Jul 12 2011 1:01am

A Dance With Dragons Spoiler Thread

The day has come! A Dance With Dragons is now on the shelves (or available for purchase, depending on when you’re reading this) and now we all get to enjoy the next installment in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga.

We’re opening up this spoiler thread for those who have read the book and want to get into the heat of discussion and theorizing. All topics are open below. If you don’t want to be spoiled, do not read the below comments.

For those who want to know if A Dance With Dragons satisfies without being spoiled on any plot details, check out Jo Walton’s excellent spoiler-free review.

We’ll be reconvening with additional analysis of A Dance With Dragons in a few days time, once more folks have gotten a chance to read the book, so keep an eye out for more from Jo Walton in regards to that.

Don’t forget that we’ve got a lot of great original content here on Tor.com that analyzes the series, from book reads (and rereads) to essays and more. You can find it all easily at the Song of Ice and Fire Master Index.

Now, let’s begin the dance.

Dorothy Johnston
1. CloudMist
I might as well get things started. I'm only as far as Davos' first chapter. My favorite part so far is when Jon Snow beheads Janos Slynt. I do have a question about the Stark direwolves: who is the one that Ghost can't sense? Summer?
Kris W
2. Kris W
I thought the one he can't sense is Lady?
Dorothy Johnston
3. CloudMist
No, in the same passage Ghost remembers how the pack was once six (that is, Lady, Nymeria, Ghost, Shaggydog, Summer, Ghost, Grey Wind(?) and now is four (with Lady and Grey Wind dead).
Sydo Zandstra
4. Fiddler

I'd say it's Summer. The Wall is between them (Ghost and Summer), and in SoS Jon could only sense Ghost again once he was north of it (at the battle where Stannis attacked Mance Rayder's camp)...
Kris W
5. Sarmis
With Jon getting knifed at the end (a la ceasar), and the introduction being all about the warg who never comes up again, but introduces all of that warg information...

Jon's body dies, Jon lives on in Ghost? Which makes his name very interesting?
Kris W
6. Troll
Maybe the Red Priest will bring Jon back?
Kris W
7. Stargazer
Jon is no more dead than Brienne was at the end of the last book. It's another ridiculous cliffhanger for however many years, but I really, really doubt Jon's story doesn't somehow
end up with him fighting the Others from dragonback.

Speaking of dragons coming back though: did Aegon's sudden appearance on stage strike anyone else as an awkward deus ex machina? I mean, how does it make any sense for him to just show up now in book 5 with no prior hints that another Targaryen was still around? Honestly I can't see why Varys, Illyrio, or the Dornish would have bothered plotting with Viserys for half a minute if they had been aware of such a vastly more competent and likable Targaryen the whole time...
Kris W
8. Troll
Thats what i'm thinking Stargazer--or hoping--but you never know. I'd be really dissapointed if he was dead. He's the best character next to Tyrion, Jamie, and Dany.

I'm thinking Aegon isn't really Aegon, but an imposter. It honestly wouldn't make sense. There were absolutely no hits, like you said.
Antoni Ivanov
9. tonka
@7 They are some hints about Aegon, I had read theories about him showing up as early as 2001, (after the 2nd book). I don't remember them expect: there is Dany in the House of Undying when she sees a mummer dragon (2nd book)
Kris W
10. anony
Jon's most probably dead, but the NW will cremate him thereby reviving him and revealing his true Targaryen parentage.
Mari Ness
11. MariCats
....why, oh why, is Theon still alive at the end of this book? Purely to torture me? Enough other people died; why not Theon?

Regarding Aegon: Martin did drop a few hints here and there - various websites were speculating that Aegon was still alive, especially after Martin confirmed that Rhaenys was most definitely dead, but never said this about Aegon.
Sky Thibedeau
12. SkylarkThibedeau
NOOOOOOO!!!!! No no no no no no no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! /me throws book across the room then realizes it's her Kindle and jumps cat-like thru the air to catch it on the first bounce.
Mari Ness
14. MariCats
I'll just add that I was more surprised by Dany marrying a minor character never heard of before this book than by the possible return of a Targaryen character at least mentioned before this book.

@Stargazer - It seems clear that the Dornish knew about Viserys and Dany, but not Aegon.
Kris W
15. Baramos
The only thing that makes me think Aegon isn't a fake is that Varys has no reason to lie to Kevan about it.

HOWEVER he may be fake in the sense that he will not be a "true dragon" like Dany. He's already showing signs of hubris by demanding to lead the attack on Storm's End. I foresee Varys' experiment failing, since there is no way you can artificially create the crucible of life. Aegon is still very sheltered even though Varys went out of his way to try and make him work and so on--he's still been coddled in comparison to Daenarys.
Kris W
16. Susan Loyal
@7 In A Clash of Kings, when Dany is in the House of Dust, she sees a vision of Rhaegar playing a song for the mother of a new baby. The mother asks for a song for the baby and Rhaegar says that the baby already has a song, "the song of ice and fire," and says to name the baby Aegon. No particular reason to name baby Aegon as the possessor of "the song of ice and fire" if he isn't still alive and in the running, it seems to me, so I don't think we're dealing with an imposter here.

Martin has said many times that this series is loosely based on the Wars of the Roses. (There's a great board game called Kingmaker based on the Wars of Roses. Try it if you haven't.) Every faction in that conflict rose or fell on whether it controlled a viable heir to the throne. Winning battles was important, but spinning the data to suggest that your heir was the truest, best, etc. was very much a factor. We've got Baratheon bastards all over the landscape; the Targaryens were bound to start showing up sometime.
Kris W
17. Pnr060
I'm only about 300 pages in, so I don't know if anything ever comes of this, but did anyone else raise an eyebrow when Illyrio gave Aegon a necklace with three large square-cut rubies a few chapters after Melisandre gave large, square-cut rubies to Rattleshirt and the new Magnar of Thenn for nefarious purposes?
Nathan Rice
18. quazar87
Poor Quentyn. I rather liked what little I saw of him.

Was anyone else a bit underwhelmed? I mean, it's clearly a great book. I'm not denying that. But I feel like I just spent 2 days watching chess (or cyvasse) pieces moving around a board. There were a few captures... but on the whole it was sound and fury. Move and countermove.

Does anyone actually think Jon is dead? Is any one satisfied with leaving Dany/Barristan in media res? For a book that took 6 years and reaches past 950 pages (of story, i don't count the bloody Dramatis Personae and neither should publishers), it still feels unfinished.
Kris W
19. kube2288
If Jon Snow were to die it would fulfill his duty to the watch without having to break his oath.
Dorothy Johnston
20. CloudMist
I was a little surprised by the ending but should have learned by now that when peace and quiet seem about to descend anywhere on Westeros, that's when the monkey doo hits the fan.

I must admit to wanting to cheer -- just a bit -- when Reek became Theon again.
Kris W
21. DEL
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Why are Rickon and Osha on SKAGOS? What the hell happened outside Winterfell; should we trust Ramsay's letter at all?

Brienne, poor thing, thinks Arya is still with whomever stole the Hound's headgear. Lady Stoneheart will not be amused when she and Jaime fail to return(yet again!) with a Stark Daughter.

Cersei is going to go apeshit!

Glad Dany makes the ruling mistakes somewhere else besides Westeros. Decending upon Astapor and Yunkai with the Dothraki Horde behind her and breaking the siege of Mereen is going to be epic!
Kris W
22. sixthlight
Brienne, poor thing, thinks Arya is still with whomever stole the Hound's headgear. Lady Stoneheart will not be amused when she and Jaime fail to return(yet again!) with a Stark Daughter.

Nope; that would be, "Brienne has lured Jaime into a trap. Probably sucks to be Jaime right now."
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
23. tnh
jmeltzer @13:
Uh, Perkin Warbeck?
Perkin Warbeck to you, too, and a hearty Lambert Simnel.
Kris W
24. JRTomlin
On the one hand if Jon is dead, it had come to the point he was really the only character who still interested me so it kills my interest in the series. On the other hand it looks like a VERY cheap cliffhanger if he isn't.

The whole thing that all Anya had to do was ask and she wasn't blind any more after leaving that as a huge cliff hanger didn't exactly make me happy.(I thought better of Martin than that) I have completely lost interest in the plot line with the priests jerking her around.

I would think the thing with Jaime is a trap, but who knows. I'm past trying to predict what Martin is going to do, but frankly after ADWD, I'm not sure I care any more. And this from someone who has been a HUGE fan of this series. I am at the "I wish I could demand my money and TIME back" point with Martin.

What a disappointment.
Kris W
25. ftbleighjkjk
First thoughts are fairly positive, with a dash of dissapointment for the wait we must now all endure.
I really enjoyed the return of Theon (you have to remember your name), and seeing Varys at the end was a treat.
What did people think of Bran's chapters? Wtf happenned with him and that tree? He was going back in time, yes?
I think Aegon has been forshadowed for a bit (starting with Dany's vision in CoK), and we've been reminded again and again that the dragon has three heads - Dany, Jon and now Aegon.
And like, of course Jon has to live. The dragon has three fucken heads.
Brienne = totally leading Jaime into a trap.
Is anyone totally psyched for Robert Strong?
All told, this book had a lot going on, stuff happened, the story moved forward. So long as the next volume isn't 6 years in the making, I don't think we can complain.
Also, poor Quentyn. I liked that kid.
Kris W
26. Bourgeois Nerd
Poor Quentyn.

I don't think Aegon is quite as out-of-left-field as some suggest, but I was surprised by who he was and where he popped up, and didn't see Jon Connington coming at all. It'll be interesting to see where he goes. Thus far, he doesn't seem mad, he's rather smart, and he's been well-trained, but will his gung-ho youthfulness going to lead him to disaster? Or is disaster exactly what he needs? Dany's disasters are what's forging her to be a worthy queen; no reason they can't do the same for Aegon.

Jon is either going to get resurrected by Melisandre or go into Ghost.

Frankengregor? Wow.
Sky Thibedeau
27. SkylarkThibedeau
@16 Susan. Kingmaker is a great game especially if there are three or more players. I've been wondering if Wizards of the Coast which has the rights to all the old Avalon Hill games would be releasing a GOT version since the HBO special came out. If not, they should contact GRRM.
Walker White
28. Walker
@27 Skylark:

Fantasy Flight has the GoT license (or did). And they are more innovative than Wizards these days.
Kris W
29. Marina Bonomi
@27 Skylark and Walker:
Fantasy Flight Games does have the GoT license, and has three of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' themed games out (a card game, a board game and a war game), Green Ronin Publishing has the license for the role-playing game.
Kris W
30. kab1

Overall I was a bit dissapointed. For waiting 6 years I really feel like we could have moved the story line further forward. At this point, I'm worried that the last 2 books will seem rushed to wrap this all up.

I'd really like to see Dany and the Dragons in Westeroes- afterall this is the story (as GRRM has said) of Westeros, so why are we spending all this time in Meeren and introducing all these characters whose names I can't keep straight- nor to I want to bother learning!

I felt bad for Quentyn- I like him as a character, but overall thought his arc was lame. He did end up freeing the dragons which (I assume) will be important, but did we need to have all that lead up to a wedding, etc. etc. if he was just going to DIE?!?! and die so poorly? What's the deal with the dragons liking Brown Ben due to his Targ blood, but not showing the slightest interest in Quentyn?

I'm find with Dany not marrying Quentyn, but then he could have at least stayed on as an advisor or died heroically, not roasted by dragons in some idiotic plot to capture one (maybe that does show his Targ blood-- madness!). Overall I was liking the Dorne plot, but I wonder how this will affect things for them. Either way I feel like it was wasted time, too much time spent on this arc to have it end this way. Dany should have been the one to free the dragons- either by her own internal realization or by some good advice (TYRION!).

I'm also frustrated by the lack of meeting between Dany and Tyrion- I'll really like to see this play out and see lots of interactions between people and dragon riding (learning to ride that it). This is the part I'd like to read about and what I'm worried won't get much "screen time" in the last 2 books. I'd much rather read about that then sons of Harpys.

Ok I'll stop as this is too long. Overall I liked the book, will have more to say as others finish. Oddly, I think my favorite plotline was Theon!!!
- -
31. heresiarch
Agreed that leaving Jon ettu-ed is an annoying abuse of cliffhanger privileges (though there is that naggling suspicion that this is GRRM we're talking about here...) I wasn't even thinking about resurrection, though that's a very good suggestion--I just assumed after the fourth dagger Wun Wun is like "YOU NO HURT JON" and Jon is only seriously injured rather than slain. (If he was resurrected via red magic, would the NW treat him as a man or as a wight?)

Does anyone else feel that Dany was nerfed in this book? I kept expecting her to bring the awesome, but no. Even at the end in the Dothraki Sea, she's all like "and of *course* the peace is holding in my absence!" Oy. I did like the "dragons plant no trees" admonition she gets at the end--I was thinking the same thing the whole book. You are the dragon. Dragons burn. You want to be a good dragon, fair and just? Then burn well.

OKAY SO THE INEXPLICABLE AWESOME OF WYMAN MANDERLEY: So he's going to betray the everloving crap out of the Boltons and the Freys, right? But he was invited to a wedding! He's sworn vengeance on them for betraying guest right--how can he do the same thing? He's bound not to harm them, he's eaten their bread and tasted their salt. Or has he? Remember, he brought his own food, which no one questioned because of course the fat guy would do that. Furthermore, Manderley doesn't recognize their right to Winterfell. Where does that leave guest right?

(I don't believe Bolton's letter--it was, as most lies, partly truthful but I very much doubt the Boltons killed Stannis, or that he got all six spearwives and Mance Raider. Squirrel at least got out, I bet, though he might have Mance.)
Ty Margheim
32. alSeen
Only part way through, but had to post this before I forgot.

I will now refer to Tyrion Lannister as Tyrion Vorkosigan.

Anyone else think that Tyrion's thoughts about how he was put in charge of the drains and cisterns and how they never ran better than when he was in charge was a direct homage to Miles Vorkosigan?
Kris W
33. MGB3
Did Martin really use "fart in your general direction," fro Monty Python, in his dialogue? This is what book 5 (really 4 and 5) of a 7 book series would need to be; unresolving and advancing of tension-filled plot.

Snow stabbed the hell up though? Maybe too much for me... :P
Jennifer McBride
34. vegetathalas
Overall, I liked the book, but I do wish there had been more cutting. Some of the scenes felt like placeholders.

I wouldn't worry about Jon too much. Every single book, someone (Arya, Jaime, Brienne) has looked like they were going to die, and then in the next book, we find out they didn't. Jon is probably wounded and given into the Red Priestess'es care. And there's no way Martin would have set up all the foreshadowing with Lyanna/Rhaegar just to randomly kill him off.

I did a quick read, so I have a couple of questions that might have been answered by the text:

1) How can a coin kill somebody? Poisoned money I'd think would kill more than one person, which would mean Arya failed in her objectives. So she gave the man the coin and he killed the insurance agent for her? What was that?

2) Why was Daeny warned against the perfumed senschel? Was it because the boat brought the dwarves which brought Drogon back to fry people and carry Daeny away? Or was it a warning about her husband? I suppose if he swore to be her servant in love or some such thing...

The wights attacking Bran scene was awesome. I look forward to finding out whether it really does corrupt people to do what what's-his-face said in the prologue, because if so, then Bran becoming a bad guy/servant of wraiths would be interesting. Though I don't think it'll go that way, I wish it would, just because I'm sick of fantasy's 'Communing with trees = good guy!' trope. Stupid elves.

I also dug the POVs from Melisandre and Theon way more than I thought I would.

I don't know why Martin doesn't admit Benjen is Coldhands since everybody's guessed that one anyway. The fact Benjen is brought up in this book multiple times seals the fact that he's not gone for good. I'll also throw my hat into the Reek is lying and just has Mance Raider and has been driven out of the castle by Stannis & co. The best lies seasoned with truth indeed.

And the people who tried to assassinate Jon are idiots. If they really disagreed with his policies, they should have killed Jon before the wildlings were inside. Do they really think they can fight the wildlings off now, when they're behind the wall? Poor Satin. I have the feeling the next time we see him, he's going to be a head on a stick.
Kris W
35. Sarkis
Vegetathalas- With the poison coin, while not overtly stated, it can be inferred that it only poisoned Arya's target. He was observed to put coins into his mouth and bite them to test if they were real, so my assumption was that there was some type of ingestable poison that would not absorb through skin. This way, when the shipowner she "stole" coins from bought a binder (Essentially storm insurance on a ship) from the old man who was her target, only he would be posioned. As for your second question, I'm not completely sure, but I hope this clears the first one up.
Emily King
36. fishrgreat
With the timeline all messed about I've only realised from reading these comments that Abell = Mance.

*feels dumb*

Felt the book was slow at points, but very good. The fact that I felt sympathy for Theon of all people shows amazing writing.

My thirst for more chapters of Cersei just going mad was only mildly sated.

Jon - dead?? Hmm. Will wait and see.

I felt Aegon was a little out of left field, but I'm willing to see how it develops.

GRRM seems to be threatening to make thiss 8 books rather than 7....
Jennifer McBride
37. vegetathalas
Ah, I see. Though I still think she has to get the coin back. It's not as if biting coins is an uncommon thing to do.
Kris W
The three-eyed crow is Bloodraven A.K.A. Brynden Rivers, One of the "Great Bastards". You can tell by his description. Also just a prediction, Jon Snow dies but lives on in Ghosts body. Later he meets up with Bloodraven, learns hes a Targaryen and gets a new body somehow. Melisandre has a nice little phrophecy about thousands of skulls and "now hes a man, now a wolf, now a man."
Nathan Rice
39. quazar87
As time has past since finishing Dance, I've become less and less satisfied. The book simply makes promises that it doesn't fulfill. You can't spend chapter after chapter leading up to a battle or a meeting or any other event, and then end the book right before this occurs. It's literary dishonesty. It's perfectly reasonable to expect SOME conflict resolutions in a book that clears 950. The only storyline that felt complete was Arya's, and that's only if you include FfC.
Andrew C. Porter
40. silverstairs
I finished last night. Well, I held off on the epilouge until a few minutes ago because I'm kicking my own butt for racing through this book after promising myself I wouldn't do it again and now I am as far from the next installation as it is possible to be. Damn. I know this is worthless, but with all the supposed work that is already complete on the next book (Sansa chapters, Brienne et. al.) do any of you think it will take as long to give us the next volume? I am of two minds on this. More is done, but the author is a whole lot busier. Any opinions?

My first reactions- surprising introductions. Is Aegon supposed to be the Mummer's Dragon from the prophecy/visions? George is never very direct with his prophecy type parts- there is not Rand Al Thor type directives- and of course we all remember what The Mage quoted about prophesy and its delitorious effects on the male member. Anyway, seemed to be a lot of phophesizing and I was happy to see the Red Woman POV contain so much self doubt.

I know that the theories of Jon's death are going to be crystalizing around the mechanics of the Warg that we are given in the prolouge, and I will not disagree. Jon is probably going to survive in a form other than what we are used to- OR, is the nearby Priestess of the Red God going to pull a Thoros of Myr on Jon's corpse?

I just want to say that I AM SO SICK OF SLAVER'S BAY!!! Girl- get thee hence!!!

So, this last notion, and there are already several opinions here that agree (with greater or lesser heat), I have this sort of... unsatisfied feeling. Part of it may be that I have waited so long. Part of it that the story as it is built structurally was broken( artificially due to binding and deadlines we are told) into two books. It could be that I want Dany in Westeros and The Lord of White Harbor asking the Frey's how their kin taste. I don't know. I was troubled by Feast for Crows in a similar way and after I finished it I swore I would not go back and reread it. I've read it perhaps a dozen times and it keeps giving more. This book will, I promise, yield more to you. We are in the first one hundreth of one percent to read it so we worked quick. I feel that there is still gold in them there hills. Right now, I think we are mourning that we are once again... waiting.
Kris W
41. Clubbavich
Is Aegon supposed to be the Mummer's Dragon from the prophecy/visions?

Isn't that Quentyn? Basically a false/farce Dragon? He talks about his lineage and that he is decended from Targaryens and Dany does egg him on a bit by talking about the Dragon's reaction to him, so he convinces himself that he's a Dragon and that he can control them. Then he gets toasted and we see he is not.

Anyone else find it amazingly awesome that Arya is basically living in an assassin school and is being taught the trade?
Kris W
42. Susan Loyal
tnh @23.
Lambert Simnel is my favorite "heir." If I were a 15th century kingmaker, he'd so be my choice.

Skylark Thibedeau @27.
At least three. Five is about perfect. Which sounds off-topic, but is actually relevant to Martin's plot-development choices. (A moment of silence to mourn Avalon Hill.)

silverstairs @40.
My theory about production speed is that GRRM is going to find writing TV scripts to be energizing, will want very much to see the final books out before their respective TV seasons, and will experience a burst of energy as resolution approaches. (This prophecy is efficacious so long as the series continues, and given that the Mayan calendar ended mostly due to a stoneworkers' strike.)
Kris W
43. fn8up
Just finished and I have to say, I love this book I enjoyed everything about it, can't wait for the next one (but I will). There is no way Jon Snow is dead, I think he is just grievously wounded and will discover his full potential as a warg, in a coma like state same as Bran did. I also don't think Jon is destined to be a dragon rider. Don't know how Daenerys is gonna feel about Tyrion and Jorah being Second Sons, it can't help their case any. I'm pretty bummed about Quentyn I like everything Dorne has had to offer. Stannis is still alive I'm thinking also I've always kinda felt for Theon. I really enjoyed reading about Manderly, he's got some spunk, Cersei is still a bitch, Jamie is totally being led into a trap and Selmy is a badass
Kris W
44. Lurking Canadian
Just finished. I agree with the general sense of THEN WHAT??? It was not unlike the episode of Itchy and Scratchy when Pooky joined the cast and they spent the whole time traveling towards the Factory of Doom but never got there. The whole book was set up but there was very little pay off.

Part of me suspects Jon Snow is not dead. The other part thinks he will be raised red-priest style. I doubt his story is over, or that he will henceforth just be Ghost.

I also got the vibe that Brienne is leading Jaime into a trap, but that's kind of out of character for Brienne. I think it likely she convinced Lady Stoneheart she would bring them Jaime, but they are working out a plan to fight themselves free. Or something.

Wyman Manderly rocks, but I'm not counting those chickens until Roose Bolton's head is on a pike. I keep waiting for Arya to dig up Needle, remember who she is, and tell the faceless priests they can shove it. She continues to not do that. She seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid to a certain extent.

But just count up the hanging threads. Davos and Rickon? What is going on at Winterfell? (I agree, Ramsay's letter is bogus. If he had really smashed Stannis, he should have Theon and Jeyne. He wouldn't need to ask for them.) Who is going to stab Ser Barristan in the back before his attack goes in? What does Varys think happens next? Don't the Tyrells just throw Cersei out a window and completely take over?
Rob Munnelly
45. RobMRobM
Just finished. Still processing. Will comment this weekend. Liked it a lot but those endings.... Smelling like eight books will be needed to tell the tale. Just shoot me.
Kris W
46. Rhaegar
WTH, Abel=Mance? I didn't connect those dots! That's the tricksy thing about having such a wierd timeline/mutliple characters all of whom want to kill each other. Confusion. Plus, LOVED Daario!
Anyone else think Dany isn't barren anymore? Why else make such a bfd about her period coming back
Kris W
47. Kingslayer
I think Kube 2288 has the best theory i have read after reading the book.
Its the perfect way to reveal Jon bloodline and to release him from his vows and become a drgon rider.

I still believe that cause the 3 dragons PURE FIRE=Dany PURE ICE=BRANN (cause 3eyed crow says he will never walk but will fly) and the LAst Dragon ICEandFIRE has to be a targ/stark bastard Jon snow. We have seen many characters die and be reborn or resurected. LAdy Stark, Lord Beric

I have thought this about the riders since the end of the 3rd book. makes sense starks ice , targs fire, and 1 that is mix. With the into to the dragon horn to train the dragon and tyrion helping with science and mechanics in the free cities i bekieve he will train and craft saddles for the drqagons. LIKE he di for BRANN to ride horese.

I also think as much as people hate her Melissandre is a good guy and could also have somethiing to do w resurrecting J in an earlier book Mel quotes a prophecy that may has to be leading to Jon
this is from BBBS
Jon Snow dies but lives on in Ghosts body. Later he meets up with Bloodraven, learns hes a Targaryen and gets a new body somehow. Melisandre has a nice little phrophecy about thousands of skulls and "now hes a man, now a wolf, now a man."

O and 1 last theory i love that arya is beng trained in an assassin school once she is unbeatable with her sword i believe she will go back to Westeros and find Nymeria and the wolf pack that follows her. Giving her control of a huge ground force to help fight THE OTHERS since they we havent seen them raise dead wolves and Jon was trying to keep people out of the fight in fear of them coming back as wrights
Kris W
48. Lurking Canadian
I had the impression Dany was miscarrying, not just having her period. She's not surprised to be bleeding. She's surprised by the amount of blood. It's also the wrong time of the month, and she reflects that it's been a few months.

I think she killed Daario Jr with those green berries.

Oh, and I must be really dumb, because I seem to be the only person who didn't get that Manderly was serving Frey pie at the wedding. Can somebody walk me through that?
Rob Munnelly
49. RobMRobM
Ok - quick thoughts beyond that this now REALLY looks like it's going to have to be an eight book series. How can GRRM possibly wrap up all these threads in two books. I don't see it. Discussion of the title of the seventh book (the one between Winter and Spring) to begin in three...two...one....
- I don't see Jon Snow as dead or turned into a pure warg inside of Ghost. Mel kept looking into her fires looking for the Prince that was Promised and kept seeing Jon's face. He's the PTWP. Possible but unlikely he would survive only with a Beric style revive. More likely, the wounds he got (slice on neck, back stab by Bowen) won't be enough to kill him. Also, if he were to die, Mel would have told him (as she saw the impending attack in the flames).
- Stannis isn't dead. Ramsay fled after catching Mance and the girls, and then was trying to pull Jon into a trap.
- I still can't figure out WTF is up with Bran. Superwarg? Or the next guy in the tree. Bit aggravated we got no chapters after the one a bit over halfway through the book.
- I'm a bit pissed off with the sudden appearance of Brienne without resolution of the final word. I guess it was "sword" and she is either going to lead him into a trap or set up arrangements for an honorable duel to the death with him.
- Where is Davos going? Sounds like he has to be going to get Rickon but where is he and how do Manderlys know where he and Osha are.
- I'm still torn with Arya. Is she going to get a FM assignment and head after Dany (and become a dragon rider) or after someone in Westeros (and meet back up with Nymeria and the pack). I thought we'd get a direction by now. Would lean towards latter but can't see who will be third dragon rider if not Arya (see below).
- I'm surprised and confused re the Griff/Aegon developments. I thought he clearly was going to be the mummer's dragon (i.e., a false Targ) but the Epilogue chapter makes clear that Varys believes he is the real deal and presumably was spirited away before the sack. This confuses me in that what was the actual longterm Varys/Illyrio plan - was it resumption of Targ dynasty through Viserys - but then, what role would Aegon have played. Was it to let Vis take the lead and the arrows and have Aegon in reserve when Vis took his inevitable fall (or they killed him to ensure he couldn't rule). What about Dany - how did plans shift when Vis died and Dany hatched the dragons? Obviously, Illyrio wanted her to go to Pentos (rather than Mereen) but what would have happened then - marry her to Aegon? If Aegon were intended to rule, who would have been his intended bride to cement alliances? Arianne makes sense - but do the Dornish folk know the alternative plan? I'm lost.
- Very confused by Cersei game plan going forward. I thought the question re Kevan's wife implied Cersei was going to work some game plan out to hold her hostage as a means of leverage, but that is now going to be moot.
- Ser Robert Strong - is he headless? Or did they send a mummer's head to Dorne? Inquiring minds need to know.
- I actually like how the Quentyn storyline played out. Risk of dragons is now manifest to all. Need for someone with dragon saddle abilities and knowledge (Tyrion) is now self-evident. I was shocked, however, didn't get to Ty-Dany meeting in this book.
- Who is going to be the third dragon rider? I thought it was teeing up as Quentyn, but alas. Aegon is not around. Arya hasn't made it east yet. Maybe Missandei?
- Looks like Dany is going to be captured by Khal Jhogo, but no sure how that can happen with Drogon there. If not, is she going to make common cause with him and add the Dothraki to her Westeros attack team (as the original plan was in AGOT)? That last scene and Dothraki appearance was a big WTF for me.
- I agree that Dany was likely expecting Dario's kid - so looks like she's fertile after all. But who is her "mount to dread" going to be. Her husband the Hiz? Jhogo? Victarion?
- Is it clear that Dario is now dead re launching of hostages via trebuchet? I think so. Dany's going to burn some things when she gets back.
- No Sansa - bummer but I can see why they moved her to WoW.

