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Time magazine dubbed George R.R. Martin "the American Tolkien," a title that would not rest comfortably on the heads of most other writers, but perfectly fits the author of the Song of Ice and Fire saga. With its fierce battle scenes and vivid portrayals, A Dance with Dragons, the new series entry, can be read as a standalone, but gains resonance as part of Martin's Seven Kingdoms epic. Genre fans should also be alerted to HBO's Game of Thrones, a new series based on A Song of Ice and Fire, which is already a major success: It was renewed for a second season in April, just two days after its premiere!