With a mesmerizingly exquisite portrayal of events and description of details, ‘A Game of Thrones’ introduces its reader to its world and then expands itself using the conflict experienced by the characters. The gradual expansion of the story produces an overwhelming sense of realism and makes it relatable even with extremely unrelatable elements.
‘Spoiler-Free’ Summary of A Game of Thrones
Beyond the wall, in the north of Winterfell, three men of the Night’s Watch, Gared, Waymar Royce, and Will, scout an area Will swore to contain dead men. On getting there, they discover there is no one, and believing Will is delusional, they make fun of him. However, their worst nightmare comes to life when they face monsters.
Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell, gets word of a captured deserter that abandoned his post in the Night’s Watch. He takes his sons, Bran, Robb, and Jon, to deliver justice as stipulated by the law. After handling the deserter, Bran and his brothers find six direwolves who lost their mother. They decide to take in the creatures and care for them as pets. Word reaches Ned of the passing of his dear friend, the Hand of the King. He learns that the king, Robert Baratheon, his dear friend, is headed for Winterfell.
East of Westeros, across the sea, the children of Aerys II Targaryen, Daenerys, and Viserys, stay in the free city of Pentos. As the son of the mad king, Viserys swears to get back his kingdom by giving his sister to Khal Drogo, a warlord with thousands of fighters.
Robert Baratheon arrives in Winterfell with his wife, Cersei, and Children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. He asks Ned to take over as Hand of the King, and even though Ned tries to refuse, he accepts the position.
Jon, the bastard son of Ned, decides to become a man of the Night’s Watch, and when his uncle, Benjen, advises him against it, he gets sad and storms out. He meets Tyrion, the dwarf brother of Cersei and the last son of Tywin Lannister.
Later, Catelyn, Ned’s wife, agrees to Jon joining the Night’s Watch. Tragedy strikes the Starks as Bran gets involved in an accident that leaves him near dead. With Bran unconscious, Ned leaves Winterfell with his daughters Sansa and Arya as Robert suggests Joffrey marry Sansa.
Back in Pentos, Daenerys gets married to Khal Drogo and become his Khaleesi. Word of her marriage reaches Robert Baratheon, and he gets furious. When Catelyn watches over Bran, someone tries to kill him with a knife made from Valyrian steel; this makes Catelyn travel to King’s Landing, home to the king, seeking answers. She arrives before her husband and daughters and meets Petyr Baelish, her childhood friend. From Petyr, she gets convinced that Tyrion is responsible. Meanwhile, Tyrion travels to Castle Black, the Night’s Watch, to see the wall. He meets Jon there.
At Castle Black, Jon realizes the harsh reality of the Night’s Watch. He discovers that the boys his age are severely lacking skill. He teaches them how to fight. Ned reaches King’s Landing and holds a meeting with the small council. He realizes the kingdom owes a large sum of money to the Lannisters and other rich houses. After the meeting, Ned talks to his daughter, Arya. He sees Arya’s weapon and gets her a teacher.
After becoming Khaleesi, Daenerys punishes her brother when he tries to harm her. She realizes that a gift given to her by the Magister of Pentos had immense power. On her 14th birthday, she realizes she is with a child.
In King’s Landing, Ned begins investigating the death of the former Hand of the King, and he uncovers a damning secret. Catelyn decides to return to Winterfell, and while staying at an inn, she meets Tyrion and has him arrested. With Tyrion, her prisoner, Catelyn visits her sister and has Tyrion tried for attempted assassination and murder. Tyrion requests a trial and comes out victorious.
Daenerys, still pregnant with a baby, tries to mend her relationship with her brother, but he acts out at her and pays the ultimate price for his insolence. Ned meets Cersei and tells her he knows about her secret. He asks her to leave before her husband, Robert, returns from his hunting quest. Later, Ned gets shocked to discover that his friend, Robert, is on the brink of death. After Robert passes away, Ned tries to rule King’s Landing, but he faces opposition from Cersei, who puts her son, Joffrey. Ned gets arrested and imprisoned.
When Daenerys tells her husband, Khal Drogo, of the west, he promises her son the throne, but things go south, and she loses everything. Hope comes for Daenerys as she becomes the dragon mother. Robb, Ned’s son, raises an army and marches against King’s Landing when he hears of his father’s arrest. The Lannisters raise an army with Tywin as the commander. Chaos breaks out in King’s Landing, and Arya runs for her life, but Sansa gets captured. Robb outsmarts Tywin and captures Jaime, Tywin’s first son. With news of Ned reaching the north, Robb’s men swear their loyalty to him.
