A Clash of Kings: Chapter Twenty-One to Chapter Thirty Summaries
Chapter 21 – Bran
Bran rides into the Great Hall on his horse, Dancer, and inaugurates the harvest feast. There is a lot of food, and Bran soon gets very full. Two new guests arrive in the middle of the feast: Meera and Jojen, of House Reed. Both of them come from Greywater Watch, the seat of House Reed, located in the swampy grounds of The Neck; they are the children of Howland Reed, who had been a great friend to Bran's father. Meera and Jojen reaffirm the loyalty and faith of Greywater to House Stark and Bran bids them to join the feast. When the dancing starts, Bran has Hodor take him back to his room. On his bed, Bran remembers his father telling him of how he would have been killed by Ser Arthur Dayne, the finest knight he had ever seen, if not for Howland Reed.
When Bran falls asleep, he finds himself in the wolf dreams again, where he is not Bran, but his direwolf, Summer. He is in the woods, with his brother, Shaggydog. As Summer, Bran catches the scent of humans approaching - it turns out to be Meera and Jojen. Jojen walks towards them and touches Summer on the muzzle; and in doing so, he causes Bran to tumble out of the wolf dream.
Chapter 22 – Catelyn
Robb Stark has sent Catelyn to treat with Renly Baratheon, another man who has crowned himself King. Catelyn rides south, with a small contingent of men-at-arms and five lordlings. They find Renly near Bitterbridge; Catelyn is stunned by the huge number of men in Renly's host. When they arrive at the camp, a melee tournament is taking place; the last two men standing are Ser Loras Tyrell and a large knight in blue armor. The two appear to be equally adept in terms of fighting skill, but the knight in blue armor manages to pull Ser Loras down from his horse and forces him to yield. When the knight finally removes his blue greathelm, Catelyn is shocked to discover that the knight is a woman - Brienne of Tarth. Catelyn pities her, because the crowd call her Brienne the Beauty, but it is very clear that Brienne is a very homely woman. However, Brienne looks very happy when Renly agrees to appoint her as one of his seven Rainbow Guard.
There is a feast later that night, and Renly asks Catelyn to walk with him. Renly tries to subtly tell Catelyn that he has a much bigger army than Robb. When Catelyn brings up the fact that Stannis Baratheon, as Renly's elder brother, has the rightful claim to the Iron Throne, Renly shrugs and sweeps a hand across the outline of his army, and says that his mighty host is his claim, and that it is as good as Robert Baratheon's ever was. Renly also firmly states that Robb can keep on calling himself King in the North if he likes, as well as keep all his lands, titles and honors, but he must bend the knee and swear fealty to Renly.
The conversation is interrupted when a rider enters the yard and calls for the King. When Renly makes his way into the yard, the rider breaks the news: Storm's End is being besieged... by Stannis Baratheon, or King Stannis, as he now calls himself.
Chapter 23- Jon
Lord Commander Mormont and his men have come across seven villages, all of them empty and devoid of life. They head towards Craster's Keep, dreading to find the man dead, but a hunting horn sounded in the distance, signaling that Craster is at his keep. Before reaching the keep, Mormont has Jon spreading the word among the men: when it comes to Craster's many wives, they are to mind their hands and speak as little as possible to the women.
When they arrive at Craster's very modest dwelling, Craster tells them that the last time he saw Benjen Stark was three years ago. When Mormont tells Craster that Benjen had been searching for a three-man party led by Ser Waymar Royce, Craster says that he recalls them - they had passed by Craster's keep, telling him that they were chasing after wildlings. Craster then offers Mormont and 19 of his men food and shelter under his roof, and promises to tells them where they can find Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-The-Wall - in exchange for a new axe and a taste of Mormont's wine. Crassen asks them whether they have a man who can draw a map; Mormont nods and gets Jon to go out and look for Sam Tarly.
While looking for Sam, he comes across one of Craster's wife being confronted by Ghost, who has managed to kill two of Craster's rabbits. Jon promises that he will pay her for the rabbits, but the woman tells him that she's been told not to speak with them (Jon and the men of Night's Watch).
