Read again? Yes.
Right now, I'm kind of mad at this 1100-page behemoth. After a week-long hospital stay in July, I was too out of it to be able to read more than a page or two at a time. As I recovered, I found that my will to read this book wasn't improving. It took me just short of 4 months to finish it! I'm used to taking only a couple of weeks at most.
Things just keep getting worse in Westeros. Those major players who are still alive are scattered across the continent.
Joffrey the horrible boy-king is controlled somewhat by his grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister, who is determined to hold the throne despite growing rumors that the boy's the product of incest. His mother finds her ambitions hampered somewhat by her father's presence.
Robb Stark has married, breaking an oath made to Lord Frey to marry one of his daughters in return for safe passage at the river crossing he controls.
Jon Snow has infiltrated the Wildlings and travels south with them, hoping for the chance to return to the Night's Watch with what he's learned about them.
Arya Stark has been captured, her true identity revealed. Her captors' leader hopes to ransom her back to her mother.
Brandon Stark and his younger brother Rickon are presumed dead after their betrayal by a former friend. The family castle, Winterfell, lies in ruins.
Sansa Stark is no longer married to King Joffrey; she's made to marry his deformed dwarf uncle Tyrion Lannister instead. Through her, the Lannisters hope to take her family's lands.
Daenerys, the last of House Targaryen, has been building an army, freeing slaves and adding them to her retinue, all with an eye to return to Westeros and reclaim her family's Throne.
Long reading aside, if you've made it this far you won't want to stop.
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