A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5)

by George R. R. Martin

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) Summary

Extended Summary

A Dance With Dragons is the fifth novel in George R. R. Martin’s ongoing fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Much of the novel’s action coincides with events from the previous novel, A Feast for Crows. However, A Dance With Dragons focuses on different characters, and while the previous novel focused on events around King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros, much of A Dance With Dragons takes place in the far north of Westeros and in the lands across the Narrow Sea.

Jon Snow is the 998th Lord Commander of the Men of the Night’s Watch. Snow is charged with command of “The Wall,” a massive barrier built in the far north of Westeros to defend the realm from the undead, known as the “Others.” Sadly, the true purpose of the Wall has long been forgotten, and most people feel that the Night’s Watch only protects the realm from wildlings. Now, few realize that the dead are returning to attack the realms of men. Though young, Jon sees the danger that the undead pose to the Night’s Watch, and his solution is shocking to his men: Jon offers the wildlings sanctuary south of the Wall. Though the wildlings are considered savage and undisciplined by the men of the Night’s Watch, Jon argues that they will serve as an asset to the Wall as fighters. And if they remain north of the Wall, they will die in the harsh winter and return as Others to attack the realm.

King Stannis Baratheon approves of Jon’s plan, though his approval is not of great help to the Lord Commander. Stannis claims the Iron Throne of Westeros, but commands few men and carries the allegiance of very few lords. In fact, Stannis’ castle is in the south of Westeros, but he has come to the north in response to the Watch’s call for help and in order to secure the North of Westeros for himself. When A Dance With Dragons opens, the North, which has long been justly ruled by the Starks, has been given by the Lannisters to the Starks’ ancestral rivals, the House of Bolton. Stannis and his Hand, Ser Davos Seaworth, begin to entreat the northerners to gather support.

Tyrion Lannister finds himself without any support. Having been found guilty of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, and having killed his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, Tyrion is forced to flee Westeros by ship. He spends his journey drinking as he recalls his final confrontation with his father. When Tyrion lands, he finds himself in Pentos, across the Narrow Sea. He meets with Illyrio Mopatis, an obese and wealthy Magister. Illyrio offers Tyrion food and shelter, though he does not immediately explain what purpose he has in mind for the disfigured and scarred dwarf. Instead, he takes Tyrion on a journey East and gives the exile over to three of his allies, who are led by “Griff.” Tyrion soon deduces the identity of these three soldiers: they are also exiles from Westeros. Griff is in fact Jon Connington, who was once Hand to the Targaryens before Robert Baratheon’s rebellion. However, the true discovery is Connington’s charge: Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. When Tyrion arrives, Connington and Aegon are journeying East, but Tyrion convinces Aegon to instead travel to Westeros, stake his claim, and gather support for him.

However, before Aegon can carry out this plan, Tyrion is abducted. At first, Tyrion thinks that his abductor means to return him to King’s Landing to collect the bounty on the dwarf’s head. Instead, his abductor, Jorah Mormont, intends to deliver Tyrion to a different queen, Daenerys Targaryen. Jorah and Tyrion travel by ship. However, their journey is interrupted when their ship is attacked by pirates. Both Tyrion and Jorah are sold into slavery. Their masters take them to Slaver’s Bay, where Daenerys rules Meereen.

Quentyn Martell is also seeking Daenerys. Quentyn is an heir of Dorne, a powerful kingdom in the far south of Westeros. Quentyn hopes to marry Daenerys, and then to return to Westeros to rebel...

(The entire section is 1632 words.)

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5) Chapter Summaries

Prologue Summary

Varamyr is a warg, moving in the north beyond the Wall with a pack of wolves. He smells men and when he comes upon a man, he thinks about eating its flesh. His teacher, Haggon, had always told him that to eat the flesh of man, to mate with wolf as wolf, or to enter the mind of another man was an abomination. However, Varamyr ate Haggon's heart. Haggon had also warned against joining with any creature but wolves, explaining that skinchangers take on the personality of the animal they join. Varamyr's wound has opened again and he reflects that he should have entered the mind of one of his companions before they left him. The wildlings, once unified under Mance Rayder, have now dispersed. Some have followed raiders into the distant north, some have traveled east in the hope of meeting a fleet, and others have gone their own way. Varamyr has died nine times in the minds of animals, but now he faces his true death and his second life. When his true death comes, Varamyr enters the minds of the entire forest—oaks, worms, ravens—before settling into the mind of the wolf, One Eye. He lopes with the pack until they smell something new. It is a woman Varamyr had known as Thistle, but now icicles hang from her fingers like knives and pale blue light shines in her eyes. One Eye realizes that it sees him.

