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List of Books in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Series in Chronological Order

List of Books in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Series in Chronological Order

George R.R. Martin, best known for his 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series of fantasy novels, has enthralled readers all over the world with a story that depicts human lust for power and the butchering that follows. This Penlighten article gives you a complete list of books in 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series in a chronological order.
Neha B Deshpande
"The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real ... for a moment at least ... that long magic moment before we wake."
―George R.R. Martin
It is highly unlikely that you are not a fan of the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series of novels by George R.R. Martin, unless fantasy does not delight you. His books have mesmerized readers for almost a decade now, and the series boasts of multiple literary awards plus worldwide acclaim. A tough competitor to the 'Harry Potter' series, this series of books have their own loyal fan following. Not to mention the legions of fans of the TV adaptation of this series.

But for now, this Penlighten article shall stick to the novels, and give you a chronological list of books in this series along with a synopsis of each novel. Before we begin, here is a brief background of the story and the settings and introduction to the principle characters in the series. A point to note though, If you're new to the series, the following content contains a spoiler!
A Brief Background About the Series
The stories in the books involves complex plots and numerous characters. However, an attempt has been made to provide a background to the readers.
The series is set in the mythical land of Westeros that is divided into seven kingdoms; namely, The Kingdom of the North, The Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, The Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale, The Kingdom of Rock, The Kingdom of the Reach, The Kingdom of the StormLands, and The Kingdom of Dorne, each kingdom is ruled by various houses.

The ruler of the seven kingdoms is King Robert Baratheon who has won the throne after conquering Rhaegar Targaryen (popularly known as Robert's Rebellion). He marries Cersei Lannister in order to acquire the loyalty of the Lannister House. He names his loyal friend Eddard Stark as the 'Hand of the King'.

Pandemonium breaks lose when King Robert dies and Joffrey, his first son is enthroned. Joffrey gets Eddard executed (who confesses to treason to protect his family), inviting the wrath of the House Starks. However, it is later known that, the children of Cersei are actually born out of an illicit relationship with her twin brother Jaime Lannister. This provokes the deceased King Robert's brothers―Stannis and Renly―to claim the throne.

Thus, the war of five kings―Joffrey Baratheon, Stannis and Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark (son of Eddard Stark) and Balon Greyjoy―is the underlying theme of the series. Meanwhile, the Targaryen siblings―Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys―are preparing to reclaim their fallen throne.
So much so for a brief introduction, but let me tell you, we're just warming up. If you like what you have read so far, then go through the short summary of each book of this series. I promise you, by the time you get to the synopsis of the fourth novel, you would want to get your hands on the real deal (novels) right away. So without further ado, let's begin.
Book #1: A Game of Thrones
Year of Release: 1996

  • Locus Award, Best Fantasy Novel 1997
  • Ignotus Award, Best Foreign Novel of 2003
  • Nominee for Best Novel, World Fantasy Award 1997
  • Nominee for Best Novel, Nebula Award 1998
The first book, which was a huge hit, introduces the primary characters and background for war of the five kings (as described above). Meanwhile, Eddard Stark's illegitimate son Jon Snow chooses to join the Night's Watch (the order which protects the massive wall built, so as to protect the seven kingdoms from what lies beyond the wall). In the capital of King's Landing, his father Eddard Stark is executed. Eddard Stark's daughter Sansa Stark is held captive by the Lannisters; while the other daughter Arya Stark manages to flee with her aides.

