Several frineds of mine have been trying to get me to read this for a few years now. I actually started reading it, but only got about 100 pages or so in before I gave up. When I saw it on Audible, I decided to give it another try just to shut them up. Boy, am I glad I listened to them!! One you have all the characters straight, the story is quite engaging. some things which may seem superfluous at the time end up being critical later on. One thing that Martin does much better than the master himself, Tolkien, is write interesting female characters. Whereas the females in The Lord of the Rings seemed "tacked on," the females in this book are well-written, deep characters who are critical to the story. Also, you never really seem sure whom to root for. Characters you may dislike at first soon become your favorites. I'm not a big fan of fantasy overall, and after reading this series, I doubt I'll be able to read anything else in this genre, because nothing can top this! I'm now listening to the second book, A Clash of Kings, and I hope the third, A Storm of Swords comes to Audible in the next few weeks, because I'm seriously addicted to this series! I must also comment on the narrator, Roy Dotrice. I love the different voies he uses. They are clear enough that you know who you are listening to even if he doesn't tell you right away. The only negative is that he sometimes changes pronunciations of names (Joffrey become Jeffrey, for example) but that is hardly enough to detract from his otherwise excellent narration.
I greatly appreciate Roy Dotrice's regular reading voice, but in this book, I find his vocal acting to be incredibly annoying; there are a couple of places where I've skipped sections of the book just so I don't have to listen to the huffing and puffing and wet-mouthed saliva sucking.
To add to the frustration, whoever cut the audio together for this book together wasn't paying much attention; nearly every chapter, there are one or two places where two sections overlap; a sentence will be read, then there'll be a long pause, then that same sentence will be repeated, and the book will continue.
The book itself is fine, but I won't spend two credits to listen to the narrator groan and moan his way through another chapter. I'll wait for the miniseries, or get the actual books from the library.
I had to cut this book short some months ago when listening with my 12 year old. The sex scenes (including multiple war-related rapes and a long-standing affair between a twin brother and sister) are way too explicit for a child, in my opinion. Having run out of audiobooks, though, I decided to give this one a try again and really enjoyed it. It's long, and stops just as things are really building up, so be warned. Still, it's a very compelling book with a myriad of well-developed characters that make it hard to hit the "stop" button.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
I am way late in reading this this novel. I have had numerous people tell me how much I would love it. They raved and raved. I thought it was better than average. I will read book two, but not right away. I found it tiring to listen and although I usually listen about 2-3 hours per day, I found myself only getting in about half of it.
There are so many characters, a multitude of locations and hints of story lines and histories. I think Dotrice is a good voice -- but he nearly put me to sleep several times.
Perhaps book two will help me gain momentum with the series. I recommend listening in small doses. I am one of the minority who only thought it to be so-so.
I have yet to listen to it because it's unbearable to listen to.
I probably would recommend the book but not the audible version. I know I'll read the book eventually.
Probably anyone with a little more enthusiasm.
I have no idea if Roy is better in other books but it's very hard to get into a book if the reader isn't in to it himself.
Used to be my favorite books were the Merlin series by Mary Stewart, and now I am afraid my beloved Myrddin Emrys has fallen to the number two spot.
The story here reads like a historical fiction cake with magic icing. The story is told with the point of view changing from chapter to chapter and adds a dimension of engaging complexity that makes the whole story seem all the more real, and all the more magical.
I was concerned when I purchased this that it might be some endlessly tedious description of knights in battle, but its not. It is a very character- driven human story with castles and dragons.
As a point of interest, there is what I imagine to be a true representation of medieval life. There is much violence including but certainly not limited to the murder of children and rape. The author does not dwell on these things or glorify them. To my mind, as I said, it seems to to be true to the reality of life at that time.
And dont forget, there is magic too! Here again the author handles this element so that it is impotant, but it is not the focus of the story.
I cannot imagine hearing this tale and not wanting the hear the rest of the series so be aware that there are 3 more available. The next two are read by the brilliant, great, incomparable Roy Dotrice. The fourth in the series is read by John Lee.
We are all waiting for Mr Martin to finish writing the fifth.
Would I change anything about the book itself? No. Well, the long lists of names of Garwen, son of Grabain etc, which are a bit Lord of the Rings-like, and there is a good chance that you will never see those characters again. But I logged on in order to write a review of the performance, not the book.
