Mark Reads ‘A Feast For Crows’

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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

  • Doran Martell, YOU ARE CRAFTY.

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.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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170 Responses to Mark Reads ‘A Feast For Crows’

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    I get enormously pissed off when people say that they were bored by the Greyjoy chapters and skipped them, and then have the nerve to complain that the story's confusing and things weren't set up properly. Well, how do you fucking know? So thanks for not doing that.

    Oh, I imagine you're laughing at those of us who settled in to wait years to learn what Brienne's one word was, knowing that we might not even find out in the next book given the split between characters.

  2. cait0716 says:

    tl;dr: I'm still enjoying the story, but this book felt unbalanced to me.

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I mostly enjoyed it, but it's definitely my least favorite of the series so far. And I'm currently taking a hiatus from the series with plans to pick up ADWD in November because I need a break to digest all the new characters and kingdoms and plots. Not to mention a break from the misogyny/rape that Mark complained about

    I didn't like the sheer number of perspectives Eight of them were brand-new, whereas the previous books only had two new POV characters each. It was cool to get the chapters in Dorne, but I had a hard time keeping the characters straight or really caring about anyone besides Arianne (who got two chapters) and Myrcella (who I recognize from ACOK). When characters were only given one chapter, I had a hard time even remembering their names (especially since the chapters weren't named after them. I don't know why that naming scheme helps me remember better, but it does).

    I can pretty much do without the Greyjoys. I came close to skipping their chapters which is something I don't usually do, and ultimately couldn't bring myself to do. But every time I came to another Greyjoy chapter I'd put the book down for a few days and read something else until I finally convinced myself to just pick up the book and read the goddamn chapter (it took me a month and a half to read this book, which may be some kind of record for me). Even Asha started to grate on me. I get that she's a product of her environment, but I didn't really want to read about it. All in all, I think the book is plenty complex without the Greyjoys and their ridiculous rebellion. I wish they weren't included in the series at all (also because then Winterfell would still be around)

    To me, it felt like Brienne's journey was a bigger part of the book than it needed to be. Her journey out to Crakehall and back ultimately seemed a little pointless, and I would have liked a few more Martell or Sansa or Arya chapters in places of that particular side-plot.

    I did enjoy the Cersei chapters, even though I don't really like her. She's paranoid and power-hungry and constantly lashing out. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion until everything eventually came crashing down around her. I don't trust Taena half as much as she does, mostly because she seems to have really poor taste in friends. And I think the valonqar from the prophecy is Jaime, not Tyrion. Tyrion is too easy.

    I also really enjoyed everything in Sam's and Arya's plots, though I'm a bit concerned by how disconnected they're becoming from the rest of the characters. I also think Sam is somehow going to be the one to find Rickon, given that he has now stumbled across both Bran and Arya. He's like a Stark magnet.

    I really like that the focus of the series seems to be shifting from kings to queens. The second and third books gave us the War of Five Kings, most of whom are dead now. Stannis is up north and Tommen barely counts. In the meantime we have Cersei and Dany in power, Arianne scheming to get power for both herself and Myrcella, and Sansa poised to emerge triumphant as the queen of the north, if not more. I could see the next phase being the War of Five Queens, and that's really exciting to me. Possibly six queens, if Margaery hangs around.

  3. Michael says:

    I don't think that Cersei is being 'punished' for attempting to rule King's Landing as a woman. I think that terrible things happen to her because she is a terrible leader. She is capricious, paranoid, and has no idea how to wield the power she has. As someone said at some point in one of the books, "She loves to play the game of thrones, but she is not very good at it."

    Cersei seems to be under the same impression, though–i remember her complaining more than once about how it isn't fair that she can't rule because she is a woman. While there /is/ a lot of bias against women in these books, I don't think that's the main obstacle preventing her from being a good ruler. It's her.

