I’ve finished the first season of the TV series, and it was absolutely excellent – looks like there’s stuff still worth watching out there!
The acclaimed storyline was worked out beforehand by GRR Martin, though the TV series writers supposedly cleaned things up, introduced new scenes that cleared up missteps with the original material, and kept things moving swiftly. Unlike the vast majority of fantasy series out there, you’re never sure quite what to expect, as the storytelling momentum builds up and dissipates extremely quickly.
Drogo’s death at the hands of a vengeful peasant witch was a huge surprise, overturning fantasy cliches of a grateful healer saved by a protagonist; Snow’s back-and-forth over whether he’d go South was another. Of course the greatest surprise was Ned Stark’s defeat as a consequence of his quixotic nobility, and the unfinished desires of an erstwhile ally.
The actors do a fantastic job with the material, a well-written story for adults with minor touches of fantasy.