A Storm of Swords: Prologue to Chapter Ten Summaries
A Storm of Swords opens over The Fist of the First Men, where three hundred sworn brothers of the Night's Watch have camped. The expedition north of the Wall is led by Lord Commander Mormont himself. Mormont hopes to discover the truth behind the disappearance of the Watch's best rangers, and why the wildlings have abandoned their villages.
Mormont has sent three scouting parties further northwards, to learn what the wildlings are up to in the mountains. But only one party returns to the Fist, and they bring dire news - Mance Rayder's army is marching down the Milkwater river, and the wildlings will need to past the Fist in order to continue on towards the Wall. The senior members of the expedition then start to split into two camps - those who want to take the fight to Mance Rayder, and those who counsel for a retreat back to the Wall. Both sides make good arguments, but Mormont chooses a third option: to continue waiting at the Fist for the two other scouting parties to return.
But there are those who are unhappy with Mormont's decision to stay put. One of them is Chett. He has been nursing a white-hot hatred for both Jon and Sam ever since. Chett is the mastermind behind a plan to kill Lord Commander Mormont and several of the senior rangers; he has secretly gathered thirteen other men of the Night's Watch to assist him in the plan. Once Chett and his men successfully pull off their plan, they intend to leave the Night's Watch, knowing that doing so will brand them as deserters in the Seven Kingdoms, a crime punishable by death if they are caught, but they would rather take that risk than to face almost certain death against the entire might of the wildling army.
Before night comes around, Lord Commander Mormont gathers all the men of the Night's Watch at the central fire. He has come to a decision: they will set an ambush for the wildlings, and catch Mance's army unawares when they come marching down the Milkwater. There are those who voice their fears, but Mormont manages to rally their spirits by repeating the oath of the Night's Watch, and by the end of it, the oath is being recited by nearly every man around the fire.
Later, as most of the men bunker down for a night's sleep, something happens that upsets Chett's carefully-laid plans: it is beginning to snow. Chett is deeply frustrated as the snow presents his plans with all sorts of problems and would make their successful escape from the Fist near impossible.
Angry at the snow for spoiling everything he's planned for, Chett resolves to do at least one thing right, and that is to kill Samwell Tarly. He is about to fall upon the sleeping Sam when the sound of a sentry's horn shuddered through the camp. Sam wakes up just as the second blast goes off. And when a third blast quickly followed the second, Chett wets himself - three blasts mean only thing: the Others.
Chapter 1 - Jaime
Jaime is on a skiff, sailing down the Red Fork towards King's Landing; with him are his cousin, Ser Cleos Frey, and Brienne of Tarth. Previously a prisoner of the King in the North, Robb Stark, Jaime has been freed from his imprisonment in Riverrun by Catelyn Stark. Before freeing him, Catelyn forced Jaime to swear, under duress, that he will return to King's Landing and compel Tyrion to honor an earlier pledge: that Tyrion will free Sansa and Arya Stark in exchange for the Starks releasing Jaime.
Jaime's hands and feet are still bound by chains; Brienne keeps a watchful eye on him, making sure that a weapon does not fall into Jaime's hands. Jaime casually hurls insults at Brienne, most of them being around her sex and her aspirations to be a knight, but Brienne is steadfast, refusing to be goaded into a fight, answering Jaime's verbal jabs with brusque replies. She, in turn, thinks of him as a monster for the act which earned him his epithet - killing King Aerys II Targaryen, the King he had sworn to protect.
During the ride, Jaime has Ser Cleos shave off the hair on his head, so as to better pass through the lands unnoticed.
They then spot a thin line of smoke coming from the smoldering remains of a large building and next to it is an oak tree full of dead women. Brienne steers the skiff to shore, telling the two men that she intends to bury the dead women. They discover that the women were hanged because they were whores who serviced Lannister men. Before they can bury the women, Brienne spots a river galley fast approaching, and all three of them run back to the skiff.
They try to sail away, but the river galley is manned by eighteen rowers, and soon catches up to them. The galley is captained by Ser Robin Ryger, Riverrun's captain of guards. When Jaime tells Ser Robin that it was Catelyn Stark that freed him from his cell, Ser Robin replies that Catelyn does not have the power or authority to free Jaime. Ser Robin tells the three of them to throw their weapons into the water and to let him take Jaime back to Riverrun.
