Okay, I am now commenting on book number four and I am not sure what I want to actually comment on because there is really nothing much that I can say that I have already said. Also, in a way these books have really morphed into some sort of blur that I can't actually remember what the individual one's were about. Okay, I can remember the cover, and I also remember walking along the road that ran behind Adelaide University (Victoria Drive) reading this book and walking past somebody (who I knew) reading this book as well. Obviously we made note that we were reading the same book, but since this guy seemed to read faster that I did, he was most likely to finish first, and also move ahead of me quicker as well.
I also remember that I was still really enjoying this book that when a friend of mine had her 21st birthday party we got together as a group (she really likes fantasy books) and bought her the first four books in the series. I am not sure whether she managed to finish the series, and would also be interested in knowing whether she has begun reading Game of Thrones (her Facebook page has no mention of it).
It is interesting that Game of Thrones has developed such a huge following that many other fantasy books haven't. Fantasy tends to be confined to a certain section of society, not that it is a fringe interest, but rather that fantasy books generally do not generate so much interest that people will spend huge amounts of money making movies based on the books. We have seen a bit of a change, particularly with the success of Lord of the Rings, however I have noted that other series that people have attempted to turn into movies have not fared so well. Paolini's novel only got one movie, and flopped; the Inkheart trilogy only got one movie, and fortunately they did not go further with the Golden Compass movies. The Narnia series managed to get three movies, with a rumoured forth, but time will tell whether that will come to fruition.
I suspect that the popularity of Game of Thrones has more to do with the fact that it is low fantasy. It is much more grittier and realistic than the high fantasy that we see on the bookshelves. It is close enough to our world to generate an interest among people outside of the fantasy circle, and to also create the will to put them onto the screen. In fact it seems that the Game of Thrones television series is actually quite popular (though Martin's habit of killing of major characters – and despite arguments to the contrary, Rob Stark, at least in the TV series, is a major character, despite him not having a POV in the novels) that they have already produced three seasons, and likely to continue beyond that. However, I suspect a lot has to do with whether Martin actually manages to finish his books.
On the other hand, it could simply be because there is an awful lot of sex and violence in Game of Thrones, and they also seem to continue to push the boundries of what is acceptable on television.