A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

4.5 5483
by George R. R. Martin

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From a master of contemporary fantasy comes the first novel of a landmark series unlike any you’ve ever read before. With A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has launched a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure…  See more details below



From a master of contemporary fantasy comes the first novel of a landmark series unlike any you’ve ever read before. With A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has launched a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of this magnificent saga, the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.
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 forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells 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; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Unparalleled in scope and execution, A Game of Thrones is one of those rare reading experiences that catch you up from the opening pages, won’t let you go until the end, and leave you yearning for more.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW gave a starred review to this first installation in a new epic fantasy series. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The author of such science fictino classics as The Armageddon Rag marks the beginning of a new fantasy series about a world where the summer and winter seasons can span generations.
Roland Green
The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga. The family is the Starks of Winterfell, a society in crisis due to climatic change that has created decades-long seasons, and a society almost without magic but with human perversity abundant and active. Martin reaches a new plateau in terms of narrative technique, action scenes, and integrating (or not injecting) his political views into the story. He does not avoid a dauntingly large cast and a daunting number of viewpoint shifts, but these are problems seemingly inseparable from the multivolume fantasy genre. Accordingly, one doubts there will be any other comfortable entry point into this example of the genre except at the beginning. Judging by this beginning, however, it promises to repay reading and rereading, from first volume to last, on account of its literacy, imagination, emotional impact, and superb world-building.
Anne McCaffrey
Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn. -- Locus
Chicago Sun-Times
We have been invited to a grand feast and pageant: George R.R. Martin has unveiled for us an intensely realized, romantic but realistic world.
A splendid saga....Inventive and intricately plotted.
Magic...George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre.
The Denver Post
The major fantasy of the decade...compulsively readable.
Kirkus Reviews
After a long silence (Portraits of his Children, 1987), the author of the cult The Armageddon Rag (1983) returns with the first of a fantasy series entitled, insipidly enough, "A Song of Ice and Fire." In the Seven Kingdoms, where the unpredictable seasons may last decades, three powerful families allied themselves in order to smash the ruling Targaryens and depose their mad king, Rhaegar. Robert Baratheon claimed the throne and took to wife Tywin Lannister's daughter, Cersei; Ned Stark returned north to gloomy Winterfell with its massive, ancient Wall that keeps wildings and unspeakable creatures from invading. Some years later, Robert, now drunk and grossly fat, asks Ned to come south and help him govern; reluctantly, since he mistrusts the treacherous Lannisters, Ned complies. Honorable Ned soon finds himself caught up in a whirl of plots, espionage, whispers, and double-dealing and learns to his horror that the royal heir, Joffrey, isn't Robert's son at all but, rather, the product of an incestuous union between the Queen and her brother Jaime—he murdered Rhaegar despite the latter's surrender. Ned attempts to bargain with Cersei and steels himself to tell Robert—but too late. Swiftly the Lannisters murder the King, consign Ned to a dungeon, and prepare to seize the throne, opposed only by the remaining Starks and Baratheons. On the mainland, meanwhile, the brutal and stupid Viserys Targaryen sells his sister Dany to a barbarian horse-warrior in return for a promise of armies to help him reconquer the Seven Kingdoms. A vast, rich saga, with splendid characters and an intricate plot flawlessly articulated against a backdrop of real depth and texture. Still,after 672 dense pages, were you expecting a satisfying resolution? You won't get it: Be prepared for a lengthy series with an indefinitely deferred conclusion.

