A Clash of Kings

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A Clash of Kings
US hardcover (first edition)
AuthorGeorge R. R. Martin
Audio read byRoy Dotrice
Cover artistSteve Youll
CountryUnited States
SeriesA Song of Ice and Fire
Published1998 (Voyager Books/UK)
1999 (Bantam Spectra/US)
Pages761 [1]
AwardLocus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1999)
ISBN0-00-224585-X (UK Hardback)
ISBN 0-553-10803-4 (US Hardback)
LC ClassPS3563.A7239 C58 1999
Preceded byA Game of Thrones 
Followed byA 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 February 2, 1999[2] 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.

The novel has been adapted for television by HBO as the second season of the TV series Game of Thrones.

A Clash of Kings is also the name of the first expansion to the Game of Thrones board game.

Plot summary[edit]

A Clash of Kings depicts the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in civil war, while the Night's Watch mounts a reconnaissance to investigate the mysterious people known as wildlings. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen continues her plan to reconquer the Seven Kingdoms.

In the Seven Kingdoms[edit]

With King Robert Baratheon dead, his purported son Joffrey and his brothers Renly and Stannis all claim the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Two regions attempt to secede from the realm: Robb Stark is declared "King in the North" while Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands. The war among these contenders is dubbed the War of the Five Kings.

Stannis Baratheon, claiming the throne as Robert's eldest brother and therefore heir, is supported by Melisandre, a foreign priestess who believes Stannis to be the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, a messianic figure of her faith. Renly Baratheon has married Margaery Tyrell, the daughter of the wealthy Lord Mace Tyrell, who is supporting Renly's attempt to usurp the throne. Robb sends his mother Catelyn Stark to meet with Renly and Stannis to discuss an alliance against Joffrey's family, the Lannisters, but she is unable to reach an agreement with them. Melisandre uses magic to send a shadow to assassinate Renly; after witnessing Renly's death, Catelyn and Renly's bodyguard Brienne of Tarth flee the scene. Having lost Renly, some of his followers shift their support to Stannis.

Tyrion Lannister, Joffrey's uncle, arrives at King's Landing as acting Hand of the King, the senior adviser to Joffrey's reign. Whilst jockeying for power against Joffrey's mother, the Queen Regent Cersei, Tyrion improves the defenses of the city. Learning of Renly's death, and knowing that the Tyrells will not support Stannis, Tyrion sends the crown's treasurer Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish to negotiate a marriage alliance between Margaery and Joffrey. Riots break out in the city due to Joffrey's cruelty and food shortages caused by the ongoing war.

Robb wins several victories against the Lannisters while Robb's younger brother Bran rules the Northern stronghold of Winterfell in his absence. Robb sends his friend Theon Greyjoy, Balon Greyjoy's son, who grew up as a hostage in Winterfell, to negotiate an alliance between the North and the Iron Islands. Theon betrays Robb and attacks Winterfell, taking the castle and capturing Bran and his younger brother Rickon. When Bran and Rickon escape, Theon fakes their deaths. Believing this ruse, Stark supporters besiege the castle, including a force from the Starks' sometime ally House Bolton. However, the Bolton soldiers turn against the Stark and Greyjoy forces alike, burn Winterfell, slaughter its inhabitants, and take Theon prisoner.

Robb's sister Arya is taken north posing as a new recruit for the Night's Watch. The recruits are attacked by Lannister forces, and the survivors are taken to the gigantic castle of Harrenhal, which is controlled by Joffrey's grandfather Tywin Lannister, and put to work as servants. For saving his life during the attack, a mysterious man named Jaqen H'ghar promises to repay Arya by killing three men of her choice. Arya leverages this offer to help Northern forces retake control of Harrenhal. Jaqen gives Arya a mysterious iron coin and tells her to find him in the foreign city of Braavos if she should ever desire to learn his secrets. Arya soon escapes the castle.

