A Feast for Crowsby George R.R. Martin is the fourth book in The Song of Ice and Fire Series or Game of Thrones as broadcast on HBO. This book starts off with goo-gobs of new people, and very few of the people we love to follow. This is a bridge book, a book that introduces new players in the Game of Thrones and ties their fates into the fates of the characters for which we have already formed attachments. We have learned to attach ourselves like barnacles to these characters because the author seems to have no compunctions about offing and maiming the characters we are most emotionally attached to. We cling in desperation.
Now we have even more characters to worry about. We have Prince Doran’s Court at Sunspear where Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, has been sent as a ward and as the betrothed of Prince Trystane. Myrcella is a Baratheon (but actually a Lannister). We meet Prince Doran (a Martell) at the Water Garden enjoying the play of the children. Areo Hotah is his Captain of the Guards. Princess Arianne is the heir to the Sunspear. We meet the Sand Snakes. The Red Viper or Prince Oberyn of House Martell was killed in Book 3 by Ser Gregor Clegane (the Mountain) during a trial by combat so relations between King’s Landing (Cersei) and the Sunspear are strained. House Martell is connected to House Targaryen and Daenerys with her dragons through Prince Doran’s sister Elia who was murdered along with her offspring during the Sack of King’s Landing which put the Baratheon’s on the Iron Throne.
The second family we get to know in some detail is the Greyjoy family, Kings of the Isles and the North. Balon Greyjoy, the most recent King of the Iron Islands was killed in a fall. A Kingsmoot is held to decide who will follow him. He has a widow, Queen Alannys, a daughter, Asha, Captain of the Black Wind, a brother Euron, called Crow’s Eye, Captain of the Silence, and Victarion, Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet and Master of Iron Victory. Euron wins the right to rule the Iron Islands and he will be important because he has heard of the dragons and is off to find them and Dani Targaryen, who controls them. In fact, a number of our ambitious players in the Game of Thrones are beginning to get wind of the dragons.
We do get to watch Cersei make one mistake after another as she is so twisted by her suspicions, and her hatreds and jealousies that she cannot make objective decisions. She thinks that benefiting herself will benefit the kingdom but she ends up undermining all her own ambitions. Jaime, her lover and brother, is off wrapping up the loose ends of the war while Cersei is snipping the ribbons of rule and undoing the hard-won victory.
We touch base briefly with Arya and Sansa Stark who are still separated by more than just geography. We follow Samwell Tarly to Oldtown where the Hightowers reign. Jon Snow has sent him to become a maester or wise one. Sam intends to obey but not happily. Catelyn Stark seems to have been resurrected as some form of wraith or zombie. As Book 4 ends our female knight, Brienne, has been captured by the Broken Knights and is in serious danger of being hanged.
I don’t know why I like these books. War and mayhem are endless and life expectancy is short. There is almost no romance or joy, but there are larger-than-life characters. There are heroes, both male and female and that is what keeps me going, and, besides, Mr. Martin tells a great story and I want to know how it turns out. Still, I don’t see how the winter that threatens from the north and the terrible creatures that lurk beyond the Wall could plunge these people into anything worse than they already suffer in this insane Game of Thrones. However, we are assured that “winter is coming”, and that sounds pretty darn ominous.