The Winds of Winter
(Events do not necessarily take place in chapter order. All content subject to change with new information.)
Theon and Jeyne reach Stannis’ camp and Theon is made prisoner. Jeyne is sent to Castle Black because Stannis thinks she’s Arya. He arrests the Karstarks and almost kills Theon.
The battle begins between Stannis, the Freys, and the Manderlys during a blizzard. All is chaotic. The Manderlys attack the Freys from behind. But Stannis is also betrayed as several Northmen, enraged by the Queen’s Men, release the Karstarks, who attack him in the rear. In the blizzard no one can clearly identify friend from foe and many kill their own comrades.
Into this melee arrives Ramsay with the rest of the Bolton army. Unable to tell who’s who he has his men attack everyone. In the middle of the fight Stannis is killed by an arrow through the eye. His army breaks, fleeing in all directions. But due to the blizzard the battle does not end. After days of fighting in which the Boltons succeed in slaughtering each other, it only stops when the blizzard does.
Wyman Manderly has succeeded in killing all the Freys. This bothers Ramsay not at all, because it was part of his objective all along. Manderly has no difficulty insinuating himself with Ramsay. He has found Stannis’ sword, although the body of the man himself is nowhere to be found. On returning to Winterfell he discovers that Roose has mysteriously died and so has Fat Walda and his infant son. Mance Rayder’s spear wives all died fighting and Mance taken prisoner. Ramsay flays the dead women and tortures Mance. He then hangs Mance in a cage naked outside Winterfell with only the flayed skins of his wives to keep him warm.
Asha and Theon have escaped Stannis’ camp during the blizzard and fled to Castle Black. During their journey Theon has a lucid moment. He tells Asha that he secretly sent a letter to Jon telling him that Ramsay had killed Stannis and captured Mance. Asha though is not impressed, having a better idea of what effect such a letter would have.
After the murder of Jon Snow, Tormund and the Wildlings have seized the castle. Alliser Thorne attempts to retake the castle, but is killed. Most of his men surrender without a fight. Tormund has Bowen Marsh and the other killers of Jon executed.
News of the Battle on the Ice infuriates the Wildlings. Val believes that all their misfortunes are brought about because of Shareen and Salyse offending the Old Gods. Melisandre manages to persuade Tormund to burn Shareen on Jon’s funeral pyre. Salyse commits suicide. When the Wildlings start to burn Shareen, Patchface goes crazy. Whether through his insanity, devotion, or something else he is able to kill several Wildlings with his bare hands and even his teeth. Despite wounds that would kill a normal man he is able to reach Shareen, but he is unable to untie her before both are killed in the pyre.
To the shock of all Jon stands up and gets off the pyre before he can be burned.
Despite misgivings, Barristan decides to lead a sortie to attack the besiegers. During this sortie the command of the slaver army breaks down. The dragons attack both sides and Victarion’s Ironborn intervene on Dany’s side.
The 2nd siege of Meereen ends with total victory for Meereen. The slavers flee when most of the sellswords turn on them and join Barristan Selmy and the Ironborn. The fleet from Volantis, upon seeing the Ironborn in the harbor, immediately turn around and head home. All Dany’s hostages are freed safely. Barristan, knowing them both, welcomes Tyrion and Jorah into, or back into, Dany’s service.
But things still aren’t going smoothly. When Victarion tried to blow the dragonhorn it caused the dragons to fly away, not come to him. Also, the three men he had blow the horn died anyway. Victarion almost kills Moqorro, but the red priest manages to convince him that the person who wants to command the dragons has to blow the horn himself. Something Victarion is reluctant to do. Dany still hasn’t returned and many are starting to claim that she never will. Barristan is pressured to release Hizdahr. Barristan refuses, but does agree to release Reznak.
Unknown to him Reznak and the Green Grace, Galazza Galare, are secretly in league with Hizdahr, who is really the Harpy. The two act as his go-betweens, allowing him to maintain his innocence. After the disaster of the battle Volantis has decided on a new approach. They will use gold, not steel, to reconquer Meereen.
Dany is a ‘prisoner’ of Jhaqo. The Dothraki don't realize that she totally controls Drogon. He debates with his bloodriders whether to take her to the Dosh Kaleen, but they persuade him to rape her to death instead. However, Drogon burns them at her command. Her control of the dragon causes all Jhaqo’s kalasar to bow to Dany. Her own kalasar joins them and she has the ability return to Meereen. She decides not to. News of the annual gathering of the kalasars makes her decide to go to Vaes Dothrak instead.
The other two dragons are still causing trouble outside Meereen, but they avoid the city itself.
Barristan calls a council to decide what to do. He is persuaded by Skahaz and Daario that they need to retake the other slave cities, to which Tyrion agrees. Daario takes all the sellswords and the companies of freedmen and marches for Yunkai.
What neither Barristan, Daario, Tyrion, or any of Dany’s other followers know is that Skahaz, who now doubts Dany will ever return, and Victarion have both been communicating with Reznak. The two conspire with Hizdahr to overthrow Barristan and seize control of Meereen. He offers them both a huge sum of gold plus Victarion can keep the dragons, assuming he can get control of them.