Lots to think about over the next couple of years. I was hoping for more direction and resolution, and we're not there yet.

Andrew C. Porter
50. silverstairs
Lurking Canadian- totally agree with Frey Pie (see#40). He kept calling for the players to play "The Rat King," a song about serving your guests the flesh of their kin (and guest rights, oh well)

Clubbavich@41- I suppose Quentin could be the mummers dragon instead of Aegon, I just wouldn't have called Quentin a dragon at all. Tyrion seems to consider the notion that the prophecy only has room for one Targaryen. Either way.

I agree that it seemed that Dany miscarried, although I don't think that Muri said she was ever infurtile, just that she would never carry a child to term... but then this is George R. R. Martin.
Kris W
51. polishmagician
@49 The answer to at least one of your question Rob is that that Wex fella followed Osha and Rickon and so now knows where they are, he did throw that knife at the map after all.

Also, someone asked why the hell are they on Skagos??? when it is clear that they have found Greywater Watch ( they were heading south when we say them last). This means Davos' mission will be to stealthily smuggle his way through the marshes, collect Rickon, then stealthily smuggle him out again, though of course i dont imagine that plan will survive past meeting up with the boy.

I also have a theory on Jon, made up out of all the other theories I have seen round these parts.
Jon HAS died (its possible that he is just seriously wounded)and this will give him his second life within Ghost, thereby strengthening his warg ability beyond that of Varamyr and that Boar-fella. this Warg-powerup will be a result of him spending a sustained amount of time as Ghost. And this sustained amount of time as Ghostwill be facilitated by him not recieving the insstant respawn courtesy of Melisandre because dun..dun..DUNNN...she doesnt know she has that power yet.
WE saw in her POV that it is most definitely magic that she weilds, but it is augmented heavily by tricks and glamours (the dusts). I believe it will take her a considerable amount of time to recognise her ability to do this, thus giving GhostJon time enough to go find Bran up at Bloodravens lair.

Someone else also said that the jig is up and GRRM should just show us that Coldhands is infact Benjen. To this I say Bah! He will reveal that when BRAN needs to know, which in my opinion will be as soon as his training is done and he has to return to the Wall.

Overall I agree with most peoples view that the book was brilliant but left a sour taste because, while many things occurred, not much happened. Especially when you remember that FrankenGregors big scene seemed to be just...about...to...happen. But I think only one small thing could have satisfied everyone and turned this into a great book: Tyrion meeting Daenerys.

Quentyn sucked major balls as well
Kat Blom
52. pro_star
I would throw the book across the room if I did not remember this was grrm, and he enjoys driving the readers insane.

Dear Grrm: please don't make us wait many many years for the next book. I beg you.

Who is this dex?

When Theon is being tormented by the "voices in the trees", is it his own guilty conscience, or is it Bran?

Will we ever get a Ricken pov?

I'm sure I'll have more...but...that was a book in which not a lot is resolved dammit!
Kris W
53. molybdenum
We didn't really need all the viewpoints we got in this book. Of the new viewpoints, Quentyn Martell could have been dealt with completely from the current Dany and Selmy viewpoints, Melisandre shouldn't have had her own viewpoint yet (she's not nearly as intimidating as she was when it appeared as if she knew what she was doing). I think Melisandre will become the main Wall viewpoint in the next book though. I wasn't a huge fan of the Victorion viewpoints either, though you could argue you needed to show he met up with Mogarru.

I was a little disappointed in this book. I thought we didn't really get anywhere closer to the end goal with Dany, other than when she rode the dragon for the first time. Tyrion wasn't doing too much either.

The storyline I liked the most was the Jon storyline, and that was only in hindsight when you realized he just wasn't ready for the dealing with people part of the Lord Commander's job, he was even worse at it then Robb. You can't just change the entire purpose of the Night's Watch all on your own, without any support of the people behind you. Most of his decisions were the best ones, but often it's not making the best decision that is the right thing to do, but keeping your men behind you united.

Anyways, theories:
1. Jon is inside Ghost. The prologue has no purpose if it wasn't foreshadowing this from one of the wargs, and it had to be Jon or Bran. (Rickon probably isn't old enough to know how to do this, and has not been in the story at all for 3 books now.)

2. Aegon is real. Some people are saying it makes no sense to introduce possibly the most important character in the book midway through the 5th book in a seven book series. I say Martin follows the story, and Little Griff would have been a very boring person to give major screentime to early in the series. It's the same reason why Bran, who I believe is at least one of the top 4 most major characters, has gotten 3 chapters total in the last two books. There isn't anything to tell.

3. Stannis is not dead. How can Ramsey have Stannis but not Theon and Jeyne? The weather is not permitting them to go anywhere.

4.The three heads of thhe dragon are Aegon, Dany and Bran. The whole 'you will never walk but you will fly' line doesn't make sense if Brynden is only talking about wargs, as Bran can walk as a warg as well. There seems to be some sort of warginess about controlling a dragon too, so Bran will not actually need Tagaryen blood to be able to manipulate it. Even if Jon is resurrected, he isn't really going to be in a state to ride dragons, like Catelyn.

5. I still don't think Jon is Rhaegar and Lyanna's son. No one has ever noted any Tagaryen like thing about him, which becomes more difficult to reconcile when you realize Aegon has all the Tagaryen characteristics, and he would be the same amount Tagaryen as Jon is. This obviously isn't catastrohic to the theory, as genetics can be weird like that, but it also notes he looks a lot like Eddard, and though also not impossible, looking a lot like your uncle does not happen a whole lot. You are at two sets of genetic separation instead of just one. It also hurts the theory that Jon is currently in grave danger of dying, and if he does and stays dead or in Ghost, then the whole Tagaryen thing is meaningless.

6. Asha's plan is to call a redo of the Kingsmoot due to the lack of Theons presence. She is not actually hoping Theon wins this kingsmoot however, as he is a complete wreck and has no hope of heirs.
Kris W
54. polishmagician
Do you mean Wex? He was Theons mute squire, who was at Winterfell when the Ironborn took it. Lord Manderly told Davos that he hid in the branches when Ramsay ruined Theons shit and burned the place. He then climbed down and followed Osha and Rickon south when they emerged from the crypts where they had been hiding. Side note: I think GRRM only made the boy mute all this time just so he could have him throw a knife at a map because its supremely cool.

I've been thinking about peoples reaction to the book and comments that it just left everything hanging and that it wasnt very satisfying in terms of conclusions.
We havent had many conclusions in the series at all so far, we are two or three books from the end im sure we all remember, but what provokes this response in readers i think, is that too much of what happens to the characters is out of their control.

In previous books there was a balance between characters like Sansa and Catelyn who were basically along for the ride, things were happening to them not because of them or who were just windows for us to see stuff happening to others (the Young Wolf rebellion and goings-on at Kings landing for those two mentioned) and characters who had power and were major players in their current arena such as Ned, Jon, Daenerys, Cersei etc.

In Dance, almost all of the characters are static and/or having to deal with events not of making or that they are powerless to effect. Tyrion moves from one form of captivity to the next, Daenerys is wrestling with doubts over her rule (though this is just the literary manifestation of GRRM's infamous 'Meereenese Knot'), Barristan is caged within his duty to his Queen, Theon is a prisoner, Asha is a prisoner, Victarion is at sea for the whole book very slowly moving towards his destination and Jon is surrounded by enemies, though this is a bit of a stretch as i suspect most people will enjoy his chapters up until that very last couple of pages. Stannis and Griff are the only chapters where i felt something was truly going down, and i find it very hard to care about Stannis even a little bit. The book should have been called A Dance with Doubt.

So yeah, to conclude @52: Wex was Theons squire.
Kris W
55. vsthorvs
The three dragons could be ridden by anyone if people with as little Targ in them as the mercenary Ben could conceivable rider.

As for Aegon coming out of left field, sure. But so is the probability that all the other Targs exist. At the end of this book we can suspect that besides Dany and Aegon, Targs include: Jon Snow, Cersei, Jaime, Tommen, and Myrcella.

The Targs are not dead, they're just hidden, and they're about to come out of the woodwork.
Rob Munnelly
56. RobMRobM
@55 - OK, I'll bite. How are Cercei/Jamie and Cercei's kids hidden Targs? Not getting it.

@53 point 1. Prologues tend to matter a story in advance (Others in AGOT and attack in COK; Rhillor red magic in ACOK that leads to Beric reincarnation in ASOS; Faceless Man moves in FFC where we see detailed training and a killing in ADWD. So warging is likely to be important in next book as Bran really increases his sophistication beyond what was shown in ADWD. Ditto re Jon/Arya.
Beth Meacham
57. bam
Yes, I think it's clear enough that Cersei, Jamie and Tyrion could be King Aerys' children. Which, it occurs to me, makes Tommen a classic Targaryean -- son of a brother/sister mating. Myrcella, too.

I'm not completely convinced that Jon Snow is Rhaegar's son, though. He's such a Stark. Also, the skinchanger stuff seems to be a Stark trait.

Wouldn't it be awesome if Tyrion can tame the dragons?
Beth Meacham
58. bam
@56 -- Jon Connaught (I think I've got the surname right, might not), Aegon's guardian, tells Aegon that King Aerys had been in love with Tywin Lannister's wife.
greg dale
59. Grrrreg
Perhaps Danys blood was from injuries/disease (green berries bad). If the dragon has three heads, and those are Dany, Jon and Aegon, then we need Aegon to be the breeder of heirs as Dany is barren and Jon is celibate.
Kat Blom
60. pro_star
Curse you autocorrect. I just kind of wondered since wex...just appeared conveniently is all. I'll have to keep eyes out for the mute squire running around winterfell when I re read all.

Re jon snow, maybe his parentage is a bit of a red herring? Maybe Ned was unfaithful? Too many shadows suggesting otherwise but...grrm can be a sneaky one.

I tossed around the idea of dany miscarrying or just really bad berry badness...could have been a type of abortion-berry that brought on her lovely time o month at the wrong time...my other concern was the pale mare (or was it grey mare? My head is getting all confused, it's past my bedtime lol - either way the bloody flux). Still never fully decided but have been leaning towards her miscarrying.
Kris W
61. BFG
molybdenum @53 - re Jons characteristics. I read that Jon looks a lot like Ed as meaning he looks a lot like a Stark. It's also noted that Arya looks a lot like Lyanna, but she's definitely Cat and Ed's daughter, not lyanna's, ie Ed, Lyanna, Jon & Arya all look like Starks. I do agree that I don't think Jon is one of the three, his story is very much at the Wall, and although Dany will probably end up there hers is in Kings Landing (possibly).

But I've been thinking, for a long time I've assumed that Dany is going to go back to Westeros and become the Saviour but she shows no sign of doing this. In fact for her to do this now would go completely against her character so far. I could have seen it working if instead of marrying she'd forced him to swear fealty, with regular threats of returning (via dragon) to check that there was no slavery, but she chose to stay. GRRM seems to try to do things realistically, ending the slave trade will take years, maybe Dany's been a red herring, maybe she's staying in Meereen (sp?). For her to abandon Meereen would betray her character and GRRM is remarkably faithful to character.

Agree with pro_star @60, maybe Jons parentage is a red herring as well. He's sworn to the wall (assuming he survives), don't see him abandoning that vow. Even if he is R & L son, I don't see what difference it makes.

Finally, I'd like to throw in how disturbed I was by Theons chapters - is GRRM going to leave us with anyone to hate? If he'd just died I could have been satisfied that he 'got what was coming to him' now I pity him. This is as bad as the Jaime turn around :( If there's a Randyll Tarly chapter in the next book I might not read it!
Kris W
62. Ftbljkjk
@BFG, you can always hate Ramsay; I don't see George making him into a sympathetic character anytime soon.
Kris W
63. BFG
@62 thank god for that.

@55, 57 re Targaryens - would explain Cerseis madness. How ironic if Tyrion was Tywins only trueborn child.
Kris W
64. Vivian76
I just finished ADWD and was so shocked by the end of Jon that I had to Google spoilers to see what everyone else thought and ended up here at this site. As Im reading the comments I keep coming back to the seemingly pointless Quentyn intro and demise. If its one thing I can surely say is that Martin does not fluff stuff up. Sure, he drags his points out but there are clues in everything.

1) Melisandre has repeatedly stated that there is power in a kings blood, sacrificing Edric Storm, Mance's son etc.
2) Quentyn states he has Targ blood.
3) Quentyn is a prince.
4) On the day Quentyn dies it almost seems that its is the same Dany has her "flow".
5) Quentyn betrayed Dany, as Selmy says to the two remaining Dornishmen and Quentyn himself had stated by trying to steal the dragons.
6) Quentyn died by fire, a sacrifice, blood magic.
7) On her walk back to town Dany observes the Dothraki sea being dried up, we know the pyramids/mountains are ash, she is walking towards the west where the flames are rising and she may have had a "quickening" in her womb.

I dont think Quentyn is this Azor Azhi or whatever and I dont think that the PTWP and AA are the same but these prophecy references must mean something. We're too far into this story for something to not have happened in this book that we're going to start seeing action of in 6 and 7.

Also, the PTWP is supposed to unite all the corners of the world and how better than having one head of the dragon at each corner, Jon, Dany and Aegon/? are all now at the main geo locations of the story as we head in to the realizations of all this frustrating build up. With Arya and Bran harnessing their skills as a greenseer and a FM to communicate with each other and "whisper" to each other and Jon in turn with Dany.

As for Aegon, IDK. Too convenient, too out of nowhere. Something this major and Martin brings it up in book 5? Ive also read on Tower of the Hand that Martin has emphatically stated that he thinks red herrings are a cheap lit device that he wont inflict on his readers. There were too many clues IMO this book especially that Jon is not Ned's true born.
Rob Munnelly
65. RobMRobM
Bam and others - I was aware of and am intrigued by Selmy's statement that Joanna Lannister was Aerys' true love but am having trouble going from there to having Aerys be the father of Joanna's children - there is a little obstacle in the path of that happy story called Tywin Lannister. So, we'd need a grand conspiracy where the King either claims love rights and Tywin meekly accepts or buys off Tywin and he meekly accepts. Having just a bit of trouble with either scenario. It would, of course, open up all sorts of possiibilies if true, as Jamie would be Kinslayer as well as Kingslayer. Further, it might explain why Aerys would have turned down match between Cersei and Rheagar...but I'm dubious Tywin and Joanna would have let that happen if they knew Cersei and R were sibs. On balance, I don't buy it. Too many Targs spoil the tale.

@ various - I see nothing that calls into question strong likelihood that R + L = J. Jon looks like Arya who looks just like Lyanna. Fact that one is a Targ doesn't mean one looks like the classic Targ (as is clear from the Dunk and Egg novels - Targ Prince Baelor looks just like his Dornish mother). Fact that he has mother's family ability doesn't mean he lacks Targ abilities as well (whatever they prove to be.) Dany will be making her way to the area of the Wall for battle between Dragons and Others and the Jon meet up.

@59, 60. I think Dany was pregnant and is fertile, with loss of fetus by berry. Interesting development for the future.

Amelie Smith
66. Starklite

My thoughts on ADWD:

1. Very angry with GRRM for treating his loyal readership with complete disregard again.

2. Aegon Targaryen so called is not the baby Daenerys saw in her vision, that was Aegon the Conqueror. The father is described as an old man in the vision and Rhaegar was still a young man when his children were born.

3. This Aegon is not Aegon at all because he does not possess the Targaryen colouring, they, like the Baratheons and Lannisters, breed true.

4. Jon Snow is not dead. At least he had better not be, after making his readers wait 6 years while he did everything except write the book he had promised it is not acceptable for GRRM to treat his readers like this.

5. The sooner a Maester arrives to help Daenerys get her arse in gear the better, she should have been training her dragons to accept being ridden long before. As someone who has spent a long time around cavalry this ought to have been blindingly obvious to her, especially as she knows that is what Aegon the Conqueror did.
Kris W
67. molybdenum
@65: Of course it is does not make it an impossibility that Jon is a Targaryen, I just said that it makes it less likely. Especially since Aegon has distinct Targaryen characteristics despite being only half Targaryen, meaning those characteristics aren't completely recessive. Once again, does not disprove the theory, simply makes it less likely.

I have a set of conflicting thoeries that you brought to mind. Let's call it number 7a and 7b. Not sure which one I'm more inclined to believe.

7a. Dany has the bloody flux. Her salvation is going to be Mogarru arriving with Victorion and his magical healing powers.

7b. Dany does not have the bloody flux because she is the blood of the dragon. She had a miscarriage as RobMRobM says. Mirri Maz Duur 's curse did not make her infertile, but rather cursed her so any baby that takes root will never end up being born.

As for your earlier comments about prologues, you are stretching it. The prologue always impacted the book itself. The first book was a prologue for the series, as the Others are the principle enemy to mankind. The Others also caused (indirectly) the attack on Mormont where Jon burned his hand (which was unfortunate, because now we have to read about him flexing his hand about as often as Nynaeve pulls her braid.)

The second book's prologue was about Melisandre's magic as magic was almost non-existent in the first book. This foreshadowed Renly and Penrose's deaths.

The third book prologue was the Other attack on the camp, but possibly more importantly showed the dissatisfaction with Mormont in the camp, which foreshadowed him being killed later in the book by his own soldiers.

The fourth book showed the first sign of the Nameless men, who became important in that book because that is where Arya went to train. It also paralelled the epilogue, where the dead boy is suddenly back.
Kris W
68. Patrick C
Two questions are nagging at me after reading it, I wonder if anyone here can help:

1) So who killed Little Walder? It seems that Wyman Manderly went through great pains to respect guest right, and Mance's girls said they didn't do it.

2) Who was the tall man with 1 eye and 10 arms that the Red Priest told Tyrion he saw coming to Daenerys? Bloodraven? I really have no clue on this one, but we should know all the possible characters this could be.
Hugh Arai
69. HArai
Starklite@66: Gasp, how terrible! You'd better send him your orders again so he can write the next book exactly how you demand it.

Patrick C@68: Victarion? A kraken is many armed.


Wonder what the heck is going on with Brienne, that was a heck of a disconnect from the last time we saw her.

Relatively happy with the way the Meereen thread seems to be closing. Thought the Stannis thread seems to be in reverse now though.
Sydo Zandstra
70. Fiddler
Following up on HArai re: Patrick C:

A Kraken is basically a giant Squid. Squids have 8 arms and 2 tentacles which adds up to 10. So probably a Greyjoy...

But the one eye reference points towards Euron Greyjoy, not Victarion. Maybe this refers to Victarion as Euron's proxy, even if Victarion has his own agenda...
Rob Munnelly
71. RobMRobM
@70. Hi Fiddler! I agree with you re Krakens.

@69. Hi Harai! And we know what's up with Brienne - she's either going to lead Jaime into a trap or into a duel to death with her, both against her honor.

@68. If "Abel" and his girls didn't do it, gotta be a Manderly. (Note: I like "Abel" as an anagram from Bael the Bard, from Mance's old tales.)

Re Jon - Not any less likely than was the situation pre-ADWD.

Re Dany, I vote for 7b with the possible additional option that MMD was not predicting immutable truth or cursing in a manner that would become truth, but just poetically insulting her.

Re Prologue, let me clarify my points. The point I made is that just because something is in a prologue in a book, it doesn't mean that the power mentioned therein comes to full flower in that same book. Thus, with ADWD prologue, I see it as showing scope of warging (that it can be pretty damned expansive) which we saw a fair amount of in text and likely will see more of in next book. The point I'll make with more precision, after re-reading your initial comment, is I see the Prologue as showing the scope of warging and not that it necessarily is pointing towards the extreme aspect of warging of having someone die and then live inside of one of their animal partners. So I don't expect Jon to be forced to live inside of Ghost and don't see it as a fail if he doesn't. (Actually, there is a life sentence option in the text - the crow that Bran flies with used to be a person.)

@66 - re Targ coloring, see my comment at 65. If you read Dunk and Egg stories, you know that Targs with non-Targ mothers may not have Targ coloring.

Re points 4 and 5 - I agree with you on both, except to say that Dany needs sound guidance from somebody, not necessarily just a Maester - and especially that in addition to Marwyn (who was going to help train her) Citadel seemed to be planning to send folk who would do her ill.

Final note - if you read Dunk and Egg, one can figure out who is the one eyed crow. Noted by a couple of people above.

Kris W
72. REl
Is there any chance that Jon Stark is the bastard child of Brandon Stark and Lady Dustin?
I'm not sure of the exact timeline.
And what about the raven when he called out "King" and " Snow ,Jon Snow"
was Brandon speaking to Jon, predicting his rise to king? After he comes from the dead , of course.
Chris King
73. KingFielder
It seems like the consensus is that Briene is leading Jaime into a trap. I think it is more likely that the two of them turn the tables on Stoneheart, "the Hound," and company and escape into the riverlands, maybe meeting up with the Blackfish along the way. I just don't see Briene and Jaime's story ending in a deliberate betrayal.
Kris W
74. Grey wind
Martin just keeps killing the stark decendants, destroys winterfell ned, rob, grey wind ,catlyn, now jon snow. For me this story just lost its meaning.
Kris W
75. LeeAndJon
Just read through all of the comments. BTW, I returned ADWD and got a refund because I was that p.o.'d with GRRM re Jon Snow. He's been my favorite character since the first book. Arya is No.2 and I love their "underdogs united" relationship. Arya ROCKED when she killed the deserter who didn't follow Jon's orders!
I believe ice and fire are the keys to the conclusion.
1. The dragons will be instrumental in the destruction of the Wights (fire destroys them) and it may be the dragons who melt/destroy the Wall.
2. The "dragon with three heads", hmm... maybe Bran and Jon will live inside their dragons and be protectors of the realm while Dany marries Tyrion and they rule the reunited kingdom. Rickon is too untamed to rule Winterfell or The North. Either he will serve under Mance or take his place. The new Ageon won't be in the picture. Sansa is too weak to rule - my flesh crawls everytime she let's Littlefinger kiss her. The story will conclude with the victors declaring an end to The Game of Thrones. That way no one wins, no one dies.
One last thing... wasn't there some dream/vision Jon had where he was in the Stark family crypt and he was saying that he doesn't belong there? Was his presence there a hint that he IS a legitimate Stark of Winterfell, a Lord or a King?
Kris W
76. BFG
@71 - just a couple of things to bear in mind re Jon's parentage. I agree that his looks only indicate that he's at least half Stark. I also agree that R & L is a viable combination. But I'm still not sure what difference it would make.

I don't think he's destined to be a dragon rider. Assuming that we've got Ageon & Dany, I'm not convinced we've met the third yet.

General query, any thoughts on Danys 3 Betrayals? We've had Mizzi's (?) for blood. Then Dany seems to think Jorah & Plumm are the other two, but this was before the posioned cockroaches. I'm not sure if any of them fit the bill.
Rob Munnelly
77. RobMRobM
As was pointed out by someone on another site, Dany's house of the undying vision showed a true mummer's dragon - i.e., a fake one. Despite the various evidence supporting that Aegon named is Aegon in truth, based on the vision I believe we (and probably he) are getting played by someone.

How about this for a wacky theory/set of events: Ned fools around with and impregnates Ashara at Harrenhall; war breaks out, the two lovers are separated and he's forced to marry Cat; Ashara goes to KL and tells her lady the Princess Elia of relations with Ned and coming baby; Elia consults with Varys who comes up with the idea of using Ashara's baby as a substitute baby Aegon; sack of KL happens either before Ashara has the baby or before they can accomplish the switch; baby arrives and has Dayne/Targ coloring; story goes out to Kingsguard and other insiders that Ashara was pregnant and had a stillborn baby; Varys arranges for her to return back to Starfall, takes custody of baby, and sends it overseas to Illyrio and thence to Jon C - telling Jon that it is Aegon in fact (thus, giving Varys a spare in case the two real Targs don't work out and he wants resumption of Targ dynasty); Ned shows up at Starfall with news of Ashara's dead brother and with someone else's baby; Ashara helps him (using Wylla) and then kills herself, in grief over her lost baby, lost love and lost brother. Ned is ultra-protective of Jon's parentage and possible role of Ashara because of Robert hate for Targs, promise to his dying sister, and his knowledge that he did lose his honor in loving Ashara before marriage and he does not want to break his word again. Tragedy/irony is Ned willingly gives all the impression that he is father of bastard Jon when, unknowing to him, he is in truth the father of bastard fake Aegon.

I like it. I may have to re-read the Aegon bits to see if he has any Ned traits, physical or otherwise, that would hint at his true parentage. Also, in this scenario, Varys is the Howland Reed type who would know this true secret.

Kris W
78. Patrick C
Euron Crow's Eye as the one-eyed man with 10 arms makes perfect sense, I'm kicking myself I didn't put that together myself.

I'm still not convinced that Manderly killed Little Walder. I know all the signs point to the fact that he did (Little Walder was engaged to Wylla), but since Manderly went to such pains to respect guest right, it doesn't totally seem to fit.

I don't think there is any way that Jon Snow is dead. Brienne wasn't dead, Arya wasn't blind, a cliffhanger "death" like that means no true death. Unless GRRM has significantly changed his writing style, when someoen dies you KNOW they die (Ned, Robb, Catelyn, Aerys Oakheart, Quentyn). There are thousands of wildlings at Castle Black that are loyal to Jon, not to the Night's Watch. I don't see them sitting back and doing nothing either, so I don't think Bowen Marsh is long for this world himself.

Jon not being able to draw Longclaw was the worst part of the book for me. Why couldn't he draw it???

Some other thoughts:

Maybe I'm being naive, but I believe that Aegon is truly Rhaegar's son, and exactly who Varys/Illyrio says he is.

I enjoy Arya becoming more bad ass, but I want ARYA to be badass. I don't want her to be 'no one.' I think her wolf dreams are there to remind her who she is.

Who do you all suspect of poisoning the locusts? I was convinced it was Hizdahr until Selmy's chapter where he captured him. I've got a bad feeling that Barristan the Bold is being played.

And what was with the phrase "The moon was a crescent, thin as a knife" being repeated like 4 or 5 times in Bran's final chapter? I assume it was important because of the repetition, but I couldn't find the significance.
Dave West
79. Jhirrad
So I finished up reading this yesterday morning. I gave it a day to stew and really crystallize my opinion on it.