  4. earis says:

    Thanks Mark, for calling out the woman-hate that runs rampant through the book. GRRM does have to walk a line between late medieval sensibilities and modern sensibilities, but the idea that everyone is so down on woman is stomach turning, even for a die-hard fan of the series, as I am.
    Personally, I think that the character who suffers most from this is Cersei. A friend of mine once pointed out that almost all the female characters who have children in ASOIAF have characterizations that almost exclusively derive from their role as mother. In Catelyn's case, it makes her determined. In Cersei's case, it drives her mad. And while it is certainly understandable for a regent whose son died to develop paranoia about the remaining heirs, everything is couched in terms of Cersei's appetites. Her desire for power, her desire for food, her desire for sex, all of these are used as signposts to her delusions of grandeur and tyranny. Robert was the same way (remember when he wanted to assassinate Dany), but no one questioned his legitimacy. Cersei is punished, both in book and out of book, for being a woman and desiring power.
    I think that's why I love Dany so much. Along with surrounding herself with smart, strong people regardless of gender or race or class, she also feels empathy for the most vulnerable and marginalized people in every society she encounters. And this brings back the motherhood themes, but instead of limiting her power, her empathy for her children, be they the dragons, the freed slaves, or whoever she can protect, makes her more powerful than her enemies could possibly imagine.

  5. ddlebrun says:

    Honestly, if you score more than two I think that's awesome, and your score maybe actually higher. You asked what happend to Sandor. Go reread the part where Brienne is on the island with the silent brothers. Pay attention to the horse and to gravedigger who is one of their newest brothers. And then remember what their leader said, "The Hound is dead" and "Sandor Cleagane is at peace"

  6. Patrick721 says:

    THE HOBBIT FUCK YES I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS. Mark, which version of the Hobbit are you using, because I want to do this with you. It's been so long since I read that book. (You are going to watch the animated movie when you're done, right?)

  7. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for calling out all the rape/violence women get put through in this series. It's something that actually contributed to my eventual decision to just wait till the whole thing's over and then tackle all the books in one go. I understand that this is a medieval fantasy and that women go through hell. I do not like having it described to me over and over again in rather brutal and graphic terms. I get that women are raped. I do not need descriptions of it every other damn page (yes, an exaggeration, but not entirely unjustified). I'd be willing to cut Martin slack because it's a war fantasy, and I did get through the first three books, but the fourth book was where I couldn't handle it anymore. There's a fine line between realism and overkill when describing a situation this brutal, and there are times when I think Martin crossed it by a mile and a half. It's frustrating to me because I love some of the characters to bits, but at times I just have to put the book down because of the rape and violence issue.

    Whew. Rant for today over. But yeah- adult content doesn't always equate to adult thinking, and I think someone might want to just suggest this to Martin. Then again, as long as he has female fans validating him,he probably won't care (he's had a couple interviews/blog posts where he's said something to this effect. I have to go to class or I'd hunt them down).

  8. JonT says:

    Umm we DID have an Asha chapter didn't we?

  9. Shadowmarauder78 says:

    Cersei's chapters just made me lose what respect i had for her. She's just such a fucking idiot. She thinks that's she's as good a leader as her father, but she's just totally incompetent. Left to her own devices she just fucks everything up.

  10. leighzzz31 says:

    So, OK, after the epic that was A Storm of Swords, I did not expect to find myself riveted by AFFC, especially given that it's one half of a whole story. And I think that's very obvious in the writing; you get the sense once you finished the book that there should be more to go on, something to give it a more rounded ending. I like how you compared it to a chess match; the pieces are being set in this book and we're all on the edge of our seats for them to move. And then…they don't. It just ends with no much happening in terms of plot development and I can understand why people don't like this book, because it feels unfinished and they had to wait like six years for the next one. Also, if your favourite characters happen to be Dany, Tyrion or Jon, I totally get the frustration.