Brienne takes matters into her own hand. As they sail towards an island in midstream, with Ser Robin and the galley right on their heels, Brienne jumps down from the skiff and swims towards the island. She then climbs up a steep bluff on the island and proceeds to send a hail of rocks hurtling down towards Ser Robin's galley. The rocks smash down into the galley and punch through the hull, and the galley is soon rapidly filling with water, effectively destroying any chance Ser Robin has of capturing Jaime.
Brienne swims back to the skiff, and although Jaime briefly entertains the idea of escaping by bashing her in the face with the oar as she paddles up, he instead stretches the oar out over the water to her and pulls her in.
Chapter 2 - Catelyn
At the start of the chapter, Ser Desmond, along with the steward to Catelyn's father, Utherydes Wayn, are discussing on what must be done with Catelyn, for her part in freeing Jaime Lannister when she had no authority to do so. Utherydes suggest that Catelyn be confined to her chambers until Edmure returns; Catelyn accepts but wants to be confined to her dying father's chambers instead. Ser Desmond and Utherydes consent to her proposed punishment.
When Catelyn is in Lord Hoster Tully's chambers, her father doesn't recognize her, and calls her by another woman's name - "Tansy". She asks her father who Tansy is, but her father instead goes on to say that she, Tansy, will have other children in the future, trueborn children. When the Maester of Riverrun, Maester Vyman, enters Hoster's chambers to feed him milk of the poppy, Catelyn asks Vyman whether he knows who Tansy is. Vyman tells her that he will check with Utherydes. Sometime in the afternoon, Catelyn notices a messenger raven flying into Riverrun's rookery.
Vyman returns to Hoster's chambers later that evening and reveals to Catelyn that Utherydes is certain that no woman named Tansy has ever been at Riverrun during his service. Catelyn then asks about the message that came with the raven and Vyman decides to tell her - the King in the North, her son, Robb Stark, took a wound when his forces stormed the Crag. When pressed on the matter, Vyman tells her that the wound is not serious.
Catelyn then proceeds to write and send a letter to her sister Lysa who has holed herself up in the Eyrie; she urges Lysa to come to Riverrun, to see their father one last time before he draws his last breath.
Later that day, Edmure returns to Riverrun. He brings news of Stannis Baratheon's defeat at the battle of King's Landing and then proceeds to reproach her for freeing Jaime Lannister. What Edmure says next causes a waves of despair to wash over Catelyn - he has sent ravens to Lord Roose Bolton in Harrenhal, offering a substantial reward for whoever manages to recapture Jaime Lannister
Lost in her grief, Catelyn tells Edmure to leave.
Chapter 3 - Arya
Having escaped from Harrenhal Gendry, Hot Pie and Arya head north. Arya takes the lead - during her escape, she stole a map from Roose Bolton, the current occupant of Harrenhal and by referring to the map, she hopes to take the three of them north until they reach the Trident.
They travel for miles without rest and sleep, afraid that Roose Bolton will send a party of men after them. However, they soon fall victim to exhaustion and Gendry insists that they stop and rest up before continuing on.
As Arya sleeps, she enters the body of her direwolf, Nymeria.
Nymeria now leads a large wolf pack somewhere around the Riverlands. And when Arya connects with Nymeria in her dreams, she enters the direwolf's body. She discovers that Nymeria and her wolf have ambushed encountered a party of four sellswords, all four of them members of Vargo Hoat's Bloody Mummers. Nymeria and her wolves kill all four men.
Chapter 4 - Tyrion
Tyrion is in Maegor's Holdfast, still recuperating from the ghastly wound he took during the Battle of King's Landing. The wound was inflicted by Ser Mandon Moore, a member of the Kingsguard; Ser Mandon's surprise attack had come during the thick of battle - had Tyrion not pulled back in time, he would have been dead. It was his squire, Podrick Payne, who had come to his rescue by shoving Ser Mandon Moore into the Blackwater River; the Kingsguard knight drowned due to the weight of his armor.
Bronn tells Tyrion about the aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater. He is now Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, knighted by Tyrion's father for his actions during the battle. Sandor Clegane fled the battle - no one knows his current whereabouts. During the battle, Cersei sent the Kettleblack brothers to fetch Joffrey back to the Red Keep. Most of the mountain clansmen that followed Tyrion to King's Landing have returned to the Vale of Arryn.
Tyrion, having earlier promised Cersei that he will hurt Prince Tommen should any harm befall Alayaya, is glad to hear that he will not able to do so as the Kettleblack brothers have seized Tommen from Rosby and returned him back into Cersei's custody.
Bronn also updates Tyrion on the War of the Five Kings: despite suffering a complete rout at the hands of a combined Lannister and Tyrell army, Stannis managed to escape from the Battle of Blackwater with the help of the Lyseni galleys in his fleet - the galleys had been kept out in the bay during the battle, and thus had been spared being ravaged by Tyrion's wildfire. Meanwhile, a part of Robb Stark's forces have been burning their way down to Duskendale - Tywin Lannister has sent a force led by Randyll Tarly to stop them.
After hearing all of this, Tyrion decides to pay his father, now the Hand of the King, a visit. On the way to the Tower of the Hand, he bumps into the new Commander of the City Watch, Ser Addam Marbrand. Ser Addam confesses to Tyrion that the City Watch have still not managed to find Tyrion's cousin, Tyrek, who had been reported missing after the earlier city riot; the continued inability of anyone to find Tyrek has soured Tywin Lannister's mood.
When Tyrion enters his father's solar, they exchange words. Tywin treats Tyrion coldly; he grudgingly admits that Tyrion's plan of forging an alliance with Dorne was a brilliant idea but dislikes the fact that in doing so, Tyrion promised Prince Doran that Gregor Clegane would be brought to justice for his crimes.
Tyrion, on the other hand, is angry at his father for not giving him the credit he deserves for playing an important role in the preparation of King's Landing defenses against Stannis Baratheon's attack.
When Tywin asks Tyrion what is it that he wants for his part in the battle, Tyrion replies with the one thing that he has wanted all his life, what he considers his birthright ever since his elder brother Jamie gave up the claim to it when he became a member of the Kingsguard - Casterly Rock, the ancestral home of the Lannisters. Tywin rebuffs Tyrion's request, stating that Tyrion is ill-suited to take over Casterly Rock and that he shames House Lannister by his frequent cavorting with whores. Tywin tells Tyrion that he will instead get a reward befitting his service and station - but never Casterly Rock. And he gives Tyrion one last warning - the next whore he finds in Tyrion's bed, he will hang.
Chapter 5 – Davos
Davos is stranded on a rock, one of a series of sea monts that rise from the floor of Blackwater Bay. He spends the next few days trying to survive - he is barely able to find food and water, and the tiny cave he finds affords him meager protection from the elements.
But one day, he spots a speck on the horizon - it is a ship. Davos is surprised, as the rock he is trapped on is one of many sea monts in the surrounding area, and while some of them are visible above the surface of the water, many more lie hidden underneath, a treacherous course for any captain who dares steer his ship in this area of Blackwater Bay.
Davos climbs to the top of his rock and calls out to the passing ship. The ship is too big to approach, but she launches a small boat towards the sea mont.
There are five men in the boat; when they learn that Davos is a survivor from the Battle of Blackwater, they ask him which King he serves. Davos realizes that if the ship was one of King Joffrey's, they might leave him to his fate. But the ship's hull is striped - it is one of Salladhor Saan's ship, and Salladhor serves King Stannis.
Davos tells the men that he serves King Stannis - they reply that they serve Stannis, as well.
Chapter 6 – Sansa
Sansa has received an invitation to supper from Margaery Tyrell. She is worried - since Margaery has displaced Sansa as Joffrey's bride-to-be, why would Margaery now want to sup with her? But she soon comes to the conclusion that she is in no position to refuse the queen-to-be's invitation, so she writes Margaery a gracious note of acceptance.
