Game of Thrones Season 4 is around the corner. I am revving up by finishing the 4th installment of the saga. A Feast for Crows continues with different parts of the world forming alliances, plotting overthrows, and killing each other in the name of The Realm. The book excludes some of my favorites such as Tyrion, Deanerys, Bran, and Jon, while introducing dozens of new characters that are connected with the major families of the Lannisters, Tyrells, Greyjoys, Arryns, and the remaining Tulleys. No worries. I started the 5th book and my favorites are back, acting in the same time frame as the others. Martin even writes at the end of Feast how the characters intersect in Feast and Dance of Dragons simultaneously instead of chronologically. So who has the throne?
The book leaves the throne to Tommen (Cersei's youngest) throughout the book, or Cersei as Queen Regent. The Lannister family is dwindling. Tyrion kills his father and is on the lam. No one knows where he is. Jaime leads part of his divided Knight's Guard (with one hand) into The Arryn to take over, but the Tulleys and what's left of Jon Arryn's family (Lysa and Sweet Robin) refuse to surrender. Marcella (Tommen's sister) is sent away for protection to House Martell, a set of new characters from Dorne who live at Sunspear. Princess Arianna plots to use Marcella as a means of toppling the crown in King's Landing. Her plan backfires. Back at the palace, Cersei faces a great deal of dissent from the citizens of King's Landing. She surrounds herself with a bunch of "yes" men despite pleas from Jaime to invite her uncle into the fold as her Hand. The scepton/church gains the upper hand when Cersei tries to frame Marjorie Tyrell, her daughter-in-law, for adultery.
House Tyrell: Marjorie becomes more popular with the "sparrows" and folk of King's Landing. She supposedly drinks some special potion to prevent pregnancy or causes abortion-not sure. Her family is funding much of the war. Their power makes Cersei insecure.
House Greyjoy: Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, dies. Many believe his brother, Crow's Eye, killed him. The throne is up for grabs. Asha is next line (his daughter), but both of his brothers want it. Crow's Eye seems to have the most backing and, so far, winning the throne. His style is pirating, stealing, raping, and looting with his band of thugs.
House of Arryn: Littlefinger/Lord Baylish is running the kingdom with his "daughter" Alayne aka Sansa Stark. Sweet Robin, still a boy, is technically the king of this dominion. He is very sickly and seems to only listen to Sansa.
Brianne of Tarth: She has become somewhat of a main character. Her past comes back to haunt her as she continues to look for the late Lady Stark's daughters. Tragedy befalls her, but she is still alive. Speaking of Lady Stark, there is a surprise at the end.
Sam Tarley: He was told by Jon Snow (we find out through Sam's character that Jon is Chief Commander of the Wall) to take Gillian's baby and Mansrader's baby who she is nursing along with Maester Aemon and leave. Maester Aemon is 102 years old. He mumbles gibberish or possibly prophecy.
My Review: Obviously a huge fan of the series. With that being said, A Feast for Crows is the most disappointing of the series. Some great scenes, but too many pages, lands, and characters in between. However, I am reading the 5th book and much of the it is nicely set up from the 4th book. I'm hoping for the best.
I felt that this book was too overwhelming. I was constantly flipping to the maps on first and last pages of the book, trying to picture where the new lands were compared to the cities that I had gotten used to. I also found the names of the characters so confusing. For instance, there was Osney, Osfried, and Os-something or another. Then there was Alayne, Arianna, and Alase. There were nicknames and then AKAs and pet names and great-great-great grandmother names, giving me a headache at times. Just to put things in perspective, Martin leaves an appendix of 63 pages filled with family trees and characters' names.
In spite of the complicated plot, there are story lines that blew me away. Martin sucks me into this pseudo world of his, making me forget that this is fantasy. His dialogue continues to come off as medieval yet Shakespearean at times. Profound comments, manipulation, selfishness, inspiration, and humor flew effortlessly out of his characters' mouths. I would have liked the story better if he cut out half of the characters, but I'm still reading. Very curious as to how they will film this-will they take parts of Dance of Dragons (5th book) and Feast for Crows (4th book) and splice them together for two seasons? Will they stay true to the books, leaving out the favorites? Still hooked and still in love with the melted sword throne. 4.5/5 Stars.
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