So, as many of you are probably aware, HBO has turned George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series into a TV drama. If any of you are like me, you simply can not watch anything without having read the book first. So, i set out to read the book before I watched a single episode of the TV show.I must admit, I was not entirely sure what I was getting myself into. I read mainly YA fantasy so I don't usually read adult fantasies, simply because there are so many and it's difficult to weed out the good from the bad. With that said, I have come to find that I am a sucker for a good political fantasy. There is something about keeping a spark of historical realism in the story that I just adore. One of my favourites would be The Well of Ascension, the second book in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. When the story goes outside the questing and fantasy themes and into war games and political intrigue, I feel like it just gets even better. The book started out in a way that was instantly grabbing:"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The wildlings are dead.""Do the dead frighten you?" Ser Waymar Royce asked with just a hint of a smile.I mean, I don't know about you, but when they're talking about dead things in the first few sentences, I'm usually interested. The book starts off with a scene of rangers coming across a chilling massacre caused by creatures that are not human to say the least.Now, I found that this first chapter was rather misleading. Yes, there is magic in this series as is shown near the end. However, the book focuses more on political aspects in this game of thrones. There is an obvious story arc that is being woven together that deals with these supernatural creatures and the magic in this world, however, it is not the main focus of this particular book.Because the next chapter is when we meet most of the characters of focus. Now, the book is written in a variety of different points of view. We have Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and eventually the King's Hand. Jon Snow, Ned's (Lord Eddard) bastard son who takes the black (he joins the group of rangers that protect the towering wall that marks the edge of the seven kingdoms.) Bran Stark, Ned's second youngest who is crippled early on in the story. Sansa Stark, Ned's eldest daughter, betrothed to Prince Joff. Catelyn Stark, Ned's wife. Ayra Stark, Ned's youngest daughter, a fiery girl who'd rather hold a sword than be a lady. Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother to Jaime and Cersei Lannister. And finally, Daenerys Targaryen, the last of the Targaryen's who is living in exile across the sea.Obviously that seems like a large amount of characters to be switching through. However, because of this technique, there is no one set 'bad guy' or 'good guy.' It is a game of politics, everyone has their own agenda. Even the characters that you sense you are not supposed to like as much, you are still drawn to, because they all have their own merits. The entire book is a mass of political intrigue, betrayal, sorcery, incest, and war. There is a great deal of plot encased in one book that is revealed through many smaller plot lines. We have the story of the Starks. Ned called to be the King's Hand, and with that called into the political intrigues that have begun at the hands of the Lannister's. Jon Snow's story on the wall and the supernatural beings that are waking as winter is coming... Catelyn Stark's story as she sets out to uncover the truth of who ordered her son to be killed. Tyrion's story, of a dwarf, unloved and disliked by his own family. Sansa and Arya's stories of two northern girls taken to the south and forced to face the trials of court. Dany's story as she is wed to a Dothraki khal and plots to regain her proper place on the throne. All of these smaller stories interweave and connect to become one huge game of thrones. The story is brilliant and the characters are all very real. There are no such things as 'Mary Sue's' in this world. Although this is a man's world and the story is driven by the male characters, the women in the book have incredibly strong roles to play as well. Through the large group of characters, we're shown a wide range of personalities and viewpoints throughout the story, no one character is like the other. They all are very distinct with their own distinct personalities.Personally, I found this book to be truly brilliant. I loved everything about it. It was a good 800 pages and yet I felt like it took me no time at all to read. The story was captivating and very real and I am quite ready to read the second book in the series.I can also say that the TV show is beautifully done. I am truly enjoying it. Fans of Sean Bean will appreciate the fact that he plays Ned Stark and looks not unlike Boromir in The Lord of the Rings ;). Anyway, this was a true political fantasy epic. The plots were thick and promised a good series to come.