How To Read Game Of Thrones

or how to read George R. R. Martin’s staggering, cumbersome epic without getting traumatized by the torture, rape, incest, and murder, thwarted by the medieval language, lost in his vast, invented world of strangely named cities and surrounding geography, muddled by the epic history and mythology, confused by the excessive cast of characters, or bored by the details of custom and culture.

CAUTION: There are some minor spoilers below, but they are worth it if I can get you to visit these books. Besides, you’ll forget about them as soon as you get into it.