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I've become hooked on HBO's A Game of Thrones, so I was going to read the books. However, I'm a little confused as to which order to read them since there are novellas based on chapters of the novels.

This is what I've found online:

  • Blood of the Dragon (July 1996), taken from the Daenerys chapters in A Game of Thrones.
  • Path of the Dragon (December 2000), taken from the Daenerys chapters in A Storm of Swords.
  • Arms of the Kraken (March 2003), based on the Iron Islands chapters from A Feast for Crows.

Should I read the novel first, then the novella for that book, then back to the original series?

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Those novellas are just standalone versions of the book chapters. So don't read them at all.

This does not however cover the novellas in the Tales of Dunk and Egg series, which are (to date):

  • The Hedge Knight (First published in the anthology Legends in 1998)

  • The Sworn Sword (First published in the anthology Legends II in 2003)

  • The Mystery Knight (First published in the anthology Warriors in 2010)

They are not absolutely required reading, but as they are set in the time before the main novels they do offer a very in depth glimpse into the history leading to the events of the main novels, even if the names of the two main characters sound silly. It specifically gives you a good understanding of the history of the royal Targaryen family, whom we only get glimpses of in the main series since they are all but extinct. The first two have also been released in graphic novel form. All three novellas were published together in a collection called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms in October 2015.

A second series of novellas have also been written that predate the Dunk and Egg stories. They cover major events in the Targaryen dynasty and are written as scholarly works on the history of those events. To date they are:

  • The Princess and the Queen (First published in the anthology Dangerous Women in 2013)

  • The Rogue Prince (First published in the anthology Rogues in 2014)

Note: chronologically, 'The Rogue Prince' happens before 'The Princess and the Queen'.


You can read them either before the main novels (chronological order):

  • The Rogue Prince (2014)
  • The Princess and the Queen (2013)
  • The Hedge Knight (1998)
  • The Sworn Sword (2003)
  • The Mystery Knight (2010)
  • A Game of Thrones (1996)
  • A Clash of Kings (1999)
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)
  • A Feast for Crows (2005)
  • A Dance with Dragons (2011)

Or you can just read the whole series in publication order, which is (to date):

  • A Game of Thrones (1996)
  • The Hedge Knight (1998)
  • A Clash of Kings (1999)
  • A Storm of Swords (2000)
  • The Sworn Sword (2003)
  • A Feast for Crows (2005)
  • The Mystery Knight (2010)
  • A Dance with Dragons (2011)
  • The Princess and the Queen (2013)
  • The Rogue Prince (2014)

Once you are done with this, you may want to check into George R R Martin's official site, where he (from time to time) releases teaser chapters from the upcoming book The Winds of Winter.

Related question: When will the A Song of Ice and Fire series be completed? Also, the Wikipedia page on the series stays up to date with official announcements on publications.

There are so far 2 more books slated for the series, but it may yet balloon out to more. They are:

  • The Winds of Winter (no date yet)
  • A Dream of Spring (no date yet)
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    This is a great answer and I just wanted to add that you can read the chapters of the last two books (4 & 5) chronologically if you want, using the reading order from this question: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/45251/5798 – Justin Ethier Nov 26 '13 at 22:48
  • It doesn't look like there is any hope Winds of Winter will be coming out this year: twitter.com/JaneJohnsonBakr/status/426815126818127872 – Royal Flush Jun 12 '14 at 16:14
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    @RoyalFlush - Hmmm. After that thing with his editor claiming 8 books and GRRM denying it (sorta), I'm going to go into denial mode and wait for a more official word on this. – System Down Jun 12 '14 at 17:20
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    @VincentSavard - Yeah you're right. I was just waiting until I've read it first LOL. But I guess it won't hurt to include it in the post. – System Down Jun 26 '14 at 17:52
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    Hey System, great answer. Maybe you would consider adding TWOIAF to the list, for sake of completion? – Aegon Sep 5 '16 at 8:51
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tl;dr: You probably don't need to read them at all, they are exactly the same as the chapters in the novels.


The novellas do not actually contain any additional plot or character information, they are just the relevant chapters from the novels, extracted into a novella so Martin could submit them for HUGO awards.

If you have read all of A Game of Thrones then you have already read all of Blood of the Dragon, etc.

If you read the novellas first, they will spoil the novels. If you read the novellas second, you will probably be bored. However, if you found Dany or Damphair particularly interesting characters in the novels, you may find it interesting to see their chapters as one continuous story, uninterrupted by rampaging Joffreyness.

3

A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons cover the same period of the story, but are divided by the characters they include. Half of the characters didn't appear in AFFC, and you had to wait to read ADWD to get their stories. Then two-third of the way through ADWD the storylines catch up with each other and you get all the characters again.

Some fans have come up with a combined reading order for AFFC and ADWD, which joins the books together into a 119 chapter monstrosity. While probably most people who read it this way have already read the books before, some people do say that it is a good way for the first time readers too. Surprisingly, only two chapters need to be put out of order to prevent spoilers. Some other fans have taken that list to produce a combined ebook, which I won't link to here.