Chapter 1 Summary

Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf and a drunk, has imbibed his way across the Narrow Sea in a small cabin. He thinks about how he murdered his father, Tywin Lannister, and Shae, a whore but also his former lover, who Tyrion found in his father's bed with the chain of the Hand of the King around her neck. He wonders where his first love, Tysha, has gone. When he asked his father, Tywin had replied "wherever whores go." Now, Tyrion wonders where whores go. The ship rolls back and forth in a storm before it finally arrives in Pentos, where Tyrion meets Magister Illyrio Mopatis, who introduces himself as a friend of Varys. He does not trust Illyrio and considers what he should do next. He could go to the Wall, or he could go to Dorne and try to crown Myrcella. Should he atone for his sins or go forth and make new ones? When he sups with Magister Illyrio, the latter informs Tyrion that Stannis is at the Wall and his sister, Queen Cersei, has put a price on his head; he points out that Myrcella will never take the Seven Kingdoms. However, there is a way for Tyrion to inherit Casterly Rock. Illyrio points out that Westeros craves peace and that it will soon lack for food as well. It needs a savior, such as a dragon with three heads.

Chapter 2 Summary

Daenerys Targaryen (Dany) sits on an ebon bench, her throne in Meereen, surrounded by her supporters. Irri and Jhiqui, her Dothraki handmaids, address her as "khaleesi" and advise against touching the dead man being brought to her. Ser Barristan Selmy of Westeros, who addresses Dany as "Your Grace," points out that she does not have to be there. Grey Worm, the leader of her freed Unsullied troops, lowers his torch to show Dany her fallen soldiers, murdered by the Sons of the Harpy, Meereenese that object to Dany's conquest. After, Barristan announces that the Unsullied are unsuited for unraveling secrets. Dany reflects that Daario Naharis and his Stormcrows might do better, but she has sent them to Lhazar in the hopes of...

(The entire section is 326 words.)

Chapter 3 Summary

Jon dreams that he is Ghost, running through the woods near the Wall in the far north of Westeros. There were once six direwolves in the family, but now only four remain. He wakes to the sound of Lord Mormont's old raven yelling "Snow" at him, and he wonders if Bran or Rickon might still be alive within their direwolves. Dolorous Edd brings him breakfast and news that more wildlings have come seeking protection from the Others on the south side of the Wall. Jon is summoned to meet with Stannis, though he must pass the training ground along the way, where Stannis's men challenge him disrespectfully. He meets Sam, who has been reading about archery, on the way to the king. Stannis is accompanied by Melisandre, his red-haired...

(The entire section is 233 words.)

Chapter 4 Summary

Bran has not eaten anything but ground acorns for days. He, Meera, Jojen, Hodor, and Bran's direwolf, Summer, follow Coldhands, an unusual ranger. Coldhands has black hands, wears a black cloak of the Night's Watch, and rides an elk. Bran notices that he also seems to be accompanied by a murder of ravens. They have been searching north of the Wall for days, and there is still no sign that they have gotten close to their destination, the home of the three-eyed crow. When they sense that they are being followed, Coldhands and his ravens hang behind to face their foes. Meera leads the others to a deserted wildling village. That night, Bran enters Summer's mind as the latter goes hunting. Summer finds a small pack led by a one-eyed...

(The entire section is 217 words.)

Chapter 5 Summary

Tyrion and Illyrio set out from Pentos in a carriage. They pass the time eating, drinking, and talking. Tyrion tries to figure out more about Illyrio's motivations, but learns little. Illyrio and Varys had been friends together as children in Pentos. Varys had been a thief who had soon learned that he could make more money spying on lesser thieves and selling information on their whereabouts to their victims. The selling expanded until the king of Westeros sought Varys out. He had been suspicious of his family and his Hand, who had been a childhood friend. Illyrio next explains how he knew Daenerys and Viserys when they were young. Daenerys had been a shy girl until she was reborn amongst the Dothraki. When he sent her three ships,...

(The entire section is 214 words.)

