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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 (25077 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan Arlington, TX, United States 06-21-13
    Megan Arlington, TX, United States 06-21-13

    Megan in TX

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    12
    1
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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.


    24 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    "irritating performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Game of Thrones to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the book and found the perfomance difficult to comprehend ( slurred accents and irritating voices ) - too much repetition of the same lines ( as if the book had been laid down and same lines repeated when picked up again )


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I think the narrator did his best but his style is not suitable to the tale. He would probably do much better reading Dickens


    Any additional comments?

    I will buy the book and read it

    14 of 16 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
    5
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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
  •  
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent book; not suitable for children"

    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.

    78 of 93 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
  •  
    Karen Espenshade 19403 08-10-13
    Karen Espenshade 19403 08-10-13 Member Since 2009

    dreaming bear

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "They're all hoary old men"

    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.

    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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Pleasant Grove, UT United States 03-11-13
    Amazon Customer Pleasant Grove, UT United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2008

    Ricktor

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    5
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    "Bad performance voice ruins A Game of Thrones"
    What did you love best about A Game of Thrones?

    The depth of the characters and reality of Westeros was first rate. The interweaving of three main stories—the noble Stark family and court politics, the exiled Princess Daenerys and the tale of Jon Stark in the north—is fascinating.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed how well the author developed the myriad characters and the intricacies of court politics and the fighting among and within the seven kingdoms. The whole subculture of the Rangers of the Night's Watch at North Wall was also fascinating.


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

    Anyone but him. I hated his gravelly voice and even more when he changed his voice to be different characters. His voice almost ruined the whole thing for me. One should enjoy the read not be offended by it.


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

    Seven kingdoms, one steel throne, who will reign?


    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
    56
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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.

    49 of 63 people found this review helpful
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