War! The inevitable result of when five men start wearing gold on their brow is “A Clash of Kings” the second book in George R.R. Martin’s epic series A Song of Ice and Fire. After the conclusion of the first book, readers knew things were not going to go as previous fantasy books had gone and were right to expect the unexpected.
Not pulling any punches from the start, Martin once against kills off a character in the prologue but not without introducing three important characters to the overall story who are on the island of Dragonstone. With the Lannister’s backing Joffrey’s claim to the Iron Throne and Robb Stark uniting the North and Riverlands in an independence movement, King Robert’s brothers both declare themselves their brother’s heir. The Baratheon brothers involvement bring about the next bit of magic encountered in the series and pushes towards the book’s big climax in the Battle of the Blackwater which is set up by Tyrion Lannister’s time as Hand of the King for his nephew while battling the “establishment” unlike Ned Stark had been able to do.
However the events in the south aren’t the only game changing events, Theon turns against Robb and takes Winterfell in the name of his father only to ultimately fall leaving the North in chaos. Beyond the Wall, Jon ranges and learns about the Wildlings he is charged to fight against then switches sides. In Essos, Daenerys’ leads her small khalasar through harsh desert to the city of Qarth where she finds empty words and disturbing prophecies before deciding it time to take her growing dragons towards the West.
“A Clash of Kings” finds Westeros torn into pieces with fighting happening everywhere while no knowing the danger gathering beyond the Wall. The political intrigue, growing power of magic, and combat are in abundance as well as revelations of the past adding to the overall tapestry that George R.R. Martin created in the second book of his fantasy epic. After finishing, the reader will wonder what will happen the storm really hits the fan.