Publishers Weekly
The first installment in the engrossing fantasy epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire, opens on a rigid feudal society in a world where the seasons are unpredictable—pleasant summers can last a decade and cruel winters could be scores of years long—creating a hardened and durable people. Up against the ice wall that separates the barbarians and mysterious wild things from civilization, the Stark family has held the north for generations. As the King's Hand, Stark must protect the king whose enemies covet the throne, and the most dangerous of these might be the queen and her family, the Lanisters. While the intricate, compelling story is told in many voices from many perspectives, Tony and Emmy award-winning narrator Roy Dotrice doesn't attempt to perform each of the hundreds of characters. Only occasionally using a different accent or intensity, the tale unfolds in the gruff voice of an old master storyteller enthralling an audience at a hearth. With his British accent and straightforward narration, Dotrice adds a ominous sense of intrigue and doom to the dark and fascinating tale. A Bantam paperback. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant.”—Robert Jordan

“Reminiscent of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, this novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal.”—Chicago Sun-Times

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Song of Ice and Fire Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer. They set forth at daybreak to see a man beheaded, twenty in all, and Bran rode among them, nervous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his lord father and his brothers to see the king's justice done. It was the ninth year of summer, and the seventh of Bran's life.

The man had been taken outside a small holdfast in the hills. Robb thought he was a wildling, his sword sworn to Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall. It made Bran's skin prickle to think of it. He remembered the hearth tales Old Nan told them. The wildlings were cruel men, she said, slavers and slayers and thieves. They consorted with giants and ghouls, stole girl children in the dead of night, and drank blood from polished horns. And their women lay with the Others in the Long Night to sire terrible half-human children.

But the man they found bound hand and foot to the holdfast wall awaiting the king's justice was old and scrawny, not much taller than Robb. He had lost both ears and a finger to frostbite, and he dressed all in black, the same as a brother of the Night's Watch, except that his furs were ragged and greasy.

The breath of man and horse mingled, steaming, in the cold morning air as his lord father had the man cut down from the wall and dragged before them. Robb and Jon sat tall and still on their horses, with Bran between them on his pony, trying to seem older than seven, trying to pretend that he'd seen all this before. A faint wind blew through the holdfast gate. Over their heads flapped the banner of the Starks of Winterfell: a grey direwolf racing across an ice-white field.

Bran's father sat solemnly on his horse, long brown hair stirring in the wind. His closely trimmed beard was shot with white, making him look older than his thirty-five years. He had a grim cast to his grey eyes this day, and he seemed not at all the man who would sit before the fire in the evening and talk softly of the age of heroes and the children of the forest. He had taken off Father's face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell.

There were questions asked and answers given there in the chill of morning, but afterward Bran could not recall much of what had been said. Finally his lord father gave a command, and two of his guardsmen dragged the ragged man to the ironwood stump in the center of the square. They forced his head down onto the hard black wood. Lord Eddard Stark dismounted and his ward Theon Greyjoy brought forth the sword. "Ice," that sword was called. It was as wide across as a man's hand, and taller even than Robb. The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke. Nothing held an edge like Valyrian steel.

His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel, the captain of his household guard. He took hold of Ice with both hands and said, "In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, by the word of Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, I do sentence you to die." He lifted the great sword high above his head.

Bran's bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer. "Keep the pony well in hand," he whispered. "And don't look away. Father will know if you do."

Bran kept his pony well in hand, and did not look away.
His father took off the man's head with a single sure stroke. Blood sprayed out across the snow, as red as summerwine. One of the horses reared and had to be restrained to keep from bolting. Bran could not take his eyes off the blood. The snows around the stump drank it eagerly, reddening as he watched.

The head bounced off a thick root and rolled. It came up near Greyjoy's feet. Theon was a lean, dark youth of nineteen who found everything amusing. He laughed, put his boot on the head,and kicked it away.

"Ass," Jon muttered, low enough so Greyjoy did not hear. He put a hand on Bran's shoulder, and Bran looked over at his bastard brother.

"You did well," Jon told him solemnly. Jon was fourteen, an old hand at justice.

It seemed colder on the long ride back to Winterfell, though the wind had died by then and the sun was higher in the sky. Bran rode with his brothers, well ahead of the main party, his pony struggling hard to keep up with their horses.

"The deserter died bravely," Robb said. He was big and broad and growing every day, with his mother's coloring, the fair skin, red-brown hair, and blue eyes of the Tullys of Riverrun. "He had courage, at the least."

"No," Jon Snow said quietly. "It was not courage. This one was dead of fear. You could see it in his eyes, Stark." Jon's eyes were a grey so dark they seemed almost black, but there was little they did not see. He was of an age with Robb, but they did not look alike. Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast.