In the east, the sister Daenerys Targaryen is married off to Khal Drogo by her brother Viserys in return of his army. On the eve of her wedding, she receives three dragon eggs as a gift. She soon becomes pregnant with a son. Her impatient brother is, however, angry with Drogo for not yet attacking Westeros, and insults him. In a fit of rage, Drogo kills him. There is an attempt on Daenerys's life and her unborn child by an assassin hired by King Robert, this prompts Drogo to invade Westeros. However, Drogo falls to the evil intentions of a witch, who, instead of treating him, leaves him in a vegetative state. Daenerys loses both her husband and unborn child. Eventually, she emerges unscathed with her three dragons, as a strong leader, and decides to continue her brother's quest of winning back the throne from the usurper. This is where the game for the throne begins.
Book #2: A Clash of Kings
Year of Release: 1998

  • Ignotus Award, Best Foreign Novel of 2004
  • Locus Award, Best Fantasy novel of 1999
  • Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel 2000
Continuing the saga of bloodshed, the second book, aptly named 'A Clash of Kings', reflects the growing desire for power between the five kings. King Robert's brother Stannis is apparently enraged when his brother Renly, too, claims the throne. Renly gets killed by a shadow, and this thwarts Catelyn Stark's (wife of Eddard Stark) attempt to win their alliance against the Lannisters. Meanwhile, the Lannisters, in an attempt to win over the Tyrells, agree with an alliance of Margaery Tyrell with King Joffrey. Arya Stark continues to live undercover, posing as a boy. Stannis invades King's Landing; however, he is unsuccessful due to Tyrion, who gets seriously injured. On the Wall, Jon Snow holds a captive, a wildling girl, 'Ygritte', whom he refuses to kill, and also develops a sexual relationship with her. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen and her small number followers continue to win over aides. However, she is now known as the 'Mother Of Dragons'.

The hunger for power and supremacy prompts friends to fight against each other and make enemies join hands. Nevertheless, the characters have their own reasoning and logic for their demeanor; depicting aptly the web of human traits.
Book #3: A Storm of Swords
Year of Release: 2000

  • Ignotus Award, Best Foreign Novel of 2006
  • Locus Award, Best Fantasy Novel 2001
  • Hugo Award, Nominee for Best Novel 2001
  • Nebula Award, Nominee for Best Novel 2002
As the story progresses, it is revealed that, Catelyn Stark agrees to trade Jaime Lannister in return of her daughters Arya and Sansa. Brienne is entrusted with this task and she sets on a mission, as promised to Catelyn, to bring her daughters back, with her captive, Jaime Lannister. Sansa Stark is forced into a loveless marriage with Tyrion Lannister, and he refuses to consummate the marriage, against her will. Also, persistent in keeping up with marriage politics, the book highlights 'The Red Wedding', wherein there is a sinister plan against the Starks. To the readers' shock, Robb Stark and his mother, Cateyln Stark, are brutally murdered at the marriage of Edmure Tully.

In the King's Landing too, treachery is the underlining factor. Tyrion is accused of murdering Joffrey at his wedding, and is aghast when his love, Shae, testifies against him. Tyrion is put under trial, and Sansa manages to flee before she too is arrested. Jaime Lannister confesses to Tyrion that their father had lied that his first wife, Tysha, was a whore, which infuriates Tyrion. Tyrion kills both Shae and his father after he finds them together. Meanwhile, it is disclosed that Balon Greyjoy has also died. We do have a storm of swords coming up, as it seems the author has planned a huge massacre in this book! In the east, Daenerys attempts continue, as she sets the slaves free and increase her armies.
Book #4: A Feast For Crows
Year of Release: 2005

  • -
  • Locus Award, Nominee for Best Fantasy Novel 2006
  • Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel 2006
This book is again a feast for the readers. Catelyn has now taken a new identity under the name of 'Lady StoneHeart'. With her throat split open and her wounds fresh, she seeks vengeance for her dead family. She considers Brienne to be a traitor since she freed Jaime Lannister without bringing back her daughters. Enraged at Brienne's refusal to murder Jaime, she orders Brienne to be hanged. Sansa Stark has concealed her identity and is hiding in the Vale.

