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A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1 | [George R. R. Martin]

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: A favorite of Audible listeners, the first book in Martin's series introduces a world of deep intrigue, dark fantasy, and varied characters. It might prove overwhelming, were it not for Roy Dotrice. With a voice so seasoned and gripping that he may have stepped from, well, a George R. R. Martin novel, Dotrice gives each character their own persona and regionality, helping to anchor the listener throughout the action and intrigue. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Locus Award, 1997

"Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly)
"The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist)
"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (35705 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Marcy S. 09-21-12
    Marcy S. 09-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Game of Thrones Left Me Singing Hot and Cold"

    While this was an excellent read, I am not as enamored as some reviewers on this site. Martin did a scorching job of developing an assortment of unusual and fascinating characters, but the plot (though intricate), was very slow to progress. I felt like I was sitting on a train, waiting a LONG time at the station before being rocketed to the next stop! While the ride was exhilarating, there was a lot of down time and gratuitous filler. I felt the same way about Roy Dotrice. He did an outstanding job differentiating characters through his voice-over talent; however, sometimes his over-all narrative voice was a bit pedantic. Don't get me wrong, the story has all the elements that make great adult fiction: action, intrigue, heroes and villains with a dash of sex and violence thrown in; however, A Game of Thrones is sometimes like watching a great game of chess--you can appreciate the intelligence that goes into it while being a little bored and impatient waiting for each significant move!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 09-17-12
    Paul 09-17-12 Member Since 2014

    Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)

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    "Experience = The Best"

    George Martin has written a "lot" of things including several television shows, shorts, and novels, even about vampires (before that was all the rage), and he is good at all of it. I think it is his varied experience that makes this my favorite book series of all time. The world in this series has all the depth and breadth to create a framework second to none. But, it is the author's skill that brings this world to life through the eyes of his characters with such a balance of story and action that it would be impossible to read it without a huge screen appearing in your mind as you watch the story unfold in effortless detail.

    This is one of the few book series that kept me up at night because I couldn't put it down, literally. This is one of the handful of "series" authors that has no problem killing off main and likeable characters. That fact alone will keep you on the edge of your seat because when your favorite character gets into a tough situation, you don't know if they will survive or not!

    These books are written from the viewpoints of the characters, not the author. Many times, he will even play out the same scene multiple times from the viewpoint of different characters. You get the know the landscape and the characters very well, but it is not by reading chapters of boring back-story, lineage, or pages of self-absorbed reflection, but simply through the telling of the story.

    I think you could teach a George R.R. Martin writing class to simply study his form, his pace, his willingness to throw pieces around the board (and sometimes get them killed), and his nearly perfect mixture of action and drama. This series showcases his talent, but is more clearly a marriage of his experience writing novels, shorts, and scripts across various genres. You don't accidentally write like George Martin. He has worked long and hard to hone his craft, eaten his writing vegetables, traveled widely, watched the world with a critical eye, and done his research. You and I are the richer for it.

    You should also listen to these books if for no other reason than they are narrated by Roy Dotrice. Every voice and inflection is perfect, memorable, and never make you cringe or wonder who is speaking. The characters come to life making this series the most perfect blending of author and narration that you will find in an audio book, hands down. I've listened to audio recordings with a full cast that still weren't as good as the performance here by Roy Dotrice.

    I started listening to this series seven years ago and I am still the most excited about the next (and last) book that has yet to be released. Games of Thrones is now a cultural phenomenon, and it couldn't have happened to a more worthy series of books. It's ironic since the author left television because he wasn't allowed to create at an epic scale, so he left a successful career to write these novels, but then got the funding from HBO to take it back full circle onto our television screens in epic scale. Just deserts I say!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff 09-17-12
    Jeff 09-17-12
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    "Best Epic Series since Lord of the Rings"
    Would you listen to A Game of Thrones again? Why?

    No. Busy listining to the other books.


    What other book might you compare A Game of Thrones to and why?

    Lord of the Rings


    Have you listened to any of Roy Dotrice’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Roy Dotrice is a master at character voices.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Smith Las Vegas, NV 09-15-12
    Jason Smith Las Vegas, NV 09-15-12
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    "Great book but...."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Game of Thrones to be better than the print version?

    No. The Audio edition was good up till the end when it jumped back a few chapters and then replayed the chapters again and then cut off/left out the last few chapters of the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to choose one from so many.


    What three words best describe Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    Very well read


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but in no way was it possible for me. I did manage a couple 8 hour runs though.


    Any additional comments?

    Bought the entire series and I can't wait to start in on book 2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Maple, ON, Canada 09-14-12
    Robert Maple, ON, Canada 09-14-12 Member Since 2015

    Daily commuter that finally has time to read (listen).

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    "Medieval Thrill"
    Where does A Game of Thrones rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Best audio book listened to yet. Great story, great narration. Just comes alive with the right amount of action and imagery.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tieryen Lanister because he's clever, underestimated, and an underdog.


    Have you listened to any of Roy Dotrice’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it's just way too long.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Darden Bagram, Afghanistan 09-11-12
    Greg Darden Bagram, Afghanistan 09-11-12

    Transpo CPT

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    "sucks you in"
    What did you love best about A Game of Thrones?

    The depth of character development without overdoing it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John Stark. The lone man lving by no honor but his own that always seems to lead him the right way. He is the real hero in the storm of the game of thrones.


    What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

    The lives he gave to each individual character.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Honor, intrigue, and blood


    Any additional comments?

    Love this. It haunts my days and seeps into my dreams.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 09-11-12 Listener Since 2010
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    "Painfully slow start then takes off"
    What made the experience of listening to A Game of Thrones the most enjoyable?

    The great characters, the feel of a real historical era, and the ever twisting plot create a listening experience that sucks you into the book. There is no predicting where the story will go. Main characters die and leave you wondering who will survive each encounter. Characters change and grow. The characters are unique and you care about them, even some of the bad ones.


    What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

    The book spends a lot of time setting up the main characters without a lot going on. During this slow beginning, the narrator drones. It took me three tries to get past that long slow start. Once the plot gets rolling (not until you are several hours into the book) the narrator is very enjoyable. Both the writer and the narrator add to your suffering with long droning passages that serve to set up the scene but don't have much going on. Don't let the slow start stop you. It's worth it once the plot gets going.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolene 09-10-12
    Jolene 09-10-12
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    "Excellent Story Line"
    Where does A Game of Thrones rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    So far Game of Thrones is my favorite in the series, but I am only on the second book.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me want more.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tomas phoenix, AZ, United States 09-10-12
    tomas phoenix, AZ, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2010

    if its uber popular, than i'm probly gonna read it. yeah, i'm that guy! sorry. unless its stephen king. DARK TOWER baby!!!

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    "the reader absolutely sucks."
    What would have made A Game of Thrones better?

    a better reader could've greatly improved this audiobook. every character sounded the same and his accent, while trying to make it all sound authentic, made listening difficult.


    What character would you cut from A Game of Thrones?

    all of the characters get cut!!! lol!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 09-10-12
    Nancy 09-10-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Wonderful listen, too expensive"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'm not sure I would pay 2 credits for this series since it is on TV


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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