A Clash of Kings picks up right where Game of Thrones ended. Each of the major characters are on the move and it’s all about those who would be King. Rather than do a proper review, I’m just going to give you my thoughts on the wannabe Kings. Keep in mind that Martin loves to kill off his characters so their inclusion on this list doesn’t mean they survived the pages.
Those that have crowned themselves King:
Joffrey Baratheon- he is kind of technically the king since his “father”, the prior king, died. Is there a more hated young boy in literature? If so, I can’t think of him. Readers know the truth of his birth and rumors abound among the kingdom. This won’t end well.
Stannis Baratheon– brother of the former king. One of his court, the Red Woman, is freaky deaky. While Stannis probably didn’t start out as a bad guy, he’s made the jump now. The drive for power is consuming him and he is willing to do unspeakable things to get to the Iron Throne. Bad, bad, bad.
Renly Baratheon– the other brother of the former king. Fancies himself a charmer and has plenty of backers. Does he have the fortitude to do what it takes to get to the throne? Doubtful.
Robb Stark – Ned’s son and the Lord of Winterfell. We are supposed to pull for him. He’s a Stark. But, I felt his presence was largely absent from the pages. His mother spoke for him as she travelled to try to rally supporters. We saw more of his younger brother, Bran, back at Winterfell. However, never underestimate the Starks.
Daenerys Targaryen – Technically a queen but in many respects the rightful occupant of the throne. She is the only surviving child of King Aerys (the king killed by Robert Baratheon when he took the throne.) Mother of dragons. Khaleesi. A woman in a child’s body. (*coughs* My choice for the throne. *coughs*)
Wild Cards – not Kings but could they be?:
Tyrion Lannister – hate his family all you want, the Imp is one to pull for. I always sat up straighter, read faster and wished for more when his chapters opened.
Bran Stark – younger brother of Robb and probably the best of them all. He may have lost full use of his legs but he is learning to run with the wolves.
Jon Snow – bastard son of Ned Stark. Think of him and Dany together. Whew.
There are others who think themselves worthy of the throne but they aren’t even worth mentioning. Move along, Greyjoy.
It’s easy to throw superlatives around but there truly is something magical about this series. There are a couple of POVs that aren’t as interesting (Catelyn specifically). However, each page adds to the complexity of the story. Martin’s willingness to treat his characters brutally is refreshing. Don’t expect happy endings. You won’t get them. And, that’s the fight for the Iron Throne.