Robb was not impressed. "The Others take his eyes," he swore. "He died well. Race you to the bridge?"

"Done," Jon said, kicking his horse forward. Robb cursed and followed, and they galloped off down the trail, Robb laughing and hooting, Jon silent and intent. The hooves of their horses kicked up showers of snow as they went.

Bran did not try to follow. His pony could not keep up. He had seen the ragged man's eyes, and he was thinking of them now. After a while, the sound of Robb's laughter receded, and the woods grew silent again.

That was when Jon reappeared on the crest of the hill before them. He waved and shouted down at them. "Father, Bran, come quickly, see what Robb has found!" Then he was gone again.

Jory rode up beside them. "Trouble, my lord?"

"Beyond a doubt," his lord father said. "Come, let us see what mischief my sons have rooted out now." He sent his horse into a trot. Jory and Bran and the rest came after.

They found Robb on the riverbank north of the bridge, with Jon still mounted beside him. The late summer snows had been heavy this moonturn. Robb stood knee-deep in white, his hood pulled back so the sun shone in his hair. He was cradling something in his arm, while the boys talked in hushed, excited voices.

The riders picked their way carefully through the drifts, groping for solid footing on the hidden, uneven ground. Jory Cassel and Theon Greyjoy were the first to reach the boys. Greyjoy was laughing and joking as he rode. Bran heard the breath go out of him. "Gods!" he exclaimed, struggling to keep control of his horse as he reached for his sword.

Jory's sword was already out. "Robb, get away from it!" he called as his horse reared under him.

Robb grinned and looked up from the bundle in his arms. "She can't hurt you," he said. "She's dead, Jory."

Bran was afire with curiosity by then. He would have spurred the pony faster, but his father made them dismount beside the bridge and approach on foot. Bran jumped off and ran.

By then Jon, Jory, and Theon Greyjoy had all dismounted as well. "What in the seven hells is it?" Greyjoy was saying.

"A wolf," Robb told him.

"A freak," Greyjoy said. "Look at the size of it."

Bran's heart was thumping in his chest as he pushed through a waist-high drift to his brothers' side.

Half-buried in blood stained snow, a huge dark shape slumped in death. Ice had formed in its shaggy grey fur, and the faint smell of corruption clung to it like a woman's perfume. Bran glimpsed blind eyes crawling with maggots, a wide mouth full of yellowed teeth. But it was the size of it that made him gasp. It was bigger than his pony, twice the size of the largest hound in his father's kennel.

"It's no freak," Jon said calmly. "That's a direwolf. They grow larger than the other kind."

Theon Greyjoy said, "There's not been a direwolf sighted south of the Wall in two hundred years."

"I see one now," Jon replied.

Bran tore his eyes away from the monster. That was when he noticed the bundle in Robb's arms. He gave a cry of delight and moved closer. The pup was a tiny ball of grey-black fur, its eyes still closed. It nuzzled blindly against Robb's chest as he cradled it, searching for milk among his leathers, making a sad little whimpery sound. Bran reached out hesitantly. "Go on,"Robb told him. "You can touch him."

Bran gave the pup a quick nervous stroke, then turned as Jon said, "Here you go." His half brother put a second pup into his arms. "There are five of them." Bran sat down in the snow and hugged the wolf pup to his face. Its fur was soft and warm against his cheek.

"Direwolves loose in the realm, after so many years," muttered Hullen, the master of horse. "I like it not."

"It is a sign," Jory said.

Father frowned. "This is only a dead animal, Jory," he said. Yet he seemed troubled. Snow crunched under his boots as he moved around the body. "Do we know what killed her?"

"There's something in the throat," Robb told him, proud to have found the answer before his father even asked. "There, just under the jaw."
His father knelt and groped under the beast's head with his hand. He gave a yank and held it up for all to see. A foot of shattered antler, tines snapped off, all wet with blood.

A sudden silence descended over the party. The men looked at the antler uneasily, and no one dared to speak. Even Bran could sense their fear, though he did not understand.

