With well-structured thematic and figurative language elements, the novel remains one of the best fantasy novels ever written.
‘A Feast for Crows’ takes place concurrently after the end of ‘A Storm of Swords.’ It brings new characters into focus and shows how their actions change the delicate nature of politics in Westeros. With new characters, the story shifts away from some of its primary characters and shows how the War of the Five Kings changed everything in the Seven Kingdoms.
Power is a primary theme in ‘A Feast for Crows.’ Throughout the novel, many characters struggle to gain more power. From the Iron Islands to Braavos, the hunger for power becomes a driving force that leads to new events.
In the Iron Islands, the death of Balon Greyjoy sparks a power struggle between the brothers of the dead king and his daughter. Euron Greyjoy, Victarion Greyjoy, and Asha Greyjoy begin a desperate campaign to gain as many followers as possible to support their claim to the throne. However, Euron successfully captures the attention of everyone by showing that he had more power and courage by sailing to Valyria.
In King’s Landing, Tywin’s death leads to a power vacancy on the small council. Knowing that her father’s death will place her at a severe disadvantage, Cersei becomes a power-hungry hysteric maniac willing to do anything to stay relevant. She becomes paranoid, and her mental state deteriorates. The need for continuous power and influence turns Cersei into a jealous self-loathing person willing to kill as many people as possible for power.
In Braavos, Arya arrives at the House of Black and White. She willingly decides to become a servant in the temple. As she learns the ways of the Faceless Men, Arya begins to explore masking identity.
Revenge is an element crucial to ‘A Feast for Crows.’ In the story, revenge drives many characters into frantic hysteria. After Cersei gets the news of her father’s death, she realizes that her brother, Tyrion, must have been the perpetrator of the act; this makes her swear revenge on him and opens the hunt for dwarfs. Cersei’s hate and need for revenge lead to a bloodbath as many dwarfs get killed in the search for Tyrion.
After reaching the House of Black and White, Arya meets a kindly man who asks her why she sings the names of many people. She tries to lie but gets caught. When she meets Dareon and discovers that he is a brother of the Night’s Watch who has abandoned his duty, she kills him in a fit of anger; this shows that her need for revenge was so dire that she did not let go of her past self.
As Brienne, Podrick, and Hyle journey to find Sansa, they encounter a band of men led by Biter. A fight breaks out, and Brienne gets injured. She gets taken to meet Lord Beric but learns that he is dead. In place of Beric, she meets Lady Stoneheart, formerly Catelyn Stark. Though now a shadow of her former self, Brienne realizes that Lady Stoneheart is different. She tells her to kill Jaime, and Brienne refuses, then she gets hanged.
In Dorne, the daughters of Oberyn Martell try to get revenge for the death of their father. Obara asks Prince Doran to hand her Myrcella so she can avenge her father’s death. Her sister, Tyene, proposes that the young Lannister should be made queen to lure the Lannisters to their death in Dorne. Even though Doran eventually arrests them, he later tells his daughter that he wants vengeance for his brother and sister’s death at the hands of the Lannisters.
Politics is one of the crucial elements in ‘A Feast for Crows.’ Throughout the novel, politics influences events that happen. In King’s Landing, Cersei tries to play the game of politics to have Margaery killed. She conspires with Ser Osney to frame the young queen and have her killed. She also tried playing politics against the Tyrells, fearing their influence would be detrimental to her. Cersei’s lack of political awareness and intelligence destroys the balance in King’s Landing. She grants power to the Faith Militant who arrests her.
In Iron Islands, Politics plays a crucial role in making Euron the new king. He successfully sways the crowd in his favor by claiming to be the bravest man in the room; this, coupled with promises of using the dragon queen to conquer Westeros, makes him the new king. At the Vale, Alayne begins learning the game of thrones from Petyr. He teaches her how to play politics and maintain leverage over others.
In the Riverlands, Jaime tries to restore normalcy after Robb’s betrayal. He uses political leveraging to ensure that he gets control of Riverrun. As Jaime plays the game of politics, his ideologies on life begin to change, and he starts a path of redemption.
In Dorne, Arianne tries to use politics to get revenge against the Lannisters. She tries to set Westeros into chaos by making Myrcella the queen. However, her plans get thwarted by her father, who learns of them.
Duty and Honor
Duty and honor are reoccurring themes in ‘A Feast for Crows.’ The story shows how many characters change their view of life to become honorable. Jaime is a man who becomes honorable. Blaming himself for the death of his father, he tries to make amends for the horrible things he has done in the past. As a man with no hand and honor, he gets sent to Riverlands to restore peace and begins changing for the better. Jaime becomes more strategic and honorable in his dealings and starts keeping to his word.
Brienne takes on the arduous journey of looking for Arya and Sansa. She upholds her promise to Catelyn and does not stop searching for the Stark girls. Though her decision gets questioned many times, she does not budge and still maintains her honor even when faced with death. A secondary character who displays bravery is Ser Kevan Lannister. Even when given one of the highest titles in the kingdom, he blatantly rejects it, stating that the role belonged to someone affiliated with the Tyrells. Kevan’s sense of duty and honor makes him one of the most sensible people in Westeros.
‘A Feast for Crows’ by George R. R. Martin explores the element of religion throughout its pages. Religion plays a crucial role in the politics of Westeros and Braavos. In King’s Landing, Cersei’s incompetence makes her restore the Faith Militant, an armed faction of the Faith of the Seven; this leads to her downfall as she gets arrested for fornication.
In Braavos, religion plays a crucial role in Arya’s development as she learns about the many-faced god. Arya learns in the temple and becomes a messenger of the many-faced god.
Analysis of Key Moments
- Pate tries to trade an iron object for gold to an alchemist but gets killed.
- In Iron Islands, Aeron Greyjoy gets word of his Balon’s death. He meets with Gorold Goodbrother and decides to support his brother, Victarion, over Euron.
- In Dorne, Oberyn’s daughters meet Prince Doran Martell and ask for revenge for her father’s death.
- In King’s Landing, Cersei learns of her father’s death and her brother’s escape. She asks Jaime to take over as the Hand of the King, but he refuses.
- On her way to Duskendale, Brienne meets two hedge knights who accuse her of Renly’s death. She denies the allegations and later meets a man named Shadrick, who tells her he is also looking for Sansa.
- At Castle Black, Same tries to gather more information on the Others. Jon decides to send him to the Citadel with Gilly and maester Aemon.
- Arya reaches Braavos and goes to a temple, where she meets a man who tries to dissuade her from staying. She sees through his illusion and decides to stay.
- At Tywin’s funeral, Cersei shuts down Mace Tyrell, who suggests the next Hand of the King. Her uncle, Kevan, scolds her for her actions, and she tags him as a traitor.
- Jaime stands for the vigil of his father’s funeral. He later advises Cersei to talk to Mace Tyrell and agree to wed Tommen to Margaery.
- Brienne reaches Duskendale, where she meets Podrick Payne. She later meets a dwarf who tells her he heard of a man who tried to take some people across the Narrow Sea.
- At the Vale, Sansa narrates to Lord Nestor Royce the fabricated story of events that led to Lysa’s death.
- At the ten Towers, Asha Greyjoy waits for her supporters to arrive. Her uncles try to dissuade her from claiming the throne, but it all falls on deaf ears.
- Tommen weds Margaery. With Margaery being the new queen, Cersei gets increasingly jealous of the new queen.
- In Dorne, Arys meets his lover, Arianne, the daughter of Prince Doran. She convinces him to follow her plan of making Myrcella queen.
- Brienne takes Podrick into her service, and they travel to Maidenpool. She meets Randyll Tarly and learns that Sansa is likely not at the Vale. She then meets Nimble Dick, who decides to take her to meet the people he tried smuggling.
- As they head for the Citadel, Sam notices that Gilly is sad and realizes Jon swapped her son for Mance Rayder’s infant boy.
- Cersei reorganizes the small council and places people of her choosing. She learns Jon is the new commander of the Night’s Watch and begins plotting against him and Margaery.
- The kingsmoot assembles in the Iron Islands. Euron gets crowned king.
- As they journey, Brienne gets attacked by Shagwell. Nimble Dick gets killed, and she returns to Maidenpool.
- In Dorne, Arianne’s plans fail, and Arys gets killed. Myrcella gets wounded in the face. Meanwhile, in the Vale, Sansa changes her identity to Alayne Stone.
- Cersei’s paranoia increases as her governance degrade. She tries to prevent her son from seeing Margaery. Meanwhile, Same arrives in Braavos, and one of his brothers, Dareon, abandons his vows.
- Jaime gets sent to the Riverlands by Cersei. She travels to Baelor Sept and grants the new High Septon power to arm the Faith.
- Jaime travels to Castle Darry, where he meets his cousin Lancel, who admits to killing Robert and sleeping with Cersei. Cersei later learns that Euron is amassing a fleet and sends Loras to free some of the fleets at Dragonstone. She gets an emissary from the Iron Bank requesting payment for Westeros’s debts.
- Arya continues working as a servant in the House of Black and White. The kindly man and a waif teach her the religion of the many-faced god. The man tells her to work for a man named Brusco, and while working, she meets Dareon, who she kills. When the man learns of what Arya did, he orders the waif to give her warm milk, blinding her.
- Maester Aemon dies. After leading the prayer for him, Sam sleeps with Gilly.
- Cersei learns Loras has successfully taken over Dragonstone and gets happy when she hears he is almost on the brink of death. Her hatred for the young queen grows when she has a dream about how she visited a witch who predicted that she would get dethroned by a younger queen.
- Brienne reaches the Inn of the Crossroads, and a fight breaks out with some men. She gets injured and taken to see Thoros, who introduces her to Lady Stoneheart. Brienne is surprised to see Catelyn. Lady Stoneheart orders her to kill Jaime, and she says no. The lady then orders Thoros to hang Brienne.
- Jaime takes over Riverrun. In King’s Landing, Cersei has Margaery arrested on charges of fornication. She travels to the Sept to meet the young queen but gets arrested for fornication as the man she sent to frame Margaery confessed to sleeping with her and killing the high Septon at her orders. Knowing she needs a fighter, she sends a letter to Jaime, who burns it.
- Arianne learns that her father is plotting against the Lannisters for his brother and sister’s death.
- Sam reaches the Citadel, where he meets Marwyn, who he talks to about Daenerys as he has gotten news of her dragons. He also learns about dragonglass.
Style, Tone, and Figurative Language of A Feast for Crows
‘A Feast for Crows’ uses an agitated tone throughout its plotline. The story encapsulates a feeling of dread and uses it to show how Westeros has become after the War of the Five Kings draws to an end. Still employing a limited third-person perspective, the story uses its tone to portray the intensity of Westeros’s deterioration.
‘A Feast for Crows’ uses figures of speech extensively. Metaphors, similes, and personifications add originality and realism. The use of figurative language makes the story relatable to the reader.
A Feast for Crows Symbols
Needle is Arya’s beloved sword. When she reaches the House of Black and White, the kindly man tells her she has to let go of her previous identity to serve the many-faced god; this makes Arya get rid of everything except Needle. She could not get rid of it because it was a relic that gave her identity. Needle was Arya’s only bond to her siblings and home.
In ‘A Feast for Crows,’ dragons symbolize immense power. They represented a powerful mystery to be feared and adorned.
In ‘A Feast for Crows,’ armor was a crucial part of every soldier. Each knight had a distinct armor, and it served as an identity badge. When Brienne began looking for Sandor, she got compelled to believe he was dead because he no longer wore his armor.
Oathkeeper is the name of the sword given to Brienne by Jaime. It got forged from Valyrian steel, and it symbolizes duty and honor.
House of Black and White
The House of Black and White is the temple where the Faceless Men reside. It is a temple with many mysteries related to the art of death. It symbolizes the mysteriousness of death.
What are the primary themes in A Feast for Crows?
The primary theme in ‘A Feast for Crows’ is politics. Throughout the novel, politics plays the most crucial role in determining how events get shaped in Westeros. From Iron Islands to King’s Landing, politics was a vital element that determined the outcome of events.
Why could Arya not get rid of Needle?
Needle was not just a sword to Arya. It represented everything she held dear, her family, Winterfell, and the memories of her dead father and brothers. Needle was Arya’s only connection to her real identity and why she could not let go of it.
Why is there so much hate in A Feast for Crows?
A Feast for Crows’ begins after the War of the Five Kings subsides. The war led to the death of many and betrayal on different sides. Many people felt that someone was responsible for their loved one’s death, and once the war subsided, those who wanted revenge for their loved ones began their mission, thus the hate.
What happens to Jaime at the end of A Feast for Crows?
On reaching the Riverlands, Jaime begins negotiations to restore peace. He successfully reclaims Riverrun. He receives a letter from his sister begging for help as she got arrested by the Faith Militant. Jaime tosses the letter into the fire, leaving his sister to her fate.