A Storm of Swords

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A Storm of Swords
AStormOfSwords.jpg
US hardcover edition
Author George R. R. Martin
Cover artist Stephen Youll
Language English
Series A Song of Ice and Fire
Genre Fantasy
Published 2000 (Voyager Books/UK & Bantam Spectra/US)
ISBN ISBN 0-553-10663-5 (US Hardback), ISBN 0-00-224586-8 (UK Hardback), ISBN 0-553-57342-X (US Paperback)
OCLC 44676135
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3563.A7239 S7 2000
Preceded by A Clash of Kings
Followed by A Feast for Crows

A Storm of Swords is the third of seven planned novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, a fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 8 August 2000 in the United Kingdom,[1] with a United States edition following in November 2000. Its publication was preceded by a novella called Path of the Dragon, which collects some of the Daenerys Targaryen chapters from the novel into a single book.

At the time of its publication, A Storm of Swords was the longest novel in the series. It was so long that in the UK, Australia and Israel its paperback edition was split in half, Part 1 being published as Steel and Snow in June 2001 (with the one-volume cover) and Part 2 as Blood and Gold in August 2001 (with a specially-commissioned new cover). The same division was used in the Polish and Greek editions. In France, the decision was made to cut the novel into four separate volumes.

A Storm of Swords won the 2001 Locus Award,[2] the 2002 Geffen Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 2001 Nebula Award for Best Novel.[2] It was the first novel in the series to be nominated for the Hugo Award, one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction and fantasy publishing, although it lost to J. K. Rowling's novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.[2][3]

Meisha Merlin Publishing, which had previously issued limited, illustrated editions of both A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, was planning to release a similar version for A Storm of Swords in two volumes; however, lengthy delays in the release of A Clash of Kings caused it to lose its publishing rights, which were picked up by Subterranean Press. This edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, was released in the summer of 2006.

A Storm of Swords is also the name of the second expansion to the board game A Game of Thrones, released in July 2006. Approximately the first half of the novel was adapted for television as the third season of the HBO show Game of Thrones,[4] while the second half became the basis for the series' fourth season.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

"The Red Wedding" redirects here. For the television adaptation of the scene, see The Rains of Castamere.

A Storm of Swords picks up the story slightly before the end of its predecessor, A Clash of Kings. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are still in the grip of the War of the Five Kings, wherein Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Joffrey Baratheon and Stannis Baratheon fight to secure their claim to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, a large host of wildlings are marching toward the Wall under the leadership of Mance Rayder, the self-proclaimed "King Beyond the Wall", with only the undermanned Night's Watch in its path. Finally, Daenerys Targaryen is on her way back to Pentos.

In the Seven Kingdoms[edit]

The North / The Riverlands[edit]

At Riverrun, Catelyn Stark offers the captive Jaime Lannister his freedom in exchange for Catelyn's daughters, Sansa and Arya, who (Catelyn believes) are being held by the Lannisters in King's Landing. Jaime is sent south, escorted by Brienne of Tarth. Catelyn makes this deal without the approval of her son Robb, King of the North, and is taken prisoner upon its discovery. Robb's army returns to Riverrun, having vanquished Tywin Lannister's armies, and Robb reveals that he has married Jeyne Westerling, invalidating his betrothal to a daughter of House Frey, and effectively endangering their support. Jaime's release infuriates Lord Rickard Karstark, whose two sons Eddard and Torrhen had been killed by Jaime in battle; seeking revenge, Karstark kills two Lannister captives (one of them a younger son of Kevan Lannister). To secure his authority and atone for these deaths (thus preventing the Lannisters from executing Stark prisoners), Robb executes Lord Rickard, losing the support of House Karstark as a result.

Jaime and Brienne are waylaid by mercenaries known as the 'Brave Companions' (now in the service of Roose Bolton) and taken to Harrenhal. The mercenary captain orders Jaime's sword hand cut off, hoping the blame will be placed on Bolton; but Jaime is sent to King's Landing after he assures Lord Bolton he will absolve him to his father. Brienne is thrown into a bear pit, and Jaime risks his own life to rescue her.

Robb's forces dwindle further at the Battle of Duskendale, wherein under the command of Roose Bolton, the eastern half of the Stark's armies are ambushed by a joint army under Gregor Clegane and Lord Randyll Tarly. More losses are taken as the army retreats. Meanwhile the Greyjoys now hold Robb's home territory of Winterfell and the Neck, having taken Moat Cailin. To recapture Moat Cailin from the Greyjoys, Robb relies on the support of the Freys. When Lord Hoster Tully dies, Catelyn's brother Edmure becomes Lord of Riverrun and Lord Paramount of the Trident. Robb gains renewed hope when he learns that Balon Greyjoy has mysteriously died in a fall from a bridge, whereafter two of Balon's brothers, as well as his daughter Asha, vie to succeed him. The Freys propose a wedding between Edmure and Roslin Frey, one of Walder Frey's daughters, to compensate for the loss of Robb's marriage.

