As Game of Thrones comes to an end with its eighth and final season, fantasy lovers aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the characters and kingdoms they have come to invest so much in. George R. R. Martin’s sprawling series of fantasy novels, set in the divided kingdom of Westeros, told the stories of the brave men and women vying for the chance to sit on the Iron Throne and rule its Seven Kingdoms. But for all of its appealing aspects (dragons! knights!), it’s still based on the English Civil Wars of the 15th century, showing us that fantasy isn’t all elves and unicorns. Fantasy can offer a respite from the torpor of daily life, and also an appreciation for the modern creature comforts!

But fear not, because Game of Thrones doesn’t have to be the end of television’s love affair with fantasy series. There are several other novels that offer up the same level of world-building, character development, intrigue, and magic as his masterpieces. Brave knights. Fearsome queens. Powerful wizards. Dragons. Your imagination is the limit with these tomes, any one of them a worthy successor to Game of Thrones.

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10 THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN

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If all you know about Taran the Pig Keeper, his oracular white pig that can see into the future, and the Horned King are from Disney’s The Black Cauldron, get ahold of Lloyd Alexander’s masterful The Chronicles of Prydain. Much like The Chronicles of Narnia, they introduced children to the wonderful world of high fantasy with their combination of humor, adventure, and supernatural intrigue.

While initially intended as “YA” novels, unlike most of them, this series of books has more depth with each reread, ensuring adults will find them just as engaging. They also deserve some updating for a new generation.

9 DERYNI RISING

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Set in the fantasy kingdom of Gwynedd, young Kelson Haldane’s father has just died, making him the new king. His adviser, Alaric Morgan, is a half-breed member of the mysterious Deryni people, a half-human race of sorcerers, who are despised by most humans, including Kelson’s mother, the Queen. There is also a full blood Deryni sorceress waiting to resurrect a Deryni empire and overthrow the humans.

The fate of the Eleven Kingdoms rests on Kelson in Deryni Rising (and the entire Deryni series), and his ability to mend political alliances now broken, prevent rebellion brewing at his gates, and perhaps even learn to use a little magic to make it all possible. Written in the ‘70s, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been adapted to the small screen yet!

8 THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

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C.S. Lewis’s classic fantasy tales The Chronicles of Narnia have been delighting readers for over sixty years. The world of Narnia, accessible through a magical wardrobe by siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, is full of mythical creatures, powerful villains, and a general sense of whimsy that represents world-building similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels from Middle Earth.

7 DAGGERSPELL BOOK 1 OF THE DEVERRY SERIES

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Regarded as perhaps one of the greatest sagas of Celtic high fantasy, Katherine Kerr’s Daggerspell, the first in her exhaustive Deverry series, introduces readers to Jill, a young girl who can speak to Wildfolk, the last remnants of the magic realm that once existed all around her.

What she doesn’t know, is that her circumstances and fate were actually shaped hundreds of thousands of years ago by a selfish lord who caused the death of two lovers, the importance of which the Wildfolk reveal to her in time. There is love, there are battles, there is magic, there is reincarnation, and this is but the first of fifteen novels!

6 THE GREAT BOOK OF AMBER

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All ten of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series take place in two worlds, “Amber” and “Chaos”, and in shadow worlds that reside between them. Opposing magic forces between them created such things as our own Earth, among other entities. The Courts of Amber, composed of ancient royal families, sit at the edge of the Abyss, in a cosmic citadel deciding the fate of the inhabitants of Amber, Chaos, and the Shadows.

The first five of Zelazny’s fantasy novels are narrated by Corwin, a prince of Amber who, after receiving memory loss, discovers he is, in fact, part of one of these superhuman royal families with the ability to wander through parallel worlds.

5 THE DARK ELF TRILOGY

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The Dark Elf Trilogy can be held responsible for many of the attributes we give to elves in fantasy, aside from J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings on them. RA Salvatore’s trilogy focuses primarily on the Drow, elves with khol-black skin and snow-white hair that have become a staple in fantasy lore.

The trilogy concerns the culture of the Drow, from their fighting style to their art, to their association with other fantasy creatures in the realm of Underdark, ruled by the High Priestesses of Lloth. Discover the origins of Drizzt, the famous dark-elf that leaves his elvish heritage behind, and marvel at the extensive world building.

4 RUNELORDS

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David Farland’s lengthy Runelords series deals in magic, magic, and more magic. There are the usual fantasy tropes; a young prince, his flame-haired bodyguard, a powerful Wolf Lord, a hermit wizard, etc, but it’s the system of the magic in the series that makes it a candidate for the television treatment.

Magic is given through endowments by Dedicates, people who willingly give their attributes like strength and stamina to increase them in another. However, they lose whatever attribute they give up (giving someone the power to see the future will leave you blind), but its new possessor may gain enough endowments to become a Runelord, and grant you riches and protection.

3 EYE OF THE WORLD BOOK 1 OF THE WHEEL OF TIME

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Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series has been critically acclaimed since it began, when readers first learned of the peaceful village of Emond’s Field, of the Dark One and his minions, or of the time period known as the Breaking of the World. With a rich world populated by hundreds of different characters both big and small, it’s very reminiscent of G. R. R. Martin’s works.

This series is for fans of Martin and Tolkien, who like to be able to visualize every detail of the fantasy world that is being built before their very eyes. With over a dozen books, there’s more than enough absorbing plot for several seasons of a television series.

2 A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA

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Ursula Le Guin has long been established as one of the founders of modern fantasy, and her Earthsea series is standard reading for all those enchanted by its themes. Long before Hogwarts, there was the Wizarding School of Roke. In the first novel of the series, A Wizard of Earthsea, it follows Ged, a once-revered sorcerer who could change his form at whim, and was very powerful.

But his lust for power released an ancient evil, one that only he can hope to defeat. Ged must gain humility, learn the words of power, tame a dragon, and conquer death itself. Thus began a series of magic and philosophy that, since it began in 1968, deserves to be filmed.

1 DRAGONFLIGHT, THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN

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One of the most beloved fantasy series in recent years, the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey has captured the imagination of millions of fantasy fans around the world. It takes place on the planet Pern, colonized by humans, where unbeknownst to them an indigenous life form has begun a destructive wave over their outposts. To combat the threat, their scientists create awesome dragons from the local reptilian population.

The Pern series stretches over 21 books, in which McCaffrey jumps forward and backward in time, giving plenty of options for plot development. There almost was a movie made, but a long format television series could definitely cover more ground.

NEXT: Beauty And The Beast Gift Guide

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