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A Clash of Kings

The second novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series by American author George R. R. Martin expected to consist of seven volumes. It was first published on 16 November 1998 in the United Kingdom, although the first United States edition did not follow until March 1999. Like its predecessor, A Game of Thrones, it won the Locus Award (in 1999) for Best Novel and was nominated for the Nebula Award (also in 1999) for best novel. In May 2005 Meisha Merlin released a limited edition of the novel, fully illustrated by John Howe.

The novel has been adapted for television by HBO as the second season of the TV series Game of Thrones.

A Clash of Kings is also the name of the first expansion to the Game of Thrones board game.

A Clash of Kings picks up where A Game of Thrones ended. The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are plagued by civil war, while the Night's Watch mounts a reconnaissance force north of the Wall to investigate the mysterious people, known as wildlings, who live there. Meanwhile, in the distant east, Daenerys Targaryen continues her quest to return to and conquer the Seven Kingdoms. All signs are foreshadowing the terrible disaster that is to come.

The civil war to claim the Iron Throne becomes more complex. Three kings had declared their claims in A Game of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Stannis Baratheon. Robb Stark declares himself King in the North while Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands, launching a massive assault along the west coast of the North, and becoming the fifth of the war's kings. At the Stark stronghold of Winterfell, Robb's younger brother Bran Stark is in command. He finds two new friends when Jojen and Meera Reed arrive from Greywater Watch and take an interest in his strange dreams.

A scouting party from the Night's Watch advances northwards from the Wall. At Craster's Keep they learn that the normally anarchic wildlings are uniting under a single figure, King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. The Watch continues north to a ruined fortress formerly known as the Fist of the First Men. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont sends Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand on an advanced reconnaissance of the Skirling Pass.

In the pass, Snow and Halfhand find themselves being hunted by wildling warriors. Facing certain defeat, Halfhand commands Snow to act as an oathbreaker to infiltrate the wildlings and learn their plans. To create proof he has truly turned, Halfhand forces Jon to fight him, and Jon kills him with the aid of his direwolf Ghost. Jon learns that Rayder is already advancing on the Wall with tens of thousands of fighters.

Daenerys Targaryen strikes east across the forbidding red waste, accompanied by the knight Jorah Mormont, her remaining few loyal followers, and three newborn dragons. Scouts find a safe route to the great trading city of Qarth. Daenerys is the wonder of the city for her dragons. One merchant in particular seems especially interested in her, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who is the leader of the Thirteen, a prominent group of traders in Qarth. He initially acts as a great host, but ultimately Daenerys cannot secure commitment from the merchants for aid in claiming the throne of Westeros because she refuses to give away one of her dragons. As a last resort, Daenerys seeks council from the warlocks of Qarth, but in the House of the Undying, the warlocks show Daenerys many confusing images and her life is threatened. Daenerys' dragon, Drogon, burns down the House of the Undying, sparking the enmity of the Qartheen. An attempt to assassinate Daenerys at the city's harbour is thwarted by the arrival of two strangers, a fat warrior named Strong Belwas and his squire, an aged warrior named Arstan Whitebeard. They are agents of Daenerys's ally Illyrio Mopatis, come to escort her back to Pentos.

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