A Game of Thrones
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"A Game of Thrones" Summary

By George R.R. Martin

fantasy | 835 pages | Published in 2003

NOW THE ACCLAIMED HBO SERIES GAME OF THRONES—THE MASTERPIECE THAT BECAME A CULTURAL PHENOMENON Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season. Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A power struggle ensues among noble families in the Seven Kingdoms as they vie for control of the Iron Throne.


"A Game of Thrones" is the first book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R.R. Martin. It is a gripping tale of treachery, nobility, and honor set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. This epic fantasy novel weaves together multiple storylines and introduces readers to a vast array of characters, each with their own agendas and motivations.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is primarily set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, a land where noble families vie for control of the Iron Throne and the right to rule the realm. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea in the Free Cities of Essos, a young exiled princess seeks to reclaim her birthright. The looming threat of winter and the supernatural beings beyond the Wall add further complexity to the already intricate political landscape.

Main Characters

Eddard StarkNoble and honorable lord of Winterfell
Catelyn StarkEddard's wife with a strong sense of duty
Jon SnowEddard's illegitimate son, a member of the Night's Watch
Daenerys TargaryenExiled princess with a claim to the Iron Throne
Tyrion LannisterWitty and intelligent member of the Lannister family
Arya StarkSpirited and independent daughter of Eddard Stark

Story Points Over Chapters

Prologue to Chapter 10

The book opens with a chilling prologue beyond the Wall, where members of the Night's Watch encounter a supernatural threat. We are then introduced to the Stark family of Winterfell, including Eddard, Catelyn, and their children. Eddard is offered the position of the Hand of the King by his old friend King Robert Baratheon. The Lannisters, another powerful family, are introduced, and tensions between the Starks and Lannisters begin to simmer.

Chapters 11 to 20

Eddard travels to King's Landing with his daughters Sansa and Arya. Meanwhile, Jon Snow joins the Night's Watch and learns about the true nature of the Wall's defenses. Daenerys Targaryen, in exile, is married off to Khal Drogo, a powerful Dothraki warlord.

Chapters 21 to 30

In King's Landing, Eddard uncovers dark secrets about the previous Hand's death and the legitimacy of King Robert's children. Arya gets into trouble, and tensions between the Starks and Lannisters escalate. Daenerys begins to adapt to her new role as Khaleesi.

Chapters 31 to 40

Eddard continues to investigate the truth about the previous Hand's death, despite facing opposition and threats. Jon Snow experiences the harsh realities of life at the Wall, while Daenerys starts to assert her own authority within the Dothraki culture.

Chapters 41 to 50

Tensions between the Starks and Lannisters reach a breaking point, leading to a confrontation. Daenerys faces both personal tragedy and triumph as she begins to embrace her destiny. The political landscape in King's Landing becomes increasingly treacherous.

Chapters 51 to 60

Eddard makes a fateful decision that has far-reaching consequences. Jon Snow embarks on a dangerous mission beyond the Wall. Daenerys takes bold steps to solidify her position as Khaleesi.

Chapters 61 to 70

The power struggles in King's Landing come to a head, with betrayal and bloodshed. Jon Snow encounters the enigmatic Mance Rayder beyond the Wall, while Daenerys faces challenges that test her resolve.

Chapters 71 to Epilogue

The disparate storylines converge in shocking and unexpected ways, setting the stage for the subsequent books in the series.

Main Events

  • Eddard Stark becomes the Hand of the King and uncovers dangerous secrets.
  • Daenerys Targaryen is married to Khal Drogo and begins to embrace her role as Khaleesi.
  • Jon Snow joins the Night's Watch and faces the perils beyond the Wall.
  • Tensions between the Starks and Lannisters escalate, leading to a confrontation.

Themes and Insights

  • Power and Politics: The struggle for power and the political machinations within the noble houses drive much of the narrative.
  • Honor and Betrayal: Characters are often torn between upholding their sense of honor and making pragmatic choices in a world fraught with betrayal.
  • Identity and Destiny: The characters grapple with questions of identity and their roles in shaping the future of their families and the realm.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Game of Thrones" offers a rich and immersive reading experience, with its intricate world-building, morally complex characters, and unpredictable plot twists. Readers will find themselves drawn into the intricate web of alliances, conflicts, and mysteries that drive the narrative.


In "A Game of Thrones," George R.R. Martin masterfully sets the stage for an epic saga filled with political intrigue, moral dilemmas, and larger-than-life characters. As the first installment in a series renowned for its complexity and depth, this book lays the groundwork for a sprawling and captivating tale that has captivated readers worldwide.

A Game of Thrones FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Game of Thrones'?

    A Game of Thrones is a fantasy novel, with elements of political intrigue and epic adventure.

  2. How many pages does 'A Game of Thrones' have?

    The book 'A Game of Thrones' has approximately 694 pages.

  3. Is 'A Game of Thrones' suitable for young readers?

    The book contains mature themes, violence, and adult content, so it may not be suitable for young readers.

  4. Are there multiple perspectives in 'A Game of Thrones'?

    Yes, the book is known for its multiple perspectives, with each chapter focusing on different characters.

  5. Is 'A Game of Thrones' part of a series?

    Yes, 'A Game of Thrones' is the first book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R. Martin.