After journeying through the intricate web of power, politics, and dragons in the world of Game of Thrones, it’s natural to feel a void once the story ends. If you’re yearning for more epic tales filled with complex characters and richly developed worlds, you’ve landed in the right place.
This blog post aims to guide you through a handpicked selection of books that resonate with the essence of George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece. Whether it’s sprawling fantasy series, compelling standalone novels, or gripping historical fiction, there’s something here to captivate every Game of Thrones fan.
Grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea, settle into your coziest reading spot, and let’s embark on new adventures!
Why these books?
In our quest to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in our hearts, we’ve set some criteria to ensure we select books that truly capture the spirit of the beloved series. These include intricate plotlines, multi-dimensional characters, morally grey choices, and of course, a dash of magic or mythology where appropriate.
Overview of criteria for book selection
Our selection isn’t limited to just high fantasy. We’ve also ventured into historical fiction, since the political intrigue and societal structures in Game of Thrones often mirror those in real history. The books on our list are ones that:
- Feature a large cast of complex characters.
- Include well-constructed, detailed world-building.
- Contain political maneuvering and battles for power.
- Offer ethical dilemmas and moral ambiguity.
- Provide a certain level of unpredictability in their plotlines.
Explanation of the similarities between the suggested books and Game of Thrones
Many of the books in our list will present worlds as detailed and characters as complex as those in Game of Thrones. Just like in Westeros, alliances will shift, power will change hands, and characters will face monumental challenges. However, each book also brings its own unique flavors, expanding upon elements that Game of Thrones fans know and love.
Whether it’s magic systems that rival the mysticism of the Red Priestess, intricate political maneuvering akin to the court of King’s Landing, or epic battles reminiscent of the Battle of the Bastards, these books will offer a familiar yet fresh experience for every reader.
Fantasy Series to Explore
For fans of high fantasy and intricate world-building, these series promise tales filled with magic, power struggles, and unforgettable characters.
‘The Wheel of Time’ by Robert Jordan
‘The Wheel of Time’ is a mammoth fourteen-book series that presents a captivating universe. A diverse cast of characters, along with Jordan’s intricate plotlines, weave a tapestry of epic proportions. Magic, prophecy, and the ever-present struggle between light and darkness are central themes.
Just like in Game of Thrones, ‘The Wheel of Time’ is not about a single hero’s journey, but rather the interwoven destinies of many. The tension between different groups and nations is reminiscent of the Seven Kingdoms, with alliances as fluid as those we’ve come to expect from Westeros.
‘Mistborn Trilogy’ by Brandon Sanderson
If you appreciated the magic and mythology in Game of Thrones, Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Mistborn Trilogy’ should be next on your list. This trilogy presents a unique and meticulously crafted magic system, along with an intricate plot revolving around overthrowing a seemingly invincible tyrant.
While Game of Thrones often subverted our expectations regarding the archetypical ‘hero’s journey’, ‘Mistborn’ goes a step further, presenting us with a protagonist who must grapple with the realities of leadership and the cost of rebellion.
‘The First Law Trilogy’ by Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The First Law Trilogy’ is often recommended to Game of Thrones fans due to its similar tone and themes. This dark, gritty series provides no black-and-white morality; instead, it resides in the grey area where Game of Thrones has so often tread.
The trilogy’s world is richly detailed, its plot filled with political maneuvering, and its characters well-rounded. Despite being a smaller cast than Game of Thrones, Abercrombie’s characters are no less complex, each battling their own inner demons and external enemies.
Standalone Fantasy Books to Dive Into
If you’re not ready to commit to another long series after Game of Thrones, these standalone novels offer fulfilling narratives packed with rich world-building and complex characters.
‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon
‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ is a sweeping standalone fantasy novel filled with queens, dragons, and a world teetering on the brink of disaster. Samantha Shannon expertly weaves a story that spans continents, balancing multiple points of view in a world as richly detailed as Westeros itself.
Like Game of Thrones, this novel doesn’t shy away from the complexities of power and the burden of leadership. However, it also offers a fresh perspective with a predominantly female-led cast and an intricate lore centered around dragons.
‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman
‘American Gods’ is a unique blend of fantasy, mythology, and Americana. Neil Gaiman introduces readers to a war brewing between the old gods of mythology and the new gods of technology and modern culture.
While it might seem like a departure from the high fantasy realm of Game of Thrones, fans will appreciate the complex characters and the exploration of power and belief that underpin the narrative. Much like how Game of Thrones blends the personal and the political, ‘American Gods’ entwines the fantastical with the mundane in a story that’s utterly compelling.
Historical Fiction Novels for the Realism Seekers
For those who enjoyed the political intrigue and the grounded, medieval feel of Game of Thrones, these historical fiction novels offer a similar thrill. They may lack dragons, but the power struggles, betrayals, and well-rounded characters are reminiscent of Westeros.
‘Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follett
‘Pillars of the Earth’ is set in 12th century England, revolving around the construction of a cathedral amid the backdrop of political turmoil. Like Game of Thrones, this book presents a rich tapestry of characters, each with their own ambitions and motivations.
Follett’s novel explores themes of power, faith, and ambition with a depth that Game of Thrones fans will appreciate. The machinations and power struggles will remind readers of the courts of Westeros, while the historical setting provides a realism that mirrors the grounded elements of Martin’s series.
‘I, Claudius’ by Robert Graves
‘I, Claudius’ is a first-person narrative detailing the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius. It’s a tale rife with betrayals, power struggles, and family feuds, reminiscent of the political dynamics in Game of Thrones.
The book’s exploration of power, lineage, and political maneuvering feels eerily familiar to the struggles faced by the inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms. If you appreciated the character depth, political intrigue, and surprise turns in Game of Thrones, ‘I, Claudius’ is sure to captivate.
Bonus Recommendations: Ten More Books to Explore
Here’s a bonus list of ten more books that might pique your interest. Each of these books captures some element of the Game of Thrones spirit, whether it’s detailed world-building, compelling characters, or intricate political intrigue.
‘Malazan Book of the Fallen’ series by Steven Erikson
This high fantasy series is known for its complex narratives, wide range of characters, and detailed world-building. If you’re not daunted by the size of Game of Thrones, this ten-book series might be for you.
‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert
An epic of political intrigue and the struggle for control over a precious resource, ‘Dune’ has often been compared to Game of Thrones due to its themes of power and betrayal.
‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ by Scott Lynch
This book offers a blend of fantasy and crime thriller, with intricate plot twists and compelling characters that fans of Game of Thrones’ schemes and intrigues will appreciate.
‘The Witcher’ series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Known for its morally grey characters and complex political machinations, this series will appeal to those who enjoyed the darker elements of Game of Thrones.
‘The Silmarillion’ by J.R.R. Tolkien
For those who love rich world-building and epic narratives, ‘The Silmarillion’ delves into the mythology and history of Middle-earth.
‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller
This book brings the legends of Greek mythology to life in a moving story of friendship, love, and war. It offers a fresh perspective on heroism and honor, themes often explored in Game of Thrones.
‘The Poppy War’ series by R. F. Kuang
This series combines historical events with fantasy elements to deliver a dark and compelling narrative. Its themes of power, war, and moral complexities echo those found in Game of Thrones.
‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke
An alternative history fantasy novel that merges the mundane with the magical. Its intricate narrative and exploration of power dynamics will resonate with fans of Game of Thrones.
‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman
While it’s categorized as young adult fiction, this series explores mature themes and complex characters that Game of Thrones fans may find appealing.
‘The Broken Empire’ trilogy by Mark Lawrence
This series is known for its anti-hero protagonist and dark themes, akin to the morally ambiguous characters and hard choices we’ve seen in Game of Thrones.
Whether you’re longing for intricate high fantasy worlds, standalone epics, or historical fiction that transports you back in time, our selection provides a myriad of paths for your post-Game of Thrones journey.
Each book holds a unique appeal, while echoing the elements we’ve all grown to love in George R. R. Martin’s series. Complex characters, intricate world-building, power struggles, and moral ambiguity – these books offer it all and more.
Embarking on a new literary journey after Game of Thrones might seem daunting, but rest assured, the worlds waiting within these pages are just as thrilling, captivating, and wonderfully complex as Westeros. Happy reading!