A Feast for Crows

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A Feast for Crows
US Hardcover Edition
Author George R. R. Martin
Country United States
Language English
Series A Song of Ice and Fire
Genre(s) Fantasy novel
Publisher Voyager Books (UK) & Bantam Books (US)
Released 17 October 2005 (UK) & 8 November 2005 (US)
Media Type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Audiobook & E-book
Pages 753 (US Hardback), 704 (UK Hardback), 1104 (US Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-553-80150-3 (US Hardback), ISBN 0-00-224743-7 (UK Hardback), ISBN 0-553-58202-X (US Paperback)
Preceded by A Storm of Swords
Followed by A Dance with Dragons
Purchase A Feast for Crows

A Feast for Crows is the fourth of seven planned novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin. The novel was first published on October 17 2005 in the United Kingdom, with a United States edition following on November 8 2005; however, it appeared ahead of the publication date in several UK bookshops. Its publication was preceded by a novella named Arms of the Kraken, which collected the first four Iron Islands chapters together. Arms of the Kraken was published in the August 2002 edition of Dragon Magazine. Another chapbook featuring three Daenerys Targaryen chapters was published for BookExpo 2005, although these chapters were subsequently moved into the fifth volume, A Dance with Dragons.

Like its predecessor A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction and fantasy publishing, although it lost out the 2006 ballot to Robert Charles Wilson's Spin. A Feast for Crows was also the first novel in the sequence to debut at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, a feat among fantasy writers only previously achieved by David Eddings, Robert Jordan and Neil Gaiman.

Due to complexities that arose during the writing process, A Feast for Crows only includes some of the POV characters from the past novels, as well as some new characters who appear only briefly. The remaining characters return in A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book.

Plot summary

A Feast for Crows picks up the tale where A Storm of Swords leaves off and runs simultaneously with events in the following novel, A Dance with Dragons. The War of the Five Kings seems to be winding down. Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy are dead. King Stannis Baratheon has fled to the Wall, where Jon Snow has become Lord Commander. King Tommen Baratheon, Joffrey's eight-year-old brother, now rules in King's Landing under the watchful eye of his mother, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister. Lord Tywin Lannister is dead, murdered by his son Tyrion in his flight from the city. Sansa Stark is in hiding in the Vale, protected by Petyr Baelish who has murdered his wife Lysa Arryn and named himself Protector of the Vale and guardian of eight-year-old Lord Robert Arryn.

The novel spans several months of the year 300 AC.

In King's Landing

In the city of King's Landing, the funeral of Tywin Lannister is held. To Cersei Lannister's distaste, Lord Mace Tyrell tries to use the occasion to put himself forward for the position of Hand of the King and his uncle, Garth Tyrell, installed on the small council. Cersei rebuffs him and asks her uncle Kevan to serve as Hand. Kevan says he will accept only if Cersei steps down as Regent and returns to Casterly Rock as Tywin's heir. Cersei furiously refuses him and Kevan leaves to help his son Lancel rule his new castle of Darry in the riverlands. Eventually, she names the biddable Harys Swyft as Hand and fills the rest of the small council with her minions, including Gyles Rosby as master of coin, the sellsail Aurane Waters as grand admiral, and the disgraced ex-maester Qyburn as master of whisperers.

The Redwyne fleet sails from the Arbor to Dragonstone and that castle is put under siege, whilst Mace Tyrell leads his army south to invest Storm's End and end the pretensions of Stannis's loyalists in the south once and for all. Cersei has the High Septon murdered by Osney Kettleblack so that he can be replaced by someone loyal to her, but the newcomer turns out to be the High Sparrow, a zealous martinet who has the support of the war-refugees that now throng in the city. He offers to speed up Tommen's coronation and forgive the crown its debts to the Faith if Cersei will restore the Faith Militant. Cersei agrees, to the horror of Grand Maester Pycelle.

The ironborn strike hard along the coast of the Reach, conquering the Shield Islands and virtually blockading the mouth of the Honeywine and the route into Oldtown. Furious, Margaery Tyrell and her brother Loras ask Cersei for aid, but Cersei is reluctant to give it. She gives permission for Lord Paxter Redwyne to take his fleet home and destroy the ironborn, but only once the siege of Dragonstone is complete. Loras leads an assault on the castle and takes it, but is reported grievously injured in the process. Margaery's protestations vex Cersei, causing her to doubt her future role as Tommen's wife. She conceives a plan to ruin Margaery by framing her to the Faith of the Seven for sleeping with Osney. Unfortunately the plan backfires when the new High Septon has the knight scourged to ensure the truth of the matter, and he confesses about Cersei's many improprieties as well. The Faith arrests both Cersei and Margaery. Kevan Lannister is recalled to take over as Regent and Hand. Cersei's summons for Jaime to return and defend her go unanswered. Mace Tyrell lifts the siege of Storm's End barely weeks after it began to race back to the capital and learn the fate of his daughter, whilst Randyll Tarly marches on the city from the north. Meanwhile, Aurane Waters absconds with Cersei's dromonds.

In the narrow sea

At the Wall, Samwell Tarly receives a new mission from Jon Snow. He is to take Maester Aemon back to the Citadel in Oldtown by sea and research the Others in the archives there. The information may be essential in a possible war to come. The wildling girl Gilly and the singer Dareon will accompany them as well. Jon is busy rebuilding the Night's Watch following the attack on Castle Black and the battle beneath the Wall, and is concerned over Melisandre's plans to burn the captive Mance Rayder in an attempt to resurrect stone dragons. Sam, Aemon, and Gilly take ship across the narrow sea for the Free City of Braavos, but Aemon's health begins to fail him. Gilly cries throughout the journey, and Aemon reveals that she was forced to swap her baby with Mance's at the Wall (again to avoid Melisandre's fires). In Braavos, Aemon's health takes a turn for the worse and they miss the ship that was supposed to take them south. Dareon makes money singing, but constantly spends it on wine and prostitutes, leaving the group stranded. Dareon also hears rumors in the city of a three-headed dragon in Meereen. After Sam violently confronts Dareon, he meets a Summer Islander who saw Daenerys Targaryen's dragons in Qarth. Aemon comes to believe that Daenerys fulfills the prophecy of the prince that was promised, reasoning that the wording of the prophesy did not specify the gender of the leader. He resolves to travel to Meereen, and the Summer Islanders agree to take them south to Oldtown as part of the journey. At sea, Aemon dies of natural causes. His last instructions to Sam are to tell the maesters of the Citadel what has happened and make them understand they must send aid to Daenerys. Gilly and Sam become lovers along the way.

In the crownlands and riverlands

Brienne of Tarth continues her quest to find Sansa Stark. She is found by Podrick Payne, Tyrion's former squire, and agrees to let him accompany her. They pass north through the town of Duskendale, where they encounter the Tyrell army under Lord Randyll Tarly and are joined by an old acquaintance of Brienne, Ser Hyle Hunt. Brienne's explorations take her along Crackclaw Point, where she kills several of the now-scattered Bloody Mummers, and to the Quiet Isle in the estuary of the Trident. The Elder Brother of the septry tells her that he found Sandor Clegane dying under a tree and learned that he had been with Arya Stark, who fled towards the coast. Brienne's pursuit takes her to Maidenpool and Saltpans, but she can find no sign of Arya. Her group runs across the remnants of the brotherhood without banners, who take her captive at the crossroads inn after she fights more Bloody Mummers. Thoros of Myr tells her that Beric Dondarrion died, giving up his borrowed life to save another. They take her to the undead Catelyn Stark, who is now called Lady Stoneheart. Catelyn believes that Brienne has betrayed her by allowing Jaime to go free without returning with her daughters. She offers Brienne a chance to redeem herself by killing Jaime; when Brienne refuses, Stoneheart orders her, Podrick, and Hyle hanged. As they dangle on the noose, Brienne screams a word.

Jaime departs King's Landing to help end the siege of Riverrun, where the Frey and Lannister besiegers are still defied by the castle's castellan, Ser Brynden Tully. Each day Ser Ryman Frey threatens to hang the Blackfish's nephew, the captive Lord Edmure Tully, and Brynden refuses Jaime's terms of surrender. Jaime cuts Edmure down and negotiates a surrender with him, as he is the true lord of the castle. Edmure is returned to Riverrun, but he delays his surrender for half a day, allowing his uncle to slip out one of Riverrun's water gates, past the Lannister siege. Furious, Jaime has Edmure sent under heavy guard to Casterly Rock. Emmon Frey takes his appointed place as Lord of Riverrun. Shortly after the siege has ended, snowflakes start falling across the riverlands. Winter has come. Jaime realizes that there will be no time for another harvest. The Seven Kingdoms will suffer harshly in what is to come.

In the Vale

In the Eyrie, Petyr Baelish is confronted by several of the lords of the Vale, who are unhappy with him becoming their de facto ruler after the death of Lady Lysa Arryn. One of the Lords Declarant, whom Littlefinger bribed ahead of time, breaks custom by baring Lady Forlorn during the meeting. Littlefinger uses the insult to turn the tables on the lords, who eventually allow him to remain Lord Protector of little Lord Robert Arryn for the next year. Afterwards, Littlefinger discusses the deception with Sansa (who is posing as his bastard daughter, Alayne Stone) and is impressed at how quickly she picks up on the subtleties of his scheme. He reveals to her that if something should happen to little Robert, the Eyrie will pass to Harrold Hardyng, a distant nephew of the house, and if Harry and Sansa were to wed, that would give her an army with which to reclaim Winterfell. Whilst Sansa thinks on this, the weather is worsening, a sure sign that winter is almost upon the Seven Kingdoms, and the household of the Eyrie move to the Gates of the Moon at the base of the Giant's Lance. During the move Sansa befriends Mya Stone, one of the late King Robert I Baratheon's bastard daughters. Sansa also becomes a new mother figure for sickly Robert Arryn.

In Oldtown

In the city of Oldtown, a young novice of the Citadel named Pate steals a master key from Archmaester Walgrave and sells it to a mysterious man calling himself the Alchemist. Shortly after receiving his payment, Pate collapses in the street.

Sam's ship reaches Oldtown, barely evading the ironborn reavers. They learn that the ironborn have raided and seized territories on the Arbor and failed an attempt to burn the city harbor of Oldtown. Sam goes to the Citadel, but is intercepted by Archmaester Marwyn. Marwyn reveals that the other archmaesters will not be impressed or moved by Sam's revelations about Daenerys. When Sam asks how Marwyn knows that he was coming, Marwyn reveals that the Citadel has some of the ancient Valyrian obsidian candles, through which they could see things from afar. Marwyn states that nearly two centuries ago the maesters helped kill the last of the dragons to rid the world of magic forever, but now it is returning. Marwyn departs immediately for Slaver's Bay, telling Sam to study hard and fast, for the Wall will need his services. Sam is left in the company of two students, Alleras and a boy named Pate.

In Braavos

Arya Stark finds her way to the House of Black and White, a temple to the Many-Faced God in Braavos. There Arya is inducted into the ranks of the Faceless Men as a novice. She learns that the Faceless Men are not simply a band of skilled assassins, but also a religious sect dating long before the Doom of Valyria. They consider their assassinations to be holy sacraments to their god of death. As Faceless Men must have no true identity, Arya assumes the role of 'Cat of the Canals' and becomes a familiar sight on the streets of the city. However, her old identity occasionally slips through. She hides her sword Needle rather than discarding it and later kills Dareon for forsaking his vows to the Night's Watch. The priests of the House of Black and White strike her blind by some means, but it is unclear whether this is part of her training or punishment for her transgressions.

On the Iron Islands

Following the death of King Balon Greyjoy, a kingsmoot is summoned by Aeron Damphair, Balon's youngest brother and the most respected priest of the Drowned God. With Theon Greyjoy a prisoner of the Boltons at the Dreadfort, the strongest candidates are Balon's brothers Victarion and Euron Crow's Eye, who has just returned from reaving in the east. Asha Greyjoy, Balon's daughter, also tries to claim the Seastone Chair in spite of her sex. The kingsmoot on Old Wyk is deadlocked between the three until Euron reveals his plan to seize control of Daenerys's dragons through the use of magic and so rule Westeros. The moot crowns Euron king, and Asha disappears with her ship northwards. Aeron, who considers Euron ungodly, also leaves to gain popular support against him.

Euron launches an ambitious campaign against the Reach, sending ships under his brother Victarion to conquer the Shield Islands and raid the coast. Initial appetites for plunder are sated by the raids in Westeros, however, and support for Euron's trip across the narrow sea and his hold over the ironmen dwindle. He realizes that he must remain and consolidate his control. Victarion agrees to go to Slaver's Bay and deliver Euron's marriage proposal to Daenerys. However, Victarion hates Euron for sleeping with his third wife and decides to get revenge by courting Daenerys himself.

In Dorne

In Sunspear, the capital of Dorne, news is received of the death of Oberyn Martell at the hands of Gregor Clegane, although Gregor was mortally wounded in the same battle. Oberyn's bastard daughters, the Sand Snakes, demand various plans for vengeance, including attacking Oldtown and raiding the Reach. Prince Doran Martell has them locked up to prevent them from doing anything too precipitous, and sends word to King's Landing confirming his loyalty. His eldest daughter and heir (due to Dorne's equal primogeniture), Arianne is disgusted with her father's weakness and suspicious that her father would prefer to supplant her with her brother Quentyn, who she learns has vanished eastwards on unknown business. Princess Myrcella Baratheon, elder sister to King Tommen, is in Sunspear, as she has been betrothed to Trystane Martell, and Arianne hatches a plan to crown Myrcella Queen of the Seven Kingdoms according to Dornish law and reignite the war. Her attempts are thwarted, however. Ser Arys Oakheart, the Kingsguard guarding Myrcella, is killed in a melee and Myrcella is injured. Arianne is imprisoned for her actions.

