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Patricia Puentes

“Game of Thrones” Recap: Key Episodes to Help You Prepare for “House of the Dragon”

game of thrones book review for parents

House of the Dragon is coming and you can read our review here . HBO’s Game of Thrones ( GoT ) prequel centering on House Targaryen, the platinum blonde dragon-riding family, premieres this Sunday, August 21. And even though the events of this new GoT -universe show are set hundreds of years before the times of Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, we thought we’d revisit some of Game of Thrones ’ key episodes to catch up with the main characters, lore, family dynasties and lingo of Westeros.

Season 1, Episode 1: “Winter Is Coming”

game of thrones book review for parents

When Game of Thrones first premiered on HBO in 2011, those of us who hadn’t read the books were a bit lost. There were the many families and their mottos, the political machinations involved with getting on the Iron Throne or manipulating whomever was in power. There were also several mythological elements that pointed to a long winter ahead and White Walkers swarming the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall.

But mostly the pilot episode of the show surprised us, not only with the incestuous relationship between Queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), but the fact that Jaime would stop at nothing to keep their secret relationship safe. Even pushing a little (if nosy) boy off a tower. The things we do for love…

Season 1, Episode 9: “Baelor”

Rewatching this decade-old show with more of a 2022 approach and sensibility you’ll feel how badly Game of Thrones has aged when it comes to the objectification of women and the use of sexual abuse as a plot device. 

But the show also excelled at some genuinely creative storytelling. For one, it had a vast ensemble cast of characters who all served a specific purpose. Even though some of them initially seemed quite separate from the rest (i.e. Khaleesi, played by Emilia Clarke, and the rest of the bunch all the way across the narrow sea), they’d all end up meeting in seasons to come. 

Later in season one, the show managed to stun viewers once again — those who hadn’t read the original George R.R. Martin books, that is — by killing off nonother than the show’s apparent star — and certainly the actor with the most name recognition — Sean Bean’s Ned Stark. Lord Stark fell prey to the court’s political game and lost his head for it. And the show proved how the Game of Thrones is played. 

Season 2, Episode 10: “Valar Morghulis”

game of thrones book review for parents

In the finale of Game of Thrones ’ second season a lot of things came to fruition. Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) bravery kept King’s Landing safe against Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). No one recognized that though, except for spy-master Varys (Conleth Hill). Tyrion also learns that his sister Cersei tried to have him killed in battle. 

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime continue their pilgrimage to King’s Landing. Arya (Maisie Williams) parts ways with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) but he gives her an iron coin. If she gives it to any Braavosi and says the words, “Valar Morghulis,” they’ll take her to Braavos and Jaqen will teach her the way of the Faceless Men. 

Osha (Natalia Tena), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and Rickon (Art Parkinson) and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) escape from Winterfell after the castle is taken by Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and the men from the Iron Islands. The younger Starks are told to head to the Wall in search of their stepbrother, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). However, Jon isn’t actually at the Wall, but very much north of it and very much conniving with the Wildlings — the Free Folk who live beyond the Wall — and learning how much of a threat the White Walkers really pose. 

Khaleesi, a.k.a. Daenerys Targaryen, finds herself in momentary trouble at the House of the Undying; she and her dragons are chained up. Fortunately, the little ones are stronger than they look. When Khaleesi commands them with the word “Dracarys,” they’re all freed by the dragons’ fire. 

But probably the act in this episode with the more rippling consequences is Rob Stark’s (Richard Madden) wedding to Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), which sees him breaking the promise he made to Walder Frey (David Bradley) to marry Frey’s daughter. 

Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”

game of thrones book review for parents

After the brutal demise of Ned Stark, viewers of the show should have learned how Game of Thrones always finds creative ways of disposing of Stark family members.

In “The Rains of Castamere,” popularly known as the Red Wedding, Robb, Talisa and Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) are all brutally murdered at Frey’s place after being betrayed by Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). Rob not marrying Frey’s daughter really was taken as a great offense and had tragic consequences.

Season 3, Episode 10: “Mysha”

game of thrones book review for parents

Season three’s finale proved once again how much of a natural leader Daenerys Targaryen is — plus it solidified her role as a liberator. When she frees the enslaved Yunkish people, the crowd receives her as “Mysha,” which means mother, and lift her into their arms. Her dragon Drogon watches from above, flying. 

Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”

game of thrones book review for parents

On the list of Game of Thrones ’ most disliked characters, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) is probably high up there with the likes of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Walder Frey. So when the child-King meets his demise in quite the brutal way during his wedding to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), some of us may have actually clapped. 

Season 4, Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”

game of thrones book review for parents

By now we really should have been used to fan-favorite characters finding their end in the most brutal ways. Yet “The Mountain and the Viper” got some of us non-readers yet again. After a stellar fourth season in which Pedro Pascal and Indira Varma get introduced as the very sexy and hedonistic Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand, it was difficult to foresee that the Game of Thrones writers would actually kill off the beloved Oberyn.

Yet they did, and in the most gruesome way imaginable. Oberyn dies in a duel against Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) to decide the fate of Tyrion. At the end of the episode and as a result of the trial by combat, Tyrion is sentenced to death by his father Tywin (Charles Dance). Only we know that, by the end of season four, the smartest of the Lannisters will get revenge on his cruel dad. 

Season 5, Episode 9: “The Dance of Dragons”

game of thrones book review for parents

The show’s second-to-last episode of season five sees Stannis Baratheon giving way, once again, to superstition and allowing the Red Witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to persuade him to sacrifice his daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram) as a last resort so that he can fulfill his ambition of taking the Iron Throne.

The episode also brings the viewer some uplifting moments. Khaleesi flyes on Drogon for the first time when the dragon saves her from an assassination attempt by the Sons of the Harpy. 

Season 5, Episode 10: “Mother’s Mercy”

game of thrones book review for parents

The finale for season five is once again a myriad of momentous events for several of our favorite characters. Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) escape the monstrous Ramsay. Arya Stark keeps getting rid of names on her list and kills Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie). But, as a result, she’s blinded since she stole from the Many-Faced God. 

Jaime Lannister follows Cersei’s orders and retrieves their daughter Myrcella (Aimee Richardson) from Dorne. He tells the princess that he’s her father, and they share a tender moment before the young Myrcella dies, poisoned by Ellaria Sand. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), a fellow Night Watch trainee of Jon Snow’s from the Wall, asks permission to study at the Citadel in Oldtown as he’s interested in everything there is to know about the White Walkers.

Ready to become an ally to Daenerys Targaryen, Varys joins Tyrion, Khaleesi’s ever-loyal Jorah Mormont (Iai Glen), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) in Meereen. Daenerys is still lost though — she disappeared thanks to a flying Drogon. They land far from Meereen and are soon surrounded by menacing Dothraki.

Cersei is forced by Septa Unella (an almost unrecognizable Hannah Waddingham) and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) to walk the streets of King’s Landing naked while people throw stuff at her and chant: “Shame”.

And in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, yet another Stark finds his demise: Jon Snow is stabbed by his Night’s Watch brothers. They consider him a traitor for trying to join forces with the Wildlings against the White Walkers. 

Season 6, Episode 2: “Home”

game of thrones book review for parents

A lot of things happen in this second chapter of season six. Bran is trained by the Three-Eyed Raven. Cersei mourns the death of her daughter and plots revenge. Arya seems to surrender to her brutal training, conceding that “A girl has no name.” Tyrion meets a dragon for the first time. Ramsay kills his father, his father’s wife and their newborn, making sure he’s the heir to House Bolton and the North. And Theon’s father, Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide), gets killed by his brother Euron (Pilou Asbæk). Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) swears to avenge her father.

But mostly this is the episode where Melisandre manages to bring Jon Snow back from the dead. 

Season 6, Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”

game of thrones book review for parents

The finale of the sixth season sees Cersei pouring a glass of red wine while watching from the window of the Red Keep: She organized the explosion of the Sept. The High Sparrow, Margaery Tyrell and many others die as a result. Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), Cersei’s only remaining child, jumps out of a window because of Margaery’s death. Cersei is crowned Queen.

All the way across the narrow sea another queen, Khaleesi, names Tyrion her Hand. And she readies herself to sail for Westeros with her army and dragons. 

Season 7, Episode 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

game of thrones book review for parents

The finale of season seven packed in a lot of reveals, in true GoT fashion. Cersei and Daenerys’ allies all meet at the Targaryen dragonpits. Danny’s party wants to press the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms about the real threat posed by the White Walkers — something they can all theoretically form a united front on. Persuaded by her brother Tyrion, Cersei promises to send her troops north, but she’s of course lying. She might also be pregnant. But the lie about helping the north causes Jaime to finally desert his twin sister. 

Back in Winterfell, skilled manipulator Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) tries playing his Machiavellian games, hoping to turn Sansa against her sister Arya. But the older of the Starks has realized Littlefinger can’t be trusted. She accuses him of killing Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie), his former wife and Sansa and Arya’s aunt, as well as of conspiring to kill Jon Arryn and betraying Ned Stark. In the end, Arya kills Littlefinger. 

Sam arrives at Winterfell where he meets Bran Stark, who’s now the Three-Eyed Raven — a seer who once lived beyond the Wall. Between the two of them, they realize who Jon Snow really is: the lawful son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, completely unaware of that information, Daenerys and Jon — who is indeed Khaleesi’s nephew — make love. 

The White Walkers keep riding south. They destroy the Wall with the help of the dragon Viserion who’s also an undead creature now.

Season 8, Episode 5: “The Bells”

game of thrones book review for parents

In a way you could stop with the reminiscing about — and even the rewatch of — Game of Thrones in season seven. I feel the controversial season eight didn’t satisfy many viewers. And things only got worse with every new episode of the show’s final season. 

Things started to get a bit baffling with episode three, titled “The Long Night”. The one-hour and 36-minutes episode involved a brutal nocturnal fight to defend Winterfell. But you probably know it better as the really dark episode in which you were convinced your TV was broken. It’s also the episode where Arya kills the Night King, the leader of the White Walkers, and, with his death, his whole undead army too. 

And you know episode five, “The Bells”, better as the one where Daenarys totally loses it and torches down King’s Landing — and its inhabitants — even though the bells are signaling the city’s surrender. Cersei and Jaime die unsatisfyingly in this one. 

Season 8, Episode 6: “The Iron Throne”

game of thrones book review for parents

The show’s finale sees Bran Stark becoming King Bran the Broken of the Six Kingdoms — but only after Jon kills Daenerys, fearing the Dragon Queen had already turned into the Mad Queen. (We’re told early on that it runs in her family .) Tyrion serves as Bran’s Hand. Sansa is crowned Queen of the North and her kingdom remains independent. 

As punishment for killing the former Queen, Jon is sent to the Night’s Watch yet again, but we see him going out beyond the Wall and guiding the Wildlings home. We’ll see more of that adventure in the already-confirmed GoT sequel centering on Harington’s character. Arya Stark sets sail for whatever is west of Westeros. She’d be a great addition to the Jon Snow sequel in any case.

But, for the time being, we’ll have to be content with whatever political plotting and family drama House of the Dragon has in store for us. 


game of thrones book review for parents

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A song of fire and ice (a game of thrones) series.

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  • Parents say (19)
  • Kids say (58)

Based on 19 parent reviews

A good read, but be cautious

Report this review, amazing dark fantasy with great rich story..

