Books to read if you enjoyed ‘House of the Dragon’
As far as television adaptations go, HBO's Game of Thrones, in its heyday, was the show to end all shows. Hugely successful, high octane, and exciting, it was little wonder it launched a global franchise. Now, it's time for House of the Dragon, the runaway hit prequel show to Game of Thrones, to take its turn carrying the baton. As its first season concluded on October 23, 2022, here are some books similar to House of the Dragon to tide you over as you await the show's next season.
FIRE AND BLOOD
(Bantam Books, 2018)
George RR Martin
At the top of our list is Fire and Blood, the source material for House of the Dragon.
Set 300 years before the events of the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series, the novel introduces readers to members of the Targaryen family when they're at their most powerful.
As the only surviving family of the fall of Old Valyria and now the only dragon keepers, the Targaryens sit at the most coveted position in Westeros: on the Iron Throne. This book explores the events of the civil war, the Dance of the Dragons, and what led to the Targaryens' fall from grace. Given that the book reads more as a history account than a narrative tale, the show has plenty of space to widen certain threads and improvise within the predefined plot beats. A second volume of the book is reportedly in the works.
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE Series
(Bantam Books and Voyager Books, 1996–present)
George RR Martin
This is the series that started it all, and inspired Game of Thrones. ASOIAF chronicles the journeys of House Stark, House Baratheon, House Lannister, and House Targaryen as power shifts in Westeros.
A Game of Thrones (1996), the first book, introduces the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, and also establishes several of the characters we'll come to know and love over the series. It features interweaving perspectives from nine characters, including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the Stark family: Ned, Catelyn, Sansa, Arya and Bran. It has been over a decade since the last book in Martin's series, A Dance with Dragons, was released in 2011. That's a long time to wait, but Martin is currently working on the next entry, The Winds of Winter. The author's ending to the books will be different than that of the adaptation.
(Little, Brown and Company, 2018)
Circe is set during the Greek Heroic Age. It is an adaptation of various Greek myths, most notably the Odyssey, as told from the perspective of the witch Circe.
The novel explores Circe's origin story and narrates her encounters with mythological figures such as Hermes, the Minotaur, Jason, and Medea, and ultimately her romance with Odysseus and his son, Telemachus.
The way this novel handles womanhood and the female rage that can come with it is brilliant. It is unapologetically feminist, but in a way that's woven into the story very organically. As time goes on, Circe becomes more and more aware of how men are treated differently than women. She sees how daughters are punished for supposedly bad behaviour, but sons never are. She sees how men become cruel when they find out that she is a woman alone on an island. She notices all of these things, and it's clear what her opinion is of these inequalities. An eight-episode television series based on the book is in the works at HBO Max.
THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019)
This novel is an epic high fantasy about a world on the brink of war with dragons — and the women who must lead the fight to save it.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Like A Song of Ice and Fire, The Priory of the Orange Tree is told from the perspective of many different characters in various parts of the world, with different loyalties, religions, ranks, and abilities. However, it is told from mostly female perspectives, with only two male perspectives. From childbirth to female empowerment, sisterhood and friendship, sibling love and appreciation, it focuses on women supporting each other, no matter how different they are. In a genre that often subjects females to sexism and violence, this is refreshing to see.
Much of the novel takes place in the western kingdom called Inys, ruled by a long line of Queens. If it weren't cool enough that the crown is passed from mother to daughter, their bloodline and the religion surrounding it, is the key to keeping an ancient evil at bay–or so they believe.
HIBISCUS DAUGHTER Duology
(Katherine Tegen Books and HarperCollins, 2017-2018)
This duology includes the books, Wicked Like a Wildfire (2017), and Fierce Like a Firestorm (2018).
We find out that all the women in twins Iris and Malina's family have the unique magical ability or "gleam" to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret.
Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives she has built for them.
In a similar fashion to House of the Dragon, family dynamics are important in these novels. The girls' relationship with their mother is strained, to say the least. When they were kids, they used to perform magic along with their mother, but at one point, they were forbidden from ever accessing those powers, and their mother has been prickly ever since. Iris and her mother fight often, and the fights take a huge toll on both of them. All the characters share a unique dynamic and having them work with each other in a mysterious plot provides plenty of intrigue.
Shababa Iqbal is a Journalism graduate from Independent University, Bangladesh, who likes Jane Austen's novels and Disney movies. Email: [email protected].