Stannis' army launches assaults on King's Landing by both land and sea in a battle in Blackwater Bay. Under Tyrion's command, the Lannister forces use "wildfire" (similar to Greek fire) to ignite the bay, and raise a massive chain across its mouth to prevent Stannis' fleet from retreating. Tywin leads his army and the Tyrell forces to the defense of King's Landing, and Stannis's forces are defeated. During the battle, Tyrion is attacked and injured by a knight of Joffrey's Kingsguard; by the time Tyrion regains consciousness after the battle, Tywin has assumed the post of Hand of the King.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

A scouting party from the Night's Watch learns that the wildlings are uniting under "King-beyond-the-Wall" Mance Rayder. The Watch then continue to an ancient hill-top fortress known as the Fist of the First Men, where Jeor Mormont sends Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand with others to the Skirling Pass, where they are hunted by wildling warriors. Facing certain defeat, Halfhand commands Jon to infiltrate the wildlings and learn their plans. They are captured by wildlings who demand Jon fight Qhorin to join them. Jon kills Qhorin with the aid of his direwolf, Ghost, and learns that Mance Rayder is advancing on the Wall with thirty thousand wildlings, giants, and mammoths.

Across the Narrow Sea[edit]

Daenerys Targaryen travels east, accompanied by the knight Jorah Mormont, her remaining followers, and three newly hatched dragons. Scouts find a safe route to the city of Qarth, where her dragons make Daenerys notorious. Xaro Xhoan Daxos, the leader of the Thirteen, a prominent group of traders in Qarth, initially befriends the outsiders; but Daenerys cannot secure aid in claiming the Iron Throne, because she refuses to give away any of her dragons. As a last resort, Daenerys seeks counsel from the warlocks of Qarth, who show Daenerys many confusing visions and threaten her life, whereupon one of Daenerys' dragons, Drogon, burns down the warlocks' House of the Undying. An attempt to assassinate Daenerys is thwarted by a fat warrior named Strong Belwas and his squire Arstan Whitebeard: agents of Daenerys' ally Illyrio Mopatis, who have 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, and 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 Targaryen, the Unburnt and Mother of Dragons, of the Targaryen dynasty


Foreign language editions
  • Arabic: "اغنية الثلج والنار: صراع الملوك" ("A Song of Ice and Fire : Clash of kings")
  • 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 maleficent shadow", "The impregnable 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").
  • Georgian: Paperback, Arete (2014): "მეფეთა ჯახი" I/II ("Clash of Kings" I/II)
  • 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")
  • Indonesian: Fantasious: "Pertempuran Raja-raja" ("Battle of Kings")
  • 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")
  • Lithuanian: Alma Littera "Karalių kova" ("A Battle 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" ("Wrath 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"
  • Slovenian: "Spopad kraljev" ("Clash of Kings")
  • 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")
  • Vietnamese: Two volumes: "Trò Chơi Vương Quyền 2A: Hậu Duệ Của Sư Tử Vàng", "Trò Chơi Vương Quyền 2B: Bảy Phụ Quốc". ("Game of Thrones 2A: Descendants of the Golden Lion", "Game of Thrones 2B: Seven Kingdoms")

Television adaptation[edit]

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.[3] Filming began July 2011, and the first episode of season 2 of Game of Thrones aired on April 1, 2012.[4]


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."[5] 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."[6] 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."[7] 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."[8] 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."[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (1999)[3]
  • Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (1999)[3]
  • Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2004)


  1. ^ "Fiction review: A Clash of Kings". Publishers Weekly. February 1, 1999. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  2. ^ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/91973.A_Clash_of_Kings.
  3. ^ a b c "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Shindler, Dorman (February 21, 1999). "In Martin's 'Clash of Kings,' the delight is in the details". The Dallas Morning News.
  6. ^ Hopper, Jim (March 19, 1999). "They're wiping out intelligent races -- What? Me worry?". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  7. ^ Pilon, Danielle (March 28, 1999). "Second book in Martin series shines amid dull tomes". Winnipeg Free Press.
  8. ^ Sinor, Bradley H. (April 25, 1999). "All the king's horses ...". Tulsa World.
  9. ^ Perry, Steve (June 27, 1999). "Adventure drives medieval-style fantasy". The Oregonian.

External links[edit]