His father tossed the antler to the side and cleansed his hands in the snow. "I'm surprised she lived long enough to whelp," he said. His voice broke the spell.

"Maybe she didn't," Jory said. "I've heard tales . . . maybe the bitch was already dead when the pups came."

"Born with the dead," another man put in. "Worse luck."

"No matter," said Hullen. "They be dead soon enough too."

Bran gave a wordless cry of dismay.

"The sooner the better," Theon Greyjoy agreed. He drew his sword.

"Give the beast here, Bran."

The little thing squirmed against him, as if it heard and understood.

"No!" Bran cried out fiercely. "It's mine."

"It be a mercy to kill them," Hullen said.

Bran looked to his lord father for rescue, but got only a frown, a furrowed brow. "Hullen speaks truly, son. Better a swift death than a hard one from cold and starvation."

"No!" He could feel tears welling in his eyes, and he looked away. He did not want to cry in front of his father.

"Lord Stark," Jon said. It was strange to hear him call Father that, so formal. Bran looked at him with desperate hope. "There are five pups," he told Father. "Three male, two female."

"What of it, Jon?"

"You have five true born children," Jon said. "Three sons, two daughters. The direwolf is the sigil of your House. Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord."

Bran saw his father's face change, saw the other men exchange glances. He loved Jon with all his heart at that moment. Even at seven, Bran understood what his brother had done. The count had come right only because Jon had omitted himself. He had included the girls, included even Rickon, the baby, but not the bastard who bore the surname Snow, the name that custom decreed be given to all those in the north unlucky enough to be born with no name of their own.

Their father understood as well. "You want no pup for yourself, Jon?" he asked softly.

"The direwolf graces the banners of House Stark," Jon pointed out. "I am no Stark, Father."

Their lord father regarded Jon thoughtfully. Robb rushed into the silence he left. "I will nurse him myself, Father," he promised. "I will soak a towel with warm milk, and give him suck from that."

"Me too!" Bran echoed.

The lord weighed his sons long and carefully with his eyes. "Easy to say, and harder to do. I will not have you wasting the servants' time with this. If you want these pups, you will feed them yourselves. Is that understood?"

Bran nodded eagerly. The pup squirmed in his grasp, lickedat his face with a warm tongue.

It was not until they were mounted and on their way that Bran allowed himself to taste the sweet air of victory. By then, his pup was snuggled inside his leathers, warm against him, safe for the long ride home. Bran was wondering what to name him.

Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly.

"What is it, Jon?" their lord father asked.

"Can't you hear it?"

Bran could hear the wind in the trees, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup, but Jon was listening to something else.

"There," Jon said. He swung his horse around and galloped back across the bridge. They watched him dismount where the direwolf lay dead in the snow, watched him kneel. A moment later he was riding back to them, smiling.

"He must have crawled away from the others," Jon said.

"Or been driven away," their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind.

"An albino," Theon Greyjoy said with wry amusement. "This one will die even faster than the others."

Jon Snow gave his father's ward a long, chilling look. "I think not, Greyjoy," he said. "This one belongs to me."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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What People are saying about this

Robert Jordan
Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant.
From the Publisher
“Grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant.”—Robert Jordan

“Reminiscent of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, this novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal.”—Chicago Sun-Times

