The War of the Roses should be considered more as a theme for the series rather than a basis. The similarities between the names (Lannister = Lancaster; Stark = York) help to establish the relationship between the two principal families, but everything else is pretty different. This world is entirely fictional, with most of your classic fantasy items like dragons, magic, fairies, barbarians and whatnot. It's written in a similar way to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table or Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in that there are really no "sides" like good and evil. The perspective seems to switch between 6-10 different characters in any book in the series. There's an obvious protagonist and antagonist, but no group is decidedly good or bad.

IMHO, A Song of Ice and Fire is the best medieval fantasy series out there. It's clean, smooth; not like that convoluted soap opera that Robert Jordan has been spouting out with the last four of his books (hold on, that's not a flame. I'm a huge fan of Robert Jordan).

In the beginning the series was to be only three books. However, Mr. Martin was only half way through what he had outlined for the first novel when he realized that he was nearing the 1000 page mark. So, the series has been extended to six books. This is mostly a good thing, as the books that have been released are fantastic. It's partially a bad thing, though, as the time between novels so far has been three years... That means it could be 15 years total from beginning to end. I don't know if I can wait that long!

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