Martin is a clever writer, in that he understands how to hold onto an audience. Or at least, a particular kind of audience. If the people who read your book are the type to want a lengthy hierarchy of names they must ingest, memorize and dredge up at the appropriate moment, then increasing the complexity of your characters is really only a good thing to do.
I'm certainly surprised by the amount of family history I can keep in my head, and pleased with myself for bringing it to the foreground at just the appropriate juncture. I would bet, however, there are fans crazier than myself who have actually WRITTEN out the geneaology. Good on them.
Martin is both subtle and unsubtle in his writing approach. He's subtle when it comes to small facts. Small facts that when they change their appearance completely shape the entire story. Those are the gasp-out-loud moments. He is not subtle in the lead up to some very particular scenes. I absolutely cannot say more than this, but while these scenes were jaw-dropping in the effect they had on the story, it wasn't as if you couldn't see them coming.
By two-thirds of the way through this one, I was getting mighty irritated as still nothing had happened. Yup, Martin does a number on us for the last third, and more than one number. And... he brings people together finally. Not perhaps the most important people together, but gosh, it was nice to finally have some reunions.
Putting these aside and reading some actual paper books for a while now...