A Clash of Kings
|A Clash of Kings|
US hardcover edition
|Author||George R. R. Martin|
|Cover artist||Steve Youll|
|Series||A Song of Ice and Fire|
|Published||1998 (Voyager Books/UK)
1999 (Bantam Spectra/US)
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||708 (UK Hardback), 768 (US Hardback), 915 (UK Paperback), 1009 (US Paperback),|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-00-224585-X (UK Hardback), ISBN 0-553-10803-4 (US Hardback), ISBN 0-553-57990-8 (US Paperback)|
|Preceded by||A Game of Thrones|
|Followed by||A Storm of Swords|
A Clash of Kings is the second novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin expected to consist of seven volumes. It was first published on 16 November 1998 in the United Kingdom, although the first United States edition did not follow until March 1999. Like its predecessor, A Game of Thrones, it won the Locus Award (in 1999) for Best Novel and was nominated for the Nebula Award (also in 1999) for best novel. In May 2005 Meisha Merlin released a limited edition of the novel, fully illustrated by John Howe.
A Clash of Kings is also the name of the first expansion to the Game of Thrones board game.
A Clash of Kings picks up where A Game of Thrones ended. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are plagued by civil war, while the Night's Watch mounts a reconnaissance force north of the Wall to investigate the mysterious people, known as wildlings, who live there. Meanwhile, in the distant east, Daenerys Targaryen continues her quest to return to and conquer the Seven Kingdoms. All signs are foreshadowing the terrible disaster that is to come.
In the Seven Kingdoms
The civil war to claim the Iron Throne becomes more complex. Four kings declare their claims in A Game of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister), Renly Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon. Robb Stark is declared King in the North while Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands, launching a massive assault along the western coast of the North, and becoming the fifth of the war's kings. At the Stark stronghold of Winterfell, Robb's younger brother Bran Stark is in command. He finds two new friends when Jojen and Meera Reed arrive from Greywater Watch and take an interest in his strange wolf dreams.
Stannis Baratheon declares himself King of Westeros, encouraged by Melisandre of Asshai, a red priestess of R'hllor (also called the Lord of Light), a god popular in the East, but relatively unheard of in Westeros, who believes Stannis to be the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, a messianic figure of her faith. The war is dubbed the War of the Five Kings. Stannis's younger brother, Renly, has also laid claim to the throne. As the elder brother, Stannis has the better claim; however Renly will not back down, since he has the larger army and believes he would make a better king than his brother. Catelyn Stark joins a meeting between Renly and Stannis to discuss a possible Stark–Baratheon alliance against their mutual foe, the Lannisters. The meeting fails, and a mysterious shadow, a creation of Melisandre and Stannis, kills Renly in his tent while a member of his Kingsguard-- the warrior-maid Brienne of Tarth-- and Catelyn are present. The two women are implicated in Renly's murder and thus they flee. As a result of the murder, most of Renly's supporters shift their loyalty to Stannis, although the Tyrells do not. Renly's stronghold at Storm's End also falls when Melisandre uses her sorcery to give birth to another shadow to kill Cortnay Penrose, the castle's defiant castellan.
Tyrion Lannister arrives at King's Landing on his father's orders to serve as acting Hand of the King, the closest adviser to the monarch (his young nephew Joffrey). Whilst intriguing against his sister Cersei, widow of the late King Robert Baratheon and mother of Joffrey, Tyrion works to improve the defenses of the city against possible attack and enters negotiations with the lords of the other noble houses to strengthen his nephew's hold on the throne. He sends the devious Littlefinger to negotiate with the Tyrells, gaining that house's support when Lord Mace Tyrell agrees to wed his daughter Margaery to Joffrey, despite Margaery's earlier unconsummated marriage to the deceased Renly and despite Joffrey's earlier pledge to wed Sansa Stark. Tyrion also forges an alliance with House Martell when he arranges for Joffrey's sister Princess Myrcella to wed Trystane Martell.
