Study Guide

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4)

by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) Summary

Extended Summary

A Feast for Crows is the fourth novel in George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” When the previous novel, A Storm of Swords, ended, Tyrion Lannister killed his father, Tywin. Lord Tywin Lannister had not only been one of the most powerful lords in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros but had also been the “Hand of the King,” the most powerful member of King Tommen’s small council. Since King Tommen is still a boy, Tywin had been the true ruler of the Westeros. Now, his responsibilities fall to his daughter, Cersei Lannister, the Queen Regent of Westeros.

Like her father, Cersei is cunning and manipulative, though she lacks Tywin’s judgment. She is also deeply paranoid of any threat to her rule, not to mention the lives of her children, and she is haunted by a prophecy she was told as a girl: that a younger and more beautiful queen would replace her and take everything she loves. When A Feast for Crows begins, Cersei is awoken in the middle of the night and is told of her father’s death. She walks to the Tower of the Hand and discovers, to her irritation, that she was not even the first person told of the Hand’s murder. She has been preceded by her twin brother, the Lord Commander of the King’s Guard, Jaime.

The court at King’s Landing holds a funeral in Lord Tywin’s honor, one that is ruined by the strong scent of Tywin’s decay. Cersei is furious throughout the funeral. Her son, King Tommen, cries in front of his lords, and Tommen’s betrothed, the beautiful and popularly admired Margaery of House Tyrell, puts on a show of mourning, though Cersei does not believe it. Looking at her father’s corpse, the Queen Regent resolves to rule the realm so that Tywin will be remembered not as a great Hand of the King or even as a great lord, but rather as the father of Queen Cersei.

Cersei sets to work removing her rivals. She allows Margaery to wed Tommen in exchange for sending her father, Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden, and his armies away to battle the king’s remaining enemies. Only a few castles still defy the Lannisters from the War of the Five Kings—Dragonmount, Storm’s End, and Riverrun—and Tyrell and his armies are tasked with laying siege to the first two. Although Cersei attempts to have her Uncle Kevan become her Hand, he refuses unless she leaves King’s Landing. Cersei rejects these terms, and is pleased to see Kevan leave King’s Landing with his son, Lancel. Cersei is refused again by Jaime, who reminds her of the Kingsguard’s oaths. Cersei is especially infuriated since Jaime actually murdered the first king he had sworn to protect, and since she and Jaime had been lovers. Tommen is in fact Jaime’s son, though his power derives from Cersei’s marriage to the deceased king, Robert Baratheon. Spited, Cersei wastes little time before she burns down the Tower of the Hand and raises minor lords, ones who she feels cannot threaten her, to the King’s “Small Council.” She even sends Jaime into the Riverlands to end the siege of Riverrun. Surrounded by minor lords, Cersei appears to have secured her power. News of Cersei’s deeds soon begins to spread throughout the realm.

The Vale, located in the East of Westeros, has long been ruled by the House of Arryn. Lord Robert Arryn is a sickly child who is small for his age and suffers from the “shaking sickness.” The Vale is actually ruled by Lord Petyr Baelish, or “Littlefinger,” who had married Robert’s mother Lysa before murdering her and blaming it on a singer. Littlefinger also cares for Sansa Stark, the heir to the North, whom he passes off as his “natural” daughter, “Alayne,” ostensibly to protect her. Littlefinger poses as Sansa’s father, but he always asks Sansa to “kiss her father,” complaining about how dutiful her kisses are. Littlefinger had loved Sansa’s mother, and appears to have transferred his feelings to Sansa. He tells Sansa that once he has secured power in the Vale, he will reveal her true identity and ask the lords of the East to win the North for her. Littlefinger may make for a suspect guardian of Robert and Sansa, but in comparison to Cersei, he is a very gifted politician. He quickly quells the lords that defy his rule of the Vale.

The Vale is not the only part of the realm to suffer upheaval. In the deep south of Westeros, the people of Dorne demand vengeance of their lord, Prince Doran. In the previous novel, Doran’s brother, Prince Oberyn, the Red Viper, died in combat defending Tyrion Lannister against Gregor Clegane. Doran suffers from gout, and he hides his weakness by ruling from the Water Gardens rather than at the court at Sunspear. Doran’s daughter, Arianne, runs the court at Sunspear, an important task since Princess Myrcella is staying there. Arianne, however, wants vengeance for Prince Oberyn’s death, and she hatches a scheme to crown Myrcella and invade the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Her plot fails and she is imprisoned. However, when she finally is granted an audience with her father, she learns that Doran does mean to exact vengeance on the Lannisters. He has in fact been conspiring to support the return of Daenerys Targaryen, the rightful Queen of Westeros.

Though Prince Doran finds himself hard-pressed to control Dorne, there is even more unrest...

(The entire section is 2179 words.)

