About the Book

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


A Dance with Dragons

By George R. R. Martin

‘A Dance with Dragons’ uses quotes to show the mindset of the people that live in Westeros and Essos. The statements and conversations made by the characters show how they believe the world works and how their experiences have impacted their existence.

‘A Dance with Dragons begins after the War of the Five Kings. It shows how the people of Westeros try to pick up the pieces of their lives. The war-torn world poses new trials and hurdles, and as the characters try to navigate the intense struggles they face, they make statements explaining their stance on life. In Essos, though Daenerys conquers Meereen and becomes its queen, she realizes that humans are far more complex than she thought. Believing that freeing slaves is an ideal goal, she faces conflicts that force her to change her perspective on life.


Why die with the taste of blood in your mouth when it could be butter and garlic?

The statement above talks about how pointless making a sacrifice is. The quote explains there is no point in trying to die with honor when one can die in comfort instead. The War of the Five Kings destroyed most of Westeros and left many soldiers, women, and children dead. However, though the war consumed many, others still enjoyed and lived in relative peace throughout the conflict. Though the war tore the seven kingdoms, most of its lords are safe; this is why the statement above gets made. Why serve and die for others when one can live on their terms?

Kinslaying is dry work. It gives a man a thirst.

After killing his father and Shae, Tyrion became a ghost of himself. As he sailed across the Narrow Sea, he tried to consume the guilt and anger pent-up from his interaction with his father by getting drunk. Tyrion realized that getting drunk was the only way he could forget everything he did. He explains that killing is an act that forces one into a dark place where they drown in their regret and pain and that killing never makes one feel better.


When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior.

The statement above got made by Illyrio Mopatis, explaining how people turn to anyone when they are in trouble. It explains why people turn to anyone when they are in need. It explains that the soul yearns for a savior and something to hold on to when in trying times, and when a person finds someone or something they can hold on to, they become fanatical in their belief.


Great was the lore that raised it, and the great spells locked beneath its ice. We walk beneath one of the hinges of the world.

The Wall was an entity of great magnificence and mystery. It had secrets embedded deep beneath its castles, and it was a veil that divided the world of men and monsters. The statement above got made by Melisandre after Jon said that the Wall was no place for a woman.

Melisandre revealed to Jon that she had dreamt of the Wall and that it contained mysteries she wanted to know. Melisandre’s statement about the Wall showed that there was more to its existence than met the eye and that it was not just a structure but one of the crucial elements that kept the world in balance.

Enemies in the Dark

It is not the foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back.

A foe is most dangerous when they hide away from one’s knowledge. When Melisandre stared into the fires, she saw a vision that led her to believe that Jon’s enemies were not the people who outwardly displayed their displeasure with him. She saw that his enemies were people, who he ate with, people he called his brothers. On meeting him, she told him to beware of the people he kept close to as they were likely to betray him. However, Jon failed to take the priestess’s warning seriously, and it cost him dearly as he got stabbed by the people he called his brothers.

Ice, I see, and daggers in the dark. Blood froze red and hard, and naked steel. It was very cold.

The statement above is part of the vision Melisandre saw of Jon. She realized that her vision meant only one thing, doom. She tried to warn Jon to be weary of his foes, but most importantly, his friends.

You are fighting shadows when you should be fighting the men who cast them.

When Daario got an audience with Daenerys, he advised her that she was trying to solve her problems from the top. He explained that the Sons of the Harpy got controlled by the nobles of Meereen, and if she wanted to stop the killing, she should aim for the nobles. Daario advised Daenerys that she should attack the main entities thwarting her rule instead of facing superficial problems.


A man does not rise to command of the gold cloaks without ability.

The statement above got made by Janos Slynt in protest to Jon sending him on a ranging mission. After losing to Jon, Janos became disobedient to Jon’s orders. He felt that his previous ranks and titles gave him the power to refuse Jon, who was nothing but a small boy to him. Janos bragged to Jon, stating his experience was far greater than the measly task he got, and to perform such a task would be a shame to his expertise. His statement ended up costing him his life.


We choose light or we choose darkness. We choose good or we choose evil. We choose the true god or the false.

The power of choice is a fundamental part of humanity’s existence. It is what makes everyone different and what changes the course of one’s life. The statement above got made by Melisandre explaining the concept of choice. She explained that though the line between good and evil is blurred, one has to choose one side over the other.

Man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same.

The statement above explains that no matter how different people are, they still make similar choices. Between the forces of good and evil, there are only two crucial sides to pick. Melisandre explained that no matter how people think their decisions are different, those choices are still a function of either good or evil.

