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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 (34494 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joseph Rockford, IL, United States 11-23-11
    Joseph Rockford, IL, United States 11-23-11 Member Since 2015
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    "What a Great Book!"

    I have read a lot of books in my forty-eight years on the planet, and this is in my top ten. I hope the rest of the series can maintain the same level of excitement. If you love fantasy, this will be right up your alley.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 11-22-11
    Barbara 11-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"

    This could have been an interesting listen, but the narrator was not right for it. This needs someone like the narrator for the Harry Potter series, someone who uses inflection and emphasis and wit and differentiates among characters. But this voice churns along with the same tone, on and on. Too bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Beldenville, WI, United States 11-22-11
    Diana Beldenville, WI, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Complex and compelling!"

    Each character draws you in with a compelling and very human mix of good & evil personality traits. The story could stand alone as a political intrigue. Add that to a detailed fantasy setting and mysterious powers, what more could you want? Dragons? Oh, yeah, it has those too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas MI, United States 11-22-11
    Nicholas MI, United States 11-22-11
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    "Wow"

    I couldn't help but pick this one up after all of the good things I've heard about both the book and TV adaptation. I'd also heard some literary criticism of George R. R. Martin's writing style, which wile valid, were only relevant in the strictest sense of a scholarly English critique. The universe of Game of Thrones is one full of wonder and fantasy, with heroes and villains alike all imagined in vivid detail. Each house with their arms, ancestry, and decoration are presented for the reader's mind to envision. In that sense I have very much enjoyed the ride and the story itself has gripped me the entire way through.

    Roy Dotrice has a great voice. Each character's annunciation comes to life with such range that I am never at a loss to know who is speaking. He has the perfect blend of rasp and masculinity for men, innocence and delicacy for children, and sternness and confidence for the leading women. I can't wait to hear more in the sequels.

    Sound quality of the recording itself is very good. I feel no need to adjust the EQ settings while listening in my car. I am not an audiophile, but SQ is important to me and I am especially bothered by poor recordings. This product does not disappoint!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 11-22-11
    KP United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Wonderful Story & Incredible Narrator"
    Where does A Game of Thrones rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    It ranks among the best.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's a difficult decision given there are so many well-developed characters, but I'd choose Tyrion Lannister because he seems like such a weakling and yet finds his way out of tough situations again and again. He also seems to have a bigger heart than most other characters (especially the other Lannisters).


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was surprised by the final scene involving Daenerys Targargyen. Without giving too much away, I thought all along that it would turn out that she was just high-strung and would end up self-destructing by the end of the book. What happened was not what I expected!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne LAKE PARK, FL, United States 11-22-11
    Lynne LAKE PARK, FL, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Dimensional people, fascinating evolving world"

    True, in the beginning, I had problems keeping all the myriad characters clear in my mind. But sorting it out was more than worth it. I start the third in the series tomorrow, and I can't wait!

    The reader, Roy Dotrice, is amazing. His portrayal of the characters is varied and deep and his voice brings me right into the bedrooms, courts, hovels and stunning landscapes with the different characters.

    The plot is so rich and layered, and so are the people, that like the other reviewer, I also find myself thinking about them when I am doing mundane things or just trying to get to sleep at night.

    Nothing and no one is sacred and the violence is as terrible as the human ties are powerful. It never became predictable, and I was both horrified and delighted at the different turns in the story.

    Yes, there are similarities to Tolkien's amazing world and peoples, but this one is so violently, achingly human it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martie 11-19-11
    Martie 11-19-11

    Retired and enjoying volunteering and keeping up with national news. Aslo am learning about therapy dogs and hoping to train my dog to do the Read to a Dog program in libraries. That is, if I can get him to learn to behave!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Hooked"

    I am glad that this is available as an audio book. I listen to it while I'm driving to work. It would be hard to get through it for me as a book because of all the names of this and that person. I'm amazed by the diversity of the characters that Roy Dotrice can produce! I'm so hooked on this story. I don't know what I'll do when it's over. Thank goodness I'm only on book three.

