An Affair for the Loyal
A Game of Thrones
From the Game of Thrones Wikipedia Article
In the Seven Kingdoms
The novel begins with King Robert Baratheon visiting Lord Eddard Stark in Winterfell, ancestral home of House Stark, a noble house of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and rulers of the North. Because he trusts him, King Baratheon asks Eddard to become the Hand of the King. Eddard agrees, against his instincts, and at the same time promises his wife to investigate the death of the previous Hand, Jon Arryn, who may have been the victim of political intrigue involving Baratheon’s wife Queen Cersei and her powerful siblings of House Lannister.
Before the Starks leave for the South, Eddard’s middle son Bran Stark is gravely injured when he accidentally witnesses incest between Cersei and her twin Jaime Lannister, causing his mother Catelyn Stark to stay behind during his recuperation. During his recuperation, an assassin makes an attempt on Bran’s life, causing Catelyn to realize her husband faces danger in King’s Landing, so she travels there separately to warn him, meeting in the city Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger, a childhood admirer, who identifies Tyrion Lannister as the man behind the attempt on Bran’s life. Catelyn has Tyrion captured and sent to the Eyrie, where her sister Lysa is eager to execute him, but Tyrion demands trial by combat and regains his freedom when his unlikely champion, Bronn, wins the duel.
Meanwhile, Lord Eddard travels toward King’s Landing, the capital, taking with him his daughters Sansa and Arya. Thirteen year-old Sansa is betrothed to King Robert’s twelve year-old son Joffrey, the heir apparent. At King’s Landing, Eddard assumes the duties of the Hand while Robert becomes dissolute and uninterested in ruling. Eddard learns that Robert’s children have been fathered by Jaime Lannister, but Robert is killed on a hunt before Eddard tells him. Robert’s youngest brother Renly suggests that Eddard should use their combined household guardsmen to detain Cersei and her children and take control of the throne before the Lannisters can act. Eddard refuses on the grounds that it would be dishonorable. Instead he recruits Littlefinger to have the city guards arrest and charge Cersei, but is betrayed. Eddard is arrested, Sansa made a captive, and Arya escapes.
Cersei and Jaime’s oldest son, Joffrey is crowned, and immediately has Eddard executed. A civil war, later dubbed the War of the Five Kings, erupts. Lord Tywin Lannister wages war against Houses Stark and Tully and their supporters. Eddard’s second eldest son Robb Stark leads an army of northmen into the Riverlands to support his maternal grandfather Lord Hoster Tully and also to seek revenge for the death of his father. Jaime Lannister leads the siege of Riverrun, while Lord Tywin holds a large army south of the river Trident to prevent Robb from advancing to King’s Landing. In a bold move, Robb covertly detaches his cavalry toward Riverrun while his infantry carries on toward Tywin’s army. Tywin, joined by the liberated Tyrion, repulses the Stark footmen but discovers too late that they were a decoy. Shortly afterward Robb’s forces surprise and destroy the Lannister camp besieging Riverrun, capturing Jaime in the process. Renly Baratheon proclaims Joffrey’s illegitimacy and declares himself King of Westeros, becoming the second of the war’s five kings. Robb Stark becomes the third when bannermen of Stark and Tully proclaim him King in the North.
On the Wall
The Prologue of the novel introduces the northern wilderness beyond the Wall, an ancient 700 foot high, 300 mile-long barrier of ice fortifying the Seven Kingdoms, manned by the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. In the “lawless lands” north of the Wall, a small patrol of Rangers from the Night’s Watch encounter the Others; with all except a single survivor killed. Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Eddard, is encouraged by his uncle Benjen Stark, the First Ranger of the Night’s Watch, to join the brotherhood and go to the Wall.
At the Wall, Jon unites the recruits against their harsh instructor, and protects cowardly but good-natured Samwell Tarly. Jon hopes that his combat skills will earn him assignment to the Rangers, the military arm of the brotherhood. Instead he is assigned as steward to the Lord Commander of the Watch, Jeor Mormont. He arranges for his friend Sam to be made steward to elderly Maester Aemon. Meanwhile, Benjen Stark leads a small party of Rangers on patrol beyond the Wall but fails to return. Nearly six months later, the dead bodies of two of the rangers from Benjen’s party are recovered from beyond the Wall, and their corpses re-animate as wights in the night. Undeterred by sword wounds, they kill six men while Jon saves Lord Commander Mormont by destroying a wight. For saving his life, Mormont presents Jon with the Valyrian-steel bastard sword “Longclaw”, an heirloom of the Lord Commander’s house. Jon’s friends then give him a pommel for the sword in the shape of a white direwolf’s head, representing both House Stark and Jon’s direwolf, Ghost.
When word of his father’s execution reaches Jon, he attempts to desert the Night’s Watch and join his half-brother Robb’s war against the Lannisters. His friends among the brotherhood convince him to return. Mormont convinces Jon that his place is with his new brothers, and that the war for the throne does not compare to the evil that winter is about to bring upon them from the north.
In the East
Across the sea in the Free City of Pentos, Viserys Targaryen lives in exile with his thirteen year-old sister Daenerys. He is the son and only surviving male heir of King Aerys II, who was usurped by King Robert. Viserys arranges to sell his sister in marriage to Khal Drogo, warlord of nomadic Dothraki horse warriors, planning to use Drogo’s army to reclaim the Iron Throne of Westeros for House Targaryen. Among the wedding gifts are three petrified dragon eggs. A knight exiled from Westeros, Ser Jorah Mormont, joins Viserys as an advisor.
Unexpectedly, Daenerys finds trust and love with her barbaric husband, and they conceive a child who is prophesied to unite and rule the Dothraki. Drogo shows little interest in conquering Westeros, which provokes the temperamental Viserys to lash out at his sister. Initially, Drogo endures Viserys and punishes his outbursts with public humiliation. But when Viserys publicly threatens Daenerys, Drogo executes him by pouring a pot of molten gold on his head. As the last Targaryen, Daenerys takes up her brother’s quest to reclaim the throne of Westeros.
An assassin unsuccessfully attempts to poison Daenerys and her unborn child. Enraged, Drogo agrees to invade Westeros to seek revenge. While sacking villages to fund the invasion, Drogo is wounded. The wound festers, and Daenerys commands a captive maegi to use blood magic to save him; however, the treacherous maegi sacrifices Daenerys’ unborn child to power the spell, which keeps Drogo alive in a vegetative state. As the leaderless Dothraki horde disbands, Daenerys takes pity on her once-proud husband and smothers him. Eager for revenge, she orders the maegi tied to Drogo’s funeral pyre and places her three dragon eggs on the pyre with Drogo. While she watches it burn, Daenerys is seduced by the beauty of the flames and walks into the inferno. Instead of perishing in the flames, she emerges unscathed and with three newly-hatched dragons draped around her. The few remaining Dothraki and Ser Jorah swear their allegiance to her. As the first female khal and mother to the world’s only known dragons, Daenerys decides to build an army to reclaim the throne of Westeros.