Does each season of Game of Thrones roughly equal a book?

  • Does each current Game of Thrones season roughly equal one A Song of Ice and Fire book? And do we know which future seasons will cover which books?

    I am planning to read the first book after the TV show has finished depicting the events in the first book. I would like to know if after each TV season ends I can expect to be able to read a book covering the events depicted on screen?

    Exactly the question I wanted to ask. Want to watch the show but also wanting to read the books, so... :)

    But then you would be spoiled when reading the books... ;)

    Yep, that's always been the tragedy. I think I'll first start with the books as it's often "better" and will then check the TV show as the scenario is often an adaptation from the books.

    I think reading the books first would be better actually. I find it fascinating to see how the TV writers are adapting the story for a different format. A very nice touch is seeing some previously 1-dimensional villains humanized, which would be lost to someone who hasn't read the books :)

    I disagree. First watch it in black and white, then read it in color.

  • This is how it has broken down so far (more or less):

    • Season 1 (2011): A Game of Thrones
    • Season 2 (2012): A Clash of Kings
    • Season 3 (2013): The first half of A Storm of Swords (aka Steel and Snow)
    • Season 4 (2014): The second half of A Storm of Swords (aka Blood and Gold)
    • Season 5 (2015): Both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons and new material
    • Season 6 (2016): Both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons and new material

    We also know:

    • Season 7 (2017): Unpublished material and new material
    • Season 8 (2018): Unpublished material and new material

    Seasons 1 and 2 were a book each, but it was changed for Season 3, which became the first half of Storm of Swords, and Season 4 became the second half. The producers then, somewhat surprisingly, managed to squeeze the next two books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, into Season 5, by removing lots of what many people saw as extraneous plot lines.

    It's worth noting that there has has been some overlap. Certain events have drifted into different seasons, so the above isn't always strictly true -- just mostly true.

    Season 6 took most of its story from The Winds of Winter (although there were some unused things from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons that appeared in it). George RR Martin confirmed this in a Vanity Fair article ("George R.R. Martin Has a Detailed Plan For Keeping the Game of Thrones TV Show From Catching Up To Him").

    Note that reading A Clash of Kings before season 3 spoils the identity of a mystery character. I did this but it did not reduce my enjoyment of the TV show.

    Yes, thanks for that. Some events are moved forward/backwards depending how they better fit the TV show.

    Thinking about it, taking a third of AFFC and ADWD and combining them is about the size of the other books used for a season (going purely by word count). This could mean that AFFC and ADWD could comfortably fill Seasons 5, 6 and 7 of the TV show without any padding :)

    From the characters who have been cast, it looks like the fourth season will contain the second half of *A Storm of Swords* and small parts of *A Feast for Crows* and *A Dance with Dragons*.

    @PeterShor Thanks for sharing that.

    Season 4 wasn't exactly the second half of Storm of Swords. There were some chapters from ADWD as well

    Could you please update your answer, now that season 5 has ended? Especially I'm interested in whether AFFC and ADWD have been covered by season 5 or how much is left from these two books for season 6. (But please, no spoilers^^.)

    @Chris Most of AFFC and ADWD have been covered, apparently. There may be some bleed (like there was in Season 4), but Season 6 will be based on the unpublished book The Winds of Winter.

    Thank you for the update! - It's strange to see that book 3 had two seasons and books 4 & 5 have together one season. That's an information density approximately four times as high, wow!

    @Chris I was surprised, too. They cut out a fair bit of stuff from the books -- but nobody seems to mind. Apparently it was just all the dull stuff. It's also worth remembering that AFFC and ADWD take place over the same time period, so essentially they're one, incredibly long, book.

  • That's the plan. Seasons 1 and 2 (so far) are a book each. Though this might change for book 3 (Storm of Swords), which is a lot bigger than the first two. In this interview, George R. R. Martin admits that its going to be hard to fit book 3 into a standard season. Relevant quote follows:

    The real crucial point comes with the third season with Storm of Swords. Storm of Swords is a monster of a book, a gigantic book. It's 500 pages longer in manuscript than Clash of Kings was. And Clash of Kings was 100 pages longer than Game of Thrones. You cannot do Storm of Swords in 10 hours. I think they need to make two seasons out of that.

    I suppose we talk about the original (english) series of books, because the french edition has been split up in...13 books. Would have been more (shorter) seasons :)

    Wow, if they're going to try to fit the rest of Thrones into one season, this last episode is gonna be pretty story-dense, methinks.

    @Jack Henahan - Yeah. But it's going to be **glorious**!

    Minor update: At San Diego Comic-Con in July 2011, showrunner David Benioff said "Season Three will be when things may need to start deviating from the books. He still doesn't know if Book 3 will be one season or one-and-a-half." Source:

    According to EW as of 10 Apr 2012, "The third season is expected to be more or less based on the first half of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords".

  • For a more exhaustive chapter-to-episode breakdown derived from Joel Geddert's Game of Thrones episode chapter coverage interactive table (Note: contains chapter titles with POV character names):

    Season 1

    • A Game of Thrones: 69 of 73 chapters
    • A Clash of Kings: 1 of 70 chapters

    Season 2

    • A Clash of Kings: 55 of 70 chapters
    • A Storm of Swords: 5 of 82 chapters

    Season 3

    • A Clash of Kings: 1 of 70 chapters
    • A Storm of Swords: 44 of 82 chapters
    • A Dance with Dragons: 1 of 73 chapters

    Season 4

    • A Storm of Swords: 20 of 82 chapters
    • A Feast for Crows: 1 of 46 chapters
    • A Dance with Dragons: 2 of 73 chapters

    Season 5

    • A Storm of Swords: 3 of 82 chapters
    • A Feast for Crows: 17 of 46 chapters
    • A Dance with Dragons: 25 of 73 chapters
    • The Winds of Winter: 2 of ?? chapters

    Season 6

    • A Storm of Swords: 1 of 82 chapters
    • A Feast for Crows: 6 of 46 chapters
    • A Dance with Dragons: 2 of 73 chapters
    • The Winds of Winter: 1 of ?? chapters

    Note that some book chapters have not been covered on the TV show either because events were changed or cut from the TV show, and that the more the show has continued, the more it has invented new material of its own.

    For another good reference, the Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast is experiencing the TV show before the books and they have been doing a book club after each season. Check out their episode guide.

    That is a fantastic link!

  • Now that season 4 has ended as well, it would be good to point out that the third book, A Storm of Swords has been broken in two seasons: season 3 and 4.

    But also, in those two seasons (especially the fourth one), there were a lot of chapters from the fourth and fifth book; like for instance the chapters with Reek and some of Brienne's.

  • I remember reading somewhere that this is indeed the plan: each season is roughly equivalent to one book.

  • It used to but it doesn't anymore.

    The first 3 seasons and the first two book + part 1 of the third line up almost perfectly.

    Season 4 is still kinda the second half of the third book.

    After that no.

    It's a mix and match of the 4th book, 5th book, their own material perhaps based on Martins hints and maybe of the 6th book which we wont know until 2020 or later since that's when it'll be out. Maybe (yeah official date is sooner but every time we get close to it it's moved up by a year so).

    Season 7 and 8 will be a small part of the 4th and 5th books (for example the whole fake Targeryan), whatever Martin told them, whatever they made up and whatever spoilers for the last two books they have.

    How much Book 7 will match anything is a stupid question for now. Try asking in 2035.

    That doesn't seem to contribute anything new to existing answers.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM