About the Book

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

Plot Summary

A Dance with Dragons

By George R. R. Martin

‘A Dance with Dragons’ adds more detail to the events after the War of the Five Kings. The story gives more perspectives on the ongoing conflict in Westeros and the political conflict created in Slaver’s Bay by Daenerys’s arrival.

On the Wall, danger looms as the threat of Others and the arrival of the wildlings and Stannis causes tension among the brothers of the Night’s Watch. With Jon as the new commander, the political atmosphere comes to life, one that begins to reveal the secrets of what is beyond the Wall and how those secrets would affect the realm of men.

‘Spoiler-Free’ Summary of A Dance with Dragons

‘A Dance with Dragons begins with Tyrion reaching Pentos after an exhausting journey. He meets with Illyrio Mopatis, who tells him about Stannis’s presence on the Wall and that the only one who can save Westeros is a queen with dragons.

In Meereen, Daenerys faces more resistance from the Sons of the Harpy as they begin causing havoc by killing people. She meets with a lord from Astapor who asks her to help the city fight against Yunkai and later discovers that her dragons have become dangerous to people.

On the Wall, Jon meets Stannis, who gets angry that the North has not answered his call. Jon advises him to handle the North carefully as it is politically unstable. Meanwhile, Bran and his friends continue their journey North with Coldhands guiding them. They learn the true nature of Coldhands and realize his weakness.

After staying at Pentos for a while, Illyrio smuggles Tyrion out of the city, hoping he will get to Daenerys and help her cause. In Volantis, Quentyn Martell tries to find a suitable route to Meereenas. Back on the Wall, Janos Slynt refuses to obey Jon and pays for his disobedience. Mance Rayder gets sentenced, and the Stannis lets the wildling pass through the Wall.

In Meereen, the tension worsens as more people get killed by the Sons of the Harpy. Daenerys gets advised by Hizdahr zo Loraq to open the fighting pits, and she refuses him. She also decides to chain her dragons though Drogon could not get captured.

Davos travels to meet some lord to get an alliance with them. He reaches Lord Wyman Manderly and tries to get him to join Stannis’s cause but gets arrested. As Slaver’s Bay becomes more unstable, Daenerys receives an emissary from Quarth. She refuses the offer to leave Meereen and Quarth declares war against her.

On the Wall, the food rations get smaller, and the number of wildings increases. Jon meets with Stannis, who plans to march on Dreadfort and advises him against doing so. As Stannis leaves the Wall, Melisandre, his priestess, decides to stay back, and Jon gets some of the wildlings to join the Watch. Tyrion takes a ship sailing for Slaver’s Bay and meets a young boy called Young Griff. The ship gets attacked, and Tyrion gets thrown into the water.

Reek travels to Moat Coalin to make the Ironborn garrison surrender to Ramsay Bolton. After completing his mission, he returns to his master, who treats him like an animal.

After getting rescued from the water, Tyrion realizes that the young Griff holds a claim to the Iron throne. He then advises him to get support and head back to Westeros. Tyrion later gets captured by a man after visiting a brothel.

In Meereen, Daenerys agrees to marry Hizdahr if he brings the violence of the Sons of the Harpy to an end. Quentyn joins a sellsword company which enables him to travel to Meereen.

Meanwhile, Asha Greyjoy gets attacked in Deepwood Motte. Tyrion gets taken to Volantis by his captor and meets a dwarf girl who tries to kill him. Davos gets taken to meet Lord Manderly, who tells him that he staged everything to make the Freys believe he is on their side.

 In Meereen, Daenerys learns that Astaphor fell to Yunkai. Many survivors from the city troop to Meereen, and she lets them stay outside.

From Volantis, Tyrion and his captor take a ship. He becomes friends with the dwarf girl who tried to kill him. In the North, Bran meets an entity thought to be extinct. He also meets Coldhands master and learns how to use his powers fully. Meanwhile, Daenerys learns that some of her soldiers joined the enemy’s camp.

In Winterfell, Ramsay gets married to his bride and humiliates her. Jon sends Val to meet with Tormund Gianstbane and negotiate an alliance. Jon’s actions cause more tension among the brothers of the Night’s Watch. As Tyrion and his captor head for Meereen, they get captured and get turned into slaves.

