ByJon Negroni, writer at
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Jon Negroni

Technically, we're talking about the book series: A Song of Ice and Fire, of which A Game of Thrones is the first entry and namesake for the HBO series.

Now you may be thinking that with Season 4 about to end, it's time to finally read the books that everyone's been raving about and spoiling on the Internet. Of course, this feat may not be as simple as expected.

First and foremost, I strongly advise you to just read the entire series, starting with A Game of Thrones. It'll make things quite simpler for you, and they're obviously worth reading as a whole. Even if you've watched every episode until now, you haven't really experienced George R.R. Martin's world of Westeros until you've read them, as they contain countless stories and characters the show never addresses.

But I understand that plenty of you don't have the time (or money) to purchase all five books, and you may just want to start reading in the right spot.

First, let's go over the books of A Song of Ice and Fire:

  • A Game of Thrones - First released in 1996, this is shortest book so far at only 704 pages. The book is roughly equivalent with the events of the first season of Game of Thrones.
  • A Clash of Kings - Slightly larger, this second entry was still adapted into just one season of the show.
  • A Storm of Swords - So far, this is the second longest book in the series at nearly 1,000 pages. Because of its length, the book was split into Seasons 3 and 4, though the show has pulled in plot points from the fourth book, as well.
  • A Feast for Crows - the second shortest book in the series, AFFC will likely cover season 5, though you can expect the show to move all over the place at this point thanks to how they've handled Season 4.
  • A Dance with Dragons - released in 2011, ADWD is the longest book, stretching over 1,000 pages. It will probably be split into two seasons, though HBO says they only want to do seven seasons.

As you can see, there is a ton of ground to cover. Martin's next book in the series is The Winds of Winter, which will be followed by the possibly last book, A Dream of Spring (Martin claims he might include an eighth book).

So unless HBO drags this out into more seasons or even movies, Game of Thrones could end somewhere between A Dance with Dragons and Winds of Winter. Who knows?

At any rate, my advice for anyone who has watched the show all the way up to the Season 4 finale is to start with A Storm of Swords.

Granted, you could probably get away with jumping into A Dance With Dragons, but you'll missing a ton of information that you'll inevitably have to look up online.

ASOS is a great jumping point because it is incredibly long (so you're getting your money's worth), and the first two seasons of the show are much less confusing and scattershot than Seasons 3 and 4. You'll also be gaining plenty of information the show hasn't gotten to yet, leaving you decently prepared to just go ahead and read the entire series (like you know you should).

Last bit of advice: I know the books are expensive, which is why buying them requires some creativity. I purchased my copies of the books at a used bookstore ($3-4 each), so I recommend staying away from the box stores. If audio books are your thing, you could always subscribe to Audible, though purchasing the books without a subscription is even more expensive than just buying the book at Barnes and Noble.

At any rate, I hope you guys enjoy the books and use what you learn responsibly. In other words, keep the book spoilers to yourself!


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