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) Chapter Summaries

Prologue Summary

Pate, Mollander, and Roone watch as Alleras the Sphinx shoots arrows at thrown apples. Mollander and Roone would like to see the dragons that they have heard about, while Pate dreams of Rosey. Rosey's mother has offered to sell her maidenhead for a gold dragon, and though Pate has been saving, he does not yet have enough. She is all that he wants in the world, and Pate fantasizes about taking her across the Narrow Sea, away from Oldtown. When he had first come to the Citadel, Pate had been thrilled to help Archmaester Walgrave with the ravens, but it soon turned to doing domestic chores for the old man. He thinks about the alchemist who will return this night with the offer to turn iron to gold. Unlike the others, Pate has yet to forgea single link of a maester's chain. Alleras already has three in less than a year of study. Alleras shoots his last arrow and sits down to tell the other students what he suspects about the dragon stories. He thinks Daenerys Stormborn is the young queen they have heard about. Lazy Leo, an arrogant lord's son, arrives and tells the others that Marwyn the Mage, an eccentric archmaester, agrees with Alleras. Eventually, Pate is left alone and he finally finds the alchemist. He trades the man an archmaester's key in exchange for a gold dragon. The alchemist reveals his face, which is average but for a hooked nose and a scar on his right cheek. Pate begins to walk away, thinking of Rosy, when he falls to the cobbles.

Chapter 1 Summary

The prophet, Aeron Damphair, drowns men off the coast of Great Wyk in the Iron Islands. The first three men rise from the water bravely, but the fourth's faith is weak. Three men arrive to the shore, but Damphair must first resuscitate the man he just drowned. After, the men explain that they have come to bring Damphair to their lord, Gorold Goodbrother. They announce that Aeron's brother, Balon Greyjoy, who had crowned himself king of the Iron Isles, is dead. Aeron feels the sea shake beneath him. They explain that Balon fell from a bridge during a storm, so Aeron concludes that the Storm God must have struck him down; now, thankfully, Balon feasts in the Drowned God's watery halls. Aeron takes a horse and rides to the Hammerhorn. Along the way, he thinks about his brothers. The oldest three all died young. Next came Balon, Euron, Victarion, Urrigon, and Aeron. (The last, Robin, is best forgotten.) When he arrives, a "chain-neck maester" tells Damphair that Euron Crow's Eye returned the day after Balon's death and that he now sits on the Seastone Chair. Damphair is shocked and declares that only a godly man may take the chair. Soon, there is word that Asha Greyjoy is calling men to Ten Towers, while Euron calls them to Pyke. Damphair begins preaching for men to journey to Old Wyk, where the ironborn will have a kingsmoot.

Chapter 2 Summary

The Captain of Guards, Areo Hotah, watches as Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne, eats overripe fruit. Doran, who suffers from terrible gout, sits in a wheel chair as Obara Sand, the eldest Sand Snake, comes to challenge him over the death of his brother, Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper and the father of the Sand Snakes. Ebara insists that they act, but Doran remains calm, pointing out that Oberyn was killed in a trial by combat. Doran does not agree to summon Dorne's armies and sends Ebara to Sunspear. After, Doran decides that he will travel there as well. Hotah thinks about Arys Oakheart and Princess Myrcella, who wait at the Sunspear as well as Princess Arianne, Doran's daughter. When he left Norvos, Hotah was told to keep his...

(The entire section is 250 words.)

Chapter 3 Summary

Cersei dreams that she sits the Iron Throne, while the lords and ladies of the land watch like mice beneath her. Suddenly, they begin laughing and Cersei realizes that she is naked. She writhes amongst the barbs of the Iron Throne as Tyrion capers beneath her. She wakes to find Ser Osmund Kettleblack and Ser Boros Blount of the Kinsguard come to summon her. Cersei learns that her father, Lord Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock and the Hand of the King, is dead. Her brother, Jaime, has found a secret passage in the Tower of the Hand, and is following it in search of the murderer. Ser Loras Tyrell, meanwhile, guards young Tommen, Cersei's last son and the king of Westeros. Cersei wonders whether the Tyrells of Highgarden are behind her...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Chapter 4 Summary

Brienne of Tarth is looking for a maid of "three-and-ten" with auburn hair, which is what she says as she searches for Sansa Stark. Brienne has promised to find Sansa, and she means to keep the oath she made to Jaime Lannister. Sansa has no family to return to and Brienne could find no word that she left King's Landing by sea. So she rides north of the city. The people warn her that if she travels much farther north, she will enter the ravaged riverlands, which are full of outlaws and desperate, lost soldiers. She comes upon Ser Creighton Longbough and Ser Illifer the Penniless. Illifer draws his dagger when he recognizes Brienne, and he accuses her of murdering King Renly. Brienne cannot explain what happened the night Renly died:...

(The entire section is 259 words.)

