A Game of Thrones


Author: George R. R. Martin

Title: A Game of Thrones

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1996

Number of Pages: 694

Geographical Setting: The fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros (and surrounding continents)

Time Period: Set in fictional world/time that mirrors the 15th-century English Wars of the Roses

Plot Summary: In a Fantasy world in which seasons last for years, winter is coming to the tenuously united Seven Kingdoms, bringing with it a host of political and mystical problems. This intricate and layered first entry in a planned six-book series (of which the fifth was just released) follows eight “viewpoint characters” as several powerful families jockey for control of the throne. With various characters trying to keep the peace, conspiring to circumvent succession rights, struggling to protect the world against magical forces gathering outside its walls, and plotting a return from exile to challenge for power, there is no shortage of action, danger, intrigue and even romance. Though there appear to be clear good guys and bad guys, the multiple viewpoints allow Martin to slowly reveal different facts, motivations and biases that keep the reader guessing as to what will come next. The magical influences remain primarily behind-the-scenes for much of this first book, but promise to play an important role in the series. Violence and sexually explicit scenes, including rape and incest, are included throughout. This book is experiencing a resurgence in popularity tied to the recently produced HBO show Game of Thrones, which introduced it to a broader audience, and the just-released fifth book, A Dance with Dragons.

Series: A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1

Subject Headings: Kingdoms, Political Intrigue, Magic, Dragons, Nobility, Knights, Fantasy Fiction

Appeal: Intricate plotting, realistic/flawed characters, multiple viewpoints, elaborate world building, shocking twists, epic in scale, political, grim, menacing atmosphere, well-crafted, television series crossover appeal

Three Words or Phrases Best Describing this Book: Multidimensional characters, layered storytelling, compelling

4 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook (multidimensional characters with mixed motivations, plot twists, multiple plot threads, conflict-heavy page-turner, gritty/dark tone, Fantasy series)

Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham (vivid setting, treason and political machinations lead to war, complex characterization, moral ambiguity, father and children at heart of story, Fantasy series)

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Eriksen (layered storytelling, multiple viewpoints, multidimensional characters, epic war setting, gritty/dark tone, Fantasy series)

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (blends Fantasy with historical wars, mysterious presence of dragons, struggles between characters and among factions, meticulous world building, series)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir (non-fiction covering historical period after which Martin modeled his world, dramatic, compelling, political intrigue, readers might enjoy connecting the Yorks and Lancasters with the fictional Starks and Lannisters)

Tournaments: Jousts, Chivalry and Pageants in the Middle Ages by Richard Barber and Juliet Barker (gives historical detail regarding the settings of the book, balances information and readability, helps set the scene for ongoing conflict in series)

An Instinct for Dragons by David E. Jones (looks at dragons historically from mythical, anthropological and sociological standpoints, views of dragons as envisioned by different societies)


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