A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
* For those of you that watch the series on HBO, Game of Thrones: The fourth season comes from the end of this book. You might not want to read any further unless you want to know what is going to happen. In other words, SPOILERS.
We get to see more points of view in this book. We get to see things from Sam Tarly in this book, as well as Jaime Lannister. Both characters go through a lot of changes in this book.
Lord Commander Mormont was on the Fist of the First men with his 200 men waiting for those rangers he had sent of to return, including John Snow. While they were waiting, some of the men began to plot against the Old Bear. They decided that they would no longer follow him, and were going to kill him and some of his men and flee. Some of the wildlings had told them of Mance Rayder’s plan to attack, and these men did not want to be there when they came. However, right before they were ready to attack, someone else attacked. This is where I finally figured out that wights and the Others were two different things. I hadn’t realized that before. The Nights Watchmen were attacked by both wights and Others on the Fist of the First Men. Only 50 escaped, including John’s friends Sam and Grenn.
John Snow has an interesting adventure in this book. He killed Qorhin Halfhand to be accepted by the wildlings. The majority of them still didn’t trust him. The girl that he had let go, Ygritte, did trust him. He marched to the Fist of the First Men beside giants riding mammoths and wildlings. When they got there, they found the remains of most of John’s brothers that had traveled with him beyond the wall. Mance was furious because John didn’t tell him the men were there. He suspected he was still a man of the Nights Watch, but Ygritte claimed John had broken his vows by having sex with her. He hadn’t at that point, but he started to eventually. John tried to keep them at a distance and not befriend them, everyone except Ygritte. He kept getting closer to her, but he knew they could never stay together. As soon as he would forget she was a wildling, she would remind him by saying something that went against everything he believed in. They went over the wall with some of the other wildlings to take Castle Black. He had to leave Ghost and tried to tell him to go to Castle Black, because he had no way to get him over the wall. They stayed at an abandoned village, and Bran just happened to be in the same village. Bran and his friends hid in a tower, John never saw them. There was an old man in the village, and one of the wildlings tried to order John to kill him. He refused and Ygritte killed him. Just when John expected them to kill him, Summer (Bran’s wolf) attacked them. John could only see him in the flashes of lightening. It was actually Bran in Summer’s skin. John joined Summer in attack and took the old man’s horse. He rode for Castle Black, but Ygritte shot an arrow in his leg. He made it to Castle Black wounded. The wildlings, including Ygritte, attacked Castle Black and were ALL killed (Ygritte included). He held the wall as the wildlings attacked, even wounded. He was in command, Donal Noye had been in charge for awhile, but was killed when a Giant made it through the gate. Then Janos Slynt, the man that Tyrion Lannister sent to the wall, had teamed up with Alliser Thorne. They said he was a traitor, and wouldn’t believe Halfhand commanded him to kill him and join the wildlings. They ordered him to kill Mance Rayder, but when he went out, Stannis and his men showed up and kicked the wildlings asses. John stayed with Dalla who was giving birth to Mance’s son right then and there. He found out that Mance did have the horn of Joramun, but they didn’t really want to use it. It was the wall they wanted, to keep out the Others. Mance was captured by Stannis. Sam returned after the battle was finished with Castor’s daughter/wife Gilly and her son in tow. Stannis offered John Winterfell, but he would have to destroy the weirwood and take the god of light as his only god. When John went outside to think, he found Ghost. He realized that Ghost was a creature of the old gods, and that was his answer. However, the Nights Watch had to choose a new Lord Commander. When he came into the place where they ate, he found that Sam had gotten him elected as Lord Commander.
