Five books, 4,764 pages in all.
It was brutal, believe me. It was a little like reading about the War of the Roses, except there were "seven kingdoms" all fighting each other. All the best characters are treated the worst.
So, why did I read it? It was imaginative; I always seem to fall for that. I even have this map on my dining room table, so I can keep track of the action. The story zigs and zags all over the place!
Also, I fell for the Starks and their wolves. In the first book, they find the pups beside their dead mother. There just happens to be six of them, one for each Stark child.
Their wolves follow them through the story.
But some times their stories are heartbreaking. I think the author must be a curmudgeon. See for yourself. (If you click on the picture you can read the fine print.)
One character who remains intact (except for his nose) is Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf. He's a reason to keep reading and watching. He is played by Peter Dinklage, and he is a bright spot in the whole thing... even though he is treated badly too. He always seems to keep his sense of humor though. I think that's what keeps him going, and also keeps readers and viewers going as well.