A Storm of Swords
|A Storm of Swords|
US hardcover edition
|Author||George R. R. Martin|
|Cover artist||Stephen Youll|
|Series||A Song of Ice and Fire|
|Published||2000 (Voyager Books/UK & Bantam Spectra/US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||626 (UK Paperback Part 1), 610 (UK Paperback Part 2), 973 (US Hardback), 976 (UK Hardback), 1216 (US Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-553-10663-5 (US Hardback), ISBN 0-00-224586-8 (UK Hardback), ISBN 0-553-57342-X (US Paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||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, 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, the 2002 Geffen Award for Best Novel and was nominated for the 2001 Nebula Award for Best Novel. 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.
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.
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, with the remaining kings Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Joffrey Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon fighting to secure their crowns. Civil war is destroying the common people, the ruling House of Baratheon and the major houses of Westeros: House Arryn of The Eyrie, House Baratheon of Storm's End, House Greyjoy of Pyke, House Lannister of Casterly Rock, House Martell of Sunspear, House Stark of Winterfell, House Tully of Riverrun, and House Tyrell of Highgarden. Stannis Baratheon's attempt to take King's Landing has been defeated by the new alliance between House Lannister (backing Joffrey) and House Tyrell. House Martell has also pledged its support to the Lannisters through the forces of Dorne, while House Arryn of The Vale has yet to take the field or declare their allegiance. Meanwhile, a large host of wildlings are marching toward the Wall under Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall", with only the small force of the Night's Watch in its path; and in the distant east, Daenerys Targaryen is on her way back to Pentos, hoping to raise forces to retake the Iron Throne.
In the Seven Kingdoms
The North / The Riverlands
At Riverrun, Catelyn Stark strikes a deal with Jaime Lannister, who is the captive of her son, Robb Stark, the King in the North: Jaime's freedom in return for Catelyn's daughters, Sansa and Arya. Jaime agrees, and is sent south, escorted by Brienne of Tarth. Catelyn makes this deal without the approval of King Robb, and she is taken into custody once her subterfuge becomes known by Robb's troops. Robb's army returns to Riverrun, having smashed Lannister forces in the Westerlands. Robb reveals that he has married Jeyne Westerling of the Crag, invalidating his betrothal to a House Frey daughter, thus risking losing their support.
Jaime's release infuriates Lord Rickard Karstark, whose two sons were personally killed by Jaime at Whispering Wood. Rickard exacts a father's vengeance by killing two Lannister captives (one of them a younger son of Kevan Lannister). Robb is outraged that Rickard disobeyed his direct orders, and that he has violated the laws of war by killing noble prisoners. To atone for their deaths (to prevent the Lannisters from responding by executing other Stark prisoners) and to assert his command, Robb sentences Rickard to death. Robb follows the laws of his father Ned, personally beheading Rickard. This prevents the Lannisters from retaliating against their own prisoners, but causes Robb to lose the support of House Karstark, which withdraws its 3000 soldiers back to their home in the North, damaging Robb's already precarious position in the war.
Jaime and Brienne are waylaid by mercenaries known as The Brave Companions (now in the service of Roose Bolton) and under the leadership of Vargo Hoat, and are taken to Harrenhal. A Dothraki warrior under Hoat chops off Jaime's sword hand in the hope of blame being placed on Bolton, but Jaime is sent back to King's Landing after he assures Lord Bolton he will absolve him of blame to his father. Brienne, having little value as a hostage, is left to Hoat's mercies, and is thrown into the bear pit to fight the beast. Jaime, overtaken by a fit of conscience, returns to rescue her.
Robb's forces dwindle even further, when word is received that almost half of the Stark forces were killed at the disastrous Battle of Duskendale. Under the command of Roose Bolton, the eastern half of the Stark's armies advanced east into the Crownlands, but were ambushed by a joint Lannister-Tyrell army under the command of Gregor Clegane and Lord Randyll Tarly. More losses are taken as the army retreats from Duskendale.