This title has:

This Is NOT A Book For Children!

For older teens 16 and over, engaging story.

Julie K.

Epic tale but not for kids

game of thrones book review for parents

Book Review

A game of thrones — “a song of ice and fire” series.

  • George R.R. Martin

game of thrones book review for parents

Readability Age Range

  • Bantam Spectra, a division of Bantam Books, owned by Random House
  • Locus Award, Best Fantasy Novel, 1997

Year Published

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine . It is the first book in “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Plot Summary

Just outside the kingdom of Winterfell, Ser Waymar Royce, Will and Gared, three members of the Night’s Watch, investigate some mysterious deaths. Will previously found a camp full of dead bodies, but the bodies have now vanished. Royce is attacked and killed by supernatural beings called the Others, but he rises from the dead to kill Will. Gared flees.

Bran Stark is a young boy who watches his father, Lord Eddard Stark, execute Gared for abandoning his post as a member of the Night’s Watch. After the execution, Eddard’s two older sons, Robb and Jon, discover a gigantic dead direwolf and her six living cubs. The children adopt the pups as their own. Back at the Stark castle, Eddard’s wife, Catelyn, tells him that his friend Jon Arryn has been killed. The King, Robert Baratheon, is riding to Winterfell with all his knights and retainers to speak with Eddard about the problem.

In the far-off city of Pentos, Viserys Targaryen is making arrangements to regain power. Viserys is the son of the Targaryen king, who was deposed by Robert Baratheon 15 years earlier. He plans to marry off his 13-year-old sister, Daenerys, to Khal Drogo, a powerful warlord.

In Winterfell, Eddard welcomes Robert Baratheon. Robert and Eddard visit the grave of Eddard’s sister Lyanna, the woman Robert loved and wanted to marry. Robert makes it clear that he is unhappy with his wife, Queen Cersei Lannister. Robert offers Eddard the chance to take Jon Arryn’s place as the Hand of the King, his chief adviser and war commander. Robert also says that he wishes to betroth his son, the crown prince Joffrey, to Eddard’s young daughter Sansa. That night, Catelyn Stark receives a message that says Cersei Lannister ordered the murder of Jon Arryn, the previous Hand of the King.

Seven-year-old Bran is exploring an abandoned part of the Starks’ castle when he hears a man and woman talking. Bran peers through a window and sees Cersei Lannister and her twin brother, Jaime, having sex. When they discover Bran watching, Jaime throws him out of a high window. Bran’s back and legs are broken by the fall, and his parents fear that if he ever wakes up from his coma, he will be crippled for life.

Daenerys Targaryen marries Khal Drogo in the city of Pentos. She cannot speak his language, but they still come to an understanding and consummate their marriage.

Jon Snow, Eddard Stark’s illegitimate son, and Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of Jaime and Cersei, ride with a group of men to the northern Wall of Winterfell. Jon is going to join the Night’s Watch, a ragtag group of men who are exiled to the Wall to defend Winterfell against unknown threats. Eddard and his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, leave with King Robert for King’s Landing.

Lady Catelyn remains at home to nurse Bran. She is still tending Bran when an assassin comes to murder the boy. She fights the assassin, and Bran’s direwolf kills the man. Catelyn decides that she must travel to King’s Landing to meet Eddard and warn him about the plots against his family. When she arrives in King’s Landing, her childhood friend called Littlefinger tells her that the knife the assassin used to attack Bran actually belongs to Tyrion Lannister. Meanwhile, Eddard discovers that King Robert has bankrupted the kingdom with his constant requests for tournaments and lavish feasts. Littlefinger secretly leads Eddard to Catelyn, who tells him about the attempt on Bran’s life.

Daenerys Targaryen gradually adjusts to life as Khal Drogo’s wife. Her cruel brother, Viserys, accompanies Daenerys and Drogo on the long ride back to Drogo’s country. Daenerys is finally tired of Viserys’ mistreatment of her, and when Viserys attacks her, she makes him walk behind the company of horsemen in disgrace. Toward the end of the long journey, Daenerys learns that she is pregnant.

Bran has awoken and is having a difficult recovery in Winterfell. He is paralyzed from the waist down.

At Castle Black, Jon Snow meets Samwell Tarly, an overweight teenager who cannot fight. Jon befriends Samwell and protects him from the other boys.

On the road back to Winterfell, Catelyn Stark meets Tyrion Lannister and has him arrested on the suspicion that he ordered the attempt on Bran’s life.

A courtier named Lord Varys tells Eddard Stark that Jon Arryn was poisoned after he started asking too many questions about the Lannisters. Eddard is horrified to learn that King Robert has almost no true supporters in the capital city. Almost everyone who surrounds the king is secretly loyal to the Lannisters.

Wild men in the mountains attack Catelyn and the group of men who helped her capture Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion saves Catelyn’s life in the fight, and her attitude toward him softens somewhat.

King Robert wants Eddard to agree to help murder Daenerys Targaryen so that her unborn child will not one day threaten his kingdom. Eddard refuses and resigns as the Hand of the King. Robert tells him to return to Winterfell or risk execution. A short while later, Eddard and his men are attacked by Jaime Lannister, who wounds Eddard and kills his attendants. After Eddard heals slightly, King Robert apologizes to him and reinstates him as the Hand of the King. Eddard stumbles across some uncomfortable information about King Robert’s children, and Eddard concludes that Queen Cersei’s children are illegitimate. Cersei openly admits to Eddard that her twin brother, Jaime, sired her three children. Eddard advises Cersei to take her children and leave the kingdom because he intends to tell the king about her betrayal.

Catelyn arrives at Eyrie, the home of her sister, Lysa, the widow of Jon Arryn, the first Hand of the King. She finds Lysa in a mentally unstable state. Lysa imprisons Tyrion Lannister because she believes he has played a role in her husband’s death. After Tyrion’s champion wins a trial by combat, Tyrion is set free on the dangerous open road.

Daenerys arrives in the city of Vaes Dothrak to be presented to the medicine women, the dosh khaleen . Daenerys has to eat the fresh heart of a slaughtered stallion to prove that her child will be a strong ruler. At the feast after the ceremony, her drunken brother, Viserys, holds a sword to her pregnant belly and demands that Khal Drogo give him an army. Instead, Drogo melts some gold pieces and kills Viserys by pouring the molten gold on his head.

At King’s Landing, King Robert lies dying and names Eddard as the Lord Protector of the kingdom. When the king dies, Cersei proclaims her son, Joffrey, to be king and has Eddard imprisoned. Littlefinger betrays Eddard, and it is revealed that Eddard’s daughter Sansa also betrayed him unknowingly by telling Cersei his plans.

Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch discover strange bodies in the woods. The corpses have clearly been dead for a long time, but they haven’t decomposed. Jon fights against one of the undead Others who invades Castle Black.

Robb Stark and all his bannermen ride away to King’s Landing to free Eddard from the Lannisters. Robb leaves Bran in charge of Winterfell.

An attempt is made on Daenerys Targaryen’s life, and when Drogo learns that King Robert has sent assassins to kill Daenerys, he decides to take all of his warriors and invade the Seven Kingdoms.

Tyrion Lannister recruits several armies of tribesmen to support him in upcoming battles. Tyrion meets his father, Tywin, at a roadside inn and learns that the Lannister armies have been winning battles all over the land. Tyrion’s tribesmen agree to fight with the Lannisters against the Starks. Tyrion and Tywin win a battle against some of the soldiers sent by the Starks, but meanwhile, Robb Stark and Lady Catelyn win another skirmish against the Lannisters and capture Jaime Lannister.

After sustaining a severe wound in battle, Khal Drogo lies dying. A healing woman named Mirri offers to do a dark magic ritual that will save Drogo. Drogo’s men begin to fight each other, and the camp is in chaos. Daenerys is dragged into the tent where the ritual is happening, and the dark magic kills the child she is carrying. When Daenerys wakes, she learns that the dark magic has saved Drogo’s life but left him in a permanent vegetative state. She smothers her husband to end his ruined life.

In King’s Landing, Arya Stark is disguised as a beggar child, and she watches as her father, Eddard, is publically executed. Sansa is still betrothed to young King Joffrey, who abuses her and enjoys frightening her.

The Stark armies gain ground. Instead of supporting one of King Robert’s brothers as successor to the crown, many lords decide that they will only follow Robb Stark, who they wish to crown as King in the North.

Daenerys builds a funeral pyre for her husband. As his corpse burns, the three dragon eggs that she places on the pyre begin to hatch. Daenerys and her dragons instantly draw the adoration and loyalty of many people, who will one day form her army.

Christian Beliefs

Other belief systems.

The Others are supernatural creatures. They bring cold temperatures with them. When the Others kill Ser Waymar Royce, he rises from the dead and becomes a wight, an undead person.

Each ruling family has its own godswood, a place where the family may go to worship or to seek solitude. Catelyn Stark is not fond of the Stark godswood, which is a memorial to ancient nameless gods, but Eddard finds it comforting. Catelyn comes from a family who belongs to the Faith, a religion that worships a god with seven different faces. Jon Snow decides that he cannot pray to either the old or the new gods because they have not shown him any kindness. After his accident, Bran Stark takes great pleasure in being near the godswood and thinking about the old gods.

Characters pay attention to signs and omens. When the Stark children discover a dead direwolf in the snow and find that the creature was killed by a deer’s antler, people believe that the Baratheon House will destroy the Stark House, because the Starks’ symbol is a wolf and the Baratheons’ symbol is a stag.

The dosh khaleen of the Dothraki are women who function as shamans. They can supposedly foretell the future, and they predict that Daenerys’ child will be the leader who will unite the known world under one banner. Mirri the maegi performs a bloodmagic ritual that saves Drogo’s life by killing his unborn child.

Authority Roles

Eddard Stark is kind to his sons and tries to explain the concepts of justice to them. He makes his sons take responsibility for the direwolf pets they take in, and he warns them about the possible dangers of trying to domesticate wild animals. Eddard routinely asks his wife about the children, and he is involved in their upbringing. Eddard is displeased that his 3-year-old son, Rickon, is afraid of a direwolf pup, because he feels that his children should overcome their fears as soon as possible. He encourages his quarreling daughters, Sansa and Arya, to put aside their differences and love each other as sisters should. He hires an expert swordsman to teach Arya to use her small sword when he learns that his daughter has an interest in fighting. Eddard knows that Joffrey will make a bad match for Sansa, so he tries to take her away from Joffrey and promises that he will find a more worthy husband for her.

Catelyn Stark loves all her children and constantly looks out for their best interests, but she resents her husband’s illegitimate son, Jon Snow. Catelyn does not want to have Jon around her children. When her own son Bran breaks his back and legs, she tells Jon that she wishes he were the one who was injured. Catelyn stays by her comatose son Bran for days, and she fights an assassin who comes to kill him. Catelyn’s hands are cut to the bone by the assassin’s dagger, but she manages to save her son’s life. When Catelyn’s oldest son, Robb, begins to command other men when the war starts, she takes special care to treat him like a grown man in front of his soldiers.

