- Anticlimax Boss: Renly plans on stealing the throne from Stannis and has put together the largest army in Westeros, but he's assassinated on the night before the battle without putting up a fight. Stannis takes the bulk of his forces into his own campaign against the Lannisters.
- Critical Research Failure: At one point, Pia is sent to the buttery to fetch cheese and butter. This is surprising considering a dairy contains cheese and butter and a buttery contains butts of wine.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Ygritte became one of the more popular characters introduced in this book, with many readers relishing that there was finally a female who wasn't bound by the restrictions of Westerosi society; she's an outspoken Action Girl who shows us how different things are for Wildling women.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Theon remarks that he wishes Sansa were still at Winterfell so he could force her to marry him. In the TV series, when Sansa returns to Winterfell, she's forced into a marriage with Ramsay and Theon is Forced to Watch as she's raped on her wedding night.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: At the beginning of the book, Jeor Mormont tells Jon Snow the story of how Maester Aemon had a chance to be king, but rejected the throne to pass it to his younger brother Aegon, and after that, set off for the Wall so that he could never be used by other people to depose Aegon from the throne. The TV series ends with Bran becoming king while Jon is exiled to the Wall. Of course, this may very well be a foreshadowing...
- Idiot Ball:
- Robb sending Theon back to his homeland to propose an alliance with his father. Said father comes from an Always Chaotic Evil culture, tried to rebel and attack the rest of Westeros just ten or so years prior, and personally hates the Starks. Theon was specifically a hostage to ensure his good behavior, so sending him back to his father removes their leverage. Ironically, said father was planning on attacking the North anyway (and had accepted Theon being executed in retribution as acceptable cost), but keeping him close by as the hostage he's supposed to be would have resulted in Winterfell never falling, and likely Robb never losing the war from a lot of the consequences.
- Ser Rodrik taking virtually every fighting man with him to defeat the Ironborn at Torrhen's Square leaves Winterfell completely undefended which results in Theon's tiny force taking it over. When attempting to retake it, he allows an unknown military officer (Ramsay Snow) to approach him with a drawn blade and cut off his arm while pretending to shake his hand.
- It Was His Sled: Winterfell was sacked.
- Narm: Theon names his ship Sea Bitch.
- One-Scene Wonder:
"Very well, ser. Bring on your storm. And remember, if you will, the name of this castle."
- Maester Cressen, who only gets a single Death in the Limelight POV chapter, an attempted Taking You with Me to protect Stannis from Melisandre's influence. Gets a lot of love for someone who effectively just killed himself without actually achieving anything.
- Ser Cortnay Penrose, castellan of Storm's End.
YMMV / A Clash of Kings