A Dance with Dragons
Goodreads ratings
4.32 / 5

"A Dance with Dragons" Summary

By George R.R. Martin

fantasy | 1125 pages | Published in 2011

Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004XISI4AIn the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

As the Seven Kingdoms face impending doom, Daenerys Targaryen struggles to rule in Meereen while Jon Snow deals with unrest at the Wall.


"A Dance with Dragons" is the fifth installment in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R.R. Martin. This epic fantasy novel continues the complex and gripping saga of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The book explores power struggles, political intrigue, and the supernatural, all set against the backdrop of a war-torn land. With its richly developed characters and intricate plotlines, "A Dance with Dragons" is a compelling read that delves deeper into the intricacies of the series' world.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

Set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, "A Dance with Dragons" follows the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings. The Seven Kingdoms are in turmoil as various factions vie for power, while across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen seeks to solidify her rule over the city of Meereen. The threat of the White Walkers looms in the North, adding a layer of supernatural danger to the political machinations of the realm.

Main Events

The book is divided into several storylines, each following different characters and their experiences across the vast and intricate world of Westeros and Essos. The main events include Daenerys Targaryen's struggles in Meereen, Jon Snow's leadership of the Night's Watch, Tyrion Lannister's journey across Essos, and the ongoing battle for the Iron Throne in Westeros. The novel weaves these disparate narratives together to create a rich and multifaceted tapestry of events.

Story PointsCharacters
Daenerys' rule in Meereen is threatened by political unrest and the growing threat of the Sons of the Harpy.Daenerys Targaryen, Barristan Selmy, Hizdahr zo Loraq
Jon Snow contends with the challenges of leadership at the Wall, including the arrival of Stannis Baratheon and the growing tension with the Wildlings.Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre, Tormund Giantsbane
Tyrion Lannister embarks on a journey across Essos, encountering new allies and adversaries as he seeks to find his place in the world.Tyrion Lannister, Jorah Mormont, Illyrio Mopatis
The power struggles in Westeros intensify as various factions vie for control, leading to betrayals, alliances, and shifting loyalties.Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark

Main Characters

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen is the last surviving member of the Targaryen dynasty, with ambitions to reclaim the Iron Throne of Westeros. Throughout "A Dance with Dragons," she struggles to maintain control over Meereen while facing internal and external threats to her rule.

Jon Snow

Jon Snow is the illegitimate son of Eddard Stark, now serving as the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. His storyline in the novel revolves around the challenges of leadership, the threat of the White Walkers, and the delicate balance between the Night's Watch and the Wildlings.

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister is a member of the powerful Lannister family, known for his wit and intelligence. In "A Dance with Dragons," he travels across Essos, encountering new allies and enemies as he navigates the complex political landscape of the continent.

Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister is the ambitious and cunning Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms. Her machinations and struggles for power are a central focus of the Westerosi storyline in the novel.

Themes and Insights

Power and Politics

"A Dance with Dragons" delves deeply into the themes of power and politics, depicting the intricate webs of alliances, betrayals, and ambitions that drive the characters' actions. The novel offers a nuanced exploration of the nature of power and the lengths to which individuals will go to attain and maintain it.

Identity and Belonging

Many characters in the book grapple with questions of identity and belonging. Whether it's Daenerys Targaryen's struggle to reconcile her Targaryen heritage with her role as a ruler in Essos or Jon Snow's internal conflict as a Stark and a member of the Night's Watch, the novel delves into the complexities of self-discovery and acceptance.

Consequences of War

The far-reaching consequences of war are a central theme in "A Dance with Dragons." The novel portrays the devastation and turmoil that result from the ongoing conflicts in Westeros and Essos, highlighting the human cost of power struggles and the impact of warfare on individuals and societies.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "A Dance with Dragons" will find themselves immersed in a richly detailed world filled with complex characters and intricate plotlines. The novel offers a compelling exploration of power, identity, and the far-reaching impact of war, all set against the backdrop of a vividly realized fantasy landscape. With its multifaceted themes and gripping narratives, "A Dance with Dragons" is a captivating read that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.


"A Dance with Dragons" is a masterfully crafted fantasy novel that continues the epic saga of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. With its richly developed characters, intricate plotlines, and thought-provoking themes, the book offers a compelling and immersive reading experience. George R.R. Martin's skillful storytelling and vivid world-building make "A Dance with Dragons" a must-read for fans of epic fantasy and political intrigue.

A Dance with Dragons FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Dance with Dragons'?

    A Dance with Dragons is a fantasy novel, part of the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series.

  2. Is 'A Dance with Dragons' the final book in the series?

    No, 'A Dance with Dragons' is not the final book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. As of now, the series is not complete.

  3. How many pages does 'A Dance with Dragons' have?

    The paperback edition of 'A Dance with Dragons' has approximately 1,125 pages.

  4. Is 'A Dance with Dragons' suitable for young readers?

    Due to its mature content, 'A Dance with Dragons' is recommended for adult readers and may not be suitable for younger audiences.

  5. Can 'A Dance with Dragons' be read as a standalone book?

    It is recommended to read the previous books in the series before reading 'A Dance with Dragons' to fully understand the story and characters.