A Clash of Kings

By: George R. R. Martin

Review By: Alex Frank

          WARNING!! Do not read this review if you have yet to read Game of Thrones. There is a major spoiler at the beginning of the review and I would really hate for the ending of the first book to be ruined for you. I know I get angry when people tell me things about the series when I have yet to discover them myself, so I am lending a friendly warning. If you skipped over this warning or just chose to read ahead anyway and you become enraged by the contents, please be kind enough to be mad with yourself instead of me. I warned you.

*Read ahead at your own risk


Five men declare themselves King of Westeros. Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, Robb Stark, and one other who will not be named for the sake of suspense.

Robb Stark, under the title “King of the North,” makes his way to fight the army of Lord Tywin Lannister (Hand of the King). Stannis and Renly both declare themselves the late King Robert Baratheon’s true heir despite Joffrey’s claim to the throne. Rumors spread that Joffrey is born of incest, and King’s Landing may no longer be the safest to live.

How do our characters fair?

Ned-dead

Catalyn-Mourning

Bran-Crippled

Sansa-captive

Arya-missing

Jon-tracking

Tyrion-plotting

Danaerys-leading

Two new character perspectives are also introduced.

Theon Greyjoy-ward of House Stark and friend of Robb Stark.

Davos- loyal knight of Lord Stannis (mocked as “The Onion King”)

(Dany also has three dragons just in case you missed that part)

Unfortunately, for the sake of making sure I give no details away, I cannot tell you anymore.


While usually the first book is the one that takes a while to pick up, I must say that Clash of Kings does take a little time to move into the action-packed parts of the story. If you are in need of an extensive amount of battle scenes, sorry but you will just have to wait. Battles are seen here and there with some detail, but the heavy fighting picks up later in the book.

These notes about plot are not to say that George R. R. Martin writes any less eloquently. I still consider his quality of writing to be very high, but there is a flaw in style that I didn’t notice (or rather it didn’t bother me) as much as I(it) should have in the first book. Martin uses a plethora of adjectives.

Throughout the book are paragraphs of descriptive sentences of feasts and architecture that really lend nothing to the reader. A paragraph about snow blowing or all the food every character is eating becomes so dense that a reader’s brain can’t possibly remember it all. I’m not saying to skim these parts, just that your brain may accidentally do it on its own.

I still think Martin writes every sentence with a purpose, but sometimes he could tone it down a bit.

The pace of the characters (other than the fighting) is otherwise pretty fast and suspenseful.

I do not enjoy Theon. I will state that outright however, I don’t think we are supposed to like him. I do not tend to enjoy characters placed in a story for the purpose of hating them and what they stand for. If you like Theon, I am sorry. If Martin’s purpose is to have us actually like Theon, then 1. I don’t see how that is possible because 2. that ploy failed miserably.

Ned’s death also made me realize that Martin can be an evil monkey with a typewriter if he wishes to be, and I now wait for all my favorite characters to die. This is why I said in the last review to guard your heart. I suppose I’m still a bit bitter.

Nonetheless, I still become excited at the prospect of finding out what will happen next in each new chapter.

All in all, I believe George R.R. Martin did a bang up job with this second novel. There were plot twists riddled throughout the story that I quite enjoyed because I was not expecting them. That being said, I did not say they were happy plot twists…at least not in the beginning.


Overall rating: 4

9 thoughts on “A Clash of Kings

  1. The presence of so many rival factions certainly leaves lots of room for politicking, and leaves audiences with plenty of uncertainty. With so many players, the tide of war can easily turn for either side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is your favorite house, and who is your favorite character? I usually like to ask that because at least for me, those two things are not one in the same. My favorite character doesn’t belong to my favorite house.

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      • In regards to their ideals, I would probably favor either Stark or…their name escapes me, but the house that Bran traveled with for a time, who taught him about his gifts. Among characters, I admire Arya, and Tyrion, and Lord Varys. How about you?

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      • My favorite character of the series is Brienne of Tarth. She is my ultimate, independent, strong woman. As far as my favorite house goes, I would have to say the Targaryens given their most recent edition *wink wink*

        Liked by 1 person

      • I follow. And I do think the Targaryens have some strong members, though at the moment it’s hard to get a sense of their ideology and identity as a house.
        I definitely like Brienne’s style, and her journey, though there are times where I feel that she borders on excessively “rigid”. She’s not hot tempered, she has mastery of herself, but there are times where she remains closed to the possibility that she might be wrong, though I think over time a certain someone does manage to open her eyes to some of that recurring ambiguity ;-).

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      • I love that one speech, or conversation, where Jaime talks about oaths, and cites how as a knight he swore to obey the king, but also swore to protect the weak, and asks “what if the king orders you to kill the weak and innocent?” I thought that was a great moment where he brought (whoever he was talking with, can’t honestly recall) up short.

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