Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Storm of Swords - A Song of Ice and Fire Book 3

Contrary to my plan after reading A Clash of Kings, I didn't take a break from the series by picking up a lighter title. Instead, I waited a few weeks before getting right back on the horse and read through Book 3: A Storm of Swords.

Winner of the following awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2001), Nebula Award Nominee (2002), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2001), Ignotus (2006),Geffen (2002)

I find it hard to write about it now, without spoiling the story for those who have neither read the book nor seen the TV series. So maybe I'll just list the things or moments that I really liked:
  • Sansa continues to be gracious and strong despite what she's gone through. She is married off to someone she never expected but she maintains an act to ensure her survival. I still fear for her now, especially when she finds herself in the hands of somebody who has betrayed her parents in the past.
  • Tyrion continues to surprise me. He does appear to be more honorable than most, and kind-hearted. You almost want to really wish that his marriage becomes a happy one. What happens to him next, is a big question. 
  • Arya plods on in her never-ending journey home. She might have seen her brother Robb, and her lady mother, had she not been captured by the outlaws, but it might have also meant her death at the Red Wedding. It is so hard to imagine her as a ten-year old (or is she nine?) with the way she thinks and acts. She has definitely aged beyond her years.
  • Dany, the last Targaryen, continues her quest for an army big enough to conquer Westeros again. Here she comes face to face with slavers and begins to teach them a lesson they would sooner forget. She also learns about a betrayal; loses a trusted knight, but gains a new one. 
  • Littlefinger proves to us just how cunning he could be. We will hear from him, for sure.
  • We finally find out who sent the man to kill Bran in his sleep, and I must admit it was not on my list of suspects. Just before it was revealed in the books, I was actually thinking about it. Who started this war? It's finally been answered!
  • Jon Snow is a man of the Night's Watch. He is also his father's son. He will play a bigger role yet in the biggest battle the realm has ever engaged in. My heart was broken as he held the dying Ygritte in his arms, but it also confirmed to me how honor and duty and the Stark words that are truly important to him. I did not doubt what his decision would be in the end, he will always choose what was right. 
  • Stannis and the red woman. Stannis is lucky to have a loyal man in Ser Davos. But he also seems stupid in his complete devotion to the red woman. I do not trust her. She claims to be of the Light, but she employs dark arts to achieve her goals. Everyone recognizes it but King Stannis.
  • Bran continues his journey with the young Reeds and Hodor as his protectors. He finally goes beyond the wall, with hardly anyone knowing that the rightful heir to Winterfell was still alive.
  • Robb, the King in the North. I love Robb! I hate that he actually did start losing the North even more when he let himself be weak and marry another woman. I like her TV wife better because I got to know her. In the book, he just came back married. Was she really worth the ire of the Freys of the Twins? But he redeemed himself to my eyes when he continued to make sounds plans - he was definitely on his way to another victory. One that would have assured of his hold on the North. He was also more than aware of the threat to his throne, and sought to secure it should anything happen to him. I loved him for issuing a decree to debastardize Jon Snow and proclaim him heir of Winterfell before Sansa. It wasn't a judgment against Sansa, but rather a move to ensure that a Stark ruled the North, and not a Lannister.
  • Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer. I hated his guts. But I think I might just change my mind about this one. Perhaps his time in captivity, and the loss of his sword hand has taught him a much needed lesson. His confession about what led to him killing King Aerys already gave him plus points. But his actions when he got back to King's Landing is earning him even more. Perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye.
  • Roose Bolton and the Freys. I just knew something was up. I hope they burn in hell! Haha!  
All in all I really enjoyed reading this one. I found myself looking forward to getting a few chapters in after work each day. Sometimes I even hit myself for sleeping too much instead of staying awake enough to finish a chapter (Hah!). :) I'm not done watching Season 3 yet, I stopped because I wasn't ready for all the blood and the bad news. But now that I've read it, I think I'm ready to see it on screen. 

But what lessons in life do we get from all this?
  • There is evil out there, but there's also a lot of good. And good comes from unexpected places, and people you would think incapable of it.
  • There is no clear distinction between hero and villain. 
  • We must consider the consequences of our actions. 
  • Think very carefully before breaking an oath. Some promises are made to be broken, but not all.
  • Help comes to those who need them. We should also learn when to ask. 
  • You reap what you sow. So spread some love and kindness, you'll never know when you're gonna need them back. 
 A Storm of Swords seems to be the best book so far in this series, and it's left me itching to start on the next one.