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  • Writer's pictureAderyn Wood

Vengeance is the main dish in Part 2 of Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold

Have you ever been so engrossed in a series that you've read it multiple times? That's how I feel about 'A Song of Ice and Fire' by George RR Martin. This is my third journey through what has become my favourite epic fantasy series. With Book 3, Part 2: "A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold," I felt compelled to share my thoughts. But be warned, spoilers lie ahead.

Slaughter at the red wedding.

Writing a book review forces one to delve deeper into the story's nuances. One element that stands out with the subtitle of Martin’s fourth book is its striking relevance. 'Blood and Gold' alludes to the ongoing war between the affluent inhabitants of the 'Gold corner' of Casterly Rock and their ‘red’ counterparts, symbolizing the bloody fate awaiting those who oppose them.

Central to this narrative are the tragic fates of the Starks – Robb and Catelyn – and Oberyn Martell, even Sansa’s paranoid aunt, Lysa, all of whom fall prey to Lord Tywin’s intricate schemes. Yet, the ever-stoic paterfamilias isn't spared from the Game of Thrones. What a moment of grim satisfaction when Lord Tywin’s detestable grandson, Joffrey, meets a gruesome end.

Vengeance, they say, is a dish best served cold, and its courses are as numerous as those at King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell's wedding feast. From the chilling events of the Red Wedding, where the cunning Walder Frey exacts his revenge on the Starks, to Jon Snow's heart-wrenching encounter with the Thenns and the tragic demise of Ygritte, vengeance proves the main dish. The thirst for retribution continues with Oberyn Martell's near-victorious duel against the Mountain, a scene that had me on the edge of my seat, hopeful Gregor Clegane would meet a bloody end, even on my third read.

Tyrion's narrative is particularly Shakespearean in its intensity. After a shocking revelation from Jaime, Tyrion's fury culminates in a dramatic confrontation, resulting in the deaths of both Lord Tywin and Shae. Lord Tywin's departure leaves a void; his political acumen and influence on the story's events were unparalleled. Arya's complex relationship with revenge is highlighted when she leaves the Hound to his fate, setting her sights on new horizons across the Shimmering Sea.

But it's not all about revenge. This instalment marks significant turning points for several characters. Samwell evolves from a timid soul to the courageous 'Sam the Slayer.' Jon Snow embraces his identity as a bastard, shedding his past insecurities to emerge as a leader of men. Jaime, grappling with his new reality, redefines his loyalties and commitments, defying his sister and father by refusing to return to Casterly Rock, redoubling his oath as Commander of the Kingsguard. And in Mereen, Dany makes a pivotal decision, choosing governance over conquest.

There's so much more to delve into: Stannis and Davos's alliance, the betrayal of Jorah Mormont and Ser Barristan Selmy, Sansa's unsettling interactions with Littlefinger, and Bran's mystical journey beyond the Wall. Martin's narrative is a vast, intricate tapestry, and I eagerly anticipate immersing myself in it once more.

Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold' is a masterclass in epic fantasy, brimming with intricate plots, deep character development, and emotional depth. Whether you're a seasoned fan or new to the series, this book promises a riveting experience. I wholeheartedly recommend it to all epic fantasy enthusiasts.

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