Jon Snow becomes a leader of the young men in the Night’s Watch. He overcomes his own tendency to bully boys who are less skilled at swordplay, and he teaches the common boys how to use their swords. When the sword instructor Ser Alliser pointlessly orders the overweight Samwell to be beaten bloody, Jon stands up to defend him. Jon takes care of Samwell and convinces the other boys to be kind to him.

Samwell Tarly’s father told him that he had to either join the Night’s Watch, or his father would kill him and make it look like an accident.

Tyrion Lannister frequently mentions how his father despises him for his dwarfism and deformity.

Catelyn’s sister, Lysa, calls her own 6-year-old son a baby, pampers him and openly discusses his delicate health and tender feelings. She still breastfeeds the boy.

King Robert Baratheon does nothing to advise or discipline his three children by Cersei, who are actually not his children at all. King Robert has many illegitimate children, and he provides for some of them but never visits them.

Profanity & Violence

Although d–n or a form of it and b–tard , as it refers to Jon Snow, are used profusely throughout the book, a few words are used a number of times, such as variations of h— , b–tch (usually used to refer to a female dog) and s— . The following words are each used a handful of times or less: tit, c–k, a–, the f-word and c–t . After his sister’s marriage, Viserys calls her a whore and a slut instead of using her name.

The Others kill Ser Waymar Royce with their swords. Royce comes back to life as a wight, with a shard of his opponent’s sword still wedged into his eye. Royce chokes Will to death.

Bran Stark is 7 years old when he attends his first public execution. Eddard Stark cuts off a man’s head with his sword. Eddard’s teenage ward kicks the decapitated head and laughs.

Eddard’s older brother Brandon was strangled to death by order of Aerys Targaryen, the previous king. A knight named Ser Ilyn is mute because King Aerys had his tongue pulled out with hot pincers.

At Daenerys’ wedding, men begin fighting, and one of them is cut so badly that his intestines spill out on the ground. Several more men die in fights that break out at the wedding.

Years ago, the infant heir to the Targaryen throne was murdered by being thrown against a wall. Eddard was horrified by the brutality, but he recalls that Robert was pleased by the death of any Targaryen.

Catelyn fights off the assassin sent to kill Bran. She grabs the man’s dagger with both hands, cutting herself deeply. She manages to bite a chunk of flesh from the man’s hand before Bran’s direwolf attacks him. Bran’s wolf rips out the assassin’s throat, which sprays Catelyn with blood.

Sandor Clegane, a knight who serves the Lannisters, hunts down a 13-year-old boy and cuts him nearly in half with his sword. Clegane kills the boy because Prince Joffrey falsely said the boy injured him. Sandor Clegane tells Sansa Stark that his horribly scarred face is the result of his older brother intentionally rubbing his face into hot coals when he was a small child. Eleven-year-old Sansa watches men die while jousting in a tournament.

Old Nan says that the Others let their dead servants eat the bodies of children. Many men suffer bloody deaths during fights.

When Bran Stark defies the men who want to rob him, an outlaw woman suggests that her companions cut off Bran’s genitals and stuff them in his mouth.

As part of an old Dothraki ritual, Daenerys has to eat the bloody heart of a freshly slaughtered stallion to prove that the child she carries will be a strong ruler. Later that night, Drogo kills Viserys by pouring molten gold on top of his head. Daenerys has the medicine woman Mirri burned alive.

Arya Stark runs her sword through a stable boy when he tries to harm her. Joffrey orders his knights to hit Sansa in the face many times. He enjoys showing off her father’s head mounted on a spike.

Sexual Content

Bran has heard rumors about women who live outside the Wall. Some supposedly have sex with the Others in order to have magical, half-human children.

Jon Snow is Eddard Stark’s illegitimate son. Snow is the surname of all illegitimate children in Winterfell. Eddard says that he dishonored himself and his wife by fathering a child outside of marriage.

Viserys Targaryen sexually appraises his 13-year-old sister, Daenerys, to judge how he may benefit from arranging a marriage for her. Viserys strokes and pinches his sister’s clothed breasts. Daenerys has always assumed that she would marry her brother because the Targaryens have always married their siblings to keep their bloodlines pure. Viserys tells his sister that he would gladly let a whole army of men rape her if he could regain his throne by doing so. After her marriage, Viserys grabs his sister’s breast hard enough to cause her pain.

Viserys believes that the Dothraki people practice homosexuality and bestiality. King Robert talks about how the women in his city have very little modesty in the summer and how he enjoys watching them swim naked in the river beneath the castle. King Robert’s insatiable lusts are well-known and frequently discussed, and a major plot point hinges on Jon Arryn’s investigation of Robert’s many illegitimate children.

In one scene, Catelyn and Eddard begin a discussion immediately after having sex. Catelyn hopes that their relations will produce another child. While in their chambers, Catelyn receives a message that shocks her so much that she stands and walks around naked in front of the messenger, old Maester Luwin. Catelyn reassures her husband that this is not problematic because Luwin delivered all her children and has seen her body before.

Seven-year-old Bran witnesses the twins Cersei and Jamie Lannister committing incest. Cersei later admits to Eddard that she and Jaime have been lovers since they were children. Cersei says that King Robert did impregnate her once, but she had an abortion, and since that time she has avoided intercourse with the king.

At Daenerys’ wedding, Daenerys watches people engaging in the Dothraki custom of having group sex in public. Daenerys and Drogo’s consummation of their vows is not described, but they do engage in explicit foreplay. In the early days of their marriage, Drogo will only have sex with Daenerys if she is facing away from him. Daenerys is grateful for this position because it means that he cannot watch her cry. After a few weeks of this, Daenerys asks for marital advice from a former prostitute. After Daenerys learns a few new techniques and positions, she and Drogo both enjoy sex more than they had previously. Later on, Drogo has sex with his wife in public.

Rhaegar Targaryen repeatedly raped Eddard’s sister Lyanna before her death. Littlefinger owns a brothel and hides Catelyn Stark inside it, so the Lannisters do not discover her. The scantily dressed employees of the brothel flirt with their clients.

Several of the teenage boys who work for the Night’s Watch were sent to the cold, remote outpost as punishment for being rapists. They are known by their past crimes and called “the rapers.”

Prostitutes are the subject of many off-color jokes from various characters. Tyrion talks to Catelyn Stark in a sexual manner and makes comments about her body in order to shock her. Tyrion later jokes that he would like to die peacefully in his old age while receiving oral sex. Tyrion has sex with a camp follower named Shae.

The scene is not intended to be sexual, but Catelyn’s sister, Lysa, openly breastfeeds her 6-year-old son.

In Vaes Dothrak, women dance while dressed only in garlands of flowers. Drogo vows to let his men rape the women of the Seven Kingdoms.

Tyrion Lannister tells the story of how he lost his virginity when he was 13 to a peasant girl who was only a year older. He secretly married the girl, but then his brother revealed that he had arranged the entire relationship for Tyrion. The girl was a prostitute, and in order to break Tyrion’s attachment to the girl, his father had her brought to the Lannister castle and made Tyrion watch as she had sex with every man in the castle guard.

Characters discuss giants mating with mortals and say that it is easier for giant women to mate with human men, because when giant men have intercourse with human women, they split them open.

When the Dothraki begin to attack other people groups, Daenerys learns that they intend to sell all the boys and girls they capture. The children will be sent to brothels, where extra money will be paid for the boys. Daenerys hears a girl being raped and stops the Dothraki warriors from continuing to hurt her. Daenerys continues to save every woman she finds being raped and takes the women into custody as her slaves. Daenerys asks her husband to stop his soldiers from any further rape and encourages him to have his men make wives of the conquered women.

Discussion Topics

Additional comments.

Alcohol: Characters drink wine and other types of alcohol. At age 14, Jon Snow is glad that no one is paying attention to him at a feast, because it means that he can drink as much alcohol as he wants.

Drugs: Dying and injured characters are given poppy juice to ease their pain.

Media tie-in: HBO launched a television series based on this book series. It debuted in the spring of 2011.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at [email protected] .

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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game of thrones book review for parents

Review of “A Game of Thrones”

game of thrones book review for parents

The plot is epic in sweep and far too complicated to break down here in detail, but in broad brushstrokes, you are dealing with a fantasy country called Westeros, where several noble families vie for the “Iron Throne” of the country. The Baratheons, the Starks, the Lannisters, and the Targaryens all think they have a claim to the throne, and the series is a convoluted knot of plots, intrigues, treachery, betrayal, and love triangle, all recounted from a constantly shifting third person viewpoint of various family members. However, the real evil is to north over “The Wall,” where snow zombies walk and the Winter King prepares to invade. A final plot arc involves the young Targaryen claimant’s journey across the sea to raise an army and bring dragons back to conquer Westeros.

Now, a first reason to avoid this series is the deplorable language. Crass, lewd, sexually graphic language is the norm for many of the male characters. The repetition of this sort of language over the course of book after book in the series creates a refrain that you will not want your teenagers having drummed into their brains.

Another reason to avoid the series is the violence. Of course, the “bad” characters are cruel and sadistic. But even the “good” characters choose inordinately violent actions as the series progresses. For example, one of the teenage girls chooses to feed her husband to his dogs in revenge for his abuse. Another teenage girl has her brother killed by pouring molten gold on his head. It’s not just some characters occasionally using violence. The entire series is primarily about either violence or sex.

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Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

  • Parents Guide


  • Sex & Nudity (15)
  • Violence & Gore (15)
  • Profanity (5)
  • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking (5)
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes (10)
  • Spoilers (6)

Sex & Nudity

  • Severe 7,292 of 8,312 found this severe Severity? None 434 Mild 188 Moderate 398 Severe 7,292 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • A lengthy scene of extensive & explicit full frontal female nudity is displayed of a woman washed, shaved & then forced to walk through a city naked in front of it's populous with graphic mass violence done to her nude body by it's people. Edit
  • When dragons appear for the first time, a nude woman can be seen. Edit
  • A man puts his hands down a woman's trousers while they're both on a horse. She later reveals to him that she's his sister and that she was only testing him. Edit
  • There is a scene where two fully naked women are being taught by a fully clothed man how to sexually satisfy another. It appears that one woman is fingering the other. Edit
  • There is a close-up of a young boy's genitalia. Edit
  • Extensive full-frontal nudity; sex is graphically portrayed. Characters cheat on partners sexually, engage in sex work, use sex to bargain, and incest takes place between adults. Edit
  • An older man deflowers a teenage girl to consummate their marriage. The girl moans and cries as the man forcefully thrusts into her from behind during sex. Breasts and genitals are visible. Edit
  • A teenage girl sits nude in bed while a young man undresses. He pushes the girl on her back, showing her breasts and genitals. The young man then spreads the girl's legs wide open and penetrates her, thrusting inside and causing her to moan. Afterward he flips the girl over and enters her once more, taking her from behind during sex. Edit
  • Season 1: Moderate and Severe. Lot of nudity. 6 implied sex. 6 sex scene. Edit
  • The IMAX Version contains frequent sex scenes in it's aspect ratio. Edit
  • Season 8: Severe, Moderate and Mild. 3 implied sex scene. 1 sex scene. Edit
  • Season 7: Severe and Moderate. 1 implied sex. 2 sex scene. Edit
  • Season 5: Severe and Moderate. Lot of nudity and sexy scene. One rape scene. 4 implied sex. 1 sex scene. Edit
  • Season 6: Moderate. 1 sex scene. Edit
  • First 14 episodes contains Severe and moderate sex and nudity scenes , female breasts, genitals, sex scenes, nudity. Edit