Chapter 5 Summary

Samwell Tarly has spent the night in the Wall's library researching the Others. He leaves the library to find Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark and now the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Along the way, Sam meets his friends, Pyp and Grenn, who chide him for missing archery practice. Jon has ordered the men to study the bow, arguing that the Wall has focused too much on training with swords. They call him Sam the Slayer, though Sam hates that name. The days when knights made up the majority of the men on the Wall are long past. When he reaches Jon, Sam explains what they know of the Others: they can be killed by obsidian, fire, and, possibly, Valyrian steel. The dead will rise as their thralls unless burnt. Sam...

(The entire section is 228 words.)

Chapter 6 Summary

Arya spots the eyes of the Titan of Braavos, a massive statue that stands astride the city. The captain of the Titan's Daughter has a son that explains to Arya—the men call her "Salty"—that all gods are welcome in Braavos and that Arya will find the temple of the Many-Faced-God on an isle in the middle of the city. Arya wonders if the Many-Faced-God will answer her prayers. There are only six people that she wishes dead now: Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Raff the Sweetling, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, and Queen Cersei. Braavos is a city made up of many islands, and they put Arya to shore before they go to the customs house. She sees others traveling by barge through the city. When she reaches the temple of the Many-Faced-God, Arya...

(The entire section is 280 words.)

Chapter 7 Summary

Cersei takes Tommen to Lord Tywin's funeral. She is disappointed by how biddable Tommen is compared to Joffrey, but she is determined to defend him against his enemies. It is raining, so fewer have turned out for this funeral than did for Robert, which also disappoints Cersei. She worries that the High Septon, who was appointed during Tyrion's time as Hand of the King, might betray her. She looks at her father's corpse. He was the greatest man in the Seven Kingdoms, and she is confident that she will surpass him. After the service, many lords and ladies approach her. Some wish to name their children after Tommen. Cersei is more pleased when the beautiful Lady Taena Merryweather of Myr tells Cersei that she is looking everywhere,...

(The entire section is 260 words.)

Chapter 8 Summary

Jaime stands vigil over his father's corpse. Lord Tywin's body dries and his lips curl up in a smile over time. The other knights of the Kingsguard offer to relieve him, but Jaime refuses. He thinks of the past week and how he allowed Tyrion to escape with Varys. He wonders if he should tell Cersei but decides not to. He recalls his investigations in the dungeons and beneath the castle and how Kettleblack killed the goalers at Cersei's command. He remembers how Tyrion told him that Cersei had been sleeping with Lancel and Kettleblack and others. He recalls when he first joined the Kingsguard, the last time he saw Prince Rhaegar, and Ser Arthur Dayne, who knighted him. In the middle of the night, Cersei comes to Jaime, dressed as a...

(The entire section is 248 words.)

Chapter 9 Summary

Brienne arrives in Duskendale, hoping to find Ser Dontos Hollard, with whom she thinks Sansa might have fled King's Landing. When she enters the town, the guards are wary at the sight of a Harrenhal bat on her shield, so she has it repainted. So long as men think that she murdered King Renly, Brienne knows that she cannot reveal that she is Brienne of Tarth. She goes to the castle and finds the maester, who explains that the Hollards lost their lands during Robert's Rebellion against Aerys. Only Barristan the Bold's mercy spared Dontos from being beheaded as punishment for his family's treachery against the Targaryens. There is nothing left for Dontos, explains the maester, who is tired of explaining to searchers that Dontos and...

(The entire section is 225 words.)

Chapter 10 Summary

Sansa is disturbed by the sound of Marillion's singing at night. He has been jailed in one of the sky cells since Petyr murdered Lysa Arryn and blamed Marillion for the crime. Only Petyr and Sansa know that Marillion is innocent, and now Lord Nestor Royce is coming up the mountain to the Eyrie to hear Petyr's tale. Sansa wonders whether Petyr is her friend. He never tried to help her when she was attacked in King's Landing; then again, he was the one that helped her to escape King's Landing. She decides that he is her only friend. When the nobles of the Vale arrive, Petyr sends Sansa to retrieve the sickly Robert Arryn, who starts shaking at the first feelings of distress. When he arrives in the hall, Robert declares that Marillion...

(The entire section is 254 words.)

Chapter 11 Summary

The Kraken's Daughter, Asha Greyjoy, arrives in Harlaw, where her uncle Rodrik Harlaw rules the Ten Towers. He has gathered men and longships for Asha, but not enough to challenge her uncle Euron Crow's Eye for the Seastone Chair. Rodrik, who loves books, tells Asha that many of the men have likely made for Old Wyk and Aeron Damphair's kingsmoot. He also points out that the last time the ironborn had a kingsmoot, the victor was the captain that attacked and killed his rivals. Rodrik counsels Asha to turn away from her path: she cannot hope to win. Westeros, he explains, has become a corpse and now Asha is turning into one of the many crows feasting upon it. Rodrik loves Asha, and he offers to make her his heir, but Asha refuses....

