In the fourth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin takes a totally different approach to breaking my heart a billion times over. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read A Feast For Crows.
After I wrote the review for A Storm of Swords, I took a break for a day or two from reading this series before I started A Feast For Crows. And before I ever read a goddamn word of the actual book, HALF OF MY PREDICTIONS WERE RENDERED ENTIRELY OBSOLETE. I’m fascinated to see how GRRM deals with splitting characters and events. I mean…is Davos really dead? That can’t be true because isn’t he at the Wall? Or did he go somewhere else when Stannis went to the Wall? AH CHRIST WHAT IS GOING ON?
Anyway, let’s deal with predictions, and then I’ll jump into a more proper review of everything else.
- Tyrion Lannister is headed for the Wall. Why not meet up with Jon Snow and Stannis Baratheon? He just betrayed the Lannisters in the worst way possible, so it makes sense he’d head to people he might be of service to. HAHAHA NOPE. No Tyrion. OH GOD WHERE DID YOU GO, TYRION???
- Okay, I know this is wishful thinking, but if Arya boarded a ship across the Narrow Sea, she will….meet Daenarys? PLEASE? I just want a holy union between these badass women and that is all I want from life. NOPE. Not even close, but UGH OMG ARYA YOUR STORY IS SO SPECTACULAR.
- Oh god, SANSA. Look, I am still shocked at the end of A Storm of Swords. I don’t know how Sansa is going to escape from Littlefinger if they’re in the Eyre, so my prediction: she finally snaps and kills Petyr Baelish by the end of the book. NOPE. Good christ, am I going to get any of these right? Sansa’s story is fascinating to me because of the way she adapts her identity as Alayne and separates it from being Sansa. Even if she is annoyed by Robert Arryn’s presence and wants so dearly to get away from the Eyre, I found it touching that she still treated Lord Robert with affection and care. It’s strange to think about where she started off, wanting to be queen to a noble king, and where she has ended up. Her final chapter presents one hell of a possible story: her return to Winterfell. I mean…I want her to be Queen of the North because SHE WOULD BE THE BEST AT IT, but marrying Harrold? oh god WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
- DAVOS. My onion knight, i love you dearly. I think that he’ll be killed by an Other and I will never forgive GRRM for it. I HOPE IT IS NOT TRUE THAT HE DIED.
- What’s fascinating about the end of the last book is that, essentially, it’s really just Stannis and Tommen left. With Stannis at the Wall, I don’t think there’s going to be a huge quest for the Iron Throne, so I think Cersei is going to settle in as Regent to rule from King’s Landing. Oh, finally, I get one right! Look, I will not apologize for thinking Cersei is one of the best-written characters in this whole series. She gets a lot of hate from people who seem unable to separate her actions (which are quite terrible sometimes) from their judgment of her as a person. Yes, she can be cruel, but nearly everyone in this series does horrific things, so why do we accept that Arya murders people, but Cersei deserves our hatred? There’s genuinely so much to love about Cersei! I am in love with the way she uses her attitude to dismantle the absurdity of the court around her. Why should she have to do things in the same way as all the men before her? Why should she have to trust the people around her who have demonstrated, time and time again, that they are horrifically untrustworthy? I don’t know whether GRRM intends it or not, but I wonder if the end of this book was meant as a punishment for her trying to rule King’s Landing as a woman, or if that’s just an unfortunate implication. She still has more story to tell, so I am honestly happy that she hasn’t died yet, and I did start to worry that we were headed there at the end of A Feast For Crows. But she’s alive. GOOD. But Jamie has refused to help her, so….OH GOD I WANT CERSEI TO STAY ALIVE.
- Well, I also don’t think it will be that easy for her, though, because Cersei is…paranoid? I mean, she is in a general sense, but her brother just killed her father, so I think we will see her lash out at those around her in order to maintain her power. (PS: GOD I LOVE CERSEI SO MUCH.) Damn, okay. I was totally right about this! And her paranoia is largely justified, given what happened at the end of A Storm of Swords. But in a way, it’s sort of her downfall as well. By trusting almost no one, she has nothing to fall back on when her plan to oust Margaery Tyrell completely crumbles.
- We will get a chapter from the perspective of a Tyrell. Damn it! Nope, but there were MARTELL CHAPTERS.
- We will find out what the HELL happened to Theon Greyjoy. WHERE THE FUCK IS HE. DAMN IT! No Theon! So he’s in A Dance With Dragons, right? HE BETTER BE.
- Okay, I didn’t get it last time, so I’m begging for it now: PLEASE, JUST ONE CHAPTER FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ASHA GREYJOY. PLEASE. WELL, I WILL BE A BUMBLEBEE’S UNCLE. Nope. But we did get Victarion and Aeron!
