If you've seen the first series on TV you pretty much know how Game of Thrones goes. Lots of men charging about the Seven Kingdoms, Ned (and his wife) making increasingly poor decisions while still revered as a great leader, Sansa every bit as irritating and selfish as on screen, Queen Cersei as nasty and cruel. All the same characters are there and it is clear that the TV adaptation stuck as close as it could to the original. That said, the book has more to give than the adaptation. You understand more why the characters behave as they do - what they are thinking, hoping and believing. The characters have more depth in the book than on the screen.