(The entire section is 224 words.)

Chapter 12 Summary

Cersei is furious that the Tyrells have insisted that Tommen marry Margaery so soon after Joffrey's death. She takes her anger out on her maid, Jocelyn Swyft, who struggles to cinch the queen's gown. Nothing goes as Cersei would prefer: Tommen even wraps a Baratheon cloak around Margaery's shoulders, rather than a Lannister cloak. When everyone toasts Margaery, the new queen, Cersei recalls a Maggy the Frog's prophecy that Cersei would be queen "until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." She worries that they acquiesce to too many of the Tyrells' demands, but Jaime reminds her that Lady Olenna is about to return to Highgarden and that Mace Tyrell and most of his army...

(The entire section is 286 words.)

Chapter 13 Summary

The Soiled Knight, Ser Arys Oakheart of the Kingsguard, walks through the streets of Sunspear in disguise. Since the Red Viper's death, the Dornish have attacked outsiders, especially those from King's Landing. Arys feels uncomfortable without his white cloak, but reassures himself that he is still a member of the Kingsguard. All thoughts of duty and honor flee his mind when he arrives and meets Princess Arianne Martell, who is naked but for a snake wound around her arm. They make love. Afterward, he tries to break off their relationship but cannot. She, meanwhile, tries to convince him to support Myrcella over Tommen. In Dorne, the oldest child, rather than the oldest son, inherits. At first, Arys refuses. It is no more than...

(The entire section is 201 words.)

Chapter 14 Summary

Brienne has begun to teach Pod how to use a sword. Though he is quick, he has not been well trained by his previous masters. Thanks to them, he understands little more than how to shoe a horse. As they journey, they come upon a man and woman taking eggs to Lord Tarly. Tarly's son, Dickon, is to marry Lord Mooton's daughter. When they arrive at the gate, a soldier steals the eggs and is about to take the woman as well. Brienne intervenes, and the soldiers prepare to attack her until Ser Hyle Hunt appears. The farmer declares Ser Hyle a true knight and ignores Brienne. Brienne is irritated since she recognizes him from her days in Renly's host. Hyle and others had run a pool to see which man could first kiss her. It had been Randyll...

(The entire section is 234 words.)

Chapter 15 Summary

Samwell is greensick now that the Blackbird has put out to sea. She is not the most dangerous ship that Eastwatch could have offered, but she is the best suited for the long journey south. Though autumn's storms are not so dangerous as winter's, they are more frequent. Sam is accompanied by Dareon, a singer that Jon has sent south in the hopes that he will attract men to join the Night's Watch. Since Yoren went missing, the Wall has gone without a recruiter. Maester Aemon, meanwhile, spends his days on the deck. He cannot see the passing shore, but he remembers when he came north to the Wall. He explains that Egg had wanted him to help rule from King's Landing, but Aemon had known that his place was at the Wall. Sam does...

(The entire section is 225 words.)

Chapter 16 Summary

Jaime watches as Lord Tywin's corpse is taken from King's Landing. Ser Kevan and Lancel leave as well. Though Jaime is kind to his uncle, it is clear that Kevan resents Jaime and Cersei. Jaime teases his soon-to-be-married cousin about his upcoming wedding night, but Lancel replies that he will pray for Jaime. Jaime returns to the yard, where he espies Ser Loras jousting. Jaime used to be excellent with the lance, but now he concedes that his time in the tourneys is over. He approaches Cersei, who is drinking wine with Lady Merryweather. Bronn has named Lollys Stokeworth's child "Tyrion," which they find funny. Alone, Jaime observes that Cersei is keeping quite a menagerie in Lady Merryweather of Myr and Qyburn the former maester....

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Chapter 17 Summary

Cersei is on her way to the small council when three dirty peasants arrive with the head of a dwarf. It is not Tyrion, but at least it is not another child. She sends them away, choosing not to punish them for murder as it might cause other searchers to hesitate before killing Tyrion. She meets Qyburn, now dressed in white and gold robes, who informs her that he has prepared a skull to send to Dorne to appease Prince Doran. Qyburn has replaced Varys, and he informs her that the irritating bells that are ringing in memory of the last High Septon will stop by the end of the day. Grand Maester Pycelle is outraged to see Qyburn, a maester who was stripped of his chain, join the council. Cersei, however, is pleased with her new council....

(The entire section is 259 words.)

Chapter 18 Summary

The Iron Captain, Victarion Greyjoy, arrives in Old Wyk where the ribs of Nagga rise from the earth. Victarion has returned with the Iron Fleet from Moat Cailin, where he watched the "bog devils" shoot his men with poisoned arrows that caused them to die slowly and terribly. Now, he wonders if he should become king. Just the thought of Euron makes Victarion clench his fists, but he remembers Balon's instruction that he would curse himself if he killed his brother. Hotho Harlaw offers to wed his daughter to Victarion, who says only that he has no luck with wives. He does not want to think of what happened to his third wife. Euron has returned from three years of exile with a crew of mutes and, in Victarion's view, monsters....