When the appointed night arrives, Ser Loras Tyrell, elder brother to Margaery, acts as Sansa's escort to the supper. On the way there, they pass by Loras' brother, Ser Garlan Tyrell, training against three men. When they reach the keep where the Tyrells have been housed, Margaery greets Sansa graciously and dismisses Loras with a sisterly kiss.
Margaery introduces Sansa to the most powerful lady in the room: Lady Olenna, mother to Lord Mace Tyrell and thus Margaery's grandmother - also known as the Queen of Thorns. Lady Olenna has a sharp wit and a sharper tongue; she has some rather choice words to say about her son and how he threw his support behind the now-deceased Renly Baratheon. She then summons House Tyrell's court fool, Butterbumps, to entertain Sansa and the other women.
As the servants start bringing in and serving the first course, Lady Olenna asks Sansa a straightforward question: she wants Sansa to tell her the truth about Joffrey Baratheon. The question makes Sansa nervous, and she replies with lies. But when Lady Olenna and Margaery press her for more details regarding Joffrey's character, Sansa starts to collapse under the weight of her fears - she wants to tell the truth, like her father always did, but she is afraid of what Joffrey might do to her if word of how she truly feels about him gets back to him.
Margaery points out how scared Sansa is. Lady Olenna gets Butterbumps to sing a rowdy song at a loud volume and then tells Sansa that she is free to speak, as any would-be spies would be unable to hear their conversation through Butterbumps' singing.
And Sansa tells the truth - that Joffrey is evil and cruel. Like his mother, the Queen, Cersei Lannister. Lady Olenna and Margaery exchange looks and the Queen of Thorns says that it is a pity that Joffrey is a monster.
Margaery then changes the subject by inviting Sansa to Highgarden. Sansa is enthusiastic, but states that the Queen might not let her go. Lady Olenna scoffs. She also states, however, that her son will have no idea on the true purpose she wants to bring Sansa to Highgarden: to wed Sansa to her grandson.
Sansa is thrilled and says that she will be happy to marry Ser Loras, but the Queen of Thorns cuts her off and says that she is referring to Willas Tyrell, Lord Mace Tyrell's eldest son. Sansa asks whether Willas Tyrell is as great a knight as his brothers. Margaery tells her that Willas is a cripple with a good heart but a bad leg. Margaery assures Sansa that she will love Willas. When Sansa asks when she can visit Highgarden, Margaery tells her that Lady Olenna will take her there after Joffrey and Margaery are wed.
Chapter 7 – Jon
Jon Snow, having killed the leader of his scouting party, the near-legendary Qhorin Halfhand, in order to go along with Qhorin's plan for him to infiltrate the wildling's army to learn what he could of them and to consequently relay that information to the rest of the Night's Watch, is now being led into the wildling's main camp. He is guarded by Ygritte and a wildling called Longspear Ryk; his direwolf, Ghost, is at his side.
Jon is awed by the massive numbers of the wildling army, but he also notes that the wildlings lack discipline, as their camps are set up in chaotic manner, with no defenses whatsoever.
The wildlings take him to Mance Rayder's tent. Rattleshirt, the leader of the wildling band that captured both Jon and Qhorin, leads Jon into the tent, with Ygritte at his side.
Inside the tent, Jon finally comes face to face with Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall. Together with Mance are five others, whom Mance refers to as his court: Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, Tormund Giantsbane, Mance's pregnant wife Dalla, Dalla's sister Val, and Val's lover, Jarl. Mance surprises Jon by correctly identifying Jon as Lord Eddard Stark's bastard. Mance then asks Jon how he came to be so far up the Milkwater. Jon's reply is a lie - he tells Mance that Lord Commander Mormont sent him to Qhorin Halfhand for seasoning, and so Qhorin made Jon part of his ranging party, tasked with discovering the reason behind the deserted wildling villages.
When Mance asks for the reason behind Jon's decision to turn his back on the Night's Watch, Jon tells Mance that he will tell Mance his reasons if Mance shares his. Mance proceeds to share the story of his desertion - how he had been seriously injured by a shadow-cat during a ranging and how the wildling woman who had attended to his wounds had also used red silk to sew the rends in his cloak. When Mance returned to the Wall, the Commander of the Shadow Tower had commanded that Mance replace his cloak with a new one, a black one, for the men of the Night's Watch wore only black. Mance deserted the Night's Watch soon after, for a place where he could wear any cloak he wanted.
