I just wish to take the first few sentences to say I am not a bandwagon jumper, my sensibilities are offended at the very notion that clever advertising and peer pressure could make me want to do something that I would otherwise have no interest in. Having said that
I believe my interest is- wait sorry be right back-… Just needed to grab a refreshing Coca Cola, it’s funny my Pandora station was just talking about the cool refreshing taste of a Coca Cola and I just felt compelled to…to …..wait a minute, hey wait! GRRRAWR! DAMN YOU, YOU SLIMY-
Ahem, like I was saying I believe my Interest in the book series is akin to a child being shown a movie for the first time at a friends house and later telling his parents; “mommy! dada! I just saw this movie with these light swords, and space ships, and a moon that wasn’t a moon, and a bad guy that breathed like Timmy’s little brother, I think it was called Space Fights have you seen it?”
So here and now I am claiming the ignorance of a six year old. I wish I could say I won’t spoil anything in this review but I just cant make that kind of a commitment instead all spoilers will be in bold type. Though if you haven’t read the book or watched the series you shouldn’t be reading reviews in the first place, so for those of you who haven’t and have nothing else to do I have provided a link just for you. http://i.imgur.com/mUmfAKb.jpg There you go. (And you thought the Lannisters were a scary family.)
I will confess that I do not watch the show, though i am an immense fan I don’t appreciate the show as I do the books. To be honest it is because I have an obsessive need for the books and show to match up and they do not in a lot of ways so I just spare myself the irritation of the changes and thus spare the internet of another cannon complainer. The review of this book may seem a little lopsided that would be because there is so much to cover in this book I don’t think I could cover it all.
The ending of the last book left off with the death of Robert and Ned all those in Kings Landing who served the Hand, and a few more key deaths such as Viserys and Kahl Drogo along with his “stillborn” son. The biggest surprise though was the birth of the dragons. Though it all Game of Thrones left us with an uncertain feeling as to the fate of House Stark, that feeling evolves into a great grey fog that covers the span of the entire Westros in Clash of Kings.
We begin in an unlikely place, we see the world through the eyes of a Maester. Cressen is doing everything in his power to give good council to Lord Stannis Bratheon, now King Stannnis. A priestess of the Lord of Light has begun to corrupt their way of life and Maester Cressen means to put a stop to it. He determines to kill Lady Melisandre with a powerful poison for which there is no cure nor immunity and through unfortunate happenstance must drink of the poison himself, but is willing to give his life so that his King can be free of the woman. He offers a cup to her in amnesty and they drink but only one dies. As Maester Cressen struggles for breath he looks into her red eyes and denies her and her magic.
What was so interesting about the first book was that it was grounded in reality, there were legends and gods as there are today but there was no magic or changelings or wargs. Strange things were happening to be sure, but the understanding of them was unbeknownst to the main characters. They have no idea what’s coming for them, I feel like the red comet is an allegory for a sort of Damocles sword.
Moving straight along we visit with the Stark sisters, their mother and the Imp. I just want to point out here, through the whole of this book it never lagged or dragged on, everyones story line was interesting and fiercely intense, Sansa and Arya the most. To me their innocence and vulnerability makes their situations seem all the more perilous, each time there is a fresh danger they must contend with. They definitely have the most growth in the book. Sansa seems to be finally finding her own voice and is becoming less and less of an air head. Arya is finding her strength and bravery, she seems more of a phenix than a wolf. She has been broken down so much during the bookuntil finally she was given a chance to do the breaking. It was both exhilarating and sad reading her last chapter in the book. The relationship between Tyrion and Cersie also gets tense with Tyrion becoming the Hand of the King and having so much control it throws Cersei for a loop I don’t think she has had to work so hard to be one step ahead in her life.
(A side not here, for some reason I feel Like Cersei embodies The Seven. Father is the judgement, Mother is motherhood. Nurturing and merciful which she can depict if need be, The Warrior is strength courage victory, The mMaiden virtue and chastity which she can also portray when it serves her, The Smith is works and crafts, and we all know she’s a crafty vixen, The Crone wisdom and guidance. This one I didn’t notice until towards the end of Clash, she is sitting with Sansa giving her advice about what would be expected of her should she become queen and essentially telling her she needs to learn to play the game. And lastly is The Stranger which is the representation of death and the unknown. I feel she has all these traits in abundance.)
Next is one of the biggest plot points: Theon Greyjoy. I seemed to hate him and pity him in turns…..buuuut mostly hate. He blames almost everyone else for his problems and when he finally strikes out for his own glory it marks the beginning of the end for Theon. Whenever he claimed Winterfell as rightfully his I just wanted to push my thumbs into his eyes. His mismanagement of the winter castle would rival that of your local Home Depot. I hope the Boltons flay down to the bone. Now with Winterfell taken Robb will be essentially backed into a corner and Riverrun is now surrounded by enemies, just like the second act of a play the books gets much, much darker.
One of the best chapters is when Dany visits the House of the Undying, the unimaginable creepiness of the place left me feeling like I had left Qarth and was somehow transported to The Overlook Hotel. Here, though, Dany sees some important visions and gains some insight that she can’t quite yet decipher, then when things start going south for Daenerys (like not quite dead people going all Alive on her) Dorgon steps in and does what I have been screaming in my head for this whole chapter and burns it with fire. That moment we finally see her Dragons in action they no longer seem like scaly little snake bats, Dorgon give us a little taste of the future soon to come.
These were Just some of the highlights of the book if I could dissect the whole thing I would and maybe will at some point, my final thoughts on the whole experience of reading the book is this: the sheer depth of world and character development has left me feeling like I was underwater for a week and just came up for air.