A Feast for Crows Review - The Introduction of the Sparrows
by George R. R. Martin
Still nursing my broken heart from The Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords, I pushed forward to A Feast for Crows hoping George R. R. Martin would give my heart a break. Then again, I might have an easier chance asking water not to be wet than I would asking George R. R. Martin to not kill my beloved characters but I suppose it’s worth it to ask. I can at least celebrate because that awful Joffrey is dead! Since George R. R. Martin always has plenty to say, A Feast for Crows only includes half of the main characters such as Cersei, Jaime, Dorne, Sansa, and Arya. The rest of the characters around the Wall and across the sea will be included in the next book A Dance with Dragons.
A Feast for Crows begins with the funeral for Tywin Lannister after he was killed by Tyrion Lannister after his escape from the dungeons at the end of the previous book. Cersei is beyond furious that he managed to escape because she doesn’t know it was Lord Varys and Jaime that helped break him out. This leaves Tommen as the new king in King’s Landing while Stannis is in the North with the Night’s Watch. Due to Joffrey dying before consummating the marriage with Margaery, it is decided that she will instead marry Tommen to solidify the alliance with the Tyrells. Cersei trusts them less day by day, suspecting that Margaery may be manipulating Tommen to get things her way. Cersei also remembers a prophecy a witch had given her that all 3 of her children would die and so she tries to increase Tommen’s guards for further protection. Samwell Tarly takes Aemon and Gilly along with her baby South to his family’s home as per Jon’s instructions as the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
Brienne of Tarth is sent by Jaime to continue looking for the Stark girls as they promised Catelyn Stark, before she was killed, that they would send her daughters home. She runs into the Brotherhood without Banners and meets Lady Stoneheart, aka dead Catelyn Stark, who tells her to bring her daughters home and kill Jaime Lannister, which Brienne refuses to do. She is then sentenced to hang. Over in Dorne, the Sand Snakes are furious and seek vengeance for the death of their father Oberyn Martell. Doran Martell has them imprisoned for fear that they will invoke the wrath of the Lannisters upon them. However, his daughter Arianne Martell begins sleeping with one of Myrcella’s guards in order to manipulate him for the Sand Snakes with the intention of wedding her to Trystane and declaring her Queen to start a war within the Lannister family. This backfires as Myrcella is gravely wounded and almost killed. Doran Martell reveals to the Sand Snakes that while they were being foolish in trying to start this war, he sent his son Quentyn to Meereen to marry Daenerys to form an alliance between her and Dorne to rise against King’s Landing.
Sansa Stark is hiding as Alayne in the Vale pretending to be Petyr’s bastard daughter. They go through a trial where they lie about Lysa’s death and blame it on her singer. Following this trial, Sansa takes the place of Lysa in Robert Arryn’s life as he looks up to her as a mother figure, which she begins to realize she can use to her advantage. Euron Greyjoy becomes King of the Iron Islands following Balon Greyjoy’s death. He decides to sail to Meereen to woo Daenerys into a marriage alliance. Back in King’s Landing, the Iron Bank refuses the crown anymore loans and begins demanding payment for their outstanding debts. In order to kill two birds with one stone, Cersei negotiates the debt with the High Septon in exchange for reinstating the Faith Militant and having them arrest Margaery Tyrell for treason after accusing her of sleeping with other men besides her husband Tommen. This later backfires as one of the witnesses says he slept with Cersei, and the faith militant decide to arrest her as well and hold her for trial. She sends a letter to Jaime Lannister, who was sent to the Riverlands in order to trade Edmure Tully for the surrender of Riverrun. Jaime decides to ignore her letter for help after remembering that Tyrion also accused her of sleeping with several other men in King’s Landing while he was away.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 8/10
This was my least favorite of the A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. This is still an 8/10 so I still thought this book was amazing, mostly because George R. R. Martin is an incredible author who could make any book amazing. However, I found A Feast for Crows to feel like it was missing something since it was basically one book split in two. I found myself missing Jon Snow and Daenerys and Tyrion because their chapters always added a nice variety and mix to the book. What I love most about this series is how several stories can be put together to make one overall book and with this one I felt like that was my biggest problem. Cersei and Jaime and the Martells and Petyr are still incredible characters and I want to see what they have to say but I feel like their chapters usually feel more like strategic schemes while Daenerys and Jon Snow are usually more action filled so they balance each other well.
I still do love A Feast for Crows because the entire book felt like George R. R. Martin was putting things into place so that in his book Winds of Winter things could really get crazy! With Cersei (The Cersei Lannister!!!!) thrown in prison by the High Septons whom she had given power, I know that she would never let such a slight go unpunished. I also thought it was interesting how Euron Greyjoy and Quentyn Martell are both heading to Meereen to ask Daenerys for her hand in marriage and interested to see how she will react to such propositions from these strangers. The Martells better hope Daenerys accepts this and immediately stands behind them in the war against King’s Landing because as soon as Cersei hears about Myrcella’s face mutilation, she is going to be furious!
This book is similar to season 4 of the HBO TV series Game of Thrones, but it’s closer to the end when we begin to see major differences, such as these proposals of marriage to Daenerys and Lady Stoneheart being alive. I do think the book helps give some insight for those that are fans of the shows and understanding how these “Sparrows” were so dangerous and how signing the Faith Militant agreement was one of the WORST decisions Cersei had ever made. Since Tommen is but 8 years old, I know he’s not going to be much help with this conundrum even with his mother and wife at stake. I also think the Dorne/ Martell storyline in the books is WAY better than in the show because it highlights how careful and clever Doran was this whole time and how he ignored minor slights now because he was looking at the big picture! Considering the marriage between Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen before, I would be more than happy to see another alliance between the Martells and Targaryens. Overall, I would recommend this book because it is leading for more great things to come!