Arya Stark and her friends encounter the 'Brotherhood Without Banners', led by Lord Beric Dondarrion and the priest Thoros of Myr: originally sent by Eddard Stark to put down the Lannister raids, but devolved upon defending the smallfolk of the Riverlands. The group encounters Sandor Clegane, known as the Hound, and offers him trial by battle, which he wins by killing Lord Beric; but Thoros resurrects Beric thereafter. Arya is kidnapped by the Hound for ransom, and they proceed to Riverrun. On their journey, they discover that Robb and Catelyn will be at Edmure's wedding at the Frey bridge-stronghold The Twins, and change their destination accordingly.

Robb Stark's army reaches The Twins, where Frey agrees to forgive Robb if the wedding between Edmure and Roslin takes place. At the wedding celebration, the Boltons and Freys kill Robb's army. Robb is murdered by Roose Bolton, and Catelyn mutilates her own face. One of the Freys cuts her throat, and her body is discarded, naked, into the adjacent river. Robb's corpse is beheaded, and the head of his dire wolf sewn in its place, with his crown nailed to the direwolf's head. Many of the northern lords are killed, and the survivors captured. Edmure, after consummating his marriage, is kept as a hostage. These events become known as the Red Wedding.

It is thereafter revealed that Roose Bolton engineered the defeat at Duskendale by sending Robb's soldiers into a trap set by the Lannisters, while holding his own forces in reserve, and arranging that all but his own forces would be slaughtered in rearguard. The combined effect was to kill off the forces of other Northern Houses loyal to Robb, while leaving the Bolton army unscathed. Tywin Lannister (The King's Hand and grandfather) rewards Roose by naming House Bolton 'Lord Paramount of the North', in place of House Stark. The crown also legitimizes Roose's bastard son Ramsay Snow, under the name of 'Ramsay Bolton', as the new Lord of Winterfell.

Arya and the Hound arrive at the outskirts of the castle as the Red Wedding is taking place; to keep her from running inside to her death, the Hound knocks Arya unconscious and takes her downriver. As she sleeps, Arya sees through the eyes of her long-missing direwolf, Nymeria, that her mother Catelyn is dead. Arya and the Hound encounter Gregor Clegane's men, by whom the Hound is wounded. His wound becomes infected, and Arya abandons him. She finds a ship from the Free City of Braavos, but the captain refuses her passage until she offers him the coin and password "Valar Morghulis", given to her by Jaqen H'ghar. The captain replies "Valar Dohaeris", and they set sail for Braavos.

In the Epilogue of the book, a re-animated but decayed and mutilated Catelyn is leading the Brotherhood Without Banners, and oversees the lynching of two Freys present at the Red Wedding.

The South / King's Landing[edit]

After the Battle of the Blackwater, Davos Seaworth is taken to Dragonstone by men loyal to King Stannis. Davos blames the priestess Melisandre for Stannis's defeat, and is imprisoned for treason (Melisandre having foreseen his intention to assassinate her). At Melisandre's behest, Stannis releases Davos and asks him to serve as his Hand. With Stannis' cooperation, Melisandre has performed rituals to awaken "stone dragons", which she identifies as the great statues adjacent the castle. (Chronologically, this happens shortly before the Red Wedding.)

King's Landing welcomes the Tyrells as liberators, and King Joffrey sets aside his betrothal to Sansa Stark in favor of Margaery Tyrell. Sansa is soon compelled to marry Tyrion Lannister, who refuses to consummate the marriage against her will. Balon Greyjoy offers an alliance on the conditions that he rule the Iron Islands and the North as a separate kingdom; but Tywin refuses.

Word reaches King's Landing of the sudden death of Greyjoy, followed by news of the Red Wedding. Joffrey gloats that he has "won" the war; whereas the governing 'Small Council' is shocked to learn that Tywin secretly masterminded the Red Wedding. Tyrion warns his father that the defeated Northerners will not quietly submit to Bolton rule, but Tywin dismisses his warning. Later, Tyrion reveals that Joffrey sent the assassin who attempted to kill Bran Stark at Winterfell, and thus set the war in motion.

