About the Book

Book Protagonist: Jon Snow
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: Fantasy

Historical Context

A Dance with Dragons

By George R. R. Martin

As the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire, ‘A Dance with Dragons’ is pivotal to the tale of the political struggle of Westeros. The story dives into the fundamental aspects of Westeros’s existence and portrays a world scarred by the never-ending power struggle among humans.

‘A Dance with Dragons shows the correlation between cause and effect. Though it focuses on the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings and Daenerys’s arrival to Slaver’s Bay, it also takes the reader back in time to show how the events of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion led to the destruction of peace in Westeros. 

Historical Context

‘A Dance with Dragons’ is the fifth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire. It dives into the complexities of the fictional aspects of George R. R. Martin’s world, explaining abstract intricacies not predefined by Martin in earlier novels.

Throughout the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire, magic is a tiny and irrelevant aspect of Westeros and Essos. The use of magic gets restrained to tales and history, but in the fifth novel, it becomes a crucial element in the story progression.

George R. R. Martin’s inclusion of magic in ‘A Dance with Dragons’ changes the feel of his world as it creates a new picture for readers. Heavily relying on politics and wars in the previous novel, the fifth novel begins to dig into the history of the past and starts showing the elements that defined Westeros before humans.

The introduction of magical creatures thought to be lost shows that A Song of Ice and Fire has yet more to it than people realize. As the characters try to survive the crisis occurring around them, they learn that the events happening are far greater than they can imagine; this brings to life the idea that greater forces are struggling to maintain the balance between the realm of the living and the dead.

Impact on Fantasy Literature

‘A Dance with Dragons’ has undoubtedly impacted modern fantasy writing. Its uniqueness and choice of using character progression to tell its story over-relying on the fantasy elements have made it a story praised by many readers and authors.

At first, ‘A Dance with Dragons’ appears to be a non-fantasy story. It focuses on the human elements and the political struggle between kingdoms and lords. Then it conjures fantasy elements and uses them to define its world; this strategy removes the alienation from the fantasy elements.

George R. R. Martin’s unique design of ‘A Dance with Dragons’ makes it a blueprint for many authors trying to combine alien fantasy elements with real-world action.

Impact on Education

Since the publication of ‘A Game of Thrones,’ interest in history education has massively skyrocketed throughout most parts of the world. Though A Song of Ice and Fire is a fictional novel, it paved the way for people to garner more interest in history.

Cultural Context

‘A Dance with Dragons’ has influenced many aspects of society. From impacting fantasy literature to changing the nature of television shows, the story has reshaped many aspects of education, media, and human interaction.

With the creation of A Song of Ice and Fire, many people began turning to fantasy stories focusing on the characters before the world. As George R. R. Martin relied more on making his characters as human as possible rather than giving flare to his world, most people started diverging to stories that developed the characters more than the world.

Though ‘A Dance with Dragons’ received positive reviews from readers and critics, some people have stated that the fantasy elements in George R. R. Martin’s stories have created many issues with his world. Some people pointed out that Martin’s use of fantasy elements has become a sore to the overall storytelling of A Song of Ice and Fire. As his world heavily relies on character progression, the new fantasy elements added in ‘A Dance with Dragons’ create loopholes in the storytelling that may be hard to resolve.

Adaptation and Awards

‘A Dance with Dragons’ got adapted as the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Though the series kept many details in the story, it had a different storyline. Many new things happen, including Myrcella getting killed and Tyrion meeting Daenerys. The season got praised for its acting and received the highest number of Emmy Awards, winning 12 out of 24 categories.

On publication, ‘A Dance with Dragons’ received positive reviews from critics and readers. Many praised the novel, with some stating that it was infinitely more satisfying than its predecessor. In April 2012, it won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.


How good is A Dance with Dragons?

‘A Dance with Dragons’ is an excellent read. It is interesting and descriptive. The sentences are easy to read, but the worldbuilding is complex and grand. The story’s details have value, and the characters are original.

What happens to Melisandre in A Dance with Dragons?

After Stannis leaves for Deepwood Motte, Melisandre tries staring into her fire to see him. She gets a vision of skulls and Jon Snow. She meets Jon meets her, and she reveals that Mance Rayder is alive. She tells Jon that Mance is the only one capable of bringing Arya from Winterfell.

What happens to Asha in A Dance with Dragons?

After running away from the kingsmoot, Asha hides out in Deepwood Motte. However, Stannis’s men attack, and she gets captured. Stannis decides to take her to Winterfell to show his power. Before reaching the castle, Ashe meets Theon.

Should I read A Dance with Dragons?

Yes, ‘A Dance with Dragons’ is an excellent novel with incredible characters. The world building is fantastic and captivating. The story also synchronizes with ‘A Feast for Crows’ giving a better picture of the events that happen after the War of the Five Kings.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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