I have to admit that I have lied again. Instead of posting a thought every 200 pages, I simply finished the entire book, A Storm of Swords. I couldn’t resist it, because the book grabbed me and forced my eyes to hurt so very much. I have mentioned before that I hadn’t seen very much meaningful death in the Song of Ice and Fire series since
Sean Bean Eddard Stark died. A Storm of Swords starts injecting the sense that no character is safe from death. What follows will be a ton of spoilers about this particular book, so if you hadn’t read it — wtf, go read it! This series is just getting BETTER and BETTER. I am completely and utterly pumped to read A Feast for Crows despite the low murmur of people that seemingly dislike that book.
Every character, except Bran Stark, experienced enormous changes. To their character, position, or otherwise. Things are happening, and most of them aren’t good. The Stark children, meaning the legitimate ones, are in dire situations. The symbolism of the Stag killing the Dire Wolf at the start of the whole series is becoming hazy with the children, because I had figured that keeping their Dire Wolf with them would keep them safe, but that’s turning out completely false. At this point, I don’t believe the Dire Wolves represent anything narratively. What the Dire Wolves have done is show us that those of Ned’s bloodline are Wargs, people that can see through the eyes of beasts.
Bran Stark’s story for the entirety of the novel was somewhat disappointing. Most of his segments involve hearing stories about old tournies, traveling North, and hiding from people. Things do pick up somewhat in the last two entries in Bran’s POV, which contain the sentiment that Bran and Jon might become united after so much has happened. Instead, though, Bran saved Jon Snow via Worg powers, then continued North through the wall with the help of Sam Tarly. Honestly, Bran’s POV is the only one I find to be forgettable in the whole novel, but I know in the next novel (or the one after, depending on how the next two work out) that Bran will be a much more important character since he is going to train his Warg powers… I think. Oh yeah, Bran can also Warg into people too. Specifically Hodor.
Hodor also dislikes being controlled by Bran. You can tell because he says HODOR.
Cat Stark spends most of her POV telling us how stupid and brave her son, Robb, is. She may not say those words directly, but I can sense that’s the impression we are meant to get. Robb has Ned’s honor, but Cat’s impulse. King Robb married some other female, not a Frey as was agreed, and lost thousands of men for it. The Freys hold the Twins, which is a bottleneck of sorts, plus they have a ton of men. When offered a chance to redeem himself by offering Edmure Tully’s hand in marriage to a Frey girl. Edmure is not pleased with the offer, since Frey girls are often homely in appearance, but King Robb has no choice but to take the
bait chance. Robb honestly needs the Freys support to back him up and help him reclaim the Northern lands from the Iron Men.
When Cat Stark and Robb arrive, they are completely pleased to see that the girl offered to Edmure is actually a cute girl. Walder Frey gives Robb a lot of crap during the wedding. Then, when Cat thought everything would turn out okay, the Freys attack and kill Robb and many of his men. Cat actually kills a Frey she tried to use as a bargaining chip to save Robb’s life, and ultimately dies. This event would be known as The Red Wedding. The Freys even removed Robb Stark’s head and replaced it with Grey Wind’s head.
The action alone is completely wicked. I hope Walder Frey pays for this in some sort of over-the-top way. Source
The Red Wedding is one of the most major climaxes in the novel. Not only is one of Eddard Stark’s children now dead, but the act also took one of the runners for the crown out of the game. Unlike many of the previous deaths of non-POV characters, Robb’s death brings with it not only whirlwinds of negative emotions, such as uncontrollable despair, but it changes many political alliances and WILL motivate revenge. One way or the other. The fan reaction to The Red Wedding was enormous. Tumblr alone is filled with a ton of reaction gifs and wails of “OMG WHY WHY WHY???” Here are common .gifs used to describe the sentiment about The Red Wedding:
Sad.gifs aside, the fan response to The Red Wedding seems overwhelming. So many people had such a depressed reaction to it. Like some, I did have to reread those pages to make sure I understood what was occurring correctly. Yes, Robb Stark truly died. Robb Stark wasn’t the only King to die in this novel, however.
Balon Greyjoy also dies in the novel. For those who may not remember, he is Theon’s father and a man who crowned himself King when Robb offered to help Balon out (I forget exactly how). His death is important for Theon, whose POV is curiously absent, who is the ‘rightful’ heir to the Greyjoy throne.
