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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire,…

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) (edition 2003)

by George R. R. Martin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,86379644 (4.39)4 / 1233
Title:A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
Authors:George R. R. Martin
Info:Voyager (2003), Edition: (Reissue), Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, politics

Work details

A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

  1. 193
    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (MyriadBooks, Navarone, martlet)
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    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.
  4. 152
    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)
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    The Iron King by Maurice Druon (Fayries)
    Fayries: George R. R. Martin himself wrote that "Druon's series was one of my major inspirations".
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    The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny (ryvre)
    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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    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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(see all 29 recommendations)


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English (749)  Spanish (14)  French (6)  Dutch (5)  German (5)  Finnish (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Danish (2)  Italian (1)  Polish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (794)
Showing 1-5 of 749 (next | show all)
It's interesting how a reader's perceptions of an author change after hearing all the criticism and praise, and then actually reading the books.

Before picking up George R. R. Martin, I was already a long-time Robert Jordan fan, and an even longer Stephen King fan. I never expected to find an author with the combined best properties of both. Reviews and plot summaries gave me the impression that Martin's world was devoid of magic and overly laden with dry detail. Instead, I opened the first volume to discover a shockingly rich world and amazingly likable characters. There is a dark sort of magic involved throughout, but wealth, glory, and power provide the motives and explanations for the rise and fall of characters. We are introduced to power-hungry children who rule by divine right, and their overprotective, manipulative mothers. We meet crippled or freakish outcasts who are forced to survive in a harsh medieval world. There are warlocks and wargs, direwolves and dragons, geniuses who hide behind youthful beauty, and monsters who hide behind a friendly smile. There are ordinary men and women thrown into dangerous and terrible circumstances. There are children forced into betrothals and royal weddings before they hit puberty, and youths who bear the title of "Lord" or "Lady" and all of its inherent responsibilities. The bad guys are not the Dark Forces of Sauron, but simply arrogant, conniving, cruel people who wield an unfortunate amount of wealth or influence. Throw out all of your preconceived notions about heroes and villains. This series has none of them.

Martin doesn't shy away from such topics as incest, rape, molestation, bigotry, and torture in the medieval sense. Gore and sex are described in stark detail. Yet none of it is gratuitous. The violent acts are not condoned by the author. He seems to have the same gift that Stephen King does for creating four-dimensional people. They have the same worries, concerns, and urges that any human in our own world might have. Even the most powerful personalities are tempered by human shortcomings. A character with benign intentions might make a mistake in judgment, or vice versa. As a result, these are some of the most powerful, likable characters in fantasy and science fiction. Prepare to grow attached to them!

Chapters are laid out according to character perspective, and every one of them seems to end with a major plot twist that induces you to turn the page and keep reading. I marvel that my interest in the series never flagged in spite of the fact that a major character seemed to either die or avoid certain death with every other chapter. Martin takes the meaning of "shock" to a whole new level. We have no real assurance that every protagonist will survive, or that every antagonist will meet justice, because Martin weaves his story in the way of our own world. His personal investment is to the larger picture; not to the individual creations within. As one character tells another, "life is not a song."

We can only trust that justice will be served by the last volume to all those who are deserving. In the meantime, the journey towards that end is entirely worth the time it takes to read. Critics all agree on one thing: No one who reads this saga can forget it.

This review was originally published on my website. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
I generally do not read fantasy but I was drawn to the HBO series and watched it from start to finish. As Season 2 of the series approaches, I have a strong desire to read the second book prior to watching the season. I debated whether to read the first book, A Game of Thrones, before venturing into the second book. Being a purist at heart, I had to and I'm happy I did. My mind's eye, however, was forever set by the characters cast for the series and there was nothing I could do about it. The Cersei, Joffrey, Catelyn, Daenerys, Sansa, and Arya I imagined as I read the book where inexplicably linked to the series. I was also amazed at how well the series captured the entire story laid out in A Game of Thrones. If this is the Grey's Anatomy of fantasy series, as one other reviewer has referred to it, then please give me more McDreamy! ( )
  kellifrobinson | Feb 10, 2016 |
Definitely written to be devoured and I did. I thought some of the central events weren't explained well and lacked a sense of time. I plan to read on though as I want to know what happens next! ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
re-reading in advance of the show! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Meh. I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't be reading the rest of the series (or watching the show, though I do want to check out how they cast it [update to laugh at how much I lied: I still haven't read the other books, but I'm obsessed with the show just like everyone else. Although after the season four finale, I might be too traumatized to continue]). I like Martin's style even less than Robert Jordan's--GOT is more pretentious, more misogynistic, and more creepy than WOT. The only female character I didn't hate was a nine-year-old tomboy princess. And except for that first moment when she finally stands up for herself, I totally despised the entire Daenerys storyline. I'm disappointed because I have been wanting to read this for a while, but on the other hand I'm kind of glad to be escaping the addition of another stack of too-long epic fantasy novels to my queue. So it works out.

Will probably write a more detailed review on my blog, because I need more time to wind down from a book that takes more than a full two weeks to read.

[Update: Here it is.]

Will also probably be reading this: http://us.macmillan.com/agameofgroans/GeorgeWashington
Just for fun. :)
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 749 (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 (15 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
Hallman, TomCover artistsecondary 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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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."
"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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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.


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 20 descriptions

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