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Review: “A Storm of Swords: Blood & Gold,” George R.R. Martin

February 14, 2012
Review: “A Storm of Swords: Blood & Gold,” George R.R. MartinA Storm of Swords: Blood & Gold (A Song of Ice & Fire #3, Part 2)
Written by George R.R. Martin
Published August, 2000 by HarperVoyager
637 pages
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Medieval
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five-stars

The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall.

Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark’s enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne.

And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.

A perfect finish to the the third book in the Song of Ice & Fire series. The second split of the paperback edition was just as thrilling – if not more so – than the first, with arcs of favourite characters evolving or even ending. Spoilers are in the full post.

I think what I love most about this series is how well it paints a visual picture for me whilst reading. Having watched the show beforehand, I can picture each actor and setting before my eyes perfectly. The series has done such a great job of capturing the magic George R.R. Martin has put into his books.

A Storm of Swords (part 1 and part 2) is definitely my favourite in the series so far. I think there has been more death in this book than the ones before it – in regards to central characters and such – but other than pulling the series down in that aspect, it’s really upped the stakes.

Two of my favourite characters died – Robb and Catelyn Stark. Although I knew that before going in (I’m a sucker for spoilers!) it was still hard to read, about and as the ‘Red Wedding’ began to start my stomach was basically full of dread! Catelyn’s POV characters were probably my favourite, so hopefully she continues to provide us with a view of her world in the books to come. How can she do that when she’s dead? Well, she’s come back to life of course in an amazing cliffhanger… although Lady Catelyn isn’t as… whole… as before.

Some other notable deaths within the book included;

  • Prince Joffrey, poisoned at his wedding (pumps fist)
  • Tywin Lannister, killed by his son Tyrion near the end of the book
  • Ygritte, John’s ‘spearwife’
  • Lord Morment of the Night’s watch, killed at Craster’s Keep beyond the wall.
  • Grey Wind, Robb Stark’s wolf, and numerous loyalists to Robb’s cause
  • Lysa Arryn, pushed out the Moon Door by Littlefinger

… That’s all I can think of off the top of my head for now! A whole load of other things happened, too, obviously, but for some reason all I can think about right now are the deaths! I know a lot of readers favourite chapters are those of Daenery’s, and while I don’t hate them, I don’t really enjoy them either. I think I much prefer the world of the Seven Kingdoms rather than the lands-beyond-the-sea. If Dany EVER gets to Westeros, I think my enjoyment of her chapters will improve greatly.

Bran’s story in the second part of A Storm of Swords was quite cruisy this time around, too. I’m interested to see just how Sam and Gilly helped him after they appeared at the Nightfort. I’m glad at least SOMEONE knows that Bran is alive and well, anyway. Jon Snow’s story also surprised me, too. I can’t wait to see how well (or badly? Is that possible for a Stark!) he does as the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Looking forward to seeing the new Night’s Watch recruits improve, too.

I enjoyed Sansa’s adventure a great deal, too. Her journey to the Eyrie with Petyr was something I didn’t know what to make of at first, but it’s safe to say that I was so tired of her awful life at King’s Landing by the third book. I’m curious to see how things change for her now, after her Aunt Lysa’s demise. That brings me to something else I wasn’t expecting – Lysa’s hand in John Arryn’s death. VERY interested to see what ‘big picture’ Littlefinger had (or still has) in mind regarding that one. Sansa’s story just might be one of my most anticipated aspects of the next two books.

All in all, a fantastic book. Although I do want to continue with A Feast of Crows right away, I think I’m going to be digging into my towering YA pile that has kept growing and growing while I’ve focused on A Song of Ice and Fire. Until next time, Westeros! I can’t wait to come back!

Recommended to: Fans of the series should be pleased with this addition.

About George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included. Later he became a comic book fan and collector in high school, and began to write fiction for comic fanzines (amateur fan magazines). Martin's present home is Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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