George is back, back again. George is back, tell a friend.
That’s right, friends, winter is coming. Well, O.K., winter’s actually on its way out, but as of last night, Season 4 of Game of Thrones is finally here! All your favorite scheming, backstabbing Westeros denizens are back on your screen and breaking your heart once again.
In the spirit of all the questionable decisions yet to come, we’re picking some helpful reads to guide/comfort both the power hungry and their hapless victims in the realm. (All picks based on show events. Spoiler Alert for those still on the first book or season or so.)
A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
You know nothing, Jon Snow, except how to sing the blues. Nothing has ever gone right in this kid’s life, and the Baudelaires may come closest in understanding just how unfortunate life can be. Now that the Starks’ numbers have been decimated by the terrible affliction of Trusting People Who in No Way Appear Trustworthy, Ned’s illegitimate frost baby could probably use some fictional orphans to commiserate with, because nobody knows the trouble he’s seen.
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
“Hello, my name is Arya Stark. You killed my entire family. Prepare to die.”
The Campaigns of Alexander, by Arrian
Far be it for me to question Dany’s mastery of logistics and battlefield command—especially because dragons—but I echo Ser Jorah in asking, “Khaleesi, are we there yet?” She’s got an army of Unsullied and her fire-breathing children, so maybe it’s time to really, truly hit the road to Westeros, instead of prolonging the island-conquering vacay. There’s no better blueprint to trying to take over the world than the one laid down by Alexander the Great. Pro tip: never doubt rulers with superlatives as their surnames.
Richard III, by William Shakespeare
King Stannis can identify with a plot full of scheming, jealous brothers (may his rest in peace). He also loves to indulge in a healthy bout of paranoia like any good exiled monarch. And as he presides over the Wall, and not the Iron Throne, there can be no doubt that it is the winter of his discontent.
Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews
The Baudelaires are to the Starks as the Dollangangers are to the Lannisters. And now that Cersei’s mangled brother-lover is finally back in King’s Landing, it might be a good time for a refresher on the dangers of incest and also having asylum fodder for family.
Theon Greyjoy Reek
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
A little light reading for when he’s dreaming of being mercifully killed.
Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero, by William Makepeace Thackeray
Oh, she just can’t wait to be queen. I appreciate Margaery’s balance of outward delicacy and inward plotting; it’s a refreshing change from the straightforward seediness often found among the Westerosi ruling elite. But she has now backed two of the
five infinite horses in the race for the throne, and this newest one, Joffrey, should really just be turned into glue. The story of Becky Sharp’s dubious social climbing might serve as a cautionary tale against quests for marriageable power.
All My Friends Are Dead, by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Whomp whomp. The loneliest Starkling (except maybe Rickon, if he were a thing) needs allies in the hornet’s nest of King’s Landing, and maybe, Sweet Sansa, you can give your husband a shot. After all, at least he’s there…for now.
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
An underrated protagonist on a harrowing quest of mythical proportions into uncharted territory? Bran could probably relate. Of course, Bilbo probably would have liked to have a Hodor to tote him around on said quest.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Her whole plan to make Stannis king of the world is about to get complicated. Time for some one-on-ones with R’hllor.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, by Mark Twain
Two witty, cranky peas in a pod, and maybe Twain’s folksy wisdom will buoy Tyrion’s spirits during his marital…issues.
What books would you recommend to your favorite denizens of Westeros?