I'm seriously disappointed. First off, I feel like it was incredibly slow and plodding. Maybe it's because of the incredibly long wait between books, but the whole timeline seems messed up. It makes it very hard to follow. Mayhap once you're reading this as a completed series and can sit and plow through the whole thing then this won't really hit you, but I kind of feel like it will regardless. It feels more disjointed than some of the most frustrating pieces of WoT in that regard. You don't really understand who is where and when until the very end of the book. It was also really, really slow. I mean, where was the action? Most of the books in this series have had good action mixed in with everything else to keep a nice pace in the book. This didn't have that. This is one of the very few books in my life that I've bought the day it came out and not felt bad when I put it down to take a break. It didn't captivate. It didn't grab hold of you and make you NEED to keep reading.

Speaking of...I, like so many others to comment here, feel cheated by the ending. Let's set aside the possible death of Jon Snow. That would definitely suck as he's one of the best characters in the series, but that notwithstanding, after waiting for 6+ years, it seems to me like Martin could have done a better job with tying things up in this book.

Deus ex machina...Someone mentioned this with the introduction of Aegon and I have to agree. Yes, there's been speculation that it could come out, but that's beside the point. He was dropped into the story in such a manner that it's hard to call him anything but a deus ex here. Though I'll say that I liked that group more than most in this book.

Also, it's almost becoming cliched in these books that he HAS to 'kill' a major character. I understand the world is bloody and violent and harsh, but it seems to have become a crutch for Martin to kill someone just for the sake of killing someone. It's getting kind of boring.

I have never started reading a book series and failed to complete it. Therefore I'm sure I will continue to read these books, though I doubt I'll be buying on release to read immediately again (buy on release for the sale and nothing else). I'm with JRTomlin @24 - After reading this, and the huge disappointment that was A Feast for Crows, I would like to ask Martin for both my money and my time back.
Essy Lasayla
80. Essy
@78 Manderley travelled to Winterfell with his own cook and tons of his own food. If he hasn't eaten bread and salt, he's not subject to the laws of guest right. (Of course that means he's not protected by guest right either, but nobody seems to have had a reaction to his bringing his own cook beyond "lol fatso". That's how he got away with his Titus Andronicus schtick. Heresiarch nailed it @31, Wyman Manderley is fucking awesome.

Also, did anybody else wonder if Penny was Tyrion's daughter with Tysha?
Herb Schaltegger
81. LameLefty
Essy @80 - re Penny possibly being Tyrion's daughter. Holy crap, that's a very interesting possibility. Up until they meet, Tyrion spends the entire book using his internal monologue to wonder where whores go. Penny being named "Penny" would be ironic, given that her mother was treated like a whore by the Lannisters.

I do wish we'd had a bit more closure in this book - some Moment of Awesome to tide us over just a bit for the next 2+ years until TWoW hits the press. The emotional high point for me was Jon tossing teenage angst into the dungheap and just executing Slynt - finally! - and doing so in the way Lord Eddard had taught the Stark boys all the way back in the first chapter of AGoT. I actually screamed out, "Aaarrgh!" when Jon was stabbed so late in the book because I knew we'd be left hanging for 2 years or more to see what comes next. I think whatever it is, I think Jon will be dead and his body will be stored in the ice cells for some reason - too much time was spent in Jon's internal monologue considering them and their uses to not see what that was leading up to. I also believe that Jon IS going to be back with us, maybe via whatever magic animates Coldhands, which might explain why we STILL don't quite know what to make of him/it.
Rob Munnelly
82. RobMRobM
@80. Re Penny, no I didn't. That's an interesting idea, even if unlikely. Re Wyman, it has to be him or his proxy.

@79. No deux ex - Aegon is going to be shown to be the mummer's dragon, predicted in Book 2. Re the book as a whole, I liked it but if Martin had given use closure on one or two of the anticipated scenes (Tyrion/Dany, Brienne/Jamie, Arya heading either East or West), I would have loved it.

@78. Jon can't be dead, because Mel saw him as AA/PTWP in her flames, which reflect the future (even though she didn't recognize that). Only issue is how he gets there - rescued before death and recovers? Beric type revival by Mel? Magical warg intervention by Bran or Ghost? I'm betting on the options in the order stated. EDIT - don't forget about Bran's dream in AGOT, with Jon at the Wall on a bed getting increasingly cold. That may favor options 2 or 3.

Kris W
83. Jeff R.
Mellisandre is more than a little bit dense, isn't she? "I pray for a glimps of Azor Ahia, and R'hllor shows me only Snow". (I'm sure that Jon is only just as dead as he needs to be to end his watch, and no more)

We got a couple of vaguely-in-the-direction-of-confirmation clues towards my "Tyrion is a Targyren bastard", both from the repeating of the 'all dwarfs are bastards in their fathers eyes' and the explicit confirmation of Aerys' interest in his mother. (I don't think that Jamie and Cersei are Targs, though.)

Who stands to inherit Casterly Rock at this point, presuming Jamie doesn't change his mind and assert an interest, which seems safe? Lancel?

Also, I wonder who is properly positioned to be the next Lord Captain Commander of the Watch. I don't think they're any less deadlocked now than they were last time, no? In which case...Dolorous Edd? He was in the 'groom for command' position for a while...

My take on Aegon is that he is Elia's child, but may or may not be Rhaegar's. Rhaegar may have been planning to set Elia aside for Lyanna, and that may have been out of more than just infatuation.
Kris W
84. Jenniebee
@RobMRobM - I thought it was Ramsay who was killing people in Winterfell. He's a total psychopath under pressure to be good with Daddy Bolton too close for comfort & needed a fix. Remember Theon's reaction when the bodies start turning up? It was just like it happened after Theon took Winterfell...

Jon is not dead. When GRRM kills people, they die. If a whole bunch of people talk about how their feet kicked when they were beheaded, or they get molten metal hats, or their wives smother them with pillows and then cremate them, or if they go to a wedding and multiple people confirm afterward that their corpse was beheaded and their direwolf's head was sewn on, or if they drink poisoned wine at a wedding and then get laid out in the Sept (and btw GRRM, way to get the hate on for weddings, think we could have a happy one sometime or other? ;-) ) or if somebody shoves them out a moon door, or if somebody shoots them in the gut and watches them die and then literally everybody (but not her brother) shows up to say "yup, that's a corpse," then they're dead.

However, when it's the end of the book and GRRM has a noose around their neck and they say one last word and then the chapter ends, or their hair pulled and a knife descending and the chapter ends, or they're stabbed a bit and fall down surrounded by thousands of supporters and the chapter ends, they're still alive. The only major character who has died offstage so far is Robb, and for him we've gotten some pretty heavy confirmation that the dude has kicked it.

On Arya's coins, it's several of the coins from the fountain in the temple, there's just enough of the residue of the water that gives the gift on them to kill the insurer (and so awesome that Arya's first official kill is an insurer. Props. There are some people at Blue Cross I'd like to introduce her to.) After he's put them in his mouth, the coins are clean. Except for the spit, of course.
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
@84 - that's an interesting thought. Though having Ramsay killing his own team in the midst of a epidemic of killings by others would be a truly crazy act if true. Re Arya - LOL!
Kris W
86. Jenniebee
@85 What epidemic of killings by others? I thought they were all Ramsay. He's a psychotic under stress. Roose wouldn't, but he's more of a sociopath - his revulsion to Ramsay's thrill killing isn't that it's wrong or that it's evil, it's that it's counterproductive. Ramsay is a sadist to the core and he's nightly having to perform sexually with Jeyne without killing her, which by this point to him must be positively anti-climactic. Man's got an itch that needs scratchin', and who's easier to lure away someplace private than the people who think they can trust him?

From the other angle, for Manderley's men to get those Freys alone and unsuspecting would have taken some real talent, considering that the Freys showed up suspecting Manderley of having done wrong by their kin.
Rob Munnelly
87. RobMRobM
Jenniebee - all the other Freys were killed by Abel (Mance) and his wildling girls. One of the girls denied that they were responsible for Little Walder, making the Team Manderly the likely suspects for killing off the boy intended for marriage to one of his kids.
Kris W
88. GoodBye
I don't know if Jon Snow is dead, but who I do know is dead for me is GRRM. He can write the next books as "carefully" as he wants, I don't care about him or his "plot twists" anymore.
Kris W
89. Kerrygirl
Aaaaaaaarrrgh!!!!!!!!!!! Just finished the book this second. Jon can't be dead! He's gone through too much, but then again this IS GRRM. I doubt it though, if GRRM was going to kill him off, the last knife would have slashed his throat from ear to ear.

I still think that Jon is the progeny of Lyanna and Rhaegar, I think the teasers in this book abut his parentage were the red herrings.

As regards the Lannister / Targaryen connection, it said Aerys 'took certain liberties during the bedding' of Joanna and Tywin, but I still don't think that Aerys is the father of Cersei and Jaime, but possibly there was a later incident, which begat Tyrion, "All dwarves are bastards in their lord Fathers eyes" which would allow for Tyrion's dragon fascination? Tyrion claimed his father blamed him for the death of his mother, what if his birth was the result of rape by Aerys? Just a thought.

Aegon is a bit of an odd one. Not sure what to make of that yet. It's a bit too damn convenient for my liking, but I'll roll with it for the time being...

@31 - you got it in one - Wyman Manderly ROCKS!!!! Bring on the Frey pie...

@66 - ROARING LAUGHING at Starklite's post but totally agree that Dany should have gotten up off her arse and put some manners on the dragons while they were small enough to train. I mean, DUH!

The Theon scenes were very well written, in that they made me wince to read them. I had hated him like poison at the end of the last book, but you couldn't but feel sorry for the poor maimed creature that he became. Did they geld him? He was afraid to take off his clothes, and all the letters were enclosing 'a piece of a prince?' The Bastard is lying in his letter though, am not even entirely sure he has Mance.

Very excited about Frankengregor....

Roll on The Winds of Winter!!!!
Herb Schaltegger
90. LameLefty
So, did anyone else catch on and enjoy the fact that our little Arya/No One had to try to avoid consciously warging into the local cats while she was still blinded when she was talking to the waif and the kindly man? She's just the cutest little psychopath ever, isn't she? Can't WAIT for her to start checking names off her list again.

Oh, and as for "Ser Robert Strong," I will stick with the name I believe I invented four or five years ago on Usenet - "The Mountainstein" :)
Rikka Cordin
91. Rikka
1. Editing and better pacing: this book needed it.

2. Melisandre looks a lot less crazy and a lot more depressing after a PoV

3. Quenten = foolish and unnessecary and really, we spend too much time in Dorne for how little the Dornish do (though I must admit I love the Sand Snakes and the Water Gardens would be awesome right about now)

4. I wish less of this book covered people traveling to find Dany and more of Dany and awesome people (Tyrion, Aegon) interacting

5. Theon & Bolton are actually a terrifying couple

6. I am sick of sellswords. For serious, why bother with eighty bajillion companies I don't give a damn about in a city that doesn't matter?

7. I saw Connington coming back but didn't believe all the Aegon hype (d'oh).

8. I never considered anything other than Dany miscarrying til I got in here... Hrm. But I don't like how she's been treating the dragons. If they were her first children, she should have been spending a lot more time with them. Her own damn fault, ya'll.

9. Arya's story is fascinating but so slooowww. I just want her to be a FM already and meet back up with Hgar. I love that all the Starks are warging it up left and right. Is Sansa not because Lady was killed so quickly? She's older than Arya and Bran so it should be showing already...

10. Am I the only person who doesn't like calling the Targaryens Targs? I know it's a bitch to spell but damn.
Rob Munnelly
92. RobMRobM
@89. Not dead and with you on his parentage. If Tywin is as much as private sh*t as he is publicly, likelihood of A + J = Tyrion goes way up when A regard for her is added to unhappy marriage and KL proximity. Aegon - fake but he'll around long enough to give Dany a hard decision; I've separately posted by N + A + A wacky theory, which fascinates me (especially when someone at Westeros pointed to Harwin text in ASOS suggesting that N and A may well have had whoopie at Harrenhall). I did not pick up Wyman pie on my read but pretty clear on re-read. I'm not in the Theon gelded camp yet but it is at least possible.

@90 - not a psychopath, no way no how, but she definitely was warging into cats on a selective basis. Here's the question - is she heading West or East?

@91 - Hi Rikka and welcome to our program. Need to cover Dornish, as Dany is coming through there, one way or another. I agree with 4 but that would have been fixed if Tyr had made it to Dany and gave us the payoff in his volume. Re 5, which Bolton? Smart one or dumb one? I'm firmly in the Dany miscarrying camp. Is there really another one? Re 6, you'll care when Dany goes through them like butter with dragons in tow - need to really dislike them before they burn. Re 9, is Arya going East or West? Also, interesting question re Sansa - no in text hints that I recall. 10. Yes, you are. LOL.

Kris W
93. Evareia
Most of my thoughts have already been covered here, but just a quick speculation:
If Jon is a warg, and if Jon is a Targaryen, any chance Jon will warg into a dragon at some point?
I doubt it a lot myself, but then again, stranger things have happened in these books.
Kris W
94. Ryanh
While reading Dany's lost chapter I started to wonder if the three treasons prediction was perhaps about all the treasons she will commit. Seemed that way from the tongue lashing she was getting from SpiritViserys and GrassJorah.
Kris W
95. BFG
@94 - I love that idea.

Also loved that last image of her standing by Drogon.
Kris W
96. BFG
re Tyrion being Aerys's son. I don't buy it. Tyrions Aunt (Genna?) tells Jaime that Tyrion is Tywins true son for a start. I think his interest in dragons is just a natural interest - he reads a lot of stuff because he's got time to do it. He's not suited to physical activity, I doubt Tywin ever let him attempt a real job (except that time with the cisterns - which was meant as a punishment). Plus in GoT he tells Bran that when he's riding he'll be as tall as anyone (or some such). I think dragons is just an extension of that philosophy.
Might agree with Cersei & Jaime being Aerys's kids. They're 'into' each other. Cersei's definitely crazy enough. Joffery has same interest in fire & death (also crazy). Tyrion at one point suggests that Joffreys not so different from Aerys, although he wasn't being literal at the time.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
97. tnh
Lurking Canadian @48, triangulate between guest rights, Manderley's talks with Davos in the dungeons, and the bit about how giving someone a horse marks the formal end of their period of guestship.
Rob Munnelly
98. RobMRobM
Page 121. Lannisters have Targ blood. Tyrion is all set for dragon riding purposes irrespective of who his father is (i.e. Tywin, Aerys or anyone else, as his mother was a Lannister cousin).

Kris W
99. Groggy
Okay, first things first, I believe that Danys moon blood towards the end was symbolic. It stated in the book that she hadnt had a period since she chained her dragons up. I assume this is because she is 'blood of their blood'. This means she locked part of herself away when she denied her children. Either way it brings up interesting points about whether she will ever be able to conceive or not.

That being said, this book made me despise Dany. Not for the way she ruled or who she chose to marry. No. It was simply for the fact that she turned into a cockmongler. In AGOT her experiences with Drogo and sex shaped who she would choose to be. Dany did not let her reproachable situation dominate her, making her life miserable. No. Dany took control and showed that she was a true dragon. However, in ADWD, GRRM finally caught the Hollywood writing bug. I personally do not read these books to hear of the sexual frustration of a fifteen year old girl. Those parts in the novel made me cringe just for the fact that she became the Whore Queen. These moments also brought about one of the most unbelievable characters of all time, Daario. His every action made me want to slam this book shut and never pick it up again. The only reason that GRRM included this waste of ink, is so that when his TV show reaches it's fifth season, he can include some man meat to drive the ratings up.

I swear after all the pointless sex scenes, I was expecting anything and everything sexually explicit to occur in this volume. Towards the end I was afraid GRRM would give us a 'Two Ladies, One Tankard' between Brienne and Cersei or some other crazy, pointless, contrived romance scene.

To sum it up, adequate novel in most respects. I do believe, however that dear old GRRM shouldn't wait so long between installments. It seems in his age that he misplaces the queens and the whores of Kings Landing.
Kris W
100. Wolverine
I think Quentyn was a POV character just to kill him off. It has been pointed out that since killing Ned in book 1, no POV character has been killed and stayed dead. Even Cercei still isn't dead even though the endings to books 4 and 5 suggested that was a real possibility. I took Quentyn as GRRM saying, "see, I can still kill my main chars" without actually sacrificing any of his actual characters who have more involved plots. The problem being, you don't ever get invested into Quentyn as a character and his death doesn't really affect anything. I take his death as strong evidence that the people who have been POV for multiple books will live to the end, or at least live until they do something huge. Hence, I don't think Jon is dead.
Kris W
101. DarrenJL
This book was 900 pages of f**k all happening, and then a few chapters of cliffhanger. Which will either not be resolved in x years' time (I hope I wasn't being accidentally prophetic there, in Roman numerals), or will be revealed to be lies. All the problems of the previous book are only more apparent in this one. Too many characters. Too many new characters. Too many VIEWPOINT characters. Too many divergent plots, which start out as parellel plots, but eventually become purely divergent. Too much writing, as Elmore Leonard puts it. Not enough story. TV writing. Buildup, buildup, buildup... shocking cliffhanger. Tangent. Repeat. I mean, Jaime appears in ONE chapter, and he does nothing in it except follow Brienne (! Brienne! What happened?!?!?! Oh wait... you're gone already) off. He might as well have written "tune in next week!" in the epilogue. Except instead of "next week", "next decade".

The teaser Daenaerys chapter promised dragons, and we get at LEAST 700 (I think 900 is more accurate) pages of anything BUT dragons before they finally take part in the story. There's no word in the English language to describe that except bullsh*t. We waited six years, Mr. Martin. You can skip the foreplay.

Arya's in two chapters, and basically does nothing except distance herself from the rest of the many plots. Yes, it's nice that we see her also being a warg with the cat, but if she's so intent on not being Arya Stark, then she doesn't belong in the story. And Arya's one of my favourite characters! But I just do not need to read nothing but chapters about the inner workings of the Faceless Men next novel, with some viewpoint character whose name and face changes every time. If Waif starts getting viewpoint chapters as well...

And what's more, with the way of dealing with all the convolution he began in aFfC (we won't get into how I pronounce that acronym), will the next book even address any of the cliffhangers? Or will it all be:

No One

Sydo Zandstra
102. Fiddler

I think Quentyn was a POV character just to kill him off. It has been
pointed out that since killing Ned in book 1, no POV character has been killed and stayed dead.

Minor nitpick: Arys Oakheart (or did he rise in the part of the book I have yet to read?). But I can see your point. :)
Kris W
103. DarrenJL
I mean seriously, was I the only one who started thinking of Wonder Boys when reading this? Not Chabon's excellent novel, but rather Grady Tripp's doomed novel-within-the-novel?
Kris W
104. DarrenJL
@100 Robb Stark is still dead. I'm sure there are others.
Jim T
105. nabcif
DarrenJL@104: But Robb was never a POV character.
Kris W
106. Lurking Canadian
@TNH 97: Those all prove that he killed the missing Freys, which I did get. It was the "then he baked their corpses into a pie and served it to their cousins" part I didn't get. His gusto at the wedding I attributed in part to overplaying his role and in part that he knew something we didn't about Davos and Rickon, so he knew he was winning. However, the key clues seem to be (1) the pies were "pork", even though there were no pigs in the baggage train he brought from White Harbor and (more important) (2) he requested the song about The Rat King, which I am not obsessive enough to remember was a story from a previous book about a somebody who fed his guests their relatives. I am now convinced.

@90 Lefty: I've never understood people saying Arya is a psychopath. She's deeply damaged, obviously, but I don't see any signs that she kills people for fun or anything. Yes, she wants to kill her litany, but so did Robb, Catelyn, Martell... That just proves she's vengeful. The singer she killed was Justice--for all she knows, she's the reigning Stark, and it's the job of the Starks to kill deserters from the Watch. The hit on the insurance guy, I will grant, was utterly unmotivated (except following orders), but notice that she convinced herself he was a "bad man". The kindly man is trying to turn her into a psychopath, but so far she seems to be resisting.

@83 Jeff: I think it should be the Blackfish. He's already sworn not to ever marry, he has zero chance of ever holding land, and we think he's on the way there anyway. Probably nobody gets elected Lord Commander on the first day, but maybe his reputation preceeded him.
Joanne Center
107. thegloop
I agree with what a lot of people have already said: All the scenes in Slavers Bay were pretty irritating. All along, GRRM has been setting up this clash between the political manuverings in Westros vs the REAL enemy in the North, aka The Others. Everyone is playing the game of thrones, when they really should be getting ready to kick some primordial evil ass (unless, and this is a really dumb long shot, that the Others are sowing the seeds of discontent among the people of Westros, thereby CAUSING political strife that they can take advantage of, which they can totally do cuz their like.. ya know.. Evil with a capital "e"). But that doesn't bother me. That to me is the real conflict of the entire story, that you are so focused on your immediate enemies, that you can't recognize the real danger. However, I really don't see what all the stuff in Slaver's bay is supposed to prove or what it is supposed to do. I mean I guess basically we are just seeing how Dany becomes the queen she is meant to be, but seriously GET ON WITH IT. I didn't expect Dany to return to Westros in this book, but I expected a little more plot development or at least some more of the characters linking up with each other. I really didn't think Quentyn would make it out of this book ok, but I really pegged Victarion to be the one who offs him since they are at cross purposes. Not sure where it stands with Victarion, but I'm pretty sure he's going to use that horn of his and capture one of the dragons (Viserion maybe) now that they are loose. Not exactly sure what he would do with a dragon even if he caught one, to be honest, though I never really got how the goings on of the Iron Islands were important anyway. I mean seriously, you are fighting over a couple of rocks and we have giants and zombies and sadistic Boltons and Mad queens and wargs and all kinds of crazy stuff going down. Are we going to get dragon pitted against dragon? That might be kinda cool... I dunno.
Kat Blom
108. pro_star
Really? Could have sworn we had a Robb POV at some point in the series....but...I could be wrong. It's one of those things I don't always conciously think of.
Kris W
109. Patrick C
@108 - Definitely no Robb POVs anywhere in the series.
Kris W
110. Wolverine
Another thing I really want to know is what is Varys/Illyrio's actual plan?

What we know if them was they were boys together, Varys was bought so they cut cut off his manhood and use it in sorcery, and they helped each other out. Varys was brought to KL by the mad king. How does that all translate to undying devotion to the Targs? It seems like neither of them needs/wants gold in their adventures, so what is their motivation?

If Aegon is really Aegon, then why did they send Barriston the Bold to Dany and not Aegon? Aegon has the better Targ claim. I don't know how long it took him to travel to her, but I think he was sent before the dragons hatched.

Why did Illario give Dany dragon's eggs in the first place? Did he suspect she'd be able to hatch them? Does he still have more? I think he might.

What is the reason behind sending Tyrion to her? Yeah he's smart and could advise her well if he decided he wanted to, but why should she trust him and why should he help her asside from it possibly leading to vengence?

If Aegon is really Aegon, why didn't they ever tell Dany about him?
Kris W
111. Essy
@82. Unlikely is a fair description of it, given that Penny explicitly states her father was a different dwarf called Hop Bean. On the other hand, I'm convinced that we will eventually find out what happened to Tysha because of the way she keeps haunting Tyrion and since Penny never gives her mother's name, the dates roughly match up and Tyrion finds himself acting inexplicably parentally towards Penny, I think what happened to Tysha might have been Penny. (Which might actually make Penny a potential heir to Casterley Rock. Tyrion and Tysha were legally married after all.)

@89. The refusal to disrobe, the numerous references to him no longer being a man and the mention of him having lost other parts than fingers, toes and teeth made me read it as Theon having been gelded, even though it's never explicitly stated in the text.

Was anybody else a little annoyed by the POV characters not having the same name from one chapter to the next? I recognise that Theon's changing name was part of a character arc, but I don't see why the Quentyn or Selmy chapters could't have just been marked with their names.
David Thomson
112. ZetaStriker
I'll probably do a full review of this at some point, but I finished it Sunday morning . . . I'm still digesting it as a whole, but overall I'm just not satisfied. The biggest problem I've had with the series as a whole is that each novel isn't an established story, but rather the continuation of a longer one. It's like being given a portion of a single book and being told to be happy with it. But the length of the story makes pressing on without climax feel about as unsatisfying as doing so in a romance. This tome is monstrous in size and length, but my opinion after reading that is that it didn't need to be. Martin wastes a lot of space, and makes a lot of promises he doesn't keep, and those aren't flaws one can overlook easily.
Kris W
113. DarrenJL
@110 - Barristan left at his own volition. It's clear from his own POV chapters that he has no trust for Varys. It's unlikely Varys had much trust in him, either.

Also, the reason Dany wasn't told seems pretty clear. Viserys was bait. The Beggar King. Well known and poorly hidden. And if you look at Daenaerys' character at the beginning of the series, I doubt they'd have been trusting her with any important secrets.

@105 Really? I thought he had a couple, but I guess they were all Bran or Catelyn chapters.
Rikka Cordin
115. Rikka
@89 etc. RE: Theon

He was most likely (I would say definitely) gelded. He makes too many 'round the bush mentions of it to not be, one where he even seems so unwilling to think/talk about it that he refers to his genetalia as "other things". To me, this just makes the Bastard even creepier/crueler/more inhuman.

Another person who did not do nearly enough: Asha Greyjoy.
Karan J
116. karanj
Amused by the bemoaning of "nothing happened!" in this book - as a Wheel of Time reader, it's an all-too-familiar feeling.

Is it just me that read the bit with Davos in the Sisters that seems to mention Ned fathering a child on the girl that rescued him from the sea? I though between that and the comment about Jon haggling like a fishwife settled the question of his parentage. Everyone here seems convinced Jon is Targaryen, but I'm yet to see any evidence of that.

yes - just confirmed it, the chapter with Davos in Sisterton, Lord Godric mentions Ned fathered a bastard on a fisherman's daughter, who named him Jon after Jon Arryn, Ned's foster father. I have the e-book edition, otherwise I'd confirm a page number too.

For the question of who killed Little Walder: surely this is the hooded man who talked to Theon in the snow a night or two before? Or was I too dense to realise that was Abel/Mance?

Convenient that Victarion is heading Dany's way with a fleet to carry her army, and a horn to control the dragons besides. I don't think a saddle created by Tyrion will be enough to do it, given the knowledge that the Valriyans bound them with spells etc.

I felt the infodump from Varys was a bit too blunt - how does anyone with a crossbow quarrel in their chest survive that long? - but it's good to see Varys getting some action, other than as a behind-the-scenes manipulator.

Overall, a decent bridging novel trying to move pieces into place - though where the 5 year jump that I've heard tell of fits into the current agenda I can't tell. All I can say to those who haven't experienced the frustration of Wheel of Time: give it time :)
Kris W
117. DarrenJL
Does anything think the Bastard of Bolton was trying to goad Jon Snow to attack Stannis' men (who conceivably hold Winterfell)? All the information about Stannis (magic sword, Melisandre) he had he could have learned from torturing Mance. His saying he wanted his wife back was sort of telling, considering they were right there with Stannis's force.
Kris W
118. DarrenJL
*anyone, not anything
Kris W
119. DarrenJL
@116 Yeah, but there's also the bit from Selmy's POV about the girl, Ashara Dayne, he was in love with "turning to Stark". One thinks Ned, but it might also have been the older brother. We know Ned was at the same tourney, but Martin is being deliberately coy, mentioning only the last name. Ashara Dayne, being Dornish, would also have the "blood of the dragon", and more than poor Quentyn, since Selmy flat out says how she had the same purple eyes as Daenaerys. Ashara Dayne's death also mirrors my vague recollection of what was mentioned of Jon's mother in the first book.