Quentyn finally arrives in Meereen and meets Daenerys with his request, but she refuses him. In Braavos, Arya continues serving in the House of Black and White. She gets a mission to target someone, and after completing it, she gets promoted.

In Winterfell, Tension grows as some of Ramsay’s men start dying. Theon then notices the people responsible and partakes in their plan. He leaves with Ramsay’s new wife.

After the violence in Meereen reduces, Daenerys agrees to marry Hizdahr. She re-opens the fighting pits, but the noise from it attracts Drogon. To stop him from causing harm, she climbs on Drogon and flies out of the city. She then travels to the Dothraki Sea, where she gets discovered by one of Khal Drogo’s former men.

Jon meets with Tormund and negotiates for his people to pass through the Wall. His act causes his men to turn against him as they attack him during a conflict. Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Cersei takes the walk of shame and breaks down after the people mock her.

Tyrion tries to escape captivity and meets Brown Ben Plumm, whom he negotiates with to join the second sons. After realizing that he could have more influence, Tyrion decides to make them rejoin Meereen’s forces. After getting his offer rejected, Quentyn tries to perform a heist to steal Daenerys’s dragons. However, he meets his end.

Meanwhile, Stannis’s troops begin to prepare to attack Winterfell. Asha notes that Stannis’s troops are too weak. Back at Meeren, the Yunkish forces start flinging corpses into Meereen. In King’s Landing, Kevan Lannister, the acting lord reagent, learns the truth about the Iron Throne from Varys.

A Dance with Dragons Plot Summary

Spoiler alert: important details of the novel are revealed below.

‘A Dance with Dragons’ begins with Varamyr Sixskins, a skinchanger who served Mance Rayder. With Mance captured, Varamyr evades capture and survives by hunting in the body of the beasts he controls. Varamyr goes on a hunting session and gets injured. He then gets treated by a woman called Thistle. She leaves him to gather food, but on returning, he tries to take over her body but fails. Thistle dies, and Varamyr leaves her body for one of his wolves. He watches as she becomes a wight.

After taking a ship out of King’s Landing, Tyrion finally arrives at Pentos, where he meets Magister Illyrio Mopatis. Mopatis tells Tyrion that Stannis has reached the Wall. Tyrion begins contemplating traveling to Dorne to back Myrcella in her claim to the throne. However, Mopatis tells him that the only hope for Westeros is a savior with dragons. He also reveals that he and Varys were once thieves.

In Meereen, Daenerys begins facing resistance from the Sons of the Harpy. One of the Unsullied soldiers gets killed. Realizing that more murders will happen, Daenerys begins plotting a way to make the people accept her as their queen. She holds court and meets lord Ghael who tells her that Astapor needs help against Yunkai’s invasion. 

Ghael asks for military aid, but she refuses to offer one. Daenerys meets Hizdahr, who asks for the fighting pits in Meereen to get opened. She refuses his request and meets other people complaining about her dragons killing their livestock. One of the people brings the bones of a child killed by the dragons.

On the Wall, Jon meets Stannis, who is displeased that no one answered his calls. Jon advises Stannis telling him that the North was made unstable by the war and that the people are divided. Later, Jon meets Melisandre, and she warns him about enemies lurking in the shadows. 

Bran, Meera, Jojen, Coldhands, Hodor, and Summer continue the journey north. After arriving at a village, the group learns from Coldhands that he was sent by the three-eyed crow, the last greenseer, to bring them. 

In Volantis, Quentyn Martell, Doran’s son, gets disguised as a wineseller’s servant. He and his servants attempt to get a ship headed for Meereen but fail as the instability in the region causes ships to stop traveling to Slaver’s Bay. 

Quentyn gets a fast way to head to the city. On the Wall, Jon meets Gilly and makes her take Mance Rayder’s baby, leaving hers behind as he makes her follow Sam and Aemon to the Citadel. Illyrio hands Tyrion to Haldon as he gets on s ship. Tyrion meets a young boy called Young Griff.

On the Wall, Jon beheads Janos for disobeying his orders. Melisandre burns Mance Rayder as he begs for mercy. She also burns the Horn of Jaramun to prevent the Wall from falling. As Mance Rader burns and screams, Jon orders his men to shoot him and end his suffering. 

