*No spoilers ahead*
Last year 9 million people tuned in to watch the season six finale of Game of Thrones. And when you factor in people who recorded it to watch later, people who waited for the entire series to air so they could binge and, of course, all the illegal downloads – the actual figure is estimated at 25 million. And the ratings are even higher this year! Basically, the point I’m trying to make is that a heck of a lot of people watch Game of Thrones, and all of us poor GoT fans are currently facing a rather dire challenge. Season seven is concluding today and already there are rumours that the next (and final!) season may not air until 2019.
Guys. Think about this. We might well be staring down the barrel of an 16 month wait for the last season of Game of Thrones. 16 months …. or possibly even longer!?
How in the name of the seven kingdoms are we supposed to survive this?
At the time of writing this blog post I have not yet seen the season finale but I bet you a million “valar morghulis” coins that it’s going to end on an excruciatingly painful cliffhanger. I don’t know about you but I need a game plan to survive the wait for season eight. I need a reading list of books to fill the giant Drogon-sized hole in my life!
And so here it is. My personal reading list, specifically designed to help me survive my Game of Thrones withdrawal. Some of these are books I have already read and plan on re-reading, while others I have never read but have chosen based on recommendations from friends.
For those Game of Thrones withdrawals…
I mean obviously. The best substitute for the show is always going to be the source material! Admittedly, the show has moved beyond the plot covered in the currently published books, however, there’s no denying that there’s a lot of detail in the books which never made it into the show (I’m looking at you, Lady Stoneheart).
For those long time fans who have already read the A Song of Ice and Fire series, re-reading the books will remind you exactly why you fell in love with this series in the first place. And for those who are fans of the show but have never read the books, what are you waiting for? You’re missing out on so much extra story!!
When you reach the end of A Dance With Dragons, however, you better brace yourself for some reader’s rage. We still have no firm release date for the sixth book, The Winds of Winter. I mean it will probably be published some day. Hopefully? Maybe?? However, we will then most likely face another decade or so for the seventh book so … thank the Lord of Light for the show, am I right? Discover the series here.
I have been meaning to read this series for SO LONG. I know that there is a TV show in the works, and that Lin-Manuel Miranda is attached to the project, which sounds awesome. I definitely want to read the books before the show comes out.
The first book in this series, The Name of the Wind, is constantly cropping up in people’s lists of “Best Fantasy Books Ever”. In fact I’ve been told to read it so often, I can’t actually believe it’s taken me this long! Discover the series here.
I have just started on the first book in this series. It’s another one that’s been on my TBR pile for years and I have been assured by many people on many occasions that I will love it. And I have to say so far, it’s totally living up to the hype! Described as Robin Hood meets Ocean’s Eleven, I’m really loving the fantasy-adventure /action-heist genre mash-up and can totally see why the series has such a loyal following. It tells the story of charismatic con-artist, Locke Lamora, and his gang of tricksters and thieves known as The Gentleman Bastards.
Literally any book by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb’s The Liveship Traders is one of my favourite fantasy series and I definitely foresee a re-read in my near future. Following the trials and tribulations of several families of traders who possess magical sentient ships (which I realise sounds crazy but trust me, it’s really cool), this is adventure on the high seas with action, intrigue, magic and so much epic drama that Game of Thrones fans are bound to love it.
And the best part? The Liveship Traders isn’t Robin Hobb’s only series. She also has a spinoff series, The Rain Wild Chronicles, which is choked full of dragons, and then there is incredible Farseer Trilogy (and subsequent spin offs) – an epic fantasy series full of murder and mayhem and armies of the undead. Plus the main character, Fitz, shares some common traits with our favourite Game of Thrones assassin Arya Stark. Both are kickass graduates of scary assassin schools. Discover Robin Hobb here.
Speaking of scary assassin schools… my next recommendation is The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff!
