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Don't get too attached to any character in George R. R. Martin's  A Storm of Swords, because, following the tradition of the previous novels in the series (A Song of Ice and Fire), anyone can become fodder, no matter how notorious, heroic or likeable they are.

This book follows the stories of several factions fighting for the throne of Westeros.  The rightful heir of a deceased king,  a princess in exile, a king who wants to secede and split the kingdom, as well as several other characters that orbit them.  There are no good and evil faction as is usually the case in this kind of fiction.  You can feel sympathy for anyone regardless of their actions.   Take Ser Jaime Lannister, for example, in the first two books he was presented as a ruthless warrior who is very much in love with his own sister.  So much, in fact, that her three children are his.  In this book we get to see his point of view and learn his reasons, how he loved her, the horror that made him take the life of the man he was sworn to protect and earned him the nickname Kingslayer.

The Hound, Sandor Clegane,  whom we came to dislike, then like and dislike again.  Lady Catelyn Stark, who is  a devoted mother grieving for the death of her husband and younger sons, yet showed us a very different face in the first book when told her husband's bastard son that it shoud have been him who fell of the tower instead of her son.

Jon Snow, Lord Stark's bastard son continues his adventures beyond the Wall that delimits the realm of man, captured by the wildlings that made him ride with them against his sworn brothers.

Arya Stark, a ten years old girl adds a couple of kills to her record, in her quest to return to her family.

Magic has now a more pronounced role that in the past books, manifested in the red priests.  Followers of a god that grants them immunity against assassination attempts and the ability to bring the dead back to life, but combat is predominant as the most common form of death.


Book Info: A Storm of Swords.  George R. R. Martin, Spectra.  ISBN 05533811709

 

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