Book V : Dance with Dragons by George R.R.Martin Summary

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 5.46.08 PMA Dance with Dragons of 2000 is the fifth novel in the series by George R.R.Martin – “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Here is the summary for all you wanted to know about the fifth book. This has also been adapted into the Game of Thrones HBO series and translates directly to the Game of Thrones Seasons. If you are looking for the summary of the other books, click below.

Of the 7 book series, this is the fifth one and the HBO series is famous by its name. The others are

Sr No. Title Release
1 A Game of Thrones August 1996
2 A Clash of Kings February 1999
3 A Storm of Swords November 2000
4 A Feast for Crows November 2005
5 A Dance with Dragons July 2011
6 The Winds of Winter Unreleased
7 A Dream of Spring Unreleased

Continuing with the simultaneous storylines, here you go

  1. On the Wall
  2. Across the Narrow Sea
  3. In the Seven Kingdoms

On the Wall

On the Wall itself, Jon Snow has been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch; but the young man has enemies, both in the Watch and beyond the Wall. After making a peace with the wildlings, he lets them through in large numbers, despite objection from his fellow brothers, and enforces a conscription upon them to reinforce the Wall against the Others. The Red Priestess, Melisandre, whom Stannis Baratheon left behind, shares many of her visions with Jon, telling him repeatedly that he has enemies in the Watch and warning him of daggers in the dark. Her prophecy comes to fruition when Jon is attacked by his brothers and stabbed several times. The narrative closes with Jon either losing consciousness or dying.

Meanwhile, in the far north beyond the Wall, Bran Stark’s search for the Three-eyed Crow leads him to the secret cave where the last surviving Children of the Forest dwell, the magical non-human original inhabitants of Westeros. As Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds take shelter in the cave, they meet the “Three-eyed Crow”, whom they call the “Last Greenseer”. He is a former human member of the Night’s Watch, who has been sitting on an underground weirwood throne for so long that its roots have fused into his body. He explains to Bran that he has been appearing to him as the Three-eyed Crow in his dreams so that he could lead him here, and train him in greensight. Bran learns that there is truth to the belief that the sacred weirwoods are the eyes and ears of the Old Gods: the trees are capable of seeing and hearing all around them, and recording it in their memory for centuries. They also allow a greenseer at one weirwood to see and hear events going on at another in the present, and communicate through them. Using his increasing powers of greensight Bran sees memories of his father Ned Stark at Winterfell’s godswood in the past, and communicates with Theon Greyjoy at the godswood in the present.

Across the Narrow Sea

In the Free Cities
Meanwhile, having killed his father Tywin, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister is smuggled to Pentos by Varys, where he is sheltered by Magister Illyrio. Tyrion is sent south; on the journey, it is revealed Varys and Illyrio have hidden the presumed-dead Prince Aegon Targaryen, with the intention of reinstating him as the rightful King of Westeros. The self-styled Aegon VI was raised by Jon Connington, a former Hand of the King under King Aerys and old friend of Prince Rhaegar, whom Aerys exiled due to his failure to end Robert’s Rebellion. In the intervening years they have risen to command the Golden Company, the largest and most skilled mercenary army in the Free Cities, which was founded a century ago by House Blackfyre, a cadet branch of House Targaryen.

After traveling with Aegon halfway across Essos, Tyrion is kidnapped by Jorah Mormont, who intends to deliver him to Daenerys in appeasement after she banished him for initially selling information to her enemies and his indiscretion of his sexual interest in her. Later, Tyrion and Jorah are shipwrecked and sold by slavers to a Yunkish merchant as a part of a jousting dwarf grotesquerie. After reaching Meereen, Tyrion escapes in the mass confusion of the plague ravaging the Yunkai’i army, and signs on with the Second Sons mercenary group and plans to switch their support to Daenerys.

In Braavos, the girl once known as Arya Stark undergoes the training of the guild of assassins known as the Faceless Men. The potion that made her blind is revealed to only have a temporary effect, as part of a stage in the training during which she must learn to rely on her hearing. After successfully killing her first target by poisoning a merchant, she is officially entered into the assassins’ guild as an acolyte, to continue her training.

