I wanted something different to sink my teeth into so I settled on some epic fantasy. I also thought it was high time that I saw what all the fuss was about. I have to say that I may as well have read a book on the history of Great Britain and for what it's worth the history was far better.All the characters in this book seemed a bit cliched. The men read like growling brutes or stoics with little in between, there were two exceptions but their repeated descriptions alone had me cringing (bastard and dwarf). The women in this book are either whiny, bitchy or stupid and only good for marrying off or raping, again with only a couple of exceptions and even they were cliched in their own way. I would pretty much stuff all the children into a basket and leave them there as they were petty, spoiled and annoying. I couldn't relate to or like any of the people in this story except Arya and Daenerys. I felt like all the worst elements of real history were used.I fail to see how Martin's writing was like Tolkien except with his descriptions of battles and as much as I loved Tolkien I found his as tedious as Martin's. Unlike Tolkien's work this book could also have been a lot shorter. I think if you deleted his incessant use of the word bastard it could have reduced this book by fifty pages alone. I have my doubts whether I'll read the rest of the series as I'm not sure I care what happens to any of them.