For me, it's mostly the character development. I honestly like the book versions so much better, mainly because you get the opportunity to understand the reasoning behind their actions. Even some of the more unlikable characters become relatable.
I have read all of the books.
I thought the books were a lot better. All the details people hate were really what made everything work for me. It makes the underlying politics and back-stabbing that much more intricate and devastating. There are some completely irrelevant plot lines, I agree.
The first season of GoT on HBO was disappointing for me. I was like, wait that just happened but they never showed/told why. I explained a lot of things to my wife and she was really into it at that point. You get the whole complete picture instead of the cliffnotes.
I liked all the books. The last few being more tedious, but I enjoyed them still.
Too much to even list.
But character development first and foremost.
>What am I missing by not reading the books?
Years of heart ache, disappointment, and feeling betrayed.
I believe it will be finished eventually, but may be not by him.
That said, I would wait until the final book has a street date. I first picked the book series up in the early 2000's and have re read the series with each book release in the series. Kind of wish I hadn't as reading them turned into a bit of a chore.
I won't pick them up again until I have the full set.
A series that will never be finished.
The books are similar to the show at the start with book one being very much like season one. However where the sandsnakes come in they get further apart and at the point of tyrions travel to mereen to be with dany there is a big difference and personally i prefer the book version. But i havent finished the books yet i am on A dance with dragons 1 dreams and dust. I have watched all the show so far though so i am coming from a show to book perspective. The books are definetly worth reading for lots of reasons one of the main ones is to fill the gap until season 8 comes out.
The religions (old gods versus the new) are much more fleshed out in the books.
Love the books and shows. Stories are quite different after a couple of seasons.
But in all honesty the shows feel like trailers after reading the books.
Show Shae is far more interesting and developed that book Shae. So you’ve already got a leg up there.
I don't think I'd be able to keep up with who is who without having read the books.