Despite the rushed nature of this season, won't the major plot points in the books stay the same? The HBO series took great liberties with some of the nuances (and cut out a lot of the others), but I remember reading somewhere that GRRM had to OK the major plot points so they matched with his roadmap. I don't have a big problem with the major plot points in the HBO series, it's just that they happened at an unbelievable pace. The books are good because the format allows multiple story arcs to move along concurrently, without sacrificing detailed character development. The first season is like a carbon copy of the first book, which is why it was so good. The slow descent of Dany into madness should have taken several seasons, but for the sake of finishing the series, it happened in 10 seconds.