As some of you may or may not know, after A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin planned on a five-year gap between where the story left off and where it would be picked up again. However after a year or so of writing he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work and scrapped what he had written and started over again. Yet this to had complications as well resulting in Martin dividing his next installment into two books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, with the former set south of the Neck exclusively and the latter set in the North and in Essos. As it took 5 years for AFFC to be written and 5 years for ADWD to be written this meant that the storylines of Dany, Jon, and Tyrion were on hold for a decade.
After the publication of A Dance with Dragons, readers realized two things. First, many events in one book were hinted at in the other or the effects were felt showing the shared time frame the two books shared up to a certain point. And second, that AFFC and ADWD shared the same time only through 2/3 of ADWD and the last third saw POVs from AFFC appearing along with those that had been only in ADWD up to that point.
Soon after this, long time fans started re-reading the series and once they had finished A Storm of Swords many debates started to spring up about how to deal with existence of both AFFC and ADWD especially knowing that both books overlap in chronology a lot. Some were of the opinion to read each separately as published, but others started contemplating and creating a reading order combining both books.
Among the latter group was Sean T. Collins, of the All Leather Must Be Boiled Podcast, who has created the most well-known (among fandom) merged reading order as well as a new reader variant. It is Sean’s reading order that I’ll be going by during my simultaneous re-reading of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons over the next few weeks.
While waiting for my next review, check out my reviews and chapter-by-chapter ratings for previous A Song of Ice and Fire books: