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By all accounts, the books in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series are sweeping, indelible works of fantasy on par with The Lord of the Rings or The Once and Future King. They also, however, range in length from 674 to 1216 pages — which is the main reason I’ve never sunk my teeth into them. Until now.

I’m one of those annoying people who usually tries to read the book before seeing its cinematic adaptation. So even though I’m dying to see Game of Thrones, HBO’s awesome-looking TV show based on “A Song of Ice and Fire,” I can’t in good conscience watch it without first getting through A Game of Thrones, the first tome in the series.

The show premieres on Sunday, April 17, which gives me about three weeks to make my way through the encyclopedia-sized Bantam trade paperback edition of the book. I’ll be posting my impressions about what I’ve read on Shelf Life each Monday until the first episode airs, as well as my final thoughts on the book as a whole on April 18 — and I’d love it if some of you read along with me. Don’t let the book’s impressive girth intimidate you; according to my Martin-obsessed big brother, once you get into the story, you’ll be turning pages quicker than Tyrion Lannister. (The character Peter Dinklage plays on the show is a bookworm, right? I’ve really got to start reading!)

So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a copy of A Game of Thrones and meet me here next Monday. We’ll be discussing the first third of the book — up to around page 228 of the Bantam, or the chapter that ends with, “He wondered if he would ever see Benjen Stark again, to tell him.” (Er… spoiler alert, I guess.) I can’t wait to finally see what all the fuss is about.

Episode Recaps


Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
stream service