When it is Jon's turn to tell Mance the reason behind his desertion, Jon replies with an answer that he knows is the only answer Mance will believe: Jon hated how everyone at Winterfell and the Wall treated him due to his being born a bastard.
Mance accepts Jon into the wildling army's ranks.
Chapter 8 - Daenerys
Daenerys and her tiny khalasar are sailing across the narrow ship, aboard the three ships Strong Belwas and Arstan have hired to take them back to Pentos, under Magister Illyrio's request.
Daenerys stands atop Balerion's deck, looking on in pride as her three young dragons fly across the sky. She wonders how large her dragons will grow, and Ser Jorah tells her that there are tales of dragons that had grown so large that they can pluck krakens from the sea. Arstan then joins the conversation, telling Daenerys that a dragon never stops growing as long as they have food and freedom - the dragons the Targaryens once housed inside the immense domed castle known as the Dragonpit never reached the size of their ancestors.
Upon hearing Arstan speak of her ancestors, Daenerys asks the grizzled squire whether he knew her father and brother, King Aerys II and Prince Rhaegar. Arstan confesses that he knew them both and even shares a little of Prince Rhaegar's history with Daenerys, of how the Prince used to be a bookish child, always with his nose in books and scrolls. But one morning, after reading something in his scrolls, Rhaegar made his way to the master-at-arms and requested for sword and armor, saying that it was because it appeared to him that he must now walk the path of the warrior.
When Arstan excuses himself to tend to Strong Belwas, Ser Jorah tells Daenerys to be cautious of Arstan; Jorah finds it unlikely that Arstan is actually a squire to Strong Belwas given the man's advanced age and how well-spoken he is.
Later that night, Ser Jorah enters Daenerys' cabin, bringing a matter to discuss with her. Before they talk, Daenerys shows Jorah what her dragons can now do: by uttering the command-word, "dracarys", High Valyrian for "dragonfire", she can get them to breathe fire.
Daenerys then asks Ser Jorah what is troubling him. Jorah replies that he is worried about three things: Strong Belwas. Arstan Whitebeard. And the man who sent them to bring her back to Pentos - Illyrio Mopatis. Jorah tells her that if they continue on to Pentos, they will all be in Illyrio's power; instead, he advices her to command the captain to change course for Slaver's Bay. When Daenerys asks him what she can find in Slaver's Bay, Jorah tells her that she has to buy Unsullied from Astapor.
Jorah highlights the true strength of the Unsullied by telling her the tale of the Three Thousand of Qohor. According to the story, 3000 Unsullied successfully defended the city of Qohor from a Dothraki khalasar that numbered more than 50,000 strong. Jorah says that those are the Unsullied that she will be buying in Astapor; once they do that, they can then march on to Pentos over land, and when they finally meet Illyrio, they will have a thousand swords behind them. When Daenerys asks Jorah how she will be afford to buy a thousand slaves, Jorah tells her that she can do so by paying the slavers with all the expensive goods currently being carried by the ships they were on. Daenerys points to the fact that these are Illyrio's goods, but Jorah manages to persuade her that it is a good idea when he tells her that since Illyrio has always supported House Targaryen, he will not begrudge her three shiploads of trade goods.
Just as Daenerys is about to go and meet with the captain to command him to change course to Astapor, Ser Jorah pulls her close and kisses her; Daenerys does not resist. When Jorah lets her go, Daenerys tells him that he shouldn't have kissed her. Jorah replies that she should take him as her husband and her dragonrider, citing that just as Aegon Targaryen and his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya rode the dragons Balerion, Meraxes and Vhagar into battle, he can be the one to ride one of her three dragons. And the reason for doing so - because there is no other man in the world who will ever be half as true to her as he is.