I think the issue is still unsettled.
Kris W
120. John Wharton
Is there any chance that Jon Snow is Aegon Targaryen?
Kris W
121. Patrick C
I would be very surprised if it turned out that Jon Snow's mother was a fishwife from Sisterton.

Did anyone else notice that Missandei showed some strange affinity with the dragons? She told Dany she heard people scratching at the walls, and Dany told her that was impossible. But we know that Viserion was scratching/digging a cave into the pyramid. Missandei later told Dany (or was it Selmy?) that she heard crying... my guess is the crying was again the dragons, crying from being away from their mother.
Rob Munnelly
122. RobMRobM
Not buying the Theon gelding theory. He has a POV where he considers having sex with one of Abel's girls, but doesn't do it. POV wouldn't have been the same if he totally lacked physical assets. I do see it as likely that Ramsay sexually abused or tortured him - which has led to the personality mess that Theon becomes throughout the book.

Not buying the Jon as a Sisteron bastard. Just not plausible. He's a Targ.

After re-reading Dany's last chapter, I just realized "to go forward you have to go back" in Quaithe's prophecy means she has to re-immerse herself in the Dothraki and bring them with her as part of her army going to Westeros - or at least Dany believes this.

Interesting thought re Missendei. I've always had her as a candidate for being a dragon rider. Wonder if she has a splash of Valyrian blood somewhere. I like idea she has a psychic connection to Viserion. So guess this means Tyrion might get the green one.
David Thomson
123. ZetaStriker
I thought he had been gelded as well . . . again, from the scene where he talks about his fingers, toes and "other thing" being cut off. It seemed a sentence built to imply it, although I have to admit if there is a scene where he considers sex it's probably unlikely. Can't say I remember such a scene though. Which Theon chapter was it in?

116@karanj: Wheel of Time's advantage was that, with the exception of Crossroads of Twilight, it had consistent climaxes. The plot did stay somewhat stagnant, but we had Rand fighting Forsaken, Mat taking on armies . . . and the less said of Perrin the better. But each book ended with a back, again with the exception of that terrible, terrible one. This doesn't have that sort of climax, and in fact seems to purposely end just before it. That, I think, it akin to a literary crime.

That's not to say I think it was all bad, but the overall impression I had was most definitively in the negative. Frustrating rather than entertaining. A Feast for Crows is widely considered the worst of these books, and this just isn't any better. In fact due to the extraneous feel of the entire Slaver's Bay plotline, which without any of these other characters getting to Dany ends up feeling more like filler to keep her away from Westeros than anything else, I'd argue it may actually be worse.

I apologize if I sound like I keep playing the same note, but I feel a need to vent my frustration with the book every time I try to talk about it. Moving on . . .

The Davos chapter also jumped out to me, and as far as Jon is concerned, Martin spent the entire book distancing himself from the R + L = J theory. It's by no means set in stone either way, but I found that interesting. Also of note is that Jon = Aegon seems to have become a lot more prevalent as well, although that seems unlikely when given to serious scrutiny. It requires quite a few coincidences.

Most interesting was the intentional fuel Martin threw on the Lannister-Targaryen theories. I'd really like to know what liberties were taken on Tywin's wedding night.
Birgit F
124. birgit
Dany seems to have some control over Drogon as the mother of dragons (at least he doesn't eat her), another dragon will probably be controlled by the horn. Will Bran as a warg control the third dragon (riding in a dragon instead of on it), maybe with Tyrion as the rider on the dragon?
It was stupid of the Night Watch rebels to attack Jon after he brought all the Wildlings. They will probably take over the wall and chase away the crows.
Jon will probably live on in Ghost until he is reanimated either by the Others or Melisande.
Is the raven Jon inherited from Mormont one of those with a former warg living in them?
Scott Wooldridge
125. Dornish
My theory is Qyburn created Robert Strong from Gregor Clegane's body, but since they sent his skull to Dorne they're using Falyse's head...
Rob Munnelly
126. RobMRobM
@125 - that's a scary thought. Interesting issue whether there is a substitute or whether nothing is there.

Birgit- I didn't really like Martin's decision to emphasize the role of Targ blood in dragons liking people, and am having trouble with implications of that decision for the story. Dany of course is all set. Tyrion is teed up as a rider but status of Targ blood is uncertain. I had thought Arya would eventually come east and be a rider but if Targ blood is essentially required, she better just head west and kill some Freys. I thought and think Missendei would be a good rider but less likely if Targ blood is required, u.s.w. I have trouble seeing Vicarion as a longterm solution - he can steal a dragon but it's not as if he'd join team Dany on journey to westeros. The Bran warg factor is interesting but he has enough to worry about in the north and there ain't no heart trees in Essos or South Westeros, so that can't occur for several books. Frankly, it's a mess. I have no idea where Martin is going.

I can't see Jon as Coldhands II. I can see him being revived by Mel, who then realizes he is Azor Ahai. Better happen soon or NW is so totally screwed.

Raven - good idea, I think so.

Zeta - I'm still firmly into R +L theory - Martin is just playing with us to keep things fresh.
Kris W
127. gabemar
Reek rhimes with
beak, bleak, cheek, chic, clique, creak, creek, eke, freak, geek, greek, , leak, meek, , peak, peek, pique, seek, sheik, shriek, sikh, sleek, sneak, speak, squeak, streak, teak, tweak, weak, week, wreak

Rob Munnelly
128. RobMRobM
Gleek (fan of Glee); Leek (vegetable/herb) - otherwise I'm stumped. Impressive.
Kris W
129. Kreeble
If you dont believe Theon has had his naughty bits removed, then what the hell is his problem? He goes batshit crazy whenever someone risks seeing his crotch, and repeatedly moans to himself that he is not a man anymore. While I suppose that last could apply to not having fingers and toes, he thinks to himself that showing his maimed hands is better than "stand before them naked." It seems like a lot of effort to not buy into it.
Kris W
130. Kreeble
Plus, we get teed up to make that assumption when we have Davos in the dungeon worrying about having his bits burned off by his jailer.
Kris W
131. Andrew Lawler
Just read through the thread and find some hope here which was lacking when I finished the book. I concur with those who found much of the book static and the deus ex machina of Young Griff. Regardless of how many hints we have had, after five books it's going to be tough to get me to place much investment in this guy. I hope indeed it is he, nor Q who is the Mummers (sp) dragon.
If Jon is dead. I'm done.
Hugh Arai
132. HArai
Karanj@116: Agreed.

On further reflection, I don't think the book is actually that static. It does what it needs to do to position the players for the end game. In other words, it does what book 5 of a 6-7 book series needs to do.
It's just that after the lengthy wait I was (perhaps a little unrealistically) hoping some plot threads would be resolved in this book. Quentyn's failure and death (pretty much the only resolved thread that comes to mind) wasn't one of the big ones.

As for "Young Griff", I was pretty much waiting for someone to claim to be a Targaryen heir. Whether he's the real thing or not, it's just too obvious a tactic to pass up.


He has only taken toes and fingers and that other thing, when he might have had my tongue, or peeled the skin off my legs from heel to thigh.

And probably most directly, on the night of the wedding when Ramsay tells him "Get her ready for me" there's this:

For a moment he did not understand. "I ... do you mean ... m'lord , I have no ... I ..."
Darren James
133. b8amack
@132 I took it to mean his roots and tuber, as well, specifically the way Reek won't even name the "other parts" which were taken. I also don't remember Theon contemplating sex with the wildling women. What I remember is him showing no interest in them whatsoever. But then that may also be him being scarred, after being forced to take part in the Bastard of Bolton's wedding night. Scarred for life, one thinks.

But you're cherry-picking with your quotations, though, which is dishonest.

Yes, Theon does say:

"I... do you mean... m'lord, I have no..."

But before that, as I think you're aware, Ramsay asks of Theon:

"Does she make your cock hard, Reek? Is it straining against your laces? Would you like to fuck her first?"
Karan J
134. karanj
RobMRobM, I don't get where you're so convinced of Jon being (a) Targ, and (b) Azor Azhai? I thought it's pretty clear for one that Azor Azhai is Dany - I picked up on that early on, and Aemon in aFfC confirmed it for me.

Jon-as-Targ is valid assuming that Rhaegar got Lyanna pregnant and she lived long enough to carry him to term, though I'm not sure of that... but then what reason does Sir Godric have to lie to Davos?

ZetaStriker@123: This feels a lot like aCoS or tPoD in WoT - positioning, positioning. Minor story bumps and reveals but the main action is elsewhere.

HArai@132: agreed; I'm kind of hoping that Martin delivers the next volume in a year or so at the most to make up for it, though I won't be holding my breath.

(looking into the Ashara Dayne thing...)
Karan J
135. karanj
DarrenJL@119: the passage re Ashara Dayne has a key fact in it though: Ashara had a daughter...

"But Ashara's daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well."

So it's pretty clear that she had a daughter who was dead at birth, knocking out the Ashara-is-Jon's-mother theory. Selmy then goes on to regret that he hadn't unhorsed Rhaegar, leaving Ashara to be named "queen of love and beauty", presumably by the winner Rhaegar.

The Westeros.org wiki says At the Tourney at Harrenhal, Brandon was unhorsed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, so we know Brandon was there, but we don't know how she got pregnant - I would assume by Brandon Stark. Was she mourning the death of Brandon as well as her daughter, rather than trying to wash the stain of dishonour?
Chris Long
136. radynski
What a freaking waste of my time. I enjoyed Feast more than this book. I mean, Brienne's chapters went nowhere, but everyone else was really interesting. Not this book.

1. We have Jon having a tough time at the wall with all the balls he has to juggle, and then nothing comes of it except that he dies.
2. We have Dany spend like 20 chapters where she bemoans that she has no good decisions, and continues to wait for a miracle, and does NOTHING.
3. We have a series of characters all heading toward Dany, almost none of whom actually get there to affect any sort of changes in the situation. Quentyn is the only one who made it, and he's already dead. What was the point of him?

This book could have been at 1/3 shorter than it was. Dany, Jon, and Tyrion did not need that much screen-time to do nothing.

Good parts of the book:

1. Janos Slynt dying. Came out of nowhere and was awesome.
2. The Davos reveal of where Rickon is - can't wait to see that rescue.
3. Wyman Manderly in general - go Lord Rat Cook!
4. Dany riding Drogon - that scene in the fighting pit was the sole highlight of her chapters.
5. Bloodraven(!!!!) and Bran were awesome - wonder how that's going to turn out?

Overall I enjoyed reading it as I went, but at the end I was left feeling very empty. There was no climax and no resolution to anything - just more water-treading. Why the hell are we still in Mereen?
Herb Schaltegger
137. LameLefty
karanj @135 - why do you assume it was Brandon who was the father of Ashara Dayne's child. Every hint and supposition along the way had Ned in love with Ashara and the putative father. Did I miss something significant in ADwD that tossed this out the window? I know Selmy was reminiscing about how he had carried a torch for her, and I know the minor noblewoman in the Crypts of Winterfell telling Theon of her fling with Brandon.
Kris W
138. Kreeble
"But before that, as I think you're aware, Ramsay asks of Theon: "Does she make your cock hard, Reek? Is it straining against your laces? Would you like to fuck her first?" "

In fact, that quote reinforces the "I have no ...." quote right before, as we all know Ramsay likes to torture and humiliate Theon in front of others.
Kris W
139. Patrick C
Everyone should check out GRRM's new spoilery interview with Entertainment Weekly:

I already thought that Jon was still alive, and I think his comments reinforce that position.
Genevieve Williams
140. welltemperedwriter
I agree with Kreeble @138, I think that was Ramsay rubbing it in, so to speak. I had to put the book aside for a few minutes after reading that chapter. Poor Jeyne.

Still not sure what I thought of this book, really. I found myself getting impatient with long stretches of it. I also think that Bowen Marsh and the others who stabbed Jon were morons. Just how do they think the wildlings are going to react to that?
Rob Munnelly
141. RobMRobM
Re Theon - certainly possible he's gelded but I doubt it, if only because Ramsay is the type of guy who'd hold out the threat of gelding as long as possible to inflict maximum pain.

Ashara re stillborn daughter - that is likely what Kingsguard was told. Could be the truth. Perhaps not, and could be what Varys told people to hide a deeper game (such as having a living boy baby used for some other purpose, such as an Aegon substitute).

Some people on other boards are firmly of the theory that Ned's brother Brandon deflowered Ashara at Harrenhall. I see that as unliklely in the extreme, given Ned Dayne's testimony from his other aunt that Ned and Ashara fell in love during the tourney.

@134. Dany is the Prince That Was Promised (Aemon in FFC makes clear that Prince can refer to either sex and Dany is the one) and Jon will be Azor Ahai - two different prophecized heroes. Jon being Targ flows out of R + L = J theory, which best meets the facts on the ground IMO. Re Ser Godric - red herring. Could easily be a girl who blames her pregnancy on the Lord passing through rather than a solider or low born boyfriend. Could be Sisterton Jon = our Jon but why would Ned keep it a secret from Cat?
Hugh Arai
142. HArai
b8amack@133: I did consider quoting that part, but I feel it's cancelled out by the very next bit: "The Prince of Winterfell should have that right, as all lords did in days of old. The first night. But you're no lord, are you? Only Reek. Not even a man, truth be told." Ramsay's lines strike me as just tormenting Theon. I think it's more telling Theon himself can't think of how he would get Jeyne "ready" because he has no something.
Darren James
143. b8amack
@138 That's a possibe interpetation, sure. Even, I think, a likely one. It still makes the issue vague, though. And let's be honest: "Ramsay mentions Theon's willy, therefore Theon has no willy" is false logic.

@142 As I've said, certainly a possible interpretation, but nothing is proven either way. As Martin intended, I think.

@135 As others have mentioned, this would only be what Selmy knew. I doubt he was there for the birth. Also, they have these things called "twins". Again, it's another of Martin's possible leads, muddying the waters.
Josiah Rowe
144. Josiah_Rowe
I just realized how Aegon can be who everyone claims he is and still be the mummer's dragon: remember whose plot all this is. Varys, of course, was originally a mummer (though I haven't gone back to compare his own account of his childhood with what we learned from Illyrio in this volume). Anyway, since he is being fronted by Varys, that makes him the mummer's dragon, regardless of whether he really is Rhaegar's son or not.

Oh, and speaking of eunuchs, Theon is definitely one now... which makes the TV show's emphasis on his whoring rather ironic.
Chris Palmer
145. cmpalmer
A couple of things:

It's been shown that red priests can bring people back from the dead, albeit with a little loss of "soul" in the process. Since Jon can move into Ghost, his body can be reanimated and then come back into it. Could this be why "Coldhands" is a good guy? Was Benjen a warg as well who reinhabited his wight body?

I loved how the reveal of the children of the earth and the greenseers reinforces all of the "Old God" traditions as being valid without actually invoking gods. Of course oaths were sworn in front of heart trees - that means that the entire network of greenseers would be aware of them. Same way for weddings, and prayers, and whatever - it was a way to record and transmit those thoughts and moments.

When Ghost was freaking out and the crow calls Jon by his full name, was that Bran?
Kris W
146. Skywalker Is Dead
Not sure if anyone mentioned it and I do not have time to read all post, but I find it hard to believe that Jon's conception is not important. From book one there has always been this foreshadowing and mystery over Jon's mother. Yes... they have always said it was this Wylla a wet nurse. However, I could definitely see Jon being the offspring of Rhaegar and Lyanna (Wylla?).
Ned Stark was a honorable, dutiful, and loving man to his family and friends. If Lyanna was raped and bore a child, despite who the father was, do you not think Ned stark has the capability of raising the child himself. He has made it clear THAT HE DOES NOT KILL CHILDREN! He would have raised it as his own out of love for his sister and the protection of the child, despite his honor or the scornful looks. Why, because.... Ned Stark is the man and he can take it.
I could also be frustrated over the events of ADWD and the wait to come.
I have also, believe it or not, been sympathetic toward Theon. The poor guy was taken when he was ten, he was never a stark (even though he wanted to be) and his dad was resentful towards Theon for being raised by the Starks. Despite Balon's failed rebellion to blame. I will admit I wanted him to die in the worst way when I thought he killed Bran and Rickon, but those were just some miller's kids. The guy has suffered and we need to cut him, bad choice of words, a break.
One thing I am concerned with is that the last two books took eleven years, Martin is 62 and I'll wager some golden dragons not an avid running (not meant to be a jape, but a serious concern). The man is brilliant and I want to see him finish his master piece. Along with getting some closure finally....if that is possible.
Gerd K
147. Kah-thurak
Yeah... killing some miller's kids is perfectly allright. Who cares about those damned peasants anyway?

Personally I think the whole "Reek" storyline was superflous and distasteful. But thats just me I guess.
Kris W
148. Skywalker Is Dead
Sorry this post completely edited my comment wrong....which is that Ned Stark is the man and would have keep this truth from Robert, knowing Robert would have wanted this child dead. Especially if it came from the woman he held most dear. Ned has demonstrated he has not always been forthcoming with Robert in order to protect his friend or those from Roberts wrath. Also the books have been revealing some major revelations about certain characters.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
150. tnh
GRRM is too good a writer to absentmindedly give a late-in-the-series book a high ratio of development to payoff. If there's a little too much process and not enough closure in this one, it has to be because he's setting stuff up. It's like those lulls you get in fireworks shows when things momentarily fall quiet because they're busy lighting fuses.
Ted Herman
151. WinespringBrother
@ 34 & 35
I was under the impression that the insurer saw the coin and died of fright/a heart attack, since he would know what that coin meant and he was so paranoid about security. But the poison is a good explanation also :D
Kris W
152. mochabean
Some great comments and theories here. I am firmly in the Jon Snow is a Targarean camp -- henceforth he shall be Jon Wargarean to me.

I think Quentyn was the mummer dragon -- in his last POV chapter, Ser Archibald describes their disguises as "mummer's garb" and whatever Targ blood he may have had did not cut the mustard. I did not think his arc was a waste of time, and the whole story was such a good reversal of a classic fantasy trope. No, young prince, you will not get the girl and tame the dragon.

Agree about poor Theon (never thought I'd type that) -- more proof: he always smells terrible because he has no control over a most basic bodily function. He was brutally gelded (really not just gelded -- he lost it all). And, for those of us also following the "The Name of the Wind" reread, Theon's last scene, when he tells Asha, "you have to remember your name" really got to me.

@84 -- best summary of the true dead list ever -- loved it!

@31 -- the awesome of Wyman Manderly was one of my favorite parts, right up there with Jon beheading Joros Slynt. He reminds me of The Tor from 'The Mirror of Her Dreams/A Man Rides Through" (Stephen R. Donaldson). Never underestimate the fat lord grieving for his dead son.

I really loved the book. Loose ends and cliffhangers not a problem for me, as both were totally expected at this point. Agree with RobMRobM that we are looking at 8 books now, and while I hope the next book is out in less than 5 years, I don't think GRRM "owes" his readers a short wait or anything else. Unless it is to put in another Monty Python and the Holy Grail shoutout. I vote for "large...tracts of land" but I will settle for one knight shouting "Nee!" at an old woman.
Darren James
153. b8amack
@150 He's had four books to set things up. In fact, he's been tearing things down in the previous books. He does write well, but that doesn't excuse choosing exposition over story in 90% of the chapters.
David Thomson
154. ZetaStriker
I completely agree. I have seen hundreds of novels that set up multiple novel arcs without excising a climax from the narrative altogether, and have never seen an author build toward an event so singlemindedly throughout an entire 1,000 page novel just to say "to be continued" on every last one. Even the worst sections of the Wheel of Time didn't suffer this much, Crossroads of Twilight aside. Just because there's may be a reason for the decision doesn't make it the right decision, nor does it make the book any better than it is. It is all, in my opinion, an example of a character-driven author letting his characters get away from him, and the plot suffering as a result.
Kris W
155. Wolverine
Does anyone else feel like the Starks are on their way to ending the series as "the bad guys"? They definitely started as "good guys", but now:

Ned: Dead
Catlyn: undead, killing rampage not neccessarily trying to figure out who is actually guilty
Rob: Dead, but betrayed an alliance first, and beheaded Karstark
Bran: warging abominishily, learning stuff from a kinslayer (who is cursed according to people who believe in being cursed)
Ricken: alive, but likely crazy. He was going nuts even before he lost everyone and started living on Skagos
Sansa: learning to rule/decieve from LF. I can't imagine that going well
Arya: learning how to kill, becoming no one

Jon: some version of unJon maybe, or lives as Ghost, but still probably alive in some respect. I don't know where he can go from here though.
Kris W
156. Jeff R.
I think that the book(s) suffered a lot from having been split in the manner that it was. (Has anyone tried to put together a chapter order list for concurrent Feast/Dance reading yet?)

Of course, the combined book is still way too long, and doesn't really have any good climaxes at the mid-point. (Which will be a problem for the TV series if they get to season 5.)

I have less problem with the ending of the whole thing, though, or with the unity of the individual books, as long as you count Feast/Dance as one book. The first book is how the war started, the second is how it was fought, and the third is how it ended, which is by a series of bad but unavoidable decisions. The fourth, then, is about: exploring the consequences of those bad decisions (Cersei in charge, Stannis and the Wall tied together, the Frey/Bolton ascendancy, and the Dragon Queen of Slaver's Bay). So anything that's going to move to greater order or stability really doesn't belong in this book at all.

(On the final hand, I think that Martin would have done better to see how climax-poor Dance was and balance that off by at least giving us a revelation or two for the end. Letting someone actually meet Howland Reed and find out what he has to say, for example, especially if it fell right before the last Jon chapter...But then again, I'm not the one making the big bucks on the series.)
Kris W
157. Patrick C
I'm trying to think of a list of unanswered questions from the book, feel free to add a question, or better yet - what do you think the answers are?

1) Who was Septa Lemore?
2) Is Aegon really Aegon?
3) Was Theon gelded?
4) Is Jon Snow dead?
5) Did Ramsay defeat Stannis?
6) Who was killing the men around Winterfell?
7) Who killed Little Walder?
8) Who was the Harpy?
9) Did Hizdahr poison the locusts? If not, who did?
10) Why did Varys kill Pycelle?
11) Is Rickon on Skagos? Why Skagos??
12) Who did Missandei hear scratching at the walls of the Pyramid? Who did she hear crying?

I'm sure there are more questions, and a lot of these questions have answers offered to them above. Here are my thoughts:

1) Who was Septa Lemore? - No clue.
2) Is Aegon really Aegon? - I think so. Tyrion believed it, and I trust Tyrion.
3) Was Theon gelded? - I think he was, for many of the reasons stated in the above comments.
4) Is Jon Snow dead? - No way.
5) Did Ramsay defeat Stannis? - No way, but he may have Mance.
6) Who was killing the men around Winterfell? - Looks like Mance and his spearwives.
7) Who killed Little Walder? - Signs point to Manderly, but I'm not sure I buy it.
8) Who was the Harpy? - I say it is actually Hizdahr... or the Shavepate. The men the Shavepate brought to Barristand DID have locust masks.
9) Did Hizdahr poison the locusts? If not, who did? - Not sure.
10) Why did Varys kill Pycelle? - I get he killed Kevan to promote turmoil in the realm, but I don't see what killing Pycelle served.
11) Is Rickon on Skagos? Why Skagos?? - Got me.
12) Who did Missandei hear scratching at the walls of the Pyramid? Who did she hear crying? - As I stated above, I think that she is attuned to the dragons, and maybe Viserion specifically.

What does everyone else have?
Kris W
158. Bongobong
Is Jon Snow really dead? I don't think so, if you ask me, when this whole game plays out, I think a Targaryen will be on the Iron Throne, and the Starks will peacefully rule Winterfell, probably through Bran. Oh and Lysa Arryn is freaking insane.
Darren James
159. b8amack
@157... RE: Question 7: I think the Freys killed him themselves. The "evidence" was a little too convenient. I have no evidence from the texts to back this up, but it's my current theory.
Birgit F
160. birgit
8) Who was the Harpy? - I say it is actually Hizdahr... or the
Shavepate. The men the Shavepate brought to Barristand DID have locust masks.

They probably wore locust masks because their rebellion was revenge for the poisoned locusts.

Victarion probably won't keep his horn. A kraken as a dragonrider doesn't fit. His red priest makes more sense. Will Melisande end up as a dragonrider, too?
Kris W
161. Evan R
Victarion is kinda like Drogo. Dany may really go for him. The horn might be usable multiple times to bind different dragons to different people. It might or might not require Targaryen blood to work....the priest's mention of blood on the horn does seem significant.

If the Watch is killed/chased off by wildings, does that affect the Wall's magic? Remember how only Sam could open the door because he was a brother of the Watch. So if Jon dies, even temporarily or partially, that could be really bad.

Illyrio's motives: who was Serra, originally? Varys' motives...could he honestly want to 'serve the realm' by installing a good king? Either way, everything with Viserys and Dany probably was just a distraction from trying to install Aegon.

Ramsay's letter seems like one of those stupid things Roose is always telling him not to do. At first I wondered if Roose had to be dead to let him send it. Then I remembered Roose never actually stops him from doing the self-defeating stuff.

For crying out loud, if anyone honestly thinks these books are terrible, why are you still reading them? This was a great book, it's just that nothing could possibly live up to the hype.
Jim Millen
162. jim.millen
@150 - If this was a fireworks display, we're not talking about a lull - more a 2 hour hiatus with barely a dim sparkler to be seen. During which half the crowd go home, bored and muttering "What was all the fuss about?"...

I completely agree that GRRM is a great writer. Fiction of course needs good set-up and exposition, as well as action. However, IMO (and obviously, YM does V!) the author hasn't balanced shaping the overall series arc with the need to write a satisfactory novel in its own right. Unfortunately that's resulted in a book that, for me at least, was tedious to plough through.

I suspect this book will read a lot better once the series is complete as it'll be evident it is, as you suggest, an episode setting up the action to follow. On its own merits, though, it's mediocre at best.

@161 - I'm reading it 'cos I happened across it in the library and was a bit curious what GRRM had produced after all the expectation. I don't think it's terrible - I've read a lot worse! - but neither is it great.

I should make it clear, I'm not one of those engaging in absurd attacks on GRRM; he can write his series any way he chooses, and props to him for taking on such an epic challenge. I still think aSoIaF will stand as a great series once complete. But I'm damned if I can't criticise what I see as big flaws in some episodes of the tale!
Rob Munnelly
163. RobMRobM

- What was Aahara's lover at Harrenhall?
- Did she reallyhave a stillborn child or is that just the public story told the Kingsguard and other in the royal circle.
- Is the suggestion that Dragons like those with Targ blood a useful rule or a minimum requirement, such that some theories could be abandoned (such as Arya as one of the dragonrider)?
- Does Tyrion have Targ blood?
- What does Robert Strong have for a head inside the helmet? Gregor's? Falyses? Nothing at all?
- If Osha and Rickon are on Skagon, how the heck did they get there?

Jonathan Levy
164. JonathanLevy
Re: Theon My understanding was that Theon is... umm.... missing a carrot, but might still have his potatoes. If you consider that Ramsay's method is to flay the skin and then wait until the victim begs to have the part cut off to stop the pain, and that all the other parts that Theon lost are carrot-shaped... I think this is a good place to stop, actually.

Re: Manderly - I missed the Frey Pie (need to reread, I guess) but liked his awesomeness.

Rest of the book - disappointing.

Consider Tyrion's plot, which took up quite a few chapters but even here has received very little mention. We wait the whole book for him to get from point A to point B, and he doesn't. What does he actually do?

