I started re-reading this series recently. I'm mostly done with book 2 now and I have to say... this is the best fantasy series I've ever read. The first time through it was pretty complicated - he kind of drops you in the middle of everything and forces you to catch up. But after getting through, gathering my wits, getting bored at work and doing some background reading, and then buying books 1-4, this is just great. It's like what Robert Jordan tried to turn Wheel of Time into but failed. Mostly political intrigue, but involving characters you actually care about. Not reliant on magic to drive the plot at all, and when magic is there it's always really, really sinister and freaky. The absolute best feature though, is that you never know what is going to happen. See this major character here, who you love and care about? Oh wow, they just died. Did they really? Damn. They did. See, random things just happen, and they don't necessarily tie into anything else, and (almost) no one is a cliche, you always expect the hero to get the girl or what have you, but that happens about as often as it would in real life. Which isn't often. And let me point out that "hero getting the girl" is far too cliche for this series anyway; it serves only as an example. For the most part, no one is really a hero and no one is really a villain. It's as close to reality as a fantasy series can get. Simply the best.
Yes, A Feast for Crows was missing most of the best characters and was kind of slow, and GRRM needs to hurry the hell up.