    But, I really liked this book. REAALLY LIKED IT. I didn't love it, granted, because the Greyjoys and the Martells didn't have the most riveting stories to tell and the plot was going at a snail's pace, but there are at least three major reasons that this book was infinitely enjoyable to me:

    These were established as my favourite characters in the last book (at least in Jaime and Sansa's case) and GRRM gives me a book featuring them prominently? IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS. Plus, we're given insight in what for me is the mind of THE most intriguing female character of the series, Cersei? I could kiss you, GRRM!

    To be honest, I could have read this whole book purely from Cersei's point of view. I expected to read her chapters in AFFC after ASOS and Jaime's story and I was incredibly satisfied by it. She's been painted as a clear villain throughout the first three books and I totally bought it; she was horrible and I wanted her to die a painful death. But, after reading Jaime's feelings towards her and after being in her head for a short while, I've done a complete 180 on Cersei. I no longer think she's inherently evil; basically Cersei's first and worst mistake that's tainted all her decisions since then is being born a WOMAN in a MAN'S world and having the nerve to have a man's AMBITION. She's the firstborn but she's denied Casterly Rock because she's a girl; she marries a king but never comes close to power until her sons come to the throne and even then she's only a Regent; she's suspicious of everyone and everything because she knows they don't honestly value her because she's a woman and she becomes subsequently paranoid. And, if that wasn't enough, we learn something else that's been haunting her all her life and fed her paranoia; the prophecy about the valonquar (which I hope GRRM somehow manages to overthrow – I think that would be an awful ending for such a brilliant character – I know she has to die because her story can't really end another way, but I hope she dies on her own terms at least). Also, her ending: I was boiling with anger when I heard the accusations against her. Alright, they're true but Robert was guilty of most of these and no Septon would ever freaking condemn him. Urgh the misogyny in this world makes me ill.

    I could honestly go on and on about Cersei but it's pretty clear why I've come to love her, I think. Jaime's story continues to fascinate me (and break my heart, I can't believe how invested I am in an incestuous relationship, eeek) and the fact that he's lost his hand but still attempts to remain a knight and a Lannister is fascinating. And he still wants to keep his promise to Catelyn! Sansa, on the other hand, I was terrified for but she's proved above and beyond that a sword is not the only way to play the Game of Thrones. Petyr is obviously a great teacher (though still creepy but I enjoy him enormously).

  11. Dent D says:

    Woo hoo, The Hobbit! I have never actually read The Hobbit. I've read LotR three or four times but I've never been able to push through the first couple chapters if Bilbo's tale. NOT THIS TIME. I am SO EXCITE to start this and read along with Mark. 😀

  12. Appachu says:

    I haven't read A Feast For Crows yet, so I have only this to say: The Hobbit! Yay!

  13. notemily says:

    I just scrolled down for Hobbit confirmation. HOBBIT!!!

  14. monkeybutter says:

    Oh, and I can't believe your teachers never made you watch the animated Hobbit movie! Oh boy, I have memories of that!

  15. @unefeeverte says:

    I actually enjoyed A Dance with Dragons quite a lot more than A Feast for Crows. Right up until the end, when RAAAAAR. (<– my reaction)

    Also, I CANNOT wait for you to start the whole Hobbit/LotR thing. Because I think those books are very different from what you've read (on Mark Reads) until now. Maybe that's because they're so much older than everything else – I think the "oldest" books on Mark Reads were, what, from the 90s? Anyhow, it'll probably awesome.

  16. Becky says:

    Coming out of lurkerdom to say I <3 you so much for your defense of Cersei. I feel like people hate on her without making an effort to understand <i>why she is the way she is. And I definitely think she gets more hate because she's female.

    I think a lot of the reason people were frustrated with this book when it first came out is because we had been waiting 5 years for what turned out to be only half the story, and knew it might be another 5 (and it was) before we got to read the rest of it. I think knowing you get to read ADWD as soon as you want to makes AFFC less frustrating.

  17. la.donna.pietra says:

    I live about 45 minutes away from GRRM's house, so if you ever want me to deliver something, just say the word. (Disclaimer: I will not deliver any savage beatdowns or flaming bags of poo.)

  18. drippingmercury says:

    OK, first and foremost: FUCK YEAH, HOUSE MARTELL. I love House Martell the very most of all the houses. There’s the Stark-like sense of justice and numerous strong women, but with more cynicism and political savvy! And Dornish law/culture is more egalitarian than anywhere else in Westeros! Total props to Arya for naming her direwolf after Dorne’s founder, Nymeria; clearly, Arya knows what’s up. Plus, I just find the Martells more relatable than the Starks since they’re a much more dysfunctional family. The Dorne chapters tend to be one of the things people complain about with Feast, which makes me sad because I love Dorne so.

    Speaking of things people complained about in Feast, AAAAHHHH I LOVE THAT YOU LOVED BRIENNE’S STORY ARC. If I could just hug that bolded paragraph forever, I would. I love Pod and Brienne’s interactions. He doesn’t know what to make of her, or even what to call her, but he squires for her with every bit of the devotion and loyalty he showed Tyrion. On that note, how heartbreaking was Pod off on his own, searching for Tyrion? “I’m his squire but he left me!” PLEASE DON’T BE DEAD POD I HAVEN’T GIVEN YOU ALL THE HUGS YET.

    Things actually worthy of hate in Feast for Crows? VICTARION. AERON. EURON. Basically all of the Greyjoys except Asha. SEVEN HELLS ARE NOT ENOUGH FOR THEM. No wonder Theon is so fucked up, his entire culture is based on pillage, slavery, and rape. WTF.

    Re: gigantic complaint—I think the rapeyness reached a new level in this novel, for a variety of reasons. Despite the sexual violence prevalent in the series, Martin avoided having a POV character on either side of the incident, which I appreciate – it seemed he didn’t want to go into THAT amount of gruesome detail. But then there’s shit like Cersei’s “Myrish swamp” scene, the closest thing the series has gotten to a POV rape. It starts out as an interesting reflection on her rape by Robert and I can understand Cersei trying to find power in doing the same thing to Taena, except… whoops! Turns out Taena’s totally into it, so it’s not really the rape Cersei intended! It’s actually HOTT LADY SEXINGS. WHAT. Martin, stop. Please? Don’t do that. Don’t take rape and make it sexy.

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  19. Karen says:

    lol. It was adorable reading all your predictions for AFfC. I like some parts of AFfC (Brienne, Jaime, Cersei and Sansa to be specific) but OMG I HATE THE GREYJOY CHAPTERS. I do love Asha, but OMG ALL OTHER GREYJOYS CAN GTFO.

    I do think that Cersei's descent into paranoia is pretty fascinating and makes me think that the prophecy is self-fulfilling. I know some people who HATE the prophecy, but idk. It made me understand Cesei's motvations a lot better.

    The story that Brienne told about her experiences at Renly's camp broke my heart btw. I LOVE BRIENNE FOREVER AND EVER AND SHE NEEDS PEOPLE TO BE NICE TO HER. Speaking of which, I kind of hate what GRRM did to Cat. I mean, I love Cat with every fiber of my being, so to see her turned into this creature that is pure vengeance makes me super sad. Also, Brienne and Cat were pretty much the only female friendship in the entire series, so to take that relationship and then turn it into Cat being a merciless killer and willing to hang Brienne… no me gusta.

    Also, I'm not really a fan of Arya's storyline. She doesn't feel like Arya anymore. She's becoming something else. And it just feels weird and disjointed from the rest of the stories.


  20. pica_scribit says:

    I just…can't get on the Cersei bandwagon. Her obsession with that stupid prophesy really fucking annoyed me. She's so completely convinced that it's about Tyrion in such a paranoid narrow/singleminded way, when all the word means is "little brother". How many little brothers are there in this damn series who could possible want Cersei dead at this point? Her paranoia brings her whole world crashing down on her head as she systematically goes after her own allies, convinced that they are out to get her. She's not concerned with ruling wisely or well, just with protecting her own power (and her children, which is fair enough, I grant you). She is a complete and total despot, and she's convinced that she's every bit as clever as her father, who was a ruthless asshole when it came to dealing with his enemies, but at least he knew how to make and keep alliances. Cersei seems completely incapable of seeing the big picture, and with as much power as she hold, at least in the first part of this story, she needs to be able to do that. So yeah. Not Impressed by this paranoid tyrant.

