Winter is coming ... to an end, as the case may be here in NZ, but what is coming is the 25th anniversary of George R. R. Martin's much loved Game of Thrones book series — this Friday marks 25 years since the first book was published in 1996.
Beginning as a book about dragons, intended as a trilogy the publishers originally projected to sell only 5,000 copies, the 5–7 book series became a multi-million dollar cult classic that took the world by storm, complete with a fantastically popular TV series . 'A Song of Fire and Ice' series has become a modern staple of fantasy fiction and, even better, the series has been a big player in moving fantasy fiction into the mainstream, rather than a 'niche genre' tucked away in a dusty corner. As a self-proclaimed nerd and avid fantasy reader, this change sparked a lot of joy for me.
The series shows how a well-crafted fantasy world can come to life on the page (or the screen, depending on your preference), and how well Martin wove intricacies, intrigues and twists into such a mammoth work. The fact that he also managed to create a massive cast of fleshed out characters that we grew to love (Daenerys and Tyrion for me) or love to hate (I'm looking at you, Joffre and Little Finger!) makes this series such a treat for fantasy fans, whether you're reading the books, or at the edge of your seat watching the show.
We've all gotten used to waiting for the next book on this fiction rollercoaster ride, and while we're still waiting for 'The Winds of Winter', the sixth instalment in the series, you can check out the 2018-released prequel 'Fire & Blood'. Here you can see what Westeros was like under Targaryen rule, 300 years before 'A Game of Thrones' was set.
But what if you've already read all George R. R. Martin has to offer? I would suggest exploring the wide range of fantasy fiction you can find at your local library or bookshop — that tends to be how I tide over waiting for the next book in my favourite fantasy series! My most recent favourite is the 'Daevabad Trilogy', a debut fantasy trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. Like A Song of Fire and Ice, this series also builds a wonderfully detailed world that feels alive, and has characters so nuanced you'll start questioning who's right and who's wrong, all amidst a page-turning epic adventure. The story starts with Nahri, a street-smart con artist with a secret gift for healing. Her world is turned on its head when she accidentally summons a djinn warrior, and so starts an epic quest including magical cities, political intrigue, and trying to right social and historical wrongs.
Loved Game of Thrones and want to find your next fantasy read? Check out our Fantasy Fiction Reading Guide, including links to a variety of fantasy subgenres.
Here we have a sample of subgenre lists that are most like Game of Thrones:
- Epic Fantasy Reading Guide
- Fantasy Adventure Reading Guide
- Grimdark Fantasy Reading Guide
- High Fantasy Reading Guide
- Historical Fantasy Reading Guide
If you'd like to read more about George R.R. Martin and 'A Song of Fire and Ice', check out The Guardian's article for the 20th anniversary in 2016.
More Game of Thrones books and DVDs in the collection.