Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Clash of Kings Review

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin is the sequel to A Game of Thrones, which I reviewed here, and recently reread. I decided to reread the "A Song of Fire and Ice" series because of the upcoming HBO series of the first book. I wanted to reread it to regain familiarity with the story and characters, and because it's a great series.

As a sequel Clash of Kings does not disappoint, the characters and the action are as rich as in the first volume. All of the characters, well most of them, return to this book. The pace does not slow in comparison to the first book, if anything, the pace of events escalates. The characters are as rich, realistic, and varied as in the first volume. I enjoyed this book as much, if not more than the first. I strongly recommend this book, and the series.

From this point on I'll be going into more detail about Clash of Kings, this will include some spoilers for major plot points in the first book. If you haven't read the first book, and do not wish to know the fates of some of the characters and resolutions of some of the events, please stop here.


A Clash of Kings starts right where A Game of Thrones left off. With King Robert and Ned Stark dead, Joffery and Cersei, his mother, are ruling the kingdom. Joffery is a cruel, spoiled child. His Uncle Tyrion is sent to King's Landing to be the King's Hand and mitigate Joffery's impulsive cruelty.

Renly and Stannis, the recently deceased King's brothers, are both claiming their right to the throne. That brings the total number of Kings in Westeros up to three. Robb Stark is declared King of the North by his bannermen. Balon Greyjoy claims the crown of the Iron Isles and begins to plan attacks on the other kings. So at the height of the tension, Westeros has five kings.

The rest of the Stark children are facing their own issues. Sansa is now a hostage to Cersei and Joffery in King's Landing. She is being awoke from her childish, romantic dreams by Joffery's murder of her wolf, betrayal of his promise to let her father take the Black and his abusive treatment of her. Arya feels when Joffery's men take over the castle, heads out with the Night's Watch in an attempt to get home, but they are attacked by one of the many armies and she is captured. Luckily, everyone thinks she is an orphan boy. Bran and Rickon are left in Winterfell, Bran must fill his brother's shoes as the new lord, while Rickon is going wild with grief and loneliness. Jon has become a full Brother of the Night's Watch. The Watch is learning of the high level of activity north of the Wall. They have faced Wraiths and now venture over the Wall to see what is coming to attack the wall.

 Theon Greyjoy, a long time ward of the Starks, returns to his father's lands in the Iron Isles believing he will receive a warm reception. However, he is not trusted after being raised by the Starks and is determined to regain his place in the family. Once his father launches his ships of war, he plots to prove his loyalty by taking Winterfell.

Across the sea, young Daenerys has suffered great heart ache with the death of her husband and unborn child. She has become the Mother of Dragons by bringing dragons back to the world. She continues to seek a way home to Westeros and return to her proper place as rightful heir to the throne.

I can't wait to see how these stories continue to weave and diverge to and from each other. I look forward to seeing how current events unfold and what surprises Martin has in store for me.