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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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Last year George R. R. Martin made an announcement about future plans for aSoIaF.

Initially the plan was to have five books, this later became expanded to six, with a five-year unnarrated gap between A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons.

Martin now plans to tell the story of those five years in book 4 of the series, entitled A Feast for Crows, scheduled for release this summer. DwD is now book 5.

Two new PoVs are planned for the book: one has been confirmed as Cercei Lannister, but Martin is remaining tight-lipped about the other. There will, however, be no more Catelyn PoVs, and characters who are going through a "Learning Process" will only have one or two chapters.

Martin claims he can still finish the series in six books. Sources close to him, however, say that with the inclusion of FfC this is unlikely, and are betting on seven. If this ever increases to eight, then a diagnosis of creeping Jordanitis will be made.

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