A Feast with Dragons: a new way to read the final two books Song of Ice and Fire novels


It’s a commonly known pastime of Star Wars fans to argue passionately about the proper order in which to watch all six (now seven!) films. There’s release order, chronological order, the contentious Machete order, and other jumbled ways you can experience the original sextology. A Song of Ice and Fire fans now have something similar: knowing with certainty that A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons were originally intended to be one book, how can we combine the chapters from both books into one coherent experience? The folks over at Game of Owns, a Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire podcast, have drafted their own version, entitled A Feast for Dragons.

This combined order kind of seems like a response to the most famous Feast/Dance reading order currently out there, from Boiled Leather. Boiled Leather’s list attempts to put the many chapters at issue in a rough chronological order without ruining the structure of either book (since George R.R. Martin did attempt to allow both books to stand as individual pieces in the story by breaking them geographically). In contrast, Game of Owns focuses more on theme and narrative. Here’s BryndenBFish, one of the fans who put together the A Feast with Dragons, on what they were going for:

"[W]hat we attempted to do was to marry up chapters with close narrative dovetails or parallel thematic poignancy. For instance, on the narrative, ADWD, Tyrion I occurs right after AFFC, Cersei I as they both interplay strongly against each other with Cersei’s nightmare and search for Tyrion coupled with Tyrion drinking his way across the Narrow Sea…Thematically, we rolled the ADWD Prologue together with ADWD, Jon I as the Prologue gives us a how-to on warging, and we open immediately next to Jon warging Ghost."

You can read more about the thought process behind this order over at Watchers on the Wall.

In my mind, nothing sells this order quite like the ending. The Dance epilogue is actually shifted ahead of the last Barristan chapter, allowing Daenerys’ last chapter (in which she and Drogon eventually wind up surrounded by a Dothraki khalasar) to be the ending of the books. Sam’s final chapter from Feast also shows up later than it does in Boiled Leather, adding extra dramatic oomph to the one-two-three punches that Dance provides in its dying moments.

The list has its own website with a neat color scheme to clearly differentiate between chapters from the two books (something that was a personal pet peeve of mine when I scribbled down the Boiled Leather list a while ago). It’s worth a shot, as the care given to the parallel themes and narrative structure here is very similar to what D&D have attempted—sometimes successfully, sometimes not—in the television show.

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