Margaery and Joffrey's wedding is held as planned; but during the following festivities, King Joffrey is poisoned and Tyrion framed for the murder, whereupon his sister Cersei Lannister places Tyrion on trial. Sansa is smuggled out of the castle by the jester Dontos, and taken to Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who admits culpability in Joffrey's death and Tyrion's framing, incriminating several of the Tyrell family as well. Littlefinger, with Sansa, departs King's Landing for the Eyrie, scheming to marry Lysa Arryn, Catelyn's sister, with the blessing of the Small Council, to gain the support of House Arryn.

Davos discovers a request by the Night's Watch for aid against Mance Rayder and the "Others". Melisandre convinces Stannis to sacrifice Edric Storm, a bastard son of Stannis's late brother King Robert Baratheon, to wake the dragons; but Davos smuggles Edric to safety. Stannis prepares to execute Davos for treason, but is prevented when Davos shows Stannis the Night's Watch's plea.

Jaime and Brienne reach King's Landing to find that Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen Baratheon, will inherit the throne; Tyrion is on trial for Joffrey's murder; and the Tyrell bannermen blame Brienne for Renly Baratheon's death. Jaime's severed right hand becomes infected; but he is healed by former maester Qyburn, earning Qyburn the admiration of Cersei. Jaime refuses to believe that Tyrion killed Joffrey; rejects Cersei's advances; and becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but refuses his father's offer of Casterly Rock, whereupon Tywin disinherits him. Against Tyrion, Cersei recruits the spymaster Varys and Tyrion's lover, Shae. Tyrion is approached by Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne, who offers a trial by combat against Cersei's champion, Gregor Clegane, and nearly emerges victorious, but dies in the duel. Tyrion is again condemned to death, but is freed by Jaime and Varys. Jaime reveals that Tyrion's first wife Tysha was a crofter's daughter, not a prostitute as Tywin told him; wherefore Tyrion swears revenge on Jaime, Cersei and Tywin. During Tyrion's escape, he strangles Shae to death, and kills Tywin in his privy. Jaime frees Brienne and gives her a sword reforged from 'Ice', Ned Stark's sword. He tells her to keep her oath to Catelyn, to find Arya and Sansa and return them home. He also tells her that he had killed the former King Aerys II Targaryen because he planned to burn the city and its inhabitants to spite Robert Baratheon.

At the Eyrie, Littlefinger and Lysa are married, and Sansa remains hidden by pretending to be an illegitimate daughter of Littlefinger's, named Alayne Stone. Lysa reveals that Littlefinger had convinced her to poison Jon Arryn, her late husband, to prevent her son from being fostered, and to write to Catelyn that Arryn had been poisoned by the Lannisters, which was the catalyst for the events of A Game of Thrones. Petyr subsequently pushes Lysa out of the Moon Door to her death after affirming that he had only ever loved Catelyn.

On the Wall[edit]

The detachment of the Night's Watch under Lord Commander Jeor Mormont awaits word from Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow at their forward base. The Watch are attacked by undead 'wights' and the monsters known as the Others, suffering heavy casualties. Samwell Tarly kills one of the Others with a blade of "dragonglass". Some of the Watch mutiny and kill Mormont, but Sam escapes with the help of one of Craster's daughter-wives, Gilly, and they and the girl's newborn child approach the Wall, assisted by a strange figure riding an elk, whom Sam calls 'Coldhands'. Among the dead are most of the Watch's senior leadership.

Bran Stark, his servant Hodor, Jojen and Meera Reed are guided north by Bran's dreams of a three-eyed crow. At the Wall, Sam guides them to Coldhands and returns to Castle Black, having sworn to keep Bran's survival secret even from Jon.

Jon convinces Mance that he is a deserter from the Night's Watch, and learns that the Others are driving the wildlings south towards the Wall. Jon and the fierce wildling girl Ygritte also begin a sexual relationship. Mance seeks the legendary Horn of Winter to shatter the Wall. After climbing the Wall, the wildlings press Jon to murder a homeless man. When Jon refuses, Ygritte murders the man, calling Jon a coward. Jon, with the assistance of Bran's direwolf (Bran and company are hiding in a nearby abandoned tower) kills many of the wildlings and escapes, reaching Castle Black ahead of Mance's army. The wildling army reaches Castle Black and assaults the Wall; but Jon takes command of the defenses and repels several assaults. Ygritte is slain in the fighting. Thereafter Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne imprison Jon for treachery, and subsequently send him to kill Mance under a pretense of parley. Rayder now has the Horn of Winter, but prefers not to destroy the Wall. As Jon is talking with Mance in the wildling camp, the surviving army of King Stannis arrives. Mance is captured and imprisoned. Melisandre believes the wildling invasion to portend the return of the 'Great Other', the sworn foe of her god R'hllor. Stannis offers to legitimize Jon and make him Lord of Winterfell in exchange for his support; but when his direwolf Ghost unexpectedly returns, Jon decides to decline Stannis's offer. Before he can inform Stannis, Jon is chosen by the Night's Watch as its new Lord Commander.

