Customer Reviews for

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Average Rating 4.5
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(279)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

185 out of 191 people found this review helpful.

"When you play the games of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

For anyone new to this series, whether you've just heard of it, or you've seen Game of Thrones on television, the first thing I would say is that these books are certainly not for children or the faint of heart. The violence is graphic and the sex (some would say) is po...
For anyone new to this series, whether you've just heard of it, or you've seen Game of Thrones on television, the first thing I would say is that these books are certainly not for children or the faint of heart. The violence is graphic and the sex (some would say) is pornographic. Rape is commonplace (often heard of, but rarely witnessed). A Song of Ice and Fire pulls no punches. It depicts a brutal world of treachery, murder, lust, and greed, in which even the good characters have to be ruthless if they wish to survive. Time Magazine has called Martin "the American Tolkien," but that is a superficial judgment. These books are nothing like Tolkien. Imagine the Sopranos in Middle Earth, and you'll get the picture.

And yet, as dark and twisted as these books are, they are compelling. No sooner did I finish one book than I started the next, and I am eager for the publication of "A Dance With Dragons" in July 2011. This is because Martin's greatest strengths are plot and character. He weaves his tale out of many threads. The perspective shifts from chapter to chapter, as his main characters take their turns at center stage in Dickensian profusion. Some of them know what the other characters are up to, some think they do, and some don't know much at all. But each advances the complex plot, driving the story and the reader forward.

There are two areas in particular where Martin does an excellent job. First, he is more ruthless to his characters than Steven King. No one is safe. No one. Second, almost all of his main characters are quite well rounded. They can surprise you. One character, for example, commits a horrific crime early in the series, and is known to have committed another. As the books go on and the portrait of his character develops, however, it becomes more difficult to pass a simple judgment because he begins taking actions the reader wants to admire him for. I had to keep reminding myself of what he had done before, and that, as someone says in one of the books, sins can be forgiven, but crimes must still be punished. The good guys aren't simply good, and the bad guys aren't simply bad.

All in all, a good, fun read, if you're up for it. There is no middle ground.

posted by ThomasHill on May 23, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

39 out of 153 people found this review helpful.

Waste of Time

I work at a book store and tons of people have recommended this series to me. I finally decided to give it a chance-all I can say is...what the hell? The plot was boring and it was downright degrading to women. All of the characters were nasty and corrupt and there was ...
I work at a book store and tons of people have recommended this series to me. I finally decided to give it a chance-all I can say is...what the hell? The plot was boring and it was downright degrading to women. All of the characters were nasty and corrupt and there was not a single cause for the good in this book. It was an altogether depressing lot of characters. I will not read Martin again.

posted by csaint on April 12, 2011

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "When you play the games of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."

    For anyone new to this series, whether you've just heard of it, or you've seen Game of Thrones on television, the first thing I would say is that these books are certainly not for children or the faint of heart. The violence is graphic and the sex (some would say) is pornographic. Rape is commonplace (often heard of, but rarely witnessed). A Song of Ice and Fire pulls no punches. It depicts a brutal world of treachery, murder, lust, and greed, in which even the good characters have to be ruthless if they wish to survive. Time Magazine has called Martin "the American Tolkien," but that is a superficial judgment. These books are nothing like Tolkien. Imagine the Sopranos in Middle Earth, and you'll get the picture.

    And yet, as dark and twisted as these books are, they are compelling. No sooner did I finish one book than I started the next, and I am eager for the publication of "A Dance With Dragons" in July 2011. This is because Martin's greatest strengths are plot and character. He weaves his tale out of many threads. The perspective shifts from chapter to chapter, as his main characters take their turns at center stage in Dickensian profusion. Some of them know what the other characters are up to, some think they do, and some don't know much at all. But each advances the complex plot, driving the story and the reader forward.

    There are two areas in particular where Martin does an excellent job. First, he is more ruthless to his characters than Steven King. No one is safe. No one. Second, almost all of his main characters are quite well rounded. They can surprise you. One character, for example, commits a horrific crime early in the series, and is known to have committed another. As the books go on and the portrait of his character develops, however, it becomes more difficult to pass a simple judgment because he begins taking actions the reader wants to admire him for. I had to keep reminding myself of what he had done before, and that, as someone says in one of the books, sins can be forgiven, but crimes must still be punished. The good guys aren't simply good, and the bad guys aren't simply bad.

    All in all, a good, fun read, if you're up for it. There is no middle ground.