- Sooooo….Catelyn is re-animated, right? She wasn’t just temporarily alive because that’s not how it works. I predict we will see her again at least once in the book. WHICH I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH. I ALMOST WANT TO TAKE THIS BACK. Catelyn’s reappearance breaks my heart. What an awful, awful twist. Which I will get to with…
- BRIENNE. OH BRIENNE, HOW I LOVE THEE. So, she’s off to find Sansa. Well, obviously she won’t, and she won’t find Arya either because she’s not even looking in the right place. My prediction is that she actually finds Rickon instead. Brienne, if you are dead, I will find GRRM’s house, go to it, and just leave a really stern letter in the mailbox. But christ…her story might be my favorite in all of A Feast For Crows. She’s on an impossible journey to find Sansa Stark, made all the more awful by the fact that we ALREADY KNOW SHE IS IN THE WRONG PLACE. Yet along the way, we see her continue to grow as a character, and to pick up travelers like Podrick Payne, WHO WAS ABANDONED, Dick Crabb, and Hyle Hunt. BUT HONESTLY, LET US TALK ABOUT THE SCENE AT THE WHISPERS. I was already in shock when Crabb died, and then BRIENNE KILLS PYG, SHAGWELL, AND TIMEON BY HERSELF. Well, Podtick did help with a couple well-placed rocks. LOVE YOU, PODRICK. And then there’s Meribald! Oh god why do I love these characters so much? I should really stop, because then GRRM does things like ORDER BRIENNE TO BE HUNG. I need to know what that single word is that she yelled. WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT. oh god please don’t let her and Podrick die 🙁
- WHERE THE FUCK IS RICKON. The forgotten Stark! OMG how hilarious would it be if we get to book seven and all the Starks are dead and Rickon just emerges from a cave and is like I’M KING OF THE NORTH, FUCKERS. Okay, an actual prediction: We’ll find out where he is and what he’s been doing. Nope. The eternal forgotten Stark. Where the fuck is he?
- ARYA!! I LOVE YOU DEEPLY AS WELL. Oh god, WHAT IS THAT GODDAMN COIN SHE GOT AND WHAT DOES IT DO? Obviously, I predict we find out what that coin means and what that phrase that was spoken back to her means, too. VALAR DOHAERIS. All men must serve. God, I love Arya’s journey as well; she is forced to face her ego, her temper, and discard many of the hopes and dreams she had as Arya Stark. It’s clear that Jaqen purposely sent Arya here to learn how he was able to change faces, so of course I am quite excited to see what becomes of it. How awesome was it to see Arya as Cat through Samwell’s eyes? So the question remains, though: Is she actually blind permanently? Was that punishment for killing Dareon?
- AND WE WILL SEE J’AQEN H’GHAR AGAIN. CALLING IT. Okay, we could have, but I’m counting this as a NO.
- Oh, and Sandor Clegane obviously didn’t die. CALLING THAT, TOO. DAMN IT. I HAVE NO CLUE. Ugh where is he???
- oh god JON SNOW ON THE WALL. omg he’s fucking LORD COMMANDER AND SHIT. I can’t even goddamn GUESS what the hell is going on. But let’s try: Mance Rayder will escape from captivity. NOPE. lol.
- Someone will blow that horn thing that’s supposed to bring down the wall and it will work. Nope. Samwell sold it!
- then disaster Nope. It’s all in the next book.
- then how will i survive By not reading anything about the Wall.
- Okay, seriously. Samwell will lose his virginity to Gilly. I dunno, I’m sort of feeling them as a couple? I mean, obviously I ship the fuck out of Sam/Jon, but let’s be real here! OH SHIT I WAS RIGHT.
- Hi, Jaime. Can we have a moment? I hated you. I did! And something happened during A Storm of Swords, and I find myself unbearably fascinated by your character. There’s a clear division between you and your sister, and I think you’ll exploit that, eventually betraying her, too. See, the Lannisters will finally fall apart after what they did to the Starks because sometimes, retribution takes a long time to happen. LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS IS. LOOK AT IT. He exploited the break in their relationship and while he didn’t betray her, he denied her. The Lannisters have fallen apart, but it’s more because of what Cersei did to the Tyrells than anything else. Ugh, Jamie, how did I come to enjoy your chapters so much?
- GENDRY CHAPTER. IT’S HAPPENING. LOL NO.
