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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) (edition 1997)

by George R.R. Martin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,87369852 (4.4)4 / 1148
Member:twistfox
Title:A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Authors:George R.R. Martin
Info:Spectra (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

  1. 171
    Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (majkia)
    majkia: Both feature war-torn landscapes, confusing and conflicting motivations for main characters, and focus on complex characters whose loyalties are strained and oftentimes change.
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    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (MyriadBooks, Navarone, martlet)
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    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (allthesedarnbooks)
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    Shogun: A Novel of Japan by James Clavell (saturnine13)
    saturnine13: If you like gritty, faux historical fiction, how about another with an asian flavor? Shogun, like A Game of Thrones, concerns the byzantine political intrigues of a multitude of different characters painted in moral shades of grey, generously heaped with gruesome action and heart-breaking romance. While Shogun lacks dragons, it does have the added interest of being mostly based upon real events and people.… (more)
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    The Hedge Knight II: Sworn Sword by George R. R. Martin (jpers36)
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    Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie (music2084)
  8. 115
    The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny (ryvre)
    ryvre: Both are fantasy books with lots of politics and intrigue among the royal families.
  9. 50
    The Iron King by Maurice Druon (Fayries)
    Fayries: George R. R. Martin himself wrote that "Druon's series was one of my major inspirations".
  10. 40
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  11. 40
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    Toby_Sugden: The start of what looks like a great fantasy series
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  15. 41
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    quenstalof: Both are high fantasy epics with dragons :-)
  16. 41
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    sboyte: Like Game of Thrones, this book shows us the lives of medieval men and women with a bit of magic and politics thrown in.
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  18. 53
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  20. 98
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(see all 26 recommendations)

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English (655)  Spanish (12)  Dutch (5)  French (5)  German (4)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Polish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (697)
Showing 1-5 of 655 (next | show all)
I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger but for some reason stopped reading has much of it once I got into high school. Over the summer I decided to go back to my fantasy roots and start this series. Believe or not, I had actually heard mixed reviews about this book, but since the positive reviews came from people whose opinions I respected more than the negative ones, I decided to try it out. And now I’m hooked.

The story is constantly moving, and despite the fact that there are so many character involved it is relatively easy to follow. Granted, it might be difficult for those who are not used to fantasy, since most fantasy series can get pretty complicated, but it’s not inaccessible to those unfamiliar with the genre.

On top that, his characters are fascinating. There are some character that you just love and some that you want to stab in the eye with a spork *cough cough Joffery cough cough*. And the whole “everybody dies” thing that is always said about these book. Well, it’s true, which I love. You truly aren’t sure what is going to happen since no one is safe, no matter how popular the character. It’s actually really refreshing in a morbid, sad way.

The only reason this book doesn’t get full points is because there some general issues that could have been with a decent editor but weren’t. Like the internal dialogue in the middle of a paragraph that completely changes from third to first, thus disrupting the flow. This inner dialogue also has a tendency to be uninteresting or it says something that the reader could have figured out themselves. We’re not stupid.

Also, his obsession with describing food is a little off putting. At times, I got to parts where I had to skip through a paragraph just because I was sick of hearing about the food. Kind of like Brian Jacques and the “Redwall” series.

Despite these issues that would normally be off putting for me, I love the series and it gets even better. If you really want a good fantasy series to read, or if you are new to the fantasy genre, you should definitely try these books out. There is a reason that it has a pretty obsessive following. ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
Started out as another fantasy story but the political intrigues give it a fresh twist. After page 100 i was hooked. A fantasy story mixed with the Borgias. ( )
  HendrikSteyaert | Jan 24, 2015 |
Very well written, with a story that is unpredictable and grim.

This is a long book, and it took me some time to finish. The biggest obstacle that kept this from being a page turner for me, was that each chapter follows a different character. Once you complete a chapter you feel like you've accomplished something, and knowing that the story line you were following may not pick up for another 2-3 chapters can sometimes dissuade you from continuing.

I think like many people I had a hard time following all the characters, but it wasn't to the point where it ruined the experience for me. Like many others probably agree, Jon Snow and Arya Stark seem to be the characters to root for. I hope with this series being as unpredictable as it is, Martin somehow redeems Sansa and turns her into the hero of the series. It seems with how superficial and naive Sansa is, it would be a challenge to turn her into something interesting. If not, I don't know if I will be able to deal with her for the rest of the series. :)

I wanted this to be a five star book, but the exaggerated, twisted, and extensive detailing of rape, sex, and violence put it at about 4.49 out of 5 stars. These are all elements that help add a grittiness and realism to the story, but the extent in which they are used and how they are used is a little over the top. It got to the point where it was detracting from my enjoyment of the book.

Here are some of my specific complaints. There is a lot a sex in this book, which is fine, but the majority of it is very disturbing. You have the Lannister twins doing it, and then having the Queen tell Ned about how it feels to have her brother inside her. Dany is 14 or 15 and is forced into marriage and conceiving a child with the leader of a nomadic horse tribe who are obsessed with mounting, whenever and wherever. The one normal sex scene I can recall is with Ned and Catelyn.

In transitioning from sex to rape you have a part where the Dothraki murder and rape an entire village. This is enough to understand the unpleasantness of the scene, but we are brought even further into the scene. We have to have it described to us how a girl, about Dany's age, is "mounted" and gang raped on top of a dead body or bodies. Dany ends up "saving" the girl, but the girl ends up being gang raped again before her throat is slit. Another element that was bothersome was the excessive description of violence. At one point the author thoroughly describes a rotting head on a pike. I get the picture, but the description and detail that is put into these elements is not something I care to read about.

There is only one story related element I took issue with. Martin manages to get through most of the book without too many supernatural events or fantasy elements; except for the White Walkers at the beginning and the attack on the wall. All of a sudden, at the end of book, Dany walks out of a fire pit nursing three dragons that she just helped give life to. Once again a little over the top, and contradictory in tone when compared to the previous 800 or so pages that were grounded in a gritty, real world, medieval vibe.


Overall I enjoyed the book. I am concerned that the people who are so into the show and books are more interested in the spectacle of Game of Thrones, rather than the story. Look forward to watching the first season of the show myself, and continuing to read the rest of the novels.

( )
  Porfinicle | Jan 15, 2015 |
Yeah, I live under a rock. I haven't yet watched the HBO show based on these books, though I intend to someday. I've been recommended this book series so many times by so many different people that I finally had to check it out. I'd been burned out on fantasy stories ever since giving up on Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series in the middle of the 8th book (way too many goddamn meandering, going-nowhere story-lines. I hear the series finally wrapped up nicely, so maybe in my next life I'll give those 14 or so books another shot).

So I read the first few chapters of Game of Thrones and wasn't too impressed, but I pushed on. The story got better and better as I went along and though there were a few times I put the book down and had to force myself to get back to it, I was always glad I did.

Maybe someday I'll get around to picking up the 2nd book. Probably not anytime soon, though. I'm now immersed in Infinite Jest and that one should keep my busy for the next few months.

And that concludes my weak-ass review. ( )
  zenslave | Jan 13, 2015 |
Received this from a Bookcrossing friend from Ireland. I was hooked! ( )
  JosieRivers | Jan 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 655 (next | show all)
And yet, I couldn't stop reading. And it wasn't with the kind of self-loathing desperation for closure that took me to the end of The Da Vinci Code. I read A Game Of Thrones with genuine pleasure. It may be a cartoon, but it's one that is brilliantly drawn. Archaic absurdity aside, Martin's writing is excellent. His dialogue is snappy and frequently funny. His descriptive prose is immediate and atmospheric, especially when it comes to building a sense of deliciously dark foreboding relating to a long winter that is about to engulf his fictional land.
 
The best about this is the way you can trust it to all fit together and make sense. If Martin mentions something without explaining it, it’ll be explained later, or anyway alluded to so that you can put it together yourself. It’s overflowing with detail and you can trust that all of the detail belongs and is necessary and interesting. The world and the story are completely immersive, with no jolts to jerk you out of your suspension of disbelief.
added by Shortride | editTor.com, Jo Walton (Sep 9, 2009)
 
This is a perfect book.

There's honestly nothing I can think of that could improve it in any way. This is a book that made me shout at it, that made me giggle and cry, that made me gasp, that made me tremble and hate and love. It's seamless; I'd say it's unputdownable, except that sometimes I found I desperately needed to put it down because I was overwhelmed with the wonder of it, only to pick it up again half an hour later.
added by Shortride | editSF Site, Amal El-Mohtar (Mar 15, 2007)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altieri, Alan D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dotrice, RoyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hiltunen, PetriIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hlinovsky, SatuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macía, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thulin, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
this one is for Melinda
First words
"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The wildlings are dead."
Quotations
"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends", Ser Jorah told her. "It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace." He gave a shrug. "They never are."
Bran thought about it. "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? "That is the only time a man can be brave," his father told him.
The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.
A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.
Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
If you are combining a translated copy please check carefully as in some languages this book was split into two volumes. In some languages there is a single volume edition and a split edition - you should only combine the single volume edition with the English edition.

Languages known to have multiple-volumes - French*, German*, Italian*, Portugese, Romanian and Swedish*.

Languages marked by an asterisk also have a single volume edition.
This is the single-volume edition "A Game of Thrones". DO not combine with the omnibus edition containing "A Game of Thrones" and " A Clash of Kings".
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Book description
Publisher description for A Game of Thrones;

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Haiku summary
Long suffering Starks,
betrayal is always near,
beware Lannisters.

(leahdawn)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553573403, Mass Market Paperback)

Readers of epic fantasy series are: (1) patient--they are left in suspense between each volume, (2) persistent--they reread or at least review the previous book(s) when a new installment comes out, (3) strong--these 700-page doorstoppers are heavy, and (4) mentally agile--they follow a host of characters through a myriad of subplots. In A Game of Thrones, the first book of a projected six, George R.R. Martin rewards readers with a vividly real world, well-drawn characters, complex but coherent plotting, and beautifully constructed prose, which Locus called "well above the norms of the genre."

Martin's Seven Kingdoms resemble England during the Wars of the Roses, with the Stark and Lannister families standing in for the Yorks and Lancasters. The story of these two families and their struggle to control the Iron Throne dominates the foreground; in the background is a huge, ancient wall marking the northern border, beyond which barbarians, ice vampires, and direwolves menace the south as years-long winter advances. Abroad, a dragon princess lives among horse nomads and dreams of fiery reconquest.

There is much bloodshed, cruelty, and death, but A Game of Thrones is nevertheless compelling; it garnered a Nebula nomination and won the 1996 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. So, on to A Clash of Kings! --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:36 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

A tale of court intrigues in the land of Seven Kingdoms, a country "blessed by golden summers that go on for years, and cursed by cruel winters that can last a generation." The cold is returning to Winterfell, where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. A time of conflict has arisen in the Stark family, as they are pulled from the safety of their home into a whirlpool of tradedy, betrayal, assassination plots and counterplots. Each decision and action carries with it the potential for conflict as several prominent families, comprised of lords, ladies, soldiers, sorcerers, assassins and bastards, are pulled together in the most deadly game of all, the game of thrones.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 21 descriptions

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