If you haven't seen this video, and you're fan of 'Game of Thrones', you totally should do so... go ahead, I'll wait.
I read a lot. Maybe not as much as some, and certainly not as much as I'd like to, but I do read a lot. I've read the original Dragonlance Chronicles, The Sword of Truth series, a fair amount of the Star Wars novels and of course I've read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and most of The Chronicles of Narnia, et.,al. But no series of books has gripped me the way George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series has. I'll admit, I'm a late comer to this series, which started in 1996 with A Game of Thrones. And I'll even admit that I wasn't inspired to read them until HBO began producing a series based on them.
The first book, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. By the time fans of the series were eagerly awaiting book four, A Feast for Crows, to come out, I was working at a Books-A-Million in Fayetteville, NC. The series seemed interesting enough, but I didn't really feel like starting a series that was already three books deep (as a side note, as much as I love sci-fi and fantasy, it has always irked me that no one ever seems to write just one book in that genre; everything always ends up being trilogies or well beyond). Anyway, I had pretty much decided back then that I wasn't going to read this series. I was even a little bit perturbed that HBO was making a series out of them. I mean, that seems to be the status quo in Hollywood anymore – find a popular book series and turn it into a half-assed adaptation for the either TV or the big screen. Still, HBO usually does a pretty good job with this, but seeing as how I didn't have HBO, it really didn't matter.
A few months ago, though, I managed to get my hands on the HBO series. It was very well done, and the plot twists and surprises got my attention. So, I went to my local bookstore and picked up a copy of the first book. I was instantly hooked. Even though I had watched the HBO series, and knew what was going to happen, Martin's writing style (and the subtle differences between the books and TV series) had me turning page after page after page.
I am currently reading the fourth book. It has, admittedly, taken me no less than a month to read each book; they're that long, but also that compelling that I don't want to just rush through them. I'm not that fast of a reader as it is, but I find myself reading just a bit slower with this series because they are so rich with character development and plot twists, that I don't want to miss anything.
HBO is currently working on season two of its adaptation of the series. I've already noted some things that HBO has done regarding casting, and even re-naming characters, to make me worried that they might fuck this up, but I really hope not. So far, they've done a great job at following the books. Regardless of what HBO does, however, the books themselves have definitely made it into my all-time favorites list of literature. Martin has been heralded as “The American Tolkien”, and with good reason. His storytelling ability is that epic! If you haven't read these, you should, in my not-so-humble opinion.