    185 out of 191 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    I truly am disgusted at about half of the reviews being written

    I truly am disgusted at about half of the reviews being written about this book. People are trying to compare the book to other books that it should most deffinitaly not be compared to; like The Lord of The Rings. Did you ever come across any elves, orcs, dwarves, or talking trees while reading this book? No, no, no, and no. A Game of Thrones is not the Lord of The Rings, its a 100% different story. And if you are not mature enough to handle the sex, incest, and rape of this book, then it is obviously not a book for you. Those of us who enjoy this book are not perverts who masturbate to the sex, thats not what its there for... though some of you seem to think so. A Game of Thrones is about corruption and the evilest of evils, and its not exactly full of happy endings. Will you be anxiously waiting for a character to get out of an impossible situation, only to find that they don't? Yes. Will many of your favorite characters be killed off without much warning? Yes. You will even find yourself wanting to kill a few of the characters yourself. The author does such a great job portraying the problems of the 7 kingdoms, that you actually feel like you want to fix them yourself. All that being said, this story is not a fantasy filled with gallant knights who always triumph over evil, it is a book where happy endings are hard to come by. But does all this evil make this a bad book? Quite the opposite. I greatly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they can handle it.

    98 out of 104 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Martin is a master of historifantasy!

    Martin has created a masterpiece with this series.

    Never have I read any novel of any genre with so many characters, all so brilliantly lifelike, believable and richly detailed. He doesn't introduce them too quickly, giving the reader time to get to know and love them, and as soon as a side is chosen, he takes us into the world of the opposing characters, and we come to love them equally!

    The scope of the series is truly epic, and while this is technically fantasy, the reader may forget that it's not historical fiction! The style is so gritty and unforgiving that one has no choice but to believe. The fantastical elements creep in slowly and undeniably - a skeleton in a closet, terrifying and mostly unseen.

    With character drama like this, you don't have to be a fantasy buff to love this series. All who like sweeping drama will enjoy this fantastic journey.

    88 out of 102 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Waste of Time

    I work at a book store and tons of people have recommended this series to me. I finally decided to give it a chance-all I can say is...what the hell? The plot was boring and it was downright degrading to women. All of the characters were nasty and corrupt and there was not a single cause for the good in this book. It was an altogether depressing lot of characters. I will not read Martin again.

    39 out of 153 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Might-Makes-Right Fantasy Realm with Unsurpassed Depth

    As a lifelong reader of fantasy books and committed enough to them to have a six-year-old daughter named Eowyn, I found this series a unique approach to the genre. Martin has crafted a world with depth surpassing that of Tolkien himself, but whether or not this is a virtue is a matter for individual readers to decide. GoT easily has four times the characters of Lord of the Rings, and readers will get bogged down in trying to keep them straight, remembering whether or not they've been encountered before, and caring enough about them to remember them the next time they surface. Furthermore, I wasn't too far into the series before I realized the Martin's books have no true protagonist. The main character, if there is one, is the realm itself. That became a problem for me. I want to root for a character as he struggles to overcome obstacles, injustices, and moral dilemmas. However, that's very difficult to do in GoT because a significant portion of the characters are inherently despicable, and there is no place in his world for the idealistic, loyal, or principled. Such characters in his books inevitably fall prey to machinations of the ruthless. If Martin were to craft a Looney Tunes story, the Roadrunner would have his legs broken, braised, and then fed to him piecemeal by the Coyote while Bugs Bunney was forced to watch. Sure, there do remain a few admirable characters five books into the series but one must empathize with them cautiously since Martin will undoubtedly kill them off eventually. I read about Martin's characters with a sort of learned detachment and too often I'm forced to read simply in order to find out what happens next and not because I particularly care about that specific storyline. Still, the series is enjoyable and some of the characters are amazing. You'll grow to love them, even though you'll sometimes fear to turn the next page.

    38 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Wish I could get my $8.99 back

    Based on the high ratings of this book, I ventured into fantasy for the first time. I am an avid reader and read probably 50 books a year, mostly historical fiction (i.e. Diana Gabaldon, James Mitchener) and adventure (i.e. James Rollins and Harlen Coben) In all fairness, I have to say I didn't even finish this book. I read to relax and lose myself in a story. This book made me feel like I needed to be taking notes the many many characters, lineage, places, non-humans, etc..I just can't enjoy a book when I feel like I need to go back to remember who was who and what they did and who they're married to, etc... Plus reading the gruesome details of rape and murder in just about every chapter is disturbing. I think the author is a disturbed individual.

    35 out of 107 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    This couldn't get any worse!