Daario has total success, first at Yunkai and then at Astapor. In both cases, without Dany to restrain him, he puts all the masters to death.
Believing that it was because of the Ironborn and the betrayal of the sellswords that cost the slavers the battle, Hizdahr now thinks Meereen is ripe for the taking. The pit fighters free him and he commands the Harpies, the Shavepates, and the Ironborn to capture the city. Barristan and Strong Belwas are killed. Fighting fills the streets. Victarion, from the top of the pyramid, blows the horn. Much to his surprise, it isn’t the two dragons outside Meereen who respond, but Drogon with Dany on his back. He attempts to command Drogon, but Dany has him burned to death instead, along with the horn.
Victarion’s death causes the Ironborn to flee the city. Which is just as well because the whole of the Dothraki kalasar now appears and puts every Harpy and Shavepate to death they can find. Dany’s other two dragons also now join her. Hizdahr, Skahaz, Reznak, and Galare, along with all their remaining followers are gathered inside the fighting pits. Dany passes sentence on them and they are all burned to death by the dragons. Moqorro escapes death by persuading Dany that he had actually tricked Victarion. He fails to come up with a satisfactory answer as to why he failed to warn Barristan, but he did help Tyrion, Missandei, and Jorah avoid being killed.
Dany is now indisputably ruler of Meereen, Yunkai, and Astapor, but she still doesn’t have any ships.
Tyrion convinces her of his usefulness and she puts him to work running Meereen. This he does very well. Dany tells Missandei how she was able to take control of all the Dothraki. Basically, the Dothraki respect strength and riding skill. Being able to ride a dragon and control it makes her a god in their eyes. The Dosh Kaleen have declared that she is in fact the Stallion Who Mounts the World.
Cersei is once more running the kingdom into the ground. Her obsession with Margaery blinds her to all other considerations. In addition, she is getting secret letters from Euron Greyjoy offering her an alliance against the Tyrells.
Mace leads his army to retake Storm’s End, as much to spite Tarly as anything else, but is humiliated and forced to retreat to Kings Landing.
Randyll Tarly improves Cersei’s disposition further by bringing her evidence that Margaery really is an adulterer. False claims of her having the hots for her brother Loras, who is gay and unlikely to practice incest with his sister, also adds to Cersei’s arsenal. Loras is found beaten to death, the Faith Militant being the obvious suspects.
Margaery is once more arrested.Willas is determined to defend his sister. Tommen, with Cersei unable to interfere, has been meeting with the High Sparrow. He is strongly influenced by the Sparrow’s words. When Olenna is informed that the High Sparrow intends for Margaery to do a walk of atonement she persuades Willas to lead the Tyrell soldiers to seize the Sept and free her. But to the surprise of both Tommen has converted to the faith and, more important, the High Sparrow has named Randyll the new Grand Captain of the Faith Militant. Willas is arrested for treason for his failed effort to seize the Sept. Olenna flees the city before she can be.
More surprising to Cersei is that Tommen outlaws trial by combat. She blames Margaery for this. Euron sends Cersei even more info gathered from his conquest of the Shields. Willas is now also accused of incest (false) and for ridiculing the Faith of the Seven, in other words blasphemy (true).
The High Sparrow schedules the trial of both Willas and Cersei for the same day. All the Tyrells are there to show their support, save Garland who was killed taking back the Shields from the Ironborn. Willas has broken under torture and confesses to his crimes. He agrees to join the Faith Militant. The trial of Cersei is supposed to begin, but neither she nor the king are present. The High Sparrow orders his men to fetch her, but just then the entire Sept and everyone in it is destroyed. Wildfire has been placed under it and Cersei used Qyburn’s little birds to set it off. All the Tyrells are dead along with the High Sparrow, Randyll Tarly, and most of the Faith Militant.
Tommen was prevented from attending the trial because of the Mountain. Once he sees what’s happened he kills himself.
Euron is living it up on the Shields, at least until the Tyrells take it back, but he is frustrated by the fact that his Ironborn are so indifferent to his plans. He is busy trying to play off Cersei and the Tarlys against the Tyrells and Redwines, the only ones who could challenge him. He has also secretly taken his brother, Damphair, prisoner. Euron is up to something, but Damphair doesn’t know what and his being kept in a drugged state prevents him from thinking clearly.
The survivors of Victarion’s fleet show up and report what happened. Euron has most of them put to death for their failure. The remainder flee along with many more who are having second thoughts about having Euron as king.
Their reluctance is justified, for Euron has learned far more in his travels than anyone can imagine. He has studied sorcery and he uses it, sacrificing his brother, along with all the priests he’s gathered, and even his salt wife, to summon and bind a kraken. He unleashes the beast first on the Redwine fleet, then on Old Town. This battle takes place roughly at the same time as Garland’s attack on the Shields.
