Chapter 25 (Daenerys)

Daenerys offers to buy all of the Unsullied slave soldiers from Kraznys mo Nakloz, which is a surprise to everyone involved. After a long negotiation, Daenerys finally offers to trade one of her dragons, Drogon, along with a great sum of treasure, which doubles the surprise. The translator between Kraznys and Daenerys is a slave girl named Missandei, who confesses in private that three of the Unsullied are her brothers. The night before the exchange, Daenerys hears a ghostly female presence in her room who gives her a cryptic message. “To go north, you must go south,” she says. The figure vanishes without further explanation. The next day, Daenerys meets Kraznys in the Plaza of Pride, where she pays for the Unsullied. But once the transaction is made, she commands Drogon to breathe fire on Kraznys, and she orders the Unsullied to rebel against their former masters. The slaves revolt, calling out, “Dracarys!” or “Freedom!”

Chapter 26 (Sansa)

Her gown now ready, Sansa prepares to meet her groom. But Cersei reveals that Sansa is to marry Tyrion, a shocking and revolting revelation to Sansa. They commence with the ceremony, but both Tyrion and Sansa are lackluster about the event. Joffrey and Margaery lead the dance, during which Joffrey and Sansa briefly become dance partners, and Joffrey threatens to force Sansa to sleep with him. Sansa and Tyrion retire to their chambers, and after much drinking and general discomfort, Tyrion finally promises never to consummate their marriage unless Sansa wishes to.

Chapter 27 (Arya)

At the town of Stoney Sept, Arya hears news about the war and sees prisoners dying in public cages. Arya tries to give them water, but Anguy, one of the members of the Brotherhood, kills the prisoners with a crossbow. They arrive at an inn that doubles as a brothel, and Arya meets a gregarious prostitute named Bella. She ponders escape, but decides against it. In the night, another prisoner is brought forth, and Arya overhears that he is a Lannister. Arya sees Sandor Clegane, known as the Hound, and is thrilled to see he has been captured.

Chapter 28 (Jon)

Jon watches the wildlings attempt to scale the Wall, led by a warrior named Jarl. This is a difficult task, because the Wall is so high. When they near the top, the wall cracks and a chunk of the icy masonry falls away, killing the entire climbing team. Jon recalls a saying that “the Wall defends itself.” Ygritte starts to weep, because the wildlings have not yet found the Horn of Winter, a legendary instrument reputed to have the power to shatter the Wall.

Chapter 29 (Jaime)

Brienne and Jaime are tied together and remain prisoners for many days. Brienne urges Jaime to live, even though he wishes to die. After much marching, during which Brienne and Jaime are routinely threatened with rape and disfigurement, they finally arrive at the fortress of Harrenhal, and Jaime and Brienne are delivered to Lord Bolton. Jaime learns that the Freys have abandoned the Starks. Lord Bolton expresses displeasure over Vargo Hoat’s treatment of Brienne and Jaime. Brienne is stripped of her weaponry, but otherwise she and Jaime are treated like guests, and Jaime receives medical treatment from Maester Qyburn.

Chapter 30 (Tyrion)

As the new master of coin, Tyrion surveys the destruction the wars have wrought and grows increasingly angry. He resents cleaning up the mess, and he is frustrated with his despondent new wife, Sansa. Tyrion decides to address Symon Silver Tongue’s blackmail, because he still threatens to expose Tyrion’s relationship with Shae. Tyrion suggests he leave for the Free Cities, but after some negotiation, Tyrion pretends to offer Symon a chance to perform at Joffrey’s wedding. Instead he tells Bronn to secretly kill Symon and make his body disappear. When Tyrion later meets with his father, Tywin showcases two new swords that he plans to give to Joffrey and Jaime. They’re made of Valyrian steel, which is exceedingly rare, and it’s unclear where Tywin got the material for the swords. When the sword smith leaves, Tyrion complains that his father offered no sword to him. In response, Tywin chastises Tyrion for not consummating his marriage, and then reveals that Willas Tyrell refused to marry Cersei. As they talk, Maester Pycelle arrives to inform Tywin that the Wall may be vulnerable. Tywin refuses to reinforce the Wall, insisting that it is a northern matter.