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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) (edition 2005)

by George R.R. Martin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,35186536 (4.39)4 / 1383
Member:ashbrau
Title:A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Authors:George R.R. Martin
Info:Bantam (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

  1. 213
    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (MyriadBooks, Navarone, martlet)
  2. 172
    Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (majkia)
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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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  8. 70
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    Fayries: George R. R. Martin himself wrote that "Druon's series was one of my major inspirations".
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    ryvre: Both are fantasy books with lots of politics and intrigue among the royal families.
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    quenstalof: Both are high fantasy epics with dragons :-)
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(see all 31 recommendations)

1990s (4)
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Showing 1-5 of 821 (next | show all)
this is so long. and amazing. and well-written. and i'm pretty sure it's the first book that really made me interested in political intrigue. i will say that it's probably better to watch a few episodes of the tv show first because there are a lot a lot a lot of characters and it can take a while to remember all of their names and get used to the multiple perspectives, plus the fact that it's high high fantasy, which can be, again, quite confusing for people who might be used to reading such books. i do think it's a brilliant first book and the hype is very well-deserved. ( )
  Banoczi_Henrietta | Jun 19, 2017 |
this one was a bit slow compared to the previous one and i could definitely feel the absence of certain characters, but it was necessary to the series. ( )
  Banoczi_Henrietta | Jun 19, 2017 |
It was difficult to keep up with all of the different story lines and character perspectives. Though extremely well written with fantastic characterization, it was really hard to follow. This is the kind of book I would not recommend chipping away at over a long period of time, which is how I read it. It is really good, though - there is sex and violence, but not described so graphically as to instill people with nightmares. The story is satisfyingly unpredictable, which is refreshing for bookworms who as so familiar with tropes that they get bored easily, such as myself. The language that the different cultures developed in the book makes for a really immerse and different feel; it is a fantastically built world that is easy to step into without being too stiflingly familiar. ( )
  J9Plourde | Jun 13, 2017 |
GOT is a book I've been meaning to get around to for a long while, but the amount of hype and epic-ness of the series was INTIMIDATING. I feel, so accomplished that I popped my Song of Ice and Fire cherry. Even though it took some time and effort to get through, it was so worth the read! AND I enjoyed it more than the TV series (I only watched seasons 1 & 2) ( )
  Derby_Lane | May 24, 2017 |
After reading this, I need to take a shower, but I can't take enough showers to wash the stink of Martin's writing away. This has been called "high fantasy", but it is so far from it. It is actually lowbrow cliched fantasy...B-movie screenwriting punctuated with infrequently intriguing plot segments; peppered with boorish violence; surprisingly interrupted with three pages of entertaining if only one-sided dialogue; liberally littered with base euphemisms befitting adolescent boys; populated with children infused with unbelievable characteristics and thoughts; injected with clumsy and all too ham-fisted imaginings of court intrigue; and containing the unforgivable sin of criminal depictions of children in perverse situations.

Is it better to plainly describe...in detail...vulgarities that were surely common in ancient times? Or can the message be shared as still ugly, but by less explicit means? An inferior writer resorts to crudity, while a superior writer conveys the intent without needing to diminish the writing with feral details. By this measure, Martin is an inferior writer. The cliches reinforce that assessment. The inferiority is glaring all the more in that the particular devolutions into the distasteful do not enhance the story in any way...they are merely sidebars of distraction.

There is little redeeming value in this book. There is maybe one character who is not wholly unlikeable, and only just, as the comic relief merely obfuscates his faults. The other least unlikeable of Martin's characters are paltry few, and even they have disturbing flaws that difficult to overlook. The vast majority of the characters are so abhorrent as to warrant those showers and use of industrial strength disinfectant.

So...why read it if it was that bad? More to the point, why finish it? Simple. I am stubborn and will try to finish a book no matter how bad or distasteful the material. My intellect sometimes suffers, but at least I can comment from knowledge. Still, it is painfully long and makes for very tedious reading. It took all of my stubbornness to finish it, though Martin teased the reader with potential as he would show rare glimpses of depth, only to dance away too quickly back to his amateurish hacking.