Tyrion, because of his indefatigable wit
In almost every possible way. Roy Dotrice has a lovely reading voice, a proper actorrrr in the old-school British sense. But throughout the series (I am now listening to the fourth book), he cannot read a name the same way twice, sometimes even changing it from one minute to another. For example Brienne, who he decides from the beginning to pronounce "Bra-eene", became "Bri-enne" for a few sweet moments in the fourth book, alternating back and forth to his first wrongly-pronounced choice. Targaryen, a pretty important surname, is mostly Tregaryen, sometimes Tergaryen, or whatever comes to hand first. Joffrey is Jeffrey quite often, Catelyn is Kate-lyn or Kat-lyn, Gilly becomes Jilly, and so on. I mean, did anyone in the publisher ever listen to this? For $40 per book, you would expect at least a perfunctory listen by a semi-conscious editor. And as he so often changed pronounciations from one book to another, did he even know that he was reading books from a series?And that's even before I start talking about the voices or accents. Now, Mr Dotrice was not a young man when he read these books, so he always sounds reasonably mature, so there was never any need to actually put on an old person's voice, when reading the parts of 30yr olds or 40yr olds, was there, really. He makes young fresh knights sound like old retired army colonels, any non-aristrocratic woman sound like a toothless old hag, and a huge amount of the 'ordinary' people incredibly stupid. Gendry is meant to be an un-educated guy, not a clinically thick one. It's so painful listening to his dim-witted voice for Gendry, or the completely constipated interpretation of Tywin Lannister, unable to get through a sentence without huffing and puffing every 4 words, that I wanted to skip through the chapters they were in.Lastly - accents. Roy Dotrice showed an astonishing lack of knowledge of some pretty simple premises - that Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister were all children of Tywin, for example, and were brought up by him in the same place. I know this is a fictional universe and our accents do not apply, so when I say that Tyrion Lannister had a Welsh accent, Cersei spoke Received Pronounciation, and Jaime was another constipated toff, I am just trying to say that 3 siblings had very different accents, when you would think they had the same. I liked to think that maybe Dotrice had realised his mistake in book 2, as he switches Jaime's to a bit more Welsh, but it's still Tyrion and Jaime in the Welsh camp vs Cersei and Tywin in the English. And as I have just noticed that Arya has been changed to Irish in the fourth book, it seems he picks accents and voices at random as yet another character turns up, and it's luck of the draw if he will remember which combination he used if he comes across them again.There are some other howling errors of inflexion and pentameter, where he must have realised that he read it wrong, but neither he nor anyone thought to get him to press rewind and try the sentence again. I listen to a lot of Radio 4, so am spoiled by the excellent voice actors who are clearly well directed and edited, so perhaps I am a little picky. But we are paying good money (or credits), not listening to a free radio service, and we are trying to be transported to a land of make-belief through our willing suspension of disbelief, so having these glaring and irritating errors bringing us back to this world of apathy, laziness and lack of pride in a job done, is like a slap (or many, in this case) in the face.I would dearly love to have a decent voice actor do all these again; someone who might actually quickly peruse the books beforehand and make notes of who is related to whom and where they come from, and perhaps even note their own pronounciations. Dotrice is/was allegedly friends with the author which is absolutely astounding - yet another person who didn't call him up on his mistakes! I know it's not just me bemoaning this. Anyone listening to these with a modicum of attention would notice it within minutes.
Waste lots of my time researching it, rather than working or studying.
Thrilling, addictive and immersive
Ned Stark's end.
Anyone else. I absolutely hated this narrator. He didn't know how to pronounce names. In fact, he pronounces Bran as "Brian," Winterfell as "Winterfall," Catelyn is pronounced multiple ways. And his mewling voice didn't match the tone of the book at all. Hated hated hated his narration. Game of Thrones deserves so much better than this.
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The 7 Kingdoms, The Starks
Winter is Coming
I've read several reviews that love Dotrice's work. I'm not one of them. I love this novel – I wouldn't have purchased it in yet-another-format and be re-reading if I didn't, but I really wish they had cast the different parts with different narrators as many other books have done. The voice really makes the character and with Dotrice even 8 year old girls sound like hoary old men. It's hard to remember that Rob and Jon are only about 14 here or that Theon isn't much older with the voices they've been given. And do you really need to put *that* much slobber into Old Nan? Really? I felt like I had to wipe down my face after listening to that.
The narration really dragged a beloved novel down.