The novel contains many betrayals, double-crossings, and deceptions. What is the effect of all of this duplicity, and what does the novel suggest is the outcome of such scheming?

When Stannis tells Davos that Melisandre’s prophecies were correct, Davos points out that those prophecies only came true because Stannis acted on them. Does the novel ultimately agree with Davos that the future is simply the result of our actions in the present, or does it hold out the possibility that events are in fact predetermined?

Tyrion has complex relationship with his family. Describe that relationship, and explain whether Tyrion draws any conclusions about it over the course of the novel.

In the prologue, Martin reveals that winter is beginning in Westeros, and characters mention it several times throughout the novel. What is the significance of winter in the book?

Martin develops a lot of sympathy for the Starks, narrating chapters from the perspective of several family members and largely favoring their cause. At the same time, however, Martin presents Tyrion in a highly sympathetic fashion. By making readers sympathize with characters who oppose one another, what effect does Martin achieve?