Worst of all, the Greyjoys now hold Robb's home territory of Winterfell and the Neck, having taken Moat Cailin. Winterfell lies in ruins after they set it afire. Nevertheless, Robb has a plan to take Moat Cailin from the Greyjoys, but it hinges on winning the support of the Freys, which they are now unlikely to give. When Lord Hoster Tully dies, Catelyn's brother Edmure becomes Lord of Riverrun. Robb gains renewed hope when he hears news that Balon Greyjoy has mysteriously died in a fall from a bridge. Further, the Iron Islands are now in a succession crisis, because two of Balon's brothers as well as his daughter Asha are each vying to succeed him, leaving the ironborn divided and vulnerable to a counter-attack. The Freys contact Robb to propose a wedding between Lord Edmure and one of Walder Frey's daughters, as a way to compensate for the broken promise of a marriage between Robb and a Frey girl.
Arya Stark and her friends encounter a group of men known as the Brotherhood Without Banners, led by Lord Beric Dondarrion and the red priest Thoros of Myr. Beric's group, originally sent by Eddard Stark to put down the Lannister raids, has devolved into defending the smallfolk of the war-torn Riverlands. The group encounters Sandor Clegane, former bodyguard of King Joffrey, known as the Hound, and offers him trial by battle, which he wins by killing Lord Beric. Thoros is able to resurrect Beric using what he calls a gift from his god R'hllor. Soon after, Arya is kidnapped by the Hound. The Hound decides to take her back to her family to collect a ransom, and they head west to Riverrun. On their journey, however, they discover that Robb and Catelyn will be at the Twins for Edmure's wedding, and change their destination to Lord Walder Frey's castles.
Robb Stark's army reaches The Twins. Frey agrees to forgive Robb if the wedding takes place. At the wedding celebration, warriors disguised as musicians produce crossbows and fire at the Starks, breaking the sacred hospitality rights protecting guests from their hosts. The Boltons and Freys kill Robb's entire army in the betrayal. Robb is personally stabbed through the heart by Roose Bolton. Catelyn, seeing Robb's death, and having just faced the death of her husband, her father, her two youngest sons, and likely Arya, plus the marriage of Sansa to one of her family's tormenters (Tyrion Lannister), goes mad and slashes her own face. One of the Freys cuts her throat and her body is dumped, naked, into the river. As a final insult by the Freys, Robb's corpse is horrifically mutilated by beheading it and sewing the head of his direwolf in its place, and nailing Robb's crown on the direwolf's head. Many of the northern lords are killed, and the few survivors captured. Edmure misses these events because they began after he was taken up to bed with his new wife. He is then kept as a hostage. These events become known as The Red Wedding.
As it turns out, Roose Bolton engineered the disastrous defeat at Duskendale, betraying the soldiers under his command by sending them into a trap set by the Lannisters, yet holding his own Bolton forces in reserve. Then as their army was retreating, he marched his Bolton forces first while having the soldiers of other Northern Houses form the rearguard. Bolton then intentionally retreated his army too slowly, ensuring that the rearguard would be stuck on the south side of the Trident when Clegane caught up with them. The combined effect was to kill off the forces of other Northern Houses loyal to Robb (five out of the 9000 entrusted to his command), while leaving his own Bolton army (numbering 3000) virtually unscathed, which leaves Roose with a larger army to slaughter Robb's remaining forces at the Red Wedding. Between the Red Wedding and Duskendale, Roose has betrayed and killed an immediate family member of every other major House in the North, but his betrayal leaves them too weak to oppose him. Except for the forces of the Boltons and Karstarks (who withdrew earlier), virtually the entire Northern army that Robb Stark led south to war has been functionally destroyed. Tywin Lannister (The King's Hand and grandfather) rewards Roose by naming House Bolton as the new Wardens of the North in place of House Stark. The crown also legitimizes Roose's bastard son Ramsay Snow: Ramsay Bolton is named the new Lord of Winterfell. With the King in the North dead, Stannis defeated, and the Ironborn divided, the war winds down as the Lannisters emerge victorious.
Arya and the Hound arrive at the outskirts of the castle as the Red Wedding is taking place. Realizing that something is dreadfully wrong, Arya attempts to enter the castle, but the Hound knocks her unconscious and takes her downriver. Arya dreams, seeing through the eyes of her long-missing direwolf, Nymeria. In the dream, Nymeria finds the corpse of a woman floating in a river. Arya tells the Hound that her mother Catelyn is dead.
Arya and the Hound encounter his brother Gregor Clegane's men. They fight free, but the Hound is wounded. His wound becomes infected, but Arya refuses him the mercy of a clean death and leaves him. She finds a ship from the Free City of Braavos, but the captain refuses her passage until she offers him the coin that Jaqen H'ghar gave her and says "Valar Morghulis", as instructed. The captain replies "Valar Dohaeris", and they set sail for Braavos.
In the Epilogue of the book, it is discovered that a re-animated but decayed and mutilated Catelyn Stark is alive with the Brotherhood Without Banners, eager for revenge against those who betrayed and murdered her and her son; she oversees the lynching of two Freys who were present at the Red Wedding.
The South / King's Landing
Davos Seaworth washes ashore on a rocky island after the Battle of the Blackwater. He is found by King Stannis's men and taken to Dragonstone. Davos blames the red priestess Melisandre for Stannis's defeat, and he is imprisoned for treason (Melisandre having foreseen his intention to assassinate her). Melisandre asks for Davos simply to be true to his king, and Stannis releases Davos and asks him to serve as his Hand, since he is one of the few men Stannis can trust to serve him truthfully (most of the others being ambitious sycophants or fanatics). With Stannis' cooperation, Melisandre has performed blood rituals to awaken "stone dragons", which she thinks are the great statues that guard the castle. (Chronologically, this happens shortly before the Red Wedding.)
King's Landing welcomes the Tyrells as liberators. King Joffrey agrees to set aside his betrothal to Sansa Stark and marry Lady Margaery Tyrell instead. Sansa is soon compelled to marry Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion treats Sansa gently and refuses to consummate the marriage against her will. Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands offers an alliance on the conditions that Balon be allowed to rule the Iron Islands and the North as a separate kingdom, but Tywin Lannister, Joffrey's grandfather and Hand, spurns it, refusing to give up half of the kingdom. Thus Balon's hope that the Lannisters would let him rule as king of the Iron Islands if he betrayed the North comes to nothing, as Theon had said it would.
Word reaches King's Landing of the sudden death of Balon Greyjoy, followed by news from The Twins regarding the Red Wedding and the murder of Robb Stark. Joffrey gloats that he has "won" the war upon hearing of Robb's death, angering Tyrion, as the boy Joffrey played no part in the war at all. The rest of the Small Council is shocked to learn that Tywin secretly masterminded the Red Wedding along with Roose Bolton and Walder Frey. Tyrion tries to warn his father that, from a simple point of practicality, the defeated Northerners will remember this atrocity and not quietly submit to Bolton rule, but Tywin waves off these concerns, saying he thinks it nobler to kill a dozen wedding guests than 10,000 soldiers on a battle-field. Later on a further revelation occurs; Tyrion subliminally reveals that Joffrey was in fact the person who sent an assassin to kill Bran Stark in his sleep after he witnessed Joffrey's mother Cersei becoming intimate with her brother Jaime(which occurs in the first book).
Margaery and Joffrey's wedding is held as planned; but, in the following festivities, King Joffrey is poisoned and his uncle Tyrion is framed for the murder. Joffrey dies painfully and ignominiously, tearing out the flesh of his own throat in desperation as the poison chokes him. Cersei Lannister has her brother Tyrion arrested as the suspect and put on trial. Meanwhile, Sansa is smuggled out of the castle by the jester Dontos, and taken to Lord Petyr Baelish, who admits culpability in Joffrey's death and Tyrion's framing, implicating several of the Tyrell family in the plot as well. Littlefinger, with Sansa, departs King's Landing for the Eyrie with a new scheme: to woo Lady Lysa Arryn, Catelyn's sister, into marriage, with the blessing of the Small Council, as a way to gain the support of House Arryn.
