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Publisher's Summary

In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc.

What the critics say

  • Locus Award, 1997

"Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly)

"The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist)

"Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan)

"This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    699
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    552
  • 4 Stars
    126
  • 3 Stars
    34
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    7

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    661
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love it!

Seen the tv show not knowing the books. The first book is amazing! can't wait to hear the other ones!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

I've watched the entire game of thrones series multiple times and always wanted to read the books. Only problem with the books is their massive and would take months to read for me, audible solves this problem as I love to listen.
Thanks audible! #Audible1

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Roy Dotrice makes a fantastic read even better

Game of Thrones deserves every praise it gets and Roy's performance was absolutely stellar. From the cheeky Tyrian to the gutteral Dothraki hordes, Roy breathes life into the characters in such a way that even the characters that share a dialect are immediately distinguishable from one another. If you're debating what to spend your next credit on, the voicework alone makes this more than worth your time, and that's to say nothing of George R. R. Martin's legendary penmanship.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dont watch the show first

Its a great book but its much the same as the show. I feel I have failed the book by watching the show first.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Get lost in another world for a time

This story is full of amazing characters living lives full of love, laughter, joy, fear, terror, and great acts of bravery brought to vivid life by the narration of Mr Dotrice. So grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and sit back to enjoy this world created by Mr. Martin come into being.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Voice Acting

I really loved this audiobook, it's a fantastic story. Unfortunately it is entirely read by one person, and is in desperate need of more voices. I think that even the addition of a woman to read the female parts would add so much to the experience. Still a great listen!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect all around!

The story is captivating and the narrator is doing a phenomenal job at taking you through the story! I look forward to the next few books ahead!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Time and Time Again.

Great book and Roy did a great narration for the first three books. highly recommend listening.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Just an excellent book. Should have read this prior to watching series. Well done, well read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Game of Amazing Storytelling

After listening to the audiobook for the first time I felt transported to a fantastic story that has incest, dragons and plots that keep you hungry for more.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • DCinMI
  • Fairview, MI
  • 2013-09-12

Review of First 5 Books

I understand that there are to be 7 books in this series, but as of this writing there are only 5. I listened to them all, one right after the other, so it is difficult for me to review them separately. Besides, I think anyone new to the series should know what they're getting into right up front. However, there are no spoilers here.

I'm going to use the word "read" instead of "listen" because it's all the same to me and "read" is shorter.

My sons, both of them "men grown," have been nagging me for at least two years to read these books. Recently, they both accosted me about it from different parts of the country on my birthday, so I grudgingly agreed to try the first book. I have now read them all, as I said. My sons have been disinherited several times during the reading process. They had better hope that the last two books come out before I die.

I have read a number of reviews comparing Martin to Tolkien. This might be true if Tolkien had been a warped, sadistic bastard who enjoyed tormenting his readers. During the course of reading these books, I have called Martin everything but a good guy. Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Spawn of Satan top the list, along with accompanying adjectives. But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one. True to his nature, however, Martin is making no promises about when that will be. Judging from the spacing of these first 5 books, I may have no fingers left by the time book 6 hits the presses. (This would help me relate better to some of his characters, I guess.)

So, for those of you who have not yet begun this series: If you are very squeamish, you'd better not start. There is a lot of torture, violence, explicit sex, and explicit violent sex. Even worse, there's some really bad language.

It is set in a world that seems to be based on Medieval England, but is not England nor any other place on this earth. The number of characters and story lines that are converging on each other seems daunting at first glance, but I was surprised at how easily I could keep the major ones straight in my head.

There are some characters that you will love and others that you will love to hate, and still others that you will hate to love. Some of them you will hate and then come to love or pity, and the other way around, too. Some of them, mostly Tyrion Lannister, are very witty and humorous no matter what the situation, so that provides a little relief sometimes. Some of them you will forget about entirely, as a whole book might go by before they pop up again.

If you like to feel safe and secure when reading a book, this series is not for you. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe. Bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. If I had been reading a paper book, I would have a lot of holes in my walls from repeatedly throwing the books against them. However, reading them has given me plenty of practice climbing the walls. (Unfortunately, as a woman, I would still not be able to become a Black Brother.) No one is happy in any of the seven kingdoms. The only joy comes from vengeance or, more rarely, justice. I hate books like that! But I read all the books and am biting my nails waiting for the next one.

I have given the series 5 stars because I could not stop reading once I had started, no matter how angry it made me. I would never have read these books if my sons had not hounded me into it. But wait--no--I have no sons. That was that other woman who lived before she embarked on the torturous journey that is Game of Thrones.

1,552 of 1,643 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kristie
  • SAVAGE, MN, United States
  • 2013-05-09

Terrible editing, though...

Great story and fantastic narration. I have nothing to add on that front.

About the quality, however...once an hour a sentence repeated itself. I'm assuming they recorded from a CD where the last sentence of a disc is repeated as the first sentence of the next disc. Also, the last 40 minutes of Audible's Part 3 were repeated at the beginning of Part 4. Not at all on par with Audible's usual quality...surprising and disappointing that they would let one of their best sellers go out in this condition.

427 of 478 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brent
  • BOISE, ID, USA
  • 2004-02-17

A fantastic tale!

I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, and I can promise you that this series of books is among the best.

This tale takes place in a land known as the "Seven Kingdoms." However, these kingdoms are actually ruled by a single King with various Lords under him. The history of these kingdoms is expertly blended into the plot, so that you effortlessly become emersed into the world. I can't overstate the skill with which the author draws the reader into his world. It feels as if this land, with its people, traditions and history is as real as our own.

Magic does exist in this world, but it is rare. It is used to color the plot, not to dominate it. There are hints of other races, but varieties of humans are all we encounter. There is some profanity, but it's fairly rare and in context. There is some sexual content. I wouldn't recommend this book for children.

Large sections of the plot revolve around the "palace intrigue" of the King, his family and the Lords. This is a book about the nobles of this realm and, as the title suggests, the high stake games they play for power. The characters in the book are deep, colorful and simply splendid. Their lives have a depth to them that few authors accomplish. I confess that, when not reading the book, I actually thought about them during the day and laid awake wondering about them at night. In the audio version, the narrator does a wonderful job of giving voice to these vivid characters.

The plot has numerous twists and turns. Sometimes I think the author intentionally speculates about what the reader would expect in the plot of a fantasy novel, and then does something completely different. I gave up trying to predict what would happen, and decided to just enjoy the ride. However, there is an overall "master" plot that is slowly unveiled in this and subsequent books.

If you enjoy fantasy, this is a must read. Even if you usually don't like fantasy, you may very enjoy this one.

346 of 389 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • WickedySplit
  • 2014-02-23

Narrator ruins this epic fantasy

What did you like best about A Game of Thrones? What did you like least?

I love this series. I've read it already but decided to go through it again, but this time through audible.

How could the performance have been better?

In a story that is built off the richness and complexity of characters, it behooves the narrator to familiarize himself with the names, ages, and personalities of at least the main cast. This guy consistently misreads names, puts on an idiotic oaf voice for large and fierce characters, narrates a teenage boy's dialogue in the voice of an old man, and makes practically every other make character out in the same gruff voice. Completely ruins the diversity and dynamics of this great sory.
Further, after 30+ hours of him, I can say his prose and tone at times are just odd. They confuse the meaning of the passages and are littered with random pauses and abrupt continuations. It's like an actor breaking the fourth wall. His performance really jars you out of the story and is completely distracting.

Any additional comments?

It's a crime this guy goes on to narrate several more books in this series. I hope he improves, he's just awful.

161 of 182 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sammysmom
  • 2015-05-04

Why oh why was this guy chosen for the narrator?

Love, love, looooooove this series but good lord-this guy's terrible. I don't understand all the people that like his performance?! His range is horrible. He uses ever so slight variations on the same 2 voices over and over, sometimes inconsistently changing his voice for various parts. His only saving grace, for me, is I recognize he has a nice voice but he would have been better off not trying to change his voice at all and just doing straight reading. Michael Kramer would have been brilliant narrating this series.

215 of 244 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Liza115
  • 2013-03-11

Good Story - didn't care for the reader

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The reader made listening very difficult.