Slaver’s Bay
In the far east, Daenerys Targaryen, believed by most to be the sole heir of House Targaryen, has conquered the city of Meereen, but struggles to maintain peace within the city and prevent military defeat at the hands of her many enemies and attempts to stop the spread of a plague, known as the pale mare, from entering the city. In addition, although her dragons are still growing, they have already become very dangerous – killing livestock and people – so she reluctantly confines them to a cage with the exception of the black dragon Drogon, who manages to evade capture. Daenerys marries the noble Hizdahr zo Loraq, despite her intense infatuation and strong sexual relationship with the mercenary Daario Naharis, hoping this will stop a series of insurrectionist murders and avert a planned attack by Yunkai and Volantis. Despite the plague-infected refugees outside, the fighting pits are opened shortly after the wedding, at Hizdahr’s insistence. Daenerys happens to avoid an attempt to poison her in her private box at the fighting pits. The games are interrupted when Drogon, drawn by the smell of blood, attacks the fighting pits. In an attempt to stop the bloodshed, Daenerys climbs on Drogon, who flies away from the chaos in the pit. Drogon lands outside the city and slaughters 200 soldiers before flying away again to his lair with Daenerys still on him. After Hizdahr is implicated in the poisoning, Barristan Selmy removes him from power with the assistance of the Unsullied and Meerenese loyal to Daenerys. Having ventured across the world in a failed attempt to court Daenerys, Quentyn Martell, Prince of Dorne, attempts to steal one of the remaining dragons out of desperation. Instead, he suffers fatal burns and both dragons are unleashed upon the city. Meanwhile, Drogon flies Daenerys to the Dothraki Sea where Dany, starved and ill from being stranded in the wilderness, eventually encounters the khalasar of Khal Jhaqo, a former Bloodrider to Khal Drogo who betrayed her after Drogo’s death.

Meanwhile, the Iron Fleet under the command of Victarion Greyjoy sails through the outer islands of Slaver’s Bay, bound for Meereen. Half of the fleet has been lost in storms, and they regroup at the Isle of Cedars. Victarion plans to save Daenerys by attacking the slavers’ alliance besieging Meereen. His hope is that in gratitude, Daenerys will marry him, and with the aid of her dragons he will overthrow his brother King Euron, and put an end to Euron’s reckless campaigns against the mainland.

In the Seven Kingdoms

The North
The War of the Five Kings in Westeros seems to be winding down. In the North, King Stannis Baratheon has installed himself at the Wall and attempts to win the support of the northmen. This is complicated by the fact that the Lannisters have installed Roose Bolton of House Bolton (loyal to the Iron Throne after the events of the Red Wedding, during which Roose personally killed Robb Stark) as Warden of the North, and much of the west coast is under occupation by the Ironborn. On the advice of Jon Snow, Stannis seeks and receives the support of the hill clans and captures Deepwood Motte from Asha Greyjoy, taking her captive in the process. In gratitude for liberating Deepwood Motte, House Glover and House Mormont join Stannis’ army. A representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos arrives at the Wall, to bring news that the Iron Bank has officially had enough of Cersei deferring payment on the loans the Iron Bank is owed, and is switching its support from the Lannisters to Stannis.

Despite the fact that House Manderly told Cersei that they executed Davos Seaworth on her orders when he arrived in White Harbor, this is revealed to be a lie, intended to ensure the release of Manderly’s last son and heir Wylis from Lannister captivity. Lord Wyman Manderly had Davos dragged away in view of representatives from House Frey, but then secretly placed him in gentle imprisonment. It is implied that when the ruse is complete, after the Freys send letters to Cersei stating that Davos is dead and Wylis is freed, the Manderlys discreetly murder the Freys. Lord Wyman explains to Davos that the Manderlys and other Northern vassals intend to feign submission to the Boltons, Freys, and Lannisters while plotting their revenge. Wyman informs Davos that he has discovered that Osha the wildling took Rickon Stark to hide on the remote island of Skagos, which is inhabited by savage clans who only hold nominal allegiance to the North. Wyman explains to Davos that they are in need of a skilled smuggler to retrieve Rickon, and that once the Northern bannermen see that a male Stark heir still lives, they will rally against the Boltons and join Stannis’ cause.