Violence & Gore

  • Severe 3,999 of 4,347 found this severe Severity? None 103 Mild 48 Moderate 197 Severe 3,999 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • There are prolonged and chaotic medieval military battles, skirmishes, 1 on 1 duels, and battles against fantastical creatures. Edit
  • Each season becomes bloodier, gorier, and more violent as the show goes on. Seasons 3 and 4 are by far the bloodiest, goriest, and the most violent since they're based on A Storm Of Swords, while Season 8 comes close. Edit
  • There are numerous gory images that will be unsettling. Edit
  • People are consistently kidnapped, with some fights back in violent methods. Edit
  • We see the violence on-screen and hear them referenced in dialogue as well. Edit
  • Sexual violence is shown, particularly during the early seasons. Edit
  • During battle scenes, you can see stabbings, mutilations, beheadings, people being crushed by horses, and blood flying all over the screen. Edit
  • Violence and bloody execution of people are shown in all seasons. Edit
  • There is also torture and genital mutilation of one of the main male characters. Very disturbing. Edit
  • Frequent but extremely graphic, gory violence. Including murders, executions, and their aftermaths. Large-scale battles with long, gruesome fight scenes, swords, crossbows, clubs, and many other weapons are visible. Also, sexual violence is graphically depicted. Skeletons, zombie-like creatures, and dragons are among the show's scary fantasy creatures. Edit
  • The IMAX Version contains frequent strong bloody violence and gore in it's aspect ratio. Edit
  • Beheadings are shown (heads falling and rolling away), even in combat. Edit
  • Jousting is present in the show, with bloody results. Edit
  • The battle sequences are very prolonged, extremely bloody, and extremely gruesome. During these battle scenes, a numerous amount of soldiers will get stabbed by swords, get chopped in half, get their heads split in half, etc. with tons of blood and gore. Some of the battle scenes are more of an adrenaline rush while others are more vicious and terrifying. Edit
  • There is some violence against frail, young women and children. Edit
  • Severe 3,379 of 4,024 found this severe Severity? None 97 Mild 100 Moderate 448 Severe 3,379 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • Profanity is very frequent. Virtually every single character on the show regularly uses harsh language in one form or another. Edit
  • Typical medieval slang, bloody, limey, etc. Edit
  • Many languages throughout: such as "fuck," "cunt," "cock," "shit," "bitch," "bastard," and more. Edit
  • Actually not as frequent as its reputation suggests. The language is mostly mild and the instances of "fuck" and "cunt" tend to be used sparingly per episode. Edit
  • 200+ uses of "fuck" and 50+ uses of "cunt" throughout the whole show. Edit

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Moderate 1,725 of 4,584 found this moderate Severity? None 151 Mild 1,005 Moderate 1,725 Severe 1,703 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • "Nightshade" is used as a sleeping drug and agent of euthanasia. Edit
  • There is tons of wine, ale and beer drinking in every episode and people are shown getting drunk. Drinking plays a very big part in the show. Pubs are also shown in some scenes with drinking and brief glimpses of pipe smoking in the background. Edit
  • Pipe smoking. Characters are frequently depicted drinking excessively and sometimes behaving irresponsibly or violently as a result. Drugs used for various motives. Edit
  • Wine is consumed in almost every episode, particularly during feasts and gatherings. It is implied that some characters drink for the sole purpose to get drunk. It is quite a big feature of the show and often influences character behavior. Edit
  • "Milk of the Poppy" is used as a painkiller. Edit

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Severe 3,089 of 3,792 found this severe Severity? None 110 Mild 129 Moderate 464 Severe 3,089 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • There is graphic violence in almost every episode. There are also several intense action sequences throughout the show. Edit
  • The show includes a few instances of sexual violence predominately (but not always) towards women. One major male character is gelded, and another major character already a eunuch describes how he became that way when he was very young (not graphic). Edit
  • The second to the last episode of the entire series is very intense and violent. Edit
  • The character, Ramsay Bolton, is a complete and utter monster and an incredibly vicious psychopath who is also a sadist. He enjoys feeding people to vicious dogs for his own sick pleasure, and each scene with him is incredibly frightening. Edit
  • Not for the faint of heart. Many people are killed, and children and even babies are sometimes seen being murdered. Edit
  • If this show was a film, it would be rated R for strong graphic brutal bloody violence and gore, grisly images, language throughout, drug use, and strong sexuality including graphic nudity. Edit
  • The graphic violence could be very disturbing for some viewers, as it extremely violent with blood and gore. Edit
  • Well liked major and minor characters are unexpectedly killed. A lot of fights and brawls occur throughout the course of the show. Edit
  • There are occasional scenes showing "white walkers", which are man-like monsters that live in the ice and seemingly have bodies made of the same, intense blue eyes, grimacing faces and scrawny bodies that might scare younger viewers. Also, there is a gigantic battle scene in the final season with these creatures, and they are constantly seen eating people alive and destroying everything. Edit
  • Many viewers will find parts of Season 3 disturbing to the fact that a major character is held hostage by a psychopath. Afterwards, the nature and the identity of the character being tortured is forcefully changed because of the physical and psychological torture. However, the character is enslaved by the torturer. Edit

The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

  • Incest occurs between several leading characters: a brother and sister, resulting in 3 children; the same female character engages in sexual activities with her first cousin, as well. An aunt and a nephew, who are approximately the same age, engage in an affair before they know of their relationship. Edit
  • A sex scene between Dany and Drogo where she is shown straddling him while he thrusts into her. Edit
  • A man battles another much larger man and at the end of the battle impales him with a poisoned spear. He then circles the man, demanding him to confess to the rape and murder of his sister and her children. Eventually, he lets his guard down and the man tumbles him to the ground, punches him in the mouth, causing his teeth to fall off, with some blood splattering on the ground and subsequently, the man confesses the murder as he gouges his eyes out with his thumbs and we see plenty of blood coming out from his eye-sockets as he screams in extreme agony and eventually, due to the extreme force applied to his skull, his head is crushed into a bloody, gory mess with an explosion of blood, brain matter, bone and skin bursting out and splattering everywhere, as his lover reacts by screaming in horror and later, we see the extremely gory aftermath, displaying his now fully smashed head, with gore surrounding the area and a large pool of blood forming on the surface. This entire sequence is EXTREMELY graphic. Edit
  • A main character goes insane and burns down an entire city along with thousands of innocent people. Civilians are shown getting engulfed in flames and brutally mowed down by soldiers. There is also an incredibly gruesome fight scene between two brothers. Edit
  • In what starts as a happy wedding with all parties seemingly fully at peace three major almost universally well liked characters (by other characters and audience alike) are unexpectedly, and brutally murdered during the wedding banquet with much bloodshed. During this scene a pregnant woman gets repeatedly stabbed in the womb, mortally wounding the woman and her unborn baby followed by graphic depictions of men getting slaughtered by the other army. An older woman gets shot in the back by an arrow, but lives. Her son gets repeatedly shot by arrows, but lives. You also see men with crossbows shooting a direwolf in a cage (firewood dies) and other men being slaughtered. Later in the scene, the woman who was shot in the back grabs the other army leader's wife and demands mercy for her son or she will slit his wife's throat. After the man refuses, her son's bannerman betrays him and stabs her son in the heart, which kills him. After witnessing his death, his mother wails and screams in agony while slitting the man's wife's throat. After slitting her throat, a soldier grabs the mother and slits her throat, killing her as the episode ends in complete silence. The following episode, you see those who murdered the man display him on a horse as a form of mockery. The man is now decapitated and wearing the head of the killed dire wolf. There is also discussion that the mother's body was thrown into the river. Edit
  • In the episode Hard Home (S5E08) the wights add a creepy and horror like theme throughout the second half of the episode. They rip through hundreds, maybe thousands of wildlings including a mother who had sent her children away beforehand. Edit

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A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1)

As warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must ... and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, a vengeance mad boy has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities beyong the sea. Heir of the mad Dragon King deposed by Robert, he claims the Iron Throne.

Ever since my entry into the heady and wonderful peaks of fantasy literature following the release of the Fellowship of the Ring movie in 2001, I have been hard pressed to find an author greater than the inimitable J.R.R. Tolkien. Robin Hobb’s ‘Realm of the Elderlings’ story tops it in terms of pure enjoyment for me, and Terry Pratchett writes with such skill he too edges out Tolkien. But both authors have fallen short of the sheer scope that Tolkien envisioned and, successfully, created.

Since then, I have only come across two authors who have come close to envisioning and successfully carrying out their literary creations to match Tolkien; Steven Erikson and George R. R. Martin.

Martin’s epic fantasy series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ has managed to – in both scope and creativity, not to mention simple writing ability – capture and recreate the story that started in Martin’s head. Some authors try, and fail miserably. Some capture and recreate perfectly, but the author’s scope is minimal.

For Martin though, in scope, creativity, and writing ability, A Song of Ice and Fire is everything you want in an epic fantasy tale.

The first book, ‘A Game of Thrones,’ was first released in 1996, and since then another three books have been released, with the fifth hopefully to be released this year (2009). Set in a world very akin to our own medieval history, specifically the English War of the Roses, A Game of Thrones introduces us to one of the greatest (and largest) character lists around.

The story is told from eight perspectives. Each perspective is held within a chapter which, when the characters move away from each other, allows the author to continually leave minor cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter.

While six of the characters from this first book are from the same family, the perspective is shifted around in preceding books. Death is commonplace, almost to the point of horror, but conducted in such a way that it, sadly, reminds us of our own bloody histories. Martin does not shy away from the death, rape and plunder that would have been norm for the setting and in doing so provides a much more complete story.

Mindless destruction is often the cause for character splits and confrontations, and by the end of the book characters you assumed you would be attached too for some time are left headless, gutless or simply gone.

Throughout the entire series Martin focuses almost primarily upon one continent. However there is one character, Daenerys Targaryen, who has been forced to flee to a separate continent as a young girl. At first I remember feeling disorientated and a little slighted at seemingly being provided this perspective which seemed nothing short of pointless. However as I have continued to read, she has become one of my favourite characters.

‘A Game of Thrones’ is without a doubt one of the most involved and simultaneously enjoyable books I have ever read. Dense to the point of labour, but captivating well past my bed time, Martin knows exactly where to draw the line between lots of information and tedious boredom.

If you like Tolkien, or if you like the idea of an epic fantasy series, then you must pick up ‘A Game of Thrones’ as soon as possible. Martin’s ability to create a world both entertaining and disastrously realistic is nothing short of mind numbingly brilliant. Joshua S Hill

The novel, A Game of Thrones, begins with an encounter with supernatural beings; this may give a false impression as to what will come. As the story begins to unfold, the theme moves strongly into the area of political intrigue and this forthcoming war that will happen as a result. The fantasy element, while always there plays only a minor role in the majority of the rest of the book.

