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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 (33002 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04
    Sharon Austin, TX, USA 02-27-04 Member Since 2014
    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.

    117 of 142 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 2014

    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.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07
    Jessica minneapolis, MN, United States 11-01-07
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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.

    68 of 83 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07
    Tamara Dallas, TX, United States 07-19-07 Member Since 2002
    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.

    87 of 107 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

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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


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan WESTMONT, IL, United States 02-12-13
    Ryan WESTMONT, IL, United States 02-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't even listen to it!"
    What would have made A Game of Thrones better?

    I have yet to listen to it because it's unbearable to listen to.


    Would you recommend A Game of Thrones to your friends? Why or why not?

    I probably would recommend the book but not the audible version. I know I'll read the book eventually.


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

    Probably anyone with a little more enthusiasm.


    Any additional comments?

    I have no idea if Roy is better in other books but it's very hard to get into a book if the reader isn't in to it himself.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13
    Suzanne Puligny-Montrachet, France 03-18-13 Member Since 2014
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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

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 04-11-11
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 04-11-11 Member Since 2015

    Don't miss the Bino Phillips series by AW Gray. They are largely unknown, but as good as any ive read!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A gripping epic, and a must read!"

    It is true the first few chapters seem confusing, but I simply did not try to understand who was who, trusting the author to work his magic. It is an epic adventure, well told, with unique and remarkable characters. I loved it!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Clifton Park, NY, USA 02-27-04
    Jeff Clifton Park, NY, USA 02-27-04
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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.

    51 of 65 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 2014

    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?


    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
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