Lastly, Joffrey dies. Yes, that Joffrey. That repugnant 13 year old boy with a heart made of fail and cruel. Joffrey seems to choke, then die. Its discovered he may have been poisoned. Cersei and company believe its Tyrion’s doing, but we will go into that later. Joffrey is dead. HE IS DEAD. I couldn’t be happier about that. Sansa uses the confusion of his death to escape from King’s Landing and heads North with Petyr. More on that later as well. So many events are stirring with the death of these 3 Kings, but why did it happen so conveniently within a close time span?
King Stannis Baratheon put a Lord of Light spell on all 3, or at least asked the Lord of Light to kill them all. This was impart to see if the Lord of Light could be real. Stannis and the priestess Melisandre have become much bigger players in the book than I originally anticipated. The defeat near King’s Landing seemed to me to squash all hope there was for Stannis to become King. Davos, now Hand of the King to Stannis, reveals to Stannis that The Wall is under attack. Davos also lets Edric Storm, Robert Baratheon’s bastard, noble son, escape from Stannis and Melisandre. The two of him were planning to use his blood to wake all the dragons on Dragonstone from slumber. Davos is probably becoming one of my favorite characters, because he actually stands up for what he believes in. He is an average man, as he professes, that doesn’t know much about politics and war and religion, but he tries to keep Stannis from becoming an evil King.
After cursing those kings, Stannis heads to The Wall to help the Night’s Watch. Jon Snow and his brothers are all battling the wildlings, winning for the most part, but are outnumbered and don’t exactly have their own giants they may turn to for help. Jon Snow goes to speak with Mance once more, but they all become attacked as Stannis’ men join the fray. Mance’s wife has a child while her sister acts as a wet nurse. They 3 get captured by Stannis and the war with the wildlings is more or less over.
Jon Snow, during the battle, had to watch Ygritte die. It was a sad moment, because I knew there was probably no way she and Jon could stay together. I really liked Ygritte, because she really did seem like a high spirited young woman. I wonder if the show will remain faithful or try to keep her around for the obvious drama. After the conflict with the wildlings, Stannis offers Jon something unimaginable. A king may legitimize a bastard by royal decree, and with Robb, Rickon, and Bran all dead (or presumed dead), Jon Snow could become a Stark of Winterfell. For a moment, I was extremely excited that Jon Snow might not get treated so poorly. Jon Snow would marry Mance’s Wife’s sister (since Stannis seems to consider her something like a noble) and take Mance’s family with him to Winterfell to hold hostage. Gilly and Sam had made it to Castle Black with Gilly’s son, so Jon imagined that they could all go to Winterfell and be happy raising their children.
Sam, however, was unaware of this offer Jon Snow received, and was working to keep the corrupted ex-Gold Cloak from becoming Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sam tried to sway the votes to go to one of the other elders who held 1/3 of the vote, but neither would yield if it meant the other elder would win. So Sam put up Jon Snow’s name instead, thus causing Jon to win the 2/3 votes needed to become Lord Commander. I am pretty excited about what may come from this new development, but I want Jon Snow to be happy so badly. I feel like he could die serving the Night’s Watch.
The Lannisters are as dysfunctional as ever. Jaime came home with Brienne, but Brienne was immediately imprisoned due to Sir Loras still suspecting her of killing Renly Baratheon. Jaime seems to speak up for Brienne and inform Loras that Brienne’s honor would be way to strong to allow her to murder Renly. Loras seems to accept this notion after awhile, and Brienne is allowed to leave King’s Landing with Oathkeeper, a sword made for Jaime from Ned Stark’s Ice. Jaime tells Brienne that her oath should cause her to look for and keep Sansa Stark safe from Cersei. He goes as far as to ready her with horse and other provisions as well as official documentation that she is on King Tommen’s business.
Sometimes I wonder if I should wear make-up too…
Jaime shows up just as Joffrey is being readied to get buried. Cersei is weeping for her late son in a church. Also Jaime and Cersei have sex right then and there. Awwwwkward! Despite that, I still love Jaime’s character… even though he did try to kill Bran. I have mixed feelings, I guess. Joffrey, however, pieces together that Joffrey had sent the assassin after Bran while Bran recovered in his bed. Jaime also learns that Tyrion has been put in the dungeon for the assassination of Joffrey. Tyrion, as we know, had nothing to do with it, but since he was the last one to poor wine for the king (at Joffrey’s behest), Tyrion is automatically guilty in most people’s eyes.
