I love this story but had a hard time getting through this first book in the series. The reason is that I watched the HBO series before reading the book - silly me. Without giving anything away, let me just say that George R.R. Martin does some pretty surprising things to his characters and story lines and I had a hard time moving forward in the book knowing what was coming. I'm looking forward to getting through the second book - hopefully BEFORE the HBO series gets too far done this time (it starts up again in April).