Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

171 out of 176 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

37 out of 145 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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  • 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.

    19 out of 46 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Very very slow

    This is a long read. The first 65 chaps are very slow and boring. There is no action until the end. He sets up this book to give a deep background of the characters. I think i will read the next book but i admit this one was to slow for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    I hesitate to mark this book as being read, because I stopped at

    I hesitate to mark this book as being read, because I stopped at 56%. At this point, I had invested a lackluster 16 days of spotty reading. I just wasn't drawn to it. I'd rather sit and watch reruns than pick up my Kindle.

    Perhaps it was the fact that the book was too (in)famous. I knew going in that there would be an abundance of characters and that many of them would be killed. I had expectations of wonderfulness since the masses found wonder in this book.

    For me, I think that the failure came with the frequent character changes. I couldn't get enough time with any one character to really connect. Therefore, I didn't care what happened to them. I didn't even like any of them. Combined with a slow storyline, I just didn't want to invest more time when there are so many other stories out there that I really want to read.

    *Originally posted on goodreads

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2013

    Usually, I can't keep enough books around me. I read so fast tha

    Usually, I can't keep enough books around me. I read so fast that I end up re-reading things to save money, and I'm constantly hitting up the Free category of eBooks. However, this story is so dry and so boring, that it's just taking me forever. I don't understand who finds this kind of thing entertaining. The author is good at making me dislike characters, but I only kind of like a few of them. Nothing terribly exciting happens until the very end, and even then, I was disappointed. I have a strong stomach so the graphic nature of the novel doesn't bother me too much, but the random descriptions of armor and cloak colors and what people are eating at banquets just bores me. I don't care. I also don't care about what the characters friends are wearing and eating. Thank god I borrowed this book and didn't pay for it. It gets 2 stars because it is good for putting me to sleep at night.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A bit too violent and graphic for me. I like books with positive

    A bit too violent and graphic for me. I like books with positive messages. Books that make the world a better place.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Not the worst, but not worth the hype.

    Martin's a good writer, no doubt about that, but he unfortunately spends much of his talent in ridiculously long descriptions that carry on for pages. I found myself skimming frequently for lack of interest.

    Martin also seems to have an unhealthy obsession with sex scenes - and let me clarify that I have no issue with sex in books, provided that they're at least well-written. Here, however, they're rushed, brief, pointless, and feel as if they were thrown in just because the author was in the mood at the time. And really, do we need that many sex scenes involving a thirteen-year-old girl? Or multiple vivid descriptions of rape? As a friend of mine said, it makes Martin come off as a dirty old man. Each to his own taste, but I thought it was tasteless, period.

    That aside, the plot was interesting, but long-winded. Martin does a good job of making you hate the bad guys - and not satisfying your bloodlust against them at all. Maybe it's justified in later books, but it was just frustrating as far as this one goes.

    Overall, good and bad qualities, but the bad outweighs the good for me. I won't be bothering with the other books, or the show, and I'll have to object the next time someone compares this guy to the great likes of Tolkien; Martin isn't anywhere near that level, nor does he deserve to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    I've only read part of the book, and am having trouble trying to

    I've only read part of the book, and am having trouble trying to decide if I want to keep reading. The book started out somewhat interesting, but as I continued to read, I realized that it might be going nowhere. Some people have praised this series for being different from other fantasy works. But trust me, it's nothing spectacular or avant garde. A Game of Thrones is basically a soap opera. In some ways, it sort of reminded me of The Tudors, only with references to dragons and having large wolves called direwolves. None of the characters are appealing in any way, and the graphic descriptions of rape, pedophilia, and incest detracts from the story, rather than adds to it. In fact, in my humble opinion, the fact that Martin has such atrocities as rape, pedophilia and incest throughout the entire work, make me wander what kind of person he is. He seems kind of sick sometimes, and makes me wander if he has issues with women, which is another thing that annoy me. This book is degrading to women. Any female character you come across ends up involved either in rape, incest, or pedophilia. In this day and age that is asking for respect for women, I'm surprised such a degrading book has become so popular. Not to mention the pedophilia. I'm only in thee middle of the book, and I can't say I recommend. There has to be something better out there, something with drama, not melodrama, something with characters that aren't so despicable, and where female characters don't end up in degrading situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    Wanna talk

    Up for a chat

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    i am on page 476 and this book is 450 pages too long so far

    plan on finishing the book, but will not go any further in the series.....this book is painful to read at times, simply because it is extremely boring. I was really looking forward to reading the series but have been very disappointed

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is a very difficult read. It took forever to get through it and I was helped by the HBO series: stuff was visualized by the series, and the book filled the blanks on the story. However, neither of the two-the HBO program, nor the book-would ma

    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin Volume 1 of 4

    These are difficult times for the Kingdom. There has been nine years of summer and everyone feels "winter is coming." The book opens with an attack by the "dead walkers" on an expedition north of the North Wall, and the death of a Direwolf with six pups, one for each of the Stark children.

