Game of Thrones (grimdark fantasy; ruthlessness; intrigues; power struggle; no good-bad axis)


The "Rains of Castamere" song is a well-known symbol of house Lannister’s merciless way of dealing with their enemies, a story of the annihilation of houses Tarbeck and Reyne, who dared to rebel against their liege lords. But not all of the Red Lions drowned on the day when the rains fell on Castamere. Left abandoned in the putrid soil well below the throne, each Lion will have to find their own way to claw back up and reach those whose eyes are focused on the crown.


The story starts under the Castamere castle, where the remaining members of the Reyne house have hidden before the Lannisters' forces. As the water fills the corridors, the mines that once brought them riches and safety, are becoming their grave. Roger Reyne, the famous Red Lion, leads his freshly-wed pregnant wife Avilon and 10-year-old brother Robyn to the surface, only to be ambushed by one of the Lannister patrols ravaging the surroundings. Roger dies, sacrificing himself for his family to escape. Young Robyn and Avilon lose each other in the woods.

Abandoned Robyn stumbles upon another Lannister pack. There is a boy his age among them - Jayce Lannister, nephew of the Lord of Casterly Rock. They were always told they look much alike. When the Lannister boy goes to take a piss, Robyn strangles him, then switches their clothes and, to ensure his cover, slashes his face with a dagger and crushes the head of the dead Lannister with a rock.

In the next chapter, Robyn embraces his new identity as a noble son of the Lannister house. His body recovers, but his heart is burning with hate towards his new family. He performs his duties capably, which catches the attention of Tywin Lannister. But he is also stealing poison from the maester's chambers and serving it to Lady Joanna, Tywin's wife. As a result, her pregnancy is affected and she dies while giving birth to a dwarf child named Tyrion. Robyn watches the despair of the Lannisters with ambiguous feelings, as some of them gave him nothing but kindness.

The perspective changes. On the streets of King's Landing lives a boy said to be born dead from a forever-silent mother. Witty Thomys quickly learns that getting in possession of information has more value than material things. One of his sources are the Silent Sisters, who can see the life of the dead as well as the death of the living. They may not speak of those affairs, but one of the Sisters, who's got a liking to Thomys, is providing him with wordless riddles. One day, Thomys gets in possession of the information that changes his life - a witch grabs his arm and looks at his claw-shaped birthmark, saying he is a descendant of the Red Lions of Castamere. The seed of vengefulness towards the house that robbed him of the life he should have, starts to grow.

The point of view changes back to Robyn/Jayce. He arrives at King's Landing with Tywin, as the Great Lion of the Rock sees potential in his kin and makes the young man his squire. As Robyn/Jayce is learning the rules of great politics and performing tasks for his hated mentor, he starts to see him in a different light. In this internal conflict, he finds comfort in confining to one of the Silent Sisters.

Meanwhile, Thomys has grown to be one of the leaders of the underground life in King's Landing. He manages to get into the court of Aerys, the Mad King, as a fool. Under the name of Tomcat, he is not only fooling around but also uses the deepening paranoia of the king to become a voice in his head, warning him against trusting his own Council, especially the Lion in a golden chain. His schemings become the root of tensions between the crown and the Lannisters. The ultimate plan is to assassinate Tywin when the time is right.

The point of view switches again to a fresh pair of eyes. It's one of the Silent Sisters, both the trustee of young Robyn/Jayce and the contact of Thomys. She always knew the truth about the identity of the latter, and not even the worst mutilation would make her not recognize the brother of her late husband. As Avilon looks at the claw-shaped birthmark on her arm, she is torn between her vows and the urge to get her family back together. She breaks her silence, abandons her faith and arranges a meeting, where the last Red Lions finally reunite.

Thomys sees an opportunity in finding an unexpected ally so close to Tywin. Robyn/Jayce agrees to help him get to the Lannister's chambers and quickly leaves to avoid suspicions from his lord.

As the night falls, Thomys sneaks through the window his uncle had left open. He finds Tywin alone, focused on his work, and prepares to land a killing blow. Suddenly, the perspective changes as Robyn/Jayce intervenes, making the attempt fail to kill Tywin, but leaving him unconscious. The Red Lions fight. Jayce manages to disarm his nephew but hesitates to end his life. Thomys uses the opportunity to escape.

Jayce is alone, brooding. The time he has spent with the Lion of Casterly Rock made him admire his once-hated master as a grand strategist and politician. He realised there is no future for the crest he was born with. The Red Lions lost the game of thrones long ago. He burns the claw-shaped birthmark on his arm, once and for all abandoning his house and becoming the Lannister at heart. After making sure Tywin is alright, he leaves the Red Keep.

Thomys is boiling with rage from an unexpected betrayal. He looks for his mother but without effect. As the anger turns to despair, he considers ending his life, which was driven by revenge for such a long time. The shadowy figure approaches him and introduces himself as a spymaster, arriving from Pentos at the wish of king Aerys.

In the epilogue, Jayce approaches his unsuspecting sister-in-law and pierces her with a dagger. Then is seen as a part of Tywin’s forces arriving at the Red Keep gates during Robert's Rebellion. Thomys, who abandoned his desire for revenge, is now driven by different motives provided by his new mentor, Varys. He climbs the Red Keep and peeks through a window to see the incest relationship between the young Lannister twins. The game of thrones is set in motion.