AH's Reviews > A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
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Jul 11, 11

bookshelves: chubby-chunkster, dragons, dwarfs, fantasy, middle-ages, own, zzread-june-2011
Read from May 21 to June 29, 2011 — I own a copy

EPIC!

A Clash of Kings started off slowly for me. The prologue was extremely long and included more new characters (to add to the cast of hundreds). The events of the previous book have led Stannis Baratheon to plot his quest for the crown.

In the sky, a red comet heralds things to come. Each side uses the sighting of the comet to predict their ascent to the throne. You can be assured that there are way too many kings and that situation can’t last long. There will be blood. There will be war. There will be destruction. It truly amazed me to see the repercussions of a very bad decision made by a vengeful child-king.

Meanwhile, the locals are getting restless. Food and resources are growing scarce. The legitimacy of the Baratheon line is in question. Rumors abound about Joffrey’s status as heir to the throne. It seems that the residents of King’s Landing don’t really like the Lannisters.

The intrigue and positioning for power continue. Leave it to George RR Martin to make this almost an Olympic sport. Those who possess information and know how to use it become more and more powerful. You can never be sure which character will change allegiances and why.

To top it off, winter is coming. Winter in this world lasts for upwards of 10 years. There is something out there beyond the wall, but the wars distract. The battle scenes are incredible - bloody, gory, and full of destruction. No one seems to win.

Tyrion remains my favorite character. He gets all of the best lines:

”Truly, sister, you were born to be a widow.”

AND – he gets to bitchslap Joffrey for being an idiot. Tyrion gets it. He understands what it takes to rule effectively, a lesson Joffrey has yet to learn. Tyrion would have made an excellent king. I also enjoyed when he managed to outwit his sister Cersei. Classic!

I never thought I would say this, but I am finally feeling sympathetic towards Sansa. Poor girl! Used as a pawn throughout the first book, she finally gets what she wants. When someone close to her advises her of the implications of her new situation, I felt her despair.

Arya continues to astound me. She is one very resourceful 10 year old. Everything goes wrong for her and she perseveres. At times, I didn’t like her, but you have to give her credit for continuing. I loved her evening prayer when she listed all the people she wanted to kill. Go, Arya.

I enjoyed Bran’s chapters the most, especially when he was dreaming of his wolf. Can’t wait to see what happens next with him.

I’m going to have to set aside some time to get through the next book which has only 1,177 pages. Can’t wait to get into that one.


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Reading Progress

05/21/2011 page 30
4.0% "That was a super long prologue. It was kind of a "...meanwhile, back at Dragonstone, the rightful heir Stannis and his minions are a-plotting."" 5 comments
05/22/2011 page 31
3.0% "Interesting. The Baratheon men seem to have married very similar wives. Stannis' wife Lady Selyse is just as cunning and conniving and power hungry as Robert's wife Cersei."
05/24/2011 page 107
11.0% "So far there have been many interpretations of the comet. I foresee a lot of blood, violence, and betrayal. This seems to be a slower read than the first book." 3 comments
05/24/2011 page 118
12.0% ""Was there ever a war where only one side bled?"" 1 comment
05/24/2011 page 132
13.0% ""Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less." --Varys"
05/24/2011 page 132
13.0% ""Lord Varys, I am growing strangely fond of you. I may kill you yet, but I think I'd feel sad about it." --Tyrion" 2 comments
05/31/2011 page 171
17.0% "Theon Gregjoy is a bit of an ass - I really hated how he treated the captain's daughter."
05/31/2011 page 228
23.0% "I'm loving Tyrion's inner dialogue when he speaks to his sister Cersei. He is truly insightful." 2 comments
05/31/2011 page 234
23.0% "I'm appreciating Tyrion's sneakiness. While his sister ordered the smiths to make instruments of war, he tells them to make links for a chain. He also tells the carpenters to build boats in the place of catapults. He would make a good king."
05/31/2011 page 242
24.0% "

"Lord Varys," he said from the saddle, "sometimes I feel as though you are the best friend I have in King's Landing, and sometimes I feel you are my worst enemy."

"How odd. I think I feel quite the same of you."

" 4 comments
06/01/2011 page 269
27.0% "

"And when do you plan to free Jaime? He's worth a hundred of you."

Tyrion grinned crookedly. "Don't tell Lady Stark. I beg you. We don't have a hundred of me to trade."

"
06/01/2011 page 272
27.0% ""The longer he lived, the more Tyrion realized that nothing was simple and little was true.""
06/01/2011 page 279
28.0% "Yup. Sansa is still stupid. I can't believe that she would even consider taking that note to the queen, especially after all that's happened. Why doesn't she ever learn?"
06/01/2011 page 288
29.0% ""Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you and take a good whiff. They're all liars here...and every one better than you.""
06/02/2011 page 313
31.0% ""The longer Cersei waits, the angrier she'll become and anger makes her stupid. I prefer angry and stupid to composed and cunning." -Tyrion"
06/02/2011 page 320
32.0% "

"And Father, I trusted him, fool that I am, but where is he now that he's wanted? What is he doing?"

