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A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin A Game of Thrones is the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire, a series of epic fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 6 August 1996. The novel won the 1997 Locus Award, and was nominated for both the 1998 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award. The novella Blood of the Dragon, comprising the Daenerys Targaryen chapters from the novel, won the 1997 Hugo Award for Best Novella. In January 2011 the novel became a New York Times bestseller and reached #1 on the list in July 2011. :::PLOT SUMMARY::: In the Seven Kingdoms: The novel begins with Lord Eddard Stark (Ned) in Winterfell, ancestral home of House Stark, a noble house of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and rulers of the North. Ned executes a deserter of the Night's Watch, with his sons among the witnesses. On the return to Winterfell, Eddard's sons discover six direwolf pups, which are entrusted to Eddard's six children. The direwolf is the sigil of House Stark and is integral to the Stark family. King Robert Baratheon visits Eddard at Winterfell, with the Queen and Court. Because he trusts him, King Robert asks Eddard to become the Hand of the King. Eddard agrees, against his instincts, and at the same time promises his wife, Lady Catelyn Stark to investigate the death of the previous Hand, Lord Jon Arryn, who may have been the victim of political intrigue involving King Robert's wife, Queen Cersei and her powerful family of House Lannister. Before the Starks leave for King's Landing in the South, Eddard's young son Bran Stark is gravely injured when Jaime Lannister tries to kill him because Bran accidentally witnesses incest between Jaime and his twin Cersei. Bran survives but remains in a coma and becomes a paraplegic, causing him to stay behind. During his recuperation, an assassin attempts to murder Bran, but his direwolf saves his life as well as his mother's. Catelyn realizes her husband faces danger in King's Landing, so she travels there by ship to warn him, leaving the eldest son Robb Stark to rule as the Lord of Winterfell. Not long after Catelyn's departure from Winterfell, Bran awakens from his coma and names his direwolf Summer. Upon Catelyn's arrival in King's Landing, she is brought to a meeting with Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger, a childhood admirer, who identifies Tyrion Lannister as the owner of the dagger used in the attempt on Bran's life. Littlefinger then brings Ned to see Catelyn in secret. While traveling back to Winterfell, Catelyn encounters Tyrion, returning from the Wall, and takes him captive. She changes her destination and takes him to the remote Eyrie, where her sister Lady Lysa Arryn, widow of Lord Arryn, rules as Lady of the Vale. Lysa blames the Lannisters for Jon's death and is eager to execute Tyrion, but he demands trial by combat and regains his freedom when his unlikely champion, Bronn, wins the duel. Meanwhile, Lord Eddard travels toward King's Landing, the capital, taking with him his daughters Sansa and Arya. Eleven year-old Sansa is betrothed to King Robert's twelve year-old son Joffrey, the heir apparent. At King's Landing, Eddard assumes the duties of the Hand and the ruling of Westeros as Robert is uninterested in bureaucracy. Eddard learns that Robert's heirs are in fact Jaime Lannister's children by his sister. He contacts Cersei and offers her a chance to escape before he tells Robert the truth, but Robert is killed on a hunt before Eddard tells him. Robert's youngest brother Renly suggests that Eddard should use their combined household guardsmen to detain Cersei and her children and take control of the throne before the Lannisters can act. Eddard refuses on the grounds that it would be dishonorable. Instead he recruits Littlefinger to have the city guards arrest and charge Cersei, but is betrayed. Eddard is arrested, Sansa made a captive, and Arya escapes. Cersei's and Jaime's eldest son, Joffrey, is crowned as Robert's heir, and he immediately has Eddard imprisoned and ultimately executed. Prior to Eddard's death, Lord Tywin Lannister wages war against Houses Stark and Tully and their supporters in retaliation for Tyrion's abduction by Catelyn. As the news of Eddard's execution spreads, a civil war, later dubbed the War of the Five Kings, erupts. Robb Stark leads an army of northmen to rescue his father and sisters in King's Landing, but upon learning of Eddard's death, goes to the Riverlands to raise support from his maternal grandfather Lord Hoster Tully. Jaime Lannister leads the siege of Riverrun, while Lord Tywin holds a large army south of the river Trident to prevent Robb from advancing to King's Landing. In a bold move, Robb covertly detaches his cavalry toward Riverrun while his infantry carries on toward Tywin's army. Tywin, joined by the liberated Tyrion, repulses the Stark footmen but discovers too late that they were a decoy. Shortly afterward, Robb's forces surprise and destroy the Lannister camp besieging Riverrun, capturing Jaime in the process. Renly Baratheon proclaims Joffrey's illegitimacy and with the support of House Baratheon and House Tyrell, declares himself King of Westeros, becoming the second of the war's five kings. Robb Stark becomes the third when the Stark and Tully bannermen proclaim him King in the North. On the Wall: The Prologue of the novel introduces the out-kingdom Northern wilderness beyond the Wall, an ancient 700-foot-high, 300-mile-long barrier of ice and magic fortifying the Seven Kingdoms, manned by the order of the Night's Watch. In the lawless lands North of the Wall, a small patrol of Rangers from the Night's Watch encounter the Others; with all killed except a single survivor. Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Eddard and despised by Catelyn, is inspired by his uncle, Benjen Stark, the First Ranger of the Night's Watch, to "take the black" and go to the Wall. Jon travels North to the Wall with the Queen's brother, Tyrion Lannister and other members of the Night's Watch. He becomes disillusioned when he discovers that it is little more than a penal colony meant to keep wildlings in check. At the Wall, Jon unites the recruits against their harsh instructor, and protects cowardly but good-natured Samwell Tarly. Jon hopes that his combat skills will earn him assignment to the Rangers, the military arm of the Night's Watch. Instead he is assigned as steward to the Lord Commander of the Watch, Jeor Mormont, nicknamed "the Old Bear". He arranges for his friend Samwell Tarley to be made steward to elderly Maester Aemon. Meanwhile, Benjen Stark leads a small party of Rangers on patrol beyond the Wall but fails to return. Nearly six months later, the dead bodies of two of the Rangers from Benjen's party are recovered from beyond the Wall, and their corpses re-animate as wights in the night. Undeterred by sword wounds, they kill six men while Jon and his direwolf, Ghost, save Lord Commander Mormont by destroying a wight with fire. For saving his life, Mormont presents Jon with the Valyrian-steel bastard sword "Longclaw", an heirloom of the Lord Commander's house. Lord Mormont replaced the existing bear pommel with a pommel in the shape of a white direwolf's head, representing both House Stark and Jon's direwolf. When word of his father's execution reaches Jon, he attempts to desert the Night's Watch and join his half-brother Robb's war against the Lannisters. His friends among the Brotherhood convince him to return. Mormont convinces Jon that his place is with his new brothers, and that the war for the throne does not compare to the evil that winter is about to bring upon them from the north. In the East: Across the sea in the Free City of Pentos, Viserys Targaryen lives in exile with his thirteen year-old sister Daenerys. He is the son and only surviving male heir of Aerys II, "the Mad King", who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon during the War of the Usurper. Viserys arranges to sell his sister in marriage to Khal Drogo, warlord of nomadic Dothraki horse warriors, planning to use Drogo's army to reclaim the Iron Throne of Westeros for House Targaryen. The wealthy merchant, Magister Illyrio, who has been hosting Viserys and Daenerys, gives as his wedding gift three petrified dragon eggs. A knight exiled from Westeros, Ser Jorah Mormont, joins Viserys as an advisor. Unexpectedly, Daenerys finds trust and love with her barbaric husband, and they conceive a child who is prophesied to unite and rule the Dothraki. Drogo shows little interest in conquering Westeros, which provokes the temperamental Viserys to lash out at his sister. Initially, Drogo endures Viserys and punishes his outbursts with public humiliation. But when Viserys publicly threatens Daenerys, Drogo executes him by pouring a pot of molten gold on his head. As the last Targaryen, Daenerys takes up her brother's quest to reclaim the throne of Westeros. An assassin unsuccessfully attempts to poison Daenerys and her unborn child. Enraged, Drogo agrees to invade Westeros to seek revenge. While sacking villages to fund the invasion, Drogo is wounded. The wound festers, and Daenerys commands a captive maegi to use blood magic to save him; however, the treacherous maegi sacrifices Daenerys' unborn child to power the spell, which keeps Drogo alive in a vegetative state. As the leaderless Dothraki horde disbands, Daenerys takes pity on her once-proud husband and smothers him. Eager for revenge, she orders the maegi tied to Drogo's funeral pyre and places her three dragon eggs on the pyre with Drogo. While she watches it burn, Daenerys is seduced by the beauty of the flames and walks into the inferno. Instead of perishing in the flames, she emerges unscathed and with three newly-hatched dragons draped around her. The few remaining Dothraki and Ser Jorah swear their allegiance to her.
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