Jon eventually finds Sam and they cook the rabbits for dinner. Jon then tells Sam to go to Craster's Keep, to help Mormont in drawing a map. Jon then drifts off to sleep by the fire. When he wakes up, he is surprised to see the young wife from last night, and this time she has Sam's large black cloak around her. The young woman tells Jon that her name is Gilly and that she wants Jon to take her back to the Wall - she is pregnant with child, and she fears for her child's life, because if it's a boy, Craster will sacrifice the child to The Others. Jon tells her that they are not riding to the Wall, but northwards, to find Mance Rayder. Gilly is disappointed but says that Jon and the men can come and take her back to the Wall on their way back.
Jon then goes looking for Mormont, who tells Jon to saddle his horse for they are riding within the hour. When Jon spots Sam, he scolds her for offering help to Gilly, but the action leaves his feeling ashamed.
While riding with Mormont, Jon tells the Commander about Gilly's plight. Mormont admits that all the rangers know about Craster sacrificing his sons to the Others, but also tells Jon that Craster has helped them in the past and that the Night's Watch simply can't help every single person who needs help. Mormont goes on to tell Jon that Craster has given them Mance Rayder's location - the wildling king is gathering his people together in the Frostfangs, which explains the reason behind the empty villages.
Mormont states that Mance means to strike south, into the Seven Kingdoms. The Lord Commander says that other wildlings have done the same in the past, and all have failed. But the situation is different now- the Night's Watch are lacking the numbers they used to have, and Robb Stark has taken Winterfell's strength south. When Jon asks him what they can do, Mormont replies that they find Mance, fight him, and stop him.
Chapter 24- Theon
Theon is admiring his new longship, but soon finds something else to admire when a woman approaches him and comments on the ship's beauty. Theon tells her that his father's shipwright, Sigrin, built the ship for him. The woman, who appears to be only slightly older than Theon, reveals that she is Esgred, Sigrin's wife and newly pregnant. Despite knowing that, Theon still flirts and makes advances, and decides to honor Esgred by duly naming his ship "Sea Bitch". He convinces her to go back to Pyke with him, to join him at his father's feast. She agrees, and they walk back to Lordsport. In Lordsport, Theon notices that a lot of the men seem to recognize Esgred. He then retrieves his horse from the inn, and rides back to Pyke with Esgred and his new squire, a mute boy by the name of Wex. On the ride to Pyke, Theon speaks (rather unkindly) of his father, sister, and uncles; he also tells Esgred about the years he spent as Lord Eddard Stark's ward.
Upon arrived at Pyke, one of the Greyjoy's stableman excitedly greets the woman Theon is traveling with, calling her by her real name: Asha Greyjoy. Theon is completely stunned at the revelation that the woman he has been flirting and traveling with is actually his sister, whom he hasn't since he became Lord Eddard's ward. He clouts the smirking Wex on the ear for not warning him.
Both Theon and Asha attend the feast later that night. During the feast, Asha taunts Theon for flirting with her when he believed her to be Esgred.
After the feast, Balon Greyjoy holds his war meeting, laying out his plans to conquer the North. Theon, Asha and their uncles are in attendance. Theon is vexed when he hears that his father is only giving him eight longships, and that for harrying the shoreline; Asha, and his uncle, Victarion, are given the main roles and responsibilities in the attack.
As Theon returns to his chambers after the meeting, he loses his footing on a rope bridge, but Asha is there to help guide him across. She taunts him by saying he can't hold his wine, while he counters by saying that he preferred her when she was Esgred. Asha laughs and tells him she prefers him when he was nine.
Chapter 25- Tyrion
Tyrion calls on his sister in her chambers, bringing with him very good news: Stannis Baratheon has laid siege to Storm's End, home to Renly Baratheon - the two brothers are set to meet each other, and Tyrion thinks that a battle between the two are all but a sure thing. Cersei is overjoyed and she and Tyrion celebrate over a drink of wine; she never notices Tyrion poisoning hers.
The next day, Cersei is indisposed, as Tyrion planned. He wants to treat with his cousin, Ser Cleos Frey, without Cersei interfering. Sitting upon the Iron Throne as the King's Hand, he offers Ser Cleos the following peace terms to present to Robb Stark: Robb is to bend the knee to King Joffrey, release Jaime Lannister, place his host under Jaime's command to march against Stannis and Renly and to have each of his bannermen send a son to King's Landing as a hostage. Ser Cleos mentions that Robb Stark will never agree to this; Tyrion already knows this but says nothing. He sends a hundred Lannister men to escort Cleos back to Robb.