Chapter 6 Summary

The Merchant's Man, Quentyn Martell, wonders whether the Adventure, a fast ship but one that stinks thanks to its mysterious cargo, is the right one to take him and his friends to Meereen. There, Quentyn hopes to woo and marry Daenerys Targaryen. With Cletus Yronwood, Willem Wells, and Maester Kedry now dead, Quentyn and Gerris take turns pretending to be either the wine merchant or the wine merchant's servant. For now, Quentyn plays the servant, so he watches as Gerris negotiates. Gerris is lean and handsome, whereas Quentyn has an honest face and a thick frame. It is likely Quentyn, Prince of Dorne, rather than Quentyn himself will attract Daenerys. The captain of the Adventure agrees to smuggle them into the...

(The entire section is 228 words.)

Chapter 7 Summary

Jon hesitates to sign the letter that Maester Aemon has prepared for him. He decides to put it off and summons Gilly, whom he instructs to travel south to Oldtown with Mance Rayder's son. Her own son, however, will remain at the Wall. Gilly has nursed both children, and Jon explains that if they allow Mance's son—a king's son—to remain at the Wall, Melisandre and Stannis will burn him to use in their spells. Gilly agrees and flees crying. Jon next meets Sam, who urges Jon to sign Aemon's letter. It is a paper shield that they will send to King's Landing explaining that they do not support Stannis, though they have fed and sheltered him. Sam is to go with Gilly, Mance's son, and Maester Aemon to Oldtown to become a maester....

(The entire section is 269 words.)

Chapter 8 Summary

Tyrion wakes and discovers that the carriage has stopped and Magister Illyrio is outside. Illyrio is talking to two men, Haldon Halfmaester and Ser Rolly Duckfield (Duck), who are transferring chests from the carriage onto packhorses. Tyrion is to join them. Illyrio introduces Tyion as Yollo, but Tyrion tells them to call him Hugor Hill. Illyrio tells them to tell the boy that he will be there for the boy's wedding, and he returns to Pentos. Tyrion journeys east with Duck and Haldon along an old road built by the Valyrians. It is a magnificent road—wide, smooth, and ancient—which one maester named one of the nine wonders of the world. Tyrion remembers how when he was young, he had hoped to see them all. Instead, his father had...

(The entire section is 235 words.)

Chapter 9 Summary

Davos is brought before Lord Godric Borrell, Lord of Sweetsister. Davos was a smuggler in his youth, but his fortunes changed when he smuggled onions past siege lines to an embattled Stannis. Stannis raised Davos to knighthood for his heroics and cut off the ends of his fingers for his smuggling. Now, Davos is Stannis's Hand, and though he hopes to make it to White Harbor, where he will treat with Lord Wyman Manderly, he must first find a way off this island. When Godric offers him food, Davos is relieved since it means he is a guest rather than a prisoner. As he eats, Davos reflects that he should not have been captured, but when storms ruined Salladhor Saan's fleet, the Lysene pirate finally abandoned Stannis's cause. Now, Godric...

(The entire section is 271 words.)

Chapter 10 Summary

Jon watches as they bring out Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, to be punished in front of the wildlings. Jon points out that Mance had the Horn of Joramun, but he never blew it. It makes no difference. Melisandre and Stannis hang Mance, who breaks and says he is not a king. Next, Melisandre burns the horn in front of the wildlings. Stannis draws Lightbringer, which blazes like the sun. The wildlings are allowed into the realm and they kneel before Stannis. Jon looks at Sigorn, the new Magnar of Thenn, Rattleshirt, and other wildlings heroes, and wonders if they will be loyal. Bowen Marsh, the Lord Steward, urges Jon to send them back to die fighting the Others. Jon agrees to think on his words before he leaves, but he wants...

(The entire section is 233 words.)

Chapter 11 Summary

Daenerys is woken from a dream in which she had been making love to Daario. It is Irri who wakes her, and Skahaz, Reznak, and Grey Worm who inform her that the Sons of the Harpy have killed nine of her subjects in the night. One of the dead was Missandei's brother. Furious, Dany announces that the Unsullied will no longer patrol Meereen. She instructs Skahaz to form a new watch made up of Meereenese. Their pay shall be drawn from the pyramids, a blood tax as punishment for the work of the Sons of the Harpy. That day, Dany goes to the baths and has a vision of Quaithe, who informs her that the glass candles are burning again. She tells Dany that "soon comes the pale mare, after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and...