Sam has been studying at the Citadel for a while. He has made friends with Sarella, who is disguised as Alleras, and Maesters Marwyn and Ebrose. He has also encountered the Faceless Man who called himself Jaqen H’ghar, but nothing is yet revealed about his business. The attack on Old Town forces them to flee, Marwyn having already left in AFFC. The Citadel is wrecked and Sarella is killed. They do manage to rescue several books though. Outside the city they find Gilly and baby Aemon. She couldn’t find any way to get to Hornhill, so she joins Sam and Ebrose who all decide to go there. The Faceless Man has vanished.
Even with the kraken Euron is unable to seize the Hightower. News of the fall of the Shields bothers him not at all. What does is that his hold over his own people is weakening.
Sam and co don't find a warm welcome at Hornhill. News of the death of Randyll has embittered his brother Dickon. Sam steals his family’s sword Heartsbane and his company flees. Ebrose helps buy them passage back north where word has come that Jon might once more be in control. Dickon can’t do anything about it because he has been summoned to Kings Landing to pledge allegiance to Cersei. Dickon argues with his mother over whether to actually do so. She wants him to get revenge for his father.
Arya has been sent by the Kindly Man to work with a troop of mummers. She has become friends with them and learned a lot from how they do their performances. It is all in preparation for another kill, though she doesn’t find out who yet. Spotting Raff the Sweetling she lures him to her room where she kills him, dumping his body in the canal. After the performance she is grabbed by the Waif and hauled back to the House of Black and White. There she has to answer for killing the wrong person. Another Faceless Man chooses to die in her place. She is warned that there will not be another chance.
Arya now learns what her true objective is: to kill Lady Stork. She questions why the woman whom she has made friends with has to die. But the Kindly Man says it is not her place to question. Arya goes to poison the wine Stork always drinks before performances, but then knocks it out of her hand. She can’t force herself to kill someone she doesn’t believe deserves to die. Arya figures out that it was her other friend Daena who paid for the hit on Stork.
Arya tries to flee Braavos, but can’t find a ship to take her home. The Waif, who has herself been behaving increasingly erratically of late, goes after her. To the Waif, Arya is a constant reminder of what she herself once was and what she could have been. The Kindly Man is now testing both girls to see who survives. The Waif chases Arya all through Braavos, lasting several days. Arya finds many hiding places, but the most noteworthy one is a house with a red door. The house has been abandoned for a long time, but she can still see into the Prince’s private garden which has its own lemon tree. The Waif seems to trap Arya. Only the trap is Arya’s. She has successfully lured the Waif to a place where she, Arya, has the advantage. Using her warging skills she kills the Waif with a horde of cats. She brings the Waif’s face back to the House of Black and White where the Kindly Man announces that she is now No One. She replies that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell.
Robin is found to have died in his sleep. No one is suspicious because his was known to be of poor health, except for Sansa, who thinks it’s just a little too convenient for Littlefinger.
Sansa has learned how to ingratiate herself within the Vale. Though unwilling, Littlefinger convinces her that she needs to get Harrold Hardyng to marry her. At first the two aren’t friendly, but then Harry proves to be more of a gentleman. Sansa warms to him, even begins to like him. After some effort she convinces him to marry her. In spite of their marriage Littlefinger convinces Harry that they still need to keep her true identity secret.
For a brief time Sansa is truly happy. Though he lacks brains she finds she can manipulate Harry easily. She even begins to think she might have a real future.
It doesn’t last. Harry hears stories about his aunt who was abducted by the mountain clans years ago. Convinced he has a chance to save her he goes riding out and is ambushed. What’s left of his body is recovered by Royce, who sets out to wreak vengeance on the clans. From his efforts to commiserate with her Sansa begins to suspect that Littlefinger set up the whole thing. Sansa, as Alayne, is now Lady of the Vale, Harrold having no heirs.
Arianne travels to the Stormlands to meet with the one claiming to be Aegon Targaryen. There is great doubt about the truth of this, but there is no denying the success of his army. He has total control of Storm’s End and has successfully beaten back the Tyrells. While traveling word reaches her that her brother Quentyn is dead, killed by Dany’s dragons. She is fearful as to how her father will react to this news.
Areo Hotah, Obara, and Balon Swann chase Darkstar to Starfall, the Dayne family seat where they discover that he has stolen Dawn, the family's Valyrian steel sword. Continuing the chase, they hunt him to the coast. Here Darkstar kills Swann and disarms Obara. He and Areo then kill each other in an epic duel. Obara takes back Dawn and rides off into the desert just as Euron arrives off the coast.
When Arianne finally meets Aegon she finds a boy who is easy to manipulate and quite innocent. She sets about seducing him immediately. Word reaches them that Cersei has destroyed the Sept and crowned herself queen. She has also named her daughter Myrcella to be her heir. This is no longer in Arianne’s interest. She sends word to Ellaria to kill Myrcella, but Doran has already anticipated her and is sending Myrcella along with Trystane back to Kings Landing. He, who is also a schemer, is keeping his options open. He doesn't believe Cersei is actually planning to murder his son.