A Game of Thrones in not your usual fare, it is hard-hitting and bad things do happen to the good people. Two families take centre stage in a battle for the Throne; the Starks and the Lannisters. The Stark family live in the cold hard North, Winterfell is the seat of their domain. We are, using chapters headlined with the family names, introduced to the Stark family. Once we have familiarised ourselves with the Stark’s, King Robert and his family visit them at Winterfell. King Robert is married to a Lannister, Queen Cersei. The King’s main reason for visiting is to offer Eddard Stark the honour of becoming his Hand (most trusted advisor). Eddard unhappily accepts and he must move to King’s Landing in the South.

Eddard Stark’s young son Bran is injured during the King’s visit, whilst this is originally thought to be an accident that occurred when he was climbing it becomes apparent that the Lannisters played a part in this tragedy.

In an interesting sub-plot Jon Snow, Eddard’s bastard son, joins the “Black” or the “Night’s Watch”, a company of men who’s role is to guard a huge wall of ice in the far North. He is accompanied there by Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf. Although they do not become friends they end up with a grudging respect for each other. Once Jon has pledged himself to the “Black” he must forsake friends, family, marriage and children and his whole life will be spent in the protection of Land.

With Eddard now in place as the King’s Hand, tensions rise between himself and the Lannisters. Then, suddenly one day, the King is killed hunting wild boar and Eddard and the Lannister are drawn into a battle for the throne.

Finally, at the end, the fantasy element once again returns and we are left looking forward to the second instalment.

This is a very good novel, full of twists and turns. It leaves you wanting more and move on to A Clash of Kings. Floresiensis

"Colossal, staggering ... one of the greats" SFX

"Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but the sheer mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads ... It's ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venemous they could eat the Borgais." Guardian

10/10 An epic, action packed starter from George R. R. Martin.

  • Buy on Amazon

Reviews by Floresiensis and Joshua S Hill

101 positive reader review(s) for A Game Of Thrones

243 positive reader review(s) in total for the A Song of Ice and Fire series

Natkrit from UK

This movie is very interesting in it's setting and story line. Character development are so smooth they make you attached to the story. I recommend this series to everyone but keep in mind that it is quite dark.

Game of thrones from Kazakhstan

This is the best book I've ever read. It's gripping. It feels like you are in another world. I recommend it.

Eric from America

This is a great book. I enjoy the brutal realism of the characters and the world that Martin has built.

McIntosh from USA

How are they considering Game of Thrones high fantasy? It seems like the perfect example for low fantasy to me. Most of the show revolves around politics and wars, and magic isn't a normal part of everyday life.

Brecken from USA

There are no books I love more than the A Song of Ice and Fire. Honestly, it deserves so much better than a 9.5 (based on books I've seen with higher ratings that don't measure up nearly as high as ASOIAF). I almost exclusively read fantasy and these books are as good as lord of the rings, in a different way (a very different way). The best thing is they are all about character. In fantasy, characterization is often put to the side so that cool battles and fun magic can be explored more. There are only two characters in the entire series that I know are the bad guys, and the author even has me feeling bad for them at some points. Every character feels real, and there are moments where I have hated every one of them, and moments where I have loved them. They all develop over time in ways that you can barely notice until it hits you that, wow, that character isn't evil anymore. There are a million plot lines, and each one is very real. No one cheats, no one can "just do the magic thing" to get out of a situation. Actions have consequences. Our favorite characters die, and the bad ones get to live. It is extremely well written, fast paced in some places and slow in others. The books have a depth that make you want to read the series over and over again so you can find out just what is going on with the characters, and catch all of the hints and symbolism the author puts in there. I will never look at fantasy the same again, this series has changed my world view.

Kath from England

Takes a while to read and some parts are slow but the storyline is amazing and I highly recommend.
I loved AGOT. An absolute masterpiece. I could not put it down even if I had wanted to.

Sundar from Lal

This book, and the other books published of the series, are as impressive and amazing piece of literature. The characters in the story are superb. I read these book and absolutely had to recommend them to every book buddy.

Rebekah from New Zealand

This thick, material crammed book is written so brilliantly that it is impossible for one to get bored whilst reading. I enjoy the fact that everyone is somehow connected in the story, no matter how far away they all seem from each other. What additionally made this novel awesome was that at each end of chapters, GRRM would leave a cliff-hangar, forcing you to read on till it's 3:34 on a school morning. I would rate this book 11/10 is I could.

Ewan from Scotland

This book was the first book I finished on my own and not being forced (English in school). This book is so good that it made me, someone who would never even try a book. Get into reading, you know it's good.

Alice from England

I will give it just over half stars, purely because I think that the concept is brilliant, and the series begins very strongly, with the first book in particular being excellent. However, sadly, what could have been an explosive series slowly dissolved into an anti climax with absolutely nothing happening. Book one, and most of book two are very good, book three has some interesting parts, although admittantly it begins to loose structure, book four however, I struggled with despite flying through the preceding books and I gave up on book five. It seems that the interesting characters that Martin established in the first book have either been killed off or their storylines have dried out and have subsequently been replaced with much less interesting characters and storylines. All in all, the disappointment factor when reflecting upon what this story could have been is perhaps the worst thing about it. It could have been great, and it has its moments, but when you look at the potential that Martin had to begin with, which slowly dissolves into nothing, it's just such a shame that he couldn't carry it out and that's the worst thing about the series, the dreadful waste of potential. Still, I wouldn't say avoid it completely, just be aware that this story will probably not play out the way you had hoped and you may well find yourself as disappointed as I was.

Alex from Greece

I absolutely loved it, the whole idea, the writting style... but damn I have to admit that the fourth book was bloody boring. I do not get why everyone disses that "Dance with Dragons" (fifth) book though. I found it quite interesting.

Maria from US

"Six" as a rating is deceptive. I gave 10 to the first three books, and single stars to the last two books, and 6-7 is what I got. Sadly, the last two books take all the momentum of the first three, and flush it down the toilet. I wish they didn't. I'm waiting for book six, and hoping that Martin gets his act together, but at this point the story is so bloated that it's unlikely to happen. If anyone wants an excellent series that moves like a well-oiled machine from start to finish, try Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy.

Wayne from US

Awesome book, enticing read. Love the series and people complaining how it's poorly written... Seriously?This is really a great series, not a single one of you could even come close to matching Martin's writing.

Jayne from United States

For a while, I've been trying to figure out how I feel about these books (I've read all 5). They're a deviation from the traditional fantasy storyline (hero that overcomes all vs. true evil) and I can appreciate and respect Mr. Martin's boldness. I do think he does it well, the story is well written and always keeps you guessing. I didn't have a problem with the multiple characters and their separate chapters (I made it through the Wheel of Time series and loved it), but I did have a problem with caring what happens. I like that Mr. Martin has no qualms about killing off whatever character needed to die and the revolving complexity of the plot is really interesting. But honestly, what I think he lost between the multiple characters and their impermanence was making me care about the character. I think he shows their negative sides much more than any goodness in them and in not knowing how long they're going to be around, I found myself avoiding getting too emotionally involved in their stories to the point that I just don't really care what happens to them anymore. I also agree with another reviewer here in that somewhere the overall plot gets lost. Also I'm just confused about the role of the whole "winter is coming" idea - I would like to see that come to more prominence because I could see that forcing everyone to set aside their differences and their petty politics to fight a common foe - and it's seemed like that since the very first chapter. Overall, I say kudos to Mr. Martin for daring to break the traditional fantasy conventions and hopefully opening a whole new realm of possibilities for other writers but I hope that after this series, he learns from his mistakes and writes a much better one. I give it 6 stars for boldness, creativity, interesting characters and good writing.

Felix from America

An absoloutely brilliant novel. In my opinion, A Game of Thrones is one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written by one of the best authors ever. George RR Martin is able to capture emotions and build suspense and leaves you wanting more. A truly great novel.

Jake from Australia

To all the haters, you're entitled to your opinion. I like to recall the story of how the producers of the TV show read a part of the first book and were immediately overwhelmed, impressed, taken by the imagery, the ambience, the sense of place and the characters. So, at least 2 people in the world were touched by the book. Now that's 2 more than a lot of other writers.

Anthony from UK

To those who say the writing isn't good, I challenge you to write at Martin's level. You'd fail. The different pespectives add depth to the story but I understand that some people might have trouble understanding.

d'Argantel from Japan

Since so far I read but Game of Thrones, the first book to the series. I wish to note that in no mean I judge the series alltogether. G.R.R. Martin have created an interesting world with lots of likeable charachters, epic story and unique in a sense playing with reader... The problem I have is that it's boring. No, not the story, however overdone and simple, but the narrative. Never have I reade such flat descriptions and emotionless dialouge, not to mention forced expositions... Honestly , the idea of charachter perspective told story with each chapter being presented from pov of different one involved in an event is nice, the execution is less than impressive. If not for the HBO show I would have hard time getting into the presented world. Another thing are all the Deus Ex Machina literaly forcing the plot to continue the intended way. [spoiler] Honestly no one thought that it is odd that before Joffrey there was no other Baratheon of blond hair?[/spoiler] To be honest I am almost sure the whole book series was written from the very first page to be made into a movie or, as it came to be, tv series. HBO patches some holes, adds here, takes away there and makes the story overall better and of course... Puts life into the charachters and dialogue! I hope the other books of the series are better because so far my jaw hurts from yawning.

Gordon from Oklahoma, USA

A Game of Thrones, and the rest of the Fire and Ice series, are the finest stories I have read in many years, and I am a prolific reader who enjoys many different categories of literature. After having read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as the Hobbit a few years ago while the Peter Jackson movies were being progressively released, I am of the opinion that "A Game of Thrones" and the entire Fire and Ice series to this point are several steps above anything Tolkien ever wrote. An added bonus is the result of HBO is doing a great job of bringing the Fire and Ice books to the homes of people who would never consider picking up a 1000 page novel. Anybody who bothers to read each of the books from both writers can count themselves lucky to be able to enjoy such well written literature. For those who have seen the HBO series and enjoyed it so far, you should read A Game of Thrones and decide for yourself if the written material is superior to the theatrical release. I would also put this series above the Harry Potter books and movies.

Emily from England

Read it because of the series on television and am not ashamed. It does include adult scenes, which I thought fitted the atmosphere of the novel and I am a teenager, so it is understandable I would find them more awkward... I didn't. You can't complain about not understanding the novel if you don't read all of it, including the 'boring' parts. All the Tolkien lovers need to broaden their horizons. GRRM isn't trying to be Tolkien, he's an epic writer on his own with his own style.

Kah from Brazil

This is modernity, I guess. The way of narrating a story has certainly changed. Things are about discourse and action, now. "Less plot" and "more character". This is a great epic which is providing nice adaptations. Of course, the plot is very long and, because of this, its quality oscilates sometimes. I myself didn't like the fourth book (the first three books were an amazing experience) and the fifth has been little playful. But this is not about comparing G.R.R.M to Tolkien or Lewis. This is about accepting what this generation is producing and understand it withouth making anacronisms.

Thomas from England

I would like to point out that the book being reviewed is Game Of Thrones, not the whole series, A Song Of Ice And Fire, which many people seem to be forgetting...

