A Song of Ice and Fire is an epic fantasy novel series written by screenwriter and American novelist, George R. R. Martin. A hugely popular book series, A Song of Ice and Fire is the basis of the largely-celebrated HBO show, Game of Thrones.
Who Is George R.R. Martin?
George R. R. Martin is a fantasy writer born who grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. He made his writing debut in 1977 with the novel, Dying of the Light, and by the mid-1980s, he was already making a career by writing for television.
He first published the first installment to the A Song of Ice and Fire series in 1996. By the time the fourth volume, 2005’s A Feast for Crows, came out, his name was already included in the top best-sellers list.
With the television adaptation of Game of Thrones in 2011, along with its star-studded cast, the fantasy series reached an ever wider audience. Martin published the latest title of the series, A Dance with Dragons, that same year, which also achieved a best-selling status.
Game of Thrones eventually ended its eight season run in HBO in 2019 but Martin is still far from finished with the book series. The upcoming sequels, The Winds of Winter, and A Dream of Spring are yet to be published.
A Song of Ice and Fire Series Rundown
The book series takes place on the fictional continents Essos and Westeros. The narration of the whole story is from a limited perspective of a number of characters increasing from nine in the first novel, Game of Thrones, to t31 main characters by the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons.
Three main plots intertwine: the rise of Daenerys Targaryen to the Iron Throne, the imminent threat of the Others in the most northern part of Westeros, and the war of the royal families on who gets to sit on the Iron Throne.
According to Martin, his inspiration for the best-selling book series included the French historical novels, The Accursed Kings, by Maurice Druon, and the Wars of the Roses. A Song of Ice and Fire received mostly positive acclaims because of its realism, its diverse portrayal of religion and women, as well as its assortment of subjective and disparate points of view.
The series was translated into 47 languages as of early 2017, and by mid 2019, over 90 million copies of the book were sold worldwide.
A Song of Ice and Fire Series Complete Booklist & Summary
Here are all the Song of Ice and Fire books in chronological order for anyone who wants to get started on the book series:
1) A Game of Thrones (First in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: 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.
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2) A Clash of Kings (Second in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.
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3) A Storm of Swords (Third in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. Filled with the stench of death and decay from the destructive dynastic war, Daenerys is gathering allies and strength for an assault on King’s Landing, hoping to win back the crown she believes is rightfully hers. But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings bent on overwhelming the Seven Kingdoms arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. And as the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest in the quest for victory until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . . . Brilliantly conceived and grand in scope, A Storm of Swords is the incredible tale of a world of harsh beauty and powerful magic, torn by treachery, ravaged by brutality, and consumed by greed and ambition. It portrays a war-torn landscape in which nobles and commoners, heroes and villains, the freeborn and the enslaved, all struggle to survive and to find their destinies…along with the dazzling bounty and wondrous enchantment that was once their birthright in the Seven Kingdoms.
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Like the first two books, A Storm of Swords could coast on the fundamentals: deftly detailed characters, convincing voices and dialogue, a robust back-story, and a satisfyingly unpredictable plot. But it’s Martin’s consistently bold choices that set the series apart. Every character is fair game for the headman’s axe (sometimes literally), and not only do the good guys regularly lose out to the bad guys, you’re never exactly sure who you should be cheering for in the first place.
Storm is full of admirable intricacies. Events that you thought Martin was setting up solidly for the first two books are exposed as complex feints; the field quickly narrows after the Battle of the Blackwater and once again, anything goes. Robb tries desperately to hold the North together, Jon returns from the wildling lands with a torn heart, Bran continues his quest for the three-eyed crow beyond the Wall, Catelyn struggles to save her fragile family, Arya becomes ever more wolflike in her wanderings, Daenerys comes into her own, and Joffrey’s cruel rule from King’s Landing continues, making even his fellow Lannisters uneasy. Martin tests all the major characters in A Storm of Swords: some fail the trial, while others–like Martin himself–seem to only get stronger. –Paul Hughes
4) A Feast for Crows (Fourth in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears. . . . With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King’s Landing. Robb Stark’s demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist—or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
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5) A Dance with Dragons (Fifth in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.
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6) The Winds of Winter (Sixth in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: Druidic prophecies, a galactic space adventure, a cabin of horrific secrets – and a mysterious white cat that seems to walk through the very stories themselves.Whether you’re in the mood for a fantastic adventure, an edge-of-your-seat horror tale or a budding romance, Winds of Winter is the perfect read for this holiday season – a gift for being wonderful readers.
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7) A Dream of Spring (Seventh in the Series of Game of Thrones Books)
- Book Summary: Originally titled A Time For Wolves. The seventh and apparent final book of George R. R. Martin’s acclaimed series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
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