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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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23,27170547 (4.4)4 / 1168
Member:smiley24
Title:A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Authors:George R.R. Martin
Info:Bantam (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 720 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R. R. Martin

  1. 171
    Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (majkia)
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    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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    Fayries: George R. R. Martin himself wrote that "Druon's series was one of my major inspirations".
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(see all 28 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 665 (next | show all)
DESCRIPTION: In a world where seasons last for years or even decades at a time, at the end of the longest summer ever recorded, Winter is slowly approaching at last - and not only the season! The kingdom of Westeros is in a world of trouble, though most of them do not know it. Far to the North, beyond the Wall, strange and supernatural forces are stirring, while to the South, an exiled princess comes into her power and gathers her forces to reclaim the throne that was usurped from her family.

REVIEW: Following a vast cast of characters, A Game of Thrones chronicles both the political and social games played for the acquisition and conservation of power and the personal lives of the various players in this game.

The main focus is on the Stark family, Wardens of the North and descendents of the Old People, who reside in their citadel in the far North just below the Wall, Winterfell. Neddard Stark is a man of honour, integrity and loyalty, so when his boyhood friend and king asks him to come south to become his Hand after the death of the previous Hand, Ned has no choice but to agree.

Leaving his sons (one of whom was grievously injured when he discovered a deadly secret while the King visited at Winterfell) and devoted wife behind, Ned and his two daughters must join the King's party at King's Landing, where feasting and tournaments drain the treasury more every day, corruption and betrayal are part of the day-to-day court mechanics and the population is becoming increasingly impoverished and desperate.

Further, the court at King's Landing is seeping with poison and no one is who they seem to be. Soon mired in politics he is ill-suited to navigate with his honesty and integrity intact, Ned finds himself fighting for his own life and the lives of his daughters while his wife must fight for those of their other children.

Ned's bastard son, Jon Snow is sworn into the Brotherhood who guards the Wall; an oath for life where desertion leads to death but remaining to serve may lead to even worse. The undermanned and overwhelmed contingent of soldiers is made up mostly of criminals forced to take the life-long oaths as a form of community service, and most of them no longer believe in the dangers that lurk in the Northern snows - that is until Jon's uncle, Ned's Brother, who is First Ranger, leads an expedition beyond the wall to find out the whereabouts of a previous expedition... and never returns.

What I like the most about these books is the complexity of the characters. There is not one character that you can purely loathe or purely love. Everyone is doing what they think are the right thing, even though the consequences to others are devastating sometimes. Even though the cast is HUGE, each character has their own, unique personality with flaws, strengths and moments of great weakness and stupidity as well as moments of great strength and nobility.

I don't want to spoil the book too much (if I hadn't already ;p), but the complexity of these characters and their interwoven stories, told from the varying limited third person POV really makes this book and this series unique and incredible.

There are some flaws, though, no denying that. The chapters are sometimes more like paragraphs, and since each paragraph takes you into the POV of a different character, it takes a while to get used to the abruptness of the transitions and keep track of the million side-plots.

There is also a lot of brutality, injustice, gratuitous sex and misogyny and other unpleasant subjects (including rape and infanticide) that are addressed in various ways throughout the story, which can become truly upsetting and triggering. It is certainly not everyone's cup of tea.

Also, if you are a believer of easy morality, moral absolutes and a "good guys are good and pure and wear untarnished white and bad guys are evil and irredeemable and rotten to the core" kind of reader, this is CERTAINLY not the series for you.

That being said, reading this book and living through these incredibly diverse and real characters and the complexities of things like morality, accountability, and power was one fantastic experience - an experience that left me a better and more empathetic and tolerant person. ( )
  Leia-Ann | Apr 27, 2015 |
OK. I tried. I have liked some of Martin's short fiction ("A Song for Lya," anyone?), but have very specific tastes in fantasy.

I finished the first book ... it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, being composed chiefly of men in leathers and feathers, sweat, killing, grunting, quaffing and eating, but it was enjoyable and there were no goddamned elves.

Then I started the second book, and realized I had thousands of pages of

- men in leathers and feathers,
- sweat,
- killing,
- grunting,
- quaffing, and
- eating

to go, and I realized I just didn't care. I'd rather spend the fictional time I have left on this earth with the likes of Flaubert and Henry James and George Eliot. ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Apr 18, 2015 |
The tv show for season 1 echoed the book very closely, even to the use of shifting viewpoint characters. Each chapter of the book follows one of the viewpoint characters. We start with members of the Stark family, plus Tyrion Lanister and Daenerys Targaryan. The writing is crisp, the scenes clear, and I like this way of following several plot threads at once. This book is clearly the first book in a series, but sufficient stuff happens to finish some of the story, while opening avenues for the next steps. It also pulls the reader relentlessly through the machinations of very well-realized people living a very well-realized pseudo-medieval world. ( )
  EowynA | Apr 18, 2015 |
Couldn't finish this book. Too many characters with multiple names, bad writing, didn't enjoy it. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
I am so glad that everyone I know who had read this book has rated in 5 stars. This is a great start to a series. [a:George R.R. Martin|346732|George R.R. Martin|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1351944410p2/346732.jpg] is an excellent writer. Everything that happens is in the right time and place.

I don't know how to write this review without giving too much away so this shall be my synopsis. This book is mainly about one family, House Stark of Winterfell, their brave leader, Ned (Eddard) his lady Catelyn, their children and Ned's bastard son. They have many friends, allies and enemies throughout the seven kingdoms and this book really gets interesting when Ned takes up position as Hand of the King to his beloved friend Robert Baratheon.

My favourite characters so far: Other than the direwolves, Bran Stark, because of his innocence and Arya Stark, because she is a fighter and strong-willed. My initial fave character was probably Jon Snow but I just felt sorry for him and then I thought he wanted my pity, which made me not like him so much... Read the book to understand!

My advice: Don't be intimidated by how fat the book is, or about all the lists of characters, Lords, Sers, Houses because this is so well written you will know who everyone is and where they belong by the end of it. Don't bother trying to memorise the House lists at the back of the book. Just get through a few chapters, you will be captivated.

I don't know what happens in the rest of the series so I don't want to make any assumptions or share my 'inklings' on what might happen. That alone would be "spoilers" for some people! Just Read It! ( )
1 vote sharlenehsmith | Mar 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 665 (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
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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 20 descriptions

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