“Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them.”

Tyrion Lannister
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The second ebook in George R. R. Martin‘s Doorstopper A Music of Ice and Fireplace fantasy sequence, launched in 1998.

Joffrey Baratheon sits on the Iron Throne, however rumors that he’s not the king’s legit inheritor are spreading all through the Seven Kingdoms. In all places, a king vies for a throne. Robb Stark, referred to as the Younger Wolf, battles to safe independence for the North and revenge for his executed father. The Baratheon brothers, Renly and Stannis, every march upon the Iron Throne with a special declare, whereas on the Iron Islands, Balon Greyjoy prepares a brand new revolt, setting his sights on Winterfell. Robert Baratheon’s dying has set the stage for the Warfare of the 5 Kings.

Whereas kings march throughout the Seven Kingdoms and the folks of King’s Touchdown develop an increasing number of malcontent, Jon Snow and his sworn brothers of the Evening’s Watch journey deeper past the Wall, trying to find the so referred to as King-Past-The-Wall. Throughout the ocean, Daenerys Targaryen begins her journey as a khaleesi, having to nurture and shield her dragons from those that would take them…

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There are 9 POV characters on this novel, with Stannis Baratheon’s Maester Cressen narrating the prologue:

  • Tyrion Lannister, the Hand of the King, and Sansa Stark, the king’s betrothed and hostage present perception in Joffrey’s decadent courtroom.
  • Catelyn Stark follows the negotiations between the kings on the march and the tidings at Riverrun.
  • Smuggler-turned-knight Davos Seaworth offers the occasions on Stannis’s aspect of the battle.
  • Arya Stark, now hiding herself amongst commoners, exhibits bits and items of the ravages of warfare and the struggling of the smallfolk.
  • Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark narrate the occasions on the Iron Islands and the North.
  • Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen proceed to offer us glimpses past the Wall and throughout the ocean respectively.

The novel was tailored because the second season of HBO’s Recreation of Thrones.

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A Conflict of Tropes:

  • 0% Approval Ranking: Tyrion is shocked to be taught that regardless that not one of the smallfolk of King’s Touchdown just like the Lannisters, they hate him most of all. All the issues with the town are largely attributable to Cersei and Joffrey, however Tyrion is the face of the brand new established order as a result of timing of his arrival (which makes him seem like extra of an Evil Chancellor than Cersei, who was current throughout higher instances below Robert), his poor therapy of Janos Slynt and Pycelle (who seem like good and earnest males to anybody outdoors the Crimson Maintain), and his entourage of violent mountain clansmen.
  • Absence Makes the Coronary heart Go Yonder: Whereas Jaime is held captive by Robb Stark, his youthful brother Tyrion tries to provide you with an trade to get Jaime again, whereas his sister/lover Cersei begins sleeping with Lancel, their cousin.
  • Really Fairly Humorous:
    • Daenerys laughs despite herself at Ser Jorah’s joke about Illyrio sitting on her dragon eggs himself if he’d thought they’d really hatch.
    • Tyrion additionally admits that courtroom idiot Moonboy’s ditty concerning the Excessive Septon (infamous for being corrupt and a Fats Bastard) being a person who worships the Seven so fervently he eats a meal for every of them day-after-day is fairly humorous.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Theon Greyjoy takes Winterfell.
  • And I am the Queen of Sheba: When Daenerys tries to get a ship via royal intimidation, the ship’s captain listening to her makes use of this to specific his disbelief.
    “Aye. And I’m Lord Tywin Lannister, and shit gold every night.”
  • And Now You Should Marry Me: When he takes Winterfell, Theon regrets not having Sansa round so he may have pressured her to marry him to strengthen his declare on Winterfell.
  • Tried Rape: A rioting mob tries to gang-rape Sansa however she is rescued by Sandor Clegane.
  • Superior Second of Crowning: Invoked by Balon Greyjoy:
    Balon Greyjoy: “No man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price. I will take my crown”
  • Badass Boast: Two in succession, one doubling as a Shut Up, Hannibal!, when Stannis refuses to combat in single fight for the fortress of Storm’s Finish.
