Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings
By George R R Martin

Reading the Game of Thrones series by Martin is very much like watching a train wreck followed by an interstate pile-up. You just can't seem to help watching all the drama, terror, death, dismemberment and major chaos. I want to say I have enjoyed the series but I can't go that far. I do recommend it but only for those who can stand lots of tragedy without one character to really identify with. I am now reading the fourth book, which I hope to review by Monday.

A Clash of Kings is set in the medieval fantasy world of the Seven Kingdoms and follows the political intrigue to hold what is known as the iron throne (literally a throne made of iron swords). This is the second book in the series in which some of the same characters are followed but several new characters are added. The warning label here is that almost no one gets a nice ending and a few will lose their lives on the way (but you won't know which ones for sure until the next book).

The main theme for this book is that everyone has a claim to the throne. I think by the end of the book at least six great lords have claimed to be king. So, everyone is either scrambling around trying to swear fealty to a king or claiming a crown for themselves. Loyalty and fealty change hands as easily as coins and the ones who suffer are the little people -- their lands become battlefields and places for pillaging.

I must say that Martin is the master at the unexpected but perhaps this is to the detriment of becoming attached to any one character. I suppose you would call Martin a storyteller; the story is the character for Martin. No one person is so interesting to really become the protagonist. Instead, you have multiple story lines and multiple points of view. Don't become attached to anyone -- Martin regularly kills them off and/or mutilates them. Of course, some do come back to life but I won't say more on that.

What did this book have to do with my faith? Where is my loyalty? To which king do I swear fealty? I suppose most Christians claim to be loyal to Jesus as King but their lives often prove differently. Many Christians are more loyal to their own families than to Christ. Others are more loyal to their work. Still others worship power, money, time, prestige, and fame, not to mention themselves. And I am still talking just about "followers" of Christ. Where is your loyalty? To whom to you swear fealty? Are you sure?

I recommend that A Clash of Kings for those who read A Game of Thrones.

Happy reading!


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