Lord Davos Seaworth discovers a message from the Night's Watch begging 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, to the flames to wake the dragons; but Davos smuggles Edric to safety. Stannis prepares to execute Davos for treason, but before he can Davos shows Stannis the Night's Watch's plea.
Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth reach King's Landing to find that Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen, will inherit the throne, Tyrion is on trial for Joffrey's murder, and the Tyrell bannermen blame Brienne for King Renly's death. For the time being, the Lannister position is actually stronger than ever. The unpredictable Joffrey caused more problems than he was worth whereas his pliable younger brother now serves as the ideal puppet for their grandfather, Tywin Lannister. The wounded stump where Jaime lost his right hand becomes infected and he is left close to death; however, the amoral former maester Qyburn uses his advanced medical knowledge to restore Jaime to health, earning Qyburn the good graces of Cersei. Meanwhile, Jaime refuses to believe Cersei's claims that Tyrion killed Joffrey. Having been away from the capital since just before Robert died, Jaime is shocked at how Joffrey turned the royal court into a grisly echo of the Mad King's. In particular, Jaime is disgusted at the state of the Kingsguard, which has turned into a gang of thugs mindlessly carrying out Joffrey's sadistic whims, staffed with honorless men loyal to Cersei. After a quarrel, Jaime rejects Cersei's advances. Jaime becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard but refuses his father's offer to make him heir to Casterly Rock. Tywin had always assumed that one day he would have Jaime removed from the Kingsguard to avoid having his hated son Tyrion as his heir. Tywin is surprised that Jaime will not go along with this and break his Kingsguard vows. But, rather than face the controversy of forcibly removing him from his position, he tensely agrees to Jaime's request, bitterly noting that he will no longer consider Jaime his son.
Tyrion is seemingly doomed, as Cersei has recruited many people to give evidence against him, including the spymaster Varys and Tyrion's lover, Shae. Tyrion is approached by Lord Oberyn Martell of Dorne who offers to fight for him in a trial by combat against Cersei's champion, Ser Gregor Clegane, "the Mountain that Rides". Oberyn nearly emerges victorious, but a mortally-wounded Gregor kills him. Tyrion is again condemned to death but escapes from his dungeon with the help of Jaime and Varys. Jaime reveals that Tyrion's beloved first wife had been a crofter's daughter, not a prostitute as their father Tywin had told him; a furious Tyrion berates his brother and swears revenge on Jaime, Cersei, and Tywin. During Tyrion's escape, he takes a secret passage to Tywin's chamber, where he finds Shae lying in his father's bed wearing nothing but the golden chain of The Hand. Tyrion strangles Shae to death with the chain. He then finds a crossbow and confronts Tywin as he sits in his privy. Tywin dismisses Tyrion's threats and continues to taunt him; Tyrion coldly shoots and kills his father. Tywin dies, declaring with his last breath that Tyrion is no son of his.
Jaime frees Brienne and gives her a sword reforged from Ned Stark's sword of Valyrian steel. He tells her to keep her oath to Lady Catelyn, to find Arya and Sansa and return them home. He also tells her that the real reason he betrayed his oath and murdered King Aerys was that Aerys planned to burn the city and everyone in it to prevent Robert Baratheon from conquering them. He carried out his most infamous act to save the innocent. He never told anyone because he doubted that the word of "the Kingslayer" would ever be believed.
At the Eyrie, Littlefinger and Lysa are now married, and Sansa remains hidden by pretending to be an illegitimate daughter of Littlefinger's named Alayne Stone. Only Littlefinger and Lysa are aware of her true identity. Sansa lives in fear of her increasingly psychotic Aunt Lysa, who almost pushes her out of the "Moon Door" after seeing Littlefinger kiss her. Littlefinger intervenes and unceremoniously shoves Lysa from The Eyrie to her death. Sansa learns that Littlefinger convinced Lysa to poison her husband Jon Arryn and blame the Lannisters, which was the catalyst for the events of A Game of Thrones.
