"What separates Martin’s books from the pack is that his made-up world of Westeros feels more 'real' than other made-up worlds like Tolkien’s Middle Earth or Brooks’s Shannara. There’s very little magic in the series, and when something supernatural happens, everyone is freaked out and confused. The characters have sex (mostly sex that would be illegal today), get tortured, betray one another, and die incredibly easily and often for very little reason—just like real people involved in a medieval war would have. One of the first plot points is a child getting thrown off a ledge and crippled after he witnesses some nasty-ass incest; one major character gets killed on [...]
"Now comes plutocratisation: the middle classes and small companies are falling victim to class-cleansing. Global cities are becoming patrician ghettos. In 2009, says [Columbia University's Saskia] Sassen, the top 1 per cent of New York City’s earners got 44 per cent of the compensation paid to its workers. The 'super-prime housing market' keeps rising even when the national economy collapses. After Manhattan, New York’s upper-middle classes are being priced out of Brooklyn. Sassen diagnoses 'gradual destruction.' Global cities are turning into vast gated communities where the one per cent reproduces itself."
—This is why I like my theory that "Game of Thrones" is actually set in the future [...]