Chapter 9 - Bran
Bran is having one of his wolf dreams: he is inside his direwolf, Summer, and hunting in the woods. As Summer, he encounters a wolf pack of eight, and successful steals a kill from them. Just as he is about to tear into the deer, Bran is awakened by Hodor. When he has finally regained his senses, he finds himself in the same place they have been staying for several days now: down in the vault of an ancient and abandoned watchtower. Jojen Reed warns Bran that he has been in Summer's body for too long and that even though Bran is a warg or shapechanger, he cannot survive on what Summer consumes during his wolf dreams; there is also the danger that if Bran remains in Summer for too long, his mind will be consumed by that of his direwolf's. Jojen is also disappointed that once again Bran has forgotten to mark the trees in the forest while in Summer's body - Jojen has asked Bran to do this many times, but Bran always seems to forget this during his wolf dreams.
When Meera Reed returns from her foraging, they discuss on where to go next. Bran wants them to seek shelter with House Umber or House Manderly, both of whom are loyal Stark bannermen. Meera suggest that they stay on at the watchtower for a little while longer, for it is a safe haven from the war, and there's plenty of game in the nearby woods. Jojen insists that they make their way northwards, towards the Wall, where they will find the mystical three-eyed crow who can teach Bran to control his newly-awakened third eye. When Bran asks Jojen why they had to find the three-eyed crow when he had already opened his third eye, Jojen tells Bran that Bran is not in total control of it yet, and so he needs a teacher who can help him control his gift.
Meera starts to come around to Jojen's play, but she tells Bran that ultimately, the decision of where to go next is up to Bran, and they, Meera and Jojen, will follow Bran wherever he wants to go.
Bran thinks about it and realizes that his plan of seeking shelter with House Umber or House Manderly was a foolish plan, one that will put his own life in danger if it turns out that the Umbers and Manderlys are dead. Staying at the Watchtower was a safe option - but he realized that by doing so, he could not escape from being a cripple. Bran decides that there is only one path open to him - and, so he pleads to Jojen to bring them to the Wall to find the crow.
Chapter 10 - Davos
Davos stands upon the deck of the ship that rescued him from the sea mont in Blackwater Bay, watching Dragonstone draw nearer and nearer. His thoughts are on Melisandre, on how she has manipulated and gained control over Stannis, and on the one thing that he had resolved to do when had had been rescued in Blackwater Bay - how he was going to kill her.
When they finally dock in Dragonstone's harbor, Davos makes to go see Stannis, but the Lyseni captain insists that Davos first pays a visit to Salladhor Saan. Too tired to argue, Davos complies.
They find Salladhor Saan inspecting a cargo ship from Pentos; Lord Alester Florent is Stannis' new Hand of the King, and to reward Salladhor Saan for his part in the Battle of Blackwater, Alester has made Salladhor Saan the Lord of Blackwater Bay.
Salladhor Saan is surprised to see Davos alive and expresses concern for Davos' frail and sickly countenance. He also gives an account of the ships that survived the Battle of Blackwater and shares a scrap of good news - Davos' youngest son, Devan, was among the survivors that they rescued at the end of the battle.
Davos is visibly relieved, but he still intends to kill Melisandre. When he tells Salladhor Saan of his plans, the new Lord of Blackwater Bay is stunned and tries to steer Davos away from his self-undertaken mission.
Davos is undeterred, however, and against Salladhor Saan's warnings, makes for the castle. He faces some difficulty entering the castle because no one recognizes him - most of the guards of the castle are new. Davos finally manages to enter the castle grounds, and bumps into a young boy by the name of Edric Storm. Edric is one of King Robert's bastard sons, the result of a coupling between Robert Baratheon and a noblewoman from House Florent; Edric had once been under the protection of Ser Cortnay Penrose, the castellan of Storm's End, but Stannis shipped the boy back to Dragonstone when he successfully took control of Storm's End from Ser Cortnay.
Davos' conversation with Edric does not go far as Ser Axell Florent, the castellan of Dragonstone, comes up the path to confront Davos, accompanied by a dozen guardsmen. When Davos enquires as to whether Ser Axell has come to take him to see Stannis, Ser Axell replies that he is there to take Davos to the dungeon; he then orders the guards to seize Davos and take his dirk away, saying out loud that Davos intends to use the dirk on Melisandre.