In addition, Littlefinger has sent an envoy to discuss a marriage alliance between Sansa and Aegon. Seeing an opportunity, Littlefinger has run for the goal, discarding all his carefully laid plans. Unfortunately, he has chosen badly. Arianne’s seduction of Aegon goes a little too well. Perhaps, like Robb Stark out of honor, or perhaps out of genuine love, he marries Arianne. He also reveals that he has the legendary sword Blackfyre, proving beyond all doubt that he is a Blackfyre.
This is too far for Jon Connington. Driven mad by greyscale and being a fanatical Targaryen and close personal friend of Rhaegar, Connington cannot allow the false Aegon to sit the Iron Throne. Also, Aegon was supposed to marry Dany and his jilting her is more than Connington can take. Since he’s dying anyway he has nothing left to lose. He kills both Arianne and Aegon while yelling 'for Daenerys!', committing suicide right after.
Doran is furious at the death of two of his children and blames Dany and by extension all Targaryens for it. He now sends a letter to Cersei declaring his loyalty to her and the Iron Throne. But it is dependent on her keeping his son safe.
To the surprise of Obarra and Ellaria, Quaithe invades Starfall. Freezing everyone with magic, she takes Dawn and leaves.
The North II
Jon hands command of the Night’s Watch to Dolorous Ed, announcing that his watch is over. He almost kills Theon, but Asha talks him out of it. He and Tormund rally the Wildlings and set off for Winterfell. Most of the north, knowing that the Bolton army is a shadow of its former self, join him. He recognizes Jeyne Poole for who she is and takes her with him, along with Asha, Theon, Melisandre, and all the rest of Stannis’ people.
Ramsay, with Wyman’s advice, stays in Winterfell, allowing Jon to gather support and march south unmolested. Jon’s army arrives at Winterfell in the midst of another snow storm. Ramsay is supremely confident that the storm aids him. Wyman though has his men open the gates and lets in Jon’s army. Jon is able to seize Winterfell with few loses. Mance is found to have frozen to death in his cage. Ramsay meets a totally appropriate fate.
All the north now rallies around Jon with the exception of the Karstarks. He is declared King in the North. Wyman wants him to go after the Karstarks, but Jon doesn’t want any more bloodshed with winter coming. Instead he send Alys and her Thenn husband to get control of the Dreadfort. Much to their own surprise the remaining Karstark men join her willingly.
Davos arrives at Winterfell a failure. He got to Skagos, but found Rickon and Osha dead. According to his tail Osha failed to find the friends she believed she had. Instead she was attacked by bandits and Rickon, being a Stark, was honor bound to come to her rescue. Both were killed. After that his direwolf, Shaggydog, went crazy, killing the bandits and anyone else he came across. Davos assisted the lord there in hunting the feral beast down.
Melisandre is constantly causing trouble. Her efforts to convert the Wildlings and Northmen are only angering them. She ends up trying to burn down the ancient weirwood in the godswood of Winterfell. For Jon this is the last straw. He banishes her under penalty of death.
Some of the Ironborn arrive at Winterfell looking for Asha. They tell her all about what has happened to the south. She convinces Jon to let her go back to the Iron Islands to try to raise a revolt against Euron, keeping Theon as a hostage.
Beyond the Wall
The Three-Eyed Crow shows Bran many visions, but none appear to be of much use to him. Under his constant badgering the Crow finally shows him visions of Winterfell and his own family. In these he learns that Hodor wasn’t always Hodor. He also learns of what happened at the tourney at Harrenhal and the Tower of Joy. These confirm Jon’s parentage as a son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
But Bran still isn’t satisfied. He wants to go faster than the Crow will allow. So, waiting until everyone else is asleep, Bran tries to use the greensight on his own. He doesn’t see the past. Instead he sees something very much in the present. The Others gathered around a weirwood tree surrounded by the army of the dead. Something he does not see seems to grab him and fling him away. He senses that it might be the weirwood itself. Yet he cannot stop. Whatever force has hold of him won’t let go and he finds himself flung back into his own body.
His cries wake the others. The Crow says that he has been marked and that the Others are coming. The Crow now tries to teach everything he can before they arrive. He doesn’t have long. The Children attempt to stop the Others, but the magic protecting the cave has been canceled. The Children and Summer all die trying to stop the dead. The Crow, unable to escape, dies as well. They manage to collapse the bridge behind them, but only at the cost of Jojen's life. Meera, Bran, and Hodor escape out the back. Coldhands is outside waiting for them. He gathers them up and they ride off.
Bran is unable to control the visions and is lost in the past.
They are chased all the way back to the secret door to the Nightfort. Coldhands is overwhelmed when he tries to hold the wights back. Bran, remembering the words Sam used, is able to open the door, but they don't know how to close it again. Bran is forced to warg into Hodor while in a vision of the past, permanently damaging Hodor’s mind. Bran orders Hodor to 'hold the door'. Meera collapses the tunnel behind them, burying Hodor and the wights.
