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.
"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)
Several reviews were tepid about the reader Roy Dotrice, but I thought the performance was superb, and made the book for me. I had not read the book prior to listening, so had no pre-formed conclusions.
I also had a couple of long drives, so I was able to listen to large parts of the book at one "sitting".
All in all a great performance!
I am quite sure I would have enjoyed this if the narrator didn't deliver in such a monotone voice.
The story worries me like the first encounter of a Dire Wolf and satiates like the "Milk of The Puppy" (poppy, I know but the phrase sticks). It's an excellent epic story with complicated relationships, intricate politics, sex, violence, disaster, and glory. Martin seems to have no problem killing off a major character thus causing us readers anguish and anxiety at every scene.
You'd think "so and so" would last through the entire series and be the Frodo Baggins/ Ender Wiggan/ Darth Vader/ Harry Potter of the series?
Here, the mystery and intrigue is palpable because we have no idea who will still be around. I try to distance my feelings for these characters for this reason but Martin is such a great writer that he Makes me interested in them anyway.
Roy Dotrice is an excellent reader. He reminds me of Patrick Tull or George Guidall, superb salty voiced readers who render their characters with grit, fire and hard earned experience. What he lacks in young feminine voices, he more than makes up for with his multi male voices. There are hundreds of characters with varying degrees of intelligence, education and class and Dotrice does a handy job at voicing many of them.
At times the many many characters makes the story a little more confusing with an audiobook than with an actual book book where you have the luxury of quickly skimming back to, say chapter two, to check the name of some guy you read about. However this is a great start to what promises to be an excellent series.
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.
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.
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!
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!
It ranks among the best.
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).
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!
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.
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!
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!
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