(The entire section is 245 words.)

Chapter 19 Summary

The Drowned Man, Aeron Damphair, returns from the sea with the voice of the Drowned God strong inside of him. He calls for the kingsmoot to begin, confident that Victarion will be chosen. After all, no godless man may sit the Seastone Chair. Gylbert Farwynd calls for the ironborn to raise him king. He offers to build ten thousand ships and sail across the Sunset Sea to lands where every man will be a king and every woman a queen. Next comes Eric Anvil-Breaker, a man that might once have been chosen but now is too old. The Drumm comes next and though his words are convincing, he offers the men no gold. Victarion does offer gold and seems about to win the throne when Asha interrupts. She explains that the Old Way of conquest has won...

(The entire section is 273 words.)

Chapter 20 Summary

Brienne follows Nimble Dick Cragg east out of Maidenpool in search of the fool and his two companions. Over days, they make their way toward the sea and then past the Brunes' castle. They finally leave roads behind and ride through a pine forest. Along the way, Brienne and Nimble Dick exchange stories. She tells him about a local hero of Tarth, Ser Galladon of Morne, the Perfect Knight. The Maiden fell in love with him and gave him a magic sword that he only used thrice because it would otherwise have given him an unfair advantage over mortal men. Dick replies that Galladon's last words must have been "I should have used the magic sword," and Brienne laughs. When they make their way out of the forest, they come upon the Whispers, a...

(The entire section is 275 words.)

Chapter 21 Summary

The Queeenmaker, Arianne Martell, is leading her party across the desert of Dorne away from Sunspear. She is accompanied by her best friends and the Darkstar, Ser Gerold Dayne. When they meet with Ser Arys and Princess Myrcella, the plan is truly under way: Arianne will crown Myrcella and solidify her own claim to Dorne. She knows that her younger brother, Quentyn, has traveled across the Narrow Sea. She also knows that the Golden Company, mercenaries, have broken their contract with Myr. Quentyn will surely strike soon to deny her claim to Dorne. The sun is cruel in Dorne, but Arianne leads her party thinking about the songs that will one day be told about their crossing. They finally reach a poleboat that will take them up the...

(The entire section is 220 words.)

Chapter 22 Summary

Arya continues to pray for her enemies' death. When the Kindly Man asks her whose names she recites, Arya says that she does not whisper names. The Kindly Man knows that she lies and makes her explain that they are people that she hates and that she wants to see dead. The Kindly Man explains that if she is to serve the Many-Faced-God, she must give up all of her self. Arya of House Stark might have enemies, but servants of the Many-Faced-God do not get to choose who lives and who dies. Arya refuses to leave the House of Black and White, though she is forced to give up all of her possessions in order to stay. She throws everything into the waters of Braavos, except for Needle, which she hides outside the House of Black and White....

(The entire section is 283 words.)

Chapter 23 Summary

Alayne cannot fit into many of Lysa Arryn's dresses, but she finds an old one that favors the Tully colors. She wears the dress as she tries to feed Robert, but he refuses to eat porridge. He seems to also be hearing voices at night. Littlefinger and Maester Coleman arrive and decide to begin feeding Robert a pinch of sweetsleep with his milk. Petyr sees Alayne's dress and tells her to change it. It would not do to have people thinking that his natural daughter is wearing a lady's colors. Alayne, meanwhile, worries that the Lords Declarant, who will soon arrive, will recognize her. After all, Bronze Yohn Royce once visited Winterfell. Alayne changes into more modest clothing, and although Bronze Yohn does seem to recognize her, he...

(The entire section is 209 words.)

Chapter 24 Summary

Cersei tells Tommen that he may not sit on the Iron Throne. She insists that he confess who has been filling his head with such notions, though Cersei knows that it is Margaery that encourage Tommen's rebellions. The rule is hers. Sometimes her counsellors bring her good news: Lord Manderly of White Harbor has executed Ser Davos the Onion Knight. In court, however, Noho Dimittis of the Iron Bank of Braavos tries to get the crown to pay back its debt. Cersei denies him. After, she walks in private with Ser Osmund, demanding to know when Ser Osney will finally seduce Margaery. Osmund explains that though Margaery seems to want Osney, she is never alone. When she sees Ser Loras training Tommen in the joust, Cersei intervenes to...

(The entire section is 324 words.)