    My husband is always saying I need to read fiction every now and then, because I mostly read non-fiction. This is one series that I have throughoughly enjoyed and am addicted too! What a great and amazing story! Thank you George R.R Martin for this wonderful story that you have given us!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jonathan indianapolis, IN, United States 11-16-11
    Jonathan indianapolis, IN, United States 11-16-11 Member Since 2007
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    "the narrator almost ruins the story"

    i got this book after watching the mini-series. this is basically a political thriller in an epic fantasy (a.k.a - medievil) setting. there is even a smidgen of sci-fi in here if you listen closely for it. the writing is very good. the story is both believable and engrossing. the narrator on the other hand has 4 voices, all of them are over the top varients of british stereotypes. before the mini-series i had passed on this book after listening to the sample. strongly recommend you listen to the sample too. that's as good as the narator gets. after seeing the film adaptation though, i was determined to get through this book. after a few hours i found i had built up a tollerance for the narrator. as for moving on to book two, i really want to continue the story, but i just don't know if i can put up with the narrator for 4 more books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jonathan Las Vegas, NV, United States 11-16-11
    Jonathan Las Vegas, NV, United States 11-16-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Sorry but..."

    I was looking for a book to read while I waited for the end of the WOT. I didn't want to really get into another Epic fantasy story as an interim read/listen, however, the sheer number of positive reviews of this series and recommendations from other books made me decide to go for it anyway. Not to mention, if it's two credits it must be something spectacular right?

    Unfortunately, I feel a little jipped (sp?) by whoever chose a two credit price for this. Maybe it's a better read than listen although I didn't have any problem with the narrator and thought he did a great job. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the narrator. In fact he's better than some others by far. What completely threw me with this book was the absolutely unnecessary forays into erotica. I couldn't believe it. At no point did it move the story. If the author sought to "be real" and add in incest, wedding nights, brothels, and sadism then so be it. At no point does using these as plot devices require graphic erotica to do so. It all felt basically perverted at worst or lazy at best. Please know I don't mind "realism" or even dark plots and twists to stories. I think they can be some of the best when they do something FOR the story. However, this was not the case in this book. Each time he took the story there I would turn down the volume although the possibility of somehow missing something important to the story would nag at me. After about four times of doing this it was enough. Wasting money (not listening to what I purchased) and feeling let down by such writing does not equal entertainment for me nor something I choose to subject myself to. So, it looks like I'm down about $30 bucks (2 credits) for no good reason.

    After listening now to about 15 hours of this and coming to this opinion, I've come back to see if there was something I've missed in all 6,000 reviews. Apparently I'm in the minority, however, others have echoed my own thoughts to the letter. Hearing that the plot doesn't ever get better or near a conclusion despite all of its "realism" is enough for me to cut my losses and try elsewhere.

    Overall, it's not a terrible story, nor is it poorly narrated. It just falls epicly short of its current hype. I would not compare it to the great Fantasy writers most especially not Tolkien. I would hope the author himself wouldn't even suggest such a thing and can only assume he does not. I'm sure he wanted to make an "adult" fantasy and be different. Well, the descriptor of "adult" fits but not because it's all grown up or for grown ups. If anything it smacks of pubescent adolescence in sexual theme. As another reviewer stated, if I wanted the political intrigue and scandal of royalty I would read royal history rather than look for it in a Fantasy title. I don't fault the author for that and it is PURELY a matter of my personal preference in Fantasy literature. Unfortunately, his sexual tangents effectively made me unwilling to follow him through his experiment in Fantasy intrigue.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 11-15-11
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 11-15-11 Member Since 2015

    I Like scifi-fantasy,non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight, Mistborn,GoT. Last read: Well of Ascension

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    "My new favorite series"

    George Martin is my favorite author and Roy Dotrice is the best narrator. Very engaging story with beautiful crafted characters. Mr Martin is a genius and the narrator provided one of the best narration ever. If you havent read this series, read it. I was a little intimated from other reviews but I finally decided to go for the first book in the series before watching the HBO series. It is completely worth the 2 credits. I am hooked for the next 4 books in the series.

    Starting Clash of Kings tonight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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