Prince Doran finally lets his daughter visit him and learns of her grievances. He explains that whilst he had intended Quentyn to follow him as Prince of Dorne, he had a greater role in mind for Arianne: she was to have become Queen of all Westeros. Arianne is confused, but learns that Doran planned to wed her to Viserys Targaryen, but that plan was thwarted when Khal Drogo killed Viserys. Now the plan has changed. Quentyn is on his way to Slaver's Bay to find and win the heart's desire of House Martell: "fire and blood."


The tale is told through the point of view of twelve POV characters and, as with previous volumes, a one-off prologue POV.

Delay in publication

The novel was published five years and two months after the previous volume in the series, A Storm of Swords. This was due to a series of problems that arose during the writing of the novel. George R. R. Martin originally planned for the fourth book to be called A Dance with Dragons with the story picking up five years after the events of A Storm of Swords (primarily to advance the ages of the younger characters). However, during the writing process it was discovered that this was leading to an overreliance on flashbacks to fill in the gap. After twelve months or so of working on the book, Martin decided to abandon much of what had previously been written and start again, this time picking up immediately after the end of A Storm of Swords. He announced this decision, along with the new title A Feast for Crows, at the World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia on 1 September 2001.[1]. He also announced that A Dance with Dragons would now be the fifth book in the sequence.

The reason for the subsequent delays were that the novel grew too long and the format changed from the previous book, with the introduction of short-lived POV characters who only had one or two chapters apiece. Martin also wrote a 250-page prologue to the novel which he then scrapped and scattered throughout the novel. Finally, when the novel was nearing completion his publishers realized it was significantly longer than A Storm of Swords and requested it be split in half for publication. After initially considering publishing it as 'Part 1' and 'Part 2', Martin's friend and fellow author Daniel Abraham suggested splitting it by POV and location instead, which Martin agreed with. Thus A Feast for Crows only contains the POV characters from the South of the Seven Kingdoms and the Iron Islands. The characters in the north, in the Free Cities and in Meereen (including fan-favorites Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen) will return in the fifth book. The split of the novel also meant that the series would be seven rather than six books long. A Dance with Dragons remains the title of the fifth book.

Martin supplied a note at the end of A Feast for Crows explaining the reason for the split and promising that A Dance with Dragons would follow with the missing POV characters 'next year'. However, subsequently Martin embarked on a four-month signing tour in the US, Canada and Europe at the request of his publishers and lost that time in writing the novel, which was expected some time in 2007 but not published until July 2011.

Allusions/references to other works

Bakkalon, the Pale Child, is one of the gods worshipped mostly by soldiers at the House of Black and White. This god appeared already in Martin's 1975 story And Seven Times Never Kill Man (where he is worshipped by a religious sect called Steel Angels), as well as in some other stories of the same era.

In Oldtown, mention is made that Maester Rigney believes that time is a wheel. This alludes to fantasy author Robert Jordan and his popular series, The Wheel of Time, as Jordan's true name was James Rigney. Another character, the southern noble Lord Trebor Jordayne of the Tor, is also an allusion to Jordan, Tor Books being Jordan's best-known publisher, and the name Trebor itself being an anagram of Robert.

In the Chapter "Cat of the Canals" a reference is made to a story about the "Lord of the Woeful Countenance," which is believed to be a reference to Don Quixote.

Awards and nominations

  • Hugo Award – Best Novel (nominated) – (2006)
  • British Fantasy Award – Best Novel (nominated) – (2006)
  • Quill Award – Best Novel (Science Fiction & Fantasy) (nominated) – (2006)


  • 2005, UK, Voyager ISBN 0-00-224743-7, Pub date 17 October 2005, hardback
  • 2005, UK, Voyager ISBN 0-00-722463-X, Pub date ? ? 2005, hardback (presentation edition)
  • 2005, USA, Spectra Books ISBN 0-553-80150-3, Pub date 8 November 2005, hardback
  • 2006, UK, Voyager ISBN 0-00-224742-9, Pub date 25 April 2006, paperback


  • French: Hardcover: Pygmalion (2006-...): "Le chaos", "Les sables de Dorne", "Un Festin pour les Corbeaux"
  • Russian: "Пир стервятников"

References and Notes

  1. n

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at A Feast for Crows. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of A Feast for Crows. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.