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A Storm of Swords

George R. R. Martin

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title ·  A Storm of Swords

author · George R. R. Martin

type of work · Novel

genre · Fantasy

language · English

time and place written · Late 1990s, United States

date of first publication · August 8, 2000 (UK); November 2000 (US)

publisher · Bantam Books

narrator · Each chapter is written in the third person from the perspective of one of twelve characters. Most of the book, however, relies on the perceptions of just ten of those characters, who rarely interact or even cross paths.

point of view · The events in the novel are described from the perspectives of a wide variety of characters, from 12-year-old Arya to the older knight Davos.

tone · Medieval, romantic, suspenseful

tense · Past

setting (time) · 299 AL (After Aegon’s Landing)

setting (place) · The continents of Westeros and Essos

protagonist · A large ensemble cast, primarily the family members of the House of Lannister and the House of Stark.

major conflicts · The Starks strive to keep their cause from collapsing after alienating key allies; Jaime faces a struggle with his identity; Tyrion battles his family; Jon Snow deals with his own identity struggle as he contends with the wildlings; Daenerys fights against the slaver masters of Slaver’s Bay

rising action · Davos plans to assassinate Melisandre; Tyrion struggles with his family’s ingratitude and condescension, and he and Sansa are married; Arya escapes her captors; Robb Stark crosses the Freys by breaking his promise to them; Bran travels north to the Wall; Jon Snow escapes back to the Night’s Watch after falling in love with the wildling Ygritte; Jaime has his hand cut off; Samwell kills one of the Others as he makes his way back to the Wall; Daenerys gains an army and conquers Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen.

climaxes · During separate weddings in the House of Stark and the House of Lannister, assassinations are carried out first on King Robb and Catelyn, then at the Lannister wedding on King Joffrey.

falling action · Sansa flees with Petyr Baelish; Tyrion faces trial for Joffrey’s murder; Jaime determines what has value to him as he’s restored to command of the Kingsguard; Arya gets revenge on a few people as she travels with Sandor Clegane; Jon Snow commands the Watch in battle and then Stannis offers to make him Lord of Winterfell; Samwell plots to have Jon Snow made Lord Commander of the Watch; Davos defies Stannis by sending away Edric Storm; Daenerys must decide what to do with Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan after learning of their dishonesty

themes · The Political Role of Family, Breaking the Conventional Female Mold, The Need for Revenge, The Struggles of Identity, The Importance of Honor

motifs · Mottos, Songs, Betrayal

symbols · Oathkeeper, The Wall, Dragons

foreshadowing · The prophecies of the dwarf woman, Penny; Melisandre predicts various future events after seeing them in her flames

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