In an attempt to use Winterfell as a base from which to conquer the North and to impress his father Balon, Theon Greyjoy, a former ward of the Starks and close friend of Robb, captures Winterfell with just thirty men, taking the young Stark children Bran and Rickon captive. Bran and Rickon disappear in the night and Theon is unable to trace them. Rather than look foolish, Theon murders two anonymous peasant boys similar in size to Bran and Rickon and mutilates their faces to pass them off as the brothers. Believing that their princes have been murdered, Stark supporters besiege the castle joined by a force from House Bolton. Yet Theon had previously conspired with Bolton's bastard, Ramsay Snow, and the Bolton soldiers turn on the besiegers as planned. Theon opens the gates to the victorious Boltons, but they betray him as well and raze Winterfell. Bran and Rickon emerge from hiding after the sack of the castle. To protect the heirs to Winterfell, a dying Maester Luwin convinces the boys to take separate courses: Osha, a captured wildling turned castle servant, agrees to take Rickon to safety, while Bran, accompanied by Meera, Jojen, and his simple manservant Hodor, travels north.
Robb Stark leads his army westward and wins several victories against the Lannisters in their home territory. Tywin Lannister advances against him, but receiving news that King's Landing is threatened, withdraws south.
Arya Stark, posing as a boy named Arry to protect her identity as a daughter of Eddard Stark the executed traitor, travels north along with new recruits for the Night's Watch. The group is captured and taken to Lannister-held Harrenhal where Arya poses as a serving girl. A mysterious man, Jaqen H'ghar, offers to repay Arya for saving the lives of him and his two companions by killing three men of her choice. Arya selects two evil Lannister bannermen as her first two before realizing she had wasted her opportunity on unimportant targets. Cunningly, Arya threatens to name Jaqen himself as the third man unless he helps release the Stark supporters, who quickly overtake the castle. His debt repaid, Jaqen gives Arya a bronze coin and a strange phrase, "Valar Morghulis," to be used if she ever encounters a man of Braavos and requires aid. Lord Roose Bolton soon arrives to occupy Harrenhal. Arya becomes his cup bearer, but soon escapes.
Stannis Baratheon's army reaches King's Landing and launches assaults by both land and sea. Under Tyrion's command, Joffrey's forces throw back Stannis's forces through cunning use of "wildfire" (a substance similar to Greek Fire) to ignite the bay—at the same time raising a massive chain across its mouth to prevent Stannis's fleet from retreating. His naval forces destroyed, Stannis's attack ultimately fails when Tywin Lannister leads his army (and the remaining forces of Highgarden under Mace Tyrell) to the aid of King's Landing. Stannis's fate is left uncertain, with some saying he retreated while others claim he was killed. During the defense of the castle, Tyrion is treacherously attacked by one of Joffrey's kingsguard. His squire, Podrick Payne, saves his life but he is left seriously scarred.
On the Wall
A scouting party from the Night's Watch advances northwards from the Wall. At Craster's Keep they learn that the normally anarchic wildlings are uniting under a single figure, King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. The Watch continues north to an ancient hill-top fortress known as the Fist of the First Men. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont sends Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand with others on an advanced reconnaissance of the Skirling Pass.
In the pass, Snow and Halfhand find themselves being hunted by wildling warriors. Facing certain defeat, Halfhand commands Snow to act as a turncoat to infiltrate the wildlings and learn their plans. They are captured by wildlings who demand Jon fight Qhorin if he wants to join them. Jon kills Qhorin with the aid of his direwolf, Ghost, and learns from the wildlings that Mance Rayder is already advancing on the Wall with thirty-thousand wildlings, giants, and mammoths.
