The Starks are scattered.
Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bend to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold his crown. And while his youngest sister, Arya, has escaped the clutches of the depraved Cersei Lannister and her son, the capricious boy-king Joffrey, Sansa Stark remains their captive.
Meanwhile, across the ocean, Daenerys Stormborn, the last heir of the Dragon King, delivers death to the slave-trading cities of Astapor and Yunkai as she approaches Westeros with vengeance in her heart.
The POVs in this book are Dany, Arya, Jaime, Catelyn, Samwell, Jon, Tyrion, Davos, Sansa and Bran.
Dany offers terms to those guarding Yunkai, charmed by the handsome Daario Naharis. The sudden attack on her by Nero is thwarted by the old man serving her and he reveals himself to be Barristan Selmy. He says he hid his identity because Jorah is spying for Varys.
Jaime leaves Harrenhal behind but bad dreams start to haunt him and he regrets leaving Brienne behind and rushes back to the ruined castle to find her in deadly combat with an angry bear. Brienne is grateful for the help but is arrested for the murder of Renly by Loras Tyrell. Beric and the Brotherhood hear that Catelyn and Robb are headed to the Twins for a wedding and decide to take Arya there to ransom her. She takes her chance to run from them as they argue whether or not to go to Riverrun to attack the gathering Lannister forces, but The Hound is waiting for her. He decides to ransom her, having heard about the wedding. They arrive as things begin to heat up.
Robb has left Jeyne behind in case Walder Frey is insulted and starts the trek to the Twins where Edmure is to marry a Frey. Catelyn is annoyed that Robb wants to make Jon Snow his official heir until Jeyne has a child to stop Tyrion taking Winterfell as Sansa's husband. His forces attack Moat Cailin when word reaches him that Balon Greyjoy has been killed. He is uneasy when Grey Wind tries to attack his Frey hosts and Catelyn only feels better when Walder offers them food and lodging, protecting them with the vow of hospitality. Her nerves return when she notices that notable Freys she liked are missing, Roslin is crying during the bedding ceremony and the band begins to play a Lannister fighting song. It becomes a scene of utter carnage.
Sam fights off the wights to save Gilly and the baby when a man on horseback comes to their rescue on an elk. Brans group arrive at the Night Fort, ready to go beyond the Wall, and the two groups meet inside the castle. Jon has made it back to Castle Black with news of the coming attack and the brothers begin to prepare. The wildlings launch their attacks while Jon struggles to prove he is not a traitor. Melisandre tells Stannis that the usurpers are beginning to fall but more will come unless she can sacrifice one of Robert's bastards, Edric Storm. Davos starts learning to read and sees the letter from the Night's Watch asking the great houses to help them fight the wildlings. He decides it is time to play his cards and he helps the boy get ready to escape from Dragonstone.
Tyrion is shocked to hear about the Red Wedding, knowing his relationship with Sansa is doomed, even as Varys warns him he is playing a dangerous game keeping Shae around. The news of Arya marrying Ramsay Bolton as reward for the betrayal of Roose also comes as a surprise, as does the news that it was Joffrey who ordered the attempted murder of Bran. Joffrey uses his wedding day to humiliate a fuming Tyrion but all hell breaks loose when the King begins to choke. Ser Dontos appears with an offer to help Sansa escape and she decides to take it. In the aftermath of the wedding chaos, Tywin sees the change to marry Margaery to Jaime and Cersei to Oberyn, while getting rid of Tyrion, but Tyrion has revenge plans of his own.
This is my favourite book of the series. It has all my favourite bits from seasons three and four of the TV series so there was so much going on...the two weddings, Jaime's redemption, Davos plotting and Tyrion's continued troubles being the highlights. We also get the answers as to who killed Jon Arryn and why, and who ordered the murder of Bran. I do wish we could've seen more of Bronn who is very much a bit part player, and I'm pleased they did more with him when they filmed the books. The chosen POVs allow the reader to see all of the main events through the eyes of a main character and because of this, the story continues to move along at pace. This book in particular is full of tense events and I just devoured it! It's a pity we didn't get the POV of Cersei as we saw what was happening to Joffrey but that is pretty much splitting hairs. I totally love Davos and I keep thinking why are still supporting Stannis you wassock, because he is so awful! (but in a complex and utterly compelling way that you just want more of) I love to hate Tywin too because he is just so well written.
I can imagine the utter shock of the fans reading this book when it come out, before HBO screened it and made my cry countless times, and seeing the carnage! I can imagine George sitting at his computer with an evil grin on his face as he penned these chapters, thinking 'this'll shock the hell out of them!' Why do I continue to love this world so much? Well I love seeing the plots of the Lannisters so I can yell at them and tear my hair out. I love seeing the woes of Tyrion and the Starks so I can cry with them and for them. I want to hug Samwell and tell him to be brave, smack Theon, Ramsay and Jorah where it really hurts, feed Cersei and her rabid son to the sharks, cut off Littlefinger's head with a rusty knife, and give Melisandre to her beloved Lord of Light extra crispy! I want to see Dany take the throne...then I change my mind and want Tyrion to rule, then I think it should be a Stark. It's confusing! I like so many people on each side that I'm not sure what I really want except I want to read more and see much more of Westeros on TV. Just film the WHOLE of Robert's Rebellion dammit!!!
The wild times at Westeros and beyond continue and I'm very much enjoying the journey!
Read October 2017