Chapter 25 Summary

Brienne is irritated when Ser Hyle insists on bringing the heads of the slain Brave Companions. They rot and stink by the time they return to Maidenpool, and though Tarly is impressed by the proof that Brienne defeated three men he still insists that she return to Tarth. Brienne refuses and is surprised when Ser Hyle speaks up for her. She decides to search the riverlands for the Hound, who may be riding with Beric Dondarrion, the rumors say. Ser Hyle joins her, explaining that Lord Tarly has dismissed him for insolence and that now finding Sansa is his best chance of gaining land. They are also joined by Septon Meribald and his dog, Dog. Septon Meribald has walked the paths of the riverlands for decades. The people they meet are...

(The entire section is 276 words.)

Chapter 26 Summary

Samwell does not know what to do. The ship on which they had bought passage, Lady Ushanora, refused to wait any longer for Maester Aemon to recover his strength. It left without them and now Sam is out of coin. Dareon was supposed to sing tales about the valor of the Night's Watch, but he has instead been singing songs about the red, red lips of the women in Braavos. He took their remaining silver, claiming that he would return with wine and food. That was days ago. Gilly cries constantly, and Sam cannot bring himself to ask whether Jon Snow kept her child at the Wall. When Maester Aemon wakes, he tells Sam that he knows he is dying, but now that they have heard tales about dragons returning to the world, Maester Aemon...

(The entire section is 261 words.)

Chapter 27 Summary

Jaime still desires Cersei, though he finds that she always angers him when they talk. She has had Tommen sign a royal decree ordering Jaime to end the rebellion in the riverlands. Jaime swore an oath to Catelyn Stark that he would not fight in the riverlands again, but Cersei leaves him with no choice. He brings Ser Addam Marband and Ser Ilyn Payne with him. At night, he and Ser Ilyn, who is mute and can neither read nor write, train with the sword. Jaime sometimes wears a golden hand now, and his captains suggest that someday the smallfolk will call him "Goldenhand." Jaime knows that they will always call him Kingslayer, though he tries to carry out justice in the ravaged riverlands. Jaime and nearly a thousand men make their way...

(The entire section is 308 words.)

Chapter 28 Summary

Cersei and Taena make their way to the Great Sept of Baelor in a litter. She inquires whether Margaery is a virgin and if Taena would bring her son to court to play with Tommen. Taena does not believe that Margaery is a virgin, and she is reluctant to bring her son to court. When they arrive at the top of Visenya's Hill, the statue of Baelor the Blessed is covered in bones and the hill is full of "sparrows"—peasants and vagabonds that have come from all over the Seven Kingdoms. Cersei worries that there will be another riot if she does not handle the situation delicately. Still, the new High Septon has not blessed Tommen's ascent to the Iron Throne, so Cersei enters to Great Sept. The new High Septon does not wear shoes and his...

(The entire section is 297 words.)

Chapter 29 Summary

The Reaver, Victarion Greyjoy, attacks Southshield, an island in the Mander River that winds through the southwest of Westeros. For years, Southshield was one of the castles that protected Tyrell lands from ironborn raids. When Victarion slays Ser Talbert Serry, the heir of Southshield, the Mander lies open to further ironborn raids. Victarion is wounded during the battle, a vicious cut to his hand when he caught Serry's sword. After the battle, he sleeps with a dusky woman, a gift from Euron. She treats his hand and brings him wine. Victarion returns to Lord Hewett's Town with his men. He wonders if he could set one of his men, perhaps Nute the Barber, on Euron. Aeron now preaches against King Euron and Asha disappeared with her...

(The entire section is 313 words.)

Chapter 30 Summary

Jaime notices that the peasants are plowing the fields again when he arrives in Darry, hoping to find his cousin Lancel. When Jaime arrives with his host, Lancel is not there to welcome him and Ser Kevan has already left Darry. Instead, Jaime meets with Lady Amerei, Lancel's bride to be. Over dinner, they discuss the problems in the riverlands. The wolves are bold and attack men without fear. The Hound is loose and has launched a vicious and now infamous attack on the Saltpans. Jaime asks how they know, and they explain that the Hound's armor is unmistakable. It has been some time since anyone has seen Lord Beric, but a hooded woman has been seen leading the outlaws. Jaime advises the lords to win the hearts of the smallfolk to...

(The entire section is 265 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

Brienne follows Septon Meribald to the Saltpans, where the river flows into the sea. Meribald leads them through the water to the Quiet Isle, and he explains that, yes, the people there can talk but they choose not to as a sacrifice to the Seven. They take Brienne and the others to the Elder Brother, who is said to have healing powers. After supper, Elder Brother explains that he was once a knight. He fought with Prince Rhaeghar in the Trident against Robert, was slain, and woke up naked in the Saltpans. He found Sandor Clegane, dying, and buried him, but he made the mistake of leaving the Hound's helm on the grave. Now, someone else is posing as Clegane and ravaging the riverlands. Elder Brother counsels Brienne to give up her...

(The entire section is 213 words.)