In the East
Daenerys Targaryen strikes east across the forbidding red waste, accompanied by the knight Jorah Mormont, her remaining few loyal followers, and three newborn dragons. Scouts find a safe route to the great trading city of Qarth. Daenerys is the wonder of the city for her dragons. One merchant in particular seems especially interested in her, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who is the leader of the Thirteen, a prominent group of traders in Qarth. He initially acts as a great host, but ultimately Daenerys cannot secure commitment from the merchants for aid in claiming the throne of Westeros because she refuses to give away one of her dragons. As a last resort, Daenerys seeks counsel from the warlocks of Qarth, but in the House of the Undying, the warlocks show Daenerys many confusing visions and threaten her life. Daenerys's dragon Drogon burns down the House of the Undying, sparking the enmity of the Qartheen. An attempt to assassinate Daenerys at the city's harbor is thwarted by the arrival of two strangers, a fat warrior named Strong Belwas and his squire, an aged warrior named Arstan Whitebeard. They are agents of Daenerys's ally Illyrio Mopatis, come to escort her back to Pentos.
The tale is told through the eyes of 9 recurring POV characters plus one prologue POV character:
- Prologue: Maester Cressen, maester at Dragonstone.
- Tyrion Lannister, youngest son of Lord Tywin Lannister, a dwarf and a brother to Queen Cersei, the acting Hand of the King
- Lady Catelyn Stark, of House Tully, widow of Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell
- Ser Davos Seaworth, a smuggler turned knight in the service of King Stannis Baratheon, often called the Onion Knight
- Sansa Stark, eldest daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark, held captive by Queen Cersei at King's Landing
- Arya Stark, youngest daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark, missing and presumed dead
- Bran Stark, second son of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark and heir to Winterfell and the King in the North
- Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark, and a man of the Night's Watch
- Theon Greyjoy, heir to the Seastone Chair and former ward of Lord Eddard Stark
- Queen Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt and Mother of Dragons, of the Targaryen Dynasty
Foreign Language Editions
- Bulgarian: Бард :"Сблъсък на Крале"
- Catalan: Alfaguara :"Xoc de reis" ("Clash of kings")
- Croatian: Algoritam: "Sraz kraljeva"
- Chinese: "列王的纷争", 重庆出版社(2006) ("Conflict of Kings").
- Czech: Talpress: "Střet králů" ("Clash of Kings")
- Danish: Gyldendal :"Kongernes Kamp" ("The Battle of Kings")
- Dutch: One volume, Luithing Fantasy (1999): hardcover : De Strijd der Koningen ("The Clash of Kings")
- Estonian: Two volumes, hardcover : Varrak (2008, 2009), "Kuningate heitlus I & II" ("A Clash of Kings")
- Finnish: Kirjava: "Kuninkaiden koitos"
- French: Three volumes (Hardcover: Pygmalion (2000); paperback: J'ai Lu (2002)): "La bataille des rois", "L'ombre maléfique", "L'invincible forteresse" ("The Battle of Kings", "The Evil Shadow", "The Invincible Fortress").
- German: Single volume, Fantasy Productions (2004): "Königsfehde" ("King's Feud"). Two volumes, Blanvalet (2000): "Der Thron der Sieben Königreiche", "Die Saat des goldenen Löwen" ("The Throne of the Seven Kingdoms", "The Seed of the Golden Lion").
- Greek: Anubis: "Σύγκρουση Βασιλέων" ("Clash of Kings")
- Hebrew: "I/II עימות המלכים" ("Clash of Kings")
- Hungarian: Alexandra Könyvkiadó : "Királyok csatája" ("Battle of Kings")
- Icelandic: UGL: "Konungar kljást" ("Kings Clash")
- Italian: Two volumes, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore (2001, 2002): "Il regno dei lupi", "La regina dei draghi" ("The Kingdom of Wolves", "The Queen of Dragons").