Meets Jorah - yeah, but nothing comes of it.
Meets Penny - ok, he shows his soft side for 'broken things'. We learned that it book 1.
Talks his way from slavery to freedom? We saw that already in book 1. Narrowly avoids Greyscale? Who cares.
Talks Aegon into invading Westeros? Who cares.
Wipes a big yellow slug's butt? Who cares.

Tyrion was one of the best characters in books 1-3. He's still clever, but his plot is boring.

And what about Daenaery's plotline? We spend half a book enduring Meereeneeseee politics and sellsword machinations. I really don't care that much if Covert Harpy Hzo hzardrh hzrum betrays Perfumed Seneschal Krokzadr kzho krum using Brazen Beasts or Brown Rotten Plums.

Covert Harpy vs. Perfumed Seneschal - that sounds like a Mortal Kombat III matchup. Get to the Dragons already!

And then finally finally we have one awesome scene with Drogon, and then nothing nothing nothing until the sad wandering-in-the-wilderness epilogue.

Rob Munnelly
165. RobMRobM
Jonathan - If we got the Tyrion-Dany meeting and perhaps one other plot closure (Aegon taking Storms End?; Stannis-Roose battle? Arya heading west to kill some Freys and Lannisters? Cersei's trial by battle), nearly everyone would be satisified with the book. I liked it and liked the Jon cliffhanger but didn't like all of the remaining not quite to the finish line endings.

Re Theon, I think he's been damaged but not shorn (some small pieces were sent to Asha).

"I really don't care that much if Covert Harpy Hzo hzardrh hzrum betrays
Perfumed Seneschal Krokzadr kzho krum using Brazen Beasts or Brown
Rotten Plums."
- well played, sir.
Kris W
166. Will Belegon
Martin may have reached a point where the editor was so determined to get the book out on the new and finally confirmed date that he wasn't pushed to give a good enough final point... the whole Kevan murder felt like it was trying to do that, bridge the gap and calm the disgruntled reader storm. But a better one, and one that would have, IMHO, worked way better as a calming/bridging agent?

Tyrion presents himself to Dany as the new commander of the Second Sons.

I think that one scene would have made for many, many more smiles. Problem being that would have meant Martin getting Dany back to Slaver Bay. Which might have meant another delay, something the publisher simply could not allow.
Jonathan Levy
167. JonathanLevy
165. RobMRobM

Well it is true, isn't it, that a good ending can really change your perspective about a book which one might have treated more critically otherwise. I really wanted to see the Tyrion meet the dragons and Daenaerys. Tyrion's proven himself so versatile in so many different circumstances, I want to see him shine again.

I can't figure out for the life of me why we got the Quentyn thread instead of one of the endings you mentioned. The whole Dornish sub-plot was introduced so late that I have no interest in its result or its characters. If the point was to show how dangerous the dragons are, well, Drogon proved that point, didn't he? And any son of a harpy could have tried to kill or chain Rhaegal and Viserion.

To paraphrase Lord Manderly - perhaps it is all for the best that Quentyn died - if he had lived he would have turned into a Sevanna.

Veteran WoT-ers know what I mean.
Rob Munnelly
168. RobMRobM
Jonathan - the Dornish thread is important because that's really where the invasion of Westeros should start, and perhaps must start. Dorne is one of, if not the closest of, the seven kingdoms to Meereen and they are motivated to bring down Lannisters because of Elia. So, they are key. Having Quentyn die is an interesting development in several respects. Often, you have the prince strive for the princess against impossible odds and it defeats tropes to have his effort peter out and then have him try to up the ante with a crazy gambit and fail miserably. I actually like that some well intentioned plotters can go out with a whimper rather than a bang. And it will have consequences, as Dany's road through Westeros just got substantially more complex, especially with Aegon in play on the doorstep of Dorne. Not sure I buy the Sevanna connection but envisioning Quentyn is silk dresses and clunky jewelry is potentially amusing.

Will - I do see it that Martin faced a Hobson's choice between ending more plots with a bang and actually finishing the book at a publishable length. I'd love the Dany-Tyrion meet up but it would have required at least two more Dany chapters (one to set stage for reapproachment with Dothraki, one to arrive back at Meereen, scope out the situation with Barristan and her hubby, and hostages being killed and returned by catapult (including Daario - correct?) and have Tyrion arrive just as she is waking the dragon to sweep down on enemy armies with dragon and Dothraki).

Kris W
169. Kab1
I didn't mind too much that quenten died, as you put it robm, it's a nice change from the usual, and a bit of a shock the way it happened. And as I mentioned before, it was nice that someone let the dragons out! however, as I am rereading ( listening actually!) to the book it's hard to read his earlier chapters- blah blah blah he can't find a boat, I'm just not that interested as I know he's going to die!!!

And I didn't mind Tyrion's journey, I really enjoy Martins world and his writing so I like these wanderings, but I do think I would have been more statisfied with the book if one of the major storylines had had more closure. Just one of the ones mentioned by RobM. Yes I know it would have made the book longer but cut Quentens journey down a bit and viola more space! We see so little of him anyways, and it's not really Quenten I feel bad about but Dorne 's loss. And I would feel this way even if we saw less of Quenten.
Darren James
170. b8amack
@166 I think it was more the reason the book took so long was that Martin wrote himself into a corner. He talked about the Meereenese knot. But you read the book, and what that was becomes clear: Why would Daenaerys leave a kingdom she won and rules for one she might not win? Why would she abandon Meereen for a "home" she has never been to, and which has tried to kill her all her life? And so the whole Daenaerys portion of the book is various attempts to force her out of Meereen. But in the doing all the plots only provide more reason for her to flounder in Meereen, because we have all these bs subplots. Who is the Harpy? Who poisoned the locusts, and were they meant for Dany, or her husband? Will the dragons be killed, or enslaved, and by who? Will the fighting pits be reopened? How will Dany turn a slave-based society into a free society, without bankrupting it? And not one of these questions is answered in the book, which means the next book, if it deals with Daenaerys at all, will still be plodding through the waist-deep sludge of these subplots of subplots. Martin didn't cut the knot, he tied more strings about it.

Not really acceptable.

I'm a fan of the series, but refuse to buy into the idea that being a fan means I have to do nothing but praise the series and Martin himself. Martin is a football fan, and I'm willing to bet that when a player on his team drops the ball, he's yelling at the television like the rest of us. And so it is here. Martin dropped the ball.
Jonathan Levy
171. JonathanLevy
168. RobMRobM

Dany's invasion via Dorne could have started out just like Renly's rebellion in Highgarden - second-hand rumors, uncertain reports of progress, etc. In any case, now that Quentyn was killed by Dany's dragons (whatever the circumstances) it's not clear that she still has the Dorne ticket into Westeros. Plus she already has another ticket she will soon know of (Aegon + Connington, via Tyrion), and another which she doesn't know of (Jon Snow & the Wall, assuming he lives and discovers his presumed ancestry). So what was the point?

It's true that it's realistic and trope-breaking to have long, convoluted plots fail miserably after a desperate gambit. It's also boring to read, unless you're emotionally invested in the characters, which we're not.

If Feast for Crows and Dance with Dragons had been published as one compact book, Quentyn would have been excised and no-one would have missed a side helping of Barbequed Dornish Snake.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
172. tnh
Will Belegon @166:
Martin may have reached a point where the editor was so determined to get the book out on the new and finally confirmed date that he wasn't pushed to give a good enough final point.
Have to disagree there. I 'm pretty sure the person who pushes George Martin the hardest is George Martin.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
173. tnh
That is to say: if GRRM was primarily motivated by pressure from his editor, and he was willing to do a merely-okay job, this series would have been wrapped up years ago.
Gerd K
174. Kah-thurak
You put a lot of faith in Martin. I am not sure whether there truly is a foundation for this. Martin is a brilliant teller of short stories and a masterful creator of characters. But since a Feast for Crows I have begun to suspect that in telling a multi volume high fantasy series he has overstepped his limit. A Dance with Dragons has strengthened that suspicion.
Daniel Hoagland
175. danielrixy
171. Jonathan Levy
168. RobMRobM

to go west, dany has to go east, pass beneath the shadow and imitate magellan. quentyn's death, aegon's invasion, storms in the narrow sea and all the rest are going to force her to beg/borrow/steal victarion's fleet and make for asshai with some combination of tyrion, jorah, moqorro, marwyn & arya (i predict victarion will be dragon food).
Rob Munnelly
176. RobMRobM
@175 - could be - but doubtful re Arya (without dragon blood, her destiny is to head west and hook up with Nymeria and kill Freys) and don't forget the Dothraki - they're coming too (to go forward you have to go back).
Kris W
177. Shannjacki
I haven't read anyone commenting on Jon being the fisherman's daughter's child yet? There was a tiny paragraph in the book that says Eddard Stark was wounded and cared for by a fisherman's wife, who gave birth to a child they named 'Jon'.
Rob Munnelly
178. RobMRobM
@177 - read it, but sounds fishy to me. Likely red herring.
Daniel Hoagland
179. danielrixy
i just realized that the trick arya used with the coin is the same method that "jaqen h'ghar" used to kill pate in the FfC prologue. bravo, grrm.
Karyn Gregory
180. kmgregory
I just finished and GAH! I say. GAH!

It took longer to read than anticipated because every time I read a chapter involving Ramsay Bolton, I had to put the book away for the rest of the day and do something completely different. Why, why can't we be thrown a bone and have someone kill off Ramsay? He makes his father look like Ned Stark.

So far, I've been a pretty big fangirl of Dany, but the
more I read of her narrative in FfC & DwD, the more I realized that she was beginning to spout off Bush's foreign policy. "Danerys Stormborn: Freedom Is Our Greatest Export". And it was annoying. Highly annoying. Her appeal to me was as a strong woman who would do what it takes to get the job done. Granted, we're still seeing that, but lately she's been significantly less active as a person, and more of a mouthpiece. I hope that last chapter is telling us that she's going to embrace her nature/destiny in Westeros (so we can finally see her throw down with the dragons) rather than provide us with hundreds more pages of Slaver's Bay politics. (speaking of her last chapter, was it hunger making her sick, or did her Targaryen genes just fight off cholera?)

All in all, it was well written, and yes, GRRM has made characters I empahtize with and for, but...he takes those characters and things keep getting consistently worse for them rather than better. There's no salvation in sight for anyone (except maybe Tommen, because he doesn't really care about being king anyways). I'm pleased that there's going to be a significant wait for the next book--if it was coming out in the next six months, I'd probably avoid it.

Real life is full of plenty of disappointments that have no silver lining--I don't need them in my fantasy too.
Brandon DeBoer
181. B-801
Just Finished!

@168 I am thinking the Catapults will be used to fling all the disease ridden corpses caused by the Flux into Meereen. The hostages are still valuable to the Yunkai. They will just sit back and wait for the Flux to destroy the Meereenese for them.

If Jon does die I believe he will move on to Ghost. The prologue hints as much. Ghost will flee from Castle Black as soon as Jon makes the switch. He will come across Summer and the rest of Bran's pack. Bran might even be able to communicate with Jon still. Eventually Bran will pick up Nymeria's pack as he Moves south of the wall(riding Summer, or even Ghost would be sweet).

The Quentyn story line reminded me of a standard cookie cutter fairytale. Prince travels across seas and deserts to find his Princess. He is rejected at first so attempts a brave act to win the favor of his Queen to be. But in GRRM fashion, he turns this general plot line into something unexpected and real. I got a good laugh when he just makes it into the Dragons Den and gets roasted!

I am most interested in seeing what will happen with Victarian Greyjoy and the Dragon Horn. Obviously it will find its way to Dany. But will she bring the Iron Men over to her cause, and have them take her to Dorne once she smashes Yunkai? It seems like something that could certainly happen. Oh, since Dany is more or less Fire Retardant, can she use the Horn w/o BBQing her insides?
Claire de Trafford
182. Booksnhorses
Done and a little disappointed. I was really hoping for more plot movement re Dany although I can see why she is so entrenched in Meereen and why it is so difficult to move her out of it. Dany has been grieving for her lost husband and child, and has wanted to make everyone better and mother them as a consequence. She also has, unsurprisingly, no idea of how difficult it is to alter embedded beliefs like slavery from a culture. Plus she has to wait for everyone else to get to her across quite large distances while their plot lines catch up. And also realistically, she's realised that her cute little pets are actually large and difficult to control monsters, and doesn't really know what to do with them.

So I see the issues, but I'd still have liked a little more movement here - perhaps one more chapter showing that she now has proper control over Drogon and has made a decision to take her people to Westeros with her. I think that the late period/miscarriage at the end of her arc here will make her realise that she might be fertile after all, and give her a different perspective on getting moving to Westeros.

At least I hope so; I'm willing to give GRRM one more book to get things actually happening but Tyrion had better meet Dany or there'll be big trouble.
Kris W
183. Essy
@177 Given the number of competing theories about Jon's parentage, I didn't give the fishwife theory any more weight than the suggestion he was Wylla's or Ashara's. I think it's all pushback against the longstanding fan speculation that he's part Targaryen.

@180 It was an early stage miscarriage as far as I could tell. Danaerys may not be as barren as she thinks. After all it would be a pretty unsatisfying conclusion to the series if Dany were
to ascend to the iron throne knowing that she couldn't produce an heir
and that it would pass to another household on her death anyway.

I don't have my books with me, so I can't check the exact wording of the various prophecies surrounding her, but I strongly suspect the one about her not bearing any more children will turn out to have some loophole in the wording (like the witches' prophecy in Macbeth not allowing for caesarian sections.) Isn't part of it about bits of mountains flying through the air? I think the volcano in Valyria's going to erupt again.
Kris W
184. Torcano
I never liked Dany or her chapters much at all, in fact pretty much only the parts with OTHER cooler characters added much for me. For example reveal of Selmy, Jorah, and both of them revealing cool stuff about westeros.

Its one thing to completely dislike a character...but to also have her be stuck in a pointless fruitless retarded place we the reader have no investment in, and know the story doesn't focus on? Ridiculous.

This book just cements in my mind how foolish, childish, and flat out FAIL Dany is. She follows her whims like a school girl, has no maturity, responsibility, foresight, self restraint....she is a self centered and brain dead moron. Marrying hizdhar? WTF? Is she completely retarded or did someone cast a spell over her...if that wasn't the Imperious Curse I hope to god she stays away from he iron throne, loses her dragons, and lets a true strong ruler take westeros.

I actually enjoyed the rest of the novel...I just find her and her infatuations incredibly awful reading. Can someone explain how meereen and for that matter all of slavers bay is any more "home" (her words) to her than westeros? WTF moment there. No logic...just pure idiocy by her. She is the heir (well after aegon if he is real...but she doesn't know he exists) to the freaking iron throne at least and would have actual loyal followers beyond one knight.

Why does she insist on driving away anyone and anything that may help her in the least...and in most cases help that is vital? Top 3::

-jorah mormont
-turning down quentyn and dorne! (she wont marry due to non attraction in one case...then marries hizdhar chapters later also with no attraction...why not take quentyn and his 40k spears over the obviously traitorous harpy...if she was going to take that utter douche bag as a lover anyway?)
-her freaking dragons!!

God forbid she meets tyrion...in her immature mind he will be avoided at all costs despite his utter pircelessness to her cause..cause he looks bad. Here is to hoping tyrion meets with victarion, takes horn, dragon, and second sons back to join aegon and take casterly rock.

God I wish I could make GRRM write my fantasy ending where we stop hearing about the queen of fail altogether, she was a massive red herring who gets eaten by her dragon. Jon aegon and tyrion take the seven kingdoms and fight the others...sigh.


In all seriousness, without quentyn and if aegon is real, doesn't that leave arriane martell to marry aegon and bind dorne to the cause? Gets prince doran what he wants just the same.

And sansa is forgotten...? Where do you think she will fit into the end game (and with her the vale?)

All those wishing a aryas training to be over...it seems unrealistic to expect that. In all likelihood FM training would take years and years. Best we can hppe for is she leaves with needle to seek revenge on her own early.

Jon....well I'm in the R+L camp. Nothing else makes sense after this book without massive leaps of logic. Fishwife is red herring....since when does the word of one random knight mean anything in this series? Plus we know the baby came back with Ned from the south at end of the war. Pretty sure sister ton isn't in dorne.(sarcasm). That's fact. It has to be his from wylla or his from ashara (meaning selmy was duped) or lyanna and rhaegars. It's clear he was at least involved somehow with ashara from what selmy said...but that doesn't equal a baby or adultery from the worlds most ridiculously honorable dude. (so much that he gave up the throne to bannisters wnd singlehandedly raped his own family and everyone allied to them by being so honorable...oh ya and died).

Tyrion has a targ wasn't even hinted at, jaime and cersei were slightly. And clearly tywin wouldn't have known...but i find it unlikely.. Joanna is recalled as very good and kind woman,..not the type to cuckold her new husband or not tell him she was raped.

Personally the only really badass character left for me is tyrion. After tywin died he became the sole major character not to have a major case of either chronic (in danys case) or acute (Robb stark) stupidity. I didn't believe i could hate this many characters...sansa set the bar high, dany higher....but most are pretty retarded. I like realism but do we need to have these morons as primary POVs just to highlight how realistically protrayed these idiots are?

Oh my mistake. Davos seaworth and roose Bolton are both badass, as well as euron. But of course we see very little of them. 2 being known villains doesn't help. Victarion is clearly a pawn and a fool, Ramsay is Stupid Evil....i find stannis actually sort of likable, he is honorable and just for the most part...just too much of a wimp with mellisandre for my liking. She is good hearted but pretty stupid as well. Salt and smoke? Has to be dany or maybe Jon now with our latest twist. Here's to hoping for Jon.

Overall enjoyed my asoiaf fix....definitely skipping danys chapters on re reads though. In retrospect they fail even harder then first difficult time through them, at least on first time i had the hope by books end she would stop failing badly. But its excruciating how little happened except at the wall and the north. Cliffhangers screwed that too.

But we do know that stannis found out of karstarks treachery...and that he had iron banks backing (said to be enough to possibly win him the throne in and of itself) before foolishly attacking winter fell. And Jon bringing in wildlings...manning most of the walls forts...adding giants and mammoths to his forces...thats pretty huge.

My guess is that by series end most or all wildlings take the oath. And next book sees an attack by the weeper pitting wildlings against each other...when others join in for more fun!

But if the dragons continue to not dance PAST this terribly misleadingly named book..that will fail beyond imagining. The only dancing with dragons here was quentyn, and some other random suitors in a random city no one cares about.

Oh ya and CONFIRMED by word of god, FACT: dany will be at least around the dothraki next book....jhaqo is going to play w big role and one of his blood riders, who we know: mago. Hopefully she isn't a god damn pointless prisoner for half a book or more. If not using them to head towards westeros she could at least wipe out some pointless meereenese or sellswords.

Last thought....aegon or fake aegon and Griff were more exciting in q handful of chapters, did way more for the plot than Dany has in 5 books. Seriously, other than hatching dragons wnd failing worse than the Mad King at ruling...she has ?

One thing everyone should take care of is specifics...
Kris W
185. BFG
@164 - Tyrion and greyscale may not be 'who cares'. Consider Vals reaction to Shireen at the wall. I think greyscale may turn out to be important.

@170 - The Myreneese knot - yes it's all tied tighter and with bows and ribbons for added effect. But during the book there were two important shifts. First Tyrion may have given Dany a reason to leave. Whether or not Aegon is real or not, if Dany believes he is, and is in trouble she'll go to help. Second in Dany's last chapter there was a change in herself. Still not sure I understand what that shift was, or what it will mean, but it was there. In her dreams, and the fact that Drogon hasn't left her. As a minor point, she's starting to get significant numbers of ships there, so she may be able to leave. All that's left is leaving a council to rule, and giving them the power to enforce it and she can leave.
Darren James
186. b8amack
As far as the greyscale goes.. man, I hope Stannis IS dead. He won't be (if he was, one thinks Melissandre would resurrect him) of course. That would be too much to ask, that characters I dislike die. Sick of Patches and Shireen.
Birgit F
187. birgit
There are three kinds of living dead: wights, people revived by red priests, and greyscale stone men. Is there some relationship between the three? Can greyscale victims be turned into wights?
Kris W
188. BFG
I'm not sure I'd classify greyscale victims as living dead (or at least not the same definition as the other two) more a case of 'not dead yet'. Although that depends on when a stone man would die - maybe they're actually a form of immortality? Do their hearts actually stop?

Take Jon Con at the end. He's got greyscale, lost his fingers already - assuming it spreads at what point does he die?

On a wild aside - what would happen in a dragon caught greyscale? Sudden imagining of greyscale stone wight arisen dragons... (Such as the rumoured ones on dragonstone perhaps :D )
Emmet O'Brien
189. EmmetAOBrien
I'm feeling distinctly in a minority here in thinking the politics-of-Meereen stuff was really excellent and great fun, fwiw. I love Barristan Selmy's POV and I greatly enjoyed how that situation recomplicated over the course of the book. I'm also not sure I see what structural point there is to Melisandre's POV other than imminent expectation of needing to do Jon-less Wall scenes, so whatever's up with Jon, I expect not to see him for a while.

I would have liked to have seen a few more of the seemingly-imminent resolutions at the end of the book, and I would have liked a bit more Davos and a bit more Bran, but on the whole I am very pleased with it. Dany saving Tyrion and Penny from lions in passing and then flying off on Drogon was plenty enough crowning moment of awesome for me.
Kris W
190. BoooGRRM
We know Jon is not immune to fire as his hand was burned, so what if he need Bran to warg into the Dragon in order to fly on it...then Bran would be "flying" and Jon would be 3rd of the Dragons assuming he is actually part Targ/Stark. and Aegon is not mummer dragon.

anyone else think Maester Aemon finds his way to either Dany or Aegon or both in some way??? being that he is the oldest living member of the Targ fam...

thought on this book was that is was a lot of setting up with no payoff...now we are forced to wait 5+ years for the next one to come out by which time HBO will probably be done with the series and spoil it for all of us . haha
Emmet O'Brien
191. EmmetAOBrien
BooGRRM@190: why on Earth assume it will be another 5 years for the next one ? The Meereenese knot is solved. It seems entirely plausible to me that the between-books gap will go back to what it was like for the first three.

(I may have spent all day fighting to get a net connection in my new office, but that move seems to have finally overcome the inexplicable tendency for every single thing I post to Tor.com to be marked as spam, which is nice.)
Kris W
192. BooGRRM
EmmetAOBrian@191 because i read somewhere after ADWD came out that GRRM said it would still be another 5 until TWOW...i could be wrong, but it seems that the older he gets, the less inteseted he gets in taking the time to write the rest of these books. plus he's also in production now with HBO to get the second season of the series going...i just dont see it happening any time soon.
194. Downzyda
Anyone else notice how thee three dragons are red, green and white?
Maybe one for Dany one for Jon and one for Victarion?
Darren James
195. b8amack
@194 The dragons are black (Drogon), green (Rhaegal) and white (Viserion).
Rob Munnelly
196. RobMRobM
@193. That's the writer's spin, not GRRM's. He's quoted elsewhere as thinking three or three and a half years, but not making commitments re publication dates.

I'll strongly disagree that he's losing interest in moving this along - I'd guess the opposite. But like all SFF writers these days, GRRM does multiple projects to be creative, earn money and avoid going crazy. Dunk and Egg stories are great and I'm glad he's writing them, especially as they deepen the backstory underlying the main books. (Bloodraven, anyone? Dunk in Winterfell?). I've enjoyed Wild Cards mosaic novels as well. Haven't read Fevre Dream but no doubt will at some point. All worthwhile ventures, and then he can immerse himself back in Westeros.

@190. Maester Aemon is dead, Ser. He was trying to get to Dany but didn't have the health to make it.

All - Myles McNutt of Cultural Leanings wrote a ADWD review explaining why he liked it a lot more than many fans. Worth reading.

Claire de Trafford
197. Booksnhorses
I'm looking forward to the next Dunk and Egg novella if it is going to be set in Winterfell - I'm pretty sure that Bran saw Dunk and ?Old Nan? in his tree-back and possibly the pregnant lady asking for revenge might be connected into that one too?
Kris W
198. Essy
BFG @ 188

On a wild aside - what would happen if a dragon caught greyscale?

Maybe we've already seen dragons being cured of it. If the eggs Dany was given were't fossils, but living tissue that had ossified from greyscale, it would tie nicely into folk legends that "the hands of a king are healing hands" since Dany is of the blood royal and was the only person able to restore them to living tissue. It'd make a helluva test for Is-He-Or-Isn't-He Aegon too. Can he cure Connington's greyscale? If not, no iron throne for you young man!

Re: the naming of greyscale. Are any other ASoIaF fans looking at photoshop differently after reading this book? It's like my options are Black and White, Full Colour, Sepia and OMG Leprosy!
Kris W
199. BFG
@190 BoooGRRRM - Maester Aemon died in AFFC (sorry) but he was trying to find his way to Dany before he died and stated that he thinks she's the PTWP. The only things stated so far about next publication (that I've heard) is that he's taking a break until next year to do other things and that he won't release any more publication dates until it's ready!

@189 EmmetAOBrien - I also liked the Meereen stuff. I found Dany more frustrating, but that's the fun of these books is that the characters stay in character and don't do what the reader wants them.
Adding my voice to those saying three books not four. I don't see any making Westeros until the very end of the next book if then, and she has a lot of ground to cover in that time!

@198 Essy - I'm interested in how Jon caught it in the first place - in his POV he seems to blame Tyrion - maybe he's not in the clear :(
Sydo Zandstra
200. Fiddler
@BFH, re Jon Conningtongton catching greyscale:

Didn't Jon dive after Tyrion when that greyscale guy took him overboard, and bring him up? Tyrion touched by the greyscale guy, Connington touching Tyrion... Voilá...
Kris W
201. BFG
@200 Fiddler - that was my impression to. I was hoping for another one as I don't want Tyrion 'infected'.
Kris W
202. Poopface
I haven't seen anyone mention the Horn of Joramun. Anyone else rather disconcerted by the fact that Mance bluffed, and the real thing is on the other side of the wall ... with the Others?

Personally, I found the conversation Jon had with Tormund to be the most important "aside" in the entire novel ...
Darren James
203. b8amack
@201... but Tyrion specifically mentions still testing his fingers even after escaping the lions, I thought. And also mentions it still hurting. Connington also fought stone men, just like everyone. He could as easily have caught the greyscale then.
Sherri Nichols
204. snichols
I only recently picked up the books, so I only had to wait a month or so for ADwD, but I'm in the disappointed camp. I loved the first three books, but AFfC turned into a slog, with all the new characters and all the diversions, and the only reason I persisted is because I knew ADwD really was imminent and I hoped that taken together as a whole book, the problems I had with AFfC would go away. I hoped that it would feel like a coherent whole, one that perhaps could have done with some editing to make it tighter, but instead, I got more of the same slog. Endless pages of sellswords and Meerenese politics, neither of which I've been motivated to care about or given much indication as to why I should care about them in such detail. Virtually every major character thwarted in every attempt to make any progress toward their goals. A very minor character takes center stage to make a complete character arc, presumably for some unhinted at future purpose.

The books (AFfC and ADwD) suffer from a very severe case of middle book syndrome. They are, of course, the middle books, so it is to be expected, but ~1700 pages of middle book syndrome gets wearisome.
Noneo Yourbusiness
205. Longtimefan
I will say that I wanted to read this book. I (like many others) waited for six years for the second half of what was back then a completed but overly large book that had to be split in half.

