I'm kind of in the middle here, I think.
The production values for me, were often very high - some of the best looking television I've ever seen. But then other shots, inside the castle, would have such unnatural lighting that it felt the work of someone out of his league, a little bit. (probably doesn't help that I'm finally watching Deadwood - whoever lights that show knows what the hell they're doing.)
I've ever read a word of the books, but I wasn't thrown off by any of the numerous character introductions. That's par for the course on these sorts of sprawling shows, is it not? I think people initially have that reaction because fantasy has a tendency to name things stupidly. So when they say north continent or whatever, its as insignificant as 'Toronto' would be, but since its unfamiliar we try harder to process it.
That said, all the characters, for me, were introduced in relatively boring ways. The main dude was the best of the bunch probably (an execution and some puppies) (ha), but even still, him serving an execution in front of his 10 yr old out of a sense of duty doesn't seem like it's telling me so much about him as it it about the world we're in. Then we also get squirrelly little bad archer, good archer daughter, hot daughter who's going to marry a prince, creepy blond cowardly powermonger, soon-to-be-(and possibly previous) rape victim, hedonistic dwarf, etc. None of them gave a lasting impression of, oh man, I want to see what this guy is up to! (Again contrast with Deadwood - they introduce main dude there, also with an execution served, but in that case we see that how he handles it is way different and way more interesting than what you'd expect from the 1000 other people we could be following in this story.)
But I wasn't bored overall. Just not terribly compelled. I think, as someone else said, HBO (or fantasy in general?) favors the slow burn, and I'm fine with that. But I do wish there was a guy whose story I was really looking forward to seeing next week. Is that so much to ask from a serial?