Eric Showatt from Australia

People seem to think the reason why the opinion about this series is so divided because the way the author kills off the character and the amount of angst, miseries this series content. While this may seem like a plausible reason, the real reason is actually far more simple. Game of Thrones sucks. Period. Now I'm not here to troll or bash the author - I'm here to review this series honestly. There is no doubt in my mind that GRRM is one of the most prolific writer of our time. His world building ability is on par with Tolkien, and the character he has created are very realistic and interesting. One can almost read Game of throne like an alternative history if we forget all the magical element within the story. The political motivation of each character are very well defined and the consequences for failure in this series are heavy - you are lucky if you managed to die a clean death, as is the case with Ned Stark. He died, sure, but there are many character who ended up wishing they were dead but couldn't quite manage it because their tormentors prevent them from doing so. There is beauty in this book. Beauty in the finality of death and the cruelty of living. However... I would like to ask every reviewer and every reader of Game of Thrones, what is the actual plot of this series? Lots of things happen, sure. You get loads and loads of characters. Each of them have their own arc. Some gets killed off, some don't, but are any of them truly relevant? Just consider this for a second and you will see what an appalling story the series is - it's not actually a story. It's many story woven into one book, like a game that contains several character sheet and no main plot whatsoever. Things unfold, but it's just things that happens. If I were to describe what this story is about, I would simply say "It's a book about a bunch of things that happened in a land called Westeros", and that's pretty much what the series has become by the end of the third book. Now I will go on to say that the first book is simply breath taking. There is actually a plot, and the characters pov are consistent and - most importantly - relevant. You get the honorable idiot Ned Stark who is trying to figure out why Jon Arryn was killed, while his wife and kids are trying to figure out who pushed Bran off the balcony. The two conspiracies tied together, because what Bran witnessed was the key to Ned Stark's hunt for the reason why Jon Arryn is killed and why he is becoming involved in the first place. The subplot with Dany? That's just the icing on the cake, like something that you can either read or ignore completely. The tradition continues on to the second book, after Ned stark's tragedy, the land is divided and the war happens. We see the brutal aftermath, we see the people fighting for the Iron Throne. While the plot began to dwindle after the first book, the characters are presented with one goal - that is to fight for the Iron Throne, with a subplot of getting their loved ones back to safety. However, after the third book everything went downhill. The war is more or less resolved. The winner and losers are already evident. Major character are killed off, new ones are introduced but none of them are coherent anymore. Everything literally becomes "just shit that happens", and the entire series has become a wait for "something to happen". And that's why the series has become such a disappointment in so many eyes. If anyone has to ball to say GRRM can't write for a damn, they have no business in writing or creative industry in general. However, if anyone says reading A Song of Ice and Fire is becoming increasingly pointless, then you have my sympathy. I've no doubt that things are going to change now that Dany and Tyrion is coming back to the mainland to reclaim their home, but as it stands today, Game of Thrones is a massive disappointment that has a strong beginning but poorly executed plot throughout the middle.

Manpreet from India

This book is full of all the emotions and elements; this book is a journey full of violence, treachery, loyalty honesty, love, families, romance, conspiracies, back stabbing and much more. Read the complete review of the book - GAME OF THRONES on my blog - http://manpreetkaur93.blogspot.in/2013/03/book-review-game-of-thrones.html

Maja from Croatia

I studied literature and know that some of the best books ever written did not develop stories, characters and endings the way the audience wants or deserves. It's not a matter of a compromise. However, these days, for the fact of globalisation we as readers want to think that the book, the author and the reader are one big factory. I prefer waiting for each book sequence in suspense, even if it does not satisfy my expectations. JRRM's Song of Ice and Fire in my opinion is simply amazing, and it's definitively not easy to read. It's like an expanding storm that swirls the characters and plots in concentric circles. Consumes time for sure, and if you think it's too long - you should read shorter books. If you think it's overly descriptive - you're missing the beauty of visualisation of every spot and object and character, when you should be grateful to JRRM for letting you see what he is seeing. It's not a one-read-book and will show you something new every time you reread.

Hans from Belgium

I enjoyed reading it. And i will finish it. This is mainly because i believe the story has enormous potential to end , and i quote the great academic J Clarkson , on ' a bombshell'. But i do have to critisize a bit. The book is frustratingly long. To long. 5 books would have sufficed. At this point i'm acctually just hoping jrrm doesnt screw up the ending his readerers/fans deserve.

Jonathan from United States

This is a great and wonderful read, from start to finish it keeps you guessing and gets you involved with each and every character, so much so that you find yourself falling in love with each one of them, even the not so nice ones, and if you see a bad rating it's simply because that person did not get it or understand the plot.

Anon from Sydney, Australia

It's not that the author is trying to say that good people die, it's just that a lot of people really don't get what goes on. It's the most cunning and luckiest that survive. The characters do tend to change quickly from time to time, which would level my rating down a bit, and some of the characters I love to hate. It is unpredictable and the last two books have been a droll, again lowering my rating. Overall, it's a great fantasy book, and better in quality than a lot of other fantasy novels. The lore is immersive and detailed, though some parts unecessary. The book may have started out as Lancaster vs York (as in War of the Roses, which is what the books are based on) but now it's turned into a massive fight for dominance over land and power, with no one exactly safe and leaving a lot of hype. Do hope Martin picks up in the next book and hurries it up a bit. And I don't get why people say the good guys always lose... most of the characters are grey and do what they believe is right. The good guys occasionally triumph. For the people saying that they want to argue why it's not good, wish there was a comment section.

Jon from UK

Captain Frogbert, you a clearly a moron who is obsessed with LOTR. I really don't even know where to start with how wrong you are on every point you made in your review of this book. If you are really that upset with this book you should just go read LOTR another eleventy twelve times and leave the rest of us alone.

Anon from Anon

OMG I have just finished the blooming lot of them and I have to exactly the same confusion, I am utterly exasperated that barely a plot line has been concluded... The whole thing after the quite good Clash of Kings has become an utter nonsense, time I will never get back.

Sean from Australia

It's ok. He's not a particularly good writer, in terms of characterisation (some of the pov writing of the younger characters is execrable) and the book is pointlessly long. I have severe difficulty in accepting that any reader who gave this book 10 stars has seriously thought at all about the possibility that a 15 year old could successfully lead a hardened army into battle without a viceroy pulling he tactical strings or that a 4 year old would be capable of being the master of a a wild wolf... Ok it's fantasy, but that doesn't mean it has to be total b.s. If it wasn't for Tyrion the book would stink quite badly. Convolution is no substitute for good writing, by the way. Good for fantasy writing but it ain't great... Watch the series instead, still contains a teeth- gratingnumber of 'yes, my liege' type conversations, but again, Tyrion saves the day.

Guy from England

I am outraged at the position of this series on the top 100 list. This should be at least second (the Malazan Book Of The Fallen is also AWSOME). Out of the many, many books that I have read these are my favourite: the many interwoven storylines are well thoughtout and presented. The books set a new level of fantasy, portraying a brutal, gritty and mature story with many hundreds of realistic characters. There are no good vs evil here, no super powered imortal heroes. Martin is a master writer, he leaves you laughing and weeping and it is extremly easy to loose yourselve in his world. Once I got the first book (purchased on a whim) I was hooked and had read the whole series on the inside of a month. READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John from John

Incredible. Simply incredible. Best high fantasy series I have ever read.

Andy from uk

the most engrossing read i just couldnt put it down. the first and third books are by far the best in the series up to this point in fact i read the third book in a fortnight. it does however contain an enourmous amount of characters and book four and five do meander somwhat however they are worth reading if not just for the character of ramsey bolton who is perhaps the most despicable creation ever to polute prose. overall a satisfying read and i just hope GRRM finishes the series before time catches up with him

John from Australia

Possibly one of the best series I've read in a while, every chapter is a cliff hanger.

Fateh from Canada

"Words are wind" go read the book to see for yourself how amazing it is!

Uday from Canada

I think most of the readers giving negative remarks just either can't take the complexity of the story or are the kind of people that have to have everybody live and have a corny happy ending. I mean one of the great things that GRRM has done with this series is how he makes you really love the characters-yes even Cersei- and how he isn't afraid of actually killing off those characters. That alone makes the story so much more interesting and suspenseful, because you never know when any character might die. Also, as for those of you saying that you don't see the importance of characters like Jon, Dany and Sansa you just haven't read far enough into the series. They're chapters become very interesting and you can really relate to them. The first three books have to be the best. The characters are rich, writing style superb, more of the fantasy and magic further on in the series and way the chapters are split really make you see things on a much larger scale and make you appreciate the effort of all that detail even more. Another thing, it takes lots of superb writing and imagination to not just use the "magic" part of fantasy to solve all of the conflicts, and than you can appreciate characters like Tyrion who use their intellect a lot more. If you liked the Wheel of Time I feel you will like the Song of Ice and Fire series just as much or more.

Jake from United States

Personally, I find people who really criticize this series only look at things on the surface (it's too long, too many characters, too graphic, poor characters, etc.). They don't look at things deeper, try and see why things are the way they are, and just think of this great series as a pointless kill fest. In reality, a lot of the space is meant to build tension and expand on things, the characters are much deeper than people give them credit for, and if you can't follow along then there is nothing I can do for you. Also, why would anyone say Martin's writing is bad? I think his prose is excellent and really develops emotion, atmosphere, and setting.

Wes from Australia

First off - this series isn't for everyone. It introduces a lot of characters, so if you struggle with that you won't like it. Second, no one is safe. For this, I love the series. But for many people who need to have their heroes survive - you will hate this. Third, the writing is long - but beautifully written, and I think some people will miss a lot of the intricacies and don't quite get the writing style. This series breaks a lot of convention, but if you can handle that and have the patience you will love it! If you struggle with multiple characters, need a safe happy warm ending and like a more traditional style this series isn't for you, and frankly that is where a lot of these negative comments are coming from. Also many of the negative reviews abandoned the series early on, and in my opinion the second volume of Storm of Swords is where it gets amazing. One reviewer felt characters got killed off and the story arcs ended there - to that, I say they aren't getting the bigger picture, but I won't say specifics as not to reveal any spoilers. Bear in mind it will be years before the next book, so if you don't want to wait that long (and possibly many years after that for the final book) then you might want to avoid the series. Otherwise, great read.

Jon from England

Overall, a very good series. The first three books are excellent (the third truly brilliant, 10/10 if considered in it's own right, in my opinion). The last two not so good, but still a reasonable read (I'm hoping that Martin will pick up his game again for the next books). It's been levelled here that he's not the best writer in the world and that's probably fair, but then neither was Tolkien (and he was an Oxford don) and I'm unlikely to read Erikson or Jordan for their literary value either, if it comes to it. He tells a good story and, whilst they're not as atypical as some reviews might like to suggest, he creates characters that you actually care about. This is evidenced here by the number of peole moaning about how he's killed off their favourite characters - it wouldn't upset you if you didn't like them. One thing that I particularly like about the series is the sparing use of magic. It's always been an annoyance in fantasy that when faced with a difficult situation, the writer could (quite literally) wave a magic wand at it. It also increases the impact on the reader when there actually is magic. As a result, this isn't a series for fans of more overtly magical fantasy. There aren't wizards, elves, goblins and orcs pouring out of the woodwork here. I think that due to the size of the series, there are now a lot of plot strands for Martin to hold together. This means that, firstly, it's tough to follow some times and secondly, it's tough for Martin to write. As a result, it takes him a while to get each installment written, so you need patience and a good memory. Finally, there's a lot of sex and violence. Really, who cares? Get over it.

