Tywin's morning habit to look at the other side of the bed, because that's the spot his wife is supposed to be. But she's never there.
What happened to Lord Oaker's daughter. Tony is obviously pretty shaken by her fate and the fact he was unable to help her... even if he ''does'' avenge her.
Jon remembers an old peasant man trying to cut a tree which fell on him. Ned tried to comfort the man, but he knew he was about to die and just kept looking at Jon while sobbing he didn't want to go. He died but Jon never forgot it.
Ned escapes his canon fate, but Sansa ends up being the Stark to die as she tries to flee from Joffrey and ends up falling and breaking her skull... and all Ned and Tony can do is watch.
Made worse by the last lines of the chapter. Throughout Ned's POV chapters, whenever he thinks about Jon, he hears Lyanna, his sister, saying "Promise me, Ned". He hears it again at the end of chapter 29. Except this time it's Sansa saying it, and the promise is to wipe out the Lannisters.
Jon finally learns his mother's name... Lyanna Stark, who fell in love with Rhaegar Targaryen and eloped with him to get married in Dorne and bear him a trueborn child. Poor Jon is heartbroken because it means the family he thought he had was nothing more than a lie.
And Ned knows their relationship took a serious hit when Jon struggles to call him "father". Even when Tony tries to comfort him, he merely admits he wasn't such a great father to his nephew.
A Crack of Thunder
The backstory of the story's version of Peter Parker. His father Rickard was a Goldcloak, and in the rabid anti-Lannister mobs in the wake of Sansa's death, he and his wife were killed when their house was attacked while Peter was luckily staying with his uncle Benjen. And of course we know how that's going to end.
Ned and Cat worrying about Arya. They know she's with Syrio so she's not alone and unprotected but time flies and their daughter is still away, and they know the more time she stays apart, the more high the possibility she will never come home.
It is revealed that the Martells and Tony's father had a marriage pact formed between them and at one point they considered marrying Tony to Ellia Martell. Her mother refused, wanting her to be closer to home and marry someone more important than the Northern Lord. Oberyn, Tony, and Pepper all silently think about how Ellia would still be alive had Oberyn's mother just accepted the marriage contract.
When Oberyn says how everyone was disappointed because Tony was born male and as such couldn't be wed to Oberyn, Tony flatly says he always disappointed his father. Pepper doesn't know the fine print, but Horard Stark apparently was fully aboard the "Screwing Your Kids In Style" train.
Pepper's reaction when she thinks Oberyn came to take Jon away: she didn't even met the kid one year ago, but now he's living under her roof and he's hers, and she just can't bear the idea of him leaving for Dorne. For all she swears he's like a little brother to her, she very much behaves as a mother whose son is about to abandon the nest.
When Thor casually mentions Rhaegar and Lyanna actually fell in love with each other, he also gives the lovely detail that Lyanna left some letters explaining everything at Winterfell. When her brother Brandon found these letters, he thought it was a forgery and burnt them before riding for King's Landing. Robert's Rebellion could have been avoided if only Brandon had trusted his sister's words.
Even after being legitimized, Jon still feels insecure about growing up a bastard. And after what he learned at the end of Book 1, he can't consider the Starks of Winterfell as family rather than the Starks of Iron Pointe. He grew up in Winterfell.
Robb has commissioned statues of Sansa and Arya, knowing that the former is dead and thinking the latter is, too. He also feels horrible because he does not know how to help Bran and Rickon. And then Rickon gets sucked into a portal right in front of him.
His mixed feelings about his mother staying at Riverrun instead of coming back in Winterfell. He knows her father is dying and that's awful but he just wants to scream at her "What about your sons?".
Edmure sadly muses he would rather to see his father dying in battle than wasting away in a sickbed. At least it would be quicker.
Tony's grim conclusion that he helped escalating the war by recklessly doing heroics, resulting in more evil than good in spite of his intentions. Even Pepper's pep talk can't bring him out of his funk.
Tyrion's dreams of the Night's Queen throttling him while naked and covered in blood are Nightmare Fuel, but he also dreams of the real Sansa wrapped in chains and sobbing. Meaning some part of Sansa may very well remain buried deep inside, powerless to stop the Night's Queen from doing such dreadful things.
Mystique reveals her backstory — most of her family died during a fire (specifically at Summerhall; she's a Targaryen), with her mother dying giving birth to her shortly after. She then spent most of her life on the streets, selling herself as a prostitute to get by, until Magneto found and recruited her.
While Mystique hugging Arya is a Heartwarming Moment, doing so causes the girl to remember all the times she refused such intimate moments with her mother, causing her to start tearing up.
Ned's quiet conclusion that Robert never truly cared for the people he ruled, since he would have done something, anything for bettering their lot if he had. Then he acknowledges his brother Brandon would have been just as bad a ruler, if not worse.
He and Cat taking a moment to quietly mourn Sansa's death and the fact that Arya is still missing.
Jonos Bracken's death at Asha Greyjoy's hands, which drives Theon into a berserker rage.
Brienne is devastated to learn that Renly is not a paragon of kingly values, but a dishonorable coward.
Robb having a breakdown over his self-perceived inability to do anything to help the war effort, not to mention his guilt over Rickon disappearing right in front of him.
Jaime is broken by the news that his father is willing to let the Starks kill him (unaware that Tywin thinks he's an imposter).
When Jon thinks about Ned Stark and his children, he can't help but remember they're not his father and siblings, but his uncle and cousins.
Natasha understands why her brand-new husband went hero, why he continues this way, she even approves a bit... but she still fears the day she will wait for him to come back and he won't.
Lady was still killed at the Trident. And now her grave has been dug up and the wolf has been stuffed and brought to King's Landing.
But the fact that the Night's Queen doesn't remember mentioning the wolf and, apparently, giving orders to recover the body (including where to look for the grave) and how to prepare it, there is possibility that Sansa is not entirely beyond saving.
Bran's first POV shows how utterly depressed he is at his inability to do anything, due to being crippled.
His visions show Rickon with Yondu. Considering how Peter Quill's childhood looked like, Rickon is not going to have easy time among Ravagers.
Brienne sharing her Dark and Troubled Past — she was so sickly as a child she could oftentimes barely walk and could be seriously injured by minor cuts. Everything the healers hired by her father tried to cure her either did nothing or made things worse. And then things got worse when a particularly fanatical Septon arrived on Tarth and convinced her father that her condition was the will of the gods, so trying to help her was a sin. Thus she was left to suffer for years, until her cousin Bruce returned from his travels across Essos with a cure.
Tony shares with Rhodey why he chose to break ties with his parents and left for Essos: his parents wanted him to marry 3-month old Wynafryd Manderly. Immediately, he packed up his things, told his father to go to hell and swore not to return until his father was dead. That was also the last time he saw his mother, whom he loved.
Tony still blames himself for Sansa's death, even after everything that has happened. He is still also haunted by his memories of Lord Oaker's daughter.
After all the lies he has been told, and the truths that have been hidden from him "for his own good", Jon learning that Natasha is an agent of the Council and believing Natasha only married him as part of the job is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Natasha almost breaks down while telling Jon that she loves him and that she sees him as her only chance of redemption.
Nikolos Fury reveals that Aegon, Rhaegar's son, was evacuated from King's Landing instead of being killed, and was placed in the care of Jon Connington. Then, Aegon died when he was two. Connington went mad and decided to grab the first kid he could find that looked Targaryen and convinced himself and the child that he was Aegon.
Some of the visions in the House of the Undying:
Jorah is shown his worst fear, of becoming an honorless laughingstock wasting away in a tavern. Then he's shown his greatest desire, of returning home to Bear Island and being welcomed back by his proud father. He breaks down when Logan has to hold him back to keep him from giving into it.
Logan's worst fear is becoming a mindless animal put on display in a freakshow. And then he's shown a vision of the future, where he has a daughter; now it's Jorah who has to hold him back as he breaks down, frantically trying to cling to that image.
Daenerys' greatest desire isn't the Iron Throne, it's the house in Braavos she spent her early childhood in. Deep down, she doesn't want power, she wants home.
Selyse Baratheon's death. Unable to bring herself to kill her only child even if it's in the name of her god, she's then betrayed and fatally wounded by Amora, who gloats that the Lord of Light isn't real and that she's going to make Stannis kill Shireen. After revealing all this, Selyse's last words are to beg Jane to save her daughter.
Thor strongly implies that one of his previous lives on Midgard was as a pleasure slave in Lys, being repeatedly raped until he has a quite good understanding of the kind of hell Jane was facing.
Tyrion cannot identify his father when Tywin intervenes at the Blackwater offensive and calls him the "stranger looking like Father". The reason why? Tywin expressed worry about him. He's so used to be treated like crap by his parent that he's unable to imagine another kind of interaction with him.
The death of Stannis Baratheon, who spends his last moments telling his daughter that she's the thing he's most proud of, and sharing last words with Thor, Jane, and Davos/Loki.
The fact that Jane is angry at her dad for lying about his identity. And her brief panic when she remembers Thor came to Westeros for bringing Loki back to Asgard, believing she's going to lose her father.
Loki mourning over the loss of his persona as "Davos Seaworth", since he felt so much more happy and fulfilled to be a good, upstanding husband and father instead of a princely godling. And Amora's actions took this from him.
Daenerys recounts how she broke down in tears when Doom and Jorah shattered her delusions about her family, making it clear to her just how insane and despicable her father was.
She also has a moment of doubt about her plans to retake Westeros, wondering if she shouldn't just give up and stay in Essos.
One of the fallen at the Battle of the Blackwater? Benjen Parker. Tywin rules his widow May will get his pension and a possibility to marry again if she wishes so, but he will understand if she decides to stay faithful to her husband.
As part of the Brotherhood's cover story, the Lannisters are led to believe that Jaime was killed at Harrenhal when Hoat turned against them, leaving Cersei and Tyrion breaking down sobbing and Tywin barely controlling his emotions.
The Night's Queen mercilessly preying on Tywin's mourning to impersonate his beloved Joanna. In this moment, Tywin isn't a master politician or a fearsome lord, he's only a grieving man who still misses his wife.
Sansa's spirit reflecting on all her shattered dreams and self-delusions, and how she just wants to go home.
Fury's revelations about the Council's interference in his life has filled Jon with deep self-loathing.
Robb's hesitation to reconnect with Rickon, as he wanted his baby brother back, not a grown-up man who's so painfully a stranger to Westeros. Also, right after learning Gamora actually had a human life before merging with a Child, he painfully concludes she's Arya. Thank Gods he's wrong.
Still, Gamora's human identity is a heartbreak. She's ready to fight in the Second War for the Dawn, ready to die for the cause, but reconnecting with the Starks? The family she failed, the nephews and son she barely know? That, Lyanna Stark is afraid of.
Robb didn't realize that Bran was missing until some time had passed after the battle with the Ironborn, considering it yet another failure on his part.
Jeor Mormont sadly reflects on how his only son has disgraced the family name.
A Shield of Man
It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Adrian of the Tombs, whose every attempt to move upwards in life have been stymied, seemingly intentionally by the Tyrells. You can't really blame him for snapping when he's put in a situation where he feels that they're going to take his one last chance at glory from him.
Arya having a brief breakdown over the difficulty of having to adjust to her new body. Also, instead of all the enemies she wants to kill, her mental list is of all the loved ones she doesn't want to forget.
Lann the Clever's actual reason for stealing Casterly Rock from the former ruling family? They had abducted and tortured his wife because she had the gall to fall in love with someone else than the King. When all was said and done, Lann could only grant her freedom.
Steve has to break off his story when he brings up the few people who supported him when he was small and weak. And knowing the canon story, this version of Bucky is probably going to be devastating.
As offensively deluded and self-serving as her POV is, one has to feel a little sympathy for Cersei whenever her mourning for Jaime's "death" comes up.
Despite all the terrible things Asha did in Book 2, it's hard not to feel a twinge of sympathy when she finds herself hoping that Vanko will come for her, as she's unaware that the man she genuinely loves is dead.
And mixed with Nightmare Fuel, there's her ending up at Euron's nonexistent mercies.
Jaime sadly reflecting on how his family seemingly abandoned him to the Starks.
Even by the time they get to King's Landing, Jon is still having difficulty coping with Natasha's secrets, with him noting that things are still tense between them.
And he also reflects he lost two sisters to King's Landing: Rhaenys whom he never even got to meet... and Sansa.
The brief mention that Lord Eddard Stark always looked like he was borrowing the Lord's solar in Winterfell — he was too used to thinking of his father and brother as the ones having the right to the room.
Theon's breakdown when he believes that Robb must have been killed, blaming himself for not being able to do anything about it.
Just how resigned Theon is when he learns of the Ironborn raid on Winterfell, bleakly telling Ned he won't beg for his life being spared. Thankfully, Ned had no intention whatsoever to chop his head off.
In a Call-Back to Tywin's very first POV, he awakes and looks to the other side of his bed. Now, rather than it being empty, it's occupied by what he thinks is his beloved wife, returned to him. But of course, it's actually the Night's Queen, manipulating him. Despite all the atrocities he has committed to elevate House Lannister, Tywin is just a heartbroken man who just wanted his beloved wife back.
The Commander, aka the Red Skull, turns out to have possessed the body of one of Steve's closest friends. He uses this to mock Steve. Then he goes further by bringing up how all of his old comrades are long gone; when he mentions Bucky, Steve flies into a rage.
Natasha is able to coolly analyze everyone around her, except for Jon, with whom her mind always wanders into despair over his belief that she doesn't really love him.
Later, she deduces from his angry comments about the Iron Throne that he hates himself due to his Targaryen heritage.
Catelyn reflects on all her mistakes as a mother, specifically how she either smothered her children or ignored them when she had other things to do. Her guilt is rather palpable.
She and Ned are making their way back to Winterfell, and it's clear that they're still Locked Out of the Loop regarding things there, as she's expecting Bran to be there and Rickon to still be a small child. She's in for a rude wakeup call when she gets there.
At one point she has a vision of her as Lady Stoneheart and is horrified at the monstrous visage. Hopefully she can avoid that horrid fate.
Sansa has to constantly remind herself that she's human now that she's in Lady's body.
Mixed with nightmare fuel, it turns out that the Night's Queen returned partial control of her body to her while having sex with Tywin, so she was forced to experience that fully.
Sam left the Summer Islands because he couldn't stand the never-ending wars anymore.
Gamora/Lyanna's angry rant about Ned's choices in regards to raising Jon, stating that if she'd lived, things would have been different.
Arya sadly reflecting on how she simply can't be as upset about Sansa's death as she should, since they were never that close.
Just like in canon, Charlus Xavier and Magneto were good friends... and just like in canon, they broke their friendship because Charlus advised for patience while Magneto wanted to act.
And more to the point, Charlus wanted to start fresh in Essos, put the past behind them by finding success away from those who scorned them. But Erik's desire to return to his supposed birthright split the group.
Rogue and Mystique's discussion. Made even worse when Gambit explains to Arya that Rogue's insecurity about Mystique as a mother-figure are not merely rooted in Arya potentially being a Replacement Goldfish, but started when she learned Mystique has given her own twin children away — and so she believes the shapeshifter cannot love enough for several kids.
The implication that something terrible happened to the ship that was taking Tony, Pepper and Rhodey to Braavos, judging by Tony being found by Arya barely hanging to a ship mast while he was wearing part of the Iron Man armor.
As we find out in the following chapter, their ship was attacked by pirates with Extremis powers, who eventually overpowered Tony and Rhodey and threw them into the sea, before taking Pepper prisoner.
Tywin confesses he never actually hated Aerys — he loathed the Mad King that replaced his good friend.
There's something sadly correct about Rickard/Yondu scolding two of his kids. Saying that at least Ned and Benjen managed to only have their mistakes effect smaller areas around them, but Lyanna and Brandon managed to have their mistakes drag their whole kingdom into the mess. A reminder that despite their own strengths of character, the Stark family has a lot of problems they'll need to iron out before the song of Metal and Marvels is over.
Jeor sadly sharing with Steve his reasoning for voluntarily joining the Night's Watch. He was born late in his father's life, and only knew him as an old man too feeble to leave his bed most days; not wanting to suffer that fate himself, he chose the Watch so that he could meet his end more valiantly while allowing a more dignified passing of his lordly position to his own son. And now he's seen that turn out to be All for Nothing, as Jorah has disgraced their House with his actions.
As Jaime listens to Meera's story passed through her family about a harsh punishment Aegon V inflicted on Jaime's great-grandparents for mistreatment of a royal tax collector, Jaime can't help but draw similarities between his manipulative great-grandmother and Cersei, making him question just how real their relationship ever was.
Jaime also notes that even though he could never be publicly recognized as Joffrey's father, he still could have taken the boy as a squire and taught him how to be a good man. Instead we got the Joffrey we all know from canon, whom Jaime views as the gods' punishment for his own crimes.
Natasha and her cousin Arianne were close friends since childhood... and then Natasha got legitimized, and the paranoid Arianne started seeing her as a potential threat to her claim to Dorne's throne, even though she was being married off to Jon and had no interest in usurping Arianne. While recounting this to Clynt, Natasha is clearly hurt at the loss of that relationship.
Steve sadly recounts how the Wall was never meant to be permanent, and how far the Free Folk have fallen from the developed civilization he knew to the raiders they are now.
May Parker's utter frustration with Westeros being a Crapsack World, leading her to scream she wants for the "Protector of the Realm" to forget the game of thrones and do some real protection for once... then she calms down and quietly tells Natasha and Jon it will never happen, no matter how much she wishes for it.
Drax declaring that once the fighting will be done, he will beg Ned's forgiveness for everything his foolishness caused.
Robb is blocking out any comments Gamora makes about Jon being her son, because he still can't wrap his head around Jon being anything but his brother.
When Tony learns that Tyrion met with the Mandarin, who is responsible for Pepper's abduction, he's enraged and Tyrion left feeling guilty, even if he couldn't have known what the Mandarin did.
Maria Hill is heavily implied to be Tysha's daughter. Furthermore Maria's outright distrust of House Lannister had to come from somewhere, suggesting that any reunion between Tysha and Tyrion is promised to be tragic at best.
Ned's first POV chapter this book has him lamenting over how much has changed since he left Winterfell, which spirals into him remembering all the bad news he ever got from raven messages over the years. It's a struggle for him to just focus on the present and listen to what everyone around him is saying.
Also, the letter Gamora left for him, in which she tells him to bring her son back to her. He knows she's pissed at him and just so despondent over it...
Sansa is having to remind herself much more frequently that she's human.
Steve's commentary on how everything has changed since he went into the ice, and is especially upset at how his brother's descendants have basically become what his family rebelled against.
Even if Magneto promised Arya he would spare her family after taking the Iron Throne, he nonetheless plans to strip them from Winterfell in order to raise Arya in their stead. The poor girl sadly muses all she wanted was for everything to go back to what she remembers of her childhood, only to be faced with the cold, hard truth that it's never going to happen.
When Arya believes the Red priests are about to sacrifice a direwolf, she starts daydreaming about raising the pup to replace Nymeria. She's relieved when she gets to see it's only a mundane wolf that was killed, but it's obvious she's still not over the loss of her pet.
One of Jaime's biggest regrets was to sit on the Iron Throne to greet Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark, leaving little Rhaenys helpless and gruesomely murdered when he should have protected her.
As he reflects upon his grandson Tommen's affection towards him, Tywin cannot help but feel surprised by the fact one member of his family is happy to see him — since the Old Lion is aware of his fearsome reputation, and how he has impacted his children.
After being cut loose by the Mandarin, Renly reverts mentally to a 7-year-old child. He's been a puppet of Wenwu his entire life.
Renly asking repeatedly where Stannis is and talking about how his big brother cared for him. Renly has no idea that its nearly 2 decades in the future and his brothers are dead.
A drunk and angry Joffrey striking Margaery when their wedding party gets washed out by a Thor-sent storm.