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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 12 ratings. 5483 reviews.
ThomasHill More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Sutinike More than 1 year ago
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.
Genghis_Sean More than 1 year ago
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.
Shadow Cornelison More than 1 year ago
Intriguing... addictive... leaves you wanting MORE!!! Many unexpected twists, mysterious happenings, and counterplots. Highly recommended, yet not for the faint of heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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".
alexis14217 More than 1 year ago
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.
cbaker71 More than 1 year ago
I cant get enough. Absolutely wonderful
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this wonderful book. The characters are well developed, the plot fascinating. I can only recommend this one.
Amanda Curtis More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O.K., I'l preface this with a warning; yes, there is sex. Yes, there is violence and rape and the "good guys" do, in fact, die on occasion. If you aren't mature enough to avoid homing in on that and ignoring everything else, don't read this series. If you do read it, you'll just end up writing another unfortunately poor review of a very well written book. With that in mind, I highly recommend reading this series. Martin does a great job of bringing to life a fantasy world that does not require magic to be present on every page. I feel that his descriptions of characters and places aren't long-winded so much as they are immersive. If you have the attention span of someone over twelve(or at least eighteen-that's how old I am), you should be able to keep track of what's going on and avoid losing interest. Also interesting- there really isn't a main character. The books follow a number of characters, and keep you interested in each one. One or two of them die, and that does have an impact on your emotions, but-get this-the good guys don't always pull through in real life, either. The loss of a few characters really makes you appreciate all of them, and keeps you from getting complacent and the story from becoming predictable. In short, read my warning, and if it doesn't apply to you, give A Song of Ice and Fire a shot. You just might like it.
liv2knit More than 1 year ago
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.       
Andrak More than 1 year ago
These books are not written for those that enjoy light reading. George takes us to a very believable world - amazing in scope - and introduces us to characters that are not only loveable, but some that are ruthlessly brutal. These books are raw; do not get attached to the characters! The enjoyment here is in the journey. if you let yourself escape into the world he's created, you will appreciate this series more. Please be patient, as things eventually work themselves out to their conclusion. (not always the conclusions the reader would envision) My only disappointment (and not with this book, but with the series) is that "A Feast for Crows" splits the narrative in half and you are left to wait for the fifth book to see what's happening to the other half of the characters. On top of this, George doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get the next book out, as it was originally slated to be out in December, 2009. A Song of Ice and Fire is/was slated to be a 7 part series, but at the pace at which they are being churned out, George may be too old and feeble to complete the series . . . The first three books in this series are nothing short of awesome - "Crows" falls short, but it's mostly because of the split narrative. I have a feeling, however, that the fifth book will be well worth the wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've found a lot of the reviews listed on the site as "most helpful" are pretty negative. Personally, I found this book to be an impressive piece of literature. I think a lot of the reviews placed unfair criticism on the novel. I noticed some reviews complaining about the graphic content of the book. There are few scenes with some relatively graphic scenes depicting rape, incest, and murder. You have to remember though that this book was heavily inspired by Medieval Europe, which was an extremely violent time in history. This isn't an innocent, happily ever after story like Lord of the Rings. This book uses a fictional world to paint a realistic picture of a grim time history. This book will captivate you and demand your attention, but it will not uplift you. Other reviews claim that it's a painfully slow read. For an 800 page book, I think it moves pretty quickly. The plot isn't particularly difficult to follow, and nor is there an excess of characters like some reviews. If you find this book a challenging read, you might just be stupid. Speaking of characters though, I found them to be the highlight of the book. They are thoroughly developed and feature lifelike, human personalities. Few are completely good or completely evil. They are all memorable characters, and I really connected with a few of them. The plot of this book is multi-dimensional and unpredictable. It's packed with mystery, adventure, and fantasy. The author has created a lifelike world with its own history, that makes the story that much more interesting. This truly is an imaginative and captivating story. If you enjoy a unique and memorable tale, I promise you will enjoy A Game of Thrones
