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

Author: George R. Martin
Publisher: Bantam Booksgame
Date: 1996
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780553573404
Price: $9.99
Number of Pages: 694
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, E-Book, Audio

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews

Links to Reviews

Reader’s Annotation

Westeros is a dangerous place, but what lies beyond the wall may prove to be a greater threat.


A Game of Thrones is a richly detailed high fantasy novel that takes place in a medieval world called Westeros. The book centers on the Stark family, who lords of the northern part of Westeros. The king, Robert Baratheon, and the royal family come to visit the Stark’s home of Winterfell. During the visit, Baratheon asks Ned Stark, his friend and head of the Stark family, to serve as his Hand of the King, after the previous hand recently died under mysterious circumstances. During the visit, Stark’s youngest son, Bran, accidently witnesses an incestuous tryst between the queen and her twin brother. To insure his silence, the brother, Jaime Lannister, throws Bran from a tower. Bran is seriously injured and in a comatose state and everyone believes it was a tragic accident. Ned accepts the position of Hand to the King. However, the night before they leave for the capitol of Kings Landing, they are sent a letter from the wife of the previous Hand, who informs them that he was murdered by the Lannisters. Ned decides to still go but is determined to get to the bottom of the death.

Critical Evaluation

A Game of Thrones is a great novel with intricate characterization, world-building and plot work. The story is dense, with many twists and turns that keep the reader hooked to the story. The characters are very realistic and in-depth. Even though it’s a fantasy, he puts a level of realism in his books that it could almost be like a true history book. His characters have a level of realism in their actions and concerns that you would expect from characters in a historical novel. He doesn’t sugarcoat his characters. There’s really no hero that’s going to swoop down and save everything. This isn’t as apparent in the beginning of this book, but by the end, it’s clear that black-and-white morality has no place in this world. One of the other aspects that Martin really shines with is his plot work. He puts in detail that doesn’t come into fruition until later in the story. The depth and detail of this book is only rivaled by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien. Martin is the Tolkien of this generation.

Significance of Book

George R.R. Martin is a bestselling, award-winning author. His A Song of Ice and Fire series have come to be a pop culture phenomena, with a television show and game adaption. A Game of Thrones is intricately plotted, with richly drawn characters and a suspenseful plot. The level of detail Martin puts in his series is extraordinary.


The Iron King by Maurice Druon

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Awards and Lists

Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (1997)

World Fantasy Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (1997)

Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (1997)

Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2003)

Discussion Ideas

  • Discuss John Snow’s relationship with Catlyn Stark
  • Discuss Dani and her relationship with her brother
  • Discuss the King and Queen’s marriage
  • Discuss Tyrion’s relationship with Jamie and Cersi

 Justification of Selection

This always seemed to me to be a very daunting book to read, with its sheer page length and massive amount of characters serving as major detractors. However, the allure of stepping into the fascinating world of Westeros proved too strong and I just had to read it.


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