A Game of Thrones Plot Summary
Spoiler alert: important details of the novel are revealed below
The story of ‘A Game of Thrones’ begins beyond the wall of the Night’s Watch. Rangers Waymar Royce, Gared, and Will of the Night’s Watch scout beyond the wall after Will say he saw dead people. On reaching the place with the dead men, the rangers find nothing and get angry with Will. However, some creatures with eyes as blue as the sky and gruesome as the cold emerge from the shadows. Waymar Royce tries to kill them but falls at the edge of their blade of ice. Will gets killed, and Gared escapes.
In Winterfell, Lord Eddard Stark learns of a Night’s Watch deserter captured. He takes along his three sons, Robb, Jon, his bastard son, and Bran, his seven-year-old boy. Ned kills the deserter, who was Gared, according to the law. After Gared’s beheading, Bran and his brothers find five direwolf pups alone with their dead mother. Brans begs his father to keep the pups, and Jon tells Ned he could give one to his children. Before they leave, Jon finds another direwolf pup. On returning to Winterfell, Catelyn, Ned’s wife, tells him about Jon Arryn’s death. She also tells him about Robert Baratheon’s visit to Winterfell.
In Pentos, across the Narrow Sea, east of Westeros, Viserys plans his sister’s wedding to Khal Drogo of the Dothraki people. Believing that the Khal’s Khalasar was the key to him regaining the throne of Westeros after his father’s death, Viserys decides to marry off his sister in exchange for an army. Daenerys meets Ser Jorah Mormont, a knight who fled Westeros in fear for his life.
When Robert Baratheon reaches Winterfell, he offers Ned the Hand of the King position and begs him to take up the mantle. Robert tells Ned that he does not want to be king again, and they talk about Ned’s sister, Lyanna, who Robert loved before she died. To further seal their bond, Robert asks Ned to give his daughter, Sansa, as a bride to Joffrey, his first son, and Ned agrees.
During the party thrown for Robert, Benjen Stark, Ned’s brother and a man of the Night’s Watch, attends. Jon begs Benjen to take him to Castle Black so that he can become a man of the Night’s Watch, but when he says no, Jon storms out of the hall. Outside, he meets Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother to the queen, Cersei. Tyrion advises Jon about knowing his place as a bastard son. Catelyn tries to make Ned reject the offer to be Hand of the King after her sister tells her Jon Arryn got murdered by Cersei, but he tells her he can not decline.
Ned decides to take Bran, Arya, and Sansa to King’s Landing while he leaves behind Robb to take over as Lord of Winterfell, and Rickon, the youngest child. Maester Luwin tells her about Jon’s willingness to go to the wall and tells Catelyn. She convinces Ned to let Jon go.
One day, Bran decides to climb the walls of Winterfell as he does, but he stumbles across Cersei and Jaime, her brother. He overhears their conversation about Robert appointing Ned, and after they finish talking, Bran witnesses Jaime sleep with his sister. He gets caught by Jaime and thrown off the wall; this makes him unconscious. Tyrion later tells Jaime and Cersei that Bran’s spine gets permanently shattered and that he will never walk again.
Jon leaves Winterfell for the Night’s Watch. When he says goodbye to Bran, Catelyn lets him know that he should have been the one who fell because he was the bastard. He says goodbye to his sibling and gives Arya a thin blade that she names Needle.
On the other side of the world, Daenerys gets married to Khal Drogo. She is given a horse by Khal, three maids, and three dragon eggs. Robert decides to go out on a ride with Ned. When they are alone, Robert tells Ned he is giving the Warden of the East title to Jaime in place of Jon Arryn’s son. Ned protests, calling Jamie the Kingslayer and a backstabber who killed the king he swore to protect.
Robert rebukes Ned, telling him that Jamie killed the mad king, Aerys II Targaryen, and did everyone a favor. Ned and Robert leave for King’s Landing. While Catelyn watches over Bran, someone starts a fire in the library and tries to kill Bran. He is unsuccessful and gets killed. Catelyn tells her trusted men about the letter her sister sent about Cersei, and she decides to go to kings landing to investigate.