"Making war."

"From behind the walls of Harrenhal?" she said scornfully? " A curious way of fighting. It looks suspiciously like hiding."

"
06/10/2011 page 340
34.0% ""This is madness, Catelyn thought. Real enemies on every side and half the realm in flames and Renley sits here playing at war like a boy with his first wooden sword.""
06/10/2011 page 396
39.0% "I'm finding that I dislike Theon more and more. I loved how Asha put him in his place."
06/10/2011 page 400
40.0% "Tyrion is one sneaky dwarf."
06/10/2011 page 426
42.0% ""They shall come day and night to see the wonder that has been born again into the world, and when they see they shall lust. For dragons are fire made of flesh and fire is power. ""
06/10/2011 page 465
46.0% "Her families enemies are always included in Arya's nightly prayers."
06/10/2011 page 536
53.0% 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Shera (Book Whispers) Hmmmm . . . so I see you're liking this series then?


message 2: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I am liking this series a lot. This book is a little more long winded, but I've only read the really, really long prologue.


Shera (Book Whispers) I hate long prologues . . . they're just too much at the begining sometimes.


message 4: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH 29 pages!

Really long prologue!


Shera (Book Whispers) Eek, that really is.

I hate they kind were they recap the last book, but you have to read it because they throw in bits of information you're going to need.


message 6: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH It wasn't a recap. It was more of a "Meanwhile, back at Dragonstone, the rightful heir Stannis and his minions are a-plotting."

New characters. More people to keep track of. But interesting, nonetheless...


Shera (Book Whispers) That's good. The "Meanwhile" ones tend to be a bit more interesting.


Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) I just bought this boxed set.


message 9: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH Terry - are you watching the show?

The first book read quite fast for me, but I did imagine the kids the same age as in the show, not the books.


Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) I am not watching the show as I don't get the channel. I figured I would read the books first and then watch it on DVD. I kind of like reading the book before watching a show anyway - if I watch the show first I kind of lose interest in reading the book(s).


message 11: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH The show is well done and seems to follow the book quite well (with a little tweaking - the kids are about 3 - 5 years older, there are a few little additions here and there to further develop some characters).

Enjoy your books!


message 12: by Vasya (new) - added it

Vasya Me, idiot that I am, read the plot summaries on Wikipedia because I just couldn't wait to see what happens naturally (as in, sitting down and reading the books). Now I'm in the mood of - Whateva!


message 13: by Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) (last edited Jun 02, 2011 11:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) I've started the first book but only on page 91. I am kind of involved in something right now and hard to read something this involved so went to another lighter book but will get back to it hopefully next week when I can really get into it.


message 14: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I just read a few chapters at a time. I treat them as a short story about that particular character. I really look forward to Tyrion, Arya, Bran, and Daenerys' chapters. Always interesting.


Regina AH that is exactly what I do and I am really enjoying it that way. Except I don't enjoy Dany's story anymore, she really annoys me, no that is not true -- she isn't a favorite that I look forward to anymore. Tyrion, Arya, Bran, Sansa and Jon are my favorites. Catelyn, Danys, and Theon Greyjoy (or whatever his name) are characters that I just want to finish their stories. Sansa has come a long way and her chapters are not interesting to me, whereas before they definitely were not.


Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) I am way behind you all. I know Jon and Bran. I just finished my fast read book so will pick this one up again tonight. And hunt around my stack for something simpler too.


message 17: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I can't stand Theon Gregjoy. He is horrid. Regina - do you mean that Sansa gets better? I'm still calling her Stupid Sansa.

Terry - I think you'll enjoy this book. Just read a little at a time, go to another book, come back - you can do that with this series.


Katyana Sansa never gets better to me. I hate her, and wish she would just die already. She certainly has it coming. She has no business playing the game, she's way way way too stupid to live.


message 19: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH Katyana wrote: "Sansa never gets better to me. I hate her, and wish she would just die already. She certainly has it coming. She has no business playing the game, she's way way way too stupid to live."

Agreed.


Regina The parts from her POV are much more interesting. I can't hate a child or condemn a child. Where I am at she is only 11 or 12. Kids don't make rational decisions and are naturally self involved. When she is an adult I may feel different. I can't wish death on a child and where i am at (60%) she is being horribly abused and mistreated. I do think Martin has set her apart from her family, no question. To me that is that is the symbolism behind the killing of sansa's wolf. She was cut off from her family symbolically. And it is pretty normal for kids to side against siblings on the side of perceived love interests and friends. When they are that young they can't see much beyond themselve. So anyway I view Sansa through the eyes of a mom. :)


message 21: by AH (last edited Jun 02, 2011 05:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH So far, I can say that she doesn't seem to learn from her mistakes. Yes, she is a child - but why would you want to run off to Queen Cersei and tell her something's up when the last time you did it this happened - (only open spoiler if you have read ALL of Game of Thrones - ) (view spoiler). You'd think she would have learned.

