Just finished volume 4 of this epic long series. Not looking forward to volume 5. I liked Volume 4 because he left out all the characters I didn't really like (Jon Snow, Stnanis, Melisandre, Danerys, Davos), but unfortunately volume 5 is just about them. Also near the end I discovered the new Kindle X-ray feature that identifies all the characters on the current page and shows you all the previous times they were mentioned. Which is crazy useful here since X-ray notes there are over 500 characters. It also occurred to me that these books remind me most of the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history (which I know most about from nintendo games) rather than European, in the rapid dissolution and reformation of many alliances and mini-kingdoms after the central empire fell, all in the span of a single lifetime.I can't think of a comparable period in Western history, (maybe the Germanic states and Prussia) but likely just because my European history is lacking. I suppose late 19th century Europe might be closest (the setting of the board games Castle Risk and Diplomacy) but I suppose the difference is that the natural state of Europe seems to be many states, and unified Europe ephemeral, whereas in Westeros as in China, the opposite was true.