On the Wall
The detachment of the Night's Watch under Lord Commander Jeor Mormont awaits word from Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow at the forward base they have established at the Fist of the First Men. The Watch comes under attack by wights and the fabled monsters of legend known as the Others, suffering heavy casualties, but the handful of survivors manage to withdraw. Samwell Tarly kills one of the Others with a strange blade of obsidian, or "dragonglass". Some of the men of the Watch mutiny and kill Lord Commander Jeor Mormont at Craster's Keep. Sam escapes with the help of one of Craster's daughter-wives, Gilly, and they and the girl's newborn make their way south towards the Wall. They are helped on the way by a strange figure riding an elk, whom Sam calls Coldhands. The entire expedition North has been a disaster: out of three hundred men that Mormont led north (out of the barely one thousand current members of the Night's Watch), only a dozen manage to make it back to Castle Black alive. Among the dead are not only Mormont himself, but most of the Watch's senior leadership.
Bran Stark and Hodor, along with Jojen and Meera Reed, fleeing the ruins of Winterfell, are guided north by Bran's strange dreams of a three-eyed crow. They reach the Wall and meet Samwell Tarly and Gilly. Sam guides them to Coldhands, who will take them north, and returns to Castle Black, having sworn an oath to keep the truth of Bran's survival a secret even from Jon Snow.
Jon Snow is taken to Mance Rayder and is able to convince him that he is a deserter from the Night's Watch. He learns that the Others are driving the wildlings south towards the Wall. Jon and Ygritte also begin a sexual relationship due to their "marriage by capture". Ygritte takes Jon into a cave where they have sex, and Ygritte tells Jon she is in love with him. Mance seeks the legendary Horn of Winter which will shatter the Wall when sounded, but has apparently been unable to find it. After climbing the Wall (where Jon must abandon Ghost), they encounter a homeless man in an abandoned town. The wildlings pressure Jon to murder the homeless man. When Jon refuses, Ygritte murders the man, calling Jon a coward. In a fit of rage 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. Jon is shot in the leg by Ygritte's arrow as he rides off.
The wildling army, over one hundred thousand strong, reaches Castle Black and assaults the Wall; Jon takes command of the defenses and repels several assaults. Ygritte is among those slain during the fighting, dying in the arms of a heart-broken Jon Snow. As Jon is leading the defense of the Wall, Janos Slynt and Ser Alliser Thorne return to Castle Black and hold an impromptu trial, accusing Jon of oathbreaking and treachery. He is imprisoned in an ice-cell at the base of the Wall. Janos Slynt's imagined self-importance and Ser Alliser's grudgingly-held anger at Jon Snow cause them to send Jon on what they hope to be a suicide mission to dishonorably kill Mance Rayder under a pretense of parley. Rayder now has the Horn of Winter, but would rather cross the Wall than destroy it, as the Wall is the only thing that will keep the Others at bay.
As Jon is talking with Mance Rayder in the Wildling camp, the surviving army of King Stannis arrives. Mance is captured and imprisoned. Stannis reveals that Davos Seaworth convinced him that a true king would protect the Seven Kingdoms' northern boundary from invasion. Melisandre believes the wildling invasion to be the forerunner of the return of The Great Other, the sworn foe of her red god, R'hllor. Stannis offers to legitimize Jon Snow and make him Lord of Winterfell in exchange for his support, putting Jon in a crisis of conscience; Stannis's offer would require him to break his vow to the Night's Watch, and more importantly to forsake his father's gods for the Lord of Light. When his direwolf Ghost unexpectedly returns, Jon decides to decline Stannis's offer. Before he has a chance to inform Stannis, Jon is chosen by the Night's Watch as its new Lord Commander with the help of Samwell Tarly.