Chapter 32 Summary

Cersei is irritated when Margaery demands that immediate action be taken against the ironborn for their attack on the Reach. It is the middle of the night, and Cersei and other members of the small council have been woken and brought to the hall to hear the young queen. The council has soon convinced itself that reports of the attack are overblown and likely a ploy from Stannis to get them to lift the siege on Dragonstone and Storm's End. Until those castles are taken, Highgarden and the Tyrells will have to deal with the raiders themselves. As Cersei returns to her rooms, Ser Loras volunteers to take over the siege and storm the extraordinarily high walls of Dragonstone himself. Cersei is thrilled and returns to her chamber, where...

(The entire section is 250 words.)

Chapter 33 Summary

Jaime arrives outside Riverrun, and he meets with Ser Daven, the new Warden of the West. Daven reports that Ser Kevan passed by recently and that he was not in the mood to talk. The siege goes slowly. Every day, they threaten to hang Edmure Tully, though they take him down every evening. Edmure's wife, meanwhile, is pregnant. Ser Brynden is well provisioned and could last another two years in the castle. The Freys, meanwhile, are supplying some food and provisions, but they claim to be running out, so Daven has been foraging for his own host. Lord Emmon, who is now officially lord of Riverrun though he does not yet have the castle, demands that they take the castle immediately but without damaging it. Jaime realizes that he must...

(The entire section is 274 words.)

Chapter 34 Summary

Cat of the Canals wanders around Braavos selling mussels, cockles, and oysters. She spends the days selling for Brucso; but when the moon is dark, she returns to the House of Black and White. The Kindly Man always asks her to share with him three things that she knows. She does not worry about finding new things because there are always new things to learn at the docks. She tells the men where the best brothels are, and she always recommends the Happy Port because Merry buys from her. She sees Dareon there, who no longer wears black except for a fine pair of boots. She escorts him out of the brothel one night and when she returns home, she has a new pair of boots to give to Brusco. The next time that she returns to the House of...

(The entire section is 214 words.)

Chapter 35 Summary

Samwell is aboard the Cinnamon Wind, which is sailing for Oldtown by way of the Summer Isles. Maester Aemon has passed away and Sam says the final words to remember him. After, they preserve his body and drink liquor. Sam remembers Maester Aemon's final words to him. He spoke of a prophecy and that although they had all been sure it would be Rhaegar, it now seems like Daenerys is the one foretold. He explains that the error came in translation: a prince was expected, but dragons change sex during their lives because they are unpredictable like fire. Maester Aemon wishes that he could go to her and worries that he cannot be one of the three heads of the dragon; there must be three. He worries for Stannis and Melisandre; the...

(The entire section is 224 words.)

Chapter 36 Summary

Cersei is pleased to learn from Aurane Waters that Dragonstone has fallen, and it seems that Ser Loras Tyrell will as well. She insists on being the one to tell Margaery that Loras was struck by more than one quarrel, as well as a cauldron of boiling oil when he crashed through the gates of Dragonstone with his men. Margaery insists that dying is not dead and retreats. After, Cersei is brought the head of another dwarf, but it is not Tyrion. At court, the Iron Bank again pesters the realm. They are now refusing to grant new loans to anyone in Westeros until the Iron Throne begins repaying its debts. The High Septon is preaching throughout King's Landing, even to the whores. Cersei tells their delegation that the whores are a vital...

(The entire section is 271 words.)

Chapter 37 Summary

Brienne and her party enter the riverlands and soon find men hanging from the trees. When they see blocks of salt shoved into the mouths of the dead men, they realize that the men were hanged for raiding the Saltpans. As they come to the crossroads inn, Septon Meribald explains that the inn has had many names as its owners have changed over the years. Hyle quips that owning an inn is dangerous, but Meribald explains that being a common person is dangerous when the lords play their game of thrones. The inn is now run by a ten-year-old girl, Willow, and her older sister. There is a smith at the inn, and Brienne is struck by how closely he resembles Renly. Willow and the others demand silver to stay and interrogate Brienne closely...

(The entire section is 284 words.)

Chapter 38 Summary

Jaime meets with Ser Brynden Tully, who is called the Blackfish. Ser Brynden is an experienced, wily, and dangerous knight, and he does not respond to any of Jaime's ploys, tricks, or offers. He taunts Jaime for his lack of honor and refuses to trade Edmure Tully, his liegelord and whom the Lannisters currently hold, for Jeyne Westerling, Robb Stark's widow. Jaime leaves and summons his war council, determined to let his lieutenants speak first as his father would have done. They offer no new ideas. Emmon Frey insists that they cannot damage his castle, while others demand that they storm it and end the siege. Soon, Lord Piper is cursing the Freys, who still hold Piper's son, a "guest" at their now infamous Red Wedding. Jaime...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

Chapter 39 Summary

Cersei does not hide her irritation when Grand Maester Pycelle brings her news that Gyles Rosby has died of his cough. She had commanded him to keep the master of coin alive, after all. She confronts him with his list of failures: King Robert's death, Jon Arryn's death, Joffrey's death. Finally, she demands to know why he has spent so much time with Margaery. When she threatens to send him back to the dungeons, Pycelle admits that he brings Margaery moon tea. Pleased, Cersei next seizes Rosby's lands and coin to help the crown pay its debts. She summons Lady Merryweather and her husband to supper, where she offers to make Lord Merryweather the Hand of the King. The Blue Bard plays for them until Cersei summons her guards and...

