A Clash of Kings

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A Clash of Kings
US Hardcover Edition
Author George R. R. Martin
Country United States
Language English
Series A Song of Ice and Fire
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Bantam Books (US) & Voyager Books (UK)
Released November 1998 (UK) & March 1999 (US)
Cover Artist Steve Youll
Media Type

Print (Hardback & Paperback) audiobook

Pages 708 (UK Hardback), 768 (US Hardback), 1009 (US Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-00-224585-X (UK Hardback), ISBN 0-553-10803-4 (US Hardback), ISBN 0-553-57990-8 (US Paperback)
Preceded by A Game of Thrones
Followed by A Storm of Swords
Purchase A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings is the second of seven planned novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin. It was first published on 16 November 1998 in the United Kingdom, although the first United States edition did not follow until March 1999. In May 2005 Meisha Merlin released a much-delayed limited edition of the novel, fully illustrated by John Howe.

A Clash of Kings is also the name of the first expansion to the board game A Game of Thrones.

Plot summary

A Clash of Kings picks up the story where A Game of Thrones leaves off. The Seven Kingdoms are plagued by civil war, the Night's Watch mounts a reconnaissance force north of the Wall, and in the distant east, Daenerys Targaryen continues her quest to return to the Seven Kingdoms and claim her birthright.

The novel spans most of the year 299 AC (After Conquest).

In the Seven Kingdoms

The civil war in the Seven Kingdoms complicates further when the Greyjoys make their entrance. Robb Stark's attempts to secure an alliance with the Greyjoys are rebuffed and answered with a massive assault along the west coast of the North. Ironborn raiders seize control of Moat Cailin, Torrhen's Square and Deepwood Motte, whilst raiding the Stony Shore.

At Winterfell, Bran Stark is left in charge of the castle and begins suffering from strange dreams. He finds two new friends when Jojen and Meera Reed, children of Eddard Stark's close friend Lord Howland, arrive from Greywater Watch and take an interest in his dreams.

Meanwhile, Stannis Baratheon declares himself King of Westeros with the support of the lords of the narrow sea and Melisandre, a red priestess of the eastern god R'hllor. Enraged when his brother Renly also makes a claim for the throne, Stannis chooses to besiege his own home castle of Storm's End to force Renly to march east and treat with him. Catelyn Stark, who has journeyed south to discuss a possible alliance against the Lannisters, also accompanies Renly. The ensuing parley ends in acrimony and Renly resolves to destroy his brother with his larger army. However, without warning a mysterious shadow comes to life in Renly's own tent and kills him. Shocked, Catelyn and the only other witness, the warrior-maid Brienne of Tarth, flee the scene. Having lost Renly, the storm lords have no choice but to declare for Stannis. Storm's End itself only falls, however, when Stannis's loyal Ser Davos, a former smuggler, sneaks Melisandre below the castle in a small boat. To his horror, Melisandre gives birth to a shadow which enters Storm's End and slays its stubborn castellan.

In King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister arrives to act as Hand in Lord Tywin's stead. Whilst intriguing against his sister Cersei, Tyrion improves the city's defenses. Learning of Renly's death, Tyrion resolves on two courses of action. Knowing that the Tyrells will not be happy following Stannis, he decides to make them a better offer. He also resolves to bring the Martells of Dorne into the war on his side. He sends Littlefinger to treat with the Tyrells and sends other messengers to Dorne. He wins Littlefinger's support by promising to make him the Lord of Harrenhal. The negotiations are solidified by marriage arrangements. Lord Mace Tyrell agrees to wed his daughter Margaery to King Joffrey I, whilst Prince Doran Martell agrees to marry his son Trystane to Joffrey's sister Myrcella.

Theon Greyjoy leads a small force of ironmen north and captures Winterfell, taking Bran and Rickon Stark captive. Theon's sister Asha suggests he raze the castle and flee before other northmen arrive to reclaim it, but Theon petulantly tries to hold onto his new castle. Eventually a strong force of northmen arrive and discover what appear to be the corpses of Bran and Rickon Stark. However, as the disgusted besiegers begin to mount their assault on Winterfell, the contingent of House Bolton, led by Lord Roose Bolton's bastard son Ramsay Snow, turn on the other northmen and drive them off. Theon eagerly opens the gates to his new 'allies', only to be betrayed and taken captive. Winterfell is burned and the Boltons return to the Dreadfort. Shortly after, Bran and Rickon emerge from hiding, unharmed and decide to split up. Osha, a wildling woman serving in Winterfell, agrees to take Rickon to safety, whilst Bran and the Reeds travel north to the Wall.

Robb Stark leads his northern army into the westerlands and emerges victorious from a number of battles against Lannister forces, winning a battle at Oxcross and storming Ashemark and the Crag. Tywin reluctantly emerges from Harrenhal and attempts to pass the fords near Riverrun, where he is stopped by Edmure Tully, Catelyn's brother and the infirm Lord Hoster's heir. Although this prevents the Lannisters from falling on Robb's rear, it allows them to rapidly march south to join their new allies, the Tyrells.

Arya Stark, posing as a boy named Arry, is taken north by Yoren as a new recruit for the Night's Watch. However, they are attacked by Lannister freeriders led by Ser Amory Lorch and Yoren is killed at a town on the shores of Gods Eye. Arya escapes, along with Gendry, Hot Pie, and Lommy Greenhands, and in the process saves the lives of Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter, three criminals Yoren was bringing to the Wall, who run off on their own. Shortly after, Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are captured by men under the command of Gregor Clegane; Lommy, who was wounded, is killed. They are taken to Harrenhal and put to work as servants in the undermanned castle.

Whilst Arya poses as a servant at Harrenhal, going by the name "Weasel", H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter reappear as members of the Brave Companions. For saving his life during the attack, H'ghar promises to repay Arya by killing three men of her choice. For her three choices, Arya selects Chiswyck, a soldier in Gregor Clegane's forces, Weese, her servant overseer, and Jaqen H'ghar himself. The first two murders he carries out without question; in lieu of the third choice, Arya leverages H'ghar to help her slay the Lannister soldiers guarding Robett Glover, who had been taken prisoner by the Brave Companions. After Glover is freed, the Brave Companions turn their cloaks and join with the North. Control of Harrenhal is ceded to Roose Bolton, whom Arya serves as cupbearer.

H'ghar gives gives Arya a mysterious iron coin and tells her to find him in Braavos if she should ever desire to learn his secrets. He then adopts a new identity and leaves. Bolton executes Lorch in the castle's bear pit and orders a Northern foot army to advance on Duskendale to threaten King's Landing from the north, informing them that the orders come directly from Robb Stark. Arya kills one of Roose's guards and escapes Harrenhal with Gendry and Hot Pie.

Stannis Baratheon's army reaches King's Landing and a combined assault is launched by both land and sea. Tyrion traps the Baratheon fleet in the mouth of the Blackwater Rush with a huge chain and destroys Stannis's fleet by detonating barrels of wildfire on nearby ships. Despite heavy losses, some of Stannis' men establish a foothold on the north shore until a brave sally led by Tyrion dislodges them. Tyrion is nearly killed when he is betrayed by one of the Kingsguard, Ser Mandon Moore, but is saved by his squire, Podrick Payne. The Battle of the Blackwater ends when Stannis is unexpectedly flanked by Tywin and the Tyrells and barely manages to escape with a few thousand soldiers and a handful of ships.

In Riverrun, Catelyn's grieves over the supposed death of her sons, Rickon and Bran. While questioning the captive Jaime Lannister, she reaches for a sword.

On the Wall

The Night's Watch advances northwards from the Wall into the haunted forest. They stop at Craster's Keep, where a wildling man named Craster serves as an informant for the Watch. They continue north and make camp at a ruined fortress known as the Fist of the First Men, which serves as a strong defensive position. Concerned about the whereabouts and activities of the King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont sends Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand on a reconnaissance mission through the Skirling Pass.

In the pass, Jon and Qhorin discover much wildling activity in the mountains. However, they are cornered and Qhorin commands Jon to infiltrate the wildlings by pretending to betray the Watch. In order to convince the wildlings, Jon is forced to kill the Halfhand. A wildling girl named Ygritte agrees to speak on Jon's behalf to Mance Rayder, who is advancing on the Wall with an army in the tens of thousands.

In the East

Despite her three infant dragons, Daenerys Targaryen's followers have been much reduced. The vast Dothraki army formerly commanded by her husband, Khal Drogo, has broken into individual factions and she is left with only her bloodriders, Ser Jorah Mormont, and a hundred or so others. Nevertheless, they proclaim her the 'Mother-of-Dragons' and 'the Unburnt' and swear to follow her.

Daenerys strikes east across the forbidding red waste and loses many of her followers to the harsh conditions before stumbling upon the ancient, abandoned city of Vaes Tolorro. They find clean water and fruit and enjoy a much-needed respite. Daenerys's bloodriders scout the surrounding region and find a safe route to the great trading city of Qarth on the Jade Sea. The Qartheen dote on Daenerys and her dragons, but her attempts to secure help claiming the throne of Westeros do not succeed. She goes to the House of the Undying to form an alliance with its powerful warlocks, but instead she is shown confusing and disturbing images. Her dragon Drogon burns down the House of the Undying, sparking the enmity of the Qartheen and encouraging Daenerys to leave the city. An assassin hired by the warlocks attempts to kill Daenerys in the city's harbor, but it is thwarted by the arrival of two strangers: a fat warrior named Strong Belwas and his squire, an old but hale warrior named Arstan Whitebeard. They claim to be agents of Illyrio Mopatis, come to take Daenerys back to Pentos. Daenerys agrees to accompany them back to the Free Cities.


The tale is told through the eyes of nine POV characters and a one-off prologue POV:

  • Prologue: Cressen, maester at Dragonstone.
  • Lady Catelyn Stark, of House Tully, widow of Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell
  • Sansa Stark, eldest daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark, held captive by the King on the Iron Throne at King's Landing
  • Arya Stark, youngest daughter of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark, missing and presumed dead
  • Bran Stark, second son of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark and heir to Winterfell and the Kingdom in the North
  • Jon Snow, bastard son of Eddard Stark
  • Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf, the youngest son of Lord Tywin Lannister, and Queen Cersei's brother
  • Ser Davos Seaworth, a smuggler turned knight in the service of King Stannis Baratheon
  • Theon Greyjoy, heir to the Seastone Chair and former ward of Lord Eddard Stark
  • Queen Daenerys Targaryen, of the Targaryen dynasty

Awards and nominations

  • Locus Award – Best Novel (Fantasy) (Won) – (1999)
  • Nebula Award – Best Novel (Nominated) – (2000)
  • Ignotus Award – Best Novel (Foreign) (Won) – (2004)

Television adaptation

A Clash of Kings was adapted for television by HBO as the second season of its successful adaptation, Game of Thrones.[1] Filming began in July 2011, and the first episode of Season 2 aired on April 1, 2012.[2]


  • French: Three volumes (Hardcover: Pygmalion (2000); paperback: J'ai Lu (2002)): "La bataille des rois", "L'ombre maléfique", "L'invincible forteresse"
  • Russian: Single volume, AST (2004, 2005, 2006): "Битва королей". Two volumes, AST (2000): "Битва королей. Книга 1", "Битва королей. Книга 2".


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at A Clash of Kings. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of A Clash of Kings. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.