In Meereen, nine Unsullied soldiers get killed, and among the nine is Missandei’s brother. Daenerys comforts Missandei and meets Barristan, who tells her about how he left King’s Landing. She also visits her dragons, who she chained, except for Drogon, who could not get captured. In Winterfell, Reek (Theon) gets brought before Ramsay Bolton from his cell. 

On their journey to the three-eyed crow, Bran and his group get attacked by wights. They get rescued by a Child of the Forest, who gives Bran a weirwood paste to enhance his powers. He then gets many visions of the past. They reach the three-eyed crow, a pale-looking man. He tells Bran that he cannot fix his leg but can teach him to fly.

Davos sails to White Harbor and meets Lord Wyman Manderly. He tries to get the lord to join Stannis but is surprised to see the Freys present at court. The Freys lie about the Red Wedding, and Lord Manderly sentences Davos to death.

Daenerys meets Xaro from Quarth, who tries to ask her to resume slave trading. He also offers her thirteen galleys to leave Meereen, and when she refuses, he sends a bloody glove, a symbol of Quarth declaring war on Meeren.

Jon meets Stannis and advises him against attacking Dreadfort. He advises him to attack Deepwood Motte before heading for Winterfell. Stannis leaves for Deepwood, and Melisandre decides to stay behind.

Aboard the Shy Maid, a fog takes over, and stone men attack. Tyrion gets thrown overboard. After getting imprisoned, Davos gets brought before Wyman, who tells him that he killed someone else in his place to make the Freys not suspect anything. Wyman tells Davos about what happened to Winterfell after Ramsay sacked it.

Reek gets sent to Moat Coalin to make Victarion’s men surrender. After completing the task successfully, Ramsay tells him that he will reward him by making him become his dog.

Tyrion gets rescued after the attack of the Shy Maid. He learns that Young Griff is Aegon Targaryen. Tyrion advises Aegon to travel to Westeros and use the instability in the region to lay claim to the throne. The ship stops, and Tyrion goes to a brothel, where he gets captured by Jorah Mormont.

Daenerys meets with Galazza, who advises her to marry Hizdahr. She meets Hizdahr and makes a deal with him, stating that she will wed him if the deaths caused by the Sons of the Harpy stop. She then meets Daario and gets consumed by lust. She almost sleeps with him but sends him away.

With Tyrion gone, the Shy Maid continues its journey. Prince Aegon and his men arrive at the Golden Company. He tells them that if they head to Westeros and incite a rebellion, Daenerys will cross the Narrow Sea with her dragons to support their cause. Meanwhile, one of his men, Lord Connington, hides the greyscale on his arm as it eats his flesh.

Quentyn joins the Windblown, a sellsword company, and learns they are headed for Meereen to join the Yunkish forces. At Deepwood Motte, Asha tries to hide from her uncles after running away from the kingsmoot. She sleeps with Qarl and learns of a plot to take over the city. She tries to run away but gets caught in a conflict with the Northmen and passes out after getting hit. 

Tyrion and Jorah arrive in Volantis, where they meet a dwarf, Penny, who tries to kill Tyrion for her brother’s death.

Tension rises in Meereen as more Yunkish ships arrive. Daenerys gets betrothed to Hizdahr as he had been successful in preventing deaths. Astapor falls to Yunkai, and survivors begin trooping to Meereen. Daenerys learns that the bloody flux is spreading among the survivors. She stops the Astapori from getting in to prevent an outbreak.

Melisandre peeks into the fires and gets visions of skulls and Jon. She also sees a boy and a pale man with a direwolf. She later meets Jon and reveals that she used magic to hide Mance Rayder. She tells him that Mance will help bring Arya back.

Roose Bolton meets with his son Ramsay and scolds him for his brutality. He lets him know that the Karstarks will betray Stannis. Later, Barbrey Dustin gets introduced to Reek, who she calls Theon. Reek vehemently rejects the name of Theon as he is scared of what Ramsay will do.

Tyrion, Jorah, and Penny take a ship heading for Slaver’s Bay. They get attacked and become slaves. 

In Meereen, Daenerys learns that the Second sons have defected to the enemy’s camp. In Winterfell, Arya marries Ramsay, but Theon realizes that the girl is Jeyne Poole. After the wedding, Ramsay humiliates Theon and Jeyne.

