These two essays are terrific reads, and they come from the the venerable Foreign Affairs magazine no less! The first from Charli Carpenter is a response to arguments that the series embodies political realism, noting that some of its features belong more in the realm of human security than realpolitik. Very interesting reading, and some trenchant remarks from Professor Carpenter regarding the subject of gender depiction in the novels (make sure to check out this amusing post on the topic of Drogo’s war speech that she wrote last year).
And the other… well, that one just had me amazed. Historian Kelly DeVries (whose Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century is a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in medieval society and warfare) looks at the series through a historical lens, noting that Martin has eschewed the general boring facets of medieval life (really, life in pretty much any time period is generally boring when looked at as a whole—the moments of terror tend to be few and far between for most people at most times) to dramatize things in a way that DeVries approves.