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A Game of Thrones Audiobook

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

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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.

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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

4.7 (62629 )
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4.6 (52651 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer Weiss california, usa 11-05-13
    Jennifer Weiss california, usa 11-05-13 Member Since 2013

    dogmama

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "narrator leaves somehing to be desired"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really. I think you'd do better to read it yourself, or wait till a better narrator does it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story itself is fantastic.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance was lacking because the actor misreads words and names, but mainly because he only does old men voices well. Of all the books I've listened to, this is the only time I've ever really disliked a performance.


    5 of 5 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
    96
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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.


    96 of 112 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-07-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 08-07-10 Member Since 2016

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5487
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    "5 Stars with reservations"

    Thank goodness for reviews. I am happy with my Audible subscription but I might not be had I made many mistakes in spending my credits. I have not made many mistakes thanks to reviews by listeners.

    This was an incredible book. The narrator took some getting used to in particularly the way children and women are spoken. Otherwise, the narrator is brilliant. He sounds like the great actor that he is. This is not just a good narration; it is a great performance. As strange as it was at times, I have been tempted to listen to the next book in the series just for the narrator.

    The story is deep and complex… exactly what I was looking for. The characters are rich and it is easy to become invested in their fate. Therein lies the rub. If the character is good and kind and honorable, they are probably going to die. This is a story in which it pays to be bad. Maybe that was the way things were back then, whenever then or where is. The sex and violence did not seem gratuitous… only the evil that men and women do. Okay, there was a lot of violence, which brings me to my conclusion.

    I give the book 5 stars because the book was that good. Reading beyond the first in the series feels, for me, like self-flagellation. The book was just too dark and depressing. There was too much torturing of characters and eventually, I felt like was starting to feel the pain myself. I am not a sadist nor am I a masochist. So as well as the book was written and narrated, I do not think I will continue beyond Vol 1.

    169 of 201 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ComicGurlGeek 08-15-15

    wheee

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Maybe I'm just spoiled by TV"

    Like many, I decided to finally read George R.R. Martin's epic novels after being drawn in by the HBO TV series based on the books. But perhaps the awesome visuals and great cast of actors spoiled me, because I couldn't get in to the audiobooks. I found the narrator's pace plodding and his accents irritating...again, this could just be because I already had voices for the characters in mind. In any case, I finally just bought the series for my Kindle and am reading them the old-fashioned way.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Stephens City, VA, United States 10-30-13
    Bill Stephens City, VA, United States 10-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    "Couldn't finish listening"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I would have loved to keep going with this book but I could not get past the narrator's voice/reading. Will have to look for this book some more as I think the story would be interesting.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Change the Narrator


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

    Tone, missed attempts at dialect.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Desire to listen to it from another narrator.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miles Portland. Oregon 05-02-15
    Miles Portland. Oregon 05-02-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible narrator ruins a great book"
    What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

    Dotrice makes a slew of mistakes and errors that should have been caught with editing and multiple takes. Not only does he occasionally trip over lines, but he doesn't seem to know how to pronounce a single name in this entire book. It's incredibly jarring to listen to Brian and P-tire and Sancha. Not only that, but his voices are frequently distracting. Aftere being spoilt for talent in the show, the caricature voices are either too difficult to understand, like Varys slurring his words disgustingly, or downright insulting, as with the strange Warwick Davis impression he seems to be doing for Tyrion.

    I sincerely hope to find other narrators for the subsequent books, because I have no intention of continuing this series with Dotrice narrating.


    28 of 33 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 2016

    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.

    28 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liza115 03-11-13
    Liza115 03-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story - didn't care for the reader"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The reader made listening very difficult.


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

    Although I understand that there are many characters, and the timeperiod lends itself to "gruff" characters, I didn't like listening to the gruff and harsh voice of some of the characters. It was a difficult listen for me personally.


    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 05-17-15
    Jonathan 05-17-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Absolutely horrible narration"

    I have seen the HBO series on game of thrones so I can keep up with the story but i got through 2 chapters and couldn't stand to listen to this terrible narration any longer. I thought I had it set at X1.5 for a minute but it was just the narration. His voices were terrible and the wens voice sounded like big burly men. Please get someone else to read these as I really do like the series and want to hear the books as well, since HBO has rushed things IMO.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Illii NY, USA 04-18-14
    Illii NY, USA 04-18-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    5
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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!!

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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