I am dismayed that this kind of material passes as "high fantasy" and am not surprised that because of it and similar books people like E.L. James think they can write. And camp? Roger Ebert's Myra Breckenridge doesn't hold a candle to stuff like “...faint smell of corruption clung to it like a woman’s perfume”, “The direwolf’s red eyes were darker than garnets and wiser than men.”, or how about “And pray that he is the man I think he is, he finished silently, and not the man I fear he has become.”? Laughable. And then exacerbating repeats of "milk of the poppy" ... Say it once, then say it next as normal (if fantasy) people would say it. After the umpteenth time, it gets really old. Maybe Martin and James can collaborate and really churn out the dreck.

I'm harsh and know that I should try to be fair. There are good things to say about the book. For one, Martin does write at a very juvenile level, and as such an otherwise tediously lengthy book is a rather mindless read. There's little depth to consider, thus little brain power to invest. And, as the simpler something is presented, the easier it is to accept...a critical thinking trap that Martin's fans don't recognize, which is greatly in his favor with respect to sales. Another good thing...um, well, his action scenes are pretty good. And there are three or four pages of enough humor late in the book to make me actually chuckle out loud (spoiler alert...they involve a witty dwarf...) So ... three good things.

However...despite this tome boasting a twelve year old reading level, it is not a pre-teen book. Martin is a sick ass who writes pedophilia and incest into his fantasy. A thirteen year old girl sold into sexual slavery by her brother? Explicit scenes involving her? How about an 11 year old girl? The brother and sister incest is tame in comparison, so sure...why not...it's all good, right? And on top of the pedophilia, for unfathomable reasons, Martin instills his child characters with adult mannerisms, and adult concepts far beyond their possible maturity level. If one did not know he had no children, his treatments should be indicator enough.

I can see the backlash coming... "Those things are only a small part of the book!" Or "Come on! This is historical fiction!" That they are any part of the book is disturbing. And do NOT try to use the argument that things were different in older times. This is freaking fantasy...not history, and only pedestrian fantasy at that. The bastard thought it, he wrote it, he probably got off on it, some effing publisher let it pass, and apparently a crapload of degenerate fans have endorsed it. Oh, and he loves to use the words "bastard" and "whore" ... sorry for the spoilers.

Don't mistake my revulsion for prudery. Far from it. I just think that Martin's crude language (meant, I know, to reflect a coarser world, but is still brutish and unnecessary) and prurient content reflect a weakness as a writer. If by their inclusion he meant to attract adults, then he should have written as an adult. And if he had an adult perspective, he would have seen his devices as degenerate puerility.

And Martin's perversity is not limited to child sex. Just as things show promise of getting interesting, he invariably turns the reader with shock. Almost as if George R. R. Martin is the Howard Stern of fantasy. Actually, that's not a fair comparison...Stern, while eminently distasteful, is actually quite intelligent, while Martin....well, clearly, is less...

Maybe I'm just envious. This guy is flipping brilliant. He can not only sell this [self edit ... choice adjectives deleted] stuff as fantasy and make a mint on the publication, but he also got HBO to pony up another mint to sanitize the degeneracy while ramping up the violence AND while preserving the camp. Plus he can still sleep at night. That's a sociopath for you. Albeit a wealthy one.

The pedophilia should earn this one star. I'm generous. I'll give Martin credit for passing off a mix of young adult/teen writing, cliched Conan barbarity, and very disturbing adult elements as high fantasy.

Ordinarily I would have dropped this within a few chapters, but I needed to read it to know it. Stupid me. Time to take another shower. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 821 (next | show all)
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 (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Altieri, Alan D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dotrice, RoyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallman, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hiltunen, PetriIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hlinovsky, SatuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodgman, JohnForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macía, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macía, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thulin, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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(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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:03 -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 18 descriptions

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