Perks of Wealth

Gods and wonders always appear, to attend the birth of kings.

The statement above explains that power and wealth attract the best things in life. It explains that when one becomes a person of great value, one attracts others of value to them. The statement got made by Tyrion after realizing that Aegon Targaryen was young Griff. He made the statement remarking that good things mostly happened to people of highborn families.


If I kill my cupbearers, who will pour my wine and serve my supper.

After Daenerys became the Queen of Meereen, she began facing resistance from the Sons of the Harpy. To combat the killings, she tried to take the children of the leaders of Meereen as hostages. However, even with the children in her custody, the killings continue. Daenerys then gets advised to kill the children in retaliation, but her compassion for them made her make the statement above. She explained that the children have done nothing and should not pay for the sins of others.

Better the butcher than the meat. All kings are butchers. Are queens so different?

The quote above is a question that Daario directs at Daenerys. After meeting her, he advises her to kill the former leaders in Meereen and take over everything they own. He advised that doing so would crush any form of opposition and would solidify her rule as the queen. However, Daenerys objects to his idea, telling him that she will not become a leader who kills others to become the only one in charge. With her response, Daario asks her if she thinks queens are different from kings. He tells her that positions of power require one to make choices that lack compassion.


Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal light.

Though Melisandre was a powerful priestess, she feared sleeping. She rarely slept because she knew that sleeping connected one to a different world where they get close to the thralls of death. She realized that her dreams were ones of death and destruction. As the priestess of R’hllor, she knew that dreams were the opposite of the world of light.


A ruined man, a ruined castle. This is my place.’

After Winterfell got captured by Ramsay Bolton, Theon was tortured and became a shadow of himself. Bearing the name Reek, he became a man in constant fear and despair. Theon made the stamen above, reaffirming his place in the world. Realizing that there was no escape from Ramsay, a brutal and sadistic man, he told himself that it was better to give up than to die.

He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all.

The statement above explains that losing is not dishonorable. It explains that though people may call someone who gives up a loser, that person has the opportunity to rise again. Asha bent the knee to Stannis after he captured Deepwood Motte. She realized it was pointless to be proud and die because those who bend the knee still have the opportunity to fight another day.


You need not trust a man to use him.

Trust is the key to loyalty, and loyalty is a crucial commodity. However, the statement above explains that trust is unnecessary to use someone.

Prophecy is like a half-trained mule. It looks as though it might be useful, but the moment you trust it, it kicks you in the head.

Trust is a feeling that makes one relax from all thoughts of uncertainty. It makes people feel optimistic and removes all forms of doubt from the minds of others. However, it can be a double-edged sword that shatters all remaining hope.

The statement above got made by Tyrion explaining that prophecies are not to be trusted. He explained that the presence of predictions creates a feeling of safety in people’s minds and makes them remove all forms of readiness for the worst from their minds. He explained that though prophecies make one secure, that feeling completely fades off when things do not go according to plan. He explained that the volatile nature of predictions makes them untrustworthy.

The Night

For the night is dark and full of terrors.

The statement above talks about the unpredictability of the night. It explains that as the sun’s light turns into darkness, the shadows of the night rise and bring terrors in their wake. It explains that people should be wary of the night as it contains dark mysteries lurking in the shadows.


All men must serve.

The quote above is a statement made by the people of Braavos. It explains that no man can reach a position of power without serving others. When Arya entered the House of Black and White, she became a servant of the many-faced god and learned that her servitude was to grant her a broader perspective of knowledge. She discovered that serving at the House of Black and White made her hunger for more knowledge and power.


What are some interesting quotes from A Dance with Dragons?

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man never reads lives only.”
“I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached and fell.”
“The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will ne your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.”

What happens to Cersei in A Dance with Dragons?

Cersei gets brought before the high sparrow. She decides on a trial by battle and gets stripped, and walks naked to the Red Keep. On reaching the Red Keep, she Ser Robert Strong, her new champion.

What happens to Tyrion in A Dance with Dragons?

After running away from King’s Landing, Tyrion travels to Pentos, where he meets Illyrio Mopatis, who tells him about Daenerys. He takes a ship and meets Aegon Targaryen. Tyrion gets captured by Jorah, who takes him to Volantis. He meets Penny, who tries to kill him. They get a ship but get turned into slaves.

What happens to Daenerys after flying away on Drogon?

After leaving with Drogon, Daenerys gets taken to the Dothraki Sea and tries to return. She gets sick and hallucinates about the people in her life. She later gets found by Khal Jhaqo.

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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