We had one king, then five. Now all I see are crows, squabbling over the corpse of Westeros.
The fourth book in George R. R. Martin's doorstopperA Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, released in 2005.With Tywin Lannister dead, the reign of the Seven Kingdoms falls to Cersei, who becomes the regent for her son Tommen. While the War of the Five Kings seems to be ending, there are still plenty of problems to face, and Cersei may not be as well suited to the task as she previously thought she was. In the Riverlands, Brienne of Tarth still searches desperately to find Sansa Stark, who has taken on the identity of Petyr Baelish' bastard daughter Alayne Stone and is safely residing in the Vale of Arryn.On the Iron Islands, a succession crisis arises after Balon Greyjoy's death, and much animosity between his assumed heirs is the result, while in Dorne, a rebellious princess prepares to use Myrcella Baratheon (sent to Dorne to be betrothed) to enable her plans of revenge. All at the same time, Samwell Tarly journeys to Oldtown to become a maester of the Citadel at Jon Snow's orders, while Arya Stark reaches Braavos and starts her training to become a Faceless Man.The novel has a total of 12 POV characters. Some prominent ones from previous books (Tyrion, Jon Snow, Daenarys Targaryen, and Bran) are notably missing, since A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons happen in the same timespan and thus this book covers only half of the events. The prologue is provided by minor character Pate.
King's Landing is seen through the eyes of Cersei Lannister primarily.
The destroyed Riverlands are seen from the perspectives of Brienne and Jaime, who are now travelling separately with separate goals.
The Eyrie and the rest of the Vale of Arryn are seen from Sansa - or, rather, Alayne Stone's perspective.
In the Iron Islands, we see through the eyes of Balon's younger brothers Victarion and Aeron, as well as his daughter Asha.
Dorne is seen through the perspective of Areoh Hotah, captain of Doran Martell's guard; Arys Oakheart, a knight pledged to protect Myrcella; and Arianne Martell, Doran's daughter and heir to Dorne.
The sea route to Oldtown and Oldtown itself are seen through Samwell Tarly's perspective. He also stops in Braavos, which is primarily seen through Arya Stark's eyes.
Feast is divided from A Dance with Dragons geographically, rather than chronologically — the contemporaneous adventures of characters in the North and Essos are covered in that book.
This book provides examples of:
A Child Shall Lead Them: Eight-year old Tommen is crowned King of Westeros after Joffrey's death. Subverted in that Cersei holds the real power and all Tommen does is stamp decrees and letters, without much understanding of what he's actually doing. This bites Cersei in the ass rather horribly when Cersei's enemies make Tommen send out decrees against Cersei.
This trope is beloved by the people of the Iron Islands, who drown people then revive them by pushing the water out of their lungs as a religious ritual, resulting in the title of "Drowned Men" being bestowed on the servants of the "Drowned God".
Batman Gambit: Arianne kidnaps Myrcella Baratheon, meaning to crown her Queen of Westeros and raise Dorne's banners to support a war against King's Landing behind her father's back. Doesn't work out.
Doran Martell also had one: He only betrothed Arianne to men he knew she would refuse, because he had actually secretly promised her to wed Viserys Targaryen.
Because Destiny Says So: Cersei obsesses over a prophecy she once received as a child from a maegi, saying that she would be killed by her "valonqar" and that she would be queen until the day another came along "more beautiful and younger than her".
Becoming the Mask: Sansa undergoes this to a certain degree as Alayne Stone, referring to herself as Littlefinger's daughter even in her own mind, and on several occasions makes active attempts to surpress the desires that 'Sansa' has in order to continue to grow as 'Alayne'.
Coming and Going: Sansa meets the widowed Lady Myranda Royce, whose middle-aged husband expired the first time they had sex.
Myranda: He died on top of me. In me, if truth be told. You do know what goes on in a marriage bed, I hope?
Sansa: That must have been dreadful, my lady. Him dying. There, I mean, whilst...whilst he was...
Myranda: Fucking me? It was disconcerting, certainly. Not to mention discourteous.
The Dog Bites Back: Lord Hewett's bastard daughter Falia, after years of being made to work in the kitchens for her trueborn half-siblings and wait on them at table, delights in joining the Greyjoy invaders to humiliate them - such as suggesting that they be forced to serve their captors naked.
Cersei rejects Jaime's efforts to help her, replaces his affections with those of Osmund Kettleback, and makes constant snarky comments about his stump. When she sends a raven appealing for his help after her arrest, Jaime orders the message burnt.
Came Back Wrong: Catelyn. Probably a result of having been a corpse for three days, two of which spent in the river, she can hardly speak any comprehensible words and seems to have become increasingly psychopathic.
Evil Gloating: Cersei to Margaery after Loras barely survives his assault on Dragonstone.
Eye Scream: Marillion had his eyes plucked out while he was being tortured into lying about Lysa's death.
Fawlty Towers Plot: Cersei's scheming against Margaery relies on Osmund Kettleblack falsely confessing to the High Septon that he has slept with the young queen. She also has Qyburn torture the Blue Bard, a young musician who plays for Margaery and her company, so he will testify that he also took the queen to bed, while Pycelle admits to having supplied Margaery with Moon Tea. This all backfires on Cersei when the Faith (newly armed by Cersei herself) tortures Osmund because the High Septon found his lack of guilt during the confession suspect. Osmund admits he "fucked the queen", said queen being Cersei.
Fingore: Mord took off a few of Marillion's fingers while torturing him.
Fractured Fairy Tale: Once upon a time, there was a girl growing up in her father's house with a Wicked Stepmother and her evil stepsisters, who forced her to live amongst the servants and do all the chores. Then one day, their household was set upon by Ironborn reavers, who took the place over and raped everyone, except pretty Falia Flowers who became the willing courtesan of the evil-but-very-pretty Pirate King Euron. She persuaded Euron to make her enslaved erstwhile family serve in the nude while her poor father watched, and she laughed and laughed and laughed. The End.
Gaining The Will To Kill: Brienne goes through this before killing her first man (in self-defence), questioning whether she has the strength to take a life. ultimately, it gets easier for her but she still doesn't enjoy it.
Gambit Pileup: About halfway through Cersei's extensive gambits to destroy Margaery Tyrell, Margaery also starts working to destroy Cersei (mainly after Cersei can't resist Evil Gloating over Loras Tyrell's horrific injuries after the battle of Dragonstone). This all while the Faith Militant is scheming to become more authoritative. In the final Cersei chapter, both Cersei and Margaery are arrested by the Faith on legitimate charges of adultery. Well, legitimate in Cersei's case at least; Margaery's is still up in the air.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Cersei has Margaery Tyrell arrested by the Faith for adultery, but the knight she sends to confess of this is tortured till he admits he slept with Cersei, resulting in Cersei's own arrest as well.
Mythology Gag, kind of: Littlefinger says that he "had hoped to have four or five quiet years" to allow his plans to mature, but things are moving too fast. This is a reference to GRRM's original plan for "a five-year gap" between books 3 and 4, which he had to abandon.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Aeron Damphair will not accept Euron "Crow's Eye" as the King of the Iron Islands and thus organizes a Kingsmoot so that the people of the islands can choose their own King. He himself heavily supports the claim of his brother Victarion. However, at the Kingsmoot Euron "Crow's Eye" is so convincing that his position of King is affirmed.
Pet the Dog: Brienne feels genuinely sorry for her mistrust of Nimble Dick after he is horribly slaughtered by two former Bloody Mummers. She resorts to giving him a proper burial.
Rape as Backstory: Euron raped Victarion's wife, forcing Victarion to kill her. For what it's worth (which, admittedly, isn't much), Euron denies that he raped her, claiming "she came to [him] wet and willing". It is also implied he sexually abused Aeron.
Rebellious Princess: Arianne Martell is one mainly because she believes her father means to overturn her as the heir to Dorne in favor of her brother Quentyn.
The Reveal: Doran Martell wants revenge for Elia Martell's death and has been planning an alliance with the remaining Targaryens all along.
Rousing Speech: Euron delivers one of these at the Kingsmoot to propel himself to the Seastone Chair.
Jaime wonders if his cousin Tyrek Lannister, who disappeared in A Clash of Kings has been kidnapped by Varys.
Xanatos Gambit: Cersei sees sending Loras Tyrell to take Dragonstone as this. She knows Loras is too impatient to wait for the keep to starve out, so she hopes he will die storming it. If he doesn't die, she would have still struck a blow against Stannis, making it a win-win situation. What she doesn't predict is the prestige his victory will give House Tyrell, her primary rivals for power at court.