  21. tethysdust says:

    The constant misogyny does bother me, though I can mostly get through it because I'm really invested in the story at this point. I hate the Greyjoys, though. There is nothing redeeming about that whole family, and I wish we could stop getting inside their heads. However, I did like this book as a whole, mostly because of Arya and Sansa (and Brienne, too). Also I second (third? fourth? 156?) the complaint: Where the *fuck* is Rickon?!

    And I am so excited and nervous for the Hobbit/LOTR. I'm excited because I loved those books so much, and I'm kinda nervous because I'm really afraid that Mark won't…

  22. MidnightLurker says:

    We need a Hobbit banner to not be prepared to!

  23. Ravenclaw42 says:

    …Is is bad that I come here and to TV Tropes to get as thoroughly spoiled as possible before attempting to read the rest of these books? I only just got past the Red Wedding, which I thank the heavens I was spoiled for, so that I could read it with some degree of clinical detachment. I usually don't like spoilers and love being surprised, but I think there's a difference in being surprised by cleverness/character development/questions being raised or answered/emotionally riveting deaths/sheer head-asploding WTF moments, and being surprised by an author coming up behind you, knocking you down, putting you in an arm lock and bashing your face into a curb over and over, which is kind of how I felt when reading the first 2 1/2 books unspoiled. :/

    I really, really want to like these books, and I do like GRRM's writing and I LOVE lots of his characters, but the characters' circumstances and the increasing crapsacky-ness of the world keep killing my ability to stay invested. And it's not even that I don't like dark fiction. I do. But I think this is the first time I've really experienced what TV Tropes calls Darkness Induced Audience Apathy. 🙁

  24. MidnightLurker says:


  25. stefb says:

    Mark are you doing The Hobbit predictions or are you jumping right into reviewing? (I would not mind that but your predictions are fun)

  26. pennylane27 says:

    lalala skipping spoilers STILL haven't finished A Game of Thrones I fail so much lalala holy shit there's a lot of bold sentences there lalala

    okay, last paragraph YESSSSSS HOBBIT TIME! doing a little happy dance I've lost the last shred of dignity and the respect from my family but I don't really give a fuck. Which reminds me I've found the most epic gif ever

    <img src=""&gt;


  27. redletter_ says:

    If Brienne is dead I will WREAK my VENGEANCE on SOMETHING.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Because NOOOOOOO.

    I'm #12 in the reserve line for DWD at the library, it's taking forever because they only have 3 copies, I feel like I'm never going to get my hands on it, BAWWWWWWWWW.

    ALSO, super excited for The Hobbit, I shall be re-reading it alongside, BRING IT.

  28. stefb says:

    I think it's safe to say that people are excited for The Hobbit.

  29. Phoenix Lord says:

    I've been an avid reader of this blog since Mark read Half-Blood Prince on his old site. I'm a first time commenter though. I'm looking forward to Mark's opinions on The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books. I've read the Hobbit once and the LOTR books multiple times. Will Mark also do a Live Blog of each movie when he is done with each book? I like the movies better than the books and I wanted to know what Mark thought of the movies.
    I'm also currently reading A Storm of Swords so I might be behind Mark by a good distance in the series but I love reading Mark's opinions and predictions on the books and I don't really care about spoilers. I do have a basic knowledge of what's going to happen next and needless to say I'm excited. I find that if I have a basic knowledge or other people's opinions (positive or negative) of a series or book I will like the book no matter what

  30. Tauriel_ says:

    Hobbit/LOTR question, Mark: Will you read/review them chapter-by-chapter, or as whole books?

