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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

4.5 (24089 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Megan Arlington, TX, United States 06-21-13
    Megan Arlington, TX, United States 06-21-13

    Megan in TX

    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Love the Book, Hate the Narrator"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I've listened to over 50 audiobooks at this point, and this is the first time I have ever had such a negative experience with a narrator. Horrible! The voices are not even remotely aligned with the age or personality of the characters. A 15 year old sounds like a shaking voiced 80 year old. Just awful. So disappointed. So, no I wouldn't recommend the audiobook to anyone, especially people who are sensitive to bad narrators. But i've powered through and am on book 4 at this point- purely because I love the series that much.


    What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    Everything. I am praying that with the renewed interest in this series, they will redo the audiobooks. Tyrion Lannister is the absolute worst though. I almost can't listen to it, it's so grating and annoying.


    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Game of Thrones"

    I found this book unbelievably well read. I have listened to books before read with feeling, accents and no one does it like the British. From the accents of Wales, Northern England, Ireland and even London's back streets, Mr. Roy Dotrice's reading leaves nothing to be desired. Why that Wiley LIttle Finger can't be mistaken for anyone else! Thanks for making the book come alive with it's pageantry and scope. Mr. Martin's skill of characterization is not diminished by this audio presentation, it is given the breath of life.

    113 of 134 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gilmara Lima Mendes Piscataway, New Jersey 03-16-13
    Gilmara Lima Mendes Piscataway, New Jersey 03-16-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible Obsessed wishes she had more time for so many audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for the soft hearted"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Well, I would recommend the print version since I did not like the narrator's acting. I felt awkward and disgusted at times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way that George R. R. Martin makes you connect with the characters and keeps you hooked to long to know what happens to them.


    What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    At first I thought It was just annoying and picky me, but then, I should it to my students and they also thought they were listening to the narration of a drunk orc. It is the first time I say this, but I am not going to buy the next ones because of the narrator. When he was only reading and not doing the voices it was ok, but then when he started doing the voices I just couldn't continue. I felt disgusted at parts. This is the kind of book you want to read / listen to in one sitting, but maybe with a different performance.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Because of the book, I started to see the HBO series and see how loyal it is to the book. I surely would go see it if it were a movie.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is not for the soft hearted. This is not for the mellow people. If being violent and explicit is what you call adult reading, well, this is it. There are some pretty rough scenes that are pretty shocking. So, if you decide to read it, brace yourself.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra PACIFIC GROVE, CA, United States 03-04-13
    Alexandra PACIFIC GROVE, CA, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Series for a Nerd"
    Would you listen to A Game of Thrones again? Why?

    Yes, I would, because it's packed with intrigue, gore, and so many interwoven characters. It's pretty hard to keep all the characters straight, but that doesn't get much in the way of the exciting plot.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader is acceptable, but nothing more. He has a nice gravely, old man voice, but it has very little range. The characters all sound pretty much the same. It's like having grandpa tell you a story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "terrific tale!!!!!!!!!!!"

    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.

    67 of 81 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan M. James Seattle, WA USA 09-04-13
    Ryan M. James Seattle, WA USA 09-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Bookworm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst narrator"
    If you could sum up A Game of Thrones in three words, what would they be?

    Thrilling, addictive and immersive


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Game of Thrones?

    Ned Stark's end.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Roy Dotrice?

    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.


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

    Yes


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 07-18-12
    UncleHammy Towanda, KS United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2011

    UncleHammy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great beginning for this saga"
    If you could sum up A Game of Thrones in three words, what would they be?

    Great characters


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

    Lord of the Rings. similar genre and extensive character development.


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

    This is the first Roy Dotrice narration I have listened to.


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

    It is very hard to put down this story, but the length make it impossible to listen to in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    All of the books from this series are based on great characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 12-04-11
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 12-04-11 Member Since 2001

    doggybird

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific narration, fast paced book"

    This is an amazing story that just grabs you and drags you under. Wonderfully read by the father of the actress who played Jane Banks in the movie MARY POPPINS. The characters are more like stock fantasy or science fiction characters than what I usually like but the plotting is terrific. I recommend it for the beach or a drive or a commute...or for people who like good stories. Not much to contemplate, but sometimes a good story is enough.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-02-12
    Michael New Orleans, LA 07-02-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Five Stars Across The Board...What A Surprise!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    There are over TEN THOUSAND reviews of this fine work, so why another one? Who needs another recommendation? Well, the very question raises a point. I consider every listener here at Audible to be a friend, of sorts. I actually read this book years ago, when it first appeared. And here's why I'd recommend it to all my Audible friends: This is an author's engaging love affair with his readers/listeners. Martin has sculpted each and every word in this first novel to be precise, important and expressive, and by the way, CAPTIVATING. As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, I've often felt that Tolkien could have said more with less, if you know my meaning. Not so here. Not only would I recommend it to a friend, I'd recommend that they listen to it again, to catch every great moment.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tyrian Lanister. What a roller coaster ride of a character! Martin has often said that we shouldn't invest too much into a particular character in his work, because their shelf life could expire at any moment. Well, this one character is WELL worth such an investment, and pays dividends in good listening all along the way. Once again, I will NOT express plot specifics or moments in the audiobook. Buy it. Enjoy it.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    So many to choose from. By my favorite is the very first encounter with the white walkers. Anyone who has the audiobook knows the scene, so no spoilers here!


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

    Well there IS an HBO series of this book. My caption would be "Winter is Coming..."


    Any additional comments?

    Okay, so this was one more review of a stellar book. By now, everyone with a beating heart has seen "Game of Thrones" or heard about it. Trust me on this - The book is MUCH better than the HBO series, and the series is fantastic. So, go ahead. Buy the audiobook. You definitely deserve the experience. And don't forget. Listen to it AGAIN.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Clifton Park, NY, USA 02-27-04
    Jeff Clifton Park, NY, USA 02-27-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    "Absolutely amazing!"

    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.

    48 of 61 people found this review helpful
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