- Japanese: Two volumes, hardcover : Hayakawa (2004), paperback : Hayakawa (2007): "王狼たちの戦旗" ("Banner of the Wolf Kings")
- Korean: Eun Haeng Namu Publishing Co. :"왕들의 전쟁" ("War of Kings")
- Latvian: Whitebook: "Karaļu cīņa" ("War of Kings")
- Norwegian: Two volumes (2012) 'Bok II Del I: Kongenes kamp' (Book II Part I: The Battle of Kings) and 'Bok II Del II: Dragenes dronning' (Book II Part II: The Queen of Dragons)
- Polish: Zysk i s-ka: "Starcie królów"
- Brazilian Portuguese: Leya: "A Fúria dos Reis" ("The Fury of the Kings")
- European Portuguese: Two Volumes, Saída de Emergência : "A Fúria dos Reis", "O Despertar da Magia"
- Romanian: Nemira: "Încleștarea regilor"
- Russian: Single volume, AST (2004, 2005, 2006): "Битва королей" ("The Battle of Kings"). Two volumes, AST (2000): "Битва королей. Книга 1", "Битва королей. Книга 2" ("The Battle of Kings: Book 1", "The Battle of Kings: Book 2).
- Serbian: Лагуна : "Судар краљева"
- Slovene: Mladinska Knjiga :"Spopad kraljev"
- Spanish: Gigamesh (2003): "Choque de reyes" ("Clash of Kings").
- Swedish: Forum bokförlag :"Kungarnas krig" ("War of the Kings")
- Turkish: Two volumes, Epsilon Yayınevi: "Buz ve Ateşin Şarkısı II: Kralların Çarpışması - Kısım I & Kralların Çarpışması - Kısım II" ("A Clash of Kings")
- Ukrainian: One volume, KM Publishing (2014): "Битва Королів" ("A Clash of Kings")
A Clash of Kings has been adapted for television by HBO as the second season of its successful adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire. Filming began July 2011, and the first episode of season 2 of Game of Thrones aired on April 1, 2012.
As with its predecessor, A Clash of Kings was positively received by critics. Dorman Shindler of The Dallas Morning News described it as "one of the best [works] in this particular subgenre", praising "the richness of this invented world and its cultures ... [that] lends Mr. Martin's novels the feeling of medieval history rather than fiction." Writing in The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jim Hopper called A Clash of Kings "High Fantasy with a vengeance" and commented: "I'll admit to staying up too late one night last week to finish off this big book, and I hope it's not too terribly long until the next one comes out." Danielle Pilon wrote in the Winnipeg Free Press that the book "shows no signs of the usual 'middle book' aimlessness". Although she found the constantly switching viewpoints "momentarily confusing", she felt that it "draws the reader deep into the labyrinthine political and military intrigues and evokes sympathy for characters on all sides of the conflict." Bradley H. Sinor of the Tulsa World praised Martin for "keep[ing] readers balanced on a sword's edge" and managing to do "three important things" with A Clash of Kings: "It grips the reader whether or not they read the earlier book, tells a satisfying story and leaves the reader wanting the next book as soon as possible." The Oregonian's Steve Perry called the book "easily as good as the first novel" and commented that the Song of Ice and Fire books were "so complex, fascinating and well-rendered that readers will almost certainly be hooked into the whole series." However, he cautioned that "if it were a movie, it would be rated "R" for sex and violence, so don't pick the book up for your 10-year-old nephew who likes Conan."
Awards and nominations
- Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (1999)
- Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (1999)
- Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2004)
- "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Crider, Michael. "'Game Of Thrones' Season 2 Starts Filming In July; Producers Talk Cast & Story". Archived from the original on 21 June 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- Shindler, Dorman (February 21, 1999). "In Martin's 'Clash of Kings,' the delight is in the details". The Dallas Morning News.
- Hopper, Jim (March 19, 1999). "They're wiping out intelligent races -- What? Me worry?". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Pilon, Danielle (March 28, 1999). "Second book in Martin series shines amid dull tomes". Winnipeg Free Press.
- Sinor, Bradley H. (April 25, 1999). "All the king's horses ...". Tulsa World.
- Perry, Steve (June 27, 1999). "Adventure drives medieval-style fantasy". The Oregonian.