Arya, not wanting to return to Westeros anywhere where some might recognize her, arrives at Saltpans. She travels to the Quiet Isle to gather information and runs into Sandor Clegane. The two have both changed a lot and decide to team up again.
It is from the Hound that Arya learns what has been happening since she left. With his help she makes contact with her great uncle, the Blackfish. After some persuading, she manages to convince him that she can help him take the Twins. He gathers all the surviving Tully soldiers he can.
Jaime rides with Brienne far from his men, but soon realizes she deceived him. When he tries to escape she takes him prisoner. He remonstrates with her and she reveals that she is trying to save him. The Brotherhood knows he’s near and they are determined to meet out justice. He is not impressed, but agrees to help her rescue Podrick and Hyle, who are still captives. While they are making their way to the Brotherhood’s camp the Brotherhood itself attacks Jaime’s men, killing many and scattering the rest. With most of the Brotherhood gone Brienne and Jaime are able to rescue Pod, though Hyle is killed. Brienne kills Lem Lemoncloak. On seeing Lady Stoneheart Jaime knows he’s in trouble.
The Brotherhood now devote all their efforts into hunting down the three fugitives. Just like Arya and the Hound, the three wander all over the Riverlands in an effort to escape and find safety. None wants to return to Kings Landing as all three suspect Cersei of killing Tommen.
Walder is not happy. All the family he sent north are now dead. Despite Ramsay’s efforts, the truth about Fat Walda’s death has reach him. The Riverlands are all in open revolt against him. And he now knows that no help is going to come from the Lannisters. Kevan is dead and Cersei doesn’t care about the Riverlands. With the Sept of Baelor destroyed she can barely control Kings Landing. On top of all that the Brotherhood is killing every Frey and Frey bannerman they can get their hands on. Because of this he won’t allow Roslin to join Edmure at Casterly Rock.
During a solitary dinner late one night a new serving wench serves him a delicious meat pie. Walder loves it. Only when he demands to know where his sons are does the wench reveal that they were baked into the pie. She is Arya Stark and she lets him know that before she kills him.
Roslin, with help from other pro-Stark Freys, let in the Blackfish and his men. The fighting is fierce, but the Tullys win the day, though the Blackfish himself is killed.
Arya is determined to go after the rest of her kill list even though Sandor tries to talk her out of it. Everyone now knows that Jon has been declared King in the North and that Cersei has declared herself Queen of Westeros. This only strengthens Arya’s determination. Leaving the safety of the Twins she and the Hound are attacked by Freys who escaped the battle along with survivors of Jaime’s force. A giant wolf pack aids them in the fight. All but one of the wolves leave after the battle. Arya confirms its Nymeria.
A band of the Brotherhood led by Thoros arrives and offers to take her to her mother, not letting on what has happened to her. They arrive in time to see Lady Stoneheart about to execute Pod, Jaime, and Brienne. Lady Stoneheart does not recognize her daughter. She demands Arya execute the prisoners herself. Arya, despite hating Jaime, refuses because she knows of no evil committed by Pod or Brienne. Enraged, Lady Stoneheart kills Arya. Only after doing so does she finally recognize her. Thoros tells her that there is only one way they might bring Arya back and that is by someone sacrificing themselves to the Lord of Light. To which Stoneheart gives no answer.
Jaime, Brienne, and Pod are set free by the Brotherhood, but are not welcome. They all agree that they have to go to the Vale because Littlefinger is likely the only one who will shelter them.
Kings Landing II
Everything seemed to be going Cersei’s way for a second there. She crowns herself queen with no one to contest it.Varys had attempted to turn the City Watch on her when Faegon was about to enter the city. But they turned on him once news of Faegon's death came out. All of Westeros save the north is in her hands. And the hated Tyrells are all dead. After the destruction of the Sept Dickon Tarly launched a coup against Olenna. He succeeded in taking Highgarden and Olenna vanished, believed to be dead. Though his loyalty to her is questionable, he shows every willingness to fight for her so long as she supports him. Euron is happily killing the Redwines, whom Tarly refuses to aid. Nobody else in the Reach dares defy him. Doran has sworn his loyalty, though Cersei still intends to dispose of Trystane once she can get away with it. Littlefinger is still officially allied with her, his double-dealing not yet come to light.
Of course it couldn’t last. Once Aegon and Arianne are killed the secret correspondence between them and Littlefinger eventually reaches Cersei’s ear. So she declares war on the Vale. As if that weren’t bad enough, the Sand Snakes, outraged at Doran’s duplicity, murder him. They even manage to murder Trystane and Myrcella, though Lady Nym kills herself to do it. Cersei swears vengeance on them and Dorne, which totally supports them.
All of which she could handle except that Kings Landing itself is slipping more and more out of control. The rumor that she murdered her own son as well as blew up the Sept has made the whole city rebellious. And even naming herself the new High Septa hasn’t helped. Only with the cruelest repression can she keep a lid on the city.