Tyrion spends most of his later POV rotting in a cell, wishing he could prove his innocence. Not even Varys can help him as Tyrion stands in court before Tywin, Tyrell, and Martell, a Dornish Prince visiting in hopes he can get the Mountain’s head. Between court trials, Tyrion cannot convince anyone to help him until Martell shows up. Martell offers to be Tyrion’s champion if he chooses to trial by combat. They both know the Queen will name the Mountain as her champion. Tyrion still opts to try to defend himself with words, but is undone by surprise witness Shae. Shae basically becomes a big bitch and accuses Tyrion of saying things during sex he never did. While I was reading her speech, I felt so depressed about how much Tyrion tried to protect her, but ultimately it came to a shrieking woman calling him an imp.
Tyrion then asks for trial by combat, and the Martell vs Mountain showdown occurs. Martell is obviously teasing the Mountain during the entire battle. Martell’s spear is coated in a black poison of some sort, and gets cuts and jabs in on the Mountain. Eventually, the Mountain overcomes Martell and kills the Prince. While Cersei gets the verdict she wanted, Tywin must have realized how terrible it would be for relations with Dorne. The Mountain has now killed a Prince and a Princess.
Tyrion is allowed to escape, because Jaime lets him out of his cell. Jaime loves his brother, that much is obvious to me. However, Jaime lets it be known that Tysha, Tyrion’s former wife, was not a whore as he was led to believe. Its very possible that the incident with the barracks was a rape which ended with Tyrion having sex with her after all she went through. Jaime says he was sorry for letting Lord Tywin know about Tyrion’s marriage to a legitimately good, lowborn person, but Tyrion cannot forgive Jaime at this time.
Tyrion meets up with Varys and they travel via the dark dungeons to freedom until Tyrion recognizes one of the rooms they venture through. He remembers that Shae and he had relations in this particular area and knew the way from this location to the room of the Hand. He asks Varys to wait for him a moment as Tyrion goes up to his former chambers. There he finds Shae naked in Tywin’s bed. She tries to plead with him, but Tyrion kills her. He then confronts his father, the Lord Hand, and demands to know where Tysha is. Tywin simply states that she went where all whores go. Tyrion didn’t like the answer, so he killed his father too. Honestly, I cannot blame him. Tyrion escapes and goes across the Narrow Sea to some unknown place.
Sansa Stark was said to be an accomplice of Tyrion’s, but she was just as unaware. She gets picked up by Sir Dontos, but she is delivered to Petyr Baelish. Lord Baelish kills Dontos, revealing that Dontos was under his coin this entire time. Baelish also reveals that he and the Queen of Thorns, Olenna, killed Joffrey. Olenna did not want her granddaughter, Margaery, to marry the cruel Joffrey. Margaery, presumably, knew about the poison as well, because she drank from the same cup. Good riddens, I say, because Joffrey was cruel and unusual. I hope Tommen doesn’t grow up to be like his brother. Baelish and Sansa head to Baelish’s house in the Vale where he dyes Sansa’s hair black and instructs her that she will pretend to be his bastard daughter, Alayne Stone, and that he will marry her aunt, Lysa Arryn.
Petyr and Lysa marry immediately at his house, Lysa overjoyed to finally marry the man of her dreams. This part confused me, because I thought she was still afraid to have anything to do with ANYONE. What the heck!? After they travel to the Eyrie, Sansa is sexually harassed by Marillion, Lysa’s musician. Lysa also proposes to marry Sansa to Robert Arryn, her sickly son. Still, Sansa tries to make due. She enjoys some time in the snow, and recreates Winterfell. She remembers her brothers and sisters, missing each of them very much.
Art by Akizhao
Then shit gets real. Petyr Baelish comes over and helps Sansa make her Winterfell. She is completely happy that at least Baelish is nice to her out of everyone. Then… he kisses her. Not a father-daughter kiss, but a romantic kiss. Sansa does not like this and asks Baelish to never kiss her again. He just seems to laugh and walk off. Lysa sees this and later summons Sansa to the throne room.
Lysa asks Sansa to stop trying to steal Baelish from her, because Baelish and Lysa are SUPER SERIOUS couple. Sansa defends herself by saying she would never do that, and that Baelish kissed her first. Lysa refuses to believe this and well… she spills a lot of beans.
- Lysa had sex with Baelish, even though he was in love with Catelyn Stark. She miscarries due to her father’s intervention.
- Lysa put Baelish in court by manipulating Jon Arryn, her husband.
- Lysa killed Jon Arryn at the behest of Petyr Baelish.