Ser Alliser Thorne interrupts the court's proceedings; he has been hitherto ignored by Tyrion and now wants to state his reason for coming to King's Landing. He tells the court of the disembodied hand that he has brought with him, all the way from the Wall, and how that hand had belonged to a dead man who had rose again in the night and tried to kill the men of the Night's Watch. When asked to present this hand, Ser Alliser reveals that it has rotted to pieces. Tyrion offers Ser Alliser his pick of men from the city dungeons and promptly dismisses him.
Petyr is unhappy with Tyrion: Tyrion had earlier told him that Myrcella was to wed Robert Arryn, but now he learns that Myrcella is instead to be wed to Trystane Martell. Littlefinger then leaves.
Tyrion then walks with Varys, whom he tells to instruct his sister that the reason why he's sending her guards away with Cleos is because it was part of plan to free Jaime. He has recruited four men: a thief, a poisoner, a mummer and a murder. He tells Varys to have them dressed up as Lannister men and to send them as part of Ser Cleos' escort.
Later that night he brings two of his most fearsome mountain clansmen to Maester Pycelle's chambers. Once there, he reveals to Pycelle that he knows that the maester had given one of his two letters intended for Prince Doran to Cersei. Pycelle denies it, but Tyrion then reveals the plan he had concocted to figure out who was Cersei's spy: he told Varys that Prince Tommen was going to be fostered with Prince Doran, and he had told Petyr that Myrcella was going to be wed to Robert Arryn, but he had told no one that Myrcella was going to be wed to Trystane Martell... that had been in the two letters the Maester was suppose to send to Prince Doran. Terrified by the presence of the two mountain clansmen, Pycelle eventually reveals that he was one of the players behind both Robert Baratheon's and Jon Arryn's deaths. With the latter, he claims that it was Jon Arryn's squire, Hugh, who had done the actual poisoning.
Disgusted, Tyrion orders the clansmen to throw Pycelle into one of the black cells.
Chapter 26 – Arya
Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie have joined the other villagers as Ser Gregor's prisoners. Gregor selects one prisoner every day, who will then be questioned by one of his men, known only as The Tickler. The questions are always the same, chiefly whether the villagers had hidden any gold or silver in the village, and whether they had seen Lord Beric Dondarrion; no one ever survives the questioning.
After 8 days, Gregor commands them to march to Harrenhal. On the journey, Arya comes to know the men who serve under Gregor, and she hates each one of them; each night, she recites each and every one of their names, so that she never forgets any of them.
Once they reach Harrenhal, Arya decides to not use her true name; instead, she tells them her name is "Weasel". She is then assigned to work for Weese, one of the understewards in Harrenhal.
Chapter 27 – Daenerys
Daenerys enters the great city of Qarth, flanked by Ser Jorah and her bloodriders, followed by the rest of her small group of followers. The beauty and splendor of Qarth and her people makes Daenerys feel shabby and barbaric. Xaro Xhoan Davos, the merchant prince, offers Daenerys the hospitality of his home while she stays in Qarth - it turns out his house is so huge, that she gets an entire wing to herself. Xaro informs her that tomorrow the Thirteen merchant princes and the most distinguished people in Qarth shall come and do her homage; Daenerys thanks him but secretly thinks that they are more interested in seeing her dragons instead. Pyat Pree the warlock vows that he will petition the Undying Ones for an audience. Quaithe of the Shadow offers her only a warning: that those who come and see her will lust for her dragons.
Daenerys then sends Ser Jorah to the docks, to bring back tidings from the Seven Kingdoms. When Jorah returns, he is accompanied by a Summer Islander, captain of the Cinnamon Wind. Daenerys is delighted with the news the captain brings: Robert Baratheon is dead. When the captain is about to leave, Daenerys offers him a reward if he comes to see her when she finally returns to King's Landing and sits on the Iron Throne. Once the captain has left, Ser Jorah warns her not to speak so freely of her plans but Daenerys wants the whole world to know of them. When he counters by saying she'll need ships, gold, armies, alliances and so on, Daenerys replies that she knows all this and that she has matured tremendously since she first met him.
Chapter 28 – Bran
All of the lords and knights have departed after the harvest feast except for the Reeds, Meera and her brother Jojen, who have stayed on at Winterfell to be Bran's constant companions. Ser Rodrik has left to set rights to the trouble in the east - Roose Bolton's bastard has seized Lady Hornwood as she returned from the harvest feast, marrying her on the very same night. And, to make matters worse, Lord Manderly has taken her castle.