2

It doesn't really matter what order you read the books / Novels, because every set (ASOIAF Books, Tales of Dunk and Egg and the duo The Rogue Prince + the Princess and the Queen) can be considered as a standalone saga. I personally saw the first season of Game of Thrones and right after it ended I read all four books that were out at the time (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows), later on I read A Dance with Dragons as it was released. Then I moved to the Tale of Dunk and Egg (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight). A few weeks ago I discovered The Rogue Prince (finished it in a few hours) and now I'm reading The Princess and the Queen. Recently there was another novel that was released by Martin that focuses more on the History of the continent - The World of Ice and Fire, I will check it out the moment I finish The Princess and the Queen. If you want to move chronologically than read The World of Ice and Fire and move on like System Down mentioned in the answer above. The important part is not the chronological time when every saga happened because like I mentioned there are very small connection between the novels and the books. When you take every saga of novels / books you need to go like:

If you choose to read the Song of Ice and Fire Books then read:

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Feast for Crows
  • A Dance with Dragons

If you choose to read the Tales of Dunk and Egg then read:

  • The Hedge Knight
  • The Sworn Sword
  • The Mystery Knight

If you choose to read the Rogues + The Princess and the Queen then read:

  • The Rogue Prince
  • The Princess and the Queen

If you choose to read The World of Ice and Fire then:

I haven't read The World of Ice and Fire but from what I heard it's a standalone novel so you can read it at any time.

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    TWOIAF is not a standalone novel it is more of a History & Geography book. I would suggest that it be read at the very end as it covers all the events from the Age of Dawn till the coronation of Robert I Baratheon. – Aegon Sep 5 '16 at 8:50
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In my answer describing the levels of canon in the series I list all of the published and unpublished works so far. However, for the purpose of the reading order I'll only add the published works as we'll get a better idea of how they fit into the story later on.


The answer by @System Down gives the generic reading order for the books either chronological or publish order. I will give a slightly different order and say you should read them as follows.

  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Clash of Kings
  • A Storm of Swords
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, The Mystery Knight)
  • A Feast for Crows
  • The Rogue Prince
  • The Princess and the Queen
  • A Dance with Dragons
  • The Sons of the Dragon
  • The World of Ice and Fire

In this order you get the initial novels from the main series to set up the universe without being too heavy. You then get a natural break in the main ones after ASoS and the next two books contain a lot of references to the D&E series. Afterwards you could read TRP/TPatQ or AFfC, I've seen them swapped around in different orders. However, I prefer the order I've shown because you get to start back into the series again and then ADwD makes a bit more sense due to the prequel novellas. Lastly, I would read TSotD and TWoIaF as they give a nice back story and history lesson to the world.

I have seen other orders that suggest leaving TRP and TPatQ until after ADwD so they act as prequel novellas similar to TSotD. It all really depends on personal taste.

One thing I would note though is get a copy of The Lands of Ice and Fire if you want a better feeling for where everything is happening. It's just a collection of maps and would be nice to use alongside reading.


The three novellas you link in the OP are actually inspired from chapters off of the main series as such you do not need to read them. However, there are some differences in them (the linked reddit posts discuss these) so if you really want to read them I'd add them in after reading the book they were inspired from or at the end.

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    +1 This is probably the best order. There were a heck of a lot of little details in A Feast For Crows and beyond where when I first read them, not having read the "Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" stories, I felt they were an annoying tangent from the storylines I was interested in and didn't pay much attention - but after I had read those stories, I appreciated the depth and clues about interesting mysteries and possibilities relevant to the main story. I'd have got a lot more out of AFFC and ADWD if I'd read the short stories first. – user568458 Jan 21 '18 at 12:33
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I know it has been a few years since these comments, so here is a small update from what I have recently read online. As of late 2017, a prequel novella called The Sons of the Dragon has hit the shelves. This one takes place before The Rogue Prince, in the years immediately following the conquest. This one takes place two generations before The Rogue Prince, which in turn leads directly into The Princess and the Queen.

All three in chronological order, The Sons of the Dragon, The Rogue Prince, and The Princess and the Queen, will be released in October of 2018 in a collection titled, Fire and Blood (similar to A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms), though with even more details. While Princess and the Queen was 35,000 words, Fire and Blood will boast over 80,000...though much of that difference comes from the other two novellas.

What we can expect in the future is largely dependent on what Martin has already written, and his questionable health. While he claims to be ever working on the much delayed and anticipated, The Winds of Winter, he also claims that after TWOW, a second volume of Fire and Blood will be following. Hopefully that entails filling in the gaps left by the end of the Princess and the Queen and beginning of The Mystery Knight.

In that gap are the reigns of at least 5 Targaryen Kings and the first 2 Blackfyre Rebellions, fueled by the rivalry of two of Aegon the IV's Great Bastards, the infamous Bloodraven (Brynden Rivers) and his half-brother Bittersteel (Aegor Rivers).

GRRM has stated he also plans to extend the Dunk and Egg novellas by several volumes, so that in total there may be 12 Dunk and Egg novellas, detailing much of the 90 years between A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and book 1, a Game of Thrones. In those years, the mystery of Summerhall takes place as well as the mystery of Sir Duncan the Tall's elusive relationship. GRRM has said that one of Dunk's decedents is a character in the present storyline.

  • Hello Greg, and welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy. Do you think you can dig up where you read this online? You can edit your answer to add this information. Meanwhile, may I invite you to take the tour? – SQB Mar 25 '18 at 11:25

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