- Bran, you are in hiding. What are you doing? I have not the slightest damn clue what’s happening to him. Um….he will…um….nope. I have nothing. Nothing at all. We’ll just count this as a strike against me right off the bat. NOT EVEN IN THE BOOK. fuck.
- DANY. DANY. DANY. How many ways do I love you, Dany? So, she’s remaining in one place to rule Meereen, and Jorah has been banished. OH GOD. Well, here’s my first prediction for her: I think she’ll make a terrible mistake because she has no one to stop her anymore. I lost before I started.
- I think that by the end of the book, she’ll be able to ride her dragons. No.
- Someone’s face will get melted off by a dragon. Not even.
- Why am I even typing words at this point? Because there is no way to be prepared for these books.
- ONE CHAPTER FROM VARYS’ POINT OF VIEW. JUST ONE. PLEASE. COME ON PLEASE GIVE THIS TO ME.
- Okay, DEATHS. I will put each name separately because it cannot be a GRRM book without LOTS OF DEATHS. This is true! OMG Arys Oakheart. 🙁 🙁
- Bronn. Nope. That fucker is still alive and being all lordly and shit. Love you, Bronn.
- Ser Jorah Mormont. Wrong book.
- Gilly. Nope.
- Pycelle. Nope. AND NOW RUNNING KING’S LANDING.
- Petyr Baelish. Nope.
- Janos Slynt. Wrong book.
- Pyp. (NOOOOOO.) Wrong book.
- Stannis. And let me add to that: Melisandre will do it. She’s clearly vying for some sort of power, and he’s the only one standing in her way. Wrong book.
- Roose Bolton. Nope.
- And my last prediction: A chapter from the perspective of Ramsay Snow. Because we keep reading about him secondhand, and it’s about time we heard from the man himself. Goddamn it, I got virtually nothing I wanted.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 39. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I think that as a whole, I had a lot of fun reading A Feast For Crows. People warned me that I might think this is boring coming out of A Storm of Swords. It’s true that this book is certainly much “slower,” but I actually appreciated that there wasn’t some horrific turn of the plot every five chapters. Instead, this is about how Westeros deals with the utter bloodbath at the end of the last novel. While I admit that in the beginning of the book, I wasn’t entirely transfixed by the stories of House Greyjoy or House Martell, I came to really appreciate that GRRM fixated on people and places we’d never seen before.
A Feast For Crows is like a giant chessboard in a way, and I think that whatever happens in The Winds of Winter will heavily rely on everything here in this book. We’re still dealing with a world that’s been torn apart by war, and one of the things I enjoyed about this book was how we got to see various places in Westeros and how the events of the last three novels ruined people’s lives. We get to see a lot of that while Brienne, Podrick, and Hyle travel with Meribald; GRRM doesn’t ignore how this sort of violence has ravaged the countryside. The introduction of the Sparrows is a sign of that, too, and I found it telling that after everything the kings did before her to create the existence of them, Cersei was the one who ultimately had to deal with them. Is it only going to get worse in the next novel? (Or…well, the sixth novel? Omg, I know nothing.)
I do have to lodge a gigantic complaint: I am exhausted by the in-universe rape/misogyny. Given that the bulk of this book is from the perspective of women (WHICH IS REALLY QUITE COMMENDABLE FOR HIGH FANTASY), it’s become a game of mine to see if I can go five pages in a chapter narrated by a woman and see if I can’t find a reference to rape, sexual violence, or women knowing their place. Look, George R.R. Martin, I GET IT. You have made the reality of this fictional universe quite apparent to me. PLEASE STOP REMINDING ME EVERY FIVE PAGES. Not only is it quite distracting, but it’s unpleasant in a way that is drastically off-putting.
HERE ARE SOME ODDS AND ENDS THAT I HAVE. omg did you love my segue.
- EDMURE TULLY YOU ARE WONDERFUL. Brynden WHERE DID YOU GO omg.
- God, EURON IS SO FUCKING CREEPY.
- Doran Martell, YOU ARE CRAFTY.
- Sweet summer child, ARIANNE WAS SUPPOSED TO MARRY VISERYS. WHAT THE FUCK.
- Pate. PATE. WHO THE FUCK TOOK PATE’S PLACE.
But let’s talk about the real shit: Certain people know of Dany’s dragons, and are now heading across the narrow sea to bring her to their side. SO YEAH WHAT THE FUCK. I assume that’s going to be dealt with in A Dance With Dragons in some way, since those characters only have chapters in the book.
oh god what is happening at the Wall and where is Tyrion and how is Dany doing in Meereen and where is Davos my onion knight omg
A final note: Predictions will be posted next week! But more importantly, on Monday, I will start J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. SWEET SUMMER CHILD.