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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) (edition 2011)

by George R.R. Martin

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22,32468056 (4.4)4 / 1127
Member:amhamilt
Title:A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Authors:George R.R. Martin
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
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A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Recently added byprivate library, PostModernSleaze, AMKee, Shaughnessy, kelliente, ICALIB, Alheros
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English (639)  Spanish (12)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  German (4)  Finnish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Polish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (681)
Showing 1-5 of 639 (next | show all)
Well I finally finished this -- it was a slog to complete those 33 hours of audiobook. Perhaps it was that several of the main character's actions don't really make sense. Why does Eddard Stark trust Lord Baelish even though Eddard says he doesn't trust Baelish? How on earth could a woman like Catelyn Stark raise a weed of an idiot like Sansa? Catelyn herself was raised to be a competent leader, but has raised her daughter to be a naive twit? These things are just irksome.

Then there is the depressing cynicism of it all. Byzantine plotting, betrayal, incest, gruesome murder -- these are the paths to success. I'm not a pollyanna, but no thanks.

I did like the characters John Snow, Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister -- but probably not enough to venture into the next volume of this series.

( )
1 vote borbet | Oct 21, 2014 |
This is a wonderfully crafted work. The world building is great, and the plot moves forward at a consistent pace. I really enjoyed it. ( )
  Ambo_O | Oct 21, 2014 |
I feel grossly inadequate reviewing this book, this wonderful book, that I just finished. I have the misfortune to report, also, that I was quite spoiled before reading. I knew many of the prominent points, most of which turned up in book one alone. The spoiler reveals were entirely my fault. I asked for it. Having read the first three chapters a few years ago, I abandoned the book. I was put off by the bleak violence, cruelty, sadness of it all. If the start of the book was like that, then what would happen later? My brother, who never reads, took up the five books and read them all in a month. Till this day he doesn't know why he did this. Anyway long story short, I told him that I'd never read these books ever. And he asked my permission to give spoilers. Like I said, all my fault.

There is a lot of unhappiness here. There are two types of bad outcomes. There are happy events too, but these always precede wrongness, and are scarce. These two types of events are things that simply go bad, and secondly, things evil in nature happening thick and fast, with no respite. The deaths in this book are so manipulative that it's a delight for our emotions to be toyed with.

When the major death takes place, all bets are off. Now, as readers who've been used to different strokes, now that we are captive in the hands of the author, we don't know what to expect. That's not half of it. As a major work of fantasy, I was very happy to find no overindulgence in detailed worldbuilding in the book. The tone and style agreed finely with me. I hope this is true for all these books. I can't fault the writer for anything. This book is not perfect and, armed with the spoilers, I couldn't put A Game of Thrones on the pedestal it deserves. But let me tell you one thing. I'm so bowled over that I expect the rest of the books to get 5 stars likewise. Completing this book has made me realize how much I've evolved in my tastes as a reader. What would the next book bring is as unknown as my own trajectory. ( )
  Jiraiya | Oct 20, 2014 |
Eh, it was good enough that I'll probably read the other ones? It was awfully predictable though, and I feel the world-building was somewhat lacking, in that the setting is pretty generic apart from all of the snow ever in the North. In terms of characterisation only a few of the characters truly worked for me (Jon and Tyrion stand out). A few I grew fondish of, such as Arya, and I felt a bit sorry for Ned. But generally I didn't feel convinced. GRRM seems to find it impossible to voice a younger character anywhere close to their age, for one thing. Secondly, he never explains why so many of the characters act in ways that are truly utterly stupid (Sansa, Daenerys, Robert, Lysa... the list goes on). I know that some of those things MIGHT go on to be explained later on, but I honestly don't feel like that's good enough in a novel of this supposed scope. It feels so lacking in breadth and depth compared to other things I've read in the same genre. I'm not sure WHY I'm supposed to care what happens to these characters.

I don't know if I'm just still to invested in MBotF to give this a "fair" reading. However, I think the most disappointing thing is that all the hype surrounding this is so much more deserved by books that feel like they've had more time and care spent on them. This is just bland as fuck, to be perfectly honest. The pacing is terrible, the chapters are badly arranged (any particular reason why Robb never gets a chapter?), the ending is just pathetic. When what you've written is essentially a soap opera set in a land not unlike Medieval England, you really should bring something new to the table instead of "AND THEN A BAD MAN DID A BAD THING AND A LITTLE GIRL WAS UPSET".

HOWEVER, I found it compelling enough to actually finish, so it must have had something about it. It's definitely very readable; the prose is simple and not at all dense. Although the ice/Winter metaphors were goddamn awful and generally the prose did LACK a lot, but at least it wasn't overly flowery because I hate that. And like I said, some of the characters were pretty cool and. To be honest, the most interesting story to me is the one related to the Wall and what's on the other side. I'd much rather have had a whole book about that than heard another fucking word about Daenerys, Sansa, Joffrey, or any of the other characterless cardboard-cut-outs. Honestly, the only believeable dialogue in the whole book takes place between Jon and anyone he speaks to.

I think I'm just disappointed because I enjoyed the first few chapters a lot. After about 100 pages it was an easy four stars. After 300 I was between a high three and a low four. After finishing today, it's lucky it got a three, and that was really only because I enjoyed the first couple of hundred pages so much.

Blah blah blah, I have no coherent thoughts on this except disappointment.
( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
Note on the edition extras: House appendix was useful and interesting. Interviews with GRRM about his characters and how HBO is portraying his stuff is useless and would rather have seen this in a chapbook or not at all. Triply so for the comic section...at least the paper was the same for the other stuff, now there is that shiny white comic paper in back...useless.

Overall this was as most people agree to be a great fantasy book. Those that are having trouble with it i can only surmise as being new to the genre and therefore wanted to read it just because it is so popular. Oh well if they didnt like it. There were some deaths that were not expected, others that were. And altho this book has left plenty of loose ends, see below for where all the characters have left off (SPOILERS), it still felt like it closed up nicely; almost like a chapter closing.

Clash of Kings is eagerly awaited, but definitely need to throw a few books inbetween to give my brain some breathing room.

****Spoilers to follow*****

Jon made the decision to stay at the Wall and not aide his family.

Bran is in Winterfell with new house guards being trained

Robb is commanding as King of the North

Sansa is still at King's Landing, Arya within city walls

Renly has proclaimed himself King down south

Lannisters doing their thing minus Jaime, who is captive

Danaerys is Queen of dragons and three dragons hatched from eggs and she is their mother
( )
1 vote T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 639 (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 (17 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
Thulin, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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 the English one.
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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 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 22 descriptions

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