George R. R. Martin is a genius, pure and simple. He has managed to create a world so intricate and so vast that you forget it's a fictional world you are reading about, forget these characters did not exist and forget dragons have never existed. That is the magic of Martin, he makes you forget in the best possible way.
The character number is large, and will probably grow with the next two books. It's hard to keep track of them all and remember the story of each of them. But they all have something that draws you in. Whether you hate them or love them, you want to know them. Personally I liked the chapters concerning the Wall the most and the King's Landing ones the least, but I still liked that part. You can always find something to like in every story.
If I had to pick a favorite character I would pick Arya. I love how gutsy she is but is still a child, even though she doesn't admit it. The decisions she makes are often the decisions a child would make thinking it's a grown up decision. I'm crossing my fingers and praying for more Arya in the next book!
But in reality, I like all of the characters in one way or another. Each chapter is dedicated to one character and the style changes slightly with each character so you really get a feel for them.Some fantastic writing there.
And now I wait, along with millions of you, for the next book. Hurry up George! (But don't rush it either!)
A Song of Ice and Fire has everything I want in books. Amazing writing, an incredibly detailed universe (so detailed I never get the feeling it's a made up world), all the characters have something that draws you in, whether you hate them or love them, and there are dragons and zombie like things. It just doesn't get better, does it?