Ranking all 11 sample chapters from The Winds of Winter

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /
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Game of Thrones
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10. “Barristan II”

In a reading at a convention in 2013, Martin delivered the second part of Barristan Selmy’s sample chapter. While the first excerpt follows the planning and preparation before the Battle of Fire (or so it’s named by fans) over Meereen, this reading covers events during the battle.

From what fans have gathered, this chapter involves Barristan riding out of the gates of Meereen and leading a cavalry charge at one of the trebuchets. He notices the unpreparedness of the Yunkish slave soldiers and the valor of the sellsword Stormcrows. The chapter is intense, as horses charge and arrows fill the air. Barristan also notices the charging pit fighters in ridiculous armor shouting, “Loraq” and “Daenerys.”

Barristan and his forces easily break the ranks of slave legions. Before the Yunkai’i can launch a successful counterattack, Barristan sees the Unsullied begin to march out of the city and into battle, and notes that the Second Sons — which had turned their cloaks on Daenerys — are nowhere to be found.

Tumco, a former slave that Barristan’s is training to become a knight, draws Barristan’s attention to the bay, where ships are arriving. Barristan at first believes they are from Volantis, but then sees that some of the ships are crashing together. Tumco notices a certain sigil:

"Tumco: “Squids, big squids. Like in the Basilisk Isles, where sometimes they drag whole ships down.” Barristan: ‘Where I’m from, we call them krakens.”"

Realizing that the Ironborn are coming ashore and fighting the Yunkish, the chapters ends with Barristan’s surprise that they are on his side, and believes the battle won. According to an attendee at the convention, GRRM pointed out that those ships were “Victarion’s men” and made a comment about Tyrion currently being quite miserable, which aligns with his mission in the following sample chapter.