In the East[edit]

Heading for Pentos by sea, Daenerys Targaryen learns that large slave armies can be bought in the cities of Slaver's Bay, and exchanges one of her infant dragons for the entire host of the warrior-eunuch 'Unsullied'. Upon payment, which includes the cargo of her three ships, the ships themselves, and Drogon (the largest and strongest dragon), Daenerys orders the Unsullied to turn on their former masters and sack the city. With the help of her maturing dragons, she frees all the slaves of Astapor. Daenerys' combined Dragon-Dothraki-Unsullied horde then conquers the slaver city of Yunkai; but the lords of Meereen antagonize Daenerys by killing child slaves and burning the land to deny her resources. Daenerys besieges the city to no avail.

Daenerys discovers two traitors in her camp: Ser Jorah Mormont, who has spied on her for Varys, informant to the late King Robert Baratheon, in exchange for a royal pardon; and Arstan Whitebeard, an alias of Ser Barristan Selmy, the humiliated former Lord Commander of Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard. Daenerys offers both men, now seemingly loyal to her, the chance to make amends by sneaking into Meereen to free the slaves and start an uprising. Meereen soon falls and in retaliation for the murdered child slaves, Daenerys has the city's rulers put to death. Selmy becomes Lord Commander of Daenerys' Queensguard, while she banishes Jorah. When Daenerys learns that the council she left in Astapor was murdered by a former butcher called Cleon, styling himself King Cleon the Great, she decides to rule Mereen in practice for the rule of Westeros.

Characters[edit]

The tale is told through the eyes of ten main characters, plus a one-off prologue POV and a one-off epilogue POV character, for a total of 12 narrators.

Development[edit]

On October 6, 2009, Martin noted on his blog that his manuscript for A Storm of Swords had been 1521 pages in length;[6] the initial printed hardcover came in at 992 pages.[7] Martin did not write the Red Wedding chapters until he had completed every other chapter of the book, as he felt it was "the hardest thing I ever wrote" and that he would rather delay writing until absolutely necessary. In contrast, he referred to the chapter of Joffrey's fatal wedding as "easy and fun to write" but that he nevertheless tried to instill empathy for the painful demise of this very unpopular character and "bring home the point that this, too, was a human being who was scared and terrified and then dead".[8][9]

Editions[edit]

