The second of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga, A Clash of Kings seems to reveal more of the true nature of the various characters, in particular, who is a villain and who is just being loyal to his or her own family. But the characters’ loyalties shift as the series continues.
Robb Stark has been declared King of the North in the rebellion against the Lannisters, his father’s murderers. Robb sends Theon Greyjoy to his father to form an alliance, but Balon Greyjoy has his own ambitions and so does Theon. Theon comes back in Robb’s absence and invades Winterfell.
Young Brandon Stark, who was crippled in the first book by Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime, has been dreaming of running with the wolves. When Winterfell is invaded, he flees for his life with friends and makes for The Wall. His half-brother Jon Snow is marching north of The Wall to try to stop the wildings from invading the South.
Joffrey Baratheon, Queen Cersei’s sadistic son, has gained the throne upon Robert Baratheon’s death. His uncle Tyrion Lannister, who is regent in the absence of his father and Jaime, does his best to rule fairly and counteract the actions of Joffrey, but everyone hates him anyway.
Robert’s brothers, the seemingly virtuous Stannis and charismatic Renly, also have claims to the throne. Stannis, stuck on his island and disliked by all, doesn’t seem to have a ghost of a chance of gaining enough support. But he swears himself to the Red Lord and begins using the dark arts to his advantage.
Daenerys, the only living heir of the former ruling family, is trying to find a way home with her three dragons. She is looking for alliances and money to buy arms and ships and hire soldiers so she can invade.
Eight-year-old Arya Stark is still trapped in enemy territory as is her older sister Sansa, who is quickly losing her infatuation with her fiancé Joffrey.
Such is the situation of the main characters at the beginning of the second book. Martin’s series is enthralling and complex, with many plot twists. You can never be sure that even your favorite character won’t be killed (or seem to be killed). This series thrusts you along, and despite the length of the books, you can’t wait to start the next one. Unfortunately for me, I have finished all of the books that are already available and am waiting for the next one to come out.