(The entire section is 267 words.)

Chapter 12 Summary

Reek eats a rat, knowing that the belly will be the softest part. When he hears footsteps coming into the dungeons, he worries that he will be caught and punished for eating the rat. He is not punished. Instead, Big Walder and Little Walder take Reek to the hall, where Lord Ramsay Bolton sups with two grizzled old lords. When they look at him, Reek panics. Lord Ramsay punishes those that disobey him, Reek knows. He remembers how he and Kyra tried to escape, only to learn that Lord Ramsay prefers to hunt human prey. Reek has now lost toes and fingers. Ramsay flays the skin and when the victim can no longer stand it, he begs for Ramsey to cut off the appendage. Once, Reek had tried to bite off his own finger to stop the pain, which...

(The entire section is 210 words.)

Chapter 13 Summary

Bran and the others have to worry after Coldhands explains that they are being pursued by wights as well as wolves. He turns to face their enemies and commands Meera to lead them uphill to a cave. Hodor carries Bran and Meera carries her ailing brother, Jojen. They have not eaten anything for days. The wights begin to grab at them from beneath the snow. Bran enters Hodor's mind to fight them off, while Summer attacks the wights. Bran wonders if he should tell Meera that he loves her. They are almost overtaken when the wights catch fire. Bran looks up and thinks he sees Arya. It is a child of the forest, though she explains that in the True Tongue, they called themselves those who sing the song of earth. She takes Bran and...

(The entire section is 207 words.)

Chapter 14 Summary

Tyrion is no longer allowed to drink, and he shivers and sweats in the night because of it. Everyone aboard the ship has a job to do as they sail along the river. Duck and Young Griff spar in the morning, and in the afternoons Haldon Halfmaester and Septa Lemore instruct them. Tyrion is told to record everything he has ever learned about dragons. He wonders if they will be able to find any of the lost histories about Valyria. Tyrion has begun to embellish his original tales about Yollo, also known as Hugor. Tyrion hopes to convince the rest of the crew that his father was a Westerosi lord, and that he is a bastard. One afternoon, he sits in on Young Griff's history lessons. They discuss the history of Volantis, the first of the...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Chapter 15 Summary

Davos arrives in White Harbor aboard The Merry Midwife. He reflects on Cottor Pyke's reasoning: the Manderlys and the Boltons have long been enemies. Since Roose Bolton is now Warden of the North, he is allied with Lannisters. Therefore, it stands to reason that Lord Wyman Manderly will side with Stannis. Davos is distressed when he sees Lionstar, a ship from King's Landing, at dock. He enters the city near the harbor and listens as sailors and merchants gossip. The smallfolk are fleeing the countryside to escape the Bastard of Bolton, and Manderly is hiring men, suggesting that he means to fight the Boltons. However, Manderly's remaining son is still being held hostage by the Freys, suggesting that he might be...

(The entire section is 215 words.)

Chapter 16 Summary

Daenerys attempts to convince Xaro Xhoan Daxos that he can help restart trade between Meereen with Qarth. However, he has come to bring slavery back to Meereen. He explains that slaves are made by the Dothraki and trained by the Ghiscari. Meereen has little else to trade. Further, without Meereen, the Dothraki must now drive their slaves directly to Qarth, which is inconvenient. He points out that Meereen was once rich and peaceful, but now is poor, hungry, and bloody under Dany's rule. Dany is surrounded by enemies. The Sons of the Harpy attack her within the city. Now, the sellsword companies are amassing against her, under the pay of her enemies, especially Yunkai. The warlocks also seek to destroy Daenerys. Fortunately, Xaro...

(The entire section is 213 words.)

Chapter 17 Summary

Jon and Dolorous Edd go into the wormways, tunnels beneath Castle Black. They meet Lord Steward, Bowen Marsh, who shows Jon their frozen stores. Normally, they would have enough for three to four years of winter. However, it will not be enough. Between the wildlings and the king's men, they will run out of food by the end of the first year. They agree to start rationing the food, which Jon knows will displease the men. The meeting ends when Jon is summoned to King Stannis, whose wrong-way rangers, Ser Richard and Ser Justin, have returned with news from south of the Wall. They present Rattleshirt, who wears a red gem round his wrist like the one Melisandre wears around her throat. She declares that he will not betray the Night's...