    I'm only giving this book 1 star because that is the lowest score possible. I'm sorry, but this book is horrible! I've heard so many people rave about it, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Let me see if I can sum it up: foul language, death, beheading, more foul language, incest, murder in the middle of an orgy, rape of a minor, more foul language, more incest, attempted murder of a child who witnessed incest, loving family torn apart, additional foul language, some boring history about the kingdoms that is pretty much useless info, rape of a minor again, still more foul language, innocent beloved pet killed, lots of animal slaughter, idealic dreams shattered, more murder, and more foul language, all described in graphic and appalling detail. Did I miss anything? Oh yes, more deceit and betrayal than you can wrap your head around. Plus, the style in which is written makes the story, such as it is, beyond confusing. The book jumps from character to character and from storyline to storyline with each chapter and with no continuity whatsoever. You never know who or what you'll be reading about next. That type of writing works when shown on TV or in movies, but not in books. (Hmmm...was someone ambitious and looking towards the future as he wrote? Admittedly, the TV series DOES make more sense, but then you actually have to WATCH everything written above.) There are way too many characters with weird names and places and plot lines to keep straight. And for the love of the gods, why can't this man spell any words like normal?! For example, "Sir" is "Ser", and "Master" is "Maester". Misspelled words does not a fantasy novel make! Which, by the way, I'm not seeing much fantasy here. Okay, there are some zombie-like creatures that pop up here and there, and there's a little bit about dragons at the end, but that's it. The direwolves are big and smart, but not enough to really be considered fantasy. There are no wizards, no spells, no non-human races, other fantastical creatures, or anything else you'd associate with fantasy books. I read a lot, averaging 40-50 books a year, almost all fantasy or historical fiction. Typically, I can't put a book down until I'm barely awake, and even then I don't stop until I get to a good stopping point, like the end of a chapter. With this book, I repeatedly found myself reading the same few sentences over and over again because my mind kept wandering to other things, like what errands I needed to run or what I was making for dinner. I never read to exhaustion, but rather would stop in the middle of a sentence and think, "That's enough. I can't take anymore right now." Stopping at the end of a chapter or the middle of a sentence was essentially the same thing. You're confused and can't remember anything when you pick it back up anyway. I forced myself to finish the book, and I even forced myself to start the second one. But I got 260 pages into the second one and couldn't take it anymore. I have serious doubts about the mental health of the author, and I absolutely cannot see how anyone could not be sickened by this filth. Do yourself a favor: save your time and money and SKIP this awful series!

    28 out of 118 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Price

    Want to buy this series but not gonna pay extra to get it on my nook. Doesn't barnes and noble understand ebooks should be cheaper. Might just return my nook and get an ipad. It will be the same price in the long run to not have to buy from only bn ebooks

    25 out of 107 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Read

    I loved reading this book. It has a story that is original and keeps you entertained for hours.

    21 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2002

    interesting plot. not very fantasy

    Let me start by saying if you like plot twists and EVIL evil doers then is a good story. but if you like to see heros and hero quests and trials then this book fails miserably. I am really into fantasy and enjoy stories of characters rising over their opositions but in a game of thrones its not about succeeding over your advisary but being totally crushed by him. I am almost finished with this book and thinking back not once has a "good" guy won. if you like seeing evil characters kick the **** out of everying good in the world then this book is for you. but if you want to see good guys rise above once...just once.. you are going to have to keep looking.

    21 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Addictive!

    Intriguing... addictive... leaves you wanting MORE!!! Many unexpected twists, mysterious happenings, and counterplots. Highly recommended, yet not for the faint of heart.

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    I enjoyed reading this wonderful book. The characters are well developed, the plot fascinating. I can only recommend this one.

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Brilliant

    I cant get enough. Absolutely wonderful

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Allow your mind to escape from the stereotype of "Fantasy", and enter the captivating world of the Seven Kingdoms with "A Game of Thrones".

