1) It’s more in the realm of fantasy (though with strong supernatural elements). I’ve never been big into fantasy — I struggled with the Lord of the Rings series.
2) Game of Thrones, both the print and TV versions, are deep and intricate. I don’t think my analysis, on an episode-by-episode basis, could do it justice.
Nevertheless I’m a big fan of all things Game of Thrones. I think it’s brilliant storytelling. The show hooked me late in the first season, when Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean (the biggest name in the cast), met his fate. I knew then I was in for a wild and unpredictable ride.
On TV, the production values are excellent, the pacing is consistently solid, and the actors are all pros. My favorite, and I’m not alone in this, is Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion as played by Dinklage is the complicated heart of a complicated show. Catelyn Stark, played by Michelle Fairley, a woman who is smart and tough and willing to do whatever it takes to protect her family, is/was a close second.
In the books, writer George RR Martin alternates character viewpoints as he bounces around the fictional world of Westeros and beyond — Daenerys, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Catelyn Stark, Jaime Lannister, and Tyrion Lannister. Each of these viewpoints is utterly unique and fully formed.
But neither book nor TV show is perfect. The books are rambling. No, I don’t need listings of every Ser who fought in a certain battle twenty years earlier. And the TV show revels in gore and violence to the point of overkill. One blogger commented that the show uses rape as a set piece. Okay, I get it — this world is brutal.
These are minor points. Game of Thrones is great entertainment. Very few moments in recent TV history can top when Daenerys ordered her dragon to burn the evil Kraznys.
And then there’s the infamous Red Wedding episode, where Catelyn, Robb and his pregnant wife weren’t treated very well by their hosts (huge understatement). Check out this link for some great reaction videos.
Watch/read Game of Thrones if you’re up for some excitement. And for great postgame reading, the best I’ve found on the Internet comes from the A.V. Club. Their website has intelligent commentary, with articles geared toward those who haven’t read the books and those who have.