A Clash of Kings
The second book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings follows right where “A Game of Thrones” leaves off. Following the beheading of Lord Eddard Stark, the Kingdom is on the verge of war as five individuals play their cards and attempt to make the most of the opportunity. Robb- the eldest and now head of House Stark, Joffrey Bratheon- the now-deceased King Robert Baratheon’s eldest son, Stannis and Renly Baratheon- Robert’s two younger brothers, and Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Island. It is a situation ripe for conflict that has become known as the War of the Five Kings. It is published by Bantam and was released November of 1998 in the United Kingdom and March of 1999 in the United States.
The plot revolves around the five major factions each consolidating their strength and asserting their authority over the land. Robb Stark gathers his troops as he is proclaimed King of the North by his banner men. He tries to have an alliance with the Greyjoys of Iron Island but is refused as their leader has plans of his own. In Winterfell in the meantime, Bran is left in command following his father’s edict that there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. He continues to have strange dreams that started when he fell unconscious after being pushed from the tower by Ser Jaime Lannister.
Stannis Baratheon, Robert Baratheon’s brother and a proven military warrior, claims the throne as rightfully his on the grounds that Joffrey is not the true son of his brother. He manages to win the support of the Lords of the Narrow Sea. He, however, is enraged when he learns that his younger brother, Renly, also makes a claim for the throne. Renly, does so only on the fact that he has the bigger army and because he deems himself a more charismatic leader than his older brother. His claim for the throne is however, lost as he mysteriously gets killed by a shadow right in his own camp.
Joffrey Baratheon currently sits on the Iron Throne heavily influenced by his mother Cersei and his uncle Tyrion, who is now the new hand of the King as ordered by their patriarch, Tywin Lannister. While in Kings Landing, Tyrion improves Joffrey’s army by making alliances with those whom he knows would not want to see either Stannis or Renly on the throne. He however has to contend with the schemes of his own sister Cersei as she has her own agenda.
Finally, we have Balon Greyjoy proclaiming himself King of the Iron Islands. Balon once rose up in rebellion against Robert Baratheon but was quickly quelled by both Houses Baratheon and Stark. One of his sons Theon, was taken by Eddard as a result. After observing what has happened to the King and the realm, he seizes the opportunity to regain back his land and proclaim himself as its ruler.
Aside from the five kings fighting over the realm, the story of Daenerys Targaryen, armed with her three dragons, continues to rally more support on her side and prepares to one day cross the narrow sea and reclaim the seven kingdoms for herself. Accompanied by Ser Jorah Mormont and the little that is left of her Khalasar, she bides her time waiting for the opportune time to return.