Since posting here last I got to watch the 1st season of the series, and I think that except for Jon Snow, they did a great job casting the characters. Tryon and Jamie especially are really pretty close to how I imagined them. As I said I loved the books and I can't wait for the next one, AND I can't wait to watch season 2.
I like Kit as Jon Snow, but I don't like how they've written him.
Peter Dinklage is outstanding. I also think that Maisie who plays Arya has really exceptional presence for someone her age.
"I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
- Harry Dresden
I'm currently on a re-read of the series, and I'm enjoying it all over again ! The second time around there is a lot more clarity, and I am picking up minor details that I missed the first time around as I read it very quickly the first time. I have more time to absorb the story the second time around. Add to the fact that there are great web resources dedicated to both the show and the book series, makes it a lot easier for me to keep details straight!
Whoever was worried GRRM would pass before finishing, he's told the show makers where he intends to send the series exactly, so I'm sure they'll continue the show and likely make tie in books because I doubt HBO would pass on that profit opportunity.
Last summer I listened to all of them on audiobook almost continuously (doing some mindnumbing work and could get in 5 hrs/day of listening) and it still took me ~2 months to finish them. I actually got them from my boss, who was usually a book ahead of me and would ask me where I was, then tell me "Ohhh man, just you wait!"
If you start getting a little lost, Tower of the Hand has chapter by chapter summaries and lots of background info. I have a little problem in that I only ever heard the characters' names, so for example I wondered who the hell Petyr Baelish was
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden
I enjoyed the first few books. After that, it seemed like the author lost control of the series and the storylines lost their coherence. Like the scope of his own story got too big for him to do any part of it justice and the quality suffered. I doubt I will read any further material he puts out, although I may keep up with the TV show.