(The entire section is 308 words.)

Chapter 40 Summary

The Princess in the Tower, Arianne, takes solace in the fact that her prison is a gentle one. After their defeat, Darkstar escaped, and Hotah refused to listen to her pleas during the return. She was not taken before her father in the Tower of the Sun, but was instead taken to the Spear Tower. Her prison comes with books, red wine, and a beautiful view. She reflects on her fellow conspirators, who have been sent to Ghaston Grey, a prison island off the coast of Dorne. Hotah told her that someone informed on her plan, which means that someone Arianne loved betrayed her. And Ser Arys died because of it. Days later, Areo Hotah arrives and takes her to Prince Doran. There, he explains that Myrcella is still alive, though Darkstar did...

(The entire section is 265 words.)

Chapter 41 Summary

Alayne goes to the Little Lord Robert, who is refusing to leave his chambers. With winter coming, Lord Petyr and his servants will need to leave the Eyrie and journey to the Gates of the Moon. Now, Alayne has been called to talk sweetly to the petulant, sickly lord until he will agree to join their descent. Lord Petyr is attending Lord Lynoel Corbray's wedding to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Gulltown merchant. The dowry is said to be staggeringly large. Littlefinger arranged the match, and Alayne has received word that half of the Lords Declarant have now become his supporters. Alayne travels down the mountain with Mia Stone, whom Alayne can tell is the bastard daughter of King Robert, and Myranda, who is highborn. Alayne...

(The entire section is 245 words.)

Chapter 42 Summary

Brienne wakes up slung over the back of a horse. She dreams that she is in Harrenhal's bear pit again, facing Biter, as Lady Catelyn, King Renly, and others watch. When she wakes, she is offered water and learns that her arm is broken and her ribs cracked. Gendry killed Biter, at the very least. She learns that she is being taken to Lady Stoneheart, who is also known as the "Hangwoman." She falls into and out of dreams of Jaime and others. She again wakes and sees a new man wearing the Hound's helm. She wakes a third time inside a cave, her mail and sword gone. Her gaoler, Thoros, treats her wounds and explains that Lem was to stay at the inn but the mummers fooled him into following them away from it. He explains that they were...

(The entire section is 268 words.)

Chapter 43 Summary

Cersei is pleased when Septa Moelle comes before the court to explain that the High Septon has taken Queen Margaery into custody for fornication and treachery. They also hold her accuser, Ser Osney. When Grand Maester Pycelle reports that he has given Margaery moon tea, the court erupts. Cersei tells everyone that she is doing everything she can to free Margaery, but when she goes to Tommen, she has him sign decrees to take her supposed lovers into custody. Tommen, as always, signs whatever is put in front of him. Cersei goes to the Great Sept of Baelor, where a group of smallfolk are demanding Margaery's release. Cersei enters and sees Margaery. When Cersei informs her that the only Kinsguard that remain in the city to defend her...

(The entire section is 332 words.)

Chapter 44 Summary

Jaime meets with Edmure Tully and others inside Riverrun. Emmon Frey is angry that Ser Brynden Blackfish has escaped. Tully is proud of his uncle's escape until Jaime explains that they can just throw him in the dungeons beneath Casterly Rock. Tully explains that the Blackfish slipped under the portcullis and swam down the river. Jaime next meets with the Westerlings. Though Jeyne, Robb Stark's widow, still mourns her husband and is defiant, her mother demands everything that Lord Tywin promised her in their dealings. Jaime realizes that he respects Jeyne more than her mother, who comes from a line of "upjumped merchants." He sends them west to Casterly Rock under guard with Edmure. Many of Jaime's cousins elect to stay in the...

(The entire section is 246 words.)

Chapter 45 Summary

Samwell is neither as fat nor as cowardly as he once was by the time Cinnamon Wind lands in Oldtown. He even shoots arrows at the ironborn when they try to raid the ship. If the raiders are so bold, Sam thinks, he should go to Horn Hill to see if his father has left a strong enough guard. However, when he gets to Oldtown, his plans go awry. He is asked to wait and does not realize that he should offer a bribe to see the seneschal at the Citadel. His waiting only ends when Alleras the Sphinx arrives and introduces himself to Sam. Sam confides in him, telling him about Aemon's last words, especially his hope that the Citadel will send Daenerys a maester to help her fulfill the prophecy. He also explains the truth about...

(The entire section is 295 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear