“Winter is coming.” “You win or you die.”  “The North remembers.” “Valar morghulis: All men must die.”

These life-changing utterances will have to hold us until Game of Thrones returns in 2015. It has been a mere week since the good folks at HBO cut off our supply of lecherous dwarves, murderously manipulative public servants and black garbed men standing atop an icy wall, but full blown withdrawal has set in.

This season has been satisfying in some ways (Yes, Purple Wedding, we are talking about you.) and cringe-worthy in others (Cersei. Jaime. Joffrey’s corpse.). Nonetheless, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss dragged us through the seven hells in a way that would make George R.R. Martin proud. Tradition says that the penultimate episode is the climax of the season. However, Tyrion’s trial by combat in episode eight (Alas poor Oberyn! We didn’t get to know you nearly well enough.) and the comeuppance of Tywin Lannister in the season finale overshadowed the battle at the Wall. Jon Snow’s hair was simply no match for The Mountain, The Viper and a trusty crossbow.

Summer nights may be long, but they are still full of the terror of waiting to find out what lies beyond the sea for Arya and Tyrion. What will come of the Mother of Dragons and her increasingly dangerous offspring? Where exactly are Sansa and Littlefinger headed? Will we ever see little Rickon Stark again? How are we going to fill the regicidal, patricidal, fratricidal and good old fashioned, though generic, homicidal hole in our Sunday nights? Perhaps these books will help pass the time until winter arrives.

Game of Thrones 5 book seriesA Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book #1), A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire Book #2), A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire Book #3), A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire Book #4) and A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire Book #5) by George R.R. Martin

Forgive the obvious offering. These are the source of all joy, grief and consternation. Martin created a world full of multidimensional characters navigating a landscape of political intrigue, sex and violence. House Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, and Targaryen are the central figures in the first novel. As the novels progress, rich backstories are revealed. Motivations that seemed clear become muddy and it is clear that nothing and no one, not even the stalwart Eddard Stark, is who they present themselves to be. Be warned, you must pace yourself. The series is not complete. If you read through them too quickly, you may find yourself staving off two types of withdrawal. Do not fret – it only hurts for a little while and we have T-shirts.

Wheel of timeThe Eye of the World (Wheel of Time Book #1) by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time is a classic fantasy series which take place in our past and our future. Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, Jordan weaves a tale of good versus evil rife with deep symbolism and a gripping storyline. The Eye of the World revolves around the lives of group of young people in the Two Rivers district. After dark forces attack a peaceful village targeting a quartet of young protagonists, they leave in hopes of sparing their home from further devastation. A complete series, The Wheel of Time will leave you with a sense of satisfaction that fans of A Song of Ice and Fire may never know.

Abraham_Dragons-Path-TP-220x330The Dragon’s Path (The Dagger and the Coin Book #1) by Daniel Abraham

This is the first book in a planned five-book series. Its complexity of characters and the scope of the military and political intrigues is reminiscent of George R.R. Martin’s A Song Ice and Fire. The novel opens with orphaned Cithrin and Marcus, a great general past his prime, escaping from a city under siege with a cache of treasure. Abraham subverts the usual fantasy tropes, spinning a tale where loyalties do not lie in the usual places. Fans of Martin may find solace here as Abraham is a Martin acolyte. Let us pray that he did not pick up the habit of leaving his readers at the cliff’s edge.