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is indeed, a very good read, with characters with good and bad points, a non biased conflict, awesome fight sequences, and a realistic depiction of a medieval society. It's a great book to say the least. However, as a word of warning to young but advanced readers, this book contains bloody violence, disturbing content, and most of all, graphic scenes of sexuality, some of which are homosexual in nature ( not to offend any homosexual persons, merely to inform readers of content). Read carefully.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is fantastic, it's different than any other series I've read. However, I wasn't able to truly begin appreciating them until the 2nd/3rd book. Keep reading you'll be hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book in this series is pretty good. At first, switching from character to character was a little odd, however, after the first few times it's natural and the story line picks up where the previous character leaves off. It's interesting to root for all sides in the story (even the "bad" guys) because you see it from their perspective. As the fifth book is about to come out, I don't think the series has been abandoned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AMAZING!!! One of the best books i have ever read. Yes, many gruesome events take place, but if you look past those things and pay more attention to the actual story, you will see how great it is. There are so many elements that come into it, the characters, the plot, and the world in which it all takes place in makes this a true masterpiece. I will definitely buy the rest of the series on my Nook!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joffre is a dickwad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a really good book. If you watched the show they stay on track. Of course they add and take stuff away for the show. If you like fantasy type books. Read this one. You will love this person and then by the middle of the book hate them. Its a great start for the series. Easy read. Kinda long but worth it.
Shirley_Holmes More than 1 year ago
Originally posted on my blog: The Bibliophile's Corner First Thoughts: I have been wanting to read this series for a while. I have heard wonderful things about it and the show is a huge success on HBO. I have also been craving a good fantasy series that I can devour and I’m so glad I found this book. First 50-100 Pages: The first several chapters are amazing. You are introduced to so many characters, houses, families, agendas, and it is a little difficult to keep track of. But as the chapters go on it gets easier. Every character gets their own face in your head and their own personalities. Characters: Speaking of characters. There are so many good ones and so many that I want to drive a sword through. First, the ones I love: Arya, the spirited child of Eddard Stark who would rather play with swords than dress in skirts; Tyrion, the second son of the Lannister family, a small man with a big personality that I couldn’t help but love; Eddard, the lord of the Winterfell (played by Sean Bean in the show), he is a just and fair man and I fell in love with his loyalty and honesty; Jon, the bastard son of Eddard who joins the Black (members have to leave their family and become family with fellow bearers of the Black) is fiercely loyal to his father and his land; Daenerys, or Dany as she is called, is a Targaryan and pawn of her brothers in order to overthrown King Robert. She is a force to be reckoned with and I feel like she had the most growth throughout the book. Now for those I didn’t like: Cersei, the queen of Robert and a Lannister, she will do anything to get her family on the throne and I really disliked her incestuous relationship with her brother Jamie.;Joffery, Cersei’s son and the next in line to the throne. I absolutely hate him. He is cold and heartless; Sansa, Arya’s older sister and the daughter of Eddard. She is such an idiot! She could not see through Joffery’s coldness until it was too late and she so badly wanted to be a lady that I felt she betrayed her family; Catelyn, the wife of Eddard, is someone who I don’t hate, but I do not by any means love. She jumped too conclusions and acted without thought in many cases and essentially was the one who started the war. The best part of this book by far, is the change in perspectives. Each chapter changes between Eddard, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, Jon, Dany, Bran, Plot: There is so much going on in this book, it’s crazy. At the beginning, we see mysterious happenings and killings done outside the Wall and the Night’s Watch are puzzled. After the prologue, we jump into the Stark family. Within the first few chapters, poor Bran is thrown from a window after uncovering the Lannister’s secret. Meanwhile, you have the Stark family trying to remain faithful to King Robert even though is married to the Lannister house. The Lannister house is manipulative and heartless and will do anything to get the throne. Then you have Dany and her brother who are teaming up with the Dothraki, the horse riders, so Viserys, Dany’s brother, can be king again. Then, as if human problems weren’t enough, there are supernatural beings living in the forest that made an appearance in the prologue still haunting the Wall. Final Thoughts: Guys. The ending. Holy crap almighty. The last chapter made me squeal and I really want to start the second book soon. This book is wonderful. If you are fantasy fan and haven’t read this book, please do. It is truly a great start to what I’m sure is an amazing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After years on a reading hiatus i got into Game of Thrones after watching the HBO series. Now i cant get enough. Im about to finish the 3rd book and i cant wait to start the 4th. This is a great story - highly recommended.
Elia P Orta More than 1 year ago
I love this book,I cant wait to read them all. I'm trying to read them slowly since I watch the series on HBO but its so hard because it is such a good book.
ChiefRW More than 1 year ago
This is a story that keeps you turning the page. I have continued to book 2 and am still enthralled with the storytelling and detail.
kdheeb More than 1 year ago
It had me enthralled. Not my usual genre, but it kept my attention so much that it only took about 4-5 days to read 700+ pages.