I just set down "Clash of Kings" after having finally finished all 969 pages of the paperback version I own. It took me a year to accomplish this, but I won! *giggles* I actually had a very busy year that took a lot of my time and didn't allow for reading again, until recently. I will never be a member of the "GRRM is the greatest author ever" camp" , however, he does have some good stuff! He is probably the first epic fantasy writer I have ever read, and so it is possible that after I have read what else is out there I may decide he is the best at epic sword and sorcery, or whichever particular genre he ASOIAF falls into. I am still very new to all of this. I think I liked COK better than GOT, overall. I love everything with Daenerys, everything involving the Lannisters, and even Sansa, Arya, Jon and Bran have grown on me. I also love Asha and felt sorry for Brienne. I also awe'd a little with Jon and Ygritte. I have decided to ship them now. Can people ship book characters? Still despise Catelyn, but even her chapters sometimes proved interesting. I began the book feeling as if the majority of characters and viewpoints were pointless, but by the end I could see how it was all tying together, and I even understand the purpose of the first book. Having never read anything this large in scope before, I'm not sure if I am just slow in making the connections or if my mind simply struggles to make sense of something with such a large scope. But there are some pretty cool things hidden within the pages of this journey, so I'm not sorry I took it. To me reading ASOIAF is like taking a bike ride, some chapters are like riding uphill and are just a strain and a lot of work, and then others are like riding downhill, and it all goes by in a whirl of excitement. I suppose all epic series are this way? I personally would prefer if the story was written in smaller more self contained volumes, but that's just me, I suppose. I would put all of Daenerys story together, to give her one book of her own. I think that would be excellent. I imagine at some point in the next year I will attempt book three, hopefully finishing before season three of the TV series begins. Very excited now for season two. Although I have heard that some of book three is going to be included in season two, so I am contemplating trying to read book three before April 1. However, I need to read The Hunger Games before next Friday, when I go to see that film. I suppose I could read HG first, since it is a lot shorter and then attempt book 3 of ASOIAF?