Originally Posted by DoctorWhosawhatsit
I've gotta commit and really start reading the books again. I read the first one and started the second but then just fell off.
Have you read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms?
People I've talked to seem split on it but I LOVED it, perhaps because it's shorter and easier to get through than the main Ice and Fire books.
I have. I enjoy the Hedge Knight and the Mystery Knight a lot. The Sworn Sword doesn't quite seem to fit and that makes me question if I missed something there.
A lot of fans get on GRRM's case for taking the time to write the Dunk and Egg stories when he could be spending that time on the main series. This, I think, is a huge subversion by the writer.
Whatever other conflicts occur in a song of ice and fire, the main question seems to be why has magic returned to the world (and why did it perish in the first place). The Dunk and Egg books seem to be heading towards a climax, probably to shed some light on the tragedy at Summerhall, which quite possibly set the whole thing in motion.
With regards to the main series books, I think the key concept a lot of new readers miss is George's use of the unreliable narrator. In the majority of instances, our point of view characters are wrong in how they view a situation. Once you have grasped this aspect, the detailing and explanation that seem to be there needlessly become the actual narrative. The characters describe the situation and interpret it the wrong way. Our attention, as the reader, obviously focuses on the interpretations, but as we can see through our journeys with Ned, Sansa, Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Dany and co. they're almost always wrong.
And the characters who probably know the more relevant details of the game of thrones like Littlefinger, Varys and Tywin are hidden from us deliberately. My first reading of the books went pretty much the way of any other epic fantasy but this understanding made the second reading extremely interesting. If you're mostly a show watcher and would like to know some of the more finer details in the books, I would recommend watching Preston Jacob's What You're Missing series on youtube, which takes the show, episode by episode, and fills in some of the gaps the show may have left that can be filled in by a thorough reading of the books.