I love medieval history. I like it so much better than "modern" (post Elizabethian) history. So the knights and the battles and just everything about the time that it was set in, was the first thing that drew me in. Add in some political unrest and treachery. And then DRAGONS! And Others (but mainly dragons!).
And then, all the characters. Mr. Martin writes his characters so well. You can easily identify with traits of some, hate the traits of others, and see those traits in yourself. Ned's honor, for example, was something to be commended, but it was also his downfall. And as the story unfolds, you can easily put yourself in his shoes and try to feel what he's feeling. There are also characters in the grey, neither good nor bad, and I think that may be Mr. Martin's biggest strength. Good characters and bad characters are easy to write, its the characters that are both that are the hardest to write, as those are most human. Tyrion, the Imp, for example, is both good and bad. I feel sorry for him, but he's also a Lannister and a "bad guy". The same with Sandor Clegane. I thought I saw a spark of good under that harsh exterior when he was dealing with Sansa, but I just don't know. Can the good outweigh the bad? I still hold Ned and the Starks in the highest regard as they are just so good and honorable (well, maybe not Sansa, but she's a child), but its the "grey" characters that are the most interesting.
I loved seeing Dany grow from the scared child to the warrior queen. And I cried when that thing happened to Khal Drogo and her son (I don't want to give anything away, just in case you haven't read the book yet). But again, its her choices that made her more human, and not that perfect paragon.
You know you're really into a book when you have not one, but two tabs on your iPad dedicated to Game of Thrones stuff: one was a wikipedia link with a list of characters (cause there are a TON of characters to keep track of), and the other was a map of the political boundaries and locations of all the keeps.
I've also been watching the weather and going, "Winter is coming." My husband just looks at me like I'm crazy (because he hasn't read the book yet), but I think I'm a riot.
Summary and image from Goodreads:
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.