I've always maintained that AGoT was the most well-written of the series, especially in the 'poetry of the language'. Sadly, it is pretty much lost in other volumes (there are flashes here and there), but the plot takes over completely and more than makes up for it's loss.
I will say it's very interesting going back now and reading the books having seen the series.
In some ways, the series does some things better. I like the conversation that Ned has with Jon right as he leaves for the Wall. That isn't in the book, and I think it's a pretty bad omission, unless it is referenced later.
I also like the fact that in the series it's Cat who is opposed to Ned going to King's Landing, whereas in the book, Ned doesn't want to go and Cat kind of pushes him to accept position as Hand.
In fact, Cat is a pretty unlikable character so far in the book IMO. She's just so hateful to Jon, even more so than we see in the series. The "It should have been you" line to Jon over Bran's bed was pretty over the top and comes off as kind of lame in the book, and I'm glad they left that out in the series. I did like her saying that she didn't want him to go to KL and prayed for him to stay so she blames herself and Jon tries to console her. Didn't remember that being in the series.
Obviously, the casting of slightly older actors and aging the characters in the series was a great move, even if it was out of necessity.
I've heard GRRM regrets making them so young in the books, and it's pretty tough to figure out what the hell he was doing. I mean, making Jon/Rob/Arya/Sansa just a couple of years older makes the whole thing more easy to accept imo. Rickon too. GRRM said he was 3 friggin years old in the book??? Even if a couple of years go by before he flees Winterfell, which I don't think it's that long, he's still some 5 year old baby traipsing through the Winterfell tundra with Osha.
How is he supposed to have much of a role with Davos/Stannis/Boltons as a 5-6 year old kid. Gotta think GRRM changed a lot of things on the fly. He should have seen that coming imo, particularly for the Stark children and Daenaryes.
However, the book is much better at other things. These first several chapters have been great at showing Robert's feelings for Lyanna and the overall motivation for the Rebellion, whereas the series has barely alluded to it at all.
HBO did a great job creating the characters though IMO. It's so fun to read the book now being able to picture Tyrion, or Jamie or Jon.
The creation of the Dothraki and Khal Drogo is great as well. The book didn't quite capture an image in my mind the first time I read it, but now after seeing the series, it reads much richer IMO.
Anyway, can someone link the re-read thread?? I searched and can't find it, but would like to read along, as least as far as it got.