If you are wondering why you should buy A Clash of Kings, second installment of the saga A Song of Ice and Fire, here are a few reasons. If you have read the first book, A Game of Thrones, most likely you are already sucked into the world of Westeros, and you are craving to see what happens next.
If you have watched the series Game of Thrones, first and second season, this book covers the events that take place in the second book, so you can get a deeper insight into some things that might have been a bit underdeveloped in the series. You will even get to know some characters which were omitted in the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, but which will appear in the third season, judging from some previews that are out.
A Clash of Kings – War of the Five Kings
A Clash of Kings picks up the storyline from the previous book, A Game of Thrones. The story is told through the perspectives of nine characters: Tyrion Lannister, Catelyn Stark, Davos Seaworth, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, and Daenerys Targaryen. Also, the prologue is told from the perspective of Maester Cressen, maester at Dragonstone, who dies in the attempt of killing Melisandre.
Tyrion Lannister comes to the King’s Landing to be the Hand of the King, much to Cersei’s disapproval, until his father, Tywin Lannister, takes the role. Tyrion slowly, but surely, removes all the men in power who actually serve Cersei Lannister, the Queen regent. When the learn that Stannis Baratheon will attack King’s Landing, Tyrion arranges the defense of the city quite cleverly.
Arya travels north with Yoren, recruiter for the Night’s Watch. He saved her from king’s men after Ned Stark has been executed. In their company is Gendry, late King Robert’s son, but nobody knows about his father, not even Gendry himself. During the trip, Yoren is killed by Lannister men, so Arya, Gendry, and other children are taken to Harrenhal. There she manages to get Yaquen H’gar to kill three men for her. After he is done, he gives her an iron coin which can take her to Braavos, if she ever wants to go there.
Stannis Baratheon claims himself a king saying that the fruit of incest between Jaime and Cersei Lannister cannot be a true king. He accepts the religion of R’hllor, since he doesn’t believe in gods anyway, and at least Melisandre has repeatedly shown her powers. He burns the Seven, representing the ruling religion in Westeros. Baratheon’s most loyal servant, Davos Seaworth, tries to persuade him not to do it, but Stannis doesn’t listen.
Melisandre soon shows her powers by creating a shadow that kills self-proclaimed King Renly Baratheon, Stannis’s younger brother. Before that, Renly had bigger army than Stannis thanks to the marriage with Maergery Tyrell, but after his death, most of the army comes to Stannis’s side.
Robb Stark leads an army to avenge Ned Stark’s, his father, execution. On his way, he needs to cross the rivers through the bridge that the House Frey holds. He promises to wed one of the Frey girls after the war is done so they get a pass. Robb Stark wins every battle and even manages to capture Jaime Lannister. However, Catelyn Stark releases Jaime after making him promise to return her daughters, Sansa and Arya Stark, when he comes to King’s Landing.
Theon Greyjoy is sent by Robb Stark to make truce with his father, Balon Greyjoy. Balon despises his son for becoming meek northerner, instead of being an ironman who takes what is his. To win his father approval, and make his own ambitions, Theon wins Winterfell. Bran Stark, as the Lord of Winterfell, defies his attempts, and manages to run away with his little brother Rickon Stark, the servant Osha, the giant man Hodor, and Meera and Jojen Reed.
Theon shows the citizens of Winterfell two burnt boy bodies, claiming them to be Bran and Rickon. Bran and Rickon Stark come back to Winterfell to find it burnt, so they split – Bran Stark, Hodor, Jojen and Meera Reed go looking for someone to help Bran understand the dreams about the three-eyed crow, while Osha takes Rickon the other way.
Daenerys Targaryen follows the red comet that appeared in the sky the night her three little dragons were born, and she reaches the city of Qarth far east. There, she becomes a guest of Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Xaro seems like a perfect host, but as the story unfolds, we see that he only wants Daenerys’s dragons. A paid man tries to kill Daenerys in the harbor, but an old man called Arstan saves her and takes her to Pentos, as Ilyrio Mopatis ordered.
Sansa is constantly tortured by Joffrey, but she finds solace in making plans of escape with a former knight whom she saved from Joffrey’s madness by making him a fool. After the Battle of the Blackwater, where Stannis Baratheon army has been defeated, Maergery Tyrell comes to marry Joffrey, so Sansa is free from the engagements.
Jon Snow travels with Lord Commander Mormont and brother of the Night’s Watch behind the Wall, so they can explore strange behavior of the wildlings, and possibly find missing rangers, including Jon’s uncle Benjen Stark. While Jon Snow is ranging with Qhorin Halfhand, they are captured by wildlings. Following Qhorin’s instructions, Jon kills him and joins the wildlings, so he could learn their plans and in that way help the Night’s Watch to defend the Wall.
As you can see, A Clash of Kings is full of interesting events, and is definitely worth a read. It can help you learn more about the world of Westeros, but also to kill time until the second season of Game of Thrones comes out.