The Reeds are playing with Bran and his direwolf, Summer. Jojen advices Bran to leave Winterfell; Meera then explains to Bran that Jojen has the greensight, that his dreams always come true. Bran asks Jojen what's going to happen, but the Reed boy says that he will only share once Bran talks about his own dreams. Bran does not what to share, but Jojen goes on to talk of his own dreams - of how he saw a chained winged wolf, and a three-eye crow trying to peck at the chains to set the wolf free. Jojen tells Bran that the winged wolf is Bran. He also tells Bran that he himself encountered the three-eyed crow in his dreams when he had almost died of greywater fever when he was a child. Jojen goes on to state the crow sent his sister and him to Winterfell to free Bran from his chains and that when he dreams he is a wolf, Bran is actually inside his direwolf, Summer.
When Bran later speaks to Maester Luwin about Jojen's greensight, Luwin states that, while magic might have existed ages ago, it no longer exists now. He states that while Jojen Reed might have dreams that appear to come true, no living man today has the power of greensight. Bran later relays this to the Reeds, but Meera puts forth the possibility that Maester Luwin is wrong. The chapter ends with Bran convincing himself that Maester Luwin was right about magic, and so nothing bad will come to either him or Winterfell.
Chapter 29 – Tyrion
Lancel Lannister visits Tyrion in the middle of the night, bringing a warrant from Cersei demanding for the release of Maester Pycelle. Cersei had made the same demands of Ser Jacelyn Bywater, the new Commander of the City Witch, but had been rebuffed. Lancel, newly knighted, is rude and arrogant in speaking to Tyrion but is soon begging for mercy when Tyrion threatens to inform King Joffrey about Lancel's involvement in Robert Baratheon's death as well as the fact that Lancel is now sleeping with Joffrey's mother. Tyrion relents, but only when Lancel agrees to report all of Cersei's plans to him. He also warns Lancel not to get Cersei with child.
Unable to return to sleep, Tyrion calls for Bronn and the two of them navigate the dangerous city streets to Chataya's brothel. Once at Chataya's, he chooses Alayaya again, and takes the secret passageway to the manse where he's kept Shae. The two of them make love and Tyrion realizes that he is at the centre of it all, the centre of the great game of thrones. And he realizes that he loves being there, and that he also loves Shae.
Chapter 30 – Arya
Working under Weese, Arya now spends most of her days cleaning the many halls and chambers in Harrenhal. Hot Pie works in the kitchen and Gendry in the forge. Weese proves to be a hard taskmaster, and he had a very fierce dog that he sets on any of the serving staff who annoys him. Arya wastes no time adding Weese's name to her nightly recitation of all the names of the people who have hurt her, and who she intends to one day kill.
After a fortnight, The Brave Companions, one of Lord Tywin's mercenary bands, make their way to Harrenhal. They are led by Vargo Hoat, a tall and thin man who wears a distinctive helm fashioned in the shape of a goat's head. The Brave Companions do not stay long, but ride out again, to keep Roose Bolton's army in check, for Bolton's army has now occupied the ruby ford of the Trident.
Arya also comes across the northmen that Lord Tywin's army has captured. But she doesn't recognize any of them, except for Lord Cerwyn, who dies soon after due to a battle injury.
Another party comes to Harrenhal, led by Ser Amory Lorch, the man who had ordered the attack against Yoren. He now has fewer men, and many of them injured. Arya is surprised to see three men in Ser Amory's party: Biter, Rorge and Jaqen H'ghar. None of the three seem to recognize her. But later that night, Arya is awakened from her sleep by Jaqen. He tells her that because she saved the three of them from certain death when she threw them the axe to help them escape the burning holdfast, he is now going to repay her by taking the lives of three people.
Arya isn't certain who to pick from her list of names. And then Ser Gregor Clegane and his men return, and Chiswyck, one of the men on her lists, regales everyone with the story of how they had all raped the young daughter of a brewer working at an alehouse they had stopped at after the Hand's tournament. Chiswyck laughs the loudest after retelling the incident.
Two nights after that, Arya whispers Chiswyck's name into Jaqen's ear. Three nights later, Chiswyck is found dead, seemingly having fallen off a wallwalk and broken his neck.