A Rogue Librarian's Reading List











{April 9, 2012}   A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Plot: King Robert and his Hand lay dead and now five kings claim dominion over the Seven Kingdoms: Joffrey in King’s Landing, Robert’s brothers Stannis and Renly, Balon Greyjoy in the Iron Islands and Robb Stark in the North. War is inevitable. But while they fight among themselves, a great army gathers beyond the wall. The Black Watch will not be enough to stop them. Across the sea, Dany, the last of the Targaryans, has brought dragons back into the world and has set her sights on The Seven Kingdoms as well.

The second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has started and that can only mean one thing: time to revist A Clash of Kings! It’s amazing how many details of a book you can forget in ten years. And this is a series rich in details (one of the things that I fear that we’ve lost in the translation to television). Though I knew how it would end (badly for most, this is A Song of Ice and Fire after all), the book remained as enthralling as the first time I read it.

How do you begin to comment on a dense 1000 page book without spoiling it? Though this is a vast political epic about war and kingship, Martin really makes it about his amazingly deep and complex characters. And so I will talk a bit about them.

Arya and Tyrion remain my favorites; I always look forward to their POV chapters. We see Tyrion’s subtle political maneuvering; though he is reviled as a monster by most he may be the only just lord in King’s Landing. Meanwhile Arya struggles for survival against all odds, one “orphan boy” caught in a cruel war. Some great new characters are also introduced: Davos, the loyal smuggler turned onion knight and Brienne, the lady warrior. It is, however, a shame that in this book we only see Brienne from Catelyn’s perspective; Catelyn can only seem pity her for being ugly and unloved. But she’ll be able to speak for herself soon.

There are so many other great stories and characters: Jon and Bran, Catelyn and Sansa (who really grows on me in this book, she has her own sort of courage) and thousands of characters who lived and died without being able to show us the world through their eyes. Theon, however, is nothing but hateful. Don’t get me wrong, Martin wrote him well but in this volume, he is every bit as bad Joffrey. They are both selfish, entitled, cruel little shits. He was not remotely sympathetic, even from his own point of view.

I loved this book when I first read it and I love it still. But one thing the ridiculous “sexposition” scenes in the TV series made me really sit up and notice was the sheer amount of rape and prostitution in the book. It’s just everywhere and it’s something I could do with a bit less of. Please don’t tell me that’s just the way the world is/was. At some point it just becomes gratuitous.

2012 (#35)

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The Editor says:

I agree especially with your last paragraph. Also, in HBO, they put sex scenes that aren’t really in the book just to make it “interesting” but I find it unnecessary.



roguelibrarian says:

I know. I don’t mind sex scenes on TV but there are so many on HBO shows that I just roll my eyes now.



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