Five Ways I feel I have benefited from the show, Game of Thrones
I'll add that sometimes the 'benefits' weren't all in a good way (some were) but point 3 was really making me more aware rather than impacting me positively.
1. I came to the show before I came to the books and am grateful to the show for leading me to the books. At times the books were very bleak but on the whole I had a positive experience reading them. The first three I thought were page turners - the fourth and fifth books were good in parts. I'm not saying they were bad books just that I personally didn't find that they flowed as well as the first three books. Some parts of the fourth and fifth books were excellent. I thought the atmosphere of chaos at the end of ADWD was well conveyed. I'll go into that more when I mention things I found good about the books but that won't be today.
2. I've been to the Republic of Ireland, Eire, albeit some years ago but I hadn't appreciated how attractive some parts of Northern Ireland, the six counties, are. The location shots in Northern Ireland made me think perhaps I'd like to visit there one day if I can afford it. Ditto for Dubrovnik (though I've never been to Croatia) and Spain (which I have visited - again several years ago).
3. I've had a lay person's interest in history for a long time without being an expert in the subject. In sixth form I studied a combination of British and (mainland) European* history from about 1660 to 1832 and there were a number of wars between those years but learning about these things on the pages of history text books made the subject very dry. I had some idea of how devastating war can be various documentaries on the subject - and indeed news footage of places in the Middle East sometimes. My parents had told me about some of the devastation after the Second World War. There were actually some children whose parents were Polish at my primary school where the parents were displaced persons. Someone I knew when I was a student was an English born lass of Polish descent. I'm not sure where her mother came from but her Dad I think was from Lvov which was part of the pre-World War II Poland but the boundary was changed after the war and the USSR took that part of the former Poland. He didn't have a "home" to go back to after the war. I'm not greatly knowledgeable about the matter but I understand that Poland as a nation state was sort of shifted westwards at the end of World War II - the USSR took some of what was the "old" Poland and some of the former German territories were ceded to Poland. Of course it's not so simple as that because some of the "old" Germany had been taken from Poland in the various partitions of Poland. Anyway, watching the devastation of Kings Landing, albeit it was fictional reminded me just how bad war is. I'm of the generation which missed World War II by a few years. So the devastation of Kings Landing didn't "teach" me about the horror of war (which as I say to date haven't experienced personally) but it did serve as a powerful reminder.
* Of course I know that Britain is part of the continent of Europe.
4. Some of the actors/actresses in the show were unknown to me previously. I hadn't seen Carice van Houten in anything for example. I was agreeably surprised to find that Michael McElhatton was also a writer and sometimes a comedic actor. I have only seen clips of him as "Rats from the Flats" when he was younger and had rather more hair but he was funny as the hapless Rats who was trying to go straight after being released from prison. Those are only two examples of course - I can't enumerate all of them.
5. When I was a child I read some fairy tales and there was some magic in some of Enid Blyton's children's books but since I came to adulthood I haven't really read much fantasy - though I've sometimes liked adaptations of myths. If I'm honest I'm still not an avid reader of fantasy but since GoT I have been prepared to give other works of fantasy a shot. I read a (very much abridged) version of The Eye of the World. It didn't draw me in the way the first three books of ASOIAF did but I wouldn't be averse to trying the second book of that series The Wheel of Time. Alas, I have only managed to get to the end of the first story of the first book in The Witcher.
I quite liked the TV show of the Witcher (possibly not having finished the books meant I approached it with an open mind though I understand that it had a mixed reception. I think GoT has made me more willing to try fantasy than before.