What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

Although I understand that there are many characters, and the timeperiod lends itself to "gruff" characters, I didn't like listening to the gruff and harsh voice of some of the characters. It was a difficult listen for me personally.

66 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MadXStitcher
  • Portland. Oregon
  • 2015-05-02

Terrible narrator ruins a great book

What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

Dotrice makes a slew of mistakes and errors that should have been caught with editing and multiple takes. Not only does he occasionally trip over lines, but he doesn't seem to know how to pronounce a single name in this entire book. It's incredibly jarring to listen to Brian and P-tire and Sancha. Not only that, but his voices are frequently distracting. Aftere being spoilt for talent in the show, the caricature voices are either too difficult to understand, like Varys slurring his words disgustingly, or downright insulting, as with the strange Warwick Davis impression he seems to be doing for Tyrion.

I sincerely hope to find other narrators for the subsequent books, because I have no intention of continuing this series with Dotrice narrating.

78 of 89 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Arthur
  • 2005-06-06

Simply Outstanding.

Wow. George R. R. Martin has renewed my faith in the Fantasy genre. I enjoyed this book so much I was pulling my hair out waiting for the month to end so I could download the next 2 books in the series. The writing is excellent. The dialogue is wonderful. The setting is dark, intriguing and original. The narrator, an experienced actor, is exceptional and he easily allowed me to immerse myself in the story. The only thing that I fear would turn people off from this book is the intense violence and certain taboo situations--but such things are expected in a more gritty, realistic medieval setting. So if you prefer your fantasy novels rated PG, than A Game Of Thrones is not for you. Also, those of you who expect all of their fantasy novels to end with shiny, happy people holding hands can just stop reading now and find another book. R.R. Martin isn't afraid to kill characters. So if you're not already squeamish by what I've said above, then read this book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll shake your fists into the air and seethe with rage. I have found my new favorite fantasy author, and his name is George R. R. Martin.

176 of 203 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Megan
  • Arlington, TX, United States
  • 2013-06-21

Love the Book, Hate the Narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I've listened to over 50 audiobooks at this point, and this is the first time I have ever had such a negative experience with a narrator. Horrible! The voices are not even remotely aligned with the age or personality of the characters. A 15 year old sounds like a shaking voiced 80 year old. Just awful. So disappointed. So, no I wouldn't recommend the audiobook to anyone, especially people who are sensitive to bad narrators. But i've powered through and am on book 4 at this point- purely because I love the series that much.

What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

Everything. I am praying that with the renewed interest in this series, they will redo the audiobooks. Tyrion Lannister is the absolute worst though. I almost can't listen to it, it's so grating and annoying.

153 of 177 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 2016-02-29

Night Gathers and Now My Watch Begins!

Story: the Game of Thrones books are so large and contain so much information that they may seem overwhelming. Even though there is a lot going on, it all captures your attention and imagination which makes it easy to follow and remember. This particular book does a good job unfolding the story in the seven kingdoms and introducing characters, a ton of characters. Again, it may seem like a lot, but I'm sure you'll remember everything about Ned, Robert, Cersei, Jaime, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Bran, Rickon, Catelyn, Tywin, Tyrion, Varys, Stannis, Viserys, Daenerys, Drogo, Nymeria, Lady... it keeps going.

Performance: I went with five stars because of the insane number of characters. In addition to those mentioned above there are dozens and dozens more. Roy Dotrice does a fantastic job of giving each character a voice. You may notice that some characters sound similar to one another, but it won't make things confusing and doesn't take away from the entire performance. It's pretty incredible how some voices just match perfectly with the character.

Overall: personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the performance. I know there are folks that may not go for this genre, but this is a book that's hard not to enjoy.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicolas
  • 2016-10-18

Really good

Some minor characters hard to understand for a non native english speakers.
Great history and great voice acting.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lady Diana
  • 2016-09-03

Wonderful !

Great reading, made the characters come to life, can't wait to buy the second book !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Imad
  • 2016-08-22

Wonderful

The descriptions of each scene makes you watch it live. The storyline is very catching and unpredictable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bailleul Stephane
  • 2017-05-07

Une voix magique

Une voix magique pour un texte superbe. magnifique j'ai eu du mal à lâcher mes écouteurs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful