Hello everyone and sorry to just jump in. Not trying to derail the discussion, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the series.
I picked up the first book after watching the series premier on HBO in 2011 (I think). No book series has captivated me so much as ASoIaF. I've now read the series twice and am eagerly awaiting the sixth installment.
What I like best about tho series is that a lot of it reads more like historical fiction rather than fantasy. The feuds between the houses and the political intrigue give it a sense of realism along side the dragons and zombies and other fantastical elements.
I've also read all of Martin's early Sci-Fi stories which I also found to be generally top notch.
Anyway, this was my first post. I just had to register because there are some really good discussions here.