The third book in George R. R. Martin's monstrous A Song of Ice and Fire series has one less king than its predecessor, but that still leaves five, by my count, and it's the Lannisters who are sitting pretty in the seat that matters most of all - the Iron Throne. A Storm of Swords covers a much wider range of Martin's world than either of the previous two books. With an exception of Tyrion and Sansa, no two character perspectives are in the same place, and where they are in the world varies widely. From Jon beyond the wall to Daenerys across the sea we have a glimpse of everything, except for the Iron Islands where Balon Greyjoy has crowned himself king. And not only is the scope of book three much larger, its storylines are better developed and it is much more emotionally resonant than the previous two. It's almost impossible to know what to expect from this roller coaster of a novel.
|Jaime Lannister from the HBO series|
|Samwell Tarly from the HBO series|
I'll go briefly into the stories of the rest of the characters:
- Tyrion wakes up to recover from a nasty head wound and learns to his disappointment that his father has taken his place as King's Hand. The progress Tyrion made to remove his sister's power has all but been undone. His father does reward him for his efforts at fighting off Stannis Baratheon's forces, but the reward is not exactly something Tyrion wants.
- Sansa as well remains at King's Landing, no longer betrothed to King Joffrey. She finds this as a relief at first, until Joffrey lets it be known he still hopes she will serve as his concubine after he's married Margaery Tyrell, the widow of Renly. Sansa secretly has two potential methods of escape, however. One through Ser Dontos, and another through a marriage offer from the Queen of Thorns to her oldest grandson, Willas, a cripple who will inherit Highgarden. Young Sansa doesn't seem to care that the Tyrells are only after her Winterfell title and she never wonders who Ser Dontos is conspiring with to get her out.
- Through Catelyn we find the welcome return of Robb Stark, who has brought a surprise with him.
- Arya's adventures lead her to some surprising places and we meet a lot of new characters through her.
|The actor who will play Mance Rayder in the HBO series|
-Bran travels with Jojen, Meera, Hodor, and Summer to find the three-eyed crow, which resides beyond the wall. Bran's sections are the least interesting, still, though his warg ability does develop.
- Davos has barely survived the battle at the end of the second book, and finds himself returned to Dragonstone with Stannis. He wants nothing more than to see Melisandre dead because he fears her dark powers from the Lord of Light and believes she's tainting his king.
- Last but not least is Dany, whose parts are a huge improvement over those in the second book and are some of the best in the book. Dany travels with two new friends, Arstan Whitewater and Strong Belwas, who have been asked to return her to Magister Illyrio. Ser Jorah Mormont is suspicious, and he insists that Dany test the loyalty of these two and Illyrio, and she does, with some exciting results.
|Werner Herzog, just because|
|Ygritte from the HBO series|