men to assist in repelling Greyjoy attacks on the north coast.
Duncan begins the tournament as a mystery knight but is defeated in his first round by Ser Uthor Underleaf. He learns, very soon that Underleaf was paying to kill Duncan during the joust and that Lord Peake gave Ser Glendon Ball a spot in his regiment in return for losing to the Fiddler.
When looking for Egg, Duncan talks with the Fiddler and discovers that “John” is not the Fiddler’s real name. Lord Gormon reveals to Duncan that they are planning a second uprising under the banner of House Blackfyre.
Rivers gives Duncan the gold to recover his armor at Egg’s request. He permits them to resume their journey. Until they depart, Duncan asks questions about Daemon’s fate, and Egg inquires about the dragon’s egg.
While Rivers does not prove anything, his response leads Duncan to believe that it was most likely stolen by someone else.
9. The Princess and The Queen
The Princess and the Queen, or the Blacks and the Greens, is a novella released as part of the Dangerous Woman anthology on December 3, 2013. On the third day of the third month of 129 A.D., King Viserys I Targaryen dies in his sleep.
Queen Alicent Hightower and Lord Commander Criston Cole are the first to be told of the king’s passing, so instead of telling the silent sisters and arranging for Viserys’s cremation, they lock the king’s quarters, post guards, apprehend anyone who learns of Viserys’s death and convene the smaller assembly.
Instead of planning to alert Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys’s successor and new Princess of Dragonstone, they continue to discuss the coronation of Alicent’s eldest son by Viserys, Prince Aegon.
Rhaenyra, who has been incarcerated at Dragonstone for six months due to her pregnancy, goes into labor after learning that her father has died and her half-brother has been crowned king. Visenya, the female infant, is stillborn, making Rhaenyra even angrier than before.
The Princess and the Queen spans the first two years of The Dance of the Dragons, which lasts almost two and a half years. It is the first civil war of the Targaryen empire, and many Targaryens and dragons are killed.
10. The Rogue Prince
It follows Viserys’ developing alliance with his brother Prince Daemon, as well as the king’s scheme for succession to his daughter from his first marriage, despite the fact that he has a son from his second marriage, cementing a competition among the Targaryens that is played out in The Princess and the Queen.
It tells the tale of the years prior to the tragic events of The Princess and The Queen during King Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, with special emphasis on the involvement of the king’s child, Prince Daemon Targaryen, as written by Archmaester Gyldayn.
The novella portrays life at King Viserys I Targaryen’s court in King’s Landing, as well as the lives of those related to House Targaryen, with an emphasis on Prince Daemon Targaryen, his niece and later wife, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and her children, and King Viserys I Targaryen and his second wife and the children from his second marriage.
The plot was supposed to be included in the sequel novel The World of Ice and Fire, but it was cut when the book became too lengthy for the initial idea of a fully illustrated volume. It and some other tales were reprinted in abridged form in other anthologies.