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...
(The entire section is 2179 words.)
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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.
(The entire section is 264 words.)
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.
(The entire section is 235 words.)
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 longaxe sharp, and he thinks he may need to use it to kill Oakheart before long. The second Sand Snake, Nymeria Sand, finds them after they leave the Water Gardens. She also insists that they avenge Oberyn's death, but she suggests they send Tyene to gain their vengeance through poison. When Hotah and the prince arrive in Sunspear, the people demand vengeance. Doran next meets with Tyene, who urges Doran to war, but by inviting invaders to Dorne rather than by invading north. She points out that under Dornish law, the oldest child, rather than the oldest son, inherits. She argues that they crown Myrcella Queen of Westeros. Alone, Doran commands Hotah to collect the Sand Snakes and confine them.
(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 father's murder. She finds her father's corpse as well as the corpse of a whore, Shae. She has the Kettleblacks take the girl's corpse away. She meets Qyburn, a maester whose chain was removed as punishment for some crime, and instructs him to prepare her father's body for burial. When Jaime returns, she asks him to become the new Hand, but he refuses to rule. Cersei, shocked, announces that she will rule. Suddenly, she suspects Varys and sends for him, thinking that he may have killed her father. When she learns that Tyrion has escaped the dungeons, Cersei realizes that it must have been her brother that ruined everything.
(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: she saw a shadow kill her king, whom she had loved. She convinces them to put away their weapons and they go to sleep. The next day they travel together and come upon a group of devout peasants journeying to King's Landing. They call themselves sparrows and beseech the knights to escort them, but the knights refuse to work without pay. They next come upon a merchant and Ser Shadrich, who styles himself the Mad Mouse. Shadrich recognizes that Brienne is searching for Sansa Stark and announces that he is searching for her as well. Lord Varys has promised to pay gold for anyone that brings him Sansa Stark. That night, the lot of them stay at an inn together. Brienne goes to sleep determined to find Sansa.
(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 learns that he is to travel to the the Citadel in Oldtown. Jon intends for Sam to train and become a maester for the Night's Watch. Jon knows that Stannis and Melisandre seek to sacrifice a man with king's blood to raise their magical dragon, and so he is sending Maester Aemon away as well. Jon worries that Aemon will die on the journey, but agrees that it would be better than being burnt in Melisandre's fires. Gilly, the wildling daughter and wife of Craster, and her son are sent as well.
(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 reminds herself that she is a wolf. Arya brandishes the iron coin Jaqen H'ghar gave her and says "valar morghulis." The doors open. Inside, she finds many people, but only one man that speaks the Common Tongue of Westeros. He tells her that she is inside the House of Black and White, and young to seek the Many-Faced-God's favor. He does not believe any of the false names Arya offers, so she tells him that she is Arya of House Stark. When she claims that she does not fear death, the man removes his cowl to reveal a decayed face with a worm in place of his eyeball. Arya kisses him and tries to eat the worm, but it disappears. The man's face changes to that of a kindly old man and he asks Arya if she is hungry. She is, she thinks, but not for food.
(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, even across the Narrow Sea, for Tyrion. She is disgusted by Lancel, her cousin and former lover, whose hair is gray now despite his youth. He still cannot grow a moustache. She is angry when Mace Tyrell suggests that they name him Hand of the King and one of his bannermen Master of Coin. Cersei announces that the sickly Lord Gyles Rosby will be Master of Coin and that her uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, will be Hand of the King. However, after the funeral, she meets with Kevan, who agrees to become Hand, but only if Cersei also names him regent and then returns to Casterly Rock. Cersei is furious and refuses the offer. Kevan leaves, suggesting that Tommen will have to settle for the care of his mother and of his father.
(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 peasant. She asks Jaime to be her Hand, explaining that Kevan has refused her, but Jaime again turns down the offer. When the lords and ladies return the next day at the end of the vigil, Tommen flees at the stench of the corpse. Jaime follows him outside and comforts the little king, his secret son. Cersei comes, as does Mace Tyrell, and Jaime tells the lord of Highgarden that Cersei plans to dine with him later. Alone, Jaime explains to Cersei that she should send Tyrell to lay siege to Storm's End, Stannis's seat. After all, Tyrell fancies himself a warrior. Cersei realizes that the plan is a good one, one worthy of their father.
