I'm slowly trucking along with this series and am pretty happy that book two is done before the 2nd season of Game of Thrones starts. Once again, this is an old book so these aren't spoilers....
But I'll still give you time to go away.....
The beginning of this was....not boring, but maybe a tad slow for my tastes. Once I got midway through, things started picking up so fast I was forced to forgo my laundry and just sit and read to finish the book last night. Dany's story arc didn't do much for me, so I'll not talk about it.
Great battles are brewing as everyone and their brother (literally) are proclaiming themselves King. Everyone and their brother still hates King Joffrey and who can blame them. Tyrion is now dispatched to Joffrey's side as Hand of the King (formerly occupied by Ned Stark - he of no head). I have to admit that I am fully rooting for Tyrion at this point. Wits and brains are incredibly more impressive than brawn. It got him pretty far in this book, but notably, at the end of the book, Tyrion, fights in battle. Brave little man, whose men turned against him and tried to kill him.
Arya is another favorite. She is Ned's daughter who managed to escape King's Landing before it was shut down. Yoren, of the Night Watch, was trying to get her out of town to the Wall. Unfortunately, bad stuff happens and Yoren dies, leaving Arya and a few buddies to fend for themselves...and get captured and sent to Harrenhal as slaves. Spunky little girl ends up kicking some ass and escaping again.
Winterfell falls to Theon Greyjoy (who stupidly feels up his own sister without realizing who she is). Then falls again to Ramsay Snow of the Bolton house. Bran and Rickon are thought dead by everyone but turns out they're not. Which is good. Sansa is no longer Joffrey's betrothed but still a hostage at King's Landing and hello, is Cersei just really crazy?? Yes, I think so. Incest will do that to you.
Stannis mounts a battle against his brother Renly for the rightful title of King but Renly is killed by a "shadow" (this is where my distaste for fantasy stuff comes in) so Stannis tries against King's Landing only to have to pull back in defeat. There's another case of killer shadows coming from the crotch of the sorceress Melisandre. Sorry, but give me a break.
So we're left with plot lines moved forward, but quite a bit in most cases. People dead, some we actually liked. People gravely wounded and some just gone into the ether of "read the next book" fog.
And now I shall read the next book.