    I never considered myself an admirer of the whole Fantasy genre. There was always a fine line I would never cross over. However, I think I stumbled onto something very special with A Game of Thrones and the whole A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was pleasantly surprised with this work. Never have I read a book where the chapters are separated into individual characters points of view, centered around that one character and their whole environment-it was very refreshing and brilliant of the author. I have found a little patience is asked of the potential reader when first entering the world of the Seven Kingdoms. The separate chapters and introductions of key characters may seem never ending, but with some interest and an open "trusting" mind follow Mr. Martin into his ever growing epic. However, if you find yourself completely lost with keeping which characters are "direwolf", "lion", or "stag"--flip to the back of the books and discover complete lists of houses, families, alliances, brief descriptions (believe me it will serve the new reader well to reintroduce themselves after finishing one book and moving onto the next).
    In A Game of Thrones, I overall adored the plot and was fascinated with the research that paid homage to medieval elements: the weapons, clothing, feudal system, battle scenes, war tactics, geography etc. It all just flowed beautifully where you believed you entered into a realistic world with minute touches of whimsy. I am happy, relieved and thankful to report to any interested readers that there were no to a few cliché fantasy characters/species. A Game of Thrones (as well as the whole series) is full of betrayal, adventure, drama, mystery, and classic revenge. I found myself gasping when thrilling and dismal surprises touched heroes and villians alike. Throughout the novel(s) the evidence of "grey" characters was an unexpected change from the usual light and dark personalities. The reader will also find that Mr. Martin has a talent to capture and bottle the element of foreshadowing (every "symbol" has a meaning that will resurface with a flash as the reader progresses into the ever growing plot). The only part(s) in this book (and series) that keeps it becoming a solid 5 star rating (for me) are the graphic sex sections and modern vulgar language. At first, I tried to remember history/ancient beliefs, human conditioning from the Medieval stand point and the warped entertainment expectations of today (sadly, sex sells). All of the needless scenes and language all seemed to sum back to something that unfortunately had to be there to push the realism and sell the product. Realism and product marketing aside, I must confess after awhile the graphic scenes and cussing (that seemed to come out of nowhere) started to wear on me and I desperately wished them gone from my vivid imagination. All negative aspects aside, I am very happy I stumbled upon this series and highly recommend for those readers who wish to escape from the stereotype of "fantasy".

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Disgusting.

    It disgusts me how many people can give a good rating to such a piece of trash that degrades women and enforces the ideas that rape and pedophilia are what make good literature. Honestly, with the lack of focus or real plot, as well as the disgusting acts of it's characters, it givesvthe impression that it was written by a sociopath.

    10 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2011

    Heavy and dark--can't recommend without anti-depressants

    I only was able to get into this book about 100 pages before I was too depressed to go any further. I had high hopes since this looks to be a long series I could have read for a long time. I know things need to be set early in this sort of epic novel but this was just too heavy. There didn't appear to be anything beautiful or noble for the protagonists to work for. Very disappointing!

    Spoiler alert--don't read any further if you actually intend to read this book and series--one lady goes crazy, a kid falls off the roof (was actually pushed) and is paralyzed, and the nicest wolf is killed by the girl's father, death, death, death and no end in sight.

    10 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    One of the best Series I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

    I cannot put these books down! The characters are fantastic and the settings take your imagination to unthinkable places. This is my first "Fantasy" Series I am mostly into Bio's but as I said before I cannot put them down.
    The first few chapters of the Game of Thrones was alittle slow but get past that and you wont regret it.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2011

    Wonderful start to a winderful series!

    I first read this book long before it became an HBO series and loved it back then. Now, I am so far pleasantly surprised with the series and have started re-reading the books. I just hope this motivates the release of the latest book in the series- A Dance With Dragons! A must read. My favorite high fantasy series to date!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Dark

    This guy needs to get laid. Obsessed with rape and beheading. Not a happy ending type book.

    6 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2013

    Absolutely fantastic historical fiction.  I enjoy that it is wri

    Absolutely fantastic historical fiction.  I enjoy that it is written from the perspectives of multiple characters, and that the action is so intense.  I once had to put this book aside for a week because I had to recover from my shock & outrage at what happened to one of the characters...now that's some good writing!!  
    This series is definitely not for readers who want clearly-defined heroes and villains, as the GoT characters are much too complex for that.  Nor is it for those who want to think that the medieval world was full of honorable lords and knights, fair maidens and well-fed, well-cared for peasants rather than one of ruthless and prevalent violence werein those with power and titles took advantage of their positions (ever hear of Henry VIII?).  Our modern-day ideas of civil rights, equality, justice, even basic human rights were non-existent, and Martin works within those realistic parameters.  
    The unexpectedness of events is what I love and hate most about this series.  You cannot hope to predict what's going to happen next, and what does happen may break your heart and leave you re-reading the page just to be sure that that actually just happened.  This, to me, is keeping it real, and makes for some of the most exciting reading ever.
    If you can leave your modern-day sensibilities at the door, NOT compare this to any other fantasy series you may have read before, and immerse yourself entirely into the Game, you will thoroughly enjoy this book and the complete series.       

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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