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Game of Thrones: What to Read When You Want More

Post by Cathleen Keyser
Posted April 05, 2013 in NoveList Plus, NoveList Select, Readers' Advisory News

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It’s that time of year again: Game of Thrones has returned on HBO. Now, if you’re anything like the rest of us, this is pretty much the most epic television event of the entire year. And if you’re not like us, that’s okay. We’ll try to convert you. While there’s nothing quite like a good book, there’s also almost nothing quite like one of your favorite books being made into a television show by reverent fellow fans. Sigh.

But only 10 episodes? That’s a drop in the bucket. What’s a fan to do? To assuage the impending separation anxiety and draw the season out a bit further, we fangirls here at NoveList are going to be writing companion pieces with recommendations for further reading (and watching) during the other 167 hours of your week. NoveList already has some great author, series and title readalikes for George R.R. Martin and his Song of Ice and Fire series, so we are going to use these blog posts as an opportunity to go beyond similar fantasy reads and recommend books, movies, web articles, and other interesting links that relate to themes and motifs in each episode.

Episode 1: “Valar dohaeris.”

Those of us fluent in High Valyrian will recognize the phrase “All men must serve.” This episode is all about the roles we have to play -- whether by choice or by duty. Tyrion, no longer Hand of the King, is back to being the bane of his father’s existence. Tywin Lannister arrives in King’s Landing as patriarch and savior of the realm. Davos Seaworthy arrives on Dragonstone, no longer content to remain silent on Melisandre’s influence over Stannis and the lives of his followers. Robb, King in the North, is duty-bound to put his rebellious mother Catelyn in custody. And of course, the White Walkers are biologically (?) bound to seek out the brains of the living and feast.  

We recommend

The Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance
Jack Vance was a huge influence on George R. R. Martin and this lesser-known fantasy classic shares a great deal of thematic material with GoT. It features a huge cast of characters in a richly detailed world of magic, political intrigue and betrayal. The intricate plotting is definitely not for those looking for a quick read, but those who love GoT for its complex plotting and cynical view of humanity will love the Lyonesse books for their crisp dialogue, ambitious storylines, and dark humor

I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Lannisters aren’t the only royal family marked by cruelty, decadence, and deceitful plotting - move over King’s Landing, let’s head to ancient Rome! Robert Graves’ iconic work of historical fiction portrays the imperial Julio-Claudians as crafty and ruthless as Tywin’s clan. Fans who sympathize with the unappreciated Tyrion in this episode will be drawn to the titular character, another brilliant but physically disabled figure whose merits are routinely ignored by his family.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
A big part of this week’s episode was about dealing with family-related loss and isolation, with Davos in particular grieving the death of his sons in a senseless battle and Tyrion whose domineering father strips him of his former authority. This contemporary novel focuses on a father coping with regret following the loss of his children and how he recovers by forging a new path with an unlikely ally (much like Brienne and Catelyn did in Season 2).

And If We May ...

We'd like to recommend a how-to that might be of help to several characters in episode 1:

How to deal with family members that stress you out (Lifehacker)

Join us again next week! 


Cathleen is Collection Development Coordinator at NoveList.