Yes, she is being horribly mistreated, but still - I guess I keep seeing Teenage TV Sansa as I am reading, not younger middle school Sansa as she is in the books.


message 22: by Katyana (last edited Jun 02, 2011 06:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katyana Mmmm, I thought Sansa was 13-14 at the start of GoT, iirc (Arya was 11-ish). And you also have to keep in mind the relative age of the era. In medieval times, girls were married as soon as they started menstruating. You really can't relate her to modern 13-14 year olds, as their mindsets would be entirely different. In addition, compare her to Dany, who is the same age. Dany is MUCH more grown up. And you can't really argue that Dany has been through so much more than Sansa - the events of the first book should have opened her eyes pretty well, and yet as AH says, she continues making the same mistakes over and over, and she never, NEVER, gets less selfish.

According to the timeline on the Song of Ice and Fire wiki, the first 4 books take place across a roughly 2 year timeline, so Sansa is pushing 16 by the current books. And she's still an asshole. Scared, sure. But utterly stupid and useless.

edit to add: Here's a quote from Martin, about the decision to age up the kids for the TV show:

"We did age the characters, which is partly the difference between prose and film and television," Mr. Martin said. "When I was writing the books I did a lot of research in the Middle Ages, and life spans were a lot shorter than now, and maturity came on a lot more quickly.

"They didn't have the concept of teenagers or adolescents."



Regina Even if she was that age i still wouldn't wish death on her as she is still a child. And her actions are very childlike. I am not saying she isn't selfish or she would have been my friend my friend. But her desires and hopes are consistent with a child and pre adolescent. I believe what Martin is addressing is the concept of marriage, which is different than what I am talking about. I also believe she is as she has been raised. She was raised to focus on herself and be a princess. However where I am at in Clash of kings, she is seriously maltreated in a way that no human much less a child should be treated. And she is often thinking of her father and brother and is no longer focused on Joffrey. I am curious as to where Martin is taking her character. I think it is interesting that the hound cares so much about her.

My memory is she was 11 or 12 at the start of GoT, and I am talking about the book not the HBO show.


Katyana Yeah, I am talking about the books too. The TV show aged all the kids up a fair bit. But I am pretty sure that Martin is talking about maturity levels in that quote. As I said above, the 12-15 year olds of the middle ages bear no resemblance to the 12-15 year olds of today. There was no concept of teenage-hood.

And yeah, she's mistreated. But she suffers much less than, say, Arya. And unlike Arya, she did nothing to bring this on herself or her family. My sympathies are with Arya, who is much younger and going through much more. Sansa made a bunch of dumb decisions and is now dealing with the harsh consequences of them. If she doesn't start learning from her mistakes, she isn't going to survive.

Sansa is one of a handful of characters that I think Martin is setting up to be redeemed; for Sansa, probably by finally choosing to put someone ahead of herself. I'd put a few in that boat (the "set up for a chance at redemption" boat, I mean), but I won't discuss it with you until you get caught up to current in the series. :)


Regina We will just have to agree to disagree. :) I get what you are saying, definitely. I just think given her age and how she was raised, her choices are understandable. There are always exceptional people who make exceptional choices (Jon and Arya are great examples of this, very much models of Eddard), but then there are others who are normal people and have to learn the hard way. I found Sansa intolerable in GoT, but now in Clash, the chapters from her POV have had interesting revelations and interseting characters who are interacting with her. And to me suffering is suffering, yes Arya suffers but in a different way. In my life and with my kids in particular, I have noticed that for certain people some choices are just a natural, others have to learn how to get there. I am hoping Sansa does learn and grow beyond self preservation (and we did see that when she saved the knight), but it is likely just me -- I can't condemn a pre-teen/teenager (and lol, especially after reading Unwind -- which I just finished).

I do think that each character has been carefully crafted by Martin and serves a very strong purpose. So for example, I dislike "littlefigner" or Varys -- I strongly dislike them, but they are such key characters in the story and drive so much of the plot.

Someone I struggle with is Jaimie. I dislike him for what he did to Bran, I think it is unforgivable. But yet, Martin writes him in such an appealing way.


message 26: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH Darn it! I didn't get notification of this really good conversation. I'll just keep on reading and see if Sansa gets any better.


Regina GR's notifications have been so bad lately. I didn't either, I just happened to see it on my feed!

GRRM has created such rich characters, I love to discuss them.


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