To top it off Dickon is unable to handle the pressure of the other Reach Lords. They support the Hightowers despite Euron holding Old Town. Cersei refuses to send him any aid because she still has delusions of forming an alliance with Euron. Also, the Stormlands are in chaos. Nobody rules there and the Golden Company still controls several cities even with Faegon dead. Harry Strickland is openly communicating with Dickon to form an alliance.
The Ironborn II/Meereen II
Euron is stringing Cersei along, promising an alliance. But he still intends to marry the Dragon Queen. Realizing he has no choice he travels to Meereen with his fleet and his kraken personally.
In Meereen the new navy Cersei built shows up to join forces with Dany. With them is Marwyn. He and Moqorro start bashing heads almost immediately. Dany still needs ships to take her army to Westeros, but the masters cut down all the forests near the city when she marched on it. And the other slavers, Volantis, Qarth, New Ghis, and others are trying to raise another army to fight her. She wants to know how to put a stop to it.
Tyrion advises they send Daario and the sellswords to take Elyria, Tolos, and Mantarys. Dany opposes expanding the war, but Tyrion convinces her that only by showing she can attack the masters on their home turf can she hope to make peace with them. The success of this campaign leads Dany to name Tyrion her Hand.
It is into this mess that Euron appears. He promises to take Dany and her army to Westeros on condition that she marries him. She refuses. So he makes her an offer. If he can scare the masters into ending their war, she will ally with him. He does so by using his kraken to sink the fleets of Qarth and Volantis. The masters are quick to offer terms. Dany cannot help but see how dangerous he is. So can all her friends. Yet none of them can offer an alternative. They all set off for Westeros, the combined fleets carrying her army. Daario and the sellswords remaining with the freedmen to defend what Dany has renamed the Bay of Dragons. It is only at sea that Dany realizes she is his prisoner. Though he shows only charm and kindness she knows she is at his mercy.
The Vale II
Sansa is not happy to see Jaime. Everyone now knows that she is alive and technically rules the Vale, though Littlefinger is the one who truly does. The news of her mother’s resurrection has greatly disturbed her. Brienne swears her sword to Sansa. Sansa wants nothing more than to return to Winterfell. Littlefinger keeps trying to convince her that her ‘brother’ Jon is a usurper and not to be trusted. Brienne keeps trying to convince her Littlefinger is the one not to be trusted.
Jaime decides he has to return to Kings Landing to discover once and for all whether Cersei really did murder their son. With news of Lady Stoneheart’s final death he no longer fears the Brotherhood. Littlefinger agrees with Sansa that they should go to Winterfell.
The Riverlands II/The North III
Arya now finds herself the leader of the Brotherhood. She has had a major change of heart since her resurrection, no longer having much desire to kill people. That doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to. She ends their attacks on the Freys and leads the Brotherhood north. All she wants now is to rejoin her ‘brother’.
Jon is very happy to see her, having finally reunited with one member of his family. And his favorite one at that. Arya has the Brotherhood swear loyalty to Jon. She wants him to go after Cersei. But he is still focused on the threat up north. Winter has come and the dead are coming with it.
It is now that Sansa arrives with Littlefinger, Brienne, and Pod. Although happy at first, relations soon sour between her and her siblings. She assumed the other two would step aside for her. She is much mistaken. None of the other lords in the north will back her, Stark or no, and Arya supports Jon remaining King in the North. The arguments between them get heated.
During one argument Thoros comes to them with a vision. He tells them they have to save Daenerys or all is lost. They are skeptical at first, but then Arya sees a vision in the flames. She will save Dany and nothing Jon says will talk her out of it. Thoros, Sandor, Theon, and Asha go with her. Littlefinger supports them believing this will weaken his enemies. Asha is able to convince them all that she can retake the Iron Islands. They decide to head there first.
Littlefinger keeps trying to get Sansa to overthrow Jon, but the complete absence of any support makes this impossible. Unable to supplant him, the two return to the Vale with Brienne and Pod following after.
Euron and his fleet arrive at Old Town. Even though he allows Dany’s army to land he keeps her prisoner on board his ship. Her friends don’t dare do anything. Euron is not having it all his way though. Word has reached him that several of his supporters in the Iron Islands have died mysteriously and that his niece Asha is somewhere around causing trouble. He’s desperate to marry Dany as quickly as possible. But she resists. In the end he resorts to threats. He will unleash his kraken on her army. She feels she has no choice and finally agrees.
Thoros, Theon, Sandor, and Arya have arrived outside Old Town after a somewhat convoluted journey. They can see the kraken swimming in the ocean outside the harbor and know they will have to do something about it. Arya has a plan. The other three don’t like it.
Euron holds a feast to celebrate the coming nuptials, but then his men find Theon hiding among his crew. After stripping, beating, and humiliating him, Euron dresses him in rags and act the fool. Dany is appalled. Euron’s men take delight in tormenting Theon. One man in particular loves to beat on him.
Thoros and Sandor find themselves rowing out into the ocean dangerously close to where the kraken likes to swim. They toss an offering to the beast, neither confident that Arya’s plan has any chance of working.
During the feast before the wedding Theon is forced to dance and jape. But when he gets close he stabs Euron through his patched eye with a concealed knife. Euron dies. Theon is cut to pieces by Euron’s men. Asha now bursts in with her own men and a battle royal begins. Dany is suddenly grabbed by the man who beat Theon and dragged into a back hallway. She naturally assumes the worst, but it is Arya in disguise. Arya brings Dany to Thoros and Sandor, who are waiting in a boat. The four row across the bay to Dany’s people.
Tyrion, not surprisingly, recognizes all three of them. Arya makes it clear they are on Dany’s side. Everyone can hear the battle taking place among the Ironborn and Tyrion advises they wait to see who comes out on top, since they can’t tell friend from foe. When Dany expresses concern over the kraken now that Euron is dead Arya reassures her that the beast is no longer a problem. Turns out she’s right. The kraken has died of poison.
Arya and Dany have a long talk, Arya telling Dany her story and Dany telling Arya all about her visions. The two have hit it off real fast and none of Dany’s followers is happy about it. Tyrion confronts Arya about her allegiance to her ‘brother’, but Dany points out to him that he was the one who first proposed she make an alliance with Jon. Asha arrives having killed all Euron’s men. She wants to make an alliance with Dany. She is also curious about how Euron was killed. Arya tells them that Euron was already dead. Asha thinks Arya is boasting, but Arya assures them that Euron has been dead for a long time. She doesn’t know what power was controlling his body, but what they saw was only a glamor. Sure enough word reaches them that Euron’s corpse has rotted far faster than is natural.
Dany chooses Arya to be her bodyguard. The others object, but she points out that who better to protect her from assassins than an assassin.
Dany now sets her plans in motion. Asha will return to finish taking control of the Iron Islands. She will take Tyrion, Grey Worm, and the Unsullied with her. Tyrion will aid the Unsullied in seizing Casterly Rock. The rest of them will go to Dragonstone to threaten Kings Landing. They will stop at Dorne first for the Queen of Thrones has revealed herself to still be alive. She is with Ellaria Sand and the lords of the Reach, unhappy with Dickon, are flocking to join her.
Kings Landing III
Jaime has finally returned to the capital and what he finds disturbs him. Cersei is turning full on mad queen and isn’t happy to see him. She feels betrayed. So does he. She denies killing Tommen, but can’t hide the fact that he killed himself because of what she did. Her sycophants are running wild. They are stealing more money than they are spending and the kingdom is falling apart. The Lannister armies are wasting away. Both the kingdom and the family are facing bankruptcy. Cersei is doing nothing about it.
In order to get rid of him she sends Jamie to aid Dickon, who is pestering her for help. She sends with him all the trouble makers she wants to get rid of, including Tyrion’s old friend Bronn. Or tries to. Bronn refuses to go.
The Reach II/Dragonstone/Storm’s End
Dany takes Dragonstone without opposition. She and Arya continue to get closer. Something which Missandei and Jorah in particular find disturbing. She has even introduced Arya to her dragons and Arya is enchanted.
Dany holds a celebration for Arya's 13th nameday. A stranger gives Missandei a potion to spike a special dish for Arya. But Arya is not fooled and Missandei is arrested. After insuring Dany's safety she meets Jaqen H'ghar at the dragonpit. The original one. He tells her it was only a test and makes an offer. The Faceless Men will leave Dany alone if she destroys the wights and their creators. They are an abomination to the Many Faced God because they cannot truly experience his 'gift'. Arya herself gets one more assignment. She is to destroy the Mountain and kill his creator, Qyburn. Her payment is Euron's dragon egg. Missandei is forgiven.
Word reaches them that Jaime is marching an army to Highgarden. This is at the same time that Olenna and Ellaria’s troops are also headed that way. Dany decides Arya needs to demonstrate her skills. She sends her and Jorah with the Dothraki to retake Storm’s End.
Jaime arrives in Highgarden. He and Dickon do not hit it off. Dickon doesn’t want to surrender the city, but Jamie knows it cannot be held. Olenna’s army outnumbers theirs and they won’t be getting any help. Whereas Olenna has the backing of the Queen of Dragons. Dickon won’t listen. His family has been kissing the boots of overlords, first the Gardeners, then the Tyrells for centuries. He’s had enough bowing. Jamie points out that it was his pride which caused Walder Frey to betray his allegiance too and look what happened to him. After much arguing Dickon finally agrees to evacuate Highgarden, when Olenna’s army is literally on the horizon.
Arya arrives outside Storm’s End with the Dothraki. Jorah advises against a fight because they have no siege weapons. Arya, who has taken to calling Dany her ‘sister’, asks to parley with the Golden Company men who hold it. They are less than enthused about siding with their life long enemies, the Targaryens. Arya points out that there are no more Blackfyres and the alternative is the Lannisters. The Company is still not convinced. She finally challenges their leader, Lysono Maar, who also happens to be their greatest fighter, to a duel. Convinced he can beat any little girl, he swears his men will surrender if she beats him. She does and they do. She offers them a place, but they choose to return to Essos.