    Stannis: “Do you take me for an utter fool, ser? I have twenty thousand men. You are besieged by land and sea. Why would I choose single combat when my eventual victory is certain? I give you fair warning. If you force me to take my castle by storm, you may expect no mercy. I will hang you for traitors, every one of you.”
    Ser Courtnay Penrose: “As the gods will it. Bring on your storm, my lord—and recall, if you do, the name of this castle.”
  • Unhealthy Moon Rising: A crimson comet is on the skies of Westeros from the epilogue of the earlier ebook. It’s broadly thought of an omen, however everybody interprets it otherwise. Previous Nan offers the proper interpretation:
    Previous Nan to Bran: Dragons … or not it’s dragons, boy.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Theon begins feeling this as he has no alternative however to kill folks he grew up with throughout his time within the North.
  • Massive Badass Battle Sequence: The Battle of the Blackwater, some of the well-known examples within the sequence.
  • Blinded by the Mild: Jaime cannot even have a look at Catelyn’s lamp after being stored at midnight for thus lengthy.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Ser Mandon Moore covers Tyrion’s again throughout the Blackwater Battle, then he tries to kill him.
  • Bodyguard Crush:
    • Jorah Mormont begins displaying shades of this in the direction of Daenerys.
    • Sandor and Sansa, positively on Sandor’s aspect and implied on Sansa’s;
    • Brienne to Renly and she or he takes his dying very unhealthy.
  • Each Sides Have a Level: Invoked by Davos in his inner monologue earlier than the battle. He had advised to fleet commander Ser Imry that the fleet proceed fastidiously down the river, sending a number of ships forward to check and scout no matter defenses the town had managed to erect moderately than simply counting on what they realized from captive fishermen.observe  Which would possibly have prevented them from being trapped behind the chain Imry dismissed him largely due to his low start, however Davos additionally acknowledges that because the fleet had skilled some weather-related delays and misplaced a number of ships on the best way, Imry would do properly to not preserve the notoriously impatient Stannis ready any longer than he has to.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Teased when Theon flirts with Asha earlier than he realizes that she’s his sister. She’s simply enjoying together with it to see what sort of man he is grown into, and is not significantly joyful when he gropes her, however enjoys teasing him about it afterward.
  • Cain and Abel: Stannis and his youthful brother Renly. The sequence’ Grey-and-Gray Morality being what it’s, although, it is inconceivable to inform who’s the “good” and the “evil” one. They each had each intention of killing one another: Renly speaking to his males about what to do with Stannis’ physique and Stannis really killing Renly.
    • Living proof: Renly needs energy as king. Stannis appears to see it extra as his responsibility as Robert’s inheritor, although Renly acknowledges that Stannis might properly have a greater declare however he (Renly) has the bigger military and was extra the aggressor within the scenario. It seems to be a Cain and Cain scenario nevertheless, as Renly is assassinated earlier than his vastly superior military can crush Stannis’ personal. It is by no means fairly clear whether or not Stannis knew about this. He says he did not, and that is often sufficient, however it’s not 100% sure. Nevertheless, he does present he’s upset over Renly’s dying and did attempt to make phrases with Renly.
  • Captain Apparent: After they discover Renly’s military engaged in a melee, Catelyn notes that her guardsman Hal Mollen likes mentioning the apparent.
  • Cassandra Fact:
    • When touring northward with Yoren and the Evening’s Watch recruits, Arya alone would not need to spend the night time in an deserted village as a result of she rightly guesses that the villagers fled for a motive. Everybody dismisses her as craven, then Lannister’s knights come to raid the village and assault and kill most of their occasion, together with Yoren;
    • Whereas recouping with different surviving recruits, Arya insists on scoping out a village alone as a result of she’s quieter than the others and fewer more likely to get caught if there are extra brutal knights there. Gendry “the Bull” insists on following her, and certain sufficient, he will get caught. Sizzling Pie then insists on accompanying Arya to rescue Gendry, after which he is promptly caught and provides Arya’s place away, leaving all of them on the mercy of Gregor’s males;
    • Catelyn tells Robb that sending Theon to the Iron Islands is a nasty concept. Robb doesn’t hear, with disastrous outcomes.