    King Robert Baratheon the 1st pays a visit to his old friend, Eddard Stark of the House of Winterfell, after 15 years of uniting all the seven kingdoms of the Realm. His prior Head of State, Jon Arryn, died under mysterious circumstances, and Robert wants Eddard to be his new Head. While at Winterfell, Eddard's wife, Catelyn from the House of Tully, receives a message from her sister, Lysa-who was married to Jon Arryn, accusing the Queen, Cersei of the House of Lannister, of poisoning the prior Head.

    While in the HBO series Catelyn begs her husband Eddard not to leave, in the book Catelyn is adamant that Eddard HAS to go and help his friend. After all, Robert was much in love with Eddard's sister, Lyanna, who died in the battle for the throne.

    They decide to take their two daughters, Sansa and Arya, and their son Brandon (Bran) south to the King's Court at King's Landing. Catelyn INSISTS on the book that Eddard's bastard son, Jon Snow, must leave the castle , so he is sent to take the oath of The Brothers of the Night Watch-protectors of the "The Wall" in the North. In the HBO series they don't explain why Jon ends up there. Unfortunately Bran is a climber and in one of his climbs he uncovers Queen Cersei mating with her brother Jaime and Jaime pusher Bran to the ground.

    The boy goes into a coma and loses the use of his legs but does not die. Afraid that the boy will recover and tell on them, Jaime tries to kill Bran, but the attempt fails because Catelyn would not leave him alone for a minute.

    Sansa and Arya could not be more different. Sansa loves dresses and court life, and Arya is a tomboy. Before leaving for the North, Jon gives Arya a sword (named Needle).

    Meanwhile, the House of Targaryen-the original rulers of the seven kingdoms-has been reduced to exile of the last two members: Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys. To re-conquer the seven kingdoms, Viserys marries his sister to Khal Drogo, the king of the Dothraki-expecting in return an army of ten thousand men.

    Life in King Robert's court is very dangerous and Eddard discovers the secret the last Head had found: Robert has gotten fat and only cares for food, wine and whores-while his bed has been occupied by Jaime-thus prince Joffrey, the supposed heir to the throne, is a Lannister and the true heir of the kingdom is Robert's brother, Stannis. Eddard confronts the queen, and before he can tell the king, Robert dies in a hunting "accident." Robert names Eddard Regent, but the queen plots with the council and Eddard is imprisoned and declared a traitor. As the queen warned Eddard, "Beware of the game of thrones, you either win or you die."

    Sansa had fallen in love with being a queen and begs for her father's life, but Eddard is beheaded anyway. Arya escapes the town, disguised as a boy, but Sansa is enslaved and torture because the Queen wants Joffrey to marry her.

    War is declared and the House of Stark defeats the House of Lannister. Robb, Eddard's oldest declares himself king of Winterfell and returns home.

    The new king, Joffrey, is being challenged by the youngest son

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    Best book of the series

    After finishing book #4, I have decided that Game of Thrones is sort of like the bait and the other three are the hook that you swallow to no relief.

    All the good guys die, children are raped and murdered, this whole series is totally backwards and I'm not going to bother with #5. Moving on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

    Chaotic at best

    The series of books does have twist and turns filled with deceit and cruelty. Wat too Many of the main characters are children, with them performing great deeds and surviving things most adult would not. Falls into the "Come on Man".....or who cares area. What ever you do, do not start liking a character because they will not be there or suddenly turn evil or good or come back to life. Just chaos trying to follow and fathom purpose as to why certain twists take so drastic a turn. This series I read hoping that somewhere it would be pulled together and make sense. I love the character Jon and his adventures but there are way too many children characters and the book is loaded with horrific murder, incest, rape, and worse. I keep reading that this is some sort of Classic series. Some parts are fantastic and do show hints of master story telling but as a whole it is far from being ranked with other works of art that have been written and called a Classics. One thing I did come away learning is a Surname name means everything in this and the nameless are just cannon fodder.

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    Posted June 10, 2012

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    Posted December 29, 2012

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    Posted August 22, 2011

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    Posted September 30, 2013

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