Main character, Mia Corvere, is also somewhat Arya-like in the sense that she is a young girl who goes off to a scary assassin school to be trained in the art of death. Book two in this series, Godsgrave, is coming out next month and it is every bit as amazing and addictive as the first book. Full of blood and gore, strange magic and glorious violence – this sexy dark fantasy is absolutely perfect for Game of Thrones fans. Discover the series here.
The Pillars of the Earth is epic! It’s definitely one of my favourite historical fiction reads ever and having just read the third Kingsbridge book, A Column of Fire, I am very much feeling the need to re-read the first and second books in the series.
This is historical fiction rather than fantasy so if you’re looking for dragons then look elsewhere. If, however, you are drawn to Game of Thrones because you’re into medieval history then look no further than The Kingsbridge Novels. It will give you everything you’re looking for!
George R. R. Martin drew inspiration from real historical events for the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Honestly, sometimes when I’m watching Game of Thrones it’s easy to forget that it’s not actually an accurate representation of medieval history… Discover the series here.
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels: Book 1
by Philippa Gregory
On the subject of history, the A Song of Ice and Fire series is loosely based on (or at least vaguely inspired by) 15th Century British history – specifically The War of the Roses between the royal Houses of Lancaster and York. Hmmm, let’s see now, a period of dynastic civil war that divided families and plunged a kingdom into chaos… Sound familiar? (Chaos is a ladder, you guys.)
Philippa Gregory is the queen of historical fiction and while her books definitely do not feature any dragons or ice zombies, they are chocked full of exactly the kind of political intrigue and scheming shenanigans between feuding noble houses which makes Game of Thrones so popular. Her Plantagenet and Tudor novels detail the lives of real historical figures like the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, the infamous King Richard Third and of course the notorious King Henry the Eighth. It covers real events such as the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower and the marriage of King Henry the Seventh to Elizabeth of York (AKA Henry the Eighth’s parents!!).
The end of the Plantagenet dynasty and the rise of the House of Tudor is every bit as dramatic and compelling as the battle for the Iron Throne. I mean, arguably more so considering this stuff actually happened in real life! Yay history!!
This is a bit of a no-brainer, I guess. Perhaps the most famous and highly regarded fantasy series of all time, The Lord of the Rings is usually the go-to recommendation for people who love Game of Thrones. Personally, I have never been the biggest fan. Sorry!
I tried to read The Lord of The Rings in my early teens and could not deal with the ratio of male versus female characters. Also, I found myself unable to care about the long interminable journey to Mordor, and to be honest, I’m not even sure if I finished reading it. I think I may have abandoned it somewhere in the middle!
But that was then and this is now. Sometimes you need to come to a book at the right time in your life, and I think I’m ready to give The Lord of the Rings another try. Maybe this time around I will be captured by the magic that has enthralled generations of readers before me? Or maybe I will DNF it again? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out! Discover the series here.
I haven’t read any of the books in this series but I have read (and absolutely adored) Naomi’s standalone fairytale-inspired fantasy, Uprooted, and the premise of the Temeraire series sounds amaaaaaazing.
The Napoleonic Wars + Dragons? Seriously. Say no more. I am ON BOARD. Discover the series here.
Juliet Marillier is one of my all time favourite fantasy authors and yet, I have never read her Bridei Chronicles! I have devoured every other book she has ever written and have always fully intended to read The Bridei Chronicles. What better time than now to launch into this fantasy epic which, much like Game of Thrones, is loosely based on real historical events – drawing inspiration from ancient Scottish history and the life of King Bridei of the Picts. Discover the series here.
And there you have it! A list of all the books I’m planning to read to cope with my inevitable Game of Thrones withdrawal. It’s going to be bad, you guys. I’m not looking forward to the wait for season 8, and yet I am looking forward to tackling this list.
The only question is … what books have I overlooked? Please let me know, I’m always on the hunt for more books recommendations to add to my TBR pile! So if you know of a book (or series) that has helped you deal with your Game of Thrones withdrawals, please for the love of little baby dragons, tell me all about it! After all, in the immortal words of Tyrion Lannister “… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
And so I implore you, help me!