    • Nobody believes Previous Nan’s tales, however she appropriately guesses the crimson comet means the return of dragons.
  • The Cavalry: Renly’s ghost and the joint Lannister-Tyrell forces that got here to rescue King’s Touchdown throughout Stannis’ siege.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: The Flayed Man’s host pulls this twice in the identical chapter. They betray Ser Rodrik and slaughter the lads he has dropped at retake Winterfell. Then, when Theon permits them inside to thank them, they burn Winterfell to the bottom. To not point out The Courageous Companions reducing a take care of Roose Bolton to take Harrenhal. Appears to be a Bolton commonplace.
  • Chekhov’s Gun:
    • Renly’s armor, which is utilized in an El Cid Ploy by the Tyrells throughout the Blackwater Battle;
    • Wildfire jars are based close to the Crimson Maintain. Tyrion takes the concept of burning down Stannis’ fleet from it.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Comfort: Renly places his private guard in rainbow-colored cloaks.
  • Comet of Doom: The crimson comet is interpreted otherwise based mostly on superstition, however in actuality it heralds the return of dragons into the world.
  • Merciless Mercy: Performed with. Sansa, not wanting Joffrey to have Ser Dontos murdered for displaying up drunk and half-naked to his nameday joust, vegetation the concept that it could be crueler to strip him of his knighthood and for him to reside as a idiot moderately than having him executed.
  • Lifeless Individual Impersonation: Rodrik Cassel’s males assault Ramsay Bolton and his servant Reek. Reek was really Ramsay, who had traded garments with the true Reek and despatched him out driving. The boys killed him and stored “Reek” alive to bear witness to Ramsay’s crimes.
  • Diabolus ex Machina
    • Renly’s dying by Stannis’ shadow. Although this is determined by your view of Stannis and Renly.
    • Ramsay Bolton turns up on the finish of the ebook and destroys Winterfell with a military he is managed to recruit from the Dreadfort.
    • The Lannister/Tyrell alliance routs Stannis’ military.
  • Did Not Assume This By: Theon takes a fortress with a tiny variety of males via a crafty ruse. Looting the place and taking hostages would have been an important coup, however as a substitute he tries to carry it with a number of raiders.
    • In a while, when Theon finds two of his males torn to items by Summer time and Shaggydog throughout Bran and Rickon’s escape from Winterfell, he realises too late what a nasty concept it was to let two gargantuan wolves which might be ferociously dedicated to the Stark boys and that he is aware of firsthand are greater than able to killing grown males roam round.
    • Tyrion passes on phrases from Tywin to this impact concerning Joffrey and Cersei kicking Barristan Selmy out of the Kingsguard, mentioning that if Selmy, who’s a beloved determine within the eyes of the frequent people, offers his backing to one of many insurgent factions after being so spectacularly insulted by the Lannisters, it’s going to give the rebels higher credibility within the eyes of the commoners.
    • In the identical dialog, Cersei feedback that Janos Slynt solely took two gold cloaks with him to hold out Joffrey’s command to arrest Barristan Selmy and did not contemplate that Selmy, a knight with a long time extra fight expertise than Slynt or his thugs and nothing left to lose, would select to combat moderately than come quietly.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Arya, within the guise of Nan, Roose Bolton’s cupbearer, wished that the princess to whom Elmar Frey had been betrothed would die, neither she nor Elmar have been conscious that she herself was the princess in query.
  • Early-Hen Cameo: The Bastard of Bolton is talked about for the primary time on ”very” unflattering phrases. There will likely be seen wonders from him in A Dance with Dragons.
  • El Cid Ploy: Within the Battle on the Blackwater, the “ghost of Renly” is definitely Garlan Tyrell sporting his king’s armour to encourage the allied troops and confuse the enemy.
  • Everybody Has Requirements: Regardless of being notoriously corrupt, the Excessive Septon is talked about to be outraged by Joffrey having Eddard Stark beheaded on the Sept of Baelor, complaining that the holy web site has been profaned with bloodshed.
  • Face–Heel Flip: Theon betrays Robb’s trigger, sides along with his long-lost father and storms Winterfell.
  • Pretend Defector: Underneath the Halfhand’s orders, Jon pretends to affix the Wildlings to outlive.
  • Fauxshadow: Sansa notes that her interval has stained her bedsheets “Lannister crimson, as if her body was raising their banner”. This means that as late as this level, Martin was nonetheless contemplating following his authentic plan to have her finally aspect with the Lannisters in opposition to her household.
  • Feed the Mole: Tyrion shares his plans with three folks he suspects are within the make use of of Cersei. Nevertheless, he advised every individual one thing completely different, and when Cersei confronts him, her response inadvertently reveals the supply of the leak.
    • Tyrion takes related motion a number of instances all through the ebook, since in King’s Touchdown there are in all probability an infinite variety of moles to be fed.
  • Flower Motif: Blue winter roses seem a number of instances
    • They’re said to be an emblem of forbidden love and the central theme of Bael the Bard’s legend of his affair with Lord Stark’s daughter;
    • Blue roses seem once more with Theon having a nightmare with useless Starks and Lyanna Stark seems sporting the crown of blue roses Rhaegar gave her;
    • In the home of the Timeless Daenerys sees the blue winter rose rising from a wall of ice – clearly the Wall. Now learn the opposite two entries and make of this what you need.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Hallyne the Pyromancer, an alchemist, tells Tyrion that their elevated effectivity at creating wildfire is as a result of their spells are more practical than they’ve been—they haven’t, in reality, been so efficacious because the days of the final dragons, hinting on the relationship between dragons and magic on this planet.
      • Hallyne additionally mentions that lots of the Alchemists’ masters have been murdered throughout the Sack of King’s Touchdown, whereas a lot of the wildfire from that point was misplaced, and that lately they have been confounded to search out lots of of jars saved below the Sept of Baelor. Later, he mentions a bunch of drunks stumbling upon a fair bigger cache hidden below the Dragonpit. One ebook later, Jaime reveals the Mad King’s plot to burn the town, and that he was liable for killing a number of key alchemists to forestall/conceal it afterwards.
    • Theon sees a rickety bridge on his return to Pyke that he cannot consider he used to play on as a toddler. His father Balon falls off this bridge within the subsequent ebook.
    • Additionally Theon goals the feast in Winterfell for King Robert turning right into a grotesque butchery, with the hosts being useless folks. Theon wakes up panicking as he sees Robb becoming a member of them.
    • Daenerys sees a imaginative and prescient about her father Aerys, utterly gone mad, who’s ranting Let him [Robert] be king over charred bones and cooked meat. In A Storm of Swords, Jaime tells us he was planning to burn the town with wildfire, and that is why Jaime killed him. She additionally sees the Crimson Marriage ceremony, and probably Quentyn Martell.
    • The story of Bael the Bard foretells Bran & Rickon’s survival by hiding within the Stark crypt.
  • Ghostly Chill: Renly notes the sudden chill with some curiosity simply earlier than Stannis’s shadow stabs him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Qhorin Halfhand lets Jon Snow kill him in a combat so he can win the belief of the Wildings.
  • Hoist by His Personal Petard: Maester Cressen, who sought to poison Melisandre. Since her Blood Magic permits her to foresee any try to hurt her immediately, she was conscious that Cressen would try to kill her with poisoned wine. She whispers to Cressen that he can spill the wine as a substitute of sharing it together with her however he refuses. They each drink; Cressen dies, however Melisandre is protected by her magic.
  • Honor Earlier than Purpose: Each instances costing victory in battle.
    • Renly refuses to assault Stannis’s forces earlier than daybreak as a result of doing so would taint the victory he’s sure of.observe And had he executed so, Melisandre won’t have had time to unleash the shadow monster that kills him earlier than any battle begins
    • Stannis leaves Melisandre at Dragonstone as a result of certainly one of his lords identified that if he didn’t, she and her magic can be credited with the victory as a substitute of him.
