Reflections on A Clash of Kings

If you have not read A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire, or watched the second series of Game of Thrones – please consider this your spoiler warning as the rest of this blog’s contents will detail the events that are contained within the book.

Book started: April 26th 2012

TV Show completed: June 5th 2012 

Book completed: August 25th 2012

 

Before I go into the character developments of the story I would like to make a quick comment praising the music of the TV show. It’s one of those things that generally goes unnoticed, or perhaps unspoken of, but is one of the key actors in the show. I use the term actor in the sense that without the backing to the scene of that (word) it would not be possible to get across the same emotion and inspiration that Martin and the producers of the show Benioff and Weiss are trying to get over to their audience.

Theon Greyjoy – Prince of Winterfell

Played by Alfie Allen

I don’t know whether I’m more surprised or disappointed in Theon moving to capture to Winterfell. What’s he trying to prove? Balon Greyjoy was never going to accept him the same way as he does another Greyjoy simply because he’s been a ward of Ned Stark, and he was on to a good thing with Robb Stark.

It just seems like he’s throwing it all away and I suppose the way he’s played in the TV show suggests to me that he’s not stupid at all (not like Joffrey stupid) and could think about the long game.

Another reflection on the book is the difference between Theon being met by an uncle, rather than his sister Asha (Yara – HBO series), and so doesn’t have him groping her on the way up to meet his father. I wonder why they put this into the TV series because I’m not sure what it adds other than to cement the sex hungry nature of the Iron Islanders.

Jaqen H’ghar – The Faceless Man 

Played by Tom Wlaschiha

When I watched the episode on TV, I hadn’t reached the point in the book, so it was a genuine suprise that Jaqen H’ghar was going to transform his face in that way, toValar Morghulis. It was the first jaw dropping moment of the programme, of which there were four, but it makes it interesting going forward in the story.

It has been interesting how he has supported Arya’s plot development, saving her, and killing for her and I think that he’ll continue to be a strong supporting character as the story continues but when and where we’ll see him I don’t know.

I’m glad that Arya didn’t take him up on the offer to become a Faceless man because I think she’ll continue to develop and blossom into a strong female lead. I don’t think she’ll need to kill a lot of the characters she names but only because there’s a wealth of characters that I think will do the job first. I do hope Stannis slays Joffrey (or someone!)

Played by Gethin Anthony

Renly Baratheon – Pretender to the Throne 

Martin is known for not following the rules and conventions of writing a book, as can be displayed in the deaths of Eddard Stark, Ser Rodrik Cassell and Robert Baratheon but I was genuinely surprised that Martin killed him off.

Obviously it does add another dimension to the story in the way that he was was killed, by Melisandre and Stannis, but my first thoughts were that his storyline would continue a little longer and perhaps see him in King’s Landing fighting Stannis, Robb and Joffrey for the Iron Throne.

Sandor Clegane – The Hound

Played by Rory McCann

Clegane seems to be one of the characters I least have a handle on because I was genuinely surprised when he turned his back on Joffrey and decided to jack it all in and leave King’s Landing. My impressions of the character lead me to thinking that he would have stayed and would have played more of an influential part of the effort to defend the city from Stannis. I wonder when and where Clegane will feature again in the story – especially given the events of Blackwater Bay – and whether he’ll face retribution for rebuking both the Hand and his King.

Another plot development was the relationship between him and Sansa. I wrote in my earlier blog post that:

“I think that by taking it away from Sandor the audience loses the opportunity to connect with emerging relationship between Sansa and Sandor. You don’t get the same weakness from the character letting in Sansa” (Reflections on Book One)

But …

Played by Natalie Dormer

Margaery Tyrell – Renly’s Queen

I can only really say that I love the casting of Natalie Dormer to play Margaery. I was first introduced to her when she played Anne Boleyn to Jonathan Rhys Meyers Henry VIII in The Tudors and had a soft spot for her then. She has a watchable quality that makes you want to see her on the screen more and more (or that may just be me).

Played by Emilia Clarke

Daenerys Targaryen – the Mother of Dragons

I think the way that Dany is introduced to the City of Qarth is an important change from the book. The way that the TV series crafted the introductions takes the audience off the scent as to why they are so eager / willing to allow her and her khalasar behind their city gates.

Knowing that Xaro Xhaon Daxos and Pyat Pree seek Danaerys out says a lot more.

My jaw dropped when Dany was walking through the House of the Undying looking for the Dragons’s and out of walking from the Throne at King’s Landing to The Wall then to meet an alive Khal Drogo and their son Rhaego, as he cradles him in his arms (approx 3:20 below). I watched this scene in the TV show before reading it and I don’t think it can’t not pull on your heart strings, especially given the way Drogo died:

When your watching I think you get the sense, or impression, that it would be easy for Dany to stay with her sun and stars and accept where she has got to. Perhaps this is what Pyat Pree wants, to give her a false illusion of where she is to keep her imprisoned, but she pushes through it and goes to find the dragons.

My jaw dropped (no lie) a second time when the dragons came to the rescue of Dany and burnt Pyat Pree. The situation looks unassailable as she and the dragon’s are in chains and they look to weak to be able to do anything about it. Though I am happy with this plot development.

Cersei Lannister – Joffrey’s mother

Played by Lena Headey

She really is being exposed as a right bitch. You see flashes of her humanity, but only flashes, when it comes to the love for her children Myrcella and Tommen. Throughout the Battle of Blackwater Bay I ended up rooting for Sansa, and perhaps that’s what Martin wants his audience to do, but it’s the opposite of season / book one where I,  at least, thought she was a spoilt brat.

Tyrion Lannister – ‘the saviour of King’s Landing’

Played by Peter Dinklage

And so the wheel turns and the game continues. After planning the defence of King’s Landing against Stannis, and his forces, Tyrion’s powerbase is turned to dust with the return of his father Tywin Lannister.  Taking his seat as Hand of the King, removing Bronn from Commander of the City Watch and paying off the hill-tribesmen returns all of the power back to Cersei, who moves Maester Pycelle back into service. It is a shame to see, but as The Spider says:

Varys: “You will not be remembered but we will never forget”

Tywin Lannister – the Hand of the King

Played by Charles Dance 

I wasn’t expecting Tywin to turn up at the Battle of Blackwater to rescue Joffrey and Tyrion after pledging with his advisors, in front of Arya, that he was going after Robb Stark with the element of surprise. Perhaps this is symbolism of Tywin deciphering the ruse, and so publicly tells her of intent to go to Robb, but actually moving to meet Stannis at King’s Landing.

The White Walkers

I don’t know what else you’d want to say other than this was the final Holy Shit Moment of the season finale.

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