I think it becomes apparent that GRRM initially intended a five year gap in the story between book three and four. Some of the storylines are painfully slow and just come across as filler. And as far as I've been able to tell from interviews GRRM himself doesn't have the story plotted out, he just knows approximately how he wants to end his story but isn't quite sure how he'll get his characters there. Which might be an explanation as to why it's taking him so long to write the books.
One thing that would probably be better if GRRM had a bigger influence on the show would be that we wouldn't have to suffer through the Disney-esque Rock'n'Roll Pirate Euron playing a huge role in the end game. From what I remember the Euron character in the books was more interesting and wouldn't feel as out of place as the cartoon version in the show.
I don't think that's a bad thing. Most of the great novels are so because the character development is not predetermined. It should be like a strategy game where the writer goes with the tide, much like Dostoevsky's novels.
Athletic ability to spare, genius level mathematicians, invented the internet, invented russian language, incredibly attractive people, master carpenters, cultural richness to rival any country, musical artistry unsurpassed in Europe....
I'm not kidding here, and I've said it before, if you look deep down in your soul you'll realize that Romanians are master race.