(The entire section is 238 words.)

Chapter 18 Summary

Tyrion and the others continue down the Rhoyne aboard the Shy Maid. When they reach the Sorrows, they are engulfed in an unnatural fog and worry that the stone men will attack. The stone men suffer from a mortal form of greyscale. Tyrion recalls how men would sometimes cut off an arm to keep the stone from spreading, only to start to feel its tingle as the sickness starts in the other arm. They know that they have reached the Bridge of Dream when they see a series of lights in the fog above them. On it are the stone men. As the ship passes beneath it, Young Griff refuses to go belowdecks. Tyrion tells him that he should, revealing that he knows Young Griff is a prince. Tyrion reveals his identity as well: he is the son of...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

Chapter 19 Summary

Davos is held captive by Lord Wyman Manderly, and when Ser Marlon Manderly comes to take him away, he reflects on how he was captured. Rather than being granted a private audience, Davos was taken before a court filled with old men, women, and Freys. Davos calls upon Lord Manderly to support King Stannis out of a sense of duty, but no one in the room listens. The Lannisters will return their captured relatives, while Stannis offers more death. Lady Leona, whose husband is still held by the Freys, mocks Davos and calls for his head. The Freys, meanwhile, announce that the Red Wedding was Robb Stark's work. He transformed into a wolf and killed everyone around him. When Davos calls the Freys liars, only Lord Manderly is able to stop...

(The entire section is 219 words.)

Chapter 20 Summary

Reek journeys to Moat Cailin, careful to guard his thoughts against memories of his former identity. He wears gloves so that no one will see his lost fingers. There was a time before when he had ridden south as a prince with Robb Stark and twenty thousand men. Now, he is Lord Ramsay's Reek and only two in ten of those men survived. Still, Ramsay has promised to make Reek his dog if the latter can deliver Moat Cailin. Reek approaches the decrepit towers under a banner of peace and inside confronts the remaining ironborn that guard the tower. They are dying. There are many sicknesses in the Neck, not to mention poisonous serpents and insects. Reek knows that the people of the Neck, whom he calls bog devils, are the worst of all. They...

(The entire section is 207 words.)

Chapter 21 Summary

Jon reflects on all of the men the Night's Watch has lost as he leads his men south from the Wall to Mole's Town, where the wildlings live crammed in tunnels beneath the village. Jon notices that they have begun to carve faces into the trees around the village; they have brought their old gods with them. They come out for food and are allowed to pick either an apple or an onion. When they complain that they are not fed as well as the men of the Night's Watch, Jon replies that the men of the Night's Watch are fighting the Others and guarding the Wall. He proposes that the wildlings make a new choice. He offers to take any wildling into his service, boy or girl, that is twelve or older and knows how to use a spear. At first, the...

(The entire section is 219 words.)

Chapter 22 Summary

Tyrion wakes up aboard the Shy Maid again; the others inform him that Lemore revived him. They worry that Tyrion might have greyscale and they advise him to prick his toes and fingers regularly with a knife. If it ever stops hurting, he should cut off that appendage. Tyrion returns to life aboard the ship, though the others remain careful around him. He challenges Young Griff, now revealed as Prince Aegon, to a game of cyvasse. Aegon plans to journey to Daenerys and marry her. Tyrion suggests that the prince's plans might not work out as he plans if he arrives as a beggar with a small army. Instead, Aegon should trust no one—certainly not Illyrio and his schemes. He should journey to Westeros and raise a bold...

(The entire section is 237 words.)

Chapter 23 Summary

Daenerys sups with Galazza Galare, an old woman with wise eyes. She is happy to see that Dany has not killed any of the noble children that she holds hostage. The Sons of the Harpy do continue to kill Dany's men, but she cannot bring herself to murder children. Galazza Galare suggests that Dany marry Hizdahr zo Loraq and give birth to a son to consolidate her rule. Dany, however, knows that she will never give birth to another child. Still, she summons Hizdahr zo Loraq and agrees to marry him if he can give Meereen ninety days of peace. Before he goes, Dany asks him to kiss her, but she is not moved by the kiss. When he leaves, she talks with Ser Barristan, who disapproves of Dany's plan. He urges her to go to Westeros, but Dany...

(The entire section is 253 words.)