This half had some good points, it had some bad points, however, after reading it I am not interested in reading it a second time.

That is something I find problematic. I can read "A Clash of Kings" several times. It is a compelling book, shocking and enticing.

I actually put Dance with Dragons down for a whole week and did not care that I was not reading it. That is a problem and it is not mine.

I left the previous book six years ago wanting to know what was happening with Dany and Arya and Jon and Tyrion and so many other characters from the books. (Stannis and the Bolton's not so much but they are part of it all)

Upon finding out what is happening with them I am actually less interested. Eventually the series will be finished. I may look at the last book whenever it is published but for the nonce I am disinterested in traveling to Westros. It just does not grab me anymore.

The book may be doing exactly what the author wants it to do but the end result is a bit drab.
Kris W
206. Cork
@202 - Actually that particular conversation just revived for me the formerly discredited theory that the horn had already been found by Jon inside the dragonglass care package at the Fist of the First Men.
Kris W
207. Malferion
So what's the deal with Dany's betrayals?
Does anybody know which ones are which?
Kris W
208. Malferion
Also, what's with Moqorro's vision with "A tall and twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood"
Emmet O'Brien
209. EmmetAOBrien
Malferion@208: Probably Victarion-as-kraken. Squid have ten arms.
Rob Munnelly
210. RobMRobM
@207 - not yet.

@205 - I've been re-reading it and would place it above ACOK. YMMV, of course. To me, the book itself is brilliant but suffers from the expectations gap, caused by several fan-favorite plot lines (Tyrion, Krakens, Maesters meeting Dany; status of Arya and when will she go East or West; Brienne's word that saves her; identity of Coldhands; location of Blackfish, etc.) remaining unresolved by book end and unexpected new developments that threaten to undermine completion in only two more books (Aegon; return of Dothraki; threatened attack by a sellsword company on Pentos). I disagree strongly with the thought expressed by some that George has lost control of the story. It is well in hand and he is in control of the disparate parts. But he could not tie up enough of the longstanding loose ends to create a really satisfying conclusion for this volume, and I see that as a valid criticism that diminished enjoyment of the book. Thus, I mark it behind ASOS and AGOT, and ahead of ACOK and AFFC.

Kris W
211. BFG
@203 b8amack - you give me hope. Although the reason he was testing it was because he was told that you could never be sure you were in the clear following a reasonable exposure to the risk.

various - I'm not sure where I'd place the book. On re reads I actually like AFFC (but it does seem like AFFC and ADWD are a different type of book - fortunately it's still a type of book I like to read). I agree that it would have been better if some of the arcs had concluded a little more, but I'm super excited about the prospect of the next book. Almost every character is on the verge of something huge, possible exceptions are Sansa and LF, Arya (I can see her stalling for a while unfortunately), Tyrion (to an extent - his current arc concludes with meeting Dany, and she has a way to go before that happens), uhhh... That leaves us (by my reckoning) with exciting chapters for Brienne, Jaime, Cersei, the sandsnakes (and the Dorne fallout when new of Quentin reaches them), Stannis (I don't buy that he's dead) and super-exciting chapters - Davos, Jon and Dany (although I'll agree that Jon may not happen for a while). But still, wow! I know I've missed out some (lots) of people but mostly because their stories seem relatively stable quiet at the moment, but even when quiet they're interesting, Selmy, Theon...

But 2 books,?, I don't even see Dany reaching Westeros until the end of the next book at the earliest!
And I will agree that the books title is a bit of a red-herring.
Also say that the visual imagery of Dany and Drogon at the end is stunning, and I loved the epilogue!
Kris W
212. Ksc
I'm with the majority here: couldn't put Clash of Kings or Storm of Swords down once I started them; was dissapointed and confused by Feast For Crows, and am having a hard time sustaining anything like a real interest in Dance. For me, the problems started the minute the story left Westeros and started introducing Dorne and other faraway places. More and more and more characters introduced and story arcs STARTED - but not one wrapped up. I like my foreplay as much as the next girl, but all foreplay and no actual whoopie gets to be a little too frustrating! :)
Emma Donovan
213. flaysomewench
I only had to wait about five weeks for ADWD so I can't fully understand everyone's frustration, but I'm quite disappointed too.

I've been royally pissed off with Dany ever since she took it into her head to smash the slave trade and not bother going back to Westeros. It just felt completely out of character, she'd been so focussed on the Iron Throne and then to just throw it all away felt wrong. So glad she finally seems to be getting her ass in gear and realising that she's been wasting her time.

Was no-one else getting really annoyed at Tyrion by the end? Where is the witty, charming man from the previous four books? I was utterly sick of him going on about how he'd killed his father and how he was wondering where whores go. Penny was someone that could have been trimmed entirely from the book too, what was her point??

On the plus side, I thought the Jon chapters were great, and it was seriously hard not to cry at the end, he's my favourite character! I loved the way all the wildlings backed him to take on Ramsey Snow, it was brilliant. I'm going to guess that his "death" will result in a way for him to leave the Night's Watch.

Theon's story arc was another one I enjoyed. Ramsey is a fantastic villain, pure psychopath. Well, I say "enjoyed"... It was hard reading at times but I felt they were among the better written chapters. I honestly don't think it matters if he was gelded or not though.

As regards mysteries being solved and such, I don;t think Aegon is real. There's something off about the whole thing. I just couldn't equate the character I'd read about with Varys' description at the end. Only time will tell I guess! I did wonder if maybe Cersei and Jaime were secret Targaryens too... And I do like the whole Rhaegar/Lyanna/Jon theory. I was wondering if maybe Qyburn had attached Sandor's head to Gregor's body? Doran Martell definitely received SOMEONE'S ridiculously large head, so either someone else's has been attached to Mountainstein's or he has no head at all, just an empty helm. Maybe having Sandor inhabit his brother's body is too cruel for even George RR Martin.

Overall I enjoyed the book, but was frustrated by the end of it. I just feel empty. I no longer care for Tyrion, I want Dany to get the fuck away from Meereen. The rest of the stories, I'm happy with their direction.
Rob Munnelly
214. RobMRobM
@214 - High probability that Sandor is still alive, so probably not him. On another site someone suggested that Lady Stokeworth (Falyse) who was given to Qyburn might have supplied a head for the benefit from Mr. Strong.

Re Dany - don't discount the psychological impact of being called "Mother" by tens of thousands of people, to a person who just lost her baby and grew up without parents. The Meereen side trip makes perfect sense to me. Now that she realizes she can't wave her magic Queen wand and make things better, it's time for her to head West (or more likely East and across to the West Coast of Westeros via Ashai).

Re Jon, I think he's dead, I think he'll be revived by Mel, I think he's toast as Lord Commander and will head South (leaving the NW to break apart and be an ineffective fighting force when the Others break through using the Horn or other means). As Azor Ahai, he needs to get to Dragonstone and wake up the stone dragons.

Kris W
215. Starklite
I have almost finished ADWD, but have been behaving badly by skipping ahead.

Lots of questions running through my head as a result:

Who is Quaithe and why is she helping Dany?

Does the Mummer's Dragon mean 'Aegon' is a fake, or merely that Quaithe sees or remembers Varys as a mummer and knows he has been hiding 'Aegon'? Essentially, all Quaithe actually said about 'Aegon' was that Dany shouldn't trust him not that he was a fraud. The same was true of Quentyn.

If 'Aegon' is a Targaryen, and the references to dyeing his hair would suggest as much, if he is not Rhaegar's son whose son is he?

Is the valonqar which Cersei was told about the device that Aerys the Mad made Brandon Stark strangle himself with?

Would Cersei really have put up with the way the Septas treated her? This is a woman full of rage. I think she would have physically attacked and seriouly hurt one of them - lots of convenient stone walls in her cell-, leaving the others too scared to go near her. If Sir Robert Strong wins at the trial by battle, with Kevan dead, will Cersei end up back in charge after all?

If Daenerys was the young queen Maggi the Frog foresaw what will become of Margaery? What is going to happen to Tommen and Myrcella, both of whom are prophesied to die before their mother?

What were the Septas not telling Cersei about Loras Tyrell?

How is Dany going to get the Dothraki to Meereen when making the journey last time killed large numbers of her khalasar? She can fly, they can't. Also, how will she react when she runs into the full Westerosi well-founded distrust of Aerys the Mad's children and the reasons for it? So far, no-one has told her what really caused Robert's Rebellion.

Will Ned Stark's bones be desecrated or will Asha Greyjoy or Stannis prevent that? Presumably Theon will tell them what is planned. Is Theon going to kill Ramsay and/or Roose Bolton? I think Ramsay should be killed by his own dogs and Roose should be punished for inflicting him on the world.

Will Asha make the attempt to have the Kingsmoot declared invalid or will someone kill Euron so she won't have to bother?

Is Lewis Lanster someone Tyrion will recognise or is his name just a linguistic coincidence?

Why did the dragons like Ben Plumm, Tyrion seemed to know why but I don't remember an explanation for it in the other books.

Will Jorah Mormont make it back to Westeros? If he does will he agree to take the black, assuming the Night's Watch still exists, or will he tell the She-Bear that she is not in charge anymore and will she accept that?

Is Val right about Greyscale? Surely if it was an illness that could reoccur other people would know, especially the Maesters, or is that only a problem beyond the Wall and if so why? If a dragon had been turned to stone by greyscale wouldn't that be well known in Westeros? Lots of people would have seen it and as the smuggler Saan pointed out the 'stone dragons' at Dragonstone had inconvenient things like bedrooms and privys inside them.

Assuming that Lyanna was Jon's mother, but that Rhaegar was not his father who is another logical contender? If Rhaegar was his father and Lyanna his mother, I understand why Ned
would want everyone especially Robert to think he was the father, but
why wouldn't he have told Catelyn? Particularly as he must have known
she was very unkind to Jon. If Ashara was his mother is he in fact Ned's son and have we all been led up the garden path?

Why didn't Varys and Illyrio make any attempt to have Viserion trained to be a king? He was Aerys's son rather than grandson, as 'Aegon' is supposedly, so had the better claim. Why set him, and his sister, up as stalking horses or did they know at the time of the Battle of the Trident that he was unstable?

How is Jaime going to react when he meets Lady Stoneheart? He was already disgusted by the way Robb's wife had been treated, will seeing what became of Catelyn Stark and getting the full detail of the Red Wedding make him turn on the Freys and the Boltons? What will happen if Lady Stoneheart finds out that Oathkeeper, and Widow's Wail (where is that BTW?), were forged from her beloved husband's sword Ice? Somehow I don't think she'll be very pleased.

Is Petyr Baelish underestimating Sansa? Somehow I have the feeling that she will be his nemesis. Is Sansa going to acquire a replacement of some kind for Lady?

Are the Stark children ever going to understand they need to pay attention to their direwolves' moods?

Jojen Reed dreamed that the wolves would return to Winterfell, which of the Starks will rebuild it?

Are the stories about Skagos a smokescreen to hide something else? Will Davos become a second father to Rickon and stop his rage and grief making him and Shaggydog a danger to themselves?

That's it for the moment.
Kris W
216. BFG
@215 Starklite - lot sof questions most of which I only have speculation on, but I can answer some:

Valonqar means 'little brother' and Cersei believes that means Tyrion which is part of the reason she's so mean to him. There is some speculation that it actually means Jaime, as he's the younger twin.

Ben Plumm appears to have Targaryen blood (not sure how, but it may be mentioned in the Dunk & Egg books which I haven't read yet).

Can't answer why no attempt was made to train Viserys for kingship but Aegon's claim (if he is the sone of Rhagaer is better, claim goes through the first sons family, then to a second son etc.
But you're right there's definitely something 'fishy' about Ilyrios plot. Why give Dany the eggs, ignore Viserys (effectively) and train Aegon?
Kris W
217. Forseti
Lord Manderly was definitely behind the slaying of Little Walder. He has a way around the guest rights. When he claimed ignorance of the boy, he used the word 'mayhaps' and that's a license to assault the Lord of the Crossing, whose name happens to be Walder Frey.

Kris W
218. Starklite
I have another question, sorry.

Is the fact that the Darkstar has Targaryen eyes important, Ashara Dayne also looked like a Targaryen, or merely of passing interest?
Rob Munnelly
219. RobMRobM
@218. GRRM was quoted in past as saying Targarayen type looks of Daynes don't necessarily mean anything. So not clearly important at this point but I wouldn't rule it out.
Kris W
220. EmmaPease
Ned presumably promised Lyanna to keep Jon's parentage secret even from Catelyn (who at that time he didn't know too well and who was a member of a different great house).

Widow's Wail is now Tommen's sword though he is a bit young to use it.

My questions:
How many divisions within the red priesthood? Melisandre is supporting one contender while others support Danys.
What is Varys' long term goal? Is it to restore magic? Or to destroy it utterly?
Has Varys' plans to undercut Petyr who with power in the Vale and a craft to match Varys may be the one person capable of opposing him. We've seen in this book that many of the people of the North have a strong loyalty to the Stark family so Petyr's apparent plan to make Sansa and her husband rulers of the North as well as the Vale may well work (barring Rickon showing up but almost everyone thinks Rickon is dead).
Kris W
221. Forseti
Add the Riverlands to the list of domains Littlefinger is trying to get his fingers into. The dominion of the Riverlands is being taken away from the Tully's and transferred to the Lord of Harrenhal... Petyr Baelish

Vale, Winterfell, Riverlands. It's starting to look like Littlefinger is trying to win the Seven Kingdoms one seat at a time.
Kris W
222. The Mega Sage
One thing that really struck me in this book is how we've gone from a series that could be called 'realistic fantasy', with no elves or dwarves and very little magic, to one where everybody and their pig seems to be magic.

I know a number of people who have picked up the books because of the HBO series, and a large percentage of them love the series BECAUSE it is so 'realistic'. More than one has said that the lack of magic in the world is something that has really drawn them in, just because it's so fresh and unexpected in a fantasy world. And while I am more open to magic in my books, I will admit that I am ... a bit sad ... that this series is really becoming about which side has the bestest magic. I mean, we have resurrections, wargs, dragons controlled by magic horns, soothsayers, and magic pigs.

In terms of the book itself, I am torn. As a work of literature, it's relatively fine. Martin is an excellent writer, but he's starting to stray into Robert Jordan territory, with long passages about nothing. However, as it pertains to the series that I'm reading, I am suddenly much less enthralled by his characters.

It seems the majority of his characters in this book ... well, I sort of dislike them all now. Dany is now ruled by her libido, and is a passive observer of her city. She really doesn't DO anything. Yes, I understand that this is her character arc. She needs to remember that she is the dragon, and that screw you, SHE IS THE DRAGON. But oy, an entire book of reading about her lusting after some guy, letting a city basically fall to ruins around her, and basically becoming the type of ruler that nobody wants around ... yes, I understand it's her arc. But it doesn't make reading about it any less boring and unfulfilling.

Couple that with Jon, who has caused the Night's Watch (which has been around for eons) to collapse because of his actions. Yes, he's young and just trying to make due with a bad situation. Yes, he's stuck with Stannis on one side of the square, the wildings on another, the Nights Watch on the third, and his own nature at the bottom, all pulling in different directions. But the fact remains, he's the commander in charge of the Night's Watch when the men mutiny.

And then there's Tyrion ... ah Tyrion, everybody's favourite dwarf. In the first three books, he was a DRIVING FORCE. He was so memorable because he was always surviving by the skin of his nose (pun intended), and always finding out a way to come out ahead, and to even profit by it. It's impossible not to remember his story from the first three books. Layabout at the start, off to the Wall where he passes along wise words to Jon, builds a saddle for Bran, captured by Lady Stark, uses his wit and judge of character to escape death at the Eyrie, brings the clans of the vale to his side, leads them to victory (hollow though it was), and becomes Hand of the king. And that's only the first book! Describing what he does in the second and third books who be another five or six paragraphs.

Now what does he do in this book? I just read it, and I honestly don't remember. Rides the pig (or was it the dog?). Wonders where whores go. And at the end he talks his way into a mercenary company. That's about it.

Again, I'm sure this is all according to Martin's plan. You have to bring characters low before they can rise up again (oooooooh, I'm calling some type of Phoenix creature in the next book, summoned by Meli). But it all happened in THIS book. Which made THIS book a friggin' drag.

Look, when the series is finished, and I go to re-read it, I'm pretty sure I'll devour the first three books again and then just read the wikipedia link for books 4 and 5. Heck, I probably don't even need to do that. It really feels like books 4 and 5 were (really long) filler. Perhaps Martin should have just skiped right to book 6 and spent a couple of chapters catching everybody up. "Dany grew to be an annoying twit who obsessed about sex, but then she remembered she was a dragon. Tyrion moaned about Shae and made his way to where Dany was. Oh, and Jon is a warg." Then jump into the good stuff.

Maybe I'm just too caught up in immediate gratification. But having some type of forward impetus after 11 years doesn't seem too much to ask.
Kris W
223. EmmaPease
Petyr may be lord of Harrenhall and of the Riverlands but that is in name only. He has no control over either and probably no local support (only Lannister support). And I don't expect him to make any attempt until Spring. Instead he leaves it to the Lannisters to pacify and lose men (Winter will probably take care of other opposition).
Also Sansa is near in line to the Tully claim with the assumption that her brothers are dead. If her uncle Edmure dies childless, she is next (one of Petyr's long range plots could well be to see Edmure dead and childless). Having her claim the Riverlands (or support Petyr's claim) may get him the personal loyalty he'll need to actually rule them.
Kris W
224. Forseti
Baelish is obviously going to marry Sansa himself, after he widowed her from Harry the Heir. He couldn't have Catelyn, so he's moving on to the next generation. He's been all over her since she arrived at King's Landing in the first book. He only needs to kill 2 more people to make it all work: Robin Arryn (who'll probably die spontaneously) and Harrold Hardyng after he gives her a child to be the next heir to the Vale.

With Sansa revealed as the Stark heir, Winterfell will be his. She being a Tully will strengthen his Riverlands ambitions as you said. The child she'll have from Harrold will seal the deal for the Vale. With him as her lord husband at that time, Littlefinger will be the most powerful man north of King's Landing.

That's his plan anyway as far as I can tell.
Sandy Brewer
225. ShaggyBella
I was wondering how much time has passed since the first book? And how old are the Stark children now? Jon was 14 at the start. What age did he command the Night Watch?
Gerd K
226. Kah-thurak
Better not to dwell on the ages of the children too long... they all act 3-5 years older than they are anyways.
Darren James
227. b8amack
@217 The Freys forfeited all right to hospitality/guest rights at the Red Wedding. As a father whose son was killed enjoying Frey hospitality, Manderly would not need to bother with loopholes.
Kris W
228. Booha
Re: the vision of a "tall, twisted thing with one eye and ten arms, sailing on a sea of blood": In Asha's first POV chapter in ADWD, we learn that Euron has left the Iron Isles and sailed West. Asha thinks to herself:

The Crow's Eye had summoned all the strength of the Iron Isles to Old Wyk and sailed out into the deepness of the Sunset Sea, with his brother Victarion following behind like a whipped cur.

Now I know I should be very suspicious of unconfirmed statements in this series, but I think Euron is subject of the vision and he'll show up just in time to ruin the party.

From Victarion's POVs, we know that he is actually sailing East with his own fleet and without Euron, so I think that we will see Victarion arrive in Slaver's Bay to help break the seige and give Dany the ships she needs to get to Westeros. I need to reread Victarion's chapters, but I didn't get the sense that he is positioned to be a major foil for Dany (you know, other than the fact that he is a murdering pirate who likes making sacrifices to bloodthirsty gods). Euron, on the other hand is bad news.

I'm really interested to see how the dragonbinder horn gets used. While I could buy V giving it to Dany to win her hand, I can't see it going so smoothly. I gotta think that Euron will put it to use for his own nefarious purposes when he shows up, but that's assuming V just gives is back to him.

All in all, I am a lot more interested in all the Iron Islanders than I thought I would be when we first got Theon's POV in CoK.
Kris W
229. EmmaPease
@227 Manderly and guest right

However the Boltons are the hosts at Winterfell not the Freys. Manderly almost certain plans to do in the Boltons and seems to be eating his own food to avoid being obligated not to hurt the Boltons while a guest, but, I don't see him killing a Frey there and then without urgent provocation (e.g., the boy discovered something about the Manderly plans).
Kris W
230. disappointed....not
I am not that much disappointed....... that is to say i didn't actually plan ways to murder GRRM just thought about once or twice ... or a few more times
But after waiting for a month to comment and going through all the comments i believe its a good part of series but bad as a standalone.
Regarding mereenese knot i believe he made it so complex that it is not gonna be solved but just cut apart. i.e Dany comes with Dothraki defeats bad guys and move to next part of prophecy with her future entourage in a single chapter. Kraken is just coming to provide transport to her army to Asshai and back to westros. Though i also believe that grrm is also solving issues of future lords of all seven kingdoms one by one. Thus planning for an end even now.
But u can never know with GRRM
IMHO John Snow not dead... (at all but rather in a Branisque coma, to improve his wargness) but in the end it is the typical GRRM book with more questions then answers but the most important question is will he be able to resolve all the arcs in next two books.
I will be expecting three more books or two huger (no other word coming to my miind) tomes
Brian Booher
231. Booha

My first thought was that Big Walder killed Little Walder. There was a note in passing early on that Big Walder wasn't as taken with Ramsay's sadism as Little Walder was. And wasn't BW covered in LW's blood when the Frey's bring in the body? We don't know any more about BW's motives as of now, but we also didn't know anything about Lysa Arryn's motives for poisoning Jon Arryn, so the precedent is there. I just don't see the Manderlys murdering a child, and I take the spearwives at their word.

Also, I think its funny that feeding the Frey's their kin qualifies as a MoA for Lord Wyman. But I can't get over the fact that he was eating the pies also: "Manderly devoured six portions, two from each of the three pies..."

Kris W
232. ftbleighjkjk
Manderly just may well be the hero of this novel. I don't think he was so much enamored with the taste of Frey, but that he was playing the part of the glutton to perfection, to put Roose et al. at ease. I suppose that the fact that he hates them to the core of his expansive being may have provided a little seasoning.
And I've read elsewhere that BW killed LW, although the motive put there was ascension. With all the Freys that have been dying of late he (apparently) is getting pretty close to the top. Don't know if that actually true though, just that I have a pretty good vibe it was him, partly for the reasons you yourself mentioned.
I can't wait to do another re-read so I can cheer Manderly every time he or his sons are on the page.
Kris W
233. ftbleighjkjk
Also, did I miss the spoiler review of Dance here, or has Tor not published one yet?
Guys, how will I know what opinions to hold if you don't provide them for me?
Kris W
234. Jeff R.
Remember that Illryio could not have predicted most of what happened to Dany in book one. Viscerys offending the Dotraki, okay, maybe. but none of the rest of it. So his and Varys's plan involved a weak Dany, subordinate to a strong and vibrant Drogo with a living son and no dragons.

So, I have to believe that their plan cannot but have involved betrayal at the end. Let Dany expend her horsemen against the Knights of Westeros who still stand with Joff or the Baratheons, expose Cersei's incest, and arrange for accidents for Drogo and Rhaego during or after the fighting was done, at which point Aegon pops up to marry Dany and really be in charge.

Dany losing the Dotraki and then acquiring power bases of her own, Dragons and Unsullied and captured cities forced them to start making adjustments to their plan, and her decision to stay in Slaver's Bay threatened to completely derail it. (Which leads me to suspect Illryio's agents in the Locust poisoning, now as I think of it.)
Adam Shaeffer
235. ashaef
Wouldn't it be awesome if Martin released a digital version of FFF/DWD that integrated all the PoV's as he originally intended? I say digital because Martin has said the book was getting to large to publish, but digital publishing doesn't have those restrictions.

I would love to see the parallels and contrasts as Martin envisioned them before splitting the book in 2.
Kris W
236. KJBrooklyn
I agree with the Gah commenter. Just finished ADWD and agree with the general run of the thread - the last two books are too long and disapointing. When Jon was "killed" or whatever he was, my immediate reaction was annoyance, rather than being upset that one of my favorite characters was killed. To me this is a bad sign - I'm not emotionally involved with any of the characters at this point. I am also not happy with Arya becoming an assassin, another character I really liked who I have less empathy for as she becomes less and less sympathetic. Also agree that reality is pretty harsh, I would like my fantasy to be less so.
Kris W
237. Thomas Lindgren
"For god's sake, get on with it."

Actually, come to think of it, GRRM, you're not your readers' bitch. You've sold 15m copies already so on the contrary, on royalties alone you're already set for life. Take your time and get your legacy just right. Ten years is not too long for the next installment.
Darren James
238. b8amack
@229 Did we forget that Manderly was trying to marry the Bastard of Bolton's first wife (the one who ate her own fingers off and then died, however Bolton's wives die... horribly, in other words)? Sadly, the arrangement was Bran's work. I don't imagine he was pining with love for the woman, but I also don't imagine he has many illusions about the Bastard.

In any case, my point was that it doesn't matter who the host was. The Freys have lost all rights to hospitality. Wherever they may be.
Sorcha O
239. sushisushi
Well, my head hurts after that, that's all I can say. Talk about grim...

I'm having particular trouble keeping track of all the ship movements around the east coast of Westeros. Some of the reports of 'pirate' activity must be the remnants of Salladhor Saan's fleet washing up and taking matters into the own hands. Some of them may be from Griff&Co landing in the Stormlands, particularly later on. The Redwyne fleet has been withdrawn from Storm's End after successfully storming (hah) the castle, and Mace is back in King's Landing, so I assume his fleet is also. Do we have any idea where Aurane Waters has disappeared to with the Lannister dromonds? The ironmen under Victarion are half a world away, heading for Meereen, but what about Euron's lot? I take it that they are still bothering the Reach.

Hmmn, I don't suppose anyone has done a sitrep at the end of ADwD yet?
Sorcha O
240. sushisushi
ftbleighjkjk@232 According to my count, by the end of ADwD, Big Walder has moved up to the glorious position of 28th in line on the Frey pole.

After (deep breath) Ryman, Edwin, Black Walder, Walton, Emmon, Twyin, Willem, Lyonel, Red Walder (breathe), Aenys, Robert, Jonos, Zachery, Hosteen, Arwood, Androw, Alyn, Alesandyr, Bradamr, Danwell (breathe), Geremy, Sandor, Raymund, another Robert, Malwyn, Lothar and Jammos (aaaand breathe again...) Feel free to correct me if I missed any of these have kicking the bucket :)
Hugh Arai
241. HArai
sushisushi@240: Ok, for extra points set that list to the tune of
I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General. :)
Kris W
242. 2pac
So after reading ADWD and some of the comments on this page:

I think I read someone predict the three heads of the dragon to be Bran, Dany and Aegon. But others say Dany, Jon and Aegon. Personally, I'm not sure, so if someone would like to present evidence as to each of these claims?

In any case, I have this hunch that one of Bran, Jon, Dany, Aegon, Arya or even Tyrion Lannister is going to die by the end of this series (assuming Jon lives) In fact GRRM might even kill off Tyrion Lannister (as in a heroic death) just to piss off readers because everyone likes Tyrion. But that is just what I think, GRRM might yet choose to make all of them live, as he has proved to be extremely unpredictable.
Kris W
243. fn8up
Someone mentioned above that maybe they sent Martell Sandor's head instead of Gregor, just wanted to clarify that Sandor isn't dead, he's a monk,soon to be one of those Knights of the Seven or whatever. I think Gregor still has his head and Cersei sent them one of the dwarf heads she must have layin around. Also I've read of people calling Lord Brynden, Bloodraven, where is this coming from? I haven't read all the Dunk and Egg short stories so I'm assuming from there
Kris W
244. Andy L007
A nice summary of our feelings (from Pat's list)

Rob Munnelly
245. RobMRobM
@243 - Bloodraven is mentioned at various points in the principal books but, you are correct, he is really fleshed out in the Dunk and Egg tales (especially the third one, The Mystery Knight). He's an albino Targaryen bastard believed to have special powers, who later became the Hand to one Targ king and, later, a Lord Commander of the Nights Watch.
Kris W
246. Astraea
@240: Isn't Ryman Frey dead? The Brotherhood Without Banners got him a couple books back.

Someone else tried to work out the Frey line of succession here: http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/54909-adwd-spoilersthe-frey-line-of-succession/

But they count women in the direct line before uncles, which I'm not sure about. If that post is right, though, then Big Walder's 55th in succession for the Freys.

@242: Right now, I'm not seeing how Bran is going to get into the same general area as the dragons; maybe it's just the geographical distance involved at present (and his storyline seeming to focus much more on his ties with the children of the forest/greenseers than with dragons), but I don't see him becoming a head of the dragon. As for Aegon, I'm undecided on whether he's genuine (too many Wars of the Roses parallels in this story not to make me think of Perkin Warbeck), but think it was a bad idea to throw him in this late in the game (especially if this somehow does work out to be a 7-book series.) I've seen other people throw up the theory that Tyrion's going to end up as a rider/head of the dragon, too, but I honestly have no idea how all that's going to work out in the end.

As for your death predictions...well, it's GRRM, and in at least the last book or two, almost everyone's probably going to be fair game. (Heck, Jon may be dead at the end of this book, though if he is, it's only in a 'mostly-dead' way that's going to let him get reborn.) Aegon's been so recently introduced, and isn't a POV character, so I feel he could go at any time it's convenient, plot-wise.

For long-term outlook, though, I wonder about Arya (what, realistically, could happen to her in a post-war, post-winter world?) I do think that Tyrion is safe, though; GRRM seems far too fond of him to let him die. I could definitely see Tyrion ending up in possession of Casterly Rock by series' end.
Kris W
247. 2pac
@24 and 79 and all those who would like to "ask for their time and money back":

I agree the ADWD was relatively slow paced and not as full of action as the first three books, but I could hardly call it a huge disappointment. There was a LOT in ADWD, for those who had the eyes and mind to see. Try to appreciate that Martin has far surpassed the average fantasy writer. Especially when he has written a story with such originality, complex and versatile characterization (through POV of characters), and plot acrobatics that keep you guessing.

@79: you say Martin just has to kill a main character and it is becoming boring. In fact, it does the opposite: it makes the story much more interesting and keeps the reader turning the pages to see if his/her favourite character lives.

Readers seem to have a problem with Jon dying at the end: but Martin's reader's should have learned to expect the unexpected. I wouldn't be surprised if Tyrion dies as I have already mentioned before, just because readers are getting too attached to his character.

In addition, I think readers sometimes criticize without realizing how difficult it is to write at such a high livel with as complex of a plot as Martin has so far established. For example, readers don't like the fact Aegon appears in the fifth book and say that he's a deus ex machina. Try attempting to write your own story and see how much you end up changing what you originally had in mind, as you continue to write. I am NOT saying Martin did not plan to throw in Aegon in the fifth book, as there IS foreshadowing in a COK. My point here is that writing is a MUCH harder task than reading, while you sit and stare at text.
Dave West
248. Jhirrad
@247 - My problem with a lot of what Martin has done is that he has become predictable. You say that he's making the story more interesting and keeping readers interested and turning pages. I agree and disagree. I agree in as much as there are some good characters that people want to know what's happening to them. But the fact that he feels the need to kill them all off makes me wonder if he is simply incapable of writing and building long term, complex characters and having them continue to grow. Or does he have to kill them just so he doesn't have to stretch the character, and can instead move to another? Eventually you have just reset the characters of the story, rather than tell their stories. To me that seems a cheap out, rather than a clever trope.

And I'm not saying that what he does is easy. I've done some writing, and I know that things don't always go as you initially envision. Stories can take on a life of their own. But even though there was a small amount of foreshadowing re Aegon, it still feels a lot like a deus ex. We should call a spade a spade. Just don't be surprised when he kills Aegon off as well.

And please, let's also recognize that he makes a FORTUNE doing something he loves. No woe is me for Mr. Martin. He has what is, for many, a dream job. He spent years putting out a book which was originally envisioned (by him as he's told the fans) as part of another book that had to get cut out for length and flow purposes, and which he had initially said would take a year.

Coldly and analytically, ADwD was probably the 4th best book in a 5 book series (at this point). I'm not saying I won't finish reading it - I will. Authors throw out stinkers sometimes. I'll admit that I'm a huge Wheel of Time fan, but there are a couple of books in that series which are really pretty awful if you take a step back from fandom and look at them dispassionately. Feast is ASoIaF's Path of Daggers. And I would say that ADwD is not much better. Longer, sure. But was it a really good book? No way.
Hugh Arai
249. HArai
Jhirrad@248: I think what he does is predictable at this point, but in a good way. You can confidently predict that any character, no matter how complex or developed, that does dangerous things is likely to suffer for it. That to me beats 'oh but this guy has a lovely and complex character progression so he can't die, he gets to get away with hoofing Gregor in the nuts'.

Regarding Aegon, you can call him a deus ex if you like. But we shouldn't "call a spade a spade" because some of us have been expecting him or someone like him for a long time. Your opinion on what it feels like is quite valid, but so is mine.

Finally, I'm curious what how much GRRM makes has to do with anything? It doesn't change a single word of the text. He gets compensated so he has to write ADwD a certain way? Where is the link? I also don't see much 'woe is me' from Martin either. Annoyance that some people don't believe he has a right to his own life apart from a book they want to dictate, yes. Depression when his football teams lose, yes. 'Woe is me'? Not so much.
Dave West
250. Jhirrad
@249 - First, please note that my post @248 was a direct response to 2pac@247. He says,

In addition, I think readers sometimes criticize without realizing how difficult it is to write at such a high livel with as complex of a plot as Martin has so far established....Try attempting to write your own story and see how much you end up changing what you originally had in mind, as you continue to write....My point here is that writing is a MUCH harder task than reading, while you sit and stare at text.

I read that comment as a bit of 'woe is me' for Martin and the DREADFULLY hard job that he has. Which again, I think is completely unjustified. What does how much he makes have to do with anything you ask? It makes him much less of a sympathetic figure. He makes millions of dollars doing something he loves - a job situation which most people would love to be in. I'm not about to feel sorry for him because "writing is a MUCH harder task than reading" as 2pac says.

Personally, I don't care that he has a life outside of these books. That never bothered me in and of itself. What bothered ME was that he failed to deliver what HE promised. And let's not split hairs about this - he said he was going to do X and instead he did Y. Much of what went into ADwD was originally meant for Feast. However, he said that Dance was essentially Part 2 for Feast. It was nearly complete when Feast came out, and should be out within a year. 5 years later it finally arrived. That's a fairly significant disparity in time. I think that a lot of people were (justifiably) frustrated that he took so long to put out something which he had initially said should be out very quickly. His big mistake was coming out and saying what he said in the first place. If he hadn't, I don't think there would have been nearly as many people upset. The other problem is that Feast just plain sucked. It was easily the worst book in this series. He then takes 5 years to get something out which has the chance of redeeming that piece of junk. And he failed to do so in my opinion.
Kris W
251. fn8up
Does anything in the Dunk and Egg short stories confirm that Lord Brynden of the Weirwood is Bloodraven, or is it speculation? I'd also like to add that I love this series, I think ALL the books have been great and I can't wait for the next one. In my opinion it's the best fantasy series of all time, so good it transcends the genre. I've gotten alot of people hooked on this series that wouldn't normally read a fantasy book or books in general
Sorcha O
252. sushisushi
HArai@240 I think that's a challenge for someone for the next JordanCon ;)

Astrea@246 Okay, so we lose Ryman and Geremy and I realised I left out Steffon and Bryan (between Walton and Emmon) and Tywin and Jaime (after their dad Malwyn). So, I've actually gone up by 2, as far as male succession goes (total numbers of named Frey's are way higher, obv., as well as children of married daughters with other surnames, as in that linked list). If it's anything like European aristocratic inheritance, though, daughters and grand-daughters can inherit, but only after they run out of male claimants, even grandsons-of-daughters (e.g. Sansa and Arya have a clear claim on Winterfell because their brothers and uncles are all dead, and they have no male cousins).

Sooo, we still have (deeeeep breath) Edwyn, Black Walder, Walton, Steffon, Bryan, Emmon, Twyin, Willem, Lyonel, Red Walder, Aenys, Robert, Jonos, Zachery, Hosteen, Arwood, Androw, Alyn, Alesandyr, Bradamr, Danwell, Geremy, Sandor, Raymund, another Robert, Malwyn, another Tywin, his twin Jaime, Lothar and Jammos before Big Walder, which puts him 31st in the line of succession and Black Walder at No. 2…)
Kris W
253. ftbleighjkjk
@ sushisushi 252: I still hope he makes a run; nothing would please me more than 31 dead Freys.
Rob Munnelly
254. RobMRobM
@251 - Nothing definite but given the precise physical description (albino, one eye), history as a member of Nights Watch (so he qualifies as a crow), his name Brynden, and his discussion of his life with Bran (one brother he loved, one brother he hated, one woman he loved) it seems about as close to 100% as one can get.

@252 and earlier - impressed and just a bit afraid of you now. LOL.
Rob Munnelly
255. RobMRobM
I had a thought while browsing through ACOK the other day.

It always bothered me in the back of my mind that Bran's cool scene - where he appeared in the form of a weirwood to Jon, talked to him, touched his third eye, and led him off into warging with Ghost - was never mentioned by Bran to Jojen, Meera or Osha and the abilities were never thereafter exercised by him. For powers, he only warged into Ghost and Hodor.

After reading ADWD's final Bran chapter, I began to have a sneaking suspicion that, despite all of the inherent risk of time travelling tropes, the Winds of Winter future Bran was the one who travelled back in time and set Jon on his warging patch. I'm now 90% convinced this is the case. Evidence -
1) sophistication of skills involved. Not just talking out of an existing weirwood tree but going into Jon's dream, creating a weirwood in his form where none exists, and remotely opening Jon's third eye. Astounding, when you think about it. Not warging at all - sure seems like greenseer powers.
2) Bloodraven confirmation. He tells Bran in ADWD that he's only been a skinchanger and now will learn greenseer powers. If Bran had exercised these earlier, either BR would know or Bran would have told him.
3) The ACOK text is remarkable, once read in light of ADWD.
a) He tells Jon he's able to do what he does "because of the crow." I don't believe it's just crow dreams, he is talking about skills from the crow.
b) Jon actually smells, along with Bran, trees, rich earth and stone - precisely the smells one would expect in his place in the mountains under the weirwood.
c) Bran says he likes being in the dark. In ADWD, he says that he is afraid of the dark and BR tells him he will learn to like it later. No doubt, by AWOW, he's grown to like it.
d) The first thing Bran does it go through the weirwood to his Dad in the past, speak to him ("Winterfell") and his father apparently hears it. BR doesn't believe it and says Bran cannot affect the past. My strong guess is that BR is incorrect, that Bran is stronger than him and can go back and interact with the past. However, he probably doesn't do it again after he gets through to Jon - for the obvious time anomaly concerns that occur with any going back in time. (Note that there really isn't an anomaly - fact that Jon got the message meant that future Bran did it.)

On some level this seems dubious but (1) how else can you explain Bran pulling those extraordinary powers out of his hat in ACOK without mentioning them to Jojen and his other companions; and (2) really, take another look at the text Bran uses in ACOK and compare it to the descriptions of where he is living where he does this in ADWD. Creepy.

Kris W
256. ftbleighjkjk
I don't have the chapter at hand Rob, but your theory sounds solid, and just out-there enough to be true. It also holds fascinating implications for the rest of the series.
I wonder if the greenseers have anything to do with the weather, and the seasons being as wonky as they are. In fact, I wonder about the weather a great deal. Like, Pentos/Mereen/Whatever doesn't have winter, right? Is that just because they're equatorial? Or what?
Going back to the greenseers thing, they have Green Dreams, am I right? And the final book is slated to be called 'A Dream of Spring', right? I was thinking that it would be a massive bummer to end the series smack in the middle of freezing winter that has years left to it - some sort of revelation about the bizarre Westerosi seasons and fantasy cure might just be the ticket.
Also, one final - any ideas on what a book 7 might be called if the series does go 8 books?
Kris W
257. Jeff R.
I believe that "A Time for Wolves" was once out there as a future book title; it can be brought back for book seven if A Dream of Spring bumps to eight...
Kris W
258. G00dgulf
Lord, where do I begin with this endless run-on sentence aka A DanceWith Dragons. HOw many times must I read about Dany eating olives,goat cheese,honeyed lamb,blah blah blah....Try moving the story along. Why do these modern-day "authors" feel that endless descriptions of banners and banquets(enough with the lampray pies)make for a great novel.
So sick of GRRM's bullshit since this massive turd took six years to drop from his bowels. THe pace needs to pick up,since about 4 more books are going to be needed before anything can be resolved.
And killing major characters has become just another trite plot device.
Too bad, it had such promise when he started this 15 or has it been 20 years ago.......
Kris W
259. akacris
i've read a few threads about aDwD...and so far none put up this "possible" resurrection of jon snow....why not warg into wun wun....why just ghost or melissandre's kiss of life...bran warged hodor...and ...wun wun can speak unlike ghost....just my 2 cents
Kris W
260. ftbleighjkjk
@259 akacris - Bran has super-warg powers though, plus experience when it comes to warging, whereas Jon's just messing about. I would expect that, to take over a sentient mind, requires a bit more technical skill and practice. Not to mention Mel's thing about how he has to keep his wolf nearby; she says it like 500 times.
In short, not only is it unlikely, but I would be disappointed if it plays out that way, since there's been like, zero setup for it.
Kris W
261. akacris
but it will make an awesome scene...hearing wun wun shout out in the common tongue..."my brothers what are you doing? why kill me?"...
Kris W
262. Kaje
I was so sad when Jon was knifed i couldn't sleep, but i very much doubt he is dead as the chapter ended ... hinting that his story will continue

Many people think Jon will ride a dragon, since he may not have the blood of the dragon but he is a warg i believe his warg powers will increase to him being able to controle a dragon
Kris W
263. Jeff R.
Jon is sitting on not one, not two, but three entirely different means of cheating death. (Wightness, Wargness, and the Red God's Touch). Not only that, but we know that stacking two of them provides a better result than either one does individually (Coldhands=Warg+Wight). With all three, especially with the Fire-magic stronger at the Wall than anywhere else we've seen it practiced, Jon might not even notice that he died.

Speaking of Jon, I've been thinking a lot about Rhaegar lately. . And I've come to the conclusion that he was about to launch his own rebellion when Robert beat him to the punch. I just don't see him running off with Lyanna other than to secure the North in a future war, or casting Elia aside without good reason. I currently think Aerys was Aegon's (and maybe Rhaenys') actual father, which keep him Targyren but muddles his succession order a good bit, that Rickard was in on Rhaegar's plan but never told either son about it (and Aerys suspected this as well, which motivated his actions against him). Rhaegar might have 'known', prophesy-wise, that the Prince that was Promised was from his line, which means that he would need to sire an actual child and keep the false Aegon from taking the throne. It's even possible that Walder Frey had already committed to team Rhaegar, with promises that he wouldn't be getting fulfilled by either Aerys or Robert in the war that actually arrived
Kris W
264. Seamus1602
First, I'll admit that I'm very new to the series (saw GoT S1, then plowed through the books in 2 weeks).

Thoughts on DwD:

Overall, I was getting a very WoT-vibe from multiple storylines. And though I love WoT, this is not a compliment.

Dany - So hard to read her chapters. 2 things pissed me off.
First, Dany in Meereen=Elayne Trakand in Caemlyn. Silly teenage girl in lust/love? Check. Sellswords, sieges, and turncloaks? Check. Power based on tenuous friends? Check. Unnecessarily drawn-out queen-ing? Check.
Second, the blatant deus-ex of removing the dragons from the equation for 80% of her story. One girl maybe gets killed, so she locks them up, throws away the key, and won't even let anyone talk about them? Gawd...

Jon - Very much not dead. Not sure what form that'll take, but he'll be back. Also, Melissandre=Elaida, at least in terms of ability to interpret foretelling. I also firmly believe Jon is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar. It just makes so much sense, between Lyanna's "Promise me...", to Ned's general character, to Ned wanting 'them' to 'grow up like brothers' in Bran's tree time walk. Why 'like' brothers if they are brothers? Still curious how Lyanna actually died though.

Aegon - I think he is an actual Targ, but I don't think he's one of the 3 heads of the dragon. Dany, Jon, Bran most likely, though I'm least sure of Bran.

FrankenGregor - They let completely unknown knights that don't talk or show their face onto the Kingsguard on the word of the 8 yo king? Really?

Who is Septa Lemore? Tyrion's interest was too pointed to leave that hanging.

Tyrion - More deus-ex to keep him away from Dany. Every chapter for either, I was waiting for T to show up and say, "You've got dragons! Why are you buying peace by selling your body? Are you a dragon or a blushing bride?" I thought for a sec that Q would make this argument, but he ended up being exactly the child Dany saw when they met. Too bad...

Arya - I'm curious to see how and when her Night Angel storyline ends. It seems clear the FM want her to become like them, but it also seems clear that she'll need to remain Arya. When we she consider her training complete and go back to Nym and Westeros? And does she get to kill FrankenGregor? Cause that's the first thing I thought when he came back. I thought Arya's chapters were some of the best in the book. Concise and tight, not overwritten. Pretty much everything Dany's storyline should have been but wasn't.

All in all, not the best of the series, and weakened by the 2 book split. With all that, I still loved the book as a whole, even if I'm not nearly as scared of losing major characters any more. Post Red Wedding, I though anyone could die. Now, I have no doubts that at least Dany, Bran, Jon, Arya will survive until the last battle at least.
Kris W
265. Jeff R.
"childbirth" is the general thought on how Lyanna died, although that gives us a timing that makes it impossible for the Aegon in Dany's vision of Rhaegar to be Jon, which would be nice. "complications a few weeks after childbirth" might do better, and for that matter the Kingsguard might be more compelled to protect an actual heir/uncrowned king than one only in potentia at the time.
At any rate, birthing Dragons is apparently hard on any mother. (My own theories for the three heads are that it's either Dany/Jon/Tyrion or Jon/Tyrion/Edric; while I'm less sure than before Dance I think there's a good chance Dany's last betrayal will be fatal and immediately before or after setting foot in Westeros. And if Edric is involved, it'll probably be his dragon what gets stolen by the squids and their horn.)
Rob Munnelly
266. RobMRobM
Seamus - LOL on the WoT parallels. I don't agree on the Elayne-Dany argument but it is awesome from a making you think standpoint. Bravo.

Re Septa Lamore, one theory out there is she is the mother of the Sand Snake Tyene, who was a Septa (but, obviously, not the purest of Septas as she had a fling with Oberyn Martell). One problem is that Lamore has dark hair, as does Oberyn, and Tyene is a blond - tough but not impossible from a genetics perspective. That, plus her involvement would likely mean that the Martells were aware of this hidden dragon, makes this option seem unlikely to me. Another theory is she is Ashara Dayne, but I don't think she is gorgeous enough to make that theory work.

Lyanna - died in childbirth. Not a big mystery - I'm sure lots of women did so back then (e.g., Joanna Lannister with Tyrion).

Kris W
267. Stompy
THere are too many comments to read them all so not sure if this was mentioned before...

There is no way Jon Snow is dead. He is the lynch-pin to one of the main plot lines and has been for all 5 books. Do you wonder why one dragon is all white? Now the question is, will he ride the dragon or will he become the dragon. A warg Targaryen would be very interesting indeed!
Kris W
268. LindaMez
On what insane bastard planet would Ramsay possibly imagine that Jon would trade his sister et al for Mance freakin' Rayder? That demand makes no sense.
Debbie Solomon
269. dsolo
I was initially going to hold out for the library's copy of ADwD, but caved and bought it about 2 weeks after it came out. With all the others, I read them cover to cover as soon as I got them, but AFfC cured me of that. Finally, after a week of looking at it, I started reading. Instead of racing through it, I was forcing myself to read it. My final opionion - meh. I was sick to death of Mereen and all those people I didn't care about, and the almost, but not quite Tyrion/Danaerys meeting was really annoying. I was looking forward to that. I did like Cersei's walk of shame, because no one deserves it more. Seems like a lot of random things are popping up late in the series. The Starks are Wargs? Huh? I'm also getting sick of all these twisted torturers. Stannis is a pain in the behind, but I really want him to put the smackdown on the Bastard. I hate to abandon a series that began with so much promise, but the last 2 books have really annoyed me. The HBO series revived my interest, but GRRM better step up. Speaking of GRRM, did anyone see the comedy bit on "The Daily Show" about Borders bookstores closing, that threw in a mention of GRRM not writing his next book fast enough. Sounds like one of the writers is a disappointed fan.
Kris W
270. tim dunphy
4 years for another 1000 pager with no justice, no conclusions, no satisfaction and I expect we will wait another 4 years for another of the same ilk. Bummer.
Kris W
271. ftbleighjkjk
hey, tor, can we get our spoiler review any time soon? You don't have to match the glacial pace of George's writing, you know. Srsly.
Meanwhile, back at the Wall...
"We’ll be reconvening with additional analysis of A Dance With Dragons in a few days time, once more folks have gotten a chance to read the book, so keep an eye out for more from Jo Walton in regards to that."
Katie McNeal
272. Katiya
I bought this book the day it came out, and only now finished reading it. That's how uninterested I was in what was happening. People keep saying they love this book, but then go on to list all these various problems with it. I'll be blunt: I didn't like it. I liked it even less than Feast, which, for all it's faults, had more interesting things going on than this.

I felt Dany's storyline was probably necessary for her character development, but it didn't make it any less frustrating or annoying to read. Then again, her naievete has always bothered me, and by the end, I find her faith that everything she's worked for has been maintained in her absence to be ludicrous. It is, to me, inconsistent with her character, because despite her childlike compassion and desire to trust, her experiences have taught her anything but, as she is constantly thinking to herself. She should hope, but doubt, and STRONGLY, that anything she has built will be maintained. GRRM is really stretching if he wants me to believe that Dany's so pure (or stupid) that she doesn't learn from her experiences.

Even Tyrion, whom I love, really failed to spark my interest, because he didn't have anything to do. Tyrion was completely wasted in this book, except to understand what it really is to be a dwarf without the various advantages he's had. The thing with the Second Sons was anticlimactic. And, maybe this is just me being overly critical of something I already seemed not to like, but Tyrion seemed like more of a caricature of himself at the beginning of the novel. He didn't "feel right" as I read him, more like an exercise than the fleshed out character I knew. Then again, maybe I'm imagining it.

That said! What are everyone's views on (sorry if these have come up in the comments, I haven't gotten a chance to read them all): Tyrion's potential non-Lannister father, ie Targaryen blood? What are Brienne and Jamie up to? Is Aegon the "mummer's dragon" from Dany's vision, or is that, as some have suggested, Quentyn or something else? Do Val's misgivings about Shireen have significance, or is it a red herring? Inquiring minds are inquring!
Darren James
273. b8amack
The thing about Tyrion in this book, is who is Tyrion, without his family? He's no one. He can be plotting revenge, but how? He'll raise no armies, inspire no followers, and if he really has to pull his own weight as a sellsword... well, good luck with that.

I liked Tyrion quite a bit in the other books, but this one, with his bs about Tysha, the wife he gangraped... He lost me. His whole inner monologue. "I'm sorry about that. But they told me you were a whore." Wtf-ery.

"Oh, well, that's ok, then, Tyrion. All is forgiven. Let me make you a bowl of brown and rub your feet. "
Kris W
274. aaaaaaaaaaaa
This book was a disappointment. That being said I am 100% sure that Jon Snow is not dead and am of the opinion that he is coming back in some form. Plus wouldn't it be awesome if Tyrion somehow went to Valyria( with Dany and Victarion maybe?) and found the missing Lannister Valyrian sword
Anthony Pero
275. anthonypero
AFfC and ADwD are really one book... but they are one bad book. As for the people crying "If you hate these books so much, why are you still reading them?!?" Just stop. I at least, am still reading them because the first two books were two of the best books I've ever read. SoS was very good. These were publihed in a 5 year stretch. Then the story ran into major problems. This shows in the last two books. I keep rieading because I hope the series will end the way it began. This happens when you discovery write. Just ask the writers of LOST. Oh, I'm sure the irony of their show's name wasn't LOST on them in season 3-4. GRRM has stated that ADwD was intended to be set five years after the events of SoS, but he found that too much flashback was necessary to tell the story properly, so he stopped, and struggled for 8 freaking years to tell that backstory. That is why we are still in Mareen. I have great hope that now that all this "flashback" stuff is out of the way, the last 2 or three books will rock as hard as the first 2 or 3.

However, if it takes him another 4 or 5 years... even three years, to but out the next book, then I will be very, very worried about how this will all turn out. Or if he'll finish it at all. Because it will mean he's completely lost the story, and is still struggling very, very hard with the writing of it.
Anthony Pero
276. anthonypero
Seems like a lot of random things are popping up late in the series. The Starks are Wargs? Huh?
Please tell me that was sarcasm. From the moment they bonded with the direwolf pups I knew that all 5 are wargs. Arya was riding hers all the way back in book 2. So was Bran.
Kris W
277. cerbereth
Ok I just finished Dance of Dragons and I really liked the book, but I didn't wait six years like everyone else either since I only started reading the series after the end of the first series on HBO and I went 'wait I am not waiting for season 2 to find out what happens." I loved the book because of the scenes it draws.
1. Daenerys hugging Drogon as a huge khalasar encircles her.
2. Daenerys riding Drogon out of the gladiatorial arena.
3. Cersei Lannister's Lady Godiva walk through king's landing and being scooped into the arms of the religiously decked out 8ft challenge rating 13 Iron golem of doom. (yeah Dungeons masters dont have levels folks)
4. Quentyn Martell trying to tame a dragon and tragically failing.(and for everyone saying he was pointless he was one of my favorite characters and his purpose was freeing Viserion and Rhaegar)
5. The Bolton's snowed in at Winterfell while some serial killer starts picking them off.
6. Varys's Merlin role as he talks to Kevan about what a good king Aegon will make.
7. Tyrion saving Ser Jorah and Penny by wheeling and dealing Brown Ben Plumm.

My personal feeling on the future of the plot is
1. Princess Arianne is going to marry Aegon
2. Mellissandre is going to pull a Beric Dondarrion and bring Jon back to life. If Jon is dead I'm going to start rooting for Paetyr Baelish and Sansa Stark. I think Meelissandre knew what was going to happen and maybe worked it out with Bowen Marsh ahead of time since she didn't warn Jon.
3.My Theory on what happened with Stannis and Winterfell is that Bolton sent Hosteen and his Freys off in front and he sent lord Manderly's men off behind them after hosteen shortened lord wyman a few chins, so when the freys are traveling in front of lord Wyman's army the most awesome fat guy ever the manderly's stab the Freys in the back and joined Stannis. Bolton then pissed after an inconclusive battle sends a letter to Jon Snow.
4.To whoever thinks the Starks are becoming the villians I disagree. The Starks are wolves "individuals die, but the pack survives" the Starks are off doing their own things and each one is learning a different path when they all join back up at the end of the series the north is going to remember and winter is going to come to their foes. House Stark is not dead. In the winds of winter they are gonna pull some awesome Return of the Jedi moves. Plus Robb Stark was a badass even if he did tragically die.