Jaime is anxious. Both Casterly Rock and Storm’s End have fallen. Highgarden is more untenable than ever. Even Tarly sees it, but it is already too late. Slowed by all the crap they’ve looted from the city, Jaime doubts they’ll ever get to Kings Landing before Olenna overtakes them. His fears are in the wrong direction. They spot a huge force of cavalry approaching; the Dothraki. Preparing themselves for battle, they are suddenly attacked from the sky. Dany and her dragons decimate the combined Lannister/Tarly army. Dickon tries to shoot Drogon in the eye, but he is burned to death. It isn’t a battle. It’s a massacre. Jaime escapes, but he is seriously injured.
Arya is holding Dragonstone in Dany’s stead. Bronn arrives first and offers his army of sellswords to Dany’s cause. Edric Storm and his protectors are next. Arya knows Dany won’t like any of Robert’s bastards, but she needs to keep in mind the big picture. As Dany’s co-queen she legitimizes Edric as Edric Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End. The lords of the Stormlands quickly acknowledge him.
Dany returns and is gleeful over Arya’s activities. News now reaches them that Illyrio is working to unite the slavers and is trying to hire the Golden Company along with every other sellsword he can find. Dany doesn't understand as she had thought Illyrio was her friend. Jorah tells her that Illyrio is the biggest slave trader in the world and he supported Viserys only after being promised that Viserys would allow slavery in Westeros again.
Dany sends Arya, Sandor, and Thoros back to Winterfell to convince Jon to come to Dragonstone. Tyrion is already there, but he isn’t having any luck. It should be noted that Arya and Dany have already figured out Jon’s parentage, which they keep to themselves.
The North IV
Bran and Meera manage to reach Castle Black. Ed takes them to Winterfell. Jon is joyous at finding Bran still alive. He is even happier when Sam, Gilly, and Archmaester Ibrose show up. It has been tough travelling for all of them and they have much to tell. Jon is understandably skeptical of Bran’s news. He still looks upon himself as Ned Stark’s son and not even Bran’s visions change that. Meera offers to bring her father to Winterfell. After all, he was a witness. Jon still doesn’t think it would change anything.
Tyrion arrives to talk to Jon. He isn’t welcome. Even though they know he serves Dany they aren’t happy to see a kinslayer. Nor is Jon interested in any alliances unless Dany promises to help fight the Others. Dany though won’t send him help unless he agrees to join her first. Tyrion does his best to not use the language she did when making her demands.
After repeated attempts Tyrion is all set to quit, but Arya arrives. She seems remarkably unfazed by the news of Jon’s true parentage. Jon has no interest in advertising it. Howland Reed now gets to Winterfell with Meera, but still Jon won’t listen. He has invested so much of his identity as the son of Ned that he will not accept that he isn’t. When Bran suggests they go into the crypts to see what they can find. Jon refuses pointblank. Arya tells him that he is being ridiculous. It doesn’t matter who his father is. Jon is Jon. Regardless of whose blood flows through his veins, he is and will always be Ned’s son.
Jon agrees to go south.
The Vale III
Sansa is positively livid when she hears that Arya has sworn herself to Dany. Beyond that, the Northern Lords still support Jon despite knowing he is actually Rhaegar's son. Littlefinger tries to reassure her, but Sansa knows that all his scheming has come to naught. He has no chance to win the Iron Throne. He disagrees.
Sansa starts having plots of her own, the center of which is persuading Jon to marry her.
Kings Landing IV
Jaime has made it back to the city alive, but it’s likely the last time he will leave it. Cersei is less than happy to see him. The city is being surrounded by hostile forces and even those inside are not to be trusted. Cersei doesn’t care though. She is already prepared to go out in a blaze of glory, literally. Jaime doesn’t feel that way.
A great convergence is taking place on the island. Most of the named characters of the story are traveling to this place. Most of the great houses have been summoned. Even Melisandre is here. Dany has something in mind involving Arya and Jon, but neither of them are aware of it. Rumors of Jon’s true parentage has leaked out and many are curious as to how the Queen of Dragons will react.
The first thing she does is publicly announce Arya as her ‘sister’ and co-queen, something which takes even Jon by surprise. She then announces the immanent fall of Kings Landing. Before that can happen she and Jon must discuss their coming alliance. She leads Jon and Arya to the dragonpit. Her men have captured the notorious Brave Companions. She wants Jon to kill them for her. Once there, to the shock of both, she tricks Jon into a cage and has her dragons set fire to it. Arya, as might be expected, is horrified. Everyone is sure Jon must be dead. But to the surprise and awe of all, he walks out of the fire alive and unharmed.
Tormund is visiting the Wall because word has reached him that the dead have arrived. He looks down on them from the top and sees a vaster army than has ever walked in Westeros before. He leaves Castle Black to warn Winterfell, but just as he’s leaving Hardhome, which is a super volcano, explodes. Tormund watches as the Wall cracks and splinters, the entire thing crumbling to the ground. Seeing the dead approach he rides south for all he’s worth.