Before Ned leaves for King’s Landing, Joffrey takes Sansa on a ride and meets Arya practicing sword fighting with her friend Mycah. He tries to bully them, but Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, steps in and injures Joffrey. Mycah flees, and Cersei sends Sandor Clegane after him and Arya’s direwolf. Arya gets brought before Robert. She tells him Joffrey attacked them first. Sansa pretends not to know anything, and Arya calls her a betrayer. Ned gets ordered to kill Sansa’s direwolf instead. Later, Clegane kills Mycah.
Bran gets a vision where he sees a three-eyed raven. The raven tells him to fly, and when Bran tries, he sees everything in Westeros. Bran wakes up from the dream. Catelyn reaches King’s Landing by sea and meets Petyr Baelish, her childhood friend. He tells her that the assassin’s knife belongs to him, but Tyrion had won it in a bet. In Castle Black, Jon begins training to become a ranger for the Night’s Watch. He notices the other boys in the castle dislike him, but after realizing they did so because he was better than them, he starts helping them learn how to fight.
Ned reaches King’s Landing with his daughters and convenes a meeting with the small council comprising Lord Varys and Petyr Baelish. He realizes that the kingdom was six million in debt to the Lannisters. After the meeting, Petyr takes Ned to see Catelyn before she heads home. She tells him about Tyrion being the suspected plotter behind Bran’s assassination, and he tells her to prepare for war and the winter.
Tyrion, who has been in Castle Black for a while, gets ready to leave. Lord Mormont request that he put a word with the king regarding adding more men to the Night’s Watch. Jon also asks him to greet his brothers at Winterfell. Back in King’s Landing, Ned talks to a grieving Arya, who lets him know that she hated what Sansa did to her. Ned sees Arya’s sword and gets her a training master, Syrio Forel.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys begins navigating her life as the Khaleesi to Drogo. When Viserys tries to hurt her, Drogo’s men step in, and she punishes him by making him walk on foot, a disgrace, according to the Dothraki. She realizes her brother’s incompetence will never get them to King’s Landing. On her 14th birthday, she realizes she is pregnant with Khal Drogo’s child. Bran meets Tyrion, who helps him design a saddle that could make him ride a horse.
In King’s Landing, Ned begins investigating Jon Arryn’s death. He learns from Grand Maester Pycelle that Jon Arryn died naturally, but Ned does not believe the maester’s story. In Castle Black, Jon Snow meets Samwell Tarly of Horn, stripped of his right as the firstborn of his father. Jon protects Samwell from getting hurt and later hears his story.
As Ned dives deeper into Jon Arryn’s case, he learns that Robert Baratheon has a bastard son. Catelyn heads back for Winterfell. She stops by an inn, by the way, and realizes Tyrion was also in the inn. Calling on men loyal to the Starks, Catelyn apprehends Tyrion for the murder of Jon Arryn and the planned assassination of her son.
Robert throws a jousting ceremony for Ned’s appointment, and Sandor Clegane wins after defeating his brother. Sansa talks to Clegane, who tells her about his scars and hatred for his brother. He threatens her about talking to anyone about their discussion. Arya overhears two men talking about Jon Arryn’s death. She realizes that the men plan to kill her father if he finds the truth; this makes her ask her father to make them leave King’s Landing.
Ned gets summoned by Robert. He tells him of Daenerys’s pregnancy. Robert orders her to get killed, but Ned refuses and steps down as the Hand of the King. He begins planning his daughters’ return to Winterfell. When Ned seeks further information from a brothel, he gets attacked by Jaime Lannister, who kills some of his men and injures him.
Tyrion is taken to the Eyrie to meet Lysa, Catelyn’s sister. He gets charged with murder and requests a trial by combat. He wins with the help of Bronn, a sellsword who followed him to the Eyrie, and gets freed. In Castle Black, Jon and seven of his friends become men of the Night’s Watch. Jon meets master Aemon to take in Samwell Tarly as an apprentice, and he agrees.
Ned meets Cersei and reveals that he knows about her children not being Robert’s. Cersei admits to having children for Jaime. With Robert on a hunting trip, Ned tells Cersei to leave King’s Landing before Robert arrives. In the east, Daenerys partakes in a ritual for her unborn son. Viserys gets drunk and draws out his blade in Vaes Dothrak, where blood-shedding is forbidden. He demands an army from Khal Drogo but gets killed with molten gold.
When Ned learns of Robert’s return, he visits him but gets shocked to discover that Robert was in an accident. Robert dies, and Ned tries to rule the kingdom as he promised. He also tries to make Stannis Baratheon the next king because Joffrey was an illegitimate child. All of Ned’s men get killed, and he gets arrested. Meanwhile, Arya escapes getting captured as Syrio Forel fights for her.
