This, is "Game of Thrones" withdrawal for an avid reader of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Full disclosure, I've only read through the entire series twice. I have read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings three times now, and the Dunk & Egg tales thrice as well. I'm aware there are people who have read these books far more than I have (most of these wonderful people helped create and maintain sites like Tower of the Hand and the ASOIaF wiki) -- there's also a ton of people who don't reach my level of knowledge on book lore. I'm not here to school you all on that, and risk lots of spoilers in the process. I'm here to talk about addiction to something you know is not going to satisfy you.
They got their claws in fast and deep, HBO did. They crafted the first season of this show in such a way as to allow both the newly initiated and the casual reader to view and enjoy without innumerable changes to the source material. Then came season two, and the eyebrows started to rise. Then came season three, where some sequences lulled you into a false sense of believing things might even out again while somewhere in the back of your mind you knew this wouldn't be possible. Then season four... and not only are you wondering if you've even read the same books as the show's creators, you're questioning your sanity. Because as much as you rant and rail and are constantly appalled by the character assassinations and rapes (both literal and figurative) in the show, you keep watching -- not because you're invested. No. You're addicted, and that is far worse. It's worse because you know in your moments of lucidity that all the joy you once felt has turned into morbid curiosity about which one or two scenes they might get right in this episode. The anticipatory rush you feel when Sunday rolls around turns into rocking on your heels in the corner, staring at a clock until the hour arrives for you to jack in to your viewing.
The magic and wonder has been replaced with an empty, aching need, accompanied after viewing by a hunger for something better, something more deserving of your passionate pleas for great storytelling and dynamic characters and motherfucking ice zombies who are just ice zombies with no explanation of where they come from or what they want beyond the destruction of humanity. Yet this is all you have. You don't have the show, the show has you -- and you know it always will. So you grumble, you sigh, and you set up your countdown widget until next season, absentmindedly tapping veins in your arm every Sunday evening until your drug feeds you again. Winter is coming, but not for a long while...