Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Ugh! I've dragged this book out for so long that, at this point, I've forgotten exactly where I left off! The additional fact that I knew the story of this first book before I even started (thanks to the TV series)-- and that the TV series seems to have followed this book (if not the subsequent books) so faithfully... I just can't muster up the enthusiasm to bother about the last bit. (There probably weren't more than a few small sections left.)
Honestly, I'm simply tired of seeing the title in my "currently reading/listening" list, so I'm calling it a DNF, even though I'm so close to finishing that another hour probably would've done it.
Apart from all that, it is an interesting story. I just think I'd rather watch it than read (or even listen to) it. I've heard murmurs of discontent regarding the later books of the series, too, so that makes me even less excited about the prospect of reading them. We'll see. I believe that the TV series diverges from the books, on some points, but if I were going to read more of the books, I'd probably try to pick up with the story close to where the program has left off. It's just dull reading the same material I've already seen, with such a long, involved story.
More Specific Observations:
--So many of the characters are so young! I prefer the TV series in that respect; most of them look at least a few years older than they are in the book(s).
--The reader was pretty good in many respects, but sometimes the voices he gave characters felt wrong or just plain irritating. For instance, I couldn't stand the voice the reader gave Tyrion. He made him sound like a very old man with a rather odd accent... which really made no sense, considering that he's not an old man and neither of his siblings had the same accent. The eunuch's deep, slobbery voice felt wrong, too. (Shouldn't a eunuch's voice tend to be higher pitched than average? ...Guess it depends on how old he was/whether his voice had already changed... In any case, it was *totally gross*, and I dreaded hearing him.)
Actually... the eunuch's voice reminded me somewhat of... THIS gem from my childhood:
--How many points of view do we shift among? It feels like at least seven... Ok, looked it up, and there are eight recurring points of view, plus one more for the prologue. Sheesh. No wonder parts of the book seemed to drag. There's no way that all eight are going to be equally interesting to each reader.