Did anyone start to root for Cersei Lannister a little I mean it is very clear that she loves Tommen and everyone she killed in her paranoia she did to keep him safe. Highgarden did kill Joffrey after all, and I think with Kevan dead she is going to have to rule the kingdom again and is going to do so more successfully. I don't think the books will end with Tommen on the throne however. I hate the high septon too he is so holier than thou to Cersei when we all know he had all his rivals for the job murdered.

One question did the books ever say what word Brienne of Tarth said at the Gallows? I couldn't figure out if I missed it.
Kris W
278. king6733
i suppose jon is god and holy he will not die by stabs. Bolton must have destroyed stannis host as he found mance , all of seven kingdoms hope lies on aegon and no one else with daenery not able to control her dragons . let jon die and he will be revive to rule over winterfell.
Rob Munnelly
279. RobMRobM
@277 - nice post. Re Brienne, nothing in text but the likely answer looks to have been "sword" - meaning, she told them she would agree to fight Jamie to save Pod and the other knight.

Bill Stusser
280. billiam
@ 277

Mel did warn Jon, more than once. "Daggers in the dark" and "You would do well to keep your wolf beside you". Jon didn't believe her because the "grey girl on a dying horse" wasn't Arya. But Jon was an idiot for not listening to her, just becuase it was Alys and not Arya didn't make the vision any less true. Especially the part about keeping ghost close.

As for rooting for Cersei or Littlefinger? Hell no! I hope they both die horrible deaths before this is all over. I just hope it is Jaime who strangles Cersei and not Tyrion.
Tess Laird
281. thewindrose
billiam - maybe it will be a make up moment for Tyrion and Jamie - chapter Cersei, and then there were two...

We all know Cersei's fortune from the maegi:"Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds," she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." It could be Jamie or Tyrion, and the way Jamie is starting to feel, I am going with him as the valonqar with Tyrion getting a rewarding view:)

So - I see Jon staying in his own body. Anyone with me hoping for a Jon and Val hook-up. He is Dany's nephew - but she is into a 'bigger' type man, and I don't think Jon fits the bill.
Joanna Sledge
282. zilla17
I haven't finished reading everyone's posts so this may have been addressed already. Does anyone think Jon Connington may be gay? His feelings about Rhaegar seem to be along the lines of romantic love not love for a best friend. Also, I don't think Jamie and Cersei can be Targaryens because they have the gold hair and green eyes of the Lannisters. I don't believe the Lady Joanna was a Lannister before marriage but I could be wrong.

I must say I love this series. I really hope Jon is not dead but I will still run out and buy the next book the day it is released. GRRM does take a long time writing and I don't always like what he does with characters but I don't feel all the negative comments regarding him are necessary.
Kris W
283. ftbleighjkjk
Jon Connington's man-love for Rhaegar has been discussed either here or Westeros, and I believe the consensus was, erm... maybe? It's likely that he rejects marriage flat-out because of his greyscale, altough being 'notoriously uninterested in the charms of women' wouldn't make the deal any sweeter.
Also Jaime and Cersei cannot be Targs because THAT WOULD BE FUCKING STUPID.
Seriously, the line must be drawn somewhere.
I also still love this series, and didn't feel cheated by Dance. Another 6 year gap between books would be a drag though.
Kris W
284. ThePointyEnd
Having read through this entire thread I have to say that I think that those who are disappointed in ADWD have only themselves to blame. Either you like Martin's style of writing, the characters and the world he's created or you don't. If not then don't continue reading. If you like those three elements but are 'disappointed' that you didn't get more action/resolution, or if you think you have a better grasp of the dynamics of this story than it's author; well those opinions ought to wait until the saga is complete before denigrating the manner in which the storyteller reveals his tale.

I've enjoyed all the speculation as to the various prophecies but it has only confirmed for me that Martin has purposefully set it up so that, depending on how you interpret them, the prophs could be one of many characters, the TPWP, for example, might be Jon, Dany, Aegon, or Bran. The most important thing to keep in mind regarding these prophecies, all you speculators, is an image of a sword without a hilt.
Stuart Beavon
285. Stubev
Dance was slow, yes, but it was still a great middle book, it set alot of stuff up for a fantastic next book with lots of action and killing and such that we all adore.
I do have something I want to bring up, Theon Greyjoy. First of all, I hated the guy for what he did to winterfell at first, but he totally got my sympathies in Dance, and I realised I kind`ve like him. But that being said, what can he do? I mean, most characters are great fighters, or are wargs, or are high lords with armies at their back. Theon is hated in the North, exiled from his home (basically), and has been mutilated to the point of being totally useless in any combat situation. Beyond Asha claiming another Kingsmoot for him (and really, who would vote for him?) what could he possibly do to make any difference in the Game of Thrones?
Randy Smith
286. r.smith@seminolearms.com
I must be wrong, but after reading the comments and the book I thought Areya showed up at the very end and she is the child that gets up behind the chair after cutting his neck and is the child/girl with the daggers ??
Kris W
287. ftbleighjkjk
Yay, the thread is still alive!
@284, I got really disgusted with the detractors following Dance's release. Although I had counted myself among them in the long years between books -with the broken promises and the not-a-blog and the blown deadlines- all I ever wanted was to return to Westeros to visit the characters I cared about and see the story continue. All they wanted to do was tear it apart.
Dance with Dragons (or as I think of it, Feast for Crows pt 2) was all that it was ever going to be: set-up, the raisin of stakes, and racheting of tension for the conclusion to come. It broadened the canvas of the world, and I do believe when the saga is completed, we will see that Feast and Dance were integral story components.
@285, Yay Theon! I don't know why, but I've always loved his character (placing me in a minority in the fandom, I know). I always thought the whole Winterfell thing was badass as hell, perfectly understandable given what we knew of him and his background, and clearly set up from the start. In short, I Heart Him. So bad. So it was pretty rewarding and thrilling (if at times a little disgusting) to see his arc in this last book. As for what he can do, maybe not a lot in the practical sense, or in the Game, but he's gold for story. GRRM really seems to like his flawed protag's and Theon's as flawed, and scarred as they come. I think he'll probaby be a POV through which we see great events happening, rather than orchestrating those events himself. And,
@286, I'm afraid you almost certainly wrong. That was doubtlessly one of Varys's little birds that have been oft-alluded to. The text describes her simply as a skinny serving girl, whereas if he really planned to slip Arya in there (and seriously, how random would that be?) he would have been a bit more descriptive to 'sell it'.
The thread that is dead can never die.
Kris W
288. Stubev
But rises again, harder and stronger
Kris W
289. Stubev
Now, what do people make of Osha? I always found it abit odd that one moment shes trying to kill Bran, and the next Bran is letting her take care of his little brother.
Kris W
290. TDA87
hello, have anyone tought of about that the last JON chapter, his attackers are described to have a face like they dont know or didnt want to, while saying the words "For the Brotherhood", could it be a bad/evil/unknow side of Bran for some purpose of fullfilling Jon Destiny..... i have re read that chapter... and the more i think about theon hearing "ghost whispers" and the crow saying Jon Snow full name and the word King, it sounds to me as Bran has taken more power and is learning a lot from everything and is like he found out something about jon, because time is not the same for a tree, he can see all history again, and this is his way of helping the brotherhood, by brotherhood may be reffered to Ned and Lyana Stark, or what´s left of Bran, Rickon, Sansa and Arya and the Cousin/bastard/Half Brother Jon Snow..... i think that jon snow could be the Song Of Ice and Fire.... he´s been described as very look alike to his father and arya and Lyana is described as very similarto arya, so Jon could be the Mix of the Kings Of Winters (Starks) and the Fire of Old Valirya (Targ)... this is where i am so far... trying to gain more insight reading again :D
Anthony Pero
291. anthonypero
The brotherhood referenced most likely refers to the brotherhood of the Night's Watch. They refer to each other as brothers.
Kris W
292. Rits
Jon Snow is deffinatly the coolist character but Bran is the flying wolf people. His ability to take over other creatures over shadows the others. But all the Starks have this ability including JON. So he at least is part Stark. Mr Martin has to cut things out now and make progress with characters not just add more characters we don't particularly care for. I can see Arya as a great warrior but not as a ten year old girl. Grow up already and kick some ass. I've gone from Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Jamie and Sandor to Jon, Tyrion, Arya Jamie and Reek. Does anyone hope Brienne and Jamie get it on. No just me then.
Kris W
293. Ritesh Morarji
The love hate relationship is what makes this story so annoying and yet addictive. The Damn thing stirs emotion just like real life does. Dany is ok good of heart but a little dry. She needs to close her legs and get Joroh Mormont back. If anyone has not read the books then they should watch the first series and they'll be hooked and off to the bookstore to find out what happens next. They won't get there answers though. They will have a dozen more. Ps The audiobook collection with Roy Doltrice is superb and a genuine tresure I will keep for years to come. Thank You and goodnight.
Kris W
294. Ritesh Morarji
Sorry guys one more thing Tyrion needs to get with Dany quick fast. The constant delay doesn't add but takes away from the books great potential. With Dany as queen and Tyrion an advisor Jon Snow would fit in perfectly as a companion for Dany. He's good honest and a great warrior. If he's dead I will pick up the next book almost grieving. And thats if the story ever reaches it's Climax.
Kris W
295. Jbones
Regarding Jon snow I feel he is Azor Ahai Reborn in Melisandres chapter when ever she looks into her fires too see stannis as Azor Ahai she sees snow which I think is refering too Jon. There is also the prophecy with the red star bleeding and smoke and salt. Jons wound in his belly is smoking and Bowen marsh's tears salt. Jon also has a dream of fighting others with a certain sword. Also Melisandre informs Jon that shes sees man wolf man so He will be inside ghost for a time that much is for sure. I fore see this in the prologue of the next book maybe.
Kris W
296. paribas
My summary for the book: colourful, disappointing and totally irrelevant! Mr. Martin has lost its control - I can not give him my respects any more. I stop reading any books from Mr. Martin effective now - he is just a disaster as a writer! I hope that HBO will not make the same mistake with the series!
Kris W
297. StormieC
I just have one question.... If Jon burned his hand saving Mormot can he really be a Targ? Maybe that's why we spend so much time reading about him stretching his burned hand. Fire can't hurt a Targ!
Kris W
298. Peter Payne
Finally finished the book. I was going slow, reading and listening to audio book versions of the other books as I read. It's not like I needed to hurry or anything.

My thoughts:

It was an enjoyable book, and I liked it, though I wish he's ask himself, "Do I need POV chapters for this and that?" when he starts to write. We could have jumped over so much stuff (Penny? Victarion? Asha?)

I agree that Jon is not dead. With the exception of Ned and Rob, who has actually stayed dead? Asha "dies" when she's taken yet there is is again, ditto for Brienne and Bran/Rickon and Davos. Still, we don't get POV chapters of back-from-the-dead people, so my theory is that Jon will have no more POV chapters, unless it's through his wolf.

The book had some strange parts. He quotes Monty Python and the Holy Grail twice, once using the phrase "fart in their general direction" and in the next chapter, "shrubbery." Did he think no one would notice?

The repeated words become tedious. Much and more, little and less, a shock of read hair, grease and blood running into someone's beard, words are wind. Is there a GRRM drinking game yet? If not I am totally writing one.

Another odd thing was how chapters named Jon and Tyrion give way to fanciful names, like The Lord of Winterfell, the Turncloak,the Iron Suitor.

Finally let me say that the Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks are outstanding, and listening to them while you read (read ahead of course) is a great way to go over stuff you might have missed. (I somehow missed that Gendry was Robert's bastard, how bad do I fail?) The first three audio books are smooth as silk, read by Roy Dotrice, and you will love the voices he assigns to Tyrion, Tywin, Jaime, Melisandra etc. The fourth book is unfortunately read by some other schmuck, while the fifth is read by Roy again, but sadly he forgot his own awesomeness or something, giving the "wrong" voices to the characters this time around. Anyway, I want GRRM to stop enjoying himself so much at the San Diego Comicon and get the next book out within 2 years.
Kris W
299. Joe Micro
Some ideas and questions:

1) Could it have not been Mance posing as Ramsay who sent the letter saying that Stannis was dead? He would have known all the information contained in the letter while Ramsey would need to have discovered that Abel was Mance for the letter to make sense. Also, the letter mentions the wilding babe. What would Ramsay want with the Mance Rayder’s son? Mance Rayder however, would certainly want Mance Rayder’s son.

2) I think Septa Lemore is Ashara Dayne. If Ashara is not dead the Septa would be around the right age and we know that both women have had a child (Tyrion mentions that the Septa has stretch marks). If this is correct than Aegon is likely Ashara’s son and her suicide was faked. Who fathered this Aegon is another story. If it was Ned, then would he have known that she was still alive?

3) We are led to believe that the Iron Bank of Braavos has sent an envoy to provide Stannis with much needed financial capital to continue his rebellion against the Lannisters who, thanks to Cersei, have postponed payment of their debt. Why is this envoy in such a rush to find Stannis? He first seeks the King at the Wall then goes all the way to Deepwood only to then race though a snowstorm to find Stannis’ army camped three days from Winterfell. It seems imprudent to be in such a hurry to give a loan to a man about to fight a battle he could easily lose. Instead of just money could the bank be offering Stannis something else? Perhaps some useful information? And now I am really speculating but perhaps the bank knows the whereabouts of the real Arya Stark. She is in Braavos after all and this information would help Stannis quickly win the Northman to his cause.

4) Finally, I was confused about the Second Son known as Kem. Tyrion meets him after signing on to the company and immediately pegs him for a Kingslander, which the boy confirms. Yet, Kem fought for Stannis on the Battle of the Blackwater. If the boy was living in Kingslanding he should have been fighting for the Lannisters not for Stannis.
Kris W
302. Comma
I read everyone's comments and saw a few questions with answers I hoped someone else might catch.

The head sent to Dorne was the High Septon's. The High Septon that took over after the fat one was trampled in the riot. Once Dorne started asking for Gregor's head Cersei started putting a lot of importance on the high septon dying. When Qyburn brings her a head and she metions how long it took to get the flesh off of it and was plesantly please with how big it was. If it was really the Mountain's head why would she care and more importantly why have Kettleback kill the high septon?

I think Little Walder or some other Frey killed Big Walder. When Theon notes that Big Walder is basically decent it seemed obvious that he would be killed.
Kris W
303. Dsb
This may be way out there but...What if the 3-eyed crow is Eddard Stark...warg? Seems this warg thing is a Stark family trait. Thinking Eddard is out there helping in someway. Cold Hands leading Bran and company to the 3-eyed crow. Have to look back...but didn't the crow show up in Bran's dreams when Eddard lost his head?
William Butchko
305. wpbutchko
It was so cool to find this thread. I am a huge fan, but was terribly disappointed in Jon's final chapter. Him getting stabbed had something to do with that, but didn't it appear to be terribly inconsistent.
So we are supposed to believe that Jon would not be made legitimate to return to Winterfell because of his vows. He does not feel compelled to fight to save Arya who he is very close to when she is going to marry a psychopath. Jon specifically advises Stannis not to bring the wildlings down in his seige on Winterfell. Yet somehow we are supposed to believe that when he believes Arya has escaped, but Stannis is dead and rayder is captured that he will now lead the wildlings to Winterfell and abandon his vows. I feel like it needs to be some kind of dream or something to make any sense. It is completely out of character.
Kris W
307. wickedkinetic
Had a couple thoughts that I didn't think had been pursused on this thread that is dead and cannot die....

1 - Thought this was a cool idea, but is Dunk Hodor's dad or grand-dad? Who is Nan's great grand-daughter that gave birth to the mountain that's ridden.....

2 - Brienne has made it her goal-in-life to kill Stannis before making her commitment to save the Starkettes.... Will she find and kill Stannis at the worst possible moment to allow the Boltons or Freys or Karstarks to take the North or leave it divided and ripe for Other-picking? Or will Brienne find Sansa in the Vale and kill Littlefinger bringing down the last hope of civilization protecting itself from the wall? At this point the entire riverland/breadbasket has been destroyed, a long winter is coming and nobody has enough food stockpiled... The Vale is a big key but how do things go horribly terribly wrong there?

Jon will warg-posess a person, but who? The giant would be too much fun so we will be denied that satisfying arc.. but who? someone counter-intuitive like Aliser or Bowen? if he jumps into Dol-Edd that would be brilliant and entertaining...

The Lord Commander's crow is not just a bird. I'm betting its the ur-crow and strongly tied to Brynden Bloodraven. What powers or abilities it has are to-be-determined...

I'm thinking Dany's east-to-go-west involves destroying the high-and-mighty of Qarth and stealing ALL of their boats and most of their wealth. Instant-Navy!!!!

Tyrion is destined to be keeper/trainer of dragons... though not one of the '3' I don't think.

Now I'm confused on which Walder got whacked.. either way i'm betting the other one did it. Was Big Walder the good one or the one taken with psycho-Ramsay? I could see psycho-Walder killing the other one, or good Walder killing bad Walder to prevent him from doing something ridiculous..... are there any obvious moments in books 4/5 where the dead Walder very obviously offends someone thats like to take revenge? Bolton, Manderly, or Frey? I can almost remember it but can't place it.....

3 -
Kris W
308. DPW
Like everyone here, I love Martin's masterful first three novels, but these comments above cut him way too much slack. Feast was a mess with a cheap after note promising us great things on the way shortly. Instead, we waited years for another subpar novel. True, there were great bits buried in there, but everything was laden with Martin's indulgences. Even worse, the characters we love, Jon, Tyrion, and Dany were all different, weaker. Doing things that felt out of place with the characters we knew. Martin isn't writing for our enjoyment anymore, he's writing for his and everyone's too scared to tell him he's lost his way. He's lost all narrative discipline and it's obvious his editors have lost any control they once had. This book recalls later Jordan novels. A once good series bogged down by its own initial success. Silver lining: HBO knows how to tell a story and will edit this mess into what it was supposed to be!
Kris W
317. lord snowName
What if abel(mance) sent the letter to jon to make him come down from the wall with the wildlings? This would reunite mance with his wildling army. Dunno if this has been discussed already
Kris W
318. povGuy
err, sorry to say guys, but didnt jon got burned by a lamp when he threw it at the wight? so he cant be targ, for they are not supposed to be affected by fire. Everything else, basically the same as everyone here
Kris W
319. BlackCal
Visery is a true born Tarnagayen but he was killed by molten gold. So not all Tarnagayen born are immune to fire or maybe they need to fully burn like Dany walking into the fire to awaken this abilty. I don't really know. Maybe they will burn Jon alive to ensure he won't awaken a wight and if he is truly a part-dragon spawn it's awaken him? Fire can burn an heal after all ... but as of now we'll ony know for sure when GRRM gives us his next installement
Bill Stusser
320. billiam
Hey guys, GRRM has said that the Targaryens are not immune to fire and this includes Dany. He said that her surviving the funeral pyre fire that hatched the dragons was a one time magical event.
Kris W
321. Ketchup
DwD didn't suck and tied up a lot of loose ends.

- Both Jon and Danaerys evolved into hand wringing softees trying to save the whole world. Fine. But the progression was on the weak side of believable. D's reservations with the sons of the Harpy were especially hard to fit into her character. All the simpering seemed forced.
- Gratuitous dirty sexuality. Must every page of SoIaF mention whores? It's beggining to feel a little chauvanist. I like some of the female characters being DTF, but maybe not all of them need to be sluts, maids, or dikes.
- Jon's knifing. Clearly a false cliffhanger. Do this in the middle of the book please, or kill a major character for real. I'm no longer afraid, the favorite characters feel so safe.
- Not all characters have to change! Melisandre doesn't need to become less mysterious, Theon doesn't have to be likable (or alive at all). Please don't ruin Cersei too!
- Turn up the evil a bit, please! The Others are like old friends, the dragons innocent beasts, the slavers understandably profiteering. Even Frankengregor tastes like tepid milk.
- The introduction of Aegon feels very close to a regurgitated Dunk and Egg short. Or maybe that's backward.
- A change of details would be nice. Too many elaborate feasts and outfits. How about a couple pages loading a trebuchet with corpses?
- The beginnings of DwD and FfC don't relate that well. More connection of timelines would have helped the entire story progress.
-Kevan Lannister got an awfully nice narration of what couldn't continue in the story line. It was as though Mr. Martin was speaking through Varys.
-Too much magic. Curses, prophecies, spells, visions, animal mind control, necromancy, magic blood. I liked it better when scepticism was an option, when words were wind and superstition kept everything cloudy.

-The world is filling up beautifully. The wildlings are fun to read about, and the eastern kingdoms now have a map and make sense. Mereene is perfectly unlikable, like visiting an irritating relative for too long (many of the readership are having trouble finishing the visit). The east opens up the size of the SoIaF world, it feels developed but too vast to be completely covered, as Westeros still feels.
-The Boltons are wonderful to hate.
- Frogs are best fried. A good beginning to difficult plot twists to come.
- Ser Selmy is so much more interesting from inside his own head.
- The Karstark wedding was nearly happy. A nice ray of sunshine.

-Jon will be in a fever or coma for some time (probably a whole book). Lots of warging and communication attempts with Bran.
-Melisandre sees lots of visions, has trouble with Stannis and Queen, lots of hand wringing.
-The Boltons escape.
-Dorne sides with Aegon, spurns Danearys
-Danearys putters with the Dothraki for at least half a book.
-Ser Selmy crushes the Yunkai, becomes embroiled with naval difficulties. I hope he and Danearys crush Volantis as well.
- Sam Tarly doesn't get any action, has to declare Mance Rayder's child as his own, spends half a book moaning his cowardliness while becoming a Maester. Final confrontation with Father or father's death.
- Brienne and Jaime have confrontation with Stoneheart, little resolution.
-Dragons get bigger, only Drogon is rideable
-Tyrion wins over Second Sons, slowly. Tyrion and Danearys meet at end of next book.
- Cersei becomes pious after trial, uses church most evilly.
- Major battle at Volantis or Quarth (naval?)
-Valyria erupts.
-Danearys finally sails for Westeros, Pregnant
-Jon Snow finally wakes up, Wall falls
-Major characters start dropping like flies
-Ser Connington does some heroic deed with stone hand. Dies.
-Arya kills Aegon?
-North is overrun by Others
-Lots of southern Politics
-Eventual Spring rally against Others
-Dragons die
The End

3 books?

Except, at this pace, Mr. Martin will never finish the series. That could be the greatest tragedy of all.
Kris W
322. mange
I want the others to kill everyone
Kris W
323. Carlos Guzman
I think Martin kept a lot of his strong cards till the end; I think there are few things that Jorge seems to forget and some of the readers too... I think, perhaps Sam would try to find Jorah n take him back to the Wall, instead Sam never seems to recall that in the fourth book; And I don't really like the way Dany is taking too long to show herself for the seven kingdoms, only hope the next book come soon; Another think i dind'nt like is that it seems that only two of the seven books will be on winter, and they tried to convince us itll be the largest one, but how if all the time they talk about it but only at the end of a dance with dragons it's winter???
Kris W
324. Stark Raving Mad
Well, I'm done with it. This series reminds me of government bureaucracy ..... it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and more and more inefficient until it becomes one giant waist of time and resources. Too much useless wandering and too many redundant characters. I'm bailing. No interest in waisting any more time on books 6 and 7. I've got better things to wait for.
Michael Maxwell
325. pike747
I was disappointed by the fact that Tyrion went through so much and ended up so close to Dany then whoosh they are separated again. It seems to me that he has knowledge that she requires. A dance with a dance with dragons might have been a better title.
Okay so you avoid the obvious already.
Kris W
340. Phyrehart
I am finding myself putting the book down more and more before I can finish it.
It's to wishywashy for me to keep track of who's who and where someone is and who is doing what. I get life is hard in the book and winter is coming but come on.
I would not mind a few less characters to follow and have a smooth follow with each story.
wheww.. on to the rest of the book.
Kris W
343. Vargagirl
I think Robert Strong is Brienne...Cersei's champion as Jamie doesn't have the strength to fight for her---hence the "vow of silence".
Kris W
344. starkgirl123
Jon Snow is clearly Rhaegar targaryen and ed starks sister Lyanna son.read into you will see. lady mel could not see stannis in her fires only jon. when jon was being stabbed his wound was smoking and bowen marshes tears were salty. SALT and SMOKE he is her vision her prophecy. lord eddard never wanted to talk about who his mother was because he made a promise to his sister to always keep him safe. just my opinion
Kris W
345. ThePad153
I read for a while on this thread and I saw a lot of speculation about Jon Snow's fate, and Aegon's legitimacy.
I read no speculation on Victarrion or Euron Crow's Eye, however, so I'm going to provide some and someone should please email me with their thoughts.
We know that the situation in Meereen needs to be..... consolidated. It's spread out geographically, there are three perspective characters dealing with three different sets of problems (which seem insignificant compared to the winter that's looming over our heads), and Quinton's whole ordeal fizzled out disappointingly.
G.R.R.M. is going to have to resolve that situation somehow and get Dany and Tyrion back to Westeros to wreck shop on some Lannister/Tyrell/Wight ass. I think the purpose of Victarrion's voyage to slaver's bay is a means to that end.
Victarrion is bringing a pretty large fleet with him to Meereen. That fleet should become Dany's fleet so she can get home. He's also bringing that awesome slave-killing horn strait to the mother of Dragons. I don't think Victarion is destined to ride a dragon. I think the Ironborn will get bested by some unsullied and Barristan the Bold and their shit will get stolen for Dany Stormborn.

This book seemed to be a plot scrambler. We really left every character in a mess. I think the Winds of Winter will situate the characters in their final stations (Dany on the Iron Throne, A stark in Winterfell, Westeros united), and with the characters in place the final epic conflict will descend upon them (the white walkers and the hardship of a long Winter). The sixth book will end somewhere in the middle of that conflict, and the seventh will be all about resolving it. Maybe it'll take us all the way to spring

P.S. I hope Bowen Marsh gets boned by Wun Wun's Giant-schlong in the next book. That dude is such a bitch.
Kris W
348. Matt@Matt
Anyone else believe that Jon's father may actually be Aerys II. Rheagar may have stolen away with Lyanna to protect her. Aerys always seemed to covet the wives and love interests of others. It was said that late in life he could only be aroused after burning someone to death like the night he planted Dany in the queen's belly. This makes Dany's and possibly Jon's conception just after a fire sacrifice. If he also raped Johanna Lannister it would mean that all three of their mothers died in childbirth. Effectually creating the blood sacrifice. Tyrion though, not following a fire sacrifice came out all stunted and wrong but a dragon none the less. Dany, Jon and Tyrion, the three heads of the dragon. Still leaves room for Rhaegar and Lyanna's romance, why the kingsguard were there and so many other things. Thoughts?
Fred Clagne
355. Parliment
Jon's body will be put in the ice cells, close to the ice dragon.Whole new ball game coming.Balance.There must be balance in life.Three heads of the Dragon must be off set by the wall and the ice dragon as the first men discovered but lost over time.The first men didnt fight the others.They controlled them. The way that the crown was secured was that power was given over to a parliment.Rule in name only.Like today.Who will be the ruleing family.Targs? Probably...But who of them will be able to bring the balance of the people.That is your victor in the end.Im waiting to see who that is.But like the A-bomb of today..the ice dragon must be secured and always respected. It alone will have the power of total distruction.Insuring the balance.

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