  • Hope Spot: Theon Greyjoy is going through a battle he can not win, when Maester Luwin reminds him that he can give up to Rodrik Cassel and be a part of the Evening’s Watch to save lots of his life. Theon considers this, and appears to be on the verge of agreeing when Ramsey Snow and his males betray and kill Cassel, which means Theon has no-one to give up to.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Arya is each unhappy and offended at Yoren’s dying, who had promised to take her house to Winterfell.
  • I Have Your Whore: Cersei tries to do that to Tyrion. Too unhealthy she took the incorrect woman…
    • Adopted by an I Have Your Son bluff from Tyrion. (He does even have her son Tommen, however it’s nonetheless a bluff, since Tyrion would by no means actually enable Tommen to be harm.)
  • If You are So Evil, Eat This Kitten: When Jon fakes his defection to the Wildlings, they make him execute the Colonel Badass he is serving below. Sadly for the Wildlings, the person figured this could occur and warned Jon beforehand, because the info Jon may collect was extra necessary than the life of 1 ranger. Jon nonetheless feels responsible about killing him, although.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: This ebook introduces Stannis, Davos, Melisandre, Asha Greyjoy, Jaqen H’ghar, Brienne of Tarth, Ygritte, Margaery Tyrell, Qyburn, and Ramsay Snow. It additionally has the primary look of Wyman Manderly, who would turn into a serious fan favourite in A Dance with Dragons, in addition to Aeron and Victarion Greyjoy, who turn into POV characters in A Feast for Crows.
  • Fool Ball:
    • How just about everybody sees Stannis and Renly’s petty combat for his or her declare to the throne. And with good causes, because it weakens each claims in favour of Joffrey’s. Catelyn discover this and specific her thoughts:
    Catelyn: Hearken to yourselves! When you have been sons of mine, I’d bang your heads collectively and lock you in a bedchamber till you remembered that you simply have been brothers.
    • Cersei additionally makes a consideration:
    Cersei: Gods be good. I am beginning to consider that Robert was the intelligent one.
    • Robb sending Theon again to his homeland to suggest an alliance along with his father. Mentioned father comes from an At all times Chaotic Evil tradition, tried to insurgent and assault the remainder of Westeros simply ten or so years prior, and personally hates the Starks. Theon was particularly a hostage to make sure his good conduct, so sending him again to his father removes their leverage. Mockingly, stated father was planning on attacking the North anyway (and had accepted Theon being executed in retribution as acceptable price), however retaining him shut by because the hostage he is purported to be would have resulted in Winterfell by no means falling, and certain Robb by no means shedding the warfare from a variety of the results.
    • Ser Rodrik taking nearly each preventing man with him to defeat the Ironborn at Torrhen’s Sq. leaves Winterfell utterly undefended, which ends up in Theon’s tiny power taking it over. When trying to retake it, he permits an unknown army officer (Ramsay Snow) to method him with a drawn blade and minimize off his arm whereas pretending to shake his hand.
  • Irony:
    • Jon is shocked to notice that whereas the skilled members of the Nice Ranging are slowly getting an increasing number of unnerved on the trek, self-professed coward Samwell is definitely getting braver.
    • In her first chapter Sansa thinks of Bran and that she’d give all the things to be with him in Winterfell. On this case she’s really fortunate, since Theon betrays Robb, Winterfell results in the firing line of the Ironborn invasion and Theon states he may have pressured Sansa to marry him to strengthen his declare of Winterfell, and regrets not having her round.
    • Whereas prisoner within the Riverlands, Arya hears an outdated man lamenting that none of this mess would have occurred throughout the outdated king’s reign. Arya thinks he was referring to King Robert, however the outdated man meant King Aerys.
      • What’s much more ironic is that the sooner levels of Aerys’ reign have been comparatively peaceable attributable to Tywin Lannister’s administration, and Tywin Lannister is now the one who’s making the Riverlands bleed.
  • It is All About Me: Stannis and Renly. When each Baratheon brothers try to say the throne again from the Lannisters, they determine to assault one another moderately than their frequent enemy. Catelyn notes that “somewhere, Cersei was laughing.” In actual fact, when Tyrion informs Cersei, she’s so joyful that she dances with him.
    • Extra notably with Renly, who fairly merely needs the Iron Throne for himself and was keen to kill his brother for it. Stannis’ motivations are left unexplored till A Storm of Swords, when he confides in Davos that he feels he has an obligation to Robert and the Kingdom to say the throne himself as Robert’s true inheritor, moderately than let a false king (whether or not Joffrey or his brother) sit the throne simply because they can.
  • Kill It with Fireplace: Tyrion burns down Stannis’ fleet with wildfire.
  • Kill the Poor: It’s talked about offhandedly that Joffrey’s proposed resolution to beggars and ravenous poor folks in King’s Touchdown is to kill them. He at one level brings a crossbow to the fortress partitions and makes use of it to shoot on the folks outdoors the gates begging for meals.
  • Lame Pun Response: Theon made a crack to his uncle Aeron about how Robb’s direwolf Gray Wind and Asha’s ship Black Wind sounds related.
    “Stark’s is grey. Greyjoy’s is black. But they’re both windy.”
    Theon’s uncle stated nothing to that.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One generally criticized plot level is Theon efficiently managing to take Winterfell with only a tiny handful of males (about 20), solely as a result of Rodrik took nearly each man within the fortress to take care of Theon’s ruse. As the autumn of Winterfell is critical for the sudden change of luck for the Starks that ends in a number of plotlines over the subsequent two books, it may be seen a considerably contrived Fool Ball. Maester Luwin primarily says to Bran, “Boy, it sure was foolish of us to send every soldier we had to deal with the threat at Torrhen’s Square, wasn’t it?”
  • Laxative Prank: When Tyrion is simply too busy attempting to save lots of the town to wrestle with Cersei’s schemes he makes use of a light poison with this impact to get her out of his hair for at some point.
  • Let Me Inform You a Story: Ygritte tells Jon about Bael the Bard’s music. It’s very harking back to the fan idea about Jon Snow’s mother and father.
    • It additionally hints to the place Bran & Rickon are hiding.
  • Love Is a Weak spot: Cersei offers this speech to Sansa.
    Cersei: Robert needed to be cherished. My brother Tyrion has the identical illness. Do you need to be cherished, Sansa?
    Sansa: Everybody needs to be cherished.
    Cersei: I see flowering hasn’t made you any brighter. Sansa, allow me to share a little bit of womanly knowledge with you on this very big day. Love is poison. A candy poison, sure, however it’s going to kill you all the identical.
  • Mendacity to the Perp: Tyrion makes use of this to work out which of the Council members is spying for Cersei, after narrowing it all the way down to Littlefinger, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle (he is absolutely conscious that none of them are reliable, however he and Cersei are at daggers drawn by this level). He will get ample grime on every of them however works out that it is Pycelle he is after.
  • May Makes Proper: Mentioned by Renly concerning the legitimacy of his declare. He is fast to level out that he is bought the largest military.
    Catelyn: Let the three of you name for a Nice Council… Let the assembled lords of the Seven Kingdoms select who shall rule them.
    Renly: … Inform me, my woman, do direwolves vote on who ought to lead the pack?… The time for speak is finished. Now we see who’s stronger.
  • Close to-Rape Expertise: Throughout the Battle of the Blackwater, after working away from the flames, Sandor Clegane slipped into Sansa’s room and waited for her. He did certainly intend to rape her, however stopped himself and ended up taking nothing greater than a music. Sansa misremembers sharing a kiss with him within the subsequent ebook.
  • Close to-Villain Victory: For a given worth of “villain”. Stannis is on the verge of victory on the Blackwater earlier than the Tyrell host exhibits as much as trip to the rescue. Although this enables the Lannisters to stay holding the Iron Throne.
  • Nemean Skinning: Dany wears the pores and skin of a white lion Drogo killed to cowl her baldness after she hatched her dragons.
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