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George R.R. Martin's enormous fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire has attracted a cult following and critical acclaim for a reason. While most fantasy series are set in medieval Europe, dragons and half-human races notwithstanding (and A Song of Ice and Fire is no exception), Martin doesn't hit you over the head with it. It's exists within the framework of the story, but it isn't the story. Martin's books examine the age-old institutions of power, war, corruption and civil strife. It's also pretty bloody and sexy.
Perfect material for HBO, right? They're working on A Game of Thrones - the first seven books of the series. Shooting began in Belfast this July, and there's no word yet when it might premiere. But it has Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage. Get excited.