It’s hard to imagine that an epic fantasy series like the Game of Thrones books was first expected to be nothing more than a short story.
George R. R. Martin set out to write an imaginative and provocative story, but eventually, it turned into an eight-book series, with some of the books nearing 700-pages in length. The audiobook length can get up to 50 hours in some instances. Talk about an active imagination!
Those who haven’t read the books yet might be wondering what all the hype is about and why so many people would be willing to expend so much time reading such lengthy books.
Read on to find out why so many people are unable to put these books down and what the author has in store for the final two books in this series.
What Readers Can Expect from the Game of Thrones Series
Technically, the Game of Thrones books are not the actual name of the series. Martin has called this series Song of Ice and Fire, with the first book in that series called Game of Thrones. When HBO decided to adopt the story for the small screen, they decided to name the show based on the title of the first book. Since that time, this series is more affectionately known as the Game of Thrones books.
The stories in these books take place on the fictional continents known as Westeros and Essos. The stories are told from a first-person point of view from a multitude of characters – from nine in the first book to over 30 in the latest.
A Song of Ice and Fire consists of three stories woven together:
- Several families clamoring for control of Westeros
- The threat of the Others, a supernatural force from the north who have been barred from moving southward
- The ambition of Daenerys Targaryen to assume control of the Iron Throne.
In this series, the reader will find stories of intrigue, rebellion, and betrayal. While the story is exciting and engaging, many people warn that it’s a series that is for a more mature audience as there are detailed depictions of the horrors of war, including torture, beheadings, and other violent acts.
Additionally, there are several sex scenes in the story, including incest. Most reviewers say these scenes aren’t gratuitous and are added to move the plot forward, as opposed to the television series which seemed to add it more for the shock value than plot.
The Game of Thrones books truly are epic. They consist of prophecies, hundreds of years of history, and interwoven stories that span generations.
In addition to the historically based content, readers also get to enjoy the fantastical. There’s plenty of supernatural fantasy to enjoy, from the tall, pale, boney, blue-eyed Others to Daenerys’ dragons. Other supernatural creatures include:
- The Wights (basically, zombies)
- A three-eyed raven
- Wargs (people who can enter the minds of animals)
When Will George R. R. Martin’s Next Books Be Released?
At this point in time, Martin has said there are two books left to write before the Game of Thrones series is complete. Fans can’t wait since it’s been seven years since the release of book five of this series.
The sixth book to be published will be entitled The Winds of Winter. The expected release date is sometime in 2020, but it’s hard to say that for sure. Martin has been saying he’s finishing it up since at least 2017. At this point, he isn’t putting a specific date on it as doing that has “jinxed” him in the past.
Some fans have speculated that the reason this book’s release has taken so long is that Martin wants to release the final two books in this series at the same time. Whether The Winds of Winter and its follow-up, A Dream of Spring, have a simultaneously has not been confirmed by the author or his publisher.
In an interview, Martin said that both books are enormous, with A Dream of Spring amounting to 1500 pages. It is very possible that one or both books might be released in two volumes, something the author did with book number three (A Storm of Swords) and book number five (A Dance with Dragons).
What’s Expected to Happen in the Final Books of This Series?
Not much is known about A Dream of Spring, but Martin has given some glimpses into what will happen in The Winds of Winter.
- More epic battles. In fact, the book will begin with a bang – two battles straight away.
- More marriages
- More betrayals
- And of course, more deaths.
Martin has also said that some of his fans’ favorite characters might make a return. Of course, readers can expect to read about Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, and Tyrion Lannister. However, there will also be some supporting favorites that Martin teased may be back, including the Dothraki, Marillion, and the Sand Snakes.
Eight Percent of U.S. Adults Have Read All of These Books – Will You Join Them?
According to Statista, eight percent of the adult population in the U.S. alone have read all five of the Game of Thrones books and fully intend on reading the final installments.
Why is this series so popular? Martin has been able to inject realism into his fantasy, helping readers with the whole suspension of disbelief thing. What’s happening in the novels doesn’t seem so far-fetched, even if there are dragons flying around in the background.
Another reason this story is so compelling is because of the well thought out characters and plot, including some very powerful female leads. There’s barely a moment when readers won’t be on the edge of their seat wondering where the story is going to take them or what their favorite character is going to do next.
For anyone who hasn’t read these books, 26 million people can’t be wrong. Though the sheer page count may seem daunting, the story is so compelling that the books are hard to put down and are very much worth the time it takes to read (or listen!) to them.
Are you ready to start this epic fantasy series? Our guides provide an inside scoop on the land, background, and characters that will draw you in, keep you captive, and leave you wanting even more!