A Dance with Dragons

By: George R. R. Martin

Review By: Alex Frank

By now, I’m sure you all know that A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series. That being said, I imagine you don’t wish to ruin any details for yourself if you have not yet read up until this point. Please don’t spoil anything for yourself because that would be terribly sad.

Cersei has been locked away in the citadel for her crimes against the church leaving Tommen to be free, for a time, of his mother’s control. The Crow’s Eye has immerged to sit the Seastone chair and rule the Ironborne fleet sending his brother, Victarion, half way across the world to fetch him Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and Queen of Meereen. Not to mention, the rightful queen of Westeros. Daenerys may not be taking part in the war raging Westeros between Stannis and the Iron Throne, but she may soon find war on her doorstep unless she can get the Sons of the Harpy under control as well as a plague that could wipe out her whole army.

Each war has victors and each war has losers. The questions remains, however, which side is which. Winter is coming, and the wars of man mean little to the white walkers who stalk the night and raise the dead. Jon Snow fights a hidden war for the realm from his wall, as Westeros remains completely oblivious. Does he have the wisdom to do what is right or will his actions be his downfall as the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch?

When last we left off:

Cersei-locked in the citadel to answer for her crimes of fortification and other sins

Brienne- was being hanged by Lady Stoneheart (also known as the late Catelyn Stark)

Jaime- not going to rescue Cersei though she sent word to him that she was imprisoned

Samwell- in Old Town with Gilly. Maester Aemon died and now Sam is to learn how to be a Maester himself.

Arya- left blind after killing a man she wasn’t supposed to, with the Faceless Men

Sansa- now known as Alayne (Petyr’s bastard daughter), Petyr made a match for her and intends to kill Robin Arryn

Aeron Greyjoy-intends to overthrow the Crow’s Eye whom he believes is not godly enough to sit the Seastone Chair

Victarion- Intends to steal Dany for himself instead of giving her to the Crow’s Eye

Arianne- knows her father’s intentions to have her brother marry Dany and unite Dorne to Dany’s cause

Asha- last seen running from the Crow’s Eye’s crowning

Areo Hotah- loyal captain of Prince Doran’s guard

Arys Oakheart-dead at the hands of Areo Hotah when Arianne tried to sneak Princes Myrcella out of Dorne.

Now we get our favorite characters back, which include:

Jon Snow

Tyrion Lannister

Daenerys Targaryen

Davos Seaworth

Bran Stark

Jaime Lannister

Arya Stark

As well as some others:

Theon Greyjoy

Quentyn Martell

Barristan Selmy

Asha Greyjoy

Jon Connington

Cersei Lannister

Victarion Greyjoy

Areo Hotah


Truth be told, I really want this series to be over. Not because it is terrible (on the contrary, it’s amazing), but because there is so much going on at once that I really want to know how it all ends.

I admittedly am also tired of Martin seemingly killing off characters and then bringing them back to life again. If I have to deal with the trauma of a favorite character dying, even if I would be happy to find out they are still alive, I would rather they just stay dead. Let me mourn. Anymore, whenever someone dies I actually doubt they are dead until I have proof on the contrary. I feel like it’s supposed to be the other way around, but now I’m just left constantly second guessing deaths which leaves my head spinning and my mind completely exhausted. Who’s dead? Who’s not? Who knows? Tired, I tell you. Very tired.

But there is so much in terms of plot twists and surprises in this book that it really just makes the series that much more readable if not more complex. I appreciate that Martin was able to so thoroughly build a believable world that contains all the drama, secrets, and backstabbing that we all imagined probably happened in medieval times (and happens in modern politics, truth be told). I also really enjoy knowing the secrets that other characters in the series have not yet learned and then seeing their reactions unfold on paper. That is true book magic right there.

On a side note, everyone is chasing Dany! Everyone! Someone is out to marry her from every far part of the globe it seems. She doesn’t know what to do; yet she is trying to do what is best for her people. Everyone else just wants her for his or her own personal gain. The poor girl is lost, and there is an enemy everywhere she turns. Her dragons have become nearly impossible to control, and the citizens of Meereen have to worry about a plague coming to wipe them out from Astapor. She can’t catch a break! Every plot in this book is somehow tied back to her and she doesn’t even know it yet. Everyone is all about the dragons, but does anyone actually care about that poor girl? Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy maybe but she seems to have no friends. Such is the life of a queen, I suppose. Really glad I’m not one. I wouldn’t have the patience or the stomach to deal with all those problems and people.

Admittedly this is not much of a book review, and for that I am sorry. But I’m not entirely sure what to say once I’ve reached the fifth book in a series. It kind of is what it is at this point and we just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully Martin can finish the sixth book soon so we all don’t die of anticipation. But for now here are my really brief and sparse comments on A Dance with Dragons.

Overall Rating: 4

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