Balon Swann reaches Sunspear with Gregor Clegane’s head. Doran summons Arianne and tells her about his plan. He lies to Balon about Myrcella’s mutilation and tells the Sandsnakes of a plan to avert the crisis that may start from Myrcella’s mutilation. He tells Nymeria to follow Myrcella back to King’s Landing.

After Stannis’s departure, Jon makes some wildlings members of the Night’s Watch. He sends Val to meet Tormund Giantsbane and negotiate for him to bring his 4000 men to the Wall. Tension in the Watch grows with Jon’s actions. However, he explains that he is trying to prevent Tormund’s men from becoming wights.

Stannis takes over Deepwood Motte and captures Asha Greyjoy. His men begin marching to Winterfell, and just three days before they reach, Asha witnesses four men get burnt for eating a human corpse. She also notes that Stannis has become very weak, and his men are starving as the journey to Winterfell gets delayed by 15 extra days.

Daenerys meets Quentyn, who asks for her hand in marriage. She refuses his request and marries Hizdahr. She agrees for the fighting pits to get opened. During one of the fights, the noise attracts Drogon. Hizdahr orders his men to kill the dragon, but he becomes even more violent. To prevent further carnage, Daenerys gets on Drogon and flies away.

Stannis’s wife arrives at Castle Black. Alys Karstark comes on a horse and reveals to Jon that the Karstarks are planning to betray Stannis and Jon sends out a message warning him.

In Braavos, Arya wakes up after entering Nymeria’s body. Still blind, she continues working in the House of Black and White. She realizes that she can enter the body of animals and enters a cat to impress the Kindly man with her knowledge. The man gets impressed, and her blind training ends. 

11 Faceless Men hold a meeting and discuss many things. After the meeting, the kindly man introduces Arya to one of the Faceless Men, who asks her who she is. She tries to say no one, but he slaps her and tells her she lies. He tells Arya that she has to complete the mission of killing a man. Arya agrees and gets sent out as Cat of the Canals to gather information on the man.

Some of Ramsay’s men begin dying mysteriously. Theon discovers that Abel’s washerwomen are causing the deaths of Ramsay’s men and decides to join their scheme to leave Winterfell with Arya. A horn gets blown, revealing that Stannis’s troops have reached Winterfell.

Tyrion and Penny get sold as slaves in a Yunkish camp in Meereen. Tyrion tries to escape slavery but enters the Second Sons camp. He meets Brown Ben Plumm, who allows him and Jorah to become part of the Second Sons. Tyrion decides to make the Second Sons return to Meereen.

Jaime meets Brienne, who begs him to help her get Sansa from Sandor Clegane. Tormund Giantsbane brings his people to the Wall, and Jon lets them through; this causes more tension in the Watch.

After Daenerys’s disappearance, Hizdahr removes most of her servants from their stations and meets the Yunkish delegation. Certain that Hizdahr is one of the Sons of the Harpy, Barristan Selmy begins plotting to arrest him.

The night of the escape from Winterfell comes, and as Theon tries to leave with Jeyne, they get discovered. Before they get captured, Theon jumps with Jeyne from the Wall into the snow. Theon then tells Jeyne to lie that she is Arya to save herself. In Stannis’s camp, Asha hears of some riders from Winterfell. She gets shocked to realize that the pale-looking man who came with the young girl in the group is her brother, Theon. 

Arya takes on the disfigured face of a girl abused by her father to kill her target. She learns that after taking someone’s face, one can see their past as she dreams of the torment the disfigured girl went through. Arya successfully kills her target with a poisoned coin. She gets promoted to Acolyte. The next day she is given a new face to meet someone named Izembaro for her first apprenticeship.

In King’s Landing, Cersei remains locked up by the Faith. The charges against her get laid, and all her hair gets shaved off. She realizes that a trial by combat is all that will save her and learns that Arys is dead; this makes her send a letter to Qyburn telling him to make his champion a member of the King’s guard. 

Cersei gets stripped naked and walks to the red keep. She tries to maintain her demeanor but breaks down as the people mock her. She returns to the Red Keep and meets Qyburn’s champion, Robert Strong.

Victarion reaches the Isle of Cedars close to the Meereen. His wounded hand troubles him, but a red priest named Moqorro heals him. He shows Moqorro the horn Euron brought from Valyria. The priest warns him about the horn, saying it kills anyone who blows it.