Bob from England

This is a fantastic book but too little action and its quite slow to start.

Ivan from Canada

Wow, these books are incredible. Best books I've ever read. Do not listen to the trolls calling it poorly written. The number of different story lines and character incentives is incredible.. Probably too much for some readers to understand and they get lost with the amount of characters. Do yourself a favour and get these books!!!!!

Brett from Canada

Not sure if half the people are elitest or the other half are fanboys but I found the book very engrossing, funny and angering at times although I hate that he killed off my 3 favorite characters.

Maurice from Cayman Islands

Anyone not loving this series must be seriously dull or retarded. I have an IQ of 147, making me a genius and have read just about all the great fantasy series. This series yields to none.

Alex from Italy

The best book I ever read, just finished the third book and I can't get enough of it!

Andy from Ottawa, Canada

When I read these books (and I did read 1-5) there was not one moment where I was not totally into it. Once you get to know the characters, the books get better and better all the time... never mind the sex and the battles (for all you action thrillers who need "Actions" all the time). After book 1-3 there are no requirements for big battles scenes at least until the characters are deemed ready to do so. Its fantasy, its action, its drama, its horror, its all I need all at once. George R.R. Martin did a great achievement so far writing this most excellent story and I'm sure the next two books will be as good as the first five. - Cersei is sooooo cunning!

Veronique from Canada

The best book I have ever read!

Plato from Timbuktu

Nice writing style, excellent plot, amazing world. I love how Martin weaves together seemingly unconnected plotlines and shows us so many perspectives, giving us a much more sophisticated understanding of the story. The world Martin created is awesomely huge and complicated, although the endless introductions of new characters can be hard to get into. Also, the not-deaths get pretty annoying after a while. Other than this, I have no criticism for the series, and am eagerly awaiting the release of the 6th book.

JW from Canada

The best series of books ever written, IMHO. Martin is the Shakespeare of our time.

Nat from India

Well I had heard a lot about this book online and saw that it had got great reviews from everyone, moreover the HBO series of AGOT was also there so I finally decided to read this one.The book is um something very unique and good in its own way. It's gritty and mature more to the extent than I had anticipated, the plot is laid out brilliantly. The storyline and characters are good though it seems that Martin according to me didn't satisfactorily end it. The tortures through which the characters are put through and it seems that Martin's focus on keeping things like this makes me wonder that there won't be a great ending to this thing and things would cross to such an extent that it wouldn't matter at all. One more thing is that it's surprising a bit that there is absolutely next to no magic though there are some fantasy elements but for most of the times it seems like maybe a non fantasy novel. The book was with all things still great. Full of twists and surprises. Definitely a good read though maybe not for everyone.

Jani from Finland

I can't really understand many of the reviews posted here. The sex scenes I don't have a problem with. It's not like they are great, but I don't get ticked off about them either. The only complaint I agree with is the occasionally dull storyline (Arya's chapters mostly) but there are just more good chapters than bad. But the thing I really don't get is the overwhelming complaining of G.R.R. Martin killing the likeable characters. I mean come on people! SPOILERS!: The only important and likeable characters he has killed have been 1) Ned, who's from the old storyline like Robert with most of his grand deeds already done, 2) Robb, who was NOT a POV, and clearly not invested in storywise as much as his bastard brother, 3) Khal Drogo, again not a POV, 4) Oberyn Martell, appears only in like 4 chapters, not a POV, 5) Renly, not POV, his death making great room for Stannis character arc, 6) Tywin, who also was not a POV, and his death granted a great boost for Tyrion's character arc. I might be forgetting someone but not anyone special. Remember, Catelyn DOES NOT die, Bran and Rickon don't die either, not Davos, not Tyrion, not Jaime, not Daenerys, not Brienne, not Arya and it also seems that the Hound is still alive, working with his sins as are gravedigger. I am pretty sure that Jon doesn't die in book 5 either, just another Martin cliffhanger. A lot of the unlikeable characters have died. Joffrey, The Mountain, Balon Greyjoy and Theon is a spacecase. SPOILERS END. I myself found the books great, but a rating of 9 is accurate because George is occasionly stretching the storyline through cliffhangers and dull chapters.

Frank from Cork

The best fantasy series of all time in my opinion. It's a complex plot that makes you work and even re-read the books to pick up the clues, but if you do then you will be rewarded. It's not for everyone and if you want instant gratification, black and white good guys and bad guys, clean-cut dragon-slaying heroes, evil wizards, etc., or if you need to have the plot spoonfed to you, then ASoIaF is not for you. If you're the type of idiot who skips whole chapters and still expects to get something from the book, then ASoIaF is most certainly not for you. GRRM is a genius and this series is a brilliantly woven masterpiece. That said, I'm not surprised by some of the negative comments, there will always be people who prefer the likes of 50Cent to Beethoven.

Matt Cole from Vancouver BC

If writers are Gods - and they are - then George R.R. Martin is Zeus, King of Gods. Martin flawlessly weaves a tale of epic fantasy to launch, which is arguably the best fantasy series ever ( I know The Lord of The Rings and The Malazan Empire have their fans). Game of Thorns achieves not only because of a great plot, which does not stagnate, but because of the intriguing characters, both male and female, that are brought to life through Martin's skill. Tyrion, Sandor Clegane (the Hound), Cersei, Arya, and Daenerys are particularly memorable. This first installment is not heavily loaded with magic and the supernatural. Other than the appearance of a supernatural race in the opening pages and again briefly later on, and the emergence of other mythological creatures in the closing pages, Game of Thrones is devoid of magic and the supernatural. The conflict is among men and women, noble houses positioning themselves for the throne of a Kingdom. The book is laden with political intrigue, conspiracy, ambition, and hidden family secrets. Still, while the great houses maneuver for control of the throne, the reader is ever aware of a long dormant evil, that may rise to threaten the populace of the seven kingdoms. I am looking forward to getting into Clash of Kings & Storm of Swords and beyond. As per the suggestion from other reviewers that this book is too explicit, I can say I have no idea where this is coming from. I would not consider either the sex or violence in this book too explicit. Certainly Steven Erikson and R. Scott Bakker have gone farther in their series.

John from Ljubljana

I have read the first three books and they are all fantastic to read; they involve everything a great fantasy book needs. The series has an absurd amount of astonishingly realistic characters who couldn't be more different and yet at the same time they are all still the characters inhabiting this amazing fantasy world. I fell in love with the Game of Thrones almost immediately, mainly because of unexpected turns and twists, that are not so common in this genre. I highly recommend it to all fantasy fans out there.

Cat Fitzpatrick from London, UK

I think a main reason why there is such a difference in opinion regarding this series is that the fantasy element is very small compared to the huge volume of story. The main strength of A Song of Ice and Fire lies in the politics of a kingdom embroiled in a civil war where there isn't just two armies battling for the throne, there are up to seven various forces struggling to lay claim to either part or the whole of Westeros. There are very good characters that come through - Tyrion Lannister for one is really interesting, and I really like the deviousness of Petyr Baelish - but as you go through the books the volume of characters increases, which can swamp the story in parts, and characters can vanish for quite a long time whilst the others are worked through. The story can be quite slow and repetitive, and not enough time is spent to really build all of the main characters as well as they could be. Sex is also overused with everybody at it like rabbits or raping their way up and down the length of Westeros. However, some great set pieces are developed such as the use of wildfire in a river battle, and if you like epic stories this is richly detailed if maybe too over ambitious as to the amount of stuff crammed in. It's worth a read, but takes a lot of investment of time to get to the good bits.

James from Philadelphia

This is one of my favorite series of all time. Being able to understand so many different characters' perspectives on the books' events makes the series an extremely interesting read. Books 1-3 are absolutely brilliant. 4 and 5 are a little less so, but I partly chalk that up to the fact that you only see half the POV characters in each. I am eagerly awaiting the final two installments and I hope they can live up to the promise that the series has shown up till now.

J�rn from Hagalid

Amzing is an understatement.

Erik from Ohio

The first three books are great. They held my attention throughout with lots of different things happening in the same time period due to the variety of characters. I like the setup of writing chapters about certain characters, and it's even more exciting when one character's fate brings them alongside another main character in the same chapter. I wish GRRM would have kept the Starks intact with their direwolves completing the immensely strong family, but it's not all happy endings in life either.

Modesto from New York

This is a great adult fantasy series. This story is not for everyone. Especially for people who like sexy elves and tough dwarfs... Not for those who seek instant gratification. This is fantasy, a whole new fantasy, an adult fantasy. I love how people are mad that certain characters are killed off but yet they bash the book, if you were not hooked and attached to the character you wouldn't care someone got knocked off. So that is what GRRM does, he hooks you right in, (**SPOILER**) I see a lot of complaints over Ned's death, Ned is in the book maybe a handful of chapters, HAHA. (**End of Spoiler**) Sure there is a lot of fill in but that makes the world he created bigger, brighter, darker, dangerous, sexier and more alive than most reads out there today. This story is fantasy, thriller, exotic and poetic, you can argue it's real, if Westeros existed and Dothraki... That is how people would have lived, killed and ventured. It would be A Song of Ice and Fire!

George from Toronto

This story is the best ever written in any genre, period. The first book is a wonder, the second is as good, and the third is best in the series. I agree, the fourth and fifth aren't my favourites. But they're still above-average. I can't wait to see how the story concludes -- Martin is planning a total of 7 books. I read some of the negative reviews. The ones who are negative put right in their review that they skipped chapters. What? Martin is a genius story teller, he didn't write 1,000 pages for his health. It was for a purpose. If you skip a chapter, how on earth can you complain if the rest of the story stops making sense? The man is a God. I read Erikson, Tolkien, Rothfuss, Hemmingway, and also crap like the Hunger Games. Martin's story is #1 by a significant margin.

Claire from Cardiff

Finished reading 'Game of Thrones' last night. Now I am just falling out of bed to get to my nearest bookshop for 'A Clash of Kings'. Yup. It's that GOOD! Haven't been able to put it down...

Kaleb from Colorado

After having just finished reading the first book in the series. Anyone who says it is boring or not well written has odd to questionable taste. This book is easy to read and I found my self engrossed in the plot and totally lost in the world the author created. Martin leaves it no secret that characters make the story. I don't see how people can be so quick to criticize. I have only read the 1st book, but I would say Martin is the equivalent of Hemmingway when it comes to the Fantasy genre. I was lost at times due to the amount of characters, but between watching the show and reading the novel, it wasn't that bad. The book definitely is better than the series. The HBO writers tried to make it adaptable to their style shows. There are gay references, an over emphasis on sex, and it strays from the dialogue of the book where I thought it would be better to just be faithful to the book. Overall an amazing read and I'm looking forward to the 2nd book.

