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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

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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
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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.


    27 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Espenshade 19403 08-10-13
    Karen Espenshade 19403 08-10-13 Member Since 2009

    dreaming bear

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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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04 Member Since 2002
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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 136 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07 Member Since 2000
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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.

    79 of 95 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07 Member Since 2007
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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
  •  
    Illii NY, USA 04-18-14
    Illii NY, USA 04-18-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Pure rage has led me to write this review"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Would I change anything about the book itself? No. Well, the long lists of names of Garwen, son of Grabain etc, which are a bit Lord of the Rings-like, and there is a good chance that you will never see those characters again. But I logged on in order to write a review of the performance, not the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tyrion, because of his indefatigable wit


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    In almost every possible way. Roy Dotrice has a lovely reading voice, a proper actorrrr in the old-school British sense. But throughout the series (I am now listening to the fourth book), he cannot read a name the same way twice, sometimes even changing it from one minute to another. For example Brienne, who he decides from the beginning to pronounce "Bra-eene", became "Bri-enne" for a few sweet moments in the fourth book, alternating back and forth to his first wrongly-pronounced choice. Targaryen, a pretty important surname, is mostly Tregaryen, sometimes Tergaryen, or whatever comes to hand first. Joffrey is Jeffrey quite often, Catelyn is Kate-lyn or Kat-lyn, Gilly becomes Jilly, and so on. I mean, did anyone in the publisher ever listen to this? For $40 per book, you would expect at least a perfunctory listen by a semi-conscious editor. And as he so often changed pronounciations from one book to another, did he even know that he was reading books from a series?And that's even before I start talking about the voices or accents. Now, Mr Dotrice was not a young man when he read these books, so he always sounds reasonably mature, so there was never any need to actually put on an old person's voice, when reading the parts of 30yr olds or 40yr olds, was there, really. He makes young fresh knights sound like old retired army colonels, any non-aristrocratic woman sound like a toothless old hag, and a huge amount of the 'ordinary' people incredibly stupid. Gendry is meant to be an un-educated guy, not a clinically thick one. It's so painful listening to his dim-witted voice for Gendry, or the completely constipated interpretation of Tywin Lannister, unable to get through a sentence without huffing and puffing every 4 words, that I wanted to skip through the chapters they were in.Lastly - accents. Roy Dotrice showed an astonishing lack of knowledge of some pretty simple premises - that Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister were all children of Tywin, for example, and were brought up by him in the same place. I know this is a fictional universe and our accents do not apply, so when I say that Tyrion Lannister had a Welsh accent, Cersei spoke Received Pronounciation, and Jaime was another constipated toff, I am just trying to say that 3 siblings had very different accents, when you would think they had the same. I liked to think that maybe Dotrice had realised his mistake in book 2, as he switches Jaime's to a bit more Welsh, but it's still Tyrion and Jaime in the Welsh camp vs Cersei and Tywin in the English. And as I have just noticed that Arya has been changed to Irish in the fourth book, it seems he picks accents and voices at random as yet another character turns up, and it's luck of the draw if he will remember which combination he used if he comes across them again.There are some other howling errors of inflexion and pentameter, where he must have realised that he read it wrong, but neither he nor anyone thought to get him to press rewind and try the sentence again. I listen to a lot of Radio 4, so am spoiled by the excellent voice actors who are clearly well directed and edited, so perhaps I am a little picky. But we are paying good money (or credits), not listening to a free radio service, and we are trying to be transported to a land of make-belief through our willing suspension of disbelief, so having these glaring and irritating errors bringing us back to this world of apathy, laziness and lack of pride in a job done, is like a slap (or many, in this case) in the face.I would dearly love to have a decent voice actor do all these again; someone who might actually quickly peruse the books beforehand and make notes of who is related to whom and where they come from, and perhaps even note their own pronounciations. Dotrice is/was allegedly friends with the author which is absolutely astounding - yet another person who didn't call him up on his mistakes! I know it's not just me bemoaning this. Anyone listening to these with a modicum of attention would notice it within minutes.


    Did A Game of Thrones inspire you to do anything?

    Waste lots of my time researching it, rather than working or studying.


    Any additional comments?

    AWFUL!!

    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
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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?


    7 of 8 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
  •  
    Kyle Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-15-13
    Kyle Los Angeles, CA, United States 03-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Story Basically Ruined By Narrator"
    What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    I love the Game of Thrones series on HBO so let's just get that out of the way. And it may not be fair to compare Roy Dotrice's performance to those of the amazing actors on the show, but it's really hard to listen to his vocalizations of Tyrion and Varys after seeing them so expertly portrayed by Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill.

    If you are coming to the books fresh, you may find Mr. Dotrice a good narrator. He does put a lot of variety in his characterizations and inflections. It's just that for me they were almost all bad choices.

    Plus, the language of the books is very unique and Mr. Dotrice's accents did not assist in understanding. There were multiple moments when I was unclear if I didn't understand what he was saying because it was literally a foreign language (e.g. Dothraki), a specifically medieval reference (e.g. portcullis), or I just couldn't make out the English word he was saying (e.g. Did he say wolf or wife???). I was constantly rewinding to re-listen to sections and wishing I had a transcript. Oh wait, I do, it's called the book!

    In fact, I ended up buying a box set of the first four books in paperback, returning my purchase of the second book on Audible and I've found great joy in simply reading them.

    The entire series is comprised of amazing writing and storytelling that I just could not allow to be further destroyed for me by Roy Dotrice. I would not discourage anyone from jumping into the world of Ice and Fire, in fact just the opposite, but you should be very wary of these recordings.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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