Foreign Language Editions

  • Bulgarian: Бард: "Вихър от Мечове"
  • Catalan: Alfaguara: "Tempesta d'espases" "Storm of swords"
  • Chinese: 重庆出版社(2007): "冰雨的风暴" ("Storm of Freezing Rain").
  • Czech: Talpress: "Bouře mečů" ("Storm of Swords")
  • Danish: Gyldendal: "En Storm af Sværd" ("A Storm of Swords")
  • Dutch: Luitingh-Sijthoff: "Een storm van zwaarden" ("A Storm of Swords")
  • Estonian: Two volumes, hardcover, Varrak (2010, 2011): "Mõõkade maru. Teras ja lumi" (A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow"), "Mõõkade maru. Veri ja kuld" ("A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold")
  • Finnish: Kirjava: "Miekkamyrsky"
  • French: Four volumes (Hardcover: Pygmalion (2001, 2002, 2003); paperback: J'ai Lu (2003, 2004)): "Les brigands" (hardcover) / "Intrigues à Port-Réal" (paperback), "L'épée de feu", "Les noces pourpres", "La loi du régicide" ("The Outlaws/Intrigues in King's Landing", "The Sword of Fire", "The Crimson Wedding", "The Law of the Kingslayer".)
  • German: Single volume, Fantasy Productions (2005): "Schwertgewitter" ("Sword Storm"). Two volumes, Blanvalet (2001, 2002): "Sturm der Schwerter", "Die Königin der Drachen" ("Storm of Swords", "The Queen of Dragons").
  • Greek: Two volumes, Anubis: "Παγωμένες Λεπίδες", "Ματωμένο Χρυσάφι" ("Frozen Blades","Bloody Gold")
  • Hebrew: "סופת החרבות חלק א - פלדה ושלג, סופת החרבות חלק ב - דם וזהב" ("Storm of swords - Steel and snow","Storm of swords - blood and gold")
  • Hungarian: Alexandra Könyvkiadó: "Kardok vihara” ("Storm of Swords")
  • Italian: Three volumes, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore (2002, 2003, 2004): "Tempesta di spade", "I fiumi della guerra", "Il Portale delle Tenebre" ("A Storm of Swords", "The Rivers of War", "The Gate of Darkness").
  • Japanese: Three volumes, hardcover : Hayakawa (2006-7), paperback : Hayakawa (2012): "剣嵐の大地" ("The Land of the Sword Storm") I, II and III
  • Korean: Eun Haeng Namu Publishing Co. : "성검의 폭풍” ("Storm of Holy Swords")
  • Lithuanian: Alma Littera "Kardų audra" ("A Storm of Swords").
  • Norwegian: Two volumes, Vendetta (2013): "Stål og snø: en sang om is og ild, bok 3, del 1", "Blod og Gull: en sang om is og ild, bok 3, del 2" ("Steel and Snow: A Song of Ice and Fire, book 3, part 1, Blood and Gold: A Song of Ice and Fire, book 3, part 2)"
  • Polish: Two volumes,Zysk i S-ka: "Nawałnica mieczy:Stal i Śnieg (I)", "Nawałnica mieczy: Krew i Złoto(II)" (A Storm of Swords:Steel and Snow", "A Storm of Swords:Blood and Gold")
  • Brazilian Portuguese: Leya: "A Tormenta de Espadas" ("The Storm of Swords")
  • European Portuguese: Two Volumes, Saída de Emergência: "A Tormenta de Espadas" ("A Storm of Swords"), "A Glória dos Traidores" ("The Betrayer's Glory")
  • Romanian: Nemira: "Iureșul săbiilor"
  • Russian: AST: "Буря мечей" ("Storm of Swords").
  • Serbian: Two volumes, Лагуна: "Олуја мачева Део први: Челик и снег", "Олуја мачева Део други: Крв и Злато"
  • Slovenian: Vihra mečev ("A Storm of Swords")
  • Spanish: Two volumes, Gilgamesh (2005): "Tormenta de espadas I", "Tormenta de espadas II" ("Storm of Swords I", "Storm of Swords II").
  • Swedish: Forum: "Svärdets makt" ("The Sword's Power")
  • Turkish: Two volumes, Epsilon Yayınevi: "Buz ve Ateşin Şarkısı III: Kılıçların Fırtınası - Kısım I & Kılıçların Fırtınası - Kısım II" ("A Storm of Swords")

Reception[edit]

Publishers Weekly said the third volume was "one of the more rewarding examples of gigantism in contemporary fantasy. [...] The complexity of characters such as Daenerys, Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates. Those two fantasy greats are also evoked by Martin's ability to convey such sensual experiences as the heat of wildfire, the chill of ice, the smell of the sea and the sheer gargantuan indigestibility of the medieval banquet at its most excessive. Perhaps this saga doesn't go as far beyond the previous bounds of high fantasy as some claim, but for most readers it certainly goes far enough to command their attention."[10] Salon.com's Andrew Leonard considered A Storm of Swords "the last truly satisfying installment in the series" in 2011.[11]

Martin was nominated for the 2001 Hugo Award for Best Novel, but lost to J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.[2][3] Afterwards he made this comment about his fans: "Eat your heart out, Rowling. Maybe you have billions of dollars and my Hugo, but you don't have readers like these."[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Hugo Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (2001)[2]
  • Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (2001)[2]
  • Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (2001)[2]
  • Geffen Award – Best Fantasy Book (Won) – (2002)
  • Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2006)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miller, Faren (November 2000). "Locu Online Reviews: A Storm of Swords (August 2000)". Locus. LocusMag.com. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  3. ^ a b "2001 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2001-09-03. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  4. ^ Martin, George R. R. (11 April 2012). "Season Three". Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (January 19, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Martin, George R. R. (October 6, 2009). "Not A Blog: Dance, Dance, Dance". GRRM.Livejournal.com (Author's LiveJournal blog). Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ Product Details: A Storm of Swords (2000). Amazon.com. ISBN 0553106635. 
  8. ^ "The Citadel: So Spake Martin - To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6–8)". Westeros.org. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  9. ^ George R. R. Martin at Authors@Google, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTTW8M_etko
  10. ^ "Fiction review: A Storm of Swords". publishersweekly.com. October 30, 2000. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  11. ^ Leonard, Andrew (July 10, 2011). "Return of the new fantasy king: "A Dance With Dragons"". salon.com. Retrieved 2012-02-02. 
  12. ^ http://www.bwbfanclub.com/fr_grrm.php

External links[edit]