Alright, book 2 of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones series. A Clash of Kings was published in 1998 and continues with all the war, love, murder and all-around fun times had in GoT.
Spoilers ahead for those who are even further behind this bandwagon than me.
The novel begins with open rebellion against the truly terrible King Joffrey. You see, at the end of the first book, Lord Eddard Stark had discovered that Joffrey was not the king’s legitimate son. So when the king died, Lord Stark announced that Joffrey was not the true heir to the throne, thus committing “treason” (is it treason, if its true?). And Joffrey promptly chops off Lord Stark’s head – while his future queen, and Lord Stark’s daughter, Sansa, watches. Its pretty awful. And the thing about lopping someone’s head off is you can no longer use them as a hostage to get others to do what you want… (Ooh! Also, bad things about chopping off Stark’s head – the Starks hold Joffrey’s true father/uncle (ew) Jaime Lannister hostage. So, bad call there.) Thus, Winterfell and all of the North rises up around Lord Stark’s son Robb, whom they proclaim the King in the North.
Current King Count: 2.
Not ones to miss out on the fun, the late King Robert’s brothers also proclaim themselves Kings. Lord Stannis Baratheon is Robert’s older brother and as such is truly the lawful heir to the throne. The only problem with Stannis, aside from the opposing Lannisters, is that no one really likes him all that much. Stannis is a cold, hard, unloving man and in return, he doesn’t get much love from the people. Stannis has also thrown his lot in with a new god, the Lord of Light, and His red priestess, Melisandre. People tend not to take kindly to kings who spurn their gods. Also, Melisandre is rumored to be a bit of a sorceress. So yeah, Stannis may be the rightful King, but the lords, ladies and commoners of the land aren’t clamoring to support his claim. On the flip side, Stannis and Robert’s younger brother, Renly, has also styled himself King and people LOVE him. Renly is like the Kingdom’s Sweetheart – kind, just, the total opposite of both his brothers (not a drunk – Robert, and not mean – Stannis), he can do no wrong in the eyes of his people. So, even though Renly doesn’t actually have a legitimate claim to the throne, he has the support of the people. Great for Renly, but really pisses Stannis off.
Current King Count: 4.
While the Kings bicker, we move over to Daenerys Targaryean, who is having a bit of a rough go with her Dothraki people. Khal Drogo has died, which is pretty heart-wrenching as their love story actually progressed in a really sweet way. After Khal Drogo dies though, Daenerys’ power as a Targaryean is born, in the form of 3 actual dragons. Dragons have not lived in the Seven Kingdoms in hundreds of years, so this is pretty big stuff. As big as it is though, it doesn’t mean much at the moment as Dany’s small khalasar (her tribe, essentially) are wandering through the desert without a home or army. You see, the Dothraki don’t follow women, even the Mother of Dragons, so only a handful have stayed to remain loyal to their Khaleesi. After weeks of wandering the desert, they finally come to one of the Free Cities, Qarth. Qarth is a rich, lavish land that is eager to receive the Mother of Dragons. Did I mention that dragons are super rare and worth more than gold? Uh huh. In Qarth, Dany is given a reception fit for a Queen, gifts, gold, tapestries galore. Each of the big power-players in Qarth receive Dany and tries to get on her good side. Obviously, they all want her dragons, right? Once Dany realizes this, and the Qartheens realize she will never give them up, they pretty much don’t want anything to do with her or her people any longer. Daenerys Targayean has the greatest weapon known to man, and we can assume its only a matter of time before she is able to raise her army…
Current King Count: 4. + 1 Queen.
Remember how I said that the people’s love for Renly enrages his brother? Well, Stannis kills him. Or at least, a shadow of Stannis murders Renly, which we know is the dark magic of the red priestess Melisandre. We’re down one king and most of Renly’s banner men must now proclaim loyalty to Stannis or risk death. So, Stannis now has the numbers to take on the Lannisters in the capitol while the Lannister army is busy battling in the North with the Starks. Stannis marches on the capital where battle rages between his army and King Joffrey’s defenses. Things go pretty well for Stannis until Joffrey’s Lannister army crashes the party and just routs Stannis’ forces. Thus, the Lannisters are able to hold the capital and the Iron Throne where Joffrey remains King. Damnit.
Current King Count: 3. + 1 Queen
I think I forgot to mention in my book report on A Game of Thrones that there is also a parallel story line regarding the men of the Night’s Watch. The Night’s Watch is a brotherhood sworn to protect the realm and they guard a 700-ft. ice wall that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the wildlings, free, sort of savage people, and other dark and dangerous threats. Just as dragons are coming back to the realm, old magics are re-awakening. The men of the Night’s Watch are dealing with what they call the Others. The Others are basically zombies; men and women who have died and that have come back to life as nearly indestructible killing machines. That’s a fun time for them, especially since none of the proclaimed kings seem to believe the brotherhood about what is coming or are doing anything to help.
Lots of stuff happens in this book, yall. No book report will ever be complete, there is just too much detail and plot happening simultaneously. That said, you should definitely give this series a try if you’re looking for an adventure. Its definitely a lot of fun.