***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
This past year I’ve been getting into Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. In the summer I finished the first book, and now I have finished the second book, A Clash of Kings, which is quite reminiscent of the Cousins War/the War of the Roses in medieval England. As soon as I read the first book, I was reminded of this time in history and little did I know at the time, that the author, George R.R. Martin, was actually inspired by the war.
I knew and read about the War of the Roses years before I began reading GoT, as I’m a history buff when it comes to medieval England (fun fact: I worked as a pub wench at a Renaissance Festival. I know, classy). This particular point in history I found quite interesting due to how scheming and lust for power ended up making cousins fight against one another in deadly battles and led terrible war crimes, including the slaughter of young children (read up on the princes in the tower; it’s quite an interesting story!). I could talk for ages about the War of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty, but I won’t bore you all with my odd obsession. Although the first book, Game of Thrones, resembled the War of the Roses, I believe A Clash of Kings resembled the War even more so.
Brother fights against brother in the book and everyone from the north to the south, and east to the west, believe they have a stake to the Iron Throne. Deception and ambition are what drive the story, as Westeros soon begins to be divided again. I believe I loved this book more so than the first as we got to see the inner-workings behind each King and how they went forward trying to make their claim.
I particularly was interested in the character Tyrion, and how he went on keeping King’s Landing under Lannister control despite all odds. Tyrion was not wanted by his sister, Cersei, or by his nephew, King Joffrey, but his father, who Tyrion thought despised him, made it possible for Tyrion to become King’s Hand. Tyrion used his knowledge and mindful prowess to stop King’s Landing from falling and kept his head on his shoulders the entire time. Every chapter in the perspective of Tyrion was very well written and kept me interested. I am not saying all of the other chapters were trash, but I suppose they just didn’t interest me as much.
Surprisingly, there weren’t as many chapters in the perspective of Daenerys, who takes up a lot of screen time in the show. She is a much beloved character, and rightfully so, but I believe her character did not grow as much in this book, but character development was focused on the other characters (Tyrion, Theon, Arya, Bran and Jon in particular). For the majority of the book, Daenerys is just trying to get men and ships to bring her to Westeros. Ironically, she can be seen as a “Beggar Queen” in this book, much like her brother Viserys, was called the “Beggar King”, as she’s just asking for men and ships from others who have more power than her. I believe her dragons could just be seen as tools in this book to make Daenerys appear more powerful.
I enjoyed seeing new characters added to the chapter perspective list in this book, including the characters of Davos and Theon Greyjoy. Davos was just used as a tool to show the readers a “behind the scenes” look of what Stannis Baratheon is doing to make his claim for the Iron Throne, including his use of the Red Priestess to get what he wants. The character of Theon Greyjoy was annoying as usual, but it was interesting to see why Theon does the things he does as well as where he came from and family background.
You may be curious to know if I have watched the show or not, and my answer? Yes and no. I am not caught up to the most recent episode and I don’t plan to be for quite some time. On the GoT wikia website, they show which chapters are in each episode, and I’ve been reading the chapters before watching each episode. It takes time, but for me it’s worth it because I’m able to enjoy the episode a bit more and am able to see the differences between the books and the show.
There are a lot of chronological differences between the book and the show, but that’s understandable. There are some differences between the scenes and how they play out, but everything ends the same way. One difference that kind of annoyed me is the fact that Theon killed Ser Rodrik in the show, right in front of Bran and his brother, through a botched execution. In the books, Ser Rodrik simply died in battle, and by that time, Bran and his brother had hidden themselves in the crypts. Although Theon is definitely an annoying asshole of a character, I don’t believe him killing off Ser Rodrik was necessary, as it only made him look more annoying. In the books, there is more depth to Theon, and they don’t portray that depth very well in the show.
Also, the character of Cersei is more intricate in the books, but simply portrayed as a cold hearted bitch in the TV show. I agree that she is a cold hearted bitch, but I believe her intentions are more clearly portrayed in the books than on the show. Plus, there are a few scenes in the book where Cersei is shown as…nice? I know, hard to believe, but it’s true! Also in the book, the relationship between Cersei and Tyrion is seen a bit more. It shows that since they are family, they respect one another, but quarrel nonstop because of their obvious differences and disagreements. There were some parts in the book where Cersei and Tyrion interact with one another, which I would have loved to see on the screen, but were totally cut out from the show. One such scene is where Cersei picks up Tyrion and swings him around the room in excitement, but due to how the writers of the show want to portray Cersei, that scene was cut out.
All in all, I love the book and the show and I plan on continuing reading the series. If you have not gotten into the whole GoT craze, I definitely recommend the books as they are literary works of art.