Robb decides to go to war when he hears of his father’s arrest. With his leaving, Bran becomes the lord of Winterfell. In Vaes Dothrak, an attempt on Daenerys life makes Khal Drogo swear to conquer the seven kingdoms for their son.
Tyrion re-unites with his father, who had an army ready to go to war against the Starks. Tywin gives Tyrion some men to command. With Ned’s arrest, Joffrey becomes the king and places his mother on the small council. He makes his grandfather, Tywin, Hand of the King, and makes his Clegane a king’s guard. Catelyn meets Lord Walder Frey and requests passage through his land, Robbs agrees to marry one of Walder’s daughters, and Catelyn takes in two of his wards as hers.
Beyond the wall, the rangers of the Night’s watch find some of Benjen’s men’s bodies. They take them back to Castle Black. The dead bodies resurrect and try to kill Jon and Lord Mormont. Jon uses fire against the White Walkers. Jon later learns that master Aemon was the brother of Aegon Targaryen.
In the east, Khal Drogo conquers a rival, Khal Ogo, and enslaves his people. Daenerys rescues some of the women getting raped, and among them, she helps a woman, Mirri Maz Duur. When she lets Mirri treat Drogo, his wound becomes deeply infected, and he falls from his horse; this makes him lose his title.
In the last attempt to save Drogo, Daenerys tells Mirri to use magic to cure her husband. When Mirri uses dark magic, Drogo’s bloodrider tries to kill her but gets stopped by Jorah Mormont, Daenerys’s knight. She then feels a sharp pain in her belly and tells Jorah to take her into the tent where Mirri was performing her spell.
In King’s Landing, Arya tries evading capture by soldiers as she tries blending in. She witnesses the summoning of her father and attends the summoning. Arya watches as her father admits to treason and begs for mercy, but Joffrey decides to behead him. Before she sees her father getting beheaded, someone takes her away. Bran and Rickon get the news of their father’s death.
Jon tries to leave the Night’s Watch when he learns that his father is dead, but Samwell stops him with the help of his other friends. Lord Mormont tells Jon about the war coming with the winter and how the Night’s Watch is the line between good and evil. Joffrey later shows Sansa her father’s head, and she tells him Robb will take his.
Tyrion receives a surprise attack from Robb’s army. The attack leaves him disoriented, but he manages to gain the upper hand. He later discovers that his father had planned for him to be on the front line. Unknown to Tywin, Robb used the first attack as a distraction to face Jaime’s army, defeating and capturing him. Catelyn and Robb meet Hoster Tully, her father, and a meeting among the houses of the north gets created. During the meeting, the north rejects the throne of King’s Landing and swears allegiance to Robb Stark. He gets crowned King of the North.
Across the sea in the East, Daenerys ends her husband’s suffering and build a pyre for him. She asks Drogo’s remaining bloodriders to stay with her and asks the remaining people to become her Khalasar. She ties Mirri to the stake of her husband’s pyre and places her dragon eggs in it. When she sets the pure on fire, she walks into the flames and does not get burnt. While Mirri screams and wails, Daenerys’s dragon eggs cracks, and when the fire dies, she emerges with three dragons.
How long will it take for someone to finish A Game of Thrones novel?
Based on an average reading speed of 300 words per minute, it will take a person about 12 hours and 20 minutes to finish reading the first novel in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’
Can a child read Game of Thrones?
While ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R. R. Martin features monsters and action, it is not a story suitable for a younger audience. It features excessive violence, death, rape, and mutilation. A better read for children is ‘Harry Potter,’ starting with ‘The Philosopher’s Stone.’
Why did Ned Stark die in Game of Thrones?
Ned Stark died in ‘A Game of Thrones’ because he chose honor over his life, which is one of the main themes of ‘A Game of Thrones‘. After discovering that Cersei’s children were illegitimate, Ned had every opportunity to get rid of her, but he decided against it because he knew it would mean the death of all her children. Ned disclosing the truth to Cersei gave her enough time to plot against her husband, killing him.
Is Game of Thrones season 1 the same as the novel?
Yes, the first season of Game of Thrones follows George R. R. Martin’s first novel ‘A Song of Ice and Fire.’ There are many events in the show that is the same as the story, like Ned Stark getting killed and Daenerys getting three dragons.