Meanwhile, Theon Greyjoy is revealed to not be dead: he was kept as a prisoner in the Dreadfort’s dungeon for over a year while Ramsay Bolton horrifically tortured and disfigured him, flaying his skin and cutting off several of his fingers and toes. Theon has since been driven insane by the torture, and Ramsay forces him to take on the identity of his servant “Reek”. Ramsay’s father Roose Bolton leads the main Bolton army up from the south towards Moat Cailin, along with several thousand Frey allies. Ramsay secures their passage by sending Reek, now re-assuming the identity of Theon Greyjoy, to negotiate with the few Ironborn who still hold Moat Cailin into surrendering. Reek succeeds, but Ramsay flays all the Ironborn anyway. When Roose arrives with Ramsay’s bride Arya Stark, Reek recognizes her to be actually Sansa’s friend Jeyne Poole. The Boltons are also aware of her identity, but merely see the marriage as a way to legitimize their claim of the North. The wedding is held at Winterfell, and to convince the North that the bride is actually Arya, Reek is forced to assume the role of Theon again to represent the lord of Winterfell and give away the bride. After the wedding, Ramsay horrifically abuses Jeyne physically and sexually. Reek sinks to his knees before the heart tree in Winterfell’s godswood, and begs for forgiveness and the strength to survive. He hears Bran through the weirwood calling him “Theon”, which (mostly) restores his sanity. He is approached by a disguised Mance Rayder and his spearwives and is asked to help them free “Arya.” He escapes with Jeyne by leaping out a tower window, but Mance and his spearwives are left behind. Theon and Jayne are then captured by Stannis Baratheon’s forces nearby and are delivered to the main camp. There, Theon is reunited with his sister Asha. Ramsay’s torture has so badly mutilated Theon that Asha cannot at first recognize her own brother. With increased strength from his new Northern allies, Stannis chooses to push south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell, but his army becomes snowbound as the weather continues to worsen.

The South
Cersei Lannister, imprisoned by the Faith of the Seven, confesses to several of the less grave charges against her, such as adultery by sleeping with her cousin Lancel Lannister. However, she stops short of admitting that she murdered King Robert, or that her children are actually the product of incest. This is enough that the Faith is willing to release her from imprisonment, though she still must stand trial for the charges she has not confessed to. However, as a condition of her release, she is forced to make a penance walk by being marched under escort naked from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep. Cersei tries to maintain her dignity but the smallfolk of King’s Landing, who have suffered greatly due to Cersei and the war she is responsible for, pelt her with rotten vegetables and insults; by the time she reaches the Red Keep she is crying and crawling on her hands and knees. However, Cersei has one last spark of hope: the unethical ex-maester Qyburn has perfected his “champion” for Cersei, “Ser Robert Strong”, by conducting human experimentation on Gregor Clegane and others. An eight foot tall behemoth, completely encased in armor, never taking it off to eat or use the privy, more than a few characters including Kevan suspect that “Robert Strong” is some sort of Frankenstein’s monster cobbled together from the corpse of Gregor Clegane and other prisoners. The silent Robert Strong is named to Cersei’s Kingsguard, and will be her champion in the trial by combat to settle the Faith’s charges against her.

In the Riverlands, having negotiated the bloodless surrender of Riverrun, Jaime Lannister arrives with his army at the siege of Raventree Hall. The seat of House Blackwood, Raventree Hall is the last castle of the Riverlords who supported Robb Stark that has not surrendered to the Lannisters. Negotiation goes much easier than at Riverrun, as the Blackwoods were just holding out for better terms, and didn’t want to surrender to their age-old rivals House Bracken, who bent the knee to the Lannisters and were leading the siege. Jaime offers House Blackwood peace on generous terms, bloodlessly ending the siege, and the last stronghold of Robb Stark’s short-lived kingdom in the Riverlands dips its banners. The Stark-Lannister war in the Riverlands is nominally over, but the region has been so devastated that brigands holding no allegiance now roam most of the broken countryside. Jaime sets about restoring order, when Brienne of Tarth bursts into his camp tent, telling him that she has found Sansa Stark and she is in danger from Sandor Clegane. This appears to be a trap laid by Lady Stoneheart (the reanimated Catelyn Stark), given that Sansa is safe in the Vale of Arryn, Sandor is presumed dead, and Brienne was last seen on the verge of being executed by Stoneheart’s Brotherhood Without Banners.

Meanwhile, after Tyrion convinces Aegon that Daenerys would rather learn of her nephew from his conquest, rather than by him showing up and demanding recognition, Aegon Targaryen and Jon Connington land in the Stormlands with the Golden Company, a mercenary army, in order to recover the Iron Throne. It is not clear if Tyrion gave the advice in good faith. They land in the Stormlands and quickly capture four castles with little resistance, with the intention of marching on Storm’s End. Varys, still in King’s Landing, sneaks in and murders Kevan Lannister and Grand Maester Pycelle. Revealing his support for Aegon, Varys killed Kevan to prevent him from fixing the damage Cersei had caused in her attempts to build Tommen’s power base. Varys declares that with Tommen back in Cersei’s control, the kingdoms of Westeros will spend their strength fighting each other while Aegon prepares to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.