(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 Sansa are not in Duskendale. Brienne leaves, thinking often of Jaime Lannister. She considers going to the Wall, to Riverrun, or to the Eyrie, where Sansa still has some family. However, when a dwarf tells her that a man dressed in motley was spotted in Maidenpool, Brienne decides to go there. She will have to be careful since Lord Tarly, a southron lord that will recognize Brienne, and his army are there. She leaves Duskendale. On the road, she realizes that she is being followed. She confronts the stalker, who confesses that he is Podrick Payne, Tyrion Lannister's squire.
(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 killed Lysa, as does Sansa. Marillion is brought to the hall, wearing gloves to cover his missing fingers, and he confesses to the murder. After, Sansa, pretending to be Petyr's natural daughter Alayne Stone, serves her "father" and Nestor Royce wine while they talk. Petyr knows that Bronze Yohn Royce has raised a host against his rule and is approaching the Eyrie, so he offers the Gate of the Moon to Nestor, who is honored. Petyr signs the declaration himself as Lord Protector of the Vale, which further strengthens his position. Sansa is impressed by Petyr's lies and returns to bed to find Robert, who asks if she is his mother now. Sansa, lying with kindness, says that she is.
(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. When Asha leaves him, she does not want to find her mother, who still hopes that her son, Theon, will be returned to her. So far as Asha knows, Theon was killed at Winterfell, though she never found the body. She next finds Tristan, with whom she used to fool around when they were children. When they were caught, Tristan was sent away. Now, Tris explains that he has always loved her. Asha refuses him. She does not want to become the mother of his children. She means to be queen.
(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 will soon set out for Storm's End. Only Margaery's maids and Ser Loras will remain. Still, if the crown did not have so many enemies, she would not need to appease the Tyrells at all. Where are her friends? Kevan has deserted her, so she has named two of her Lannister cousins the castellan of Casterly Rock and the Warden of the West to punish her uncle. Kevan now plans to travel to Darry with Lancel to settle his son's new seat. At the wedding feast, Tommen swallows wine poorly and Cersei leaves the room so that no one will see her tears. Lady Merryweather finds Cersei and comforts her. She also informs her that one of Cersei's maids has been informing Margaery about her movements. After the wedding feast, Cersei has the pyromancers burn down the Tower of the Hand, and she stays up late into the knight with Ser Osmund Kettleblack watching it. The realm is hers now.
(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 Prince Doran would have him do, since he has told Arys the plans to move Myrcella to the Water Gardens to protect her from the Dornes that would crown her and start a war. However, when she confesses that her father means for her younger brother, Quentyn, to inherit his power, Arys is overcome and declares that he will support her in all things. The first thing that Arianne wants is for Arys to help her crown Myrcella.
(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 Tarly that had ended it, but he had blamed Brienne's unnatural obsession with the sword for the men's dishonorable actions. Hyle takes Brienne to Lord Tarly, who now tells her that Lysa Arryn is dead and that it will be her own fault if she is raped during her quest. She goes to the Stinking Goose, a tavern near the docks, and meets Nimble Dick. He tells Brienne that he sent a fool who was accompanied by two girls to a smugglers' cove in Crackclaw Point. He agrees to take Brienne there for a price.
(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 his best to take care of them all, but he does not know what to do about Gilly. She spends her time crying as she cares for the babe. Maester Aemon deduces that the babe is not her son but Mance Rayder's. Jon must have sent the boy south with Gilly, just as he sent Maester Aemon, to protect them from Melisandre's sacrificial fires. Sam hopes that they will soon finish the first part of their trip and land in Braavos, but the ship must first sail through several storms.
(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. He confronts her about her plans to name Aurane Waters an admiral, but Cersei would prefer a bastard youth to any of Mace Tyrell's bannermen. She is considering naming Merryweather's husband Hand of the King. Jaime sees a great deal of Aerys in his sister's paranoia and lust for power, though he knows that she fancies herself Lord Tywin's successor. She ultimately dismisses Jaime in anger when he accuses her of making foes of friends. That night, Jaime reads the Kingsguard's histories. When Loras arrives, Jaime advises the younger man to read about them as well. Many of the best knights in the Kingsguard have been forgotten because no songs were written about them, including the Kingmaker, Criston Cole.
(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. None of them have loyalties to anyone but her. Aurane Waters wants to restore their power at sea, so Cersei decides to defer payments to the faith and to the Iron Bank of Braavos, though the latter action worries Pycelle. They learn that Jon Snow has become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and decide to send a hundred men to the Wall to assassinate him for helping Stannis. After, she summons Ser Osney Kettleblack and instructs him to seduce Margaery. Cersei intends to have them caught together; as punishment, Osney will lead the men that are sent to the Wall. Should Osney succeed in bringing down Margaery and killing Jon Snow, Cersei will grant him lands, lordship, and her bed.
(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. Victarion is not alone in his dislike of Euron Crow's Eye. Both Aeron Damphair and Asha speak against him, though neither's objections bother Euron. Victarion talks with Asha after. She tells Victarion that she will support his claim if he names her his Hand, and she warns Victarion that the ironborn are fascinated by Euron and his ship, the Silence, on which he has pillaged lands around the world. Victarion refuses her offer and ignores her advice. Asha asks Victarion why Euron was exiled. Euron slept with his brother's new wife while Victarion was fighting the Lannisters during Balon's rebellion. When he learned that his wife was pregnant with Euron's child, Victarion murdered her.
(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 them the north but no plunder. She offers the ironborn peace, land, and victory. When the men call out that they will never follow a maid, Asha draws a dirk and calls it her "suckling babe." Men call out for her to be queen until one of Euron's men blows an exotic horn. Euron explains that the ironborn shall raid and conquer all of Westeros, which is clearly dying after its years of war. When Asha suggests that his plan is impossible without dragons, Euron tells the ironborn that he knows where he can get three dragons. He has traveled round the world, and he has horn from Valyria that can control the dragons. As the men shout Euron's name, Aeron Damphair searches for the voice of the Drowned God within, but he cannot hear it.
(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 decrepit castle over the sea. They can hear the sea whispering to them, and when Brienne is about to enter, she hears Galladon's last words. She unsheathes Oathkeeper and enters the castle. Inside are three of Vargo Hoat's Brave Companions, including Shagwell the fool, who is armed with a morningstar. Brienne tells them that she is looking for Eddard Stark's daughter and they tell her to seek the Hound, Sandor Clegane, who was taking a Stark girl to Riverrun. In the fighting that follows, Shagwell kills Nimble Dick and then Brienne kills him and his two companions. She tosses her payment, two gold coins, into Nimble Dick's grave and apologizes, saying that she never trusted him. As they prepare to leave, Ser Hyle Hunt reveals himself. Lord Tarly commanded him to follow Brienne and to bring Sansa Stark back to him.
(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 Greenblood to the Vaith and finally to the Hellholt, the castle where they will crown Myrcella. The Darkstar observes that there is no crew aboard the poleboat, and Areo Hotah and his men step out from the cabin to confront them. They have lost, but Ser Arys refuses to yield and charges the Hotah's men. He dies gallantly while Arianne and Myrcella scream. Arianne, in shock, wonders how her plans could have gone awry. Hotah explains that someone always tells, and that he will now return Arianne and Myrcella to Prince Doran.
(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. When she returns, the Kindly Man explains that though the Faceless Men have found a home in Braavos their order first began in Valyria. Slaves were sent deeper and deeper into the fiery mountain, and the first Faceless Man ended their lives when he heard them crying for an end to pain and torment. Arya suggests that he should have killed the masters, and the Kindly Man answers that he did later. Arya begins training herself to lie with the waif, another servant of the Many-Faced-God. Arya is not a very good liar, and she is even worse at speaking Braavosi. However, she eventually learns enough words to communicate and is sent out into the city to sell cockles, mussels, and clams for Brusco. She becomes Cat, a girl from King's Landing, and goes out into the city, reciting the names of her enemies.
