Non-Fantasy Books for Game of Thrones Fans

After watching the first season of Game of Thrones, I did some screaming and started reading the series the next day. I’m not one to wait. I’m also not one for fantasy, so I don’t know what it was about George R.R. Martin and his world, but it drew me in. Since then, I’ve made attempts at reading other fantasy series, but nothing seemed to click the way A Song of Ice and Fire did. So, what is there to read once you’ve devoured all of the books and happen to be in between seasons? Let’s see what we can dig up based on some of the things that make Game of Thrones so great.

revised fundamentals of caregiving

Unlikely Pairs: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

I’d venture that 90% of Game of Thrones fans perk up when Arya and The Hound grace the screen. You’ll be hard pressed to find two characters as wonderful or as weird as they are, but The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving has an unlikely pair almost as charming. A grieving caregiver and his teenage patient make tissues necessary, but laughs are also frequent.

More Odd Duos: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

i await the devil's coming

Ladies Ahead of Their Time: I Await the Devil’s Coming by Mary MacLane

Despite a few distressing changes made this season, George R.R. Martin has written some amazingly fierce women (and in the case of Margaery, the show developed her even more). If you dig a woman ahead of her time, Mary MacLane and her 1902 memoir I Await the Devil’s Coming need to go on your list. MacLane’s brilliant, narcissistic honesty will have you continuously checking the date of publication and shaking your head in awe.

More Fierce Ladies: What Is Visible by Kimberly Elkins

bromance the goldfinch

Sweet Bromance: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Is there anything better than the insta-bromance between Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones? The only thing capable of coming close is The Goldfinch‘s debauchery-filled friendship between Theo and Boris (Borriiisssss!).

More Dudely Love: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

the devil all the time

Relentless Violence: The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

If you’re already missing your weekly dose of squished eyes and impaling swords, get ready for Donald Ray Pollock. I really mean that – you’ll need to prepare yourself. The Devil All the Time is filled with brutal violence well on par with Mr. Martin’s usual fare, but it’s also one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read.

More Blood and Gore: The Son by Philipp Meyer

among the janeites

A Serious Fandom: Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

The Game of Thrones fandom is vast, but so is the secret world behind the fans of Jane Austen. Among the Janeites explores some of the strange, fascinating characters that make up the Jane Austen fandom who just might make you feel completely normal.


What books would you suggest for Game of Thrones fans?

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  • Nice post, I’m glad to see The Devil All the Time being recommended. However you did forget the books for planning a red/purple wedding :P

  • You are so FREAKING good at these! Love!

  • Dude, this is GREAT! LOL about the red/purple wedding. I imagine that could fall under Relentless Violence?

  • I love this! I’m going to pass this along to my brother. Thanks!

  • Words for Worms

    I love this!!! I especially love the sweet bromance. You know how much I loved Boris!

  • Bookmarking this!

  • Love all of these suggestions!

  • What a cool post, love your suggestions!

  • Hahaha, I particularly appreciate the reference to BORIIIIS. There can never be enough of saying “BORIIIIIS” in a Russian accent. Bro-love forever!

  • I LOVED ‘The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving’ It was full of heart and laughter and I’ve recommended it to several ppl who have also loved it

  • Great and innovative list, as always Shannon. :)

    I’m the same way with fantasy, in that it usually just doesn’t do it for me – but years ago my ex-husband’s dad handed me the first book “A Game of Thrones” and I’ve been pretty hooked on that series since (yeah, I just had a hipster moment there. :) ) But other than that I don’t really like fantasy – I don’t even like The Lord of the Rings.

    So my takeaways here is I Await the Devil’s coming … which sounds REVOLUTIONARY and the fact that I’m laughing my head off at the Jane Austen fandom comparison – funny because it’s TRUE. :)

  • This list will definitely help with my GoT withdrawals. Thank you :)

  • Good list to look into, I will have to check these out!

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  • Nishita

    Awesome list. I am in such bad ASOIAF withdrawal (the books not the series), so I welcome all recommendations that make the pain go away. Thanks, I will check these books out!