George R.R. Martin's series continues with an expansion on the war in the Seven Kingdoms and the scenarios taking place in the East and the North. George R.R. Martin's second installment in the “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series picks up where “A Game Of Thrones” left off and turns its focus to the ongoing war taking place in the continent of Westeros. As the heir to Winterfell and the North, Robb Stark tries to secure an alliance with House Greyjoy but the rulers over the Iron Islands spurn his attempt and stage assaults on the western section of the North while capturing four different castles. Once a ward for Eddard Stark, Theon Greyjoy sides with the ironborn and captures the ancestral castle of Winterfell with the help of a small army and takes his younger brothers Bran and Rickon Stark hostage. When northmen arrive to the capital, they discover the corpses of Bran and Rickon and are driven off by a contingent led by Lord Roose Bolton's bastard son Ramsay Snow. Theon welcomes Ramsay and offers an alliance but he's taken captive and Winterfell is burned. After the ill-omened Boltons return to their home, the Dreadfort, Bran and Rickon emerge from hiding and split up with Bran forging plans to travel north to the Wall.
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Elsewhere, Stannis Baratheon, the elder brother of the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, declares himself to be the King of Westeros with the support of Melisandre, a suspicious red priestess of the god R'hllor. But Stannis' younger brother Renly, the Lord of Storm's End, also makes a claim for the Iron Throne in King's Landing with help from the widowed Catelyn Stark, and the alliance forces the self-proclaimed king to kill his brother. With Renly defeated, the Storm Lords declare to side with Stannis and Storm's End falls after his loyal companion, Ser Davos, sneaks Melisandre into the fortress to give birth to “a mysterious shadow” and force Renly's subjects to surrender.
In the capital city King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister is graced with the position as the King's Hand and he hastily improves the city's defenses. Informed of Renly's death, he decides to send a messenger to treat with the wealthy Tyrells of Highgarden while he resolves to bring the Martells of the southeastern Dorne into the war and on his side. Lord Mace Tyrell agrees to wed his daughter Margaery to King Joffrey while Prince Doran Martell agrees to marry his son Trystane to Joffrey's sister Myrcella. As Stannis Baratheon's army reaches King's Landing and launches an assault by land and sea, Tyrion traps Stannis' men in the Blackwater Rush and destroys his fleet by bombarding them with barrels of wildfire. Tyrion is nearly killed when a knight of the royal Kingsguard betrays him but the battle ends when Stannis is flanked by the Tyrells and the elder lord Twyin Lannister, forcing him to retreat.
On the Wall that acts as a northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, the military order the Night's Watch continue north and make camp at the desecrated fortress The Fist Of The First Men. The Watch's Lord Commander Jeor Mormont sends Jon Snow, the bastard son of House Stark, and the ranger Qhorin Halfhand on a mission through the Skirling Pass. The two are ordered to locate the King-Beyond-The-Wall Mance Rayder but they become cornered by one of his camps of wildlings while journeying through the pass. Halfhand advises Jon to pretend to betray the Night's Watch and the wildlings test his faith by forcing him to kill Halfhand. Upon meeting a red-haired wildling girl named Ygritte, Jon learns that Rayder has plans to advance on the Wall with an army of more than ten thousand wildlings.
Far East of Westeros, the exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen's factions have fallen apart as her Dothraki army have split, leaving her with her knight Ser Jorah Mormont and her bloodriders. She loses even more followers as they cross the deserted plains of the Red Waste until they arrive at the ancient trading city of Qarth. Daenerys asks the Qartheen people for assistance in reclaiming the Iron Throne in King's Landing but fails to succeed while her dragon Drogon burns down the House Of The Undying, a palace inhabited by warlocks. An assassin is hired by the warlocks to kill Daenerys in Qarth's main harbour but the attack is interrupted by two strangers: a heavy-set warrior named Strong Belwas and his squire, an older accomplice named Arstan Whitebeard. The two claim to be agents who were sent to take Daenerys back to the port city of Pentos so “The Mother Of Dragons” abandons Qarth and her journey to Westeros to return to the Free Cities.
Best part of story, including ending:
The second novel in the "A Song Of Ice And Fire" series succeeds by detailing wars and battles that have been developing for some time. It also does well to highlight the fall of certain kingdoms which dictate alliances and intermingle with other storylines that are just starting to emerge.
Best scene in story:
The greatest scene belongs to the Battle Of The Blackwater in King's Landing which finally sees Stannis Baratheon and his army raid the Lannisters and their impenetrable wall. Given Stannis' increase in power, it seemed as if he would finally be able to reclaim his place as king but his attack diminishes thanks to both Tyrion and Tywin Lannister who prove their numbers are growing. The scene also introduces the effect of wildfire and magic/sorcery and proves it does exist in George R.R. Martin's world.
Opinion about the main character:
The main character in "A Clash Of Kings" is Stannis Baratheon and he's easy to dislike because of his arrogance which forces him to kill his younger brother and hastily attack his other enemies. The faith of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen's are also tested, but they find a way to resolve them quickly and without conflict.