A Song of Ice & Fire – Book 2 of 7
A Clash of Kings – George R R Martin
Goodreads rating: 4.37 (208,000+ ratings)
My rating: 7/10
Why it’s on the list: I finished the first book last year, and want to continue the series and finish this book before I watch Season 2 of the TV show.
First published: November 16th, 1998 by Bantan Spectra
Following immediately on from A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings is revolved around a Civil War within Westeros, with multiple Kings in battle for ‘The Iron Throne’ – Joffrey Baratheon, current King of the Iron Throne; Stannis Baratheon, King in Dragonstone; Renly Baratheon, King in Highgarden; Robb Stark, the King in the North; and Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands. Unbeknownst to these men, there is a 6th person vying for power – Daenerys Targaryen, The Queen in the East who is the last Dragonborn, who has 3 dragons, and wishes to her team of warriors across The Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros.
Whilst all these houses are battling for power – whether it be in war, or with damaging words – the men of the Night’s Watch are protecting Westeros on the Wall from the terrible creatures who live North of it.
It sounds confusing – and there’s no doubt it can be – however, like the first book, it’s told in chapters from the perspectives of 9 different characters:
- Tyrion Lannister, the uncle of King Joffrey, and also the Hand of the King, a treacherous position to be in since previous Hands have been killed.
- Lady Catelyn Stark, King Robb’s mother
- Ser Davos Seaworth, loyal knight to King Stannis
- Sansa Stark, eldest daughter of Catelyn, sister of Robb, and is currently betrothed to King Joffrey
- Arya Stark, daughter of Catelyn and sister of Robb, escaped from the clutches of King Joffrey’s mother Cersei, and is presumed dead
- Bran Stark, son of Catelyn, brother of Robb, current Lord of Winterfell and crippled
- Theon Greyjoy, son of King Balon, and formerly in service to the Starks
- Jon Snow, King Robb’s bastard brother, part of the Night’s Watch
- Daenerys Targaryen, Queen in the East
Also like the last one, there is an extensive list of all the different Houses and characters at the back of the book, and how they’re all related, which is also confusing given the amount of incest in this book! It’s full of what you’d want in an epic fantasy novel – love, murder, betrayal, humour, violence, revenge, and sex.
The other great thing about this novel, was the new sides you get to see of the characters. In the first book I hated Tyrion Lannister, and thought he was vile, but I love him in this book, and as you’ll see below, he has some fantastic quotes. On the flip side, I had no issues with Theon Greyjoy in the first book, but now I hate him!
It’s a great story, and a good follow-up book to A Game of Thrones, however I don’t think enough happens in it, but it’s definitely worth reading. I’ve read some things that you don’t need to have read the first book to understand the second, but that’s 100% wrong. I believe if you don’t read the first book, you’ll be completely lost and you would’ve missed out on some really important facts.
“Those are brave men. Let’s go kill them” - Tyrion Lannister
“Did Ned Stark dress you like that? Was it his pleasure to garb you in velvets and silks and make you his own sweet daughter?” - Balon Greyjoy to his son Theon
“I won’t cry. I won’t do that. I’m a Stark of Winterfell, our sigil is the direwolf, direwolves don’t cry.” - Arya Stark
“She wore a gown of pale purple silk and a moonstone hairnet that had been a gift from Joffrey. The gown had long sleeves to hide the bruises on her arms. Those were Joffrey’s gifts as well” - Sansa Stark
“His lips look like two worms fucking” - Theon Greyjoy
“I’m sorry for your loss as well, Joffrey.
“Your royal father? A large fierce man with a black beard; you’ll recall him if you try. He was king before you.”
- Tyrion Lannister to Joffrey
“Did you think I was as blind as Father? Who you lie with is no matter to me… although it doesn’t seem quite just that you should open your legs for one brother and not the other. Be gentle, Cersei, I’m only jesting with you. If truth be told, I’d sooner have a nice whore. I never understood what Jaime saw in you, apart from his own reflection.” - Tyrion Lannister
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” - Tyrion Lannister
“Tears are not a woman’s only weapon. You’ve got another one between your legs and you’d best learn to use it. You’ll find men use their swords freely enough. Both kinds of swords.” - Cersei Lannister
“He speaks more gently than Joffrey, she thought, but the queen spoke to me gently too. He’s still a Lannister, her brother and Joff’s uncle, and no friend. Once she had loved Prince Joffrey with all her heart, and admired and trusted his mother, the queen. They had repaid her love and trust with her father’s head. Sansa would never make that mistake again.” - Sansa Stark
“Tell me, at what moment during all of this do you stop to BLOW YOUR FUCKING HORN?” - Theon Greyjoy
“Jaime reached for the flagon to refill his cup. “So many vows… They make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or the other.” - Jaime Lannister