Bran, Summer, Hodor, Jojen, and Meera continued north on their adventure. Jojen was being led by his green dreams and as I said above, they were at an abandoned village owned by the Nights Watch at the same time as John. There was a storm and Hodor completely freaked out. They were trying to keep him quiet, but it didn’t work. So Bran slipped his skin the same way he does with Summer. He was freaked out about it and wouldn’t admit he had done it. However, he managed to keep Hodor from screaming “HOOOODDDOOOOOOR!” over and over. The wildlings heard him, but they couldn’t get over to the tower they were in. They tried in the morning to follow the stones, but they missed the turn and almost drowned. Jojen’s dreams led them to a big old haunted castle right at the wall. While Meera explored the wall and looked on the other side, the boys explored the castle. They decided to spend the night in the kitchen, where there was a deep well. Bran was filled with anxiety from all of Old Nan’s stories about this particular castle that he couldn’t sleep. Then he heard footsteps and heavy breathing coming from the well…
Sam was at the Fist with his brothers. When he heard the three horns that signified the approach of the Others, he wet his pants. The guy that was talking to him (and about to kill him, he was the organizer of the men that were going to kill the Old Bear and desert) shit his pants. Sam took a horse, but someone else threw him off and stole it. He had to run, and he did. Unfortunately Sam is not the fittest brother in the Night Watch, after awhile he could no longer walk. Grenn wouldn’t leave him and tried to tell him to get up. Small Paul, who was actually going to go with the men who were going to kill Old Bear, actually carried him for awhile. Finally he put him down, and said he couldn’t do it anymore. Grenn, Sam, and Small Paul ended up at the very back of the group. One of the others came up to them. Small Paul tried to kill it, but it killed him instead. Then Sam actually pulled the obsidian dagger that John gave him and stabbed it. He killed it, and was called Sam the Slayer after that. They went to Craster’s again. Gilly was having her baby. There was a fight between Caster and some of the Nights Watch, which is to be expected considering half of their men had been prisoners. Caster is an ass as well. They started to accuse Caster of hording food and not sharing. Well they killed him and the Old Bear. Then they raped some of his wives and daughters (which were the same thing…pig) and raided his food. Grenn tried to pull Sam away from Mormont’s body, but he wouldn’t go. He said he wasn’t afraid anymore. Some of Caster’s wives came up to him (the ones that weren’t being raped) and asked him to take Gilly and her son to safety as he wanted to when they had first come. He did. They were attacked by wights, but they were near a weirwood tree and Sam prayed to John’s old gods to ask for help. Suddenly a ton of crows showed up and started attacking the wights, then a man dressed in black (a man of the Nights Watch) called them over. He was riding a deer. I think it was Benjen Stark, though it didn’t say yet. Sam has never met him. Next we see Sam, Gilly, and the baby coming up from the well at the old castle. Meera caught Sam in her net. He knew who Bran was when he looked at him. They made Sam promise he wouldn’t tell anyone about Bran, and he really wanted to tell John but he kept his word. They had come through a gate in the well. He said the man who brought them (he had cold black hands but wasn’t a wight…err not exactly) was looking for Bran. He told Sam they would be there. When asked why he didn’t come up himself, Sam said he couldn’t get past the wall. The wall is magic, and they can’t get past it. Sam led Bran and the rest down the well. There was a weirwood tree growing out of the well (which you could see in the kitchen) with a face. It opened its eyes and asked who they were, Sam recited his vows and the mouth opened really wide…that was the gate. Sam let them go through, but didn’t go with them. He took Gilly and the baby (wildlings don’t name their babies until they’re at least 2) back to Castle Black. The next time we see them, Gilly is feeding Mance Rayder’s infant, because his mother died. Gilly told Sam she would be his wife, but he told her about his vows. He really likes her though. Sam, Maester Aemon, and the men who were in the race for the position of Lord Commander were called in to see King Stannis. He told them they had one day to decide on a new Lord Commander or he would choose for them. He kept Maester Aemon and Sam to ask about the dagger that killed the Others. Maester Aemon asked to see his sword, Sam described it to him. There was something wrong, apparently the sword was supposed to emit heat as well as light, but it doesn’t. Afterward Sam wanted to make sure that Janos Slynt did not become Lord Commander, he would kill John Snow if he did. So Sam managed to talk some people into dropping their run for the position and support John instead. They did, and Sam managed to get him elected Lord Commander.
Catelyn decided to release Jaime Lannister in exchange for Sansa and Arya. She had Brienne swear a vow to get him safely to King’s Landing and bring back her daughters. Naturally Robb’s northmen were very unhappy about this, to say the least. Robb was away, and Edmure confined her to their father’s bedroom, she wanted to stay with him until he died. When Robb came home, he said he understood that love makes you do foolish things…then he introduced her to his new wife, who was certainly not a Frey. Karstark was really pissed because Jaime killed two of his sons, so he killed two of Kevan Lannister’s sons that they had taken as prisoners. They were just children, 11 or so. Robb was furious, he chopped his head off. He tried to pacify Walder Frey by having his Uncle Edmure marry one of the Frey girls. On the way to the wedding, Robb told Catelyn he was going to name John Snow a lord and his heir. As usual, she was nasty when it came to John and she ended up pissing Robb off. He wrote it on paper and had his closest men witness him sign it as Catelyn watched. She had the nerve to imply John might try to kill Robb’s sons to steel his throne. He told her she was going to go away after the wedding, he was sending her to the castle of one of his lords. When they met Rosilyn, the bride, she started crying. There was all kinds of weirdness, none of the Freys that they had dealt with before were there for the wedding. At the end of the wedding, Robb and Catelyn were murdered. Then at the end of the book, zombie Catelyn is with Dondarrion’s men as they hang one of the Frey’s.
Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie escaped Harrenhal and headed for Riverrun, where her mother and Robb were. They run into Dondarrion and Thoros’ men, they are outlaws. They take them to an inn where Arya sees one of the men who used to work for her father, the one that used to call her Arya Underfoot. Hot Pie stays at the inn, because the guy who was trying to bake couldn’t. He just wanted to bake. Gendry and Arya get taken by these men to see Dondarrion and Thoros. This is the short version, it’s a very long trip and they see a lot on the way. Arya learns the name of John’s mother, she was a wet nurse for a lord who was Dondarrion’s squire. When they finally reach the man, the Hound is brought in. They had captured him and were going to hang him for murder. They end up doing a trial by battle, and the Hound wins by slicing through Dondarrion. Thoros brings him back to life for the sixth time. They follow the same R’hllor god of light dude that Stannis’ red lady follows. They took all the Hound’s gold and set him free. They decide to take Arya to her brother for ransom, but they had no intent on harming her. They learn about the wedding and decide to take her to the Twins where her mother and brother will be. However, the Hound grabs her and decides he will ransom her for the money he lost or try to convince Robb to let the Hound work for him. When they get to the Twins, they see the northmen being killed. Arya tries to go inside, but the Hound knew they would kill her, so he hits her in the back of the head with the flat of his axe and takes her away. He kept her with him, and kept trying to think who else would pay for her. He was done with King’s Landing, so he was thinking Catelyn’s psychotic sister until he heard about the mountain people. Eventually they went to an inn (crazy things always happen in these inns) where they find Ser Gregor’s men: The Tickler and Polliver. They talk to the Hound and give him some information, then they end up fighting, naturally. Sandor was very drunk, so wasn’t doing well against two men. There was a squire with them too, Arya stabbed him in the belly with the Tickler’s dagger. The Hound killed Polliver, and Arya killed the Tickler. The Hound was very badly wounded. Arya tended to his wounds but eventually she left him bleeding on the ground. She went to some ships and sold her horse to try and get a ride on a ship to the north. The captain of the purple ship said that they wouldn’t go to the north because they saw a bunch of pirate ships going there. He said they were headed home to Braavos and she should go home too. She took out the coin Jaqen H’gar gave her and pressed it to the captains palm and said the words. He said “Of course you can have a cabin.” So Arya is heading to Braavos.
Tyrion, Sansa, and Jaime
Jaime and Brienne were captured by the Bloody Mummers and they cut off Jaime’s sword hand. Lord Bolton switched sides and thus sent Jaime home, but was giving Brienne to the guy with the lisp. He got half way home and turned around to go back for her. She had bit off the lisp guy’s ear and he threw her in the ring with a bear and a dull sword that wouldn’t even cut. He jumped in with her and the men that were supposed to get Jaime safely home killed the bear. Meanwhile Sansa and Tyrion were attending Joff and Margeary’s wedding. Joff destroyed a very rare book that Tyrion bought for him as a gift, and brought in dwarf entertainers to mock his uncle. There was a big fight and Joff ordered Tyrion to serve him wine all night. Then he took two bites of his uncle’s pie and died. His grandfather had Ice, Ned Stark’s sword, melted down to make two swords and a dagger. He kept the dagger, gave one sword to Joff for a wedding gift and was giving the other to Jaime. Tyrion was arrested for Joffrey’s murder, even though he didn’t do it. Sansa took of with Ser Dantos, as they had planned. It turned out that Dontos was just working for Littlefinger, and it was Littlefinger that had Joff killed by Margaery’s grandmother. Jaime arrived to see Cersei in the Sept with Joffrey’s body. They had sex in the Sept beside their son’s dead body. Tywin tried to convince Jaime to leave the Kingsguard and take a wife at Casterly Rock. He refused and Tywin disowned him. Sansa was taken first to the rock and tower that belonged to Littlefinger, and then to the Eyrie. Littlefinger told her to pretend to be his bastard daughter and he marries Lysa, Sansa’s aunt who intended to wed her to her cousin Robert. While at the Eyrie Littlefinger grabs Sansa and kisses her. Lysa tried to kill her for that, saying she tried to seduce him and he was hers. She said she was like her mother. She tried to push Sansa off the castle, but Littlefinger shows up and shoves Lysa off. He said Cat was the only woman he ever loved. Tyrion asks for trial by battle. Some Dornishmen came for the wedding because Tyrion promised justice for Lady Ellia. Her brother Prince Oberyn Martell comes to seek this justice. Ser Gregor raped and murdered her and killed her children. Tywin ordered it. To get his justice, Oberyn offers to champion Tyrion to fight Ser Gregor. He fought with a spear that had poison on the tip. Gregor was on the ground, seemingly dying when he grabbed Oberyn and crushed his head. However, Maester Pycelle said he couldn’t save him. Tywin said, “He must die by the king’s sword, save him.” He didn’t want Tyrion to go free. Tyrion was to be beheaded. The night before Jaime came to his cell to free him as Varys waited to take him through the dungeon to escape. However, Jaime told him he owed him because Tysha, Tyrion’s first wife, was not really a whore. She was exactly who she said she was, but Jaime’s father convinced him that she only wanted Tyrion for gold and that made her a whore. She was raped and sent away because she was low-born. Oh I forgot, Tyrion and Sansa were married before Joff’s wedding. His father told him he had to consummate the marriage, but he couldn’t. Sansa wasn’t even 13 yet, and she was terrified. She was also repulsed by him, and hated him for being a Lannister. Anyway, Tyrion was so angry with Jaime that he told him that he killed his son. No doubt that will come back to bite him in the ass. Before his great escape, he went to his father’s bedroom and found Shae (who had testified against him and told a bunch of lies) with his father’s necklace around her neck. He choked her with the chain. He took the dagger his father had made with Ice and loaded a crossbow. He found his father in the bathroom and asked him what he did with Tysha. He didn’t know who that was. When he told him it was the girl he married, Tywin told Tyrion he sent her wherever whores go. Tyrion shot him with the crossbow and he died. Tyrion escaped King’s Landing. Meanwhile his father always said he was shaming the family with his whores, so he took his son’s whore.
As long as this review was, this is just a tiny summary. The book was really long. It is well worth the read though, I highly recommend it! Happy reading!