Holy crap, everyone. It’s a day I hadn’t thought would happen for a while. I finally finished the longest book in A Song of Ice and Fire, book 3 “A Storm of Swords”. Wow. So much to say, so much to think on.
“A Storm of Swords” is the longest book in the series so far. And it took months to finish. It was definitely slower going in parts than “A Clash of Kings”, which didn’t help the speed I read it at. But so much happened, much more than I had thought. So many character deaths that I know happen later in the show happened in this book and surprised me.
I know how season 3 of the show ends, I saw the spoilers and the screams. But the event it ends on doesn’t happen until somewhere just over halfway through the book. And then the book continues into other events that I know happen in season 4, but they all happened right here in book 3. I’m intentionally trying to be vague in case there are some who are somehow unspoiled by the events of the series. But really, so many big events and character deaths (oh the character deaths….wow) happened in this book I was stunned.
Let’s talk characters, shall we? Martin has so many, and they all grow as they’re meant to, which is fabulous. We’ll only focus on a few. Brienne of Tarth, who I spoke of last time, is such a great character and though she interacts only with one person who doesn’t always like her this time around we readers can still see who she truly is. Melisandre, the red lady who whispers in King Stannis’s ear, is fascinating to read about because she’s so sure of everything she says yet I cannot bring myself to trust her. I trust nothing she says and nothing she does, even if the magic she wields is real. She is a priestess for the Lord of Light R’hollor, who’s faithful servant Azor Ahai she believes has been reborn in Stannis. But the Lord of Light has an enemy, one who’s name must never be said, and something tells me that Melisandre isn’t all she’s made herself out to be.
We finally meet Beric Dondarrion, an outlaw who was previously in the service of Ned Stark. He has something in his possession that I find very interesting, and I’ll explain with some spoilers. The sign for Azor’s return is a flaming sword. Stannis has a sword born of flame that shimmers strangely, but does not flame. Beric? Well, he’s survived at least five deaths, and his sword can actually burst into flame. So which one is the real Azor? Martin didn’t tell us yet…damn it Martin.
I say those three words a lot when reading this series. He breaks the chapters down by character, but sometimes he likes to make it so that certain characters end on cliffhangers and don’t come back for at least 100 pages. Yep, that’s right, 100. At least. Do you know how frustrating that is, Martin? Do you?
So much s*** went down in this book, you guys. At least seven major character deaths, and I only thought that two of them happened in this book. I mean, wow. Just…wow. And one of my favorite characters labeled a traitor by his love? That hurt, but I’m used to my favorite characters having awful things happen to them. And so much more than that happened. Some favorites surviving barely, others going through all sorts of hell that’s basically never ending. Some having to turn their backs on what they want for what must be done, only to discover that what must be done is what they truly want. This series is amazing, you guys. Truly amazing.
The third season has some minor changes. Barristan Selmy does not hide his identity from Dany as he does in the book. Robb’s wife isn’t a lady from a minor house, she’s just a woman from his party. Sansa has some minor changes but overall the story is the same. Minor things here and there aren’t what bother me.
Some good news from the season is that we finally get Meera and Jojen Reed, two characters who we technically meet in book 2. I love them both, I was so disappointed when they didn’t arrive in the second season. But luckily we get them now. Yay!
A change I didn’t see coming was seeing Theon and meeting “Reek” aka Ramsey Snow, Lord Bolton’s bastard. Theon is barely mentioned in book three, and from what I’ve researched he doesn’t reappear until book five, where he is held captive and tortured by Ramsey Snow. But no, we get the start of it now in season three. If you don’t know, Ramsey Snow is the most hated character in the series alongside Joffrey. He may even be worse. We’ll see.
Davos gets some minor changes to his story. It’s all basically the same, like Sansa’s, but some details are changed. He advises the king before being made Hand. He learns to read while imprisoned instead of after being freed, and he is taught by Stannis’s daughter instead of the maester. But again, minor changes oh well.
The biggest change is Gendry’s storyline. See, Gendry is the bastard of Robert Baratheon, though he has no idea of it. He becomes Arya’s friend and companion until he decides to stay with the Brothers Without Banners as their blacksmith. At least, that’s his story in the books so far. Also in the books is a character called Edric Storm, another of Robert’s children, and one Melisandre plans to use and kill to ensure Stannis’ rise to the throne in her one magical way. The series neglected to introduce Edric. So poor wonderful Gendry gets taken by Melisandre from the Brothers Without Banners. My poor Gendry. I really like him. But I can see why Gendry was used instead of Edric in the show; they never introduced Edric, Gendry was always a big character, why not save money and an actor. Ok, I get it. But I still like Gendry, always have.
Another part I really enjoyed from the show was a story Lady Catelyn tells Robb’s wife. She has never like Jon Snow, thinking he was a marred mark on her marriage. But the story she tells shows a different side. When Ned first brought him home, she wished Jon Snow gone. When he grew sick and was potentially dying, she prayed for his health and promised that if he lived she would love him like he was her own. He lived, but she did not hold to her promise. And because of that, she blames herself for all of the horrors that have recently befallen House Stark. It’s a wonderful scene, one I’m glad they added into the story of Catelyn.
I love these characters…most of them. I love this world. I love the writing, the plot, the imagery. I love the actors who portray these characters. I love the music written for the show. Yes, the books are long. And yes, the show misses some – maybe sometimes important – detailes. But overall I think it’s all wonderfully done.
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