One of the most satisfying books I've read in ages. Terrific characters, terrific plot, humor, tragedy, history, and a quest, what more could you ask for? For those of you who've already had the pleasure of reading this book, have you tried to find "The Courtyard Hound?" Isn't that a wonderful moment? How clever. And usually I am not a fan of 'clever' since it general substitutes for heart, but not in this book. There is more than enough of each to go round. There are great swathes of this book I'll be using as examples with my writing students. I read it in two days and lost sleep as a result. It's testament to how good the writing is that I don't regret it in the least. I can't wait to see what Benioff does next.