HBO’s hit series A GAME OF THRONES is based on George R R Martin’s internationally bestselling series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A GAME OF THRONES book is the first volume in the series.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard about this epic tale. While its hype and the sheer amount of books in the series may be daunting, we’ll take you through the novel in an easy-to-follow and approachable way for all the beginners out there. We’ll try to keep the article as spoiler-free as possible, within reason!
Table of Contents [CLICK HERE TO OPEN]
- A Game of Thrones Official Description
- Our Overview
- Our Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
A Game of Thrones
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Beyond the wall, in the north of Winterfell, three men of the Night’s Watch, Gared, Waymar Royce, and Will, scout an area Will swore to contain dead men. On getting there, they discover there is no one, and believing Will is delusional, they make fun of him. However, their worst nightmare comes to life when they face monsters.
The Lord of Winterfell hears of a captured deserter who had previously abandoned his post. He takes his sons, Bran, Robb, and Jon, to deliver justice. The sons then find six direwolves who lost their mother. The decide to take the creatures as pets. Word then reaches Ned of the death of his friend, the Hand of the King. It is then known that the king, Robert Baratheon, is coming to Winterfall.
Across the sea, East of Westeros, the Targaryens live in Pentos. As the son of the mad king, Viserys promises to get back his kingdom by trading his sister, Daenerys, to a warlord.
Baratheon arrives in Winterfell with the Queen Cersei and children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. He asks for Ned to take of the position of Hand of the King, and although Ned tries and wants to refuse, he eventually accepts.
Tragedy strikes the Starks when Bran gets involved in an accident which almost kills him. With Bran unconscious, Ned leaves Winterfell with his daughters (Sansa & Arya) as Robert proposes the marriage of Joffery and Sansa.
In Pentos, Daenerys gets married to Khal Drogo. When Robert hears of his marriage, he becomes enraged.
While Catelyn watches over Bran, someone tries to murder him using a knife made from Valyrian steel, prompting Vatelyn to travel to King’s Landing to seek answers. She meets her friend, Petyr there, to which he convinces her that the Tyrion is responsible. Meanwhile, Tyrion travels to Castle Black, the Night’s Watch, to see the wall. There he meets Jon.
Jon, who had initially been denied upon his request to join the watch, realises how difficult the position is. The other boys his age are lacking in skill, so he teaches them how to fight. Ned reaches King’s Landing and holds a meeting with the council. After the meeting, Ned talks to his daughter, Arya. Upon seeing her interest in battle, he gets her a teacher.
Daenery’s, now Khaleesi, punishes her brother when he tries to harm her. She realizes that a gift given to her by the Magister of Pentos had immense power. She realises she is pregnant.
In King’s Landing, Ned begins the investigation of the death of the former Hand of the King, and uncovers a huge secret. Catelyn decides to return to Winterfell, and while staying at an inn, she meets Tyrion and has him arrested. Now a prisoner, Tyrion is tried for attempted assassination, however, he comes out as victorious.
Daenerys tries to mend her relationship with her brother, but he acts out at her and pays the ultimate price for his insolence. Ned meets Cersei and tells her he knows about her secret and tells her to leave before Robert returns. Later, Robert is revealed to be on the brink of death.
After his passing, Ned tries to rule King’s Landing, but is opposed by Cersei, who claimed the Prince Joffrey should be king. Ned is arrested.
When Daenerys tells Khal Drogo of the happenings in the west, he promises her son the throne, but in a horrible twist of events, she loses everything. Not all is lost – Daenerys becomes the dragon mother.
Robb, Ned’s son, raises an army and marches against King’s Landing when he hears of the arrest of his father. The Lannisters raise an army with Tywin as the commander. Chaos breaks out in King’s Landing. Arya escapes, but Sansa is captured. Robb captures Tywin’s first son.
With news of Ned reaching the north, Robb’s men swear their loyalty.
A totally magnificent start to a seminal epic fantasy series. If you love watching the first season of Game of Thrones, you’re most likely going to love reading A Game of Thrones.Petrik, Goodreads User
Martin’s work has opened our eyes to a whole different world of what fantasy writing can be, a refresh on what has been long-considered a stale genre with little new territory to explore.
Unlike the fairy-tale wonderland many fantasy books portray, George RR Martin mixes fantasy elements with a degree of gritty reality not dissimilar to that of the Middle Ages.
One of the most interesting way that Martin writes is the level of opinions knitted into each chapter. Martin has set this up where each chapter has the title of one character and the whole chapter is through their viewpoint. You get their perception of events or truths. But, if you pay attention, someone else will mention a different angle of truth. Lastly, Martin doesn’t try to tell us which person is right in their perception. He purposefully leaves it vague so that we are kept guessing.
Every character has wonders of depth and their own storyline. Few characters fall into an easy trope – none are wholly good or bad, which is why this series (upon its popularity) became a hot point of discussion in its morality for many areas of the internet. Our opinions of characters will change throughout the story, much like how our opinions on real people change.
Overall, this is the start of a worldwide recognised piece of art. With storytelling unmatched by any other, a complicated and interesting plot, and characters with depth and intrigue, this is a must-read for everyone.
Not just fantasy lovers, because the book has so much more depth to it than that. If you like a good story, you’ll like this novel.
Our rating: ★★★★★
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the correct order of Game of Thrones Books?
The branching canons and miscellanies of genre fiction are commonplace to some fans but the unusual running order of A Song of Ice and Fire has been known to put off newcomers to the series. Have no fear though, the publishing order of the books is still the most sensible reading order.
Here are all the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series in (publishing) order:
- A Game of Thrones (1996)
- A Clash of Kings (1999)
- A Storm of Swords (2000)
- A Feast for Crows (2005)
- A Dance with Dragons (2011)
- The Winds of Winter (unreleased)
- A Dream of Spring (unreleased)
Is Game of Thrones a hard book to read?
In terms of the actual writing style? No. George R.R. Martin keeps the actual writing fairly simple. However, keeping track of the huge list of characters and the new elements in a fantasy world is difficult, especially to those who haven’t read many books with a lot of world-building. It may be easier, in that case, to read alongside the show!
Is Game of Thrones book appropriate for 13 year olds?
Those who have watched the show may be surprised by this answer; but maybe! There is still violence and some parts of the book which may be a little uncomfortable, but a mature thirteen-year-old can definitely read the book. The show is a lot more suited to an adult audience.
How many hours of reading is Game of Thrones?
The audiobook sits at almost 34 hours.
Is Game of Thrones book a romance?
The book isn’t necessarily what one would consider a romance, although that isn’t to say there aren’t romances within the book – the epic politics and drama definitely take the forefront.