- Lysa blamed the death on the Lannisters, just as Baelish asked her to.
Baelish is basically behind the entire war in a major way. While Bran’s plummet helped accelerated it, Baelish and Lysa orchestrated enough misgiving to make the Starks upset with the Lannisters. I wouldn’t be shocked if Baelish helped Cersei kill the King, kill Ned (who wed his beloved Cat), he assisted with Joffrey’s death, and god knows what else he’s had a hand in. I don’t know what Baelish wants… but he’s a very creepy guy. Now with Cat gone, does he mean to marry Sansa and act like she is her mother? CREEPY. Oh, Petyr also pushes Lysa out of the moon door, something she was trying to do to Sansa, and blames it on Marillion. Less people that know the truth. Great!
Like father, like daughter.
Arya is not having a great time either. She is forced to travel with Sandor Clegane, who kidnaps her from the Brotherhood. Sandor begins to take Arya North in hopes to ransom her to her mother or brother. He no longer gives a damn about Joffrey, and, to me, seems kind of lost. They get into fights, but do eventually reach the Twins where Robb and Cat are about to get murdered by the Freys. The reach the outside wedding feast just in time to catch the action of the Freys killing everyone. Arya tries to run into the castle to help her mother, but Sandor knocks her out with the back of his axe and rescues her from that situation.
Finally, Arya and Sandor run into Tickler and co. Arya reclaims Needle and they all fight. Sandor kills one of them and Arya stabs the Tickler to death, but they both run off. Sandor is wounded in the battle and asks Arya for a clean death under a tree, but Arya instead walks off. She ventures to Saltpans and sells her horse. She gains passage to Braavos by using the coin that Jaqen H’ghar gave her. This is where we leave off with Arya’s story, but I get the feeling she is going to try to train to be an assassin of some kind. Which will make her pretty badass.
I am so glad Arya x Gendry will not be happening ever. Most likely, anyway… I hope. I want Arya to be a STRONG WOMAN THAT DON’T NEED NO MAN.
Dany and her army have been up to great things. They’ve been conquering slave cities, freeing all the people, and gaining many followers. She has come to realize, however, that the cities she has left behind have reverted. Upset by this fact, Dany continues her assault on Meeren. Meeren was the largest of the slave cities. The owners of the city burnt and salted the land around Meeren in hopes to keep Queen Daenerys out and starved. Dany walks with Whitebeard through the crowd of those she had freed. Dany is attacked by the former captain of sellswords Dany now commands, but Whitebeard rescues her.
Dany, with gratitude, wants to knight Whitebeard, but he reveals who he truly is. He is Barristan Selmy. If you don’t recall, like I had a hard time doing, he is the former Lord Commander of the White Cloaks, the men whom guard the King’s life. He tells Dany that he is sorry for the disguise, but he wanted to know if Dany was a true Queen. He also apologizes for serving under the Usurper. Barristan then calls out Sir Jorah and explains that Jorah had been spying on Dany this whole time! Something we knew since Game of Thrones that Dany did not. Dany almost banishes the two of them together, because this is an awful lot of lying her top two men did to her. Instead, she orders them to enter the sewers of Meeren and find a way for her men to enter the gates. The two men accomplish their task and Dany takes the city of Meeren. She makes Barristan her Lord Commander of the Queen’s Guard, and exiles Jorah, who simply cannot stop being a twat. I’m sorry, but if he was just a bit less proud, Dany would have forgiven him easy.
Jorah is one of those characters I really liked, but when he just grabbed Dany the way he did earlier in the novel, I did a 180 on my feelings. Jorah is a knight, and while I knew his original mission was to spy on Dany… I just can’t believe he would act so gross with Dany. I get it. She looks like your ex-wife that hates you. Cool. Can you get over that please?
More like Champion of the Almost Date Rape.
This book was honestly the best in what I’ve read so far. While this is only the third book, it surpasses both the first and second novel. The second novel left me wanting somewhat, so for a while the first was best. ASoS is officially my favorite and I can’t wait to see what HBO will do with it. I know they made plans to divide it into two seasons, which is fine. Hopefully it gives GRRM the time he needs to complete the series, since its only 5/7 books thus far completed. I will be holding off on reading the fourth book, mostly because my head is still drowning in all the detail, information, and theories I concocted while reading ASoS. AFfC should be way more epic than I am being led to believe by outside forces. I am sure it will be full of OH MY GOD moments and WTF.
Oh yeah, Catelyn Stark is now a zombie.