To ensure peace between Tormund and the Watch, Jon gets some of the children of the wildlings and keeps them as hostages. Jon then decides to go to Winterfell and make Ramsay answer for his crimes even though his action will be a violation of the Watch’s vows. As he heads to meet Stannis’s wife, he gets caught in a conflict between a wildling giant and a man. Jon tries de-escalating the situation but gets stabbed by Bowen Marsh and four other brothers.

After Daenerys’s rejection and disappearance, Quentyn meets the Tattered Prince and tells him his plan to steal a dragon. Believing that he had Targaryen blood, Quentyn heads into Viserion and Rhaegal’s keep and tries to use a whip to control Viserion as he had seen Daenerys do. However, the dragon kills him.

Jon Connington and Aegon reach Westeros and begin taking over small castles around Cape Wrath. Jon hides his hand from everyone else and keeps serving Aegon, who chooses his first member of the king’s guard, Duck.

Barristan pushes through with his plan to seize Hizdahr and attack Yunkai. He asks Hizdahr if he is in league with the Sons of the Harpy, but Hizdahr denies the allegations. Not believing him, Barristan decides to arrest him, but Khrazz tries to kill him. Barristan kills Khrazz and tells Hizdahr that he plans to take him to a cell. A cupbearer rushes in with news that the dragons are free.

Barristan tries to avert a crisis in Meereen after the dragons begin destroying the city. He tries to make peace with the Yunkish forces, but they reject him, saying that the only way for peace to reign is if the dragons get killed.

Meanwhile, Daenerys begins walking back south through the Dothraki Sea. After flying away on Drogon, she had been unable to make him take her back to Meereen. On the way, she falls sick and gets hallucinations of Jorah Mormont, Viserys, and Quaithe. She meets a Dothraki scout who runs away at the sight of Drogon. Famished and starving, she and Drogon come across horses, and Drogon kills one. Daenerys joins him in eating the horse, and later, she gets found by Khal Jhaqo.

In King’s Landing, Kevan Lannister holds a council and learns that Cersei’s terrible rule has made King’s Landing treasury almost empty. He hears of Jon Connington and states that he must get crushed to prevent Daenerys from leaving Meereen. The council talks about Cersei’s trial.

Kevan gets called on by Maester Pycelle, but an arrow gets shot into his chest. He discovers that Varys shot him and killed Pycelle.

Varys reveals to Kevan that he had to kill him because he was doing a great job. He tells Kevan that Aegon Targaryen is alive. Before Kevan dies, Varys reveals all the secrets he kept from everyone. He tells Kevan about how he had switched Aegon at birth and sent him to learn how to become a king so he would return to Westeros to claim his rightful throne.


What happens in the ending of A Dance with Dragons?

After Cersei gets forced to walk to the Red Keep, her uncle, Kevan, holds a session with the small council. They begin to address the issues plaguing the seven kingdoms. Kevan learns of the young boy calling himself the king and tries to amend the damages that Cersei caused to King’s Landing. He later gets summoned by maester Pycelle but realizes he is dead. Kevan gets shot in the chest and realizes that Varys had perpetrated the act. Varys explains that the young boy leading the uprising is Aegon Targaryen and that he has been planning for his arrival.

Does Quentyn die in A Dance with Dragons?

After Daenerys flies away on Drogon, Quentyn tries to steal one of her dragons. He deals with the Tattered prince to help, and when he goes to the cells holding Rhaegal and Viserion, he realizes that the dragons have broken their chains. Quentyn tries to control Viserion, but the dragon kills him.

What happens when Bran meets the three-eyed crow?

When Bran meets the three-eyed crow, he discovers that the man is a pale-looking person with rotted black clothes stuck to a weirwood tree. He tells Bran that his real name is Bryden and reveals that he cannot fix his legs but can teach him to fly. He then has the Child of the Forest give Bran weirwood paste to enhance his powers.

Does Jon die in A Dance with Dragons?

Though Jon does not die in ‘A Dance with Dragons,’ it is almost evident that he will; this is because he gets stabbed multiple times by his men. After making a deal with Tormund Gianstbane, Jon tries to calm the situation with the wildlings and the brothers of the Watch, but he gets stabbed by Bowen Marsh and others

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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