Cersei has plenty of opportunity to misuse power, since the eight-year-old King Tommen is guided by her. The War of Five kings is almost over since Joffrey, Robb, Renly and Balon are dead, and Stannis has withdrawn to his kingdom after losing the battle. Moving further, Arya Stark joins the House of Black and White, and assumes a new identity; however, she is turned blind, apparently, as a punishment for not abiding by the rules of distancing completely from one's true identity. Cersei, fearful of the increasing influence of Tyrell, hatches a plan to charge Margaery Tyrell of adultery. Nevertheless, the plan boomerangs, and she is arrested by The Faith, and Jaime Lannister pays no heed to her summons. On the other hand, Oberyn Martell, the prince of Dorne―a constituent region of Westeros―who was seeking vengeance for his dead sister is killed by Ser Gregor Clegane―the head of the House of Clegane, minor vassals of the House of Lannister.
Book #5: A Dance with Dragons
Year of Release: 2011

  • Locus Award Best Fantasy Novel 2012
  • SFX Award, Best Novel 2012
  • Good Reads Choice for Best Fantasy 2011
  • World Fantasy Award, Nominee for Best Novel 2012
  • Hugo Award, Nominee for Best Novel 2012
In the east, Daenerys continues to rule over the city of Meeren. Her dragons, however, are getting out of control, compelling her to chain them. However, she has several enemies since she abolished the slavery system, and they begin to attack her. To bring peace to the city of Meeren, she marries the noble Hizdahr zo Loraq. In the celebration which follows, one of the dragons appears and wreaks havoc.

Seeing him in pain, Daenerys, who is like mother to him, flies away with him to a distant land. On the Wall, Jon Snow is named as the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Cersei too, confesses to some of her sins to gain access to the visitors; however, is required to be paraded naked. Meanwhile, Tyrion continues with his hideout and joins Daenerys's campaign to reclaim the Iron throne. Arya Stark regains her sight and continues her training.
Forthcoming Books (tentative names)
  • Book #6: The Winds Of Winter
  • Book #7: A Dream of Spring'
In January of this year, the UK publisher of George R.R. Martin's books announced that these books would not be published before 2015. While some experts and those close to the author believe that the books may see the day of light somewhere between 2015 and 2017.
The story is poised for another twist and some more violence and bloodshed that is sure to keep the readers on tenterhooks. The popularity of the series can be gauged by the fact that it has been adapted into various other media as well. Some of the prominent adaptations have been mentioned below.
Popular Adaptations
  • The HBO fantasy drama television series 'Game of Thrones' which premiered in 2011, is an excellent adaptation of the books and a huge commercial hit. Fans are eagerly waiting for Season 5!
  • If you love comics, here's a visual treat for you! The books have also been adapted into comics! (Adapted by Daniel Abraham and illustrated by Tommy Patterson)
  • If you love venturing into the mystical lands, there's a map set too! Illustrated by Jonathan Roberts, go out and let your fantasy travel.
  • 'The World of Ice and Fire' is another book which George R.R. Martin has written along with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, in which, a summary of the history of Westeros, and the background of events are described.
  • If you're under a spell of the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, and have unwavering faith in his wisdom, there is a special collection of his quotes, illustrated by Jonty Clark, named as 'The Wit & Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister'.
  • For those who would love to pick up the sword and fight out like the characters, plethora of video games based on the books are available in the market! Satisfy your quench for power!
  • Love building strategies? There are board games,card games and puzzles too, based on the books! Go on, pour your brains and let the battle begin!
  • For crazy fans, there are miniatures and collectibles available in the market. Or wear a Tee which proclaims publicly your love for the books!
If you read the novels, it is a given that you too will become a fan of one of the primary characters in the story. But, be ready to be disappointed if one of your favorite characters is mercilessly slaughtered, and the description of gory scenes horrify you; for the author loves killing his characters. Mistrust in relationships and a web of deceit, along with a huge shock element has become the trademark of this story and readers and fans have or should start expecting this.
The online world is full of forums and fan groups dedicated to discussing the plots and interesting facts of the books as well as the television series. And why not, we all love fantasy! For more information, you can refer to the official website of George R.R. Martin, dedicated to his books : Song of Ice and Fire
The wait for the upcoming books is definitely painful, triggering anticipation and attempts to decipher the conclusion of the story. We just hope that George R.R. Martin does not keep his readers waiting for long!