A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones : A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One

4.44 (2,239,709 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King's Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert's name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse--unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.

Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen's brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister--the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.

Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki--whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 864 pages
  • 107 x 173 x 36mm | 363g
  • Bantam USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reissue
  • MAPS
  • 0553573403
  • 9780553573404
  • 4,949

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"A Game of Thrones is a contemporary masterpiece of fantasy. The cold is returning to Winterfell, where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime. A time of conflict has arisen in the Stark family, as they are pulled from the safety of their home into a whirlpool of tragedy, betrayal, assassination, plots and counterplots. Each decision and action carries with it the potential for conflict as several prominent families, comprised of lords, ladies, soldiers, sorcerers, assassins and bastards, are pulled together in the most deadly game of all--the game of thrones.
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Review Text

"The major fantasy of the decade . . . compulsively readable." Denver Post

"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." Chicago Sun-Times

"A Best Book of 1996: Martin makes a triumphant return to high fantasy . . . [with] superbly developed characters, accomplished prose, and sheer bloodymindedness." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A splendid saga . . . . Inventive and intricately plotted." BookPage

"Magic . . . George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre." Locus

"Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn." Anne McCaffrey
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Review quote

"The major fantasy of the decade . . . compulsively readable."--Denver Post

"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."--Chicago Sun-Times

"A Best Book of 1996: Martin makes a triumphant return to high fantasy . . . [with] superbly developed characters, accomplished prose, and sheer bloodymindedness."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A splendid saga . . . . Inventive and intricately plotted."--BookPage

"Magic . . . George R.R.Martin's first fantasy epic [is set] well above the norms of the genre."--Locus

"Such a splendid tale and such a fantasticorical! I read my eyes out and couldn't stop 'til I finished and it was dawn."--Anne McCaffrey
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About George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire--A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons--as well as Tuf Voyaging, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Dying of the Light, Windhaven (with Lisa Tuttle), and Dreamsongs Volumes I and II. He is also the creator of The Lands of Ice and Fire, a collection of maps from A Song of Ice and Fire featuring original artwork from illustrator and cartographer Jonathan Roberts, and The World of Ice & Fire (with Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson). As a writer-producer, Martin has worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. He lives with the lovely Parris in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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Rating details

2,239,709 ratings
4.44 out of 5 stars
5 61% (1,374,752)
4 27% (602,383)
3 8% (177,342)
2 2% (47,803)
1 2% (37,429)

Our customer reviews

The good: Martin can write, when he puts himself to it. He can even let characters emerge from their actions without explaining everything to death. His world-building is often pretty solid, to the point where the unexplained bits feel like watching Blade Runner without the bloody narrator: you're fascinated and want to know more, longing for a deeper understanding and willing to wait or work more for your rewards. Chapter headings bear the name of the character whose viewpoint is followed in them: That makes for some interesting and insightful switching of points of view. Some cliffhangers are well played out: when the book picks them up again, the story has moved on enough that you are on edge, waiting for the writer to reveal you what the hell's happened, especially if the plotline is picked up through another characters' eyes. The bad: The good stops after 200 pages and occasionally resumes about 500 pages later. I'm perplexed to read Stephen Donaldson calling himself a notorious over-writer, whereas Martin and Jordan (to name but those I've read) get away with writing these monsters which could have been summed up in a quarter if the space, as they are little more than a collection of plot twists, with mercifully short chapters that read like Dragonball anime episodes: 25 minutes of smoke screen for one lonely bit if info. For God's sake, what's taking you so long, mate? Oh wait, bigger and more numerous books equal more money... Oh, okay, got it! If you do not care for a character and his/her story are fairly detached from the rest (Jon and Danerys), reading through them is often a pain: you'll wish the writer had cut some chapters, or sites those for another book our a soon-off if you're a completist. The ugly: this doesn't really sound like anything new, partly because it's apparently based on idealised visions of gruesome middle ages, partly because it's really uselessly long. Insane lists of useless names are not good world-building, they're pretension. Back cover quotes for this books usually compare them favourably against Tolkien's to class creations: that's such a load of crap. Tolkien's good because the background work was so deep and consistent, by the time he sat down to write the Lord Of The Rings, he achieved more a writer in a thousand odd pages than Martin will have achieved when the seventh and last book will be out. Tolkien also had the decency to let the process out until his son dragged his corpse out of the grave (happy as I an to have been able to read the Silmarillion and more, I recognise tomb-raiding when I see it), while Martin just throws it all at you at once. If you value quantity over quality though, my complaints will be your praise. Also: if you want to see intelligent woman characters, open another book. If you wasn't to see a positive depiction of sex: open another book. Rape and whoring abound, and much as I value realism and mature themes (this is after all revised middle age "history") to bring fantasy out of the Harry Potter hole, this is not it. Realistic politics play a big role in the book; however, some characters still act so dumbly (for overdone sense of honour or inexplicable plain stupidity) that it all loses strength and credibility. Eddard and Catelyn are despicable in this respect, the latter is am especially insufferable person. Buy they're both honest to the point of seeming gullible against all reason, and Catelyn goes as far as showing, at some point, some incredible pacifism that is so badly portrayed, our makes a god thing look bad! China Mieville's your cup of tea if you love fantastic worlds and worldviews if total credibility, or the often sadly overseen Stephen R. Donaldson. Closing comments: I eventually was enthused enough by the plot that I might read book 2 some day (after having read Ghormenghast and at least 2 more Donaldson and Mieville books...): if that also fails to give me some sense of achievement, that's totally it, I'm over my brief falling in with unending fantasy epics.show more
by Adriano Antonini
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