Chapter 40 (Danaerys III): Dany has been way underused in this book compared to the last one. She's starting to realize that she isn't going to find the help to conquer Westeros won't be had in Qarth. The Pureblood have refused her, and only saw her as a novelty due to her dragons. She also gets to watch a firemage, who performs many interesting tricks while the unsuspecting and enraptured audience gets their pockets picked. Sneaky, sneaky! An interesting tidbit is how the mages had little or no ability until Dany and her dragons came along. Quaithe, who helped bring her to Qarth in the first place, tells her cryptically in a weird riddle that she has to go to Asshai. Which is where Melisandre comes from; I wonder if Dany will run into the R'hollor faith. She decides she must stay in Qarth for the time being, however, and that she has to arrange a visit with the warlocks of the city.
Chapter 41 (Tyrion IX): This is a long chapter. Myrcella is shipped off to Dorne for her fostering and betrothal. She has a tearful, sad goodbye with Tommen. Tyrion finds out that Cersei is trying to put together her own force of sellswords to match Tyrion's, except Tyrion is smarter than she is again. He's made an end run around her and bribed the heads of her force to not really get much done while keeping him in the loop. Then the riot happens. The royal party heads back from the docks to the castle, through streets packed with starving people. Starving people ready to blame the folk in charge. Sansa is nearly lost, but the Hound saves her and brings her back. A fire breaks out, and the Hound is revealed to be scared of fire. No doubt resulting from his experience with it during childhood that we learned about in the last book. Two Kingsguard are killed violently by the crowd, along with the High Septon (who was stupidly fat in a city full of starving people... not a good idea to go out in public under those conditions). It turns out that the city's people hate Tryion for all that's going badly, even though he has been doing a lot of good and Joff is a monster. Later, Tyrion, Bronn and Varys discuss the possibility of assassinating Joff and replacing him with Tommen, who would be much easier to manipulate. Tyrion refuses to consider it. No telling what Varys thinks of it, he always plays his cards close. Foreshadowing of future events, maybe? Problem is, Tommen would also be easily manipulated by anyone else... including Cersei or Littlefinger.
Chapter 42 (Davos II): I'd been wondering how much longer before we got back to Davos. More than halfway into the book, and this is just his second chapter. Stannis hasn't been sleeping well since Renly died, and he seems to have no idea of what killed his brother, and that he was soundly asleep when it happened. I wonder if whatever magic was used awakened some part of his subconscious, and Melisandre used his sleeping mind to do the killing. Ser Cortnay, who is refusing to suurender Storm's End despite Renly's death, frustrates Stannis. He challenges Stannis to single combat to decide the issue, which Stannis thinks is ridiculous. Davos advises Stannis to leave Storm's End for later and head for King's Landing now, but Stannis also rejects this. He says Cortnay will be dead by the next day because Melisandre foresaw it, and she had also foreseen Renly's death. She also saw what he thinks is what happens if Renly had lived, that Renly would have defeated Stannis outside of King's Landing. Davos brings Melisandre under the castle by boat in the night, and she turns out to be pregnant. Despite not having shown any sign of being pregnant all this time, mind you. She unexpectedly gives birth to a shadow that looks a lot like Stannis. I bet Stannis was asleep for this one, too.