Chapter 24 Summary

The Lost Lord, Jon Connington, prepares to return to the Golden Company. He served with them for years after his exile and rose high in their ranks before leaving to carry out Illyio and Varys's scheme to train Prince Aegon in secrecy. When he left, Myles Toyne had led the mercenaries. Now, his friend is dead and Harry Strickland runs the company. Though Lemore cautions him, Connington is tired of waiting. He reflects that he has waited seventeen years to avenge his loss at the Battle of the Bells. If he would have defeated Robert Baratheon that day, his silver prince, Rhaegar, would still live. When they present themselves before the captains of the Golden Company, Strickland is reluctant to follow through on the plan. Daenerys...

(The entire section is 247 words.)

Chapter 25 Summary

The Windblown is a mercenary company, and now Quentyn Martell is one of them. The Windblown have marched for thirty years since they were founded by the Tattered Prince. Quentyn now serves as a squire to Arch, and he goes by the name Frog. So far, their plan to reach Daenerys Targaryen seems to be working. They are closer to her than ever, but they are fighting for the slavers, who have just conquered Astapor. Quentyn recalls the battle, in which he and the others rode over green boys armed with spears. Cleon's corpse was tied to a horse in the final battle before the liberated city was defeated. Now, Quentyn wonders when they should defect. Arch and Drink agree that they should wait until they are closer to Meereen before they...

(The entire section is 257 words.)

Chapter 26 Summary

The wayward bride, Asha Greyjoy, drinks wine in Galbart Glover's longhall when a maester brings her a letter. It is from Ramsay Bolton, who names himself a lord and the Warden of the North. The letter contains a strip of Theon's skin and a warning that all of the ironborn must leave the north. Asha's men would like to march south to fight the skinners, but Asha knows that they only seek a good death. Asha does not like Deepwood Motte and its forests, but she cannot return to the sea. Euron is chasing dragons, but he has declared Erik Ironmaker, the Anvil-Breaker, her husband, and he rules over the Iron Isles now. If Asha should appear, she will be expected to submit to him. She considers joining Stannis, but she is reluctant to...

(The entire section is 296 words.)

Chapter 27 Summary

Tyrion tests the knight's limits, though he knows that if he goes too far with his comments and jokes that he will get another fat lip. They arrive in Volantis in the middle of the triarch elections. There are slaves everywhere, and the knight has Tyrion bound in shackles so that no one will listen to what he says. Tyrion is struck by the size of temple for R'hllor, the Lord of Light. The high priest, Benerro, is calling for his followers to support Daenerys Targaryen, their reborn savior, against the forces of darkness. Tyrion worries for Aegon, since the priest does not call for more than one savior. They take shelter that night and Tyrion announces that he knows the knight, Ser Jorah Mormont, and he attempts to convince him not...

(The entire section is 296 words.)

Chapter 28 Summary

Jon sends Ser Alliser Thorne north of the Wall on a ranging, though the latter believes it a death sentence. Dywen will lead Ser Alliser's ranging, and Jon is sending Black Jack Bulwer and Kedge Whiteye on another two rangings. Cotter Pyke has spotted wildlings building ships along the shore and Ser Denys Mallister has reported fires north of the Gorge. Both asked for more men, so Jon had sent them wildling recruits, which pleased neither. He wonders where he can get more recruits and goes into the yard, looking for a fight. Jon defeats Iron Emmett's three most promising recruits. Rattleshirt challenges Jon next. The Lord of Bones wields a two handed sword with speed and power and ultimately defeats Jon. Afterward, Clydas brings...

(The entire section is 235 words.)

Chapter 29 Summary

Davos is imprisoned in the Wolf's Den, tended by Garth, who brings porridge "for the dead man" every day. Although Garth mocks Davos over his coming death, Davos is otherwise treated well. He composes letters to his wife and sons, though he realizes that he does not know his youngest three sons as well as he knew his oldest four sons. When someone does come for him, Davos is not taken to his death. It is Robett Glover, who explains that a lot has happened since Davos was imprisoned. Stannis has taken Deepwood Motte, the Glovers' fort. Lord Manderly's son has been returned to him from the Freys. And, most importantly, Davos is dead. They tarred a criminal's head and cut off his fingers to fool the Freys and the Lannisters. Now, they...

(The entire section is 257 words.)

Chapter 30 Summary

Daenerys counts the ships in the harbor that cut off trade to Meereen. She turns to her admiral and asks his advice, but he insists that there is nothing he can do. Dany turns to Ser Barristan, who tells her she has ample stores and the friendship of Lhazar, though they are not fighters. She next sees Skahaz and two of his Brazen Beasts, men that wear masks of animals. He reports on Hizdahr's movements. Each night, Hizdahr goes to a different pyramid, and Skahaz thinks he may be the Harpy that leads the rebellion against Dany's rule. Dany refuses to have him arrested and insists upon peace. Word has reached the city that Astapor has fallen. A man riding a pale mare brings the news as well as evidence that the bloody flux is making...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

Melisandre makes sure that there is always a fire burning in her chambers to keep the terrors of the night at bay. She looks into her hearthfire for visions, but does not find any about Arya Stark. There is also nothing about Stannis, Azor Ahai reborn. She sees winged shapes, waves crashing on towers, and a white face with red eyes. She remembers the sound of a woman crying "Melony" and another voice saying "Lot Seven." When morning comes, she has Devan fetch her breakfast. She checks the sleeves of her dress. She is nearly out of the powders that she uses to manipulate fire, but fortunately her spells are more powerful at the Wall than they ever were in Asshai. She meets with Rattleshirt and asks him to consider journeying south...

(The entire section is 260 words.)

Chapter 32 Summary

Reek hears the dogs barking before he sees Lord Ramsay return. The dogs are named after women that Lord Ramsay has raped, and now Reek spends his days with them. Little Walder and Big Walder are with him, and Reek notices that Little Walder is becoming more and more like Lord Ramsay while Big Walder seldom takes part in Lord Ramsay's cruelties. There is a feast that night until Roose Bolton enters and dismisses everyone but Lord Ramsay and Reek. Roose and his son discuss their plans. The Freys that were with Lord Manderly have disappeared, and Lord Manderly has not brought a hostage for the Boltons. In spite of Arnolf Karstark's best efforts, Stannis has not marched on the Dreadfort. Instead, he grows stronger. Lord Ramsay would...

(The entire section is 251 words.)

Chapter 33 Summary

Tyrion watches as Moqorro leads the sailers in their prayers to R'hllor aboard the Selaesori Qhoran. Tyrion has no use for gods, but he does talk to the priest, who is charged with bringing his faith to Daenerys. Tyrion wonders what to do with Penny. She continues blames him for the death of her brother, but Tyrion refuses to take responsibility. He has his own sins to answer for. She eventually accepts what he says and they begin to form a relationship. She tells him that she and her brother were not hired by Cersei, but rather by one of the Kettleblacks. She also asks him to tilt with her on Pretty, a pig. Tyrion refuses. The ship sails close to where Valyria met its doom. Tyrion looks at the Smoking Sea and he can see...

(The entire section is 228 words.)

Chapter 34 Summary

Bran sits on a weirwood throne under a hill while the Others shuffle above ground. He and Meera have begun naming the Children of the Forest. His guide, Leaf, explains that the Children had their time during the dawn of days, but now they are declining along with the giants, the unicorns, and the great lions. Eventually, even the direwolves will pass. The greenseer, who was once named Brynden, teaches Bran to become a skinchanger. When Bran flies within a raven, he feels the presence of another. The greenseer explains that it is a shadow of a singer's soul. Long ago, ravens carried messages that they were able to speak to First Men. Meera and Jojen explore the caves, and sometimes Bran secretly follows them inside of Hodor's mind....

(The entire section is 248 words.)

Chapter 35 Summary

Jon takes his men north of the Wall to the weirwood grove, though Bowen March disagrees with his decision. Jon explains that if the new recruits—two of whom are wildlings—wish to swear their vows before the old gods, then they shall. It is tradition. The snows are deep now, and Jon wishes that they had a glass garden in which they could grow vegetables. Sadly, the Wall has no gold to buy glass. Along the way to the grove, he tells Iron Emmett and Dolorous Edd that they are to be given command of a fort along the Wall otherwise guarded only by wildling spearwives. When Jon and the others arrive at the grove, they find a group of wildlings and a giant sleeping there. At first, it looks like they will fight until Leathers talks to...

(The entire section is 258 words.)

Chapter 36 Summary

Daenerys goes outside the city walls to tend to the Astapori that are dying of the flux. The dead are piling high, and it is getting harder and harder to convince drivers to take food out to them. The dying Astapori demand blessings and food from their mother. Though she feels bad for them, there is little that she can do except feed them and start a funeral pyre. Fortunately, the Targaryens do not suffer from disease as others do. She returns to her chambers and bathes. After, she sups with the Galazza Galare, who tells her all of the preparation Dany will have to make to marry Hizdahr. Dany refuses to have her womb inspected by Hizdahr's family, but she agrees to wear a white tokar. Galazza Galare and Reznak insist that if Dany...

(The entire section is 239 words.)

Chapter 37 Summary

The Prince of Winterfell, Theon Greyjoy, escorts brown eyed Jeyne Poole to her wedding. She tells Theon to take her away and she will be whatever he wants her to be. Theon refuses. The lords of the north have come to Winterfell to see Arya Stark wed Ramsay Bolton. When the wedding finishes, Ramsay is the Prince of Winterfell. Theon walks around the ruined castle. He remembers when he was the prince of Winterfell, though now men only remember him as Theon Turncloak. Abel, who claims to be a bard, plays and sings for the guests. Theon remembers that he arrived with six women. During the feast, Theon sits with Lady Dustin, who tells Theon that Roose Bolton only sees men as playthings. She predicts that Roose will defeat Stannis and...

(The entire section is 250 words.)

Chapter 38 Summary

The Watcher, Areo Hotah, remembers his task: Serve. Protect. Obey. Prince Doran, Princess Arianne, Ellaria Sand, and the Sand Snakes watch as Maester Caleotte reveals the skull of Ser Gregor Clegane, the murderer of Princess Elia and her babes. While everyone else examines the skull, Areo studies Ser Balon Swann of the Kingsguard. He looks more dangerous than Ser Arys had been, nor does he appear tempted by Arianne. Prince Doran discusses sending Princess Myrcella, Cersei's daughter, and Prince Trystane, Doran's son, to King's Landing, though both wait at the Water Gardens. Prince Doran retreats with his family, and he decides to tell the Sand Snakes some of his plans. First, he tells them that he has heard that Cersei...

(The entire section is 239 words.)

Chapter 39 Summary

Jon sends Val beyond the Wall. She promises to return, though Jon worries that she will die in her mission. His other rangers have still not returned, however, and so Jon sends Val, a wildling, to find Tormund Giantsbane with an offer to move his people south of the Wall. Sending Val is risky because Stannis commanded him to keep the "wildling princess" close. It also alarms some of his men. When Jon finishes eating supper, Lord Steward Bowen Marsh, Septon Cellador, and First Builder Othell Yarwyck come to voice their concerns. Jon is sending Iron Emmett away, but he has put Leathers, a wildling, in charge of training new recruits. Jon explains that Leathers has sworn his vows and that he is a very dangerous opponent. They also...

(The entire section is 272 words.)

Chapter 40 Summary

Tyrion has somehow agreed to ride Pretty in a tilt against Penny. The crew of the Selaesori Qhoran has grown restless, waiting for a wind. Men that once rubbed Tyrion's head for luck now blame him for their misfortune, so Tyrion agrees to do what he can to make them happy. Tyrion loses the joust, though Penny hopes it will be the first of many. Perhaps they will joust in front of Queen Daenerys. When Ser Jorah suggests that Tyrion will not be able to joust in front of Daenerys because she will judge him justly, Tyrion suggests that she might not do as Ser Jorah expects. Tyrion did not kill any member of her family, whereas Ser Jorah spied on her for years. Ser Jorah punches Tyrion, breaking one of his teeth, and tells him...

(The entire section is 220 words.)

Chapter 41 Summary

The Turncloak, Theon Greyjoy, eats alone in Winterfell's hall. Arya Stark weeps in her tower while the men eat. The hall is the only place the men have since the winter snows have begun to fall. Stannis, they know, is out there in the snow, slowly marching to Winterfell, which, though burnt, is still a powerful castle surrounded by two walls. Rowan, one of the women that accompanies Abel, approaches Theon and tells him that it was clever of him to take Wintefell. She asks if he had a secret entrance, but Theon refuses to tell her how he took the castle. As he walks around, he wonders how he could escape, but dismisses the thought. Lady Dustin takes Theon from the hall and tells him to show her the crypt beneath the castle where the...

(The entire section is 266 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear