[Review] A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
(A Song of Ice and Fire #2)
I’m going to cross the line from YA Fantasy fiction into Adult fiction so that I can review the spectacular books by George R.R. Martin, the American writer who is being pegged as the next J.R.R. Tolkien. I know a lot of young adults have been reading these books because it has been made ‘cool’ by the tv show. A Clash of Kings is the second in Martin’s as yet finished saga of the fight for power in the seven kingdoms of Westeros. Like many fans of the HBO TV series I’ve been devouring all of the trailers and spots. I have yet to join any GoT forums or read GoT fanfiction but I have been reading through the books like an addict on crack. I can read faster than most, but a fast reading pace is not a quality that you need to get through Game of Thrones. Dedication is the key, and patience – a lot of patience. George R. R. Martin knows how to drag a story out to the point when you feel like the events are happening in real time. But soon enough you feel like a member of the Stark family and you just have to find out when that evil little Draco Malfoy-like character Joffrey Baratheon is going to be dethroned.
The second season of Clash of Kings is still being aired by HBO so I don’t want to spoil anybody. This review will be spoiler free. (Even thought this book was published a LONG time ago… but I’ll be nice.) It will contain spoilers from Game of Thrones, however, so be warned!
At the end of the first book King Robert Baratheon has died leaving his son Joffrey to inherit his place as King. But as we have uncovered through Eddard Stark, Joffrey and his siblings Tommen and Myrcella are not the trueborn children of Robert but actually the result of an incestuous union between Queen Cersei and her twin brother Jaimie Lannister. War has commenced as a result of this knowledge being made public and so the Baratheon brothers are competing to be King while Robb fights to claim the north as his own.
This is absolutely the most important point that you should remember when you read this book. Game of Thrones was more political than magical and it was easy to forget that we were reading a fantasy book not merely a medieval political/war series. Daeneyrs and her dragons will be returning as you might have expected. But they won’t be the only magical elements in this next part of the story.
In the North we were introduced to the Old Gods that the First Men and the Starks believe and pray to in times of trouble.
In the South they believe in the power of the 7: the Mother, the Father, the Warrior, the Crone, the Smith, the Maid and the Stranger.
In A Clash of Kings we are introduced to a third religion: The Lord of Light. One God whose power is often found through fire.
Five men will claim to be a King. We know of four by the end of Game of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon (King of the seven kingdoms), Renly Baratheon (Youngest brother to the late Robert Baratheon, claiming to be King), Stannis Baratheon (Elder brother to Renly, also claiming his right to be King on the Iron Throne) and Robb Stark (King of the North). There is also Theon’s father, Lord Greyjoy but I don’t really count him in Clash of Kings. Look out for him in the later books.
Tyrion, son of Tyron, the star of the book!
If you have read the first book, or even watched the first series of the tv show you will be in love with Tyrion Lannister. I simply adored his big role in A Clash of Kings. He shows himself to be the cleverest, wittiest and most intricate character in the series so far. I love his transformation from a sidelined disappointment of a son to one of the key players in the battle for the iron throne. His chapters definitely kept me reading.
You will find the book a little sluggish at times. Martin tends to drag things along in delicious, but slow, detail. By the end of the book however, you’ll be hopping onto the next one faster than you would have expected.