Just in time for the premiere of the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones—which airs this Sunday, March 31—we bring to you a list of epic, uncharted food-nerd proportion! A guide to food taken straight from the pages of George R.R. Martin’s white-hot tome.
After extensive research, we can comfortable say that no one can ever accuse Martin for a lack of imagery. From a fictional city’s streets to the steaming carcass of a horse, his readers want for no description. And anyone who’s read at least two pages of A Song of Ice and Fire or has just seen a commercial for HBO’s Game of Thrones knows that Martin holds three types of descriptions closest to his heart—gore, sex, and food. And while the TV show showcases some of the writer’s affections for culinary delights, the episodes can’t compare with the feasts Martin has penned for what we can only assume is another form of character building. For some like Cersei and Tyrion Lannister, food is power; It’s indicative of their entitled lifestyle, at times wasteful (Cersei) and at others a method of manipulation (Tyrion). For others, it’s more about what they’re not eating (we’re looking at you Ned, Catelyn, Sansa, and Arya). But one thing’s for certain—everybody has a favorite. Even Daenerys’ dragons prefer their snakemeat charred over a brazier instead of raw.
Martin’s “regional favorites” are so amply described in the series, that there’s even an Official Game of Thrones Cookbook with recipes and instructions on throwing a dinner party Winterfell-style. With that, we’ve created our own round-up of the most telling eats, from Khal Drogo’s outdoor horse meat roasts to Sansa’s love of lemon cakes. Using the books to catch up with where the TV show is thus far, we’ve avoided any spoilers. Though we can’t promise that these menus will make you particularly hungry, we do know you’ll never look at these characters the same way again.
Here, we break down the 20 most impactful food moments from the first two books of the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. Let the debauchery commence before winter returns for season three this weekend.