A Dance with Dragons, the fifth instalment of George R.R. Martin’s acclaimed series, A Song of Ice and Fire, was released five years ago today, on 12th July 2011. The series is the inspiration for one of the biggest TV series of recent times; HBO’s Game of Thrones.
But even before Game of Thrones, Martin’s book series was massively popular with fantasy fans. After releasing the first three books in relatively quick succession (1996-2000), there was a five year wait for the fourth book, A Feast for Crows (2005), and then fans endured a hideous six year wait for A Dance with Dragons to be released. The wait was made even more painstaking by the fact Feast and Dance are set at the same time, divided by place and character; so half of our favourite characters were absent from Feast!
When A Dance with Dragons was eventually released, five years ago today, the world was brimming with excitement, not least because its screen counterpart, Game of Thrones, had just wrapped up its first season. While on the screen, we were just meeting the likes of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the villainous Lannisters; book lovers got an insight into their lives much further down to the tough road. No spoilers, but Daenerys is still struggling to fit into the role of Queen far away from the Throne she’s supposed to be claiming, and Jon Snow has his own leadership quarrels at the Wall.
Five years on, and we are seeing the material from Dance being adapted in the current, and previous series of Game of Thrones. In fact, the show has moved into territory unmarked by the book series, as we are still waiting for Dance‘s sequel book, The Winds of Winter. There has been rumbles of it being released this year, but at the rate George RR Martin writes, I wouldn’t hold your breath!
A Dance with Dragons is an epic novel that includes a lot of extra story emitted from the show. From a certain ‘Lady Stoneheart’, to a far more fleshed out Dorne story, it’s much more rewarding as a fan to read the book. And what better way to prepare for The Winds of Winter, which is surely about to appear… Probably. Maybe. Hopefully he finishes it before he dies.
Watch the series for the unparalleled HBO show below: