TRÒ CHƠI VƯƠNG QUYỀN – phần 3 (Tóm tắt)

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Phần III: A CLASH OF KINGS

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The Civil War Within the Seven Kingdoms

The civil war to claim the Iron Throne becomes more complex. Three kings had declared their claims in A Game of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon (Cersei and Jaime Lannister’s son), Renly Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon (Robert Baratheon’s, the previous deceased king’s brothers). Robb Stark is declared King in the North while Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands, launching a massive assault along the west coast of the North, and becoming the fifth of the war’s kings.

At the Stark stronghold of Winterfell, Robb’s younger brother Bran Stark, a boy of 12 is in command. He finds two new friends when Jojen and Meera Reed arrive from Greywater Watch and take an interest in the strange dreams that Bran is having.

Stannis Baratheon declares himself King of Westeros, encouraged by Melisandre of Asshai, a red priestess of R’hllor, a god popular in the East, but unheard of in Westeros (where they believed in the Seven Gods or the Old Gods), who believes Stannis is the true heir and the rightful king. The war is often called “The War of the Five Kings”. Stannis’s younger brother, Renly, has also laid claim to the throne. As the elder brother, Stannis has the better claim but Renly will not back down, since he has the larger army and believes he would make a better king than Stannis. Renly acquired the larger amount of the Baratheon host since he is more amicable than Stannis, leaving Stannis with a barren army.

Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark (the claimed “King in the North)’s mother joins a meeting between Renly and Stannis to discuss a possible Stark-Baratheon alliance against their mutual foe, the Lannisters. The meeting fails as a mysterious shadow kills Renly in his tent whilst Catelyn and the warrior-maid Brienne of Tarth are present. The two women are accused murdering Renly, and they flee. As a result of the murder, most of Renly’s supporters shift their loyalty to Stannis, although the Tyrells do not. Renly’s stronghold at Storm’s End also falls when Melisandre uses her sorcery to give birth to another shadow to kill the castle’s defiant castellan.
Tyrion Lannister arrives at King’s Landing to serve as Hand of the King in place of his father, Tywin Lannister. Whilst intriguing against his sister Cersei, widow of the late King Robert Baratheon and mother of Joffrey, Tyrion works to improve the defenses of the city against possible attack from either Stannis or Renly and enters negotiations with the lords of the other noble houses to strengthen his nephew’s hold on the throne since Joffrey was never Robert Baratheon’s true heir. He sends the devious Peter Baelish (a.k.a Littlefinger) to negotiate with the Tyrells, gaining that house’s support when Lord Mace Tyrell agrees to wed his daughter Margaery to Joffrey, despite Margaery’s earlier marriage to the now deceased Renly and despite Joffrey’s earlier pledge to wed Sansa Stark. Tyrion also forges an alliance with House Martell when he arranges for Joffrey’s sister Princess Myrcella to wed Trystane Martell.
In an attempt to use Winterfell as a base from which to conquer the North and to impress his father Balon, Theon Greyjoy, a former ward of the Starks and close friend of Robb, captures the almost unarmed Winterfell with just thirty men, taking the young Stark children Bran and Rickon captive. Bran and Rickon disappear in the night and Theon is unable to trace them. Rather than look foolish, Theon murders two anonymous peasant boys and mutilates their faces to pass them off as Bran and Rickon. Believing that their princes have been murdered, Stark supporters besiege the castle joined by a force from House Bolton. Yet Theon had previously conspired with Bolton’s bastard, Ramsay Snow, and the Bolton soldiers turn on the besiegers as planned. Theon opens the gates to the victorious Boltons, but they betray him as well and set Winterfell on fire. Bran and Rickon emerge from hiding after the sack of the castle. To protect the heirs to Winterfell, Bran and Rickon parted ways. Osha, a captured wildling turned castle servant, agrees to take Rickon to safety, while Bran, accompanied by Meera, Jojen, and his simple manservant Hodor, travels north to worth Bran’s bastard brother Jon Snow.
Robb Stark leads his army westward and wins several victories against the Lannisters in their home territory. Tywin Lannister advances against him, but receiving news that King’s Landing is threatened, withdraws south.
Arya Stark, posing as a boy named Arry to protect her identity as a daughter of Eddard Stark who was previously executed on charges of treason, travels north along with new recruits for the Night’s Watch. The group is captured and taken to Lannister-held Harrenhal, where Arya poses as a peasant serving girl. A mysterious man, Jaqen H’ghar, offers to repay Arya for saving the lives of him and his two companions by killing three men of her choice. Arya selects two minor, but evil Lannister bannermen as her first two choices before realizing she had wasted her opportunity. Instead of choosing a third man, Arya cunningly forces Jaqen to help release a band of Stark supporters who quickly take over Harrenhal. His debt repaid, Jaqen gives Arya a coin and a strange phrase, “Valar Morghulis”, to be used if she ever encounters a man of Braavos and requires aid. Lord Roose Bolton soon arrives to occupy Harrenhal. Arya becomes his cup bearer, but soon escapes.

Stannis Baratheon’s army reaches King’s Landing and launches assaults by both land and sea. Under Tyrion’s command, Joffrey’s forces throw back Stannis’s forces through cunning use of “wildfire” (a Greek Fire–like substance) to set fire to the river while raising a chain across it to prevent Stannis’s fleet from retreating, essentially trapping them in the fiery bay. Stannis’s attack ultimately fails when Tywin Lannister leads his army and the remaining forces of Highgarden under Mace Tyrell to the aid of King’s Landing. Stannis’s fate is left uncertain, with some saying he retreated while others claim he was killed. Tyrion is seriously injured during the battle as a result of a treacherous attack by one of Joffrey’s kingsguard; however, he is saved by his squire, Podrick Payne.

(to be continued)

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