Alex from Alaska

This is a different kind of fantasy book. This is my favorite of the 5 books out so far in the series. I like it because it lays such a powerful groundwork. (Spoiler alert). I thought the prologue with the Others was an introduction to a world of magic and wizardry. Much the opposite. Eddard Stark goes south, I thought to right the wrongs of the kingdom. No, he dies. I felt like Sansa in the book - I grew up reading 'fantasy' novels where good wins and good and evil are clear and heroes did great more than human things. But Martin is not interested in that kind of story - he is telling history the way it happens - to individuals involved in the muck. I was drawn to the book for its fantasy roots, but in truth this is a book for anyone interested in political thrillers or history buffs. It's like reading the diaries of many historical figures, and putting the history together that way, as a historian does it. I don't think it's accurate to refer to Martin as the American Tolkien. Few characters in Tolkien's world are interested in being human. They are superbly good or superbly bad. I prefer to compare him to Victor Hugo, specifically to Les Miserables, which goes into great detail in order to explain a moment in a characters life. The book doesn't tell you the moment is important, because it has BECOME important. Such is the ability of Martin to cause us to care about his characters. Must-read.

John from New York

Do not listen to the low rated reviews. Anyone who claims that "nothing is happening" or that the characters "lack depth" are probably not capable of picking up on how much is actually happening in the book.

Ben from California

I can't see why people are so divisive in their reviews of this book... I almost listened to the negative comments, and I'm glad I didn't! It is extremely entertaining for those who like to actually read, and I suggest any fan of the fantasy genre to pick it up immediately. You'll find yourself rooting for characters you wouldn't think to -Tyrion Lannister is perhaps the best anti-hero I've ever read. READ IT!

Michael Patrick from Niceville, Florida

Great series. I'm on the second book and like them so far. Many of these reviews have said that as you progress the writing gets weaker, but so far I see no cause or effect of that. Bottom line great series similar to Tolkien but easier to understand and not so boring.

Joel from Australia

These comments seem to be either at the bottom or the top of the scale. It's quite confusing, really. I'm currently on the second book and loving it, the main flaw I have is that I find Bran's character and his chapters are boring, but that's subjective. Aside from that, I recommend these books if you aren't afraid of some adult themes.

Simao from Vila Nova de Cacela

Excellent book, a must read, Tyrion lannister is simply incredible, lots of twists. Incredibly written.

Anders from Norway

An excellent book! If you like action fantasy you should deffinitly read this book.

Chris from Middlesbrough

Excellent book, loved the structure of it. the series was a little dissapointing (only minor things such as Tyrion's war efforts not being the same as in the book, and possibly a general low 'first series' budget). I'm just instantly thrown into the fictional world that GRRM created and wish that I'd lived in times like that myself!.. Brilliant

Jessica from Belgium

Nearly finishing book 2 - A Clash of Kings - of the ICE & FIRE Series, this is indeed an incredible way of writing , capturing times that we will never know. Because of the multiple character roles, you get different perspectives of the storyline and the plots combined. Reads a lot more fluent then Lord of the rings ever did. Highly recommendable author. This is what fantasy really needs to be .. I won't be surprised if these were filmed by James Cameron or Steven Spielberg one day.

Mike from Pittsburgh

I just don't understand how some reviewers are giving this series less than nine stars and are calling the writing middle school level. Martin's prose is leagues above any modern fantasy writer and is better then Tolkien in my opinion. I have read some good modern fantasy, namely Erikson and Sanderson, and none of them even come close to matching the character depth and plot development that Martin weaves. Hands down, this is the greatest fantasy series of all time.

Gary from Vancouver, BC

This book will always have a special place in my heart for it's heavily inspiring story-line. George R.R. Martin has the vigorous spirit to lift this tale of the altered Europe (via medieval period), with plenty of appealing characters which seem astute as they are tantalizing. The fact that it doesn't follow a typical mono myth had me interested, because many high fantasy that I have read, had done so. Overall this book had a few faults (What book doesn't?) though it was an enriching tale.

Kyle from Kentucky

HMMMMMM.... lets imagine for a second, you're stuck in a time period where there are no cell phones, security cameras or even police around to keep the naughty kids from coming out to play. What do you think would happen? Probably wouldn't be pretty, but we now chose to forget that our morals of today weren't the morales of ancestors. They didn't have welfare or the Salvation Army, if you were hungry or freezing you would probably have to do some pretty bad things to better your situation. And if you've bashed a man's head in for a chunk of bread some of the other things that GRRM writes about probably wouldn't seem to bad. I think he does an excellent job capturing the morale dilemmas of the time period. If you think murder, rape and incest weren't common in that time period then you're extremely naive! Great book though, do read.

Connor from America

I find it funny how the shallow reader claims this book is all about good versus evil when it's really about how people are neither good or evil but GRRM is a great writer and one I will gladly keep following.

Zuzurlo from Italy

Stunning! That's what this serie is! I couldn't even sleep because I had to read more and more. It's the best around for whoever is not afraid of a little adult content. The only downside is that it's 2 books and many years short of the end.

Tony from UK

My god how is this series not in the top ten! George RR Martin is the American Tolkien. A Song of Ice and Fire is top notch adult fantasy and there is a good reason why these books are best sellers. The current rating here is not a good advertisement for the website. I voted 10/10 to try and bump it up a bit.

Aaron from Australia

An engaging and thrilling start to a fanastic series, Game of Thrones is fantasy filled with political intrigue, double crosses, betrayals and shocking reversals. The characters of Game of Thrones are the stand out feature, with deep personailites, it's difficult to identify who the real heroes and villains are (and after five books I still don't know). Oddly these reader reviewers have been hijacked by puritans who feel compelled to descibe the books as dull AND obscene. Allow me to retort: what a load of bollocks. While sex and violence are elements of the book, they're never used gratuitously. Anyone who claims the books are pruile or offensive, or that they felt ill reading them, obviously hasn't read many novels above a Harry Potter reading level. There's more explicit content in the 117 bible verses that make Song of Songs of Solomon.

Rod from West Country

I saw the HBO mini series, and thought that the book is usually better, I will read it. I am so pleased I did! Absorbing, Super Epic, no one is safe, not the heroes, not the villains. There is magic but malevolant........ Downside only five books...

William from London

I think that this is a good read, however, having read four of the books now, I am struggling to carry on. Firstly Martin seems to take an age to write his books, and secondly, it just to seems to me to be unbelievable how many of the main protagonists and characters are all killed off or changed dramatically in such a short period of time. So, a good read, but don't get too close to any of the characters, as by the end of a novel, it is likely something you don't want to happen to them... has.

Rob from UK

Epic is an understatement.

Kyle from Indiana

I've only just started this series and I plan to finish it. It's the best thing my eyes have ever seen, hands down!

Paul from Glasgow

Steep learning curve at the start as Martin introduces a plethora of new characters in rapid succession; still found myself sucked in completely and ended up reading the whole series.

Shell from Winchester

Brilliant series - can't wait for film series.

Ryan from Wisconsin

A Game of Thrones definitely deserves to be rated up with Lord of the Rings. Has some of the most interesting and in-depth characters of any fantasy book.

JP from Finland

I have read first three books of this series so far and enjoyed it very much. GRRM is not a superb writer in all meanings of that but he definitely knows how to write hard as rock fantasy series.

John from Leeds

A Song of Ice and Fire is pretty much the last word in medieval fantasy. Martin's work is in a league of its own, head and shoulders above the next comparable work in terms of plotting, characterisation, world building and quality of writing. Other authors may as well abandon the medieval milieu and explore new avenues in fantasy, as there is little left to say on the matter that this series does not say better.

Mathias from Gothenburg

Simply the best fantasy epic ever written. Nuff said.

Tim from Perth-Andover

Someone said Eragon was better than this. .. .. .. ...after I stopped laughing, I decided to write this review. Martin's books are some of the best fantasy being written today. The time it takes for them to come out should not judged as part of their quality. Are they simple commercial fare? No. Emphatically no. These are books for intelligent people who like to read. They deserve to be higher on the list.

PP from The Hague

One of the best fantasy series so far... however I understand why it is not on the top of the list: the series is not complete and me and probably many others will wonder whether or not the series will ever be complete. The story lines are becoming more and more complex and interwoven in every next book GRR writes. But still, like a Leonardo's David without the head...

Anthony from Cardiff

I had to correct my review. Just finished the 4 books and I am totally ashamed of my last comments. Its simply that the more you read the rewards will come. I am 37 and have been listening to audio books for a year now, since I have lost my sight. Talented writers like this keep blind people in the world sane. I am gutted I have to wait for the next book - Mr Martin please hurry up!

Eric from Quebec

In my opinion, one of the best series, probably my favorite. In most series, it is easy to expect what will come next. This is one series where everyone has an opinion, and a different one (if you debate with other readers). Not everyone agrees who they think will be the "main" character in the end, if any. I really love to see how, from every character's perspective, their perception of Right and Wrong changes. It makes you think about what we do in our lives, that we consider "right", that from another perspective would be viewed as "wrong". Overall, this story makes me think, surprises me and captivates me, which are the foremost reasons I use what time I have to read =)

William from California

First off George R. R. Martin has got to be the SLOWEST author in history. With only 4 of the 7 planned books released, don't plan on finishing this series for at least a decade. The book itself is not bad. The prose is good and the plot is fairly intricate. However what I find the drawback of this series is the, I guess you would call it realism, or pessimism maybe. The good guys don't always win in this, in fact, they usually lose. I am going to finish the series because it is fairly well written and I am curious about the ending. But I doubt I will ever want to reread it like I have with many other series. Just my 2cents.

Dustin from Washington

Amazing piece of literature, the character development and the story telling is superb. I read these book and absolutely had to recommend them to everybody I knew. Several of my co-workers started reading the books and they all love them as well. There IS a reason for all the hype behind this series.

Tom from Qc

Really, GRRM is not a writer, he is a god! A Song of Ice and Fire is way better than the Lord of the Rings! I have almost finished the last published book so far. A Song for Lya is very good too, GRRM is not only good for fantasy, he is a great SF writer too!PS - sorry for my bad English, I'm a French Canadian.

Lester from Manchester

This is amazing. The entire series is amazing. Buy these amazing books!

Darren from Wilkinson

This book is much better than Lord of the Rings. It really is that simple. LOTR was overly descriptive and had far too many silly songs and dances. Tyrion Lannister is one of the best characters in fiction. Buy the whole series - you won't be disappointed.

Chris from Netherlands

This book, and all of the series, got me reading till 3.00am. Martin uses Point of View characters to reveal bits of his plot in such a maner that you're always hoping to find out more. I for one couldn't wait to read the next chapter of my favorite characters. Beware, as the review says, bad things will happen to the characters you like most. Hate it or love it, every page you turn could mean the end, it's thrilling and exciting in every way...

Steve from Burton

This book, and the other books published of the series, are as absorbing and intriging as any I've read. Could replace Tolkien at the top of your bookshelf.

Russell from Cardiff

I think you've rated this book to low, it at least deserves to be on a par with Ursula Le Guin's books. Don't get me wrong, the Earthsea books are great and among my favourites but this is quality fantasy and needs to be seen as such.

9.2 /10 from 102 reviews

All George RR Martin Reviews

  • A Song of Ice and Fire (A Song of Ice and Fire)
  • Fire and Blood (A Song of Ice and Fire Companion)
  • A Game Of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 1)
  • A Clash Of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 2)
  • A Storm of Swords 1: Steel and Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3)
  • A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 3)
  • A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 4)
  • A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5)
  • The Armageddon Rag
  • Tuf Voyaging
  • A Game of Thrones: Graphic Novel Volume 3
  • Dangerous Women
  • The Ice Dragon
  • Inside Straight (Wild Cards)

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