Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.
what happened in A Storm of Swords?
- Catelyn Stark releases Jaime Lannister and asks Brienne of Tarth to take him back to King’s Landing. She plans to exchange Jaime for Sansa and Arya.
- The Brave Companions have sided with the Starks. They’re very fickle.
- The Brave Companions take Brienne and Jaime to Harrenhal and chop Jaime’s hand off.
- Roose Bolton returns to Harrenhal. He tells the Brave Companions that they’re a bunch of idiots and sends Jaime back to King’s Landing. He hands Brienne over to the Brave Companions, though. Brienne is thrown into the bear bit and Jaime rescues her. the pair continue on their journey to King’s Landing.
- Robb Stark arrives back in Riverrun. He’s annoyed with Edmure Tully because he changed Robb’s plans for Tywin. He wanted Tywin to head into a trap, but instead he went on to win the Battle of Blackwater.
- Robb reveals that he married a random girl called Jeyne instead of waiting for the Frey girl.
- Robb plans to take Moat Cailin but he needs the Freys to do that. He’s basically screwed.
- Robb is also angry with Catelyn for releasing Jaime.
- Robb names Jon Snow as his heir because they’re bros.
- Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie run into the Brotherhood Without Banners, which includes a previously dead guy called Beric Dondarrion and the guy who brought him back to life using red magic, Thoros of Myr.
- The group runs into Sandor Clegane – aka the Hound. They want to kill him but he kills Beric Dondarrion instead and is freed. Thoros brings Beric back to life again.
- Arya tries to run away from the Brotherhood and Sandor catches her and tries to take her north to her family.
- Robb meets with Walder Frey at the Twins. Walder Frey says he’ll forgive Robb’s marriage betrayal as long as Edmure Tully – the new Lord of Riverrun – marries one of Walder’s granddaughters.
- The Red Wedding goes down. The Freys have teamed up with the Lannisters, as have the Boltons, and they kill the Starks and Tullys. “Jaime Lannister sends his regards.”
- Arya and Sandor, thankfully, just miss the Red Wedding and they run the hell away when they realise what’s going down.
- Arya and Sandor get into a fight at an inn. Sandor is wounded and Arya leaves him to die.
- Arya heads to Braavos.
what went down in the south
- Davos and Stannis are reunited. It’s cute.
- Davos is locked up for treason because he wants to kill Melisandre (same). Stannis eventually releases Davos and promotes him to Hand of the King.
- Joffrey agrees to marry Margaery Tyrell.
- Sansa is married to Tyrion Lannister because Tywin is a dick.
- Tywin takes over as Hand of the King.
- Tyrion becomes Master of Coin.
- Littlefinger becomes Lord of Harrenhal.
- Balon Greyjoy wants to ally with the Lannisters but Tywin refuses.
- Melisandre plans to sacrifice Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, Edric. She thinks this will awaken the stone dragons. Stannis doesn’t want to, and casts a spell into the fire instead. He declares that he wants Balon Greyjoy, Joffrey Baratheon, and Robb Stark dead.
- Littlefinger travels to the Eyrie to see Lysa Arryn. He wants to marry her.
- Balon Greyjoy dies.
- Margaery and Joffrey get hitched.
- Joffrey is poisoned and Tyrion is arrested.
- Littlefinger gets Sansa out of the castle. He tells her that he killed Joffrey.
- Davos receives a letter from the Night’s Watch, asking for help with the Mance Rayder/wights situation.
- Stannis tries to kill Edric after all but Davos saves him. Stannis gets angry with Davos again and tries to have him killed. Again.
- Jaime and Brienne get to King’s Landing.
- Tommen is to be crowned.
- Brienne is arrested for killing Renly Baratheon.
- Tywin Lannister wants to make Jaime heir to Casterly Rock but Jaime turns him down. Jaime also doesn’t believe that Tyrion killed Joffrey because he’s smart.
- Oberyn Martell fights Gregor Clegane for Tyrion’s trial by combat. Oberyn hates Gregor because he killed his sister, Elia, and her children. Elia was married to Rhaegar Targaryen.
- Oberyn dies, but not before poisoning Gregor.
- Jaime and Varys help Tyrion escape before he can be executed. Jaime tells Tyrion that he and Tywin lied about Tyrion’s wife, Tysha, being a prostitute. Tyrion kills Tywin. Tyrion escapes to the east.
- Jaime frees Brienne. He gives her a sword made out of Valyrian steel. He asks her to find Arya and Sansa and take them home. He tells her that he betrayed Aerys back in the day because he was planning to destroy the entire city with wildfire. Jaime didn’t want innocent people to die.
- Littlefinger messes with an already unstable Lysa, driving her to try to kill Sansa. Lysa says that Littlefinger told her to poison Jon Arryn, her late husband, and blame the Lannisters. Littlefinger throws Lysa through the Moon Door.
- The Brotherhood Without Banners have taken Petyr Frey hostage. Merrett Frey goes to speak with them. Catelyn Stark shows up.
what went down in the north
- The Night’s Watch is waiting to hear back from Jon Snow. The Others and wights attack. Samwell Tarly manages to kill one of the Others with an obsidian blade.
- A bunch of mutineers kill Lord Commander Mormont.
- Sam escapes with Gilly, one of Craster’s daughters. They head south.
- Jon Snow meets with Mance Rayder and pretends he wants to join the wildlings.
- Mance reveals he is looking for the Horn of Winter, which is said to shatter the Wall.
- Jon Snow is meant to attack Castle Black from the south and let the wildlings through the gate to the Wall. Jon betray them and warns Castle Black that they’re on their way. Ygritte dies.
- Bran starts dreaming about a three-eyed crow. They reach the Wall and meet Samwell Tarly. Sam shows them a way through the Wall.
- Janos Slynt sends Jon Snow out to speak to Mance Rayder when the wildlings attack the Wall.
- Mance Rayder found the Horn of Winter, and is about to blow it when he hears horns sound from the east.
- Stannis Baratheon’s army arrives and saves the day. Mance Rayder is captured.
- Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander.
what went down in the east
- Jorah Mormont tells Daenerys about the cities in Slaver’s Bay.
- Dany travels to Astapor and pretends that she wants to buy some slaves. The slavers want to have a dragon.
- Dany, after pretending to not know what was going on the entire time, burns the slavers. The Unsullied turn to her.
- Dany frees the slaves in Astapor and Yunkai.
- Dany finds out about Jorah Mormont selling information to Robert Baratheon.
- Dany also finds out that Arstan Whitebeard is actually Barristan Selmy, who was part of Aerys and Robert’s Kingsguard.
- Jorah and Barristan sneak into Mereen and open the gates from the inside so Dany’s army can defeat the slavers.
- Dany decides to rule over Slaver’s Bay for now.