So I recently found myself asking myself, “What do I do when I finish the end of the first volume of a huge multi-volume fantasy epic and the author has just beheaded the oh-so-noble-minded protagonist?” Should I throw the book into the fire in despair, join an online forum and curse the author’s sudden but inevitable betrayal? Or should I just turn the page and find out what happens next? I chose the latter course. And before you consider posting your own angry, anonymous screed in response to my alleged spoiler with that first sentence, let me gently remind you of two things: First, A Game of Thrones was published fifteen years ago. Fifteen years. Second, the first season of the HBO series Game of Thrones concluded a week ago. The first season very closely matches the story of the first volume of George R.R. Martin’s ever-growing, multi-volume epic. Besides, Benioff and Weiss took Stark’s head off the week before in episode 9.

Ned’s dead. He wasn’t alone. It happens. What now? — After all, that’s really the point. To learn what happens next. To turn the page and continue the story. Because like it or not these books are not about one character. Or even one family. They’re about hundreds — thousands — of major and minor characters caught up in intrigue and magic and mystery well beyond most of their understandings. And likely beyond even the capacity to fully comprehend for the best of players.

Publisher’s Weekly writes:

The novel is notable particularly for the lived-in quality of its world, created through abundant detail that dramatically increases narrative length even as it aids suspension of disbelief; for the comparatively modest role of magic. […] Here, he provides a banquet for fantasy lovers with large appetites—and this is only the second course of a repast with no end in sight.

I am completely hooked by this series, Mooch’s warnings be damned.