In the East
Heading for Pentos by sea, Daenerys Targaryen learns that large slave armies can be bought in the cities of Slaver's Bay. Daenerys agrees to give up one of her beloved infant dragons to entice the Slavers to sell her the entire host of the Unsullied, the feared warrior-eunuchs of Astapor. Upon payment, which includes the cargo of the three ships she is traveling in, the ships themselves and Drogon the largest and strongest dragon, Daenerys is declared their new mistress and immediately orders her new army of 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 advances on the slaver city of Yunkai. Many of the mercenaries Yunkai hired to protect it are killed; the remainder switch sides to Daenerys' growing forces and Yunkai easily falls. However, 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 false persons in her camp, but the natures of their deceptions are very different. Ser Jorah Mormont was spying for Varys, informant to the late King Robert Baratheon; Arstan Whitebeard is actually an alias of Ser Barristan Selmy, the humiliated former Lord Commander of Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard, who has come seeking the true Targaryen ruler. Daenerys offers both men the chance to make amends by sneaking into Meereen via the sewers 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 executed in the same brutal manner. Barristan Selmy submits to Daenerys' judgement; she forgives him and makes him Lord Commander of her Queensguard. However, Ser Jorah insists that he did nothing wrong and is banished for this betrayal. Daenerys learns that the council she left in Astapor was murdered by a former butcher called Cleon. He calls himself King Cleon, the Great, and resumes training Unsullied while the city starves and thousands die in conflicts in the streets. Daenerys decides to remain in Meereen and learn to be the queen that the city-state needs, so that in turn she will know how to be a queen in Westeros.
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.
- Prologue: Chett, a brother and hound-keeper of the Night's Watch.
- Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer
- Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark. A sworn brother of the Night's Watch
- Lady Catelyn Stark, of House Tully, widow of Lord Eddard Stark
- Tyrion Lannister, youngest son of Tywin Lannister, a dwarf, brother of Ser Jaime Lannister
- Sansa Stark, eldest daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark,
- Arya Stark, youngest daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, missing and presumed dead
- Bran Stark, son of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, Prince of Winterfell, heir to the North, believed dead
- Samwell Tarly, cowardly son of Lord Randyll Tarly and a sworn brother of the Night's Watch;
- Ser Davos Seaworth, a smuggler turned knight in the service of King Stannis Baratheon
- Queen Daenerys Targaryen, Stormborn, of the Targaryen Dynasty
- Epilogue: Merrett Frey, a member of the numerous Frey family.
On October 6, 2009, Martin noted on his blog that his manuscript for A Storm of Swords had been 1521 pages in length; the initial printed hardcover came in at 992 pages. 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".
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" ("Iced Swords","Blooded 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")
- 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"
- Spanish: Two volumes, Gilgamesh (2005): "Tormenta de espadas I", "Tormenta de espadas II" ("Storm of Swords I", "Storm of Swords II").
- Turkish: Two volumes, Epsilon Yayınevi: "Buz ve Ateşin Şarkısı III: Kılıçların Fırtınası - Kısım I & Kılıçların Fırtınası - Kısım II" ("A Storm of Swords")
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." Salon.com's Andrew Leonard considered A Storm of Swords "the last truly satisfying installment in the series" in 2011.
Martin lost the 2001 Hugo Award for Best Novel to J. K. Rowling. 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."
Awards and nominations
- Hugo Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (2001)
- Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (2001)
- Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (2001)
- Geffen Award – Best Fantasy Book (Won) – (2002)
- Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2006)
- Miller, Faren (November 2000). "Locu Online Reviews: A Storm of Swords (August 2000)". Locus. LocusMag.com. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
- "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- "2001 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2001-09-03. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Martin, George R. R. (11 April 2012). "Season Three". Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Martin, George R. R. (October 6, 2009). "Not A Blog: Dance, Dance, Dance". GRRM.Livejournal.com (Author's LiveJournal blog). Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- "Product Details: A Storm of Swords (2000)". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- "The Citadel: So Spake Martin - To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6–8)". Westeros.org. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- George R. R. Martin at Authors@Google, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTTW8M_etko
- "Fiction review: A Storm of Swords". publishersweekly.com. October 30, 2000. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- Leonard, Andrew (July 10, 2011). "Return of the new fantasy king: "A Dance With Dragons"". salon.com. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
- A Wiki Of Ice And Fire Wiki dedicated to A Song of Ice and Fire
- A Storm of Swords at the Internet Book List
- A Storm of Swords at Worlds Without End