Kendall Walters is the former EPL's Digital Marketing Specialist.
But what to do when the latest season of the show has ended and The Winds of Winter feels further away than ever?
Discover other excellent books, of course!
Your fellow Thrones fans here at the Edmonton Public Library have been hard at work to bring you a list of great suggestions to keep you company while you wait.
We’ve rounded up eight great Game of Thrones read-alikes (a.k.a. similar book recommendations)—one for each of the seven kingdoms of Westeros and the Riverlands.
Between them, these series have more books in them than the maesters of Old Town would know what to do with. But don’t fear; we’ve broken things down by what to read based on your favourite part of Game of Thrones.
Whether you’re in it for the political machinations or the magic, we’ve got something for you. After all, “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone.”
1. ‘Chaos is a ladder.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The extensive cast of characters
You Should Read: The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
The Premise: “Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Benjamin Ehlers, Makerspace Assistant, Enterprise Square, opens a new window
Why You Should Check It Out: Like A Song of Ice and Fire, The Expanse series features epic storylines, plots within plots and plenty of action. And it has a large cast of characters spread across multiple warring factions.
Bonus? It’s also a series on SyFy with a couple of seasons under its belt. Like Thrones, you can have the best of both worlds with Expanse: read it, watch it and enjoy it, no matter the form.
2. 'I'm a sellsword, I sell my sword.'
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The ruthless characters, particularly sellswords and mercenaries like Ser Bronn of the Blackwater
You Should Read: The Black Company Series by Glen Cook
The Premise: “Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must., opens a new window They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more...” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Michael Sambir, Director of Service Design, EPL
Why You Should Check It Out: The Black Company follows a group of mercenaries as they carry out their hired quests.
It has sorceresses and magic and kings and monsters and clashing armies, but it’s told from the perspective of mercenary foot soldiers who go where they’re ordered by whoever is paying the bill. Military fans of the series say it accurately captures the experience (but with a bit more fantasy, of course).
All in all, The Black Company series has all the qualities of a good sword and sorcery tale. An omnibus of the first three books in the series is also available as an eBook, opens a new window.
3. ‘Stick ‘em with the pointy end.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: Arya and her kill list
You Should Read: The Bel Dame Apocrypha series by Kameron Hurley
The Premise: “On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers... Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery., opens a new window The head they want her to bring home could end the war—but at what price?” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Why You Should Check It Out: These books are sci-fi, not fantasy, but they’re amazing all the same. The main character is a ruthless mercenary (not unlike GoT fan favourite Arya Stark).
The story gets quite gory (but if you’ve made it through the infamous Red Wedding, we’re sure you’ll be just fine).
4. ‘When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The complexity of the politics and the backstabbing that goes along with it
You Should Read: The Lions of Al-Rassan, opens a new window by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Premise: “Home to three very different cultures, Al-Rassan is a land of seductive beauty and violent history. Peace among the Jaddites, Asharites and Kindath is a precarious, elusive thing, made so by the ever-present shadow that divides the peoples but draws extraordinary individuals together.
“Ammar ibn Khairan—poet, diplomat, soldier; Rodrigo Belmonte—accomplished military leader; and Jeanne bet Ishak—brilliant physician; these three find their lives interwoven by a series of remarkable events that take Al-Rassan to the brink of war.
“Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is an exhilarating story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when passionate beliefs conspire to remake—or destroy—a world., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Taryn Hunchak, Library Assistant, Mill Woods, opens a new window
Why You Should Check It Out: This author is known for setting novels in fictional realms that resemble real places during real historical periods and The Lions of Al-Rassan is no different.
The setting of this tale bears a striking resemblance to medieval Spain and the story is peppered with the kind of meticulous detail that makes a fictional world feel real.
Guy Gavriel Kay, the writer, is well-known for assisting J.R.R. Tolkien’s son in editing the famed author’s unpublished work, notably The Silmarillion, opens a new window, so it’s no wonder that he’s a master of creating expansive fantasy worlds of his own. Kay’s work is full of complicated political action and multiple points of view, much like the tales of Westeros.
5. ‘The night is dark and full of terrors.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The menace of the White Walkers
You Should Read: The Traitor Son Cycle series by Miles Cameron
The Premise: “When the Red Knight hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it's seems just another job. But it's not just a job, it's going to be a war., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Jason Malbeuf, Library Assistant, Londonderry, opens a new window
Why You Should Check It Out: The Traitor Son Cycle takes place in a medieval fantasy world of two major powers: the church and the mercenary knights. When both face a newly united magical enemy—much like the threat of the White Walkers in A Song of Ice and Fire—they must decide to fight together or be destroyed.
The series’ author is both a historian and a former career officer in the U.S. Navy, so the pages of this epic positively radiate with period detail—along with a hefty dose of violence that Thrones fans will find familiar.
6. ‘Eloquent men are right every bit as often as imbeciles.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: Tyrion’s sense of humour (and a bit of magic, of course)
You Should Read: The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
The Premise: “Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it's carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.
“But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc's very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world's first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Nicole Bedard, Donor Engagement Specialist, Fund Development
Why You Should Check It Out: Though Discworld is a series of magic and mysticism, it’s also a fantasy epic that turns genre tropes on their head.
This is the perfect choice for those moments when you want to dive into something every bit as epic as A Song of Ice and Fire, but a tad lighter.
7. ‘Power resides where men believe it resides.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The secrets and conspiracies of the powerful
You Should Read: The Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks
The Premise: “Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
“When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Recommended By: Donovan Michaels, Library Assistant, Woodcroft, opens a new window
Why You Should Check It Out: This series is full of political wrangling, double-crosses and plot twists—all mixed in with fascinating medieval action and, of course, magic.
It’s got many of the elements that make Game of Thrones such a compelling tale. The first book in the series, The Black Prism, opens a new window, is also available as an eBook, opens a new window and an audiobook, opens a new window.
8. ‘When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.’
Your Favourite Part of Game of Thrones: The myths, magic and mystery—all of it shrouded in darkness
You Should Read: The Cosmere universe books by Brandon Sanderson
The Premise: “Once the godlike rulers of the capital of Arelon, the inhabitants of Elantris have been imprisoned within themselves, unable to die after the city’s magic failed years ago. But when a new prince falls victim to the curse, he refuses to accept his fate., opens a new window” (Synopsis via the publisher)
Why You Should Check It Out: Full of political machinations, mystery, magic and romance, this series is high fantasy at its very best.
With a nearly dozen novels, numerous novellas and several short stories—with more planned—spanning across multiple different series, there will be no tedious waiting for the author to finish the next book. You’ll have plenty of material to keep you busy while Sanderson scribes future volumes in this epic series.
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