  31. Shannon says:

    two things, ok:

    1.) Roose Bolton: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

    2.) "Who the fuck took Pate's place?" Well, uhh if you were paying attention, you'd have counted one more correct prediction.

  32. Hokuto says:

    The two main things I came away with from this book were 1) tinhattery about the continued life of Sandor Clegane (I AM A PERVY HOUND-FANCIER OKAY) and 2) a deep, dark desire for Barristan Selmy/Aerys II fic. SELMY CAME AND RESCUED HIM FROM DUSKENDALE ALONE LIKE A KNIGHT SAVING A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS OKAY

  33. woot says:

    You may find yourself really enjoying A Dance with Dragons. I'm actually kind of looking forward to you reading the storyline of one particular POV…

    And yeah, you've seen Jaqen. This isn't a spoiler. The man's description from the prologue matches his description from the end of Clash Of Kings, when Arya watches him change his face.

    You're missing a lot of nuances, by the way. I'm surprised. There's the "mayhaps" thing from the Red Wedding, for example. Or Alleras the Sphinx/Sarella Sand…

    To me, the most heartbreaking part about A Feast for Crows was Brienne weaping over Renly. There's a double whammy there because Renly's gay, man; Renly's gay.

  34. woot says:

    OH, also, at this point you're pretty much prepared to read the theory about Jon Snow's mother. Do you know who his mother is yet? Well? Do you?

    This essay covers things up to and including Feast, and was written before Dance came out. Prepare to be surprised. And flabbergasted. Interestingly, the theory is indirectly acknowledged in Dance.

  35. takashid says:

    You know who are two characters that i really want to meet up? Brienne and Jorah, because that would be awesome. Maybe if Jorah came back to Westeros after being kicked out by Danny? I think her and Jorah would get along great. Jorah comes from a family where the women fight alongside the men, so he wouldn't look down on her like so many others and actually give her the respect she needs. In fact, i just want Brienne to meet any of the Mormounts. can they just like take her away to Bear Island and give her all the love and respect she deserves? Please Martin? No? Okay. 🙁

  36. klmnumbers says:

    WHY AM I IN THIS POST? I'm like 2/3 done with the book. I agree with the general consensus that I hate the Greyjoys pretty much uniformly. Just being in their heads has made me like Theon in retrospect bc he's misogynistic and horrible but was taught to be that way from the start. And even with that drilling, he is so much more human, forgiving, and almost kind.

    However, I have to say that I love your Cersei defense. I hate her a lot (because I love Jaime, and her snide thoughts make me sad), but she doesn't deserve nearly as much vitriol as she gets. You can see her self destruct, and it is FASCINATING.

    Also, without knowing how the book ends and going solely off of the first Dorne chapters, I <333 Doran. I loved the Martell stuff so much. They were so fascinating to me (compared to the evil pirate Greyjoys).

  37. Drake says:

    Do you know about the short stories George R. R. Martin wrote set in Westeros? I’m not totally clear on your spoiler policy here, so I’ll only give information that the author himself willingly gave explaining the premise of the stories at the signing I went to. The stories are an on-going series (so far there are three of about nine planned) that start roughly eighty-or-so years before Robert’s Rebellion, and take place when the Targaryen dynasty was still in control and there was peace in the land. The first story is called The Hedge Knight, and can be found in the Legends anthology edited by Robert Silverberg.

    The already-published stories, and a fourth one that Martin is currently working on, will be collected in to one volume either next year or in 2013, so you might want to wait until then to pick them up, but if you can find Legends in a library or in a bargain bin at Barnes & Noble, I suggest snatching it up and reading it. Some fans actually think their better than the series proper, but there are also those that dislike them. Popular fan theories hold that they may contain foreshadowing for future books in the main series, but Martin has never openly confirmed or denied that.

  38. summer says:

    But Sam never sold the Horn of Winter, he sold the broken horn Jon gave him that he found near The Fist.

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