I thought it was a bit stiff, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's definitely going to take three or four episodes to get your footing before you get a good idea who's who and what's what. I think it'll be well worth the investment, though. The reviews I've read from journalists who have seen the full season have been absolutely glowing. "The best series on TV" level of glowing.
The only thing I felt was a bit rushed was the stories of Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. They touched a bit on how vile Viserys is, but it really paled compared to the book, and I seem to remember a lot more story about their relationship that wasn't covered in the episode.
And yeah, the books are very much about political scheming and very little about wizards and elves, so that's what you should expect out of the series. They don't pretend to be another LOTR. There are many mythical and magical elements, but the core is the relationships within and between the royal families.