(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 dismisses the familiarity when Alayne takes him and his companions to see Petyr. The Lords Declarant have come to remove Petyr from the Eyrie and to send him to the Harrenhal. When Lyn Corbray unsheathes his sword, Lady Forlorn, Littlefinger takes offense and shames the others—his guests—into agreeing to give him one year of rule over the Vale. Bronze Yohn is unhappy, but agrees. After, Alayne goes to see Petyr and learns that Lyn Corbray is working for him.
(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 separate her son from the Tyrells. When she meets with Qyburn, he reports that a group of puppeteers have begun telling a story about a group of lions that eat their animal kingdom until a dragon egg hatches and the dragon eats the lions. Cersei orders that half the estate of rich men and one eye from the poor will serve as punishment for viewing such treason. Qyburn asks to take some of the women for his experiments and Cersei, shuddering, agrees. She finally makes her way to her solar to eat with Lady Falyse and Ser Balman. She asks Ser Balman to arrange for Bronn's death. Late that night, she checks on Tommen, who now has three black kittens, gifts from Margaery. She remembers that when she was a girl, her father had promised her that she would marry Prince Rhaegar, the most handsome and capable man in the realm. King Arys refused to marry his son and heir to the daughter of his servant, and so Tywin left King's Landing. Cersei thinks that if she would have married Prince Rhaegar, he never would have pursued Lyanna Stark and would never have started the rebellion.
(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 sometimes untouched by the war because they have neither treasure nor weapons. They know nothing of King's Landing or even Riverrun, but Brienne realizes that they know about the Seven because of Meribald's teaching. When they hear that there are three deserters nearby, Brienne and Ser Hyle prepare to defend themselves. Meribald suggests that they take care but that they also feel pity for the broken men. If he can, he will hear their confessions. He explains that they were just peasants taken to war and dreaming of adventure. Before long, their lord is dead and they are forced to rob the dead to armor themselves. When they realize that they have left their homes behind and have no way of returning to them, they desert and are soon robbing the living. Brienne realizes that Septon Meribald is telling the story of his own youth.
(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 asks Sam to go to the docks. He explains that he has always dreamt of dragons, just like the rest of his family. Sam goes out that night and the bravos challenge him because he is wearing a sword. A skinny girl named Cat saves Sam from the bravos, offers him the last of her clams, and tells him that Dareon is at the Happy Port singing songs to courtesans. Sam goes there and when Dareon tells Sam that he is finished with the Night's Watch, Sam punches him. Sam is thrown out of the Happy Port and into the water. Sam is about to drown when a Summer Islander, Xhondo, rescues and revives him. He tells Sam that he has seen the dragons Sam seeks.
(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 to the Harrenhal, which is now held by the remnants of Ser Gregor Clegane's men, who have killed or dispersed Vargo Hoat's Brave Companions. Raff the Sweetling tells Jaime that Polliver had been in charge until Sandor Clegane killed him. Cersei has decided to name Ser Bonifer Hasty castellan of Harrenhal, and Jaime leaves him to his work. It will not be easy to return the cursed castle to order, but Ser Bonifer declares that his faith will shield him. Jaime finds Ser Wylis Manderly, whom he sends to White Harbor in order to gain Lord Manderly's allegiance. Wylis weeps when he learns that he is to leave the Harrenhal. That night, Jaime searches for Ser Ilyn to train and instead finds Red Ronnet Connington at the bear pit. Ronnet's distant relative had once briefly served as Hand to King Aerys, but Jaime is surprised to learn that Ser Ronnet was once betrothed to Brienne. When he calls her a freak, Jaime strikes Ronnet with his golden hand and instructs him to call her Brienne.
(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 clothing is modest but clean. He explains that he has sold his jewels to feed the poor. He has not refused to bless Tommen, he explains, but is rather waiting for guidance to see if Tommen should rule. A king should protect his people, and the sparrows clearly attest to the crown's negligence. Cersei and the High Septon come to an agreement: in exchange for allowing the Faith to arm itself for the first time in hundreds of years, the Faith will bless Tommen and forgive the Crown's debts. The High Septon is confident that the Warrior's Sons, knights that forsake lands and vows to serve the Faith, and the Poor Fellows, commoners that walk the roads to help others, will protect the kingdom. Cersei leaves, thrilled at her success, returns to the castle, where she meets Margaery and her retinue. Cersei is disgusted by the way Margaery goes around the city, befriending merchants and winning the people's favor.
(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 men after the kingsmoot. When he returns to Euron's stolen hall, Victarion is surprised by what he sees. Euron has not taken the defeated men and women as thralls and salt wives but rather intends to sell them as slaves. He dishonors his defeated enemies: the defeated women serve his men naked and he kisses Lord Selmy's natural daughter with his blue lips in front of the hall. Euron raises new lords, including Nute the Barber, robbing Victarion of one of his greatest fighters. The ironborn are eager to take the Arbor, and Euron retreats to his room. That night, he summons Victarion to his quarters where, naked and drinking shade-of-the-evening, the wine of the warlocks, he tells Victarion that the man that blew the dragon horn has died. They found his lungs burnt. He convinces Victarion to sail the Iron Fleet to Slaver's Bay, where he will find and retrieve Daenerys Targaryen to be Euron's bride. Together, they will take the Iron Throne, and Euron will give Victarion the Seastone Chair. Victarion agrees to sail to Slaver's Bay, but he intends to take Daenerys for himself.
(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 retake the riverlands. When Jaime tries to hold a wine glass in his golden hand and instead spills it, he leaves the room to seek out Lancel. The sept is guarded by three Poor Fellows, who at first refuse to let Jaime inside. Lancel allows Jaime in. He confesses that he killed King Robert and that he slept with Cersei many times. Lancel explains that he knows he is a sinner and that he intends to give up Darry and his bride to join the Warrior's Sons. Jaime tells his cousin to be a Lannister, but Lancel does not care. Jaime seeks out Ser Ilyn Payne that night, tells him about when he slept with Cersei in Darry, and fights wondering how many lies Cersei has told him. Ser Ilyn laughs at him.
(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 quest. He explains that it was Arya, not Sansa, that rode with the Hound, and now he cannot say where she is. She should return to her father. Thinking of her father, Brienne tells Elder Brother all about her life, how she was neither a son nor a daughter to her father. She tells of her love for Renly and how she accompanied Jaime. She finishes with the sword, Oathkeeper, and declares that she must complete her quest or die trying.
(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 Lady Merryweather now sleeps as a bedmate. Cersei thinks about how Robert used to come to her room, demanding his "rights" to her. He would hurt her and afterward explain that it was the wine. She is called out again with news from Lady Falyse, who reports that Ser Balman challenged Bronn to a duel. Bronn won and forced Ser Balman to reveal that the assassination attempt was Cersei's idea. Cersei drinks with Falyse until the latter is drunk and then gives the woman to Qyburn for his experiments. She returns to her room, twists Taena's nipples, and then pleasures her with her fingers. However, she does not allow Taena to do the same, reflecting that it only works with Jaime.
(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 end the siege quickly or else the lords of the riverlands will become more bold in their defiance. He hopes to treat with Ser Brynden, though no one thinks it will work. Jaime later sups with Lord Emmon Frey, though it is Emmon's wife, Genna, Tywin's sister, that Jaime listens to. When she offers her condolences, Jaime thinks that she is referring to his hand rather than his father's death. She cannot believe that Cersei has rearmed the Faith and points out that even Aegon the Conqueror struggled to control the Faith Militant. Maegor outlawed them but only his successor was able to finally finish them. She tells Jaime about his father and wonders what the realm will do without him. When Jaime suggests that he will do his best to be his father's son, Genna tells him that Tyrion is Lord Tywin's son.
(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 Black and White, she bathes until Cat is gone. She meets the Waif, who teaches her about poisons. When she meets with the Kindly Man, she reports on three things she has learned. The last thing she reports is that Dareon was killed by Arya of House Stark. The Kindly Man summons the Waif and asks her to bring Arya a glass of milk. When Arya wakes up the next morning, she is blind.
(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 latter has clearly blinded herself to the truth because she wants so desperately for Stannis to lead them against the Others. Sam and Gilly sleep together after agreeing to name Mance Rayder's son Aemon Battleborn after Maester Aemon. The next day, Sam worries that he has broken his vows with Gilly and that she will expect him to support her now. The Summer Islanders explain that what they did was not a sin and that Sam has done nothing of which he should be ashamed. Gilly knows why Sam wears black clothing.
(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 part of the city's economy. She is surprised by how many knights have chosen to become Warrior's Sons, and she is dismayed to learn that Lancel has joined them. Pycelle reports that Gyles may finally be dying of his cough, but Cersei replies that he does not have her leave to die. That night, Cersei has a nightmare about Maggy the Frog, who foretold years ago that Cersei would lose the crown to a queen younger and more beautiful than she. She summons Pycelle to learn if the future can be foretold; he suggests that the more pressing question is whether it should be foretold. Cersei dismisses him and asks Qyburn, who informs her that bloodmagic is very powerful. However, he suggests that the future can be altered. Cersei begins to consider a scheme involving Ser Osney Kettleblack.
(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 before agreeing to let her and the others stay. The sparrows have brought orphans to the inn, and many of them have crossbows. At supper, Ser Hyle suggests that he and Brienne marry. He explains that Brienne's father has no other children, so the marriage would be worth it. Brienne refuses and she leaves the supper to take food to Gendry, the smith. She realizes that he is King Robert's son and that Stannis was right: Joffrey, Tommen, and Marcella are not King Robert's children. When Brienne hears riders coming, Gendry suggests that they are his friends, but he is wrong. Their leader wears the Hound's famous helm and he attacks Brienne. She kills him and Biter tackles her. He bites her face while he strangles her. The last thing Brienne sees is his tongue, so long that it almost looks like a sword bursting from his mouth, she thinks.
(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 dismisses them and goes to Edmure, who stands on a gallows. Jaime takes Edmure away to wash and eat. There, he points out that Edmure's bride is pregnant. Jaime offers to return Edmure to Riverrun if he should agree to surrender the castle to the Lannisters. Once done, Edmure, his wife, and his children will be treated courteously and generously, as befits their station, while held at Casterly Rock. If not, he threatens to raze Riverrun with Edmure's bannermen and lords before finishing the battle with his own troops from the west. Finally, Jaime threatens to return Edmure's child to him using a trebuchet.
(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 accuses the bard of sleeping with Margaery, an act of treason given that Margaery is married to the king. She and Qyburn interrogate the bard until he finally agrees to confess to a story of their choosing. That night, she dreams that Tyrion is attacking her. When she wakes, she tells Taena about the prophecy that haunts her. The next morning, she eats with Tommen, who tells her about his kittens, Ser Pounce and Lady Whiskers. Everything she does, Cersei tells herself, she does for her innocent Tommen. She returns to her scheme against Margaery. It would not do to accuse and kill Margaery; her father, Mace Tyrell, and his armies would no doubt turn against her. When Tommen informs Cersei that Margaery is fasting in preparation for Maiden's Day, Cersei leaves and finds Ser Osney. She commands him to go to the Great Sept of Baelor in order to confess that he has slept with Margaery and her maids. He agrees, but first demands that Cersei sleep with him. He tears her dress and takes her immediately.
(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 try to kill her. Myrcella has lost an ear and will carry a scar. Doran explains that now Ser Balon Swann comes to Sunspear with the head of Gregor Clegane. He is doing his best to delay Swann's arrival and discovery that Myrcella is maimed and Ser Arys dead. Arianne realizes that her father needs her to convince Myrcella to lie to Swann. She confronts him with her worries that she will not inherit Dorne. Doran explains that he had intended her to marry a man across the Narrow Sea but those plans were ruined. Now, he has sent Quentyn across the Narrow Sea. He explains that he wants vengeance as he passes her a dragon piece from the board game cyvasse and whispers "Fire and blood," the words of House Targaryen.
(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 enjoys gossiping again with another highborn girl. She manages to escort Robert down the mountain, and when she arrives she learns that Petyr has returned. He asks her for a kiss and when they are alone he kisses her back. Next, Petyr offers Alayne a marriage contract to Harry the Heir, and explains that if Little Lord Robert dies, Harry the Heir will inherit the Vale. And when the day of their marriage comes, they will reveal that Alayne is Sansa Stark and the lords of the Vale will fall over themselves as they swear to win her the north. Petyr explains that he will have delivered her a marriage, the Eyrie, and Winterfell before asking for another kiss.
(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 once a brotherhood and king's men, but now they are on a dark road. When Lem arrives, Brienne recognizes him as the man that took the Hound's helm from Rorge's corpse. Thoros disapproves. Brienne's captors take her and Pod to Stoneheart and present evidence that she works for the Lannisters. Stoneheart removes her cowl and Brienne realizes that she is Lady Catelyn Stark. Thoros explains that they found her three days dead, and though he refused to give her the kiss of life Beric did. She rose. She asks Brienne to prove her loyalty by killing Jaime Lannister. Brienne refuses to make the choice. She turns her back on Brienne, the men take her away, and they hang Brienne and Pod. As she dangles, she screams a word.
(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 against Ser Osney are the cowardly Ser Boros and the aging Ser Meryn, Margaery realizes that Cersei is her true enemy. Before Cersei can leave the sept, the High Septon takes her to where Osney is being interrogated. Osney now reports that he slept with Cersei. The septons seize Cersei and imprison her. Now, she is caught in the web that she made for Margaery. Days later, Qyburn comes to her, explaining that Taena escaped and reported Cersei's imprisonment to the small council. Now, Pycelle and Harys Swyft rule the realm, Tommen signs whatever they put in front of him, and they have sent for Ser Kevan Lannister to take over the regency. Aurane Waters has left the city with the newly built fleet, possibly to join Stannis or to become a pirate. Lord Merryweather has resigned his position and left King's Landing. Qyburn himself has been removed from the small council, though he is still allowed to oversee the whisperers. Cersei tells him to write to Jaime, including a message that she loves him and needs him as she never has before. Her only hope is that Jaime will return. Either he will prove her innocence by sword, or they will die together.
(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 riverlands hunting the Hound and Beric Dondarrion. The Freys, meanwhile, worry over who will inherit the Twins. Another heir has died, and now Black Walder is just barely removed from inheriting the Twins. Uncaring, Jaime orders them to send all of their captives from the Red Wedding to King's Landing. He meets Tom of Sevenstreams, who tells Jaime that he intends to stay in Riverrun with Emmon Frey. Jaime continues to practice the sword at night with Ser Ilyn, and though he is improving, he remains a small threat. Alone, Jaime is pleased that he was able to end the siege without spilling blood. He receives a letter from Cersei asking him to return immediately to King's Landing, but he only burns it.
(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 Stannis, Melisandre, and the Others. Alleras takes Sam to the Mage, Archmaester Marwyn, explaining that he might be the only maester that would believe Sam. Marwyn's room is lit by a dragonglass castle. The Mage explains that in Valyria, sorcery was founded on blood and fire. Using their candles, they could see across the world and enter the dreams of others. Now, Marwyn will travel to Slaver's Bay to meet Daenerys, hopefully before the "grey sheep" at the Citadel can reach her. He explains that the Citadel is trying to build a world without magic. Before he leaves, he instructs Sam to study quickly as his abilities will soon be needed at the Wall again. He should keep his secrets to himself and speak only of the honor of service. He also asks Alleras to watch over their new novice from the Wall. Sam turns to a youth who looks untrustworthy. The youth introduces himself as Pate.
(The entire section is 295 words.)