‘A Clash of Kings’ takes place after Eddard Stark’s death and the rise of Robb as the King in the North. The story cuts across the continents of Essos and Westeros and shows the war between six kings struggling for power, dominance, and the throne.
‘Spoiler-Free’ Summary of A Clash of Kings
‘A Clash of Kings’ begins with a comet flying across the sky. In Dragonstone, maester Cressen acknowledges that the comet is a bad sign but hides his fears from everyone. He gets suspicious of a woman called the Lady of Light Stannis had by his side. When he tries to advise Stannis against the magician, his words fall on deaf ears, and he gets replaced by his disciple. Later, he tries ending the Lady of Light but fails.
In King’s Landing, a tourney gets held for Joffrey on his name day. A drunk knight called Dontos ridicules himself, and before Joffrey orders his death, Sansa helps him out. Yoren takes Arya out of the city, and she meets some boys, among them Hot Pie. Tyrion returns to King’s Landing with a letter from his father stating he is to serve as the Hand of the King.
In Night’s Watch, Jon meets Samwell skimming through the library books for maps to help them beyond the wall. He talks with Lord Mormont, who gives him a history of maester Aemon’s past and how he rejected the throne many times.
In Riverrun, Catelyn watches Robb as he lays out terms and conditions for Jaime Lannister’s release to Ser Cleos Frey, Cersei’s cousin. He also sends Theon back to his father to seek help. In King’s Landing, Tyrion begins weeding out the people on the small council.
From Dragonstone, Stannis sends a letter to all the lords of the ruling houses of Westeros stating the truth about Cersei’s children.
In Essos, Daenerys, now the mother of three dragons, takes her tiny Khalasaar across the desolate land. They eventually see an abandoned town. Aggo, her bloodrider, brings three strangers from a city called Quarth.
Beyond the wall, Jon sends a report to Mormont concerning wildling villages getting abandoned. On receiving the letter from Stannis about Cersei, Tyrion tries to find a solution by plotting to spread false information about Stannis Baratheon’s daughter Shireen. In Winterfell, Bran gets word of Stannis’s letter and later dreams about the three-eyed crow.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion learns that Renly Baratheon, Stannis’s brother, is marching on King’s Landing to claim the throne with the House of Tyrell as his support. Tyrion begins plotting a way to get Myrcella married to Prince Martell of Dorne.
Arya, now traveling with Yoren, gets forced by Gendry to reveal her gender. He later gets captured by Ser Gregor Clegane. Later Arya, along with her friends, meets the same fate. They get taken to a castle held by Tywin, where she meets a friend called Jaqen H’gar. Catelyn meets Renly and gets introduced to a female knight, Brienne.
On the other side of the Wall, Jon meets a Crater, a man who was the friend of the Night’s Watch. From there, Jon learns that Mance Rayder, a man who claimed to be the wildlings’ King, was plotting something sinister. In Westeros, tragedy strikes for Renly, and Brienne leaves with Catelyn. Sansa gets word of her brother’s victory from Tyrion and gets elated.
Beyond the wall, Jon’s wolf finds something belonging to a brother of the Night’s Watch; this gives him more hope. He later learns of Mance Rayder’s plans for the wall. Arya gets happy as Tywin Lannister begins marching out of Harrenhal.
In Essos, Daenerys enters Quarth but gets warned by a woman about the city. Realizing that an alliance with Dorne is necessary, Tyrion arranges for Myrcella to get taken to Dorne.
On returning from the quay, Joffrey confronts the people. Catelyn’s brother successfully defeats Gregor, and Roose Bolton takes over Harrenhal with help from Arya. She later leaves the castle with Gendry, Hot Pie, and others. In Quarth, Daenerys gets hallucinations after entering a magical house. She escapes but learns that warlocks are after her.
In Winterfell, Theon takes over using an uprising, but Bran and Rickon escape. Knowing he lost his bargaining chip, Theon stages a false demise for the Stark brothers. Bran and two of his friends agree to go North while they take his little brother South.
Stannis marches on King’s Landing, and Tyrion tries to save the city. He gets injured, but all goes well, and he gets rescued. Beyond the wall, Jon meets Ygritte and follows a plan to infiltrate the wildlings’ camp.
A Clash of Kings Plot Summary
In the sky, a comet burns red as maester Cressen, the maester of Dragonstone, notes that it is a sign of a bad omen. He reminisces about how his Lord, Stannis Baratheon, had always been treated like an outcast by everyone. He gets bitter about the new Red Priestess of R’hilor, Melisandre of Asshai, who has become an adviser to Stannis.
Cressen tries making Stannis desist from using Melisandre’s dark magic but fail in persuading him. As a last resort, he poisons a drink and gives Melisandre. She drinks from the cup and offers Cressen too. However, Cressen dies, and she does not.
In King’s Landing, Arya gets smuggled out of King’s Landing by Yoren. She meets a boy, Hot Pie, and he tries to take Needle from her. She beats him up, and Yoren takes her away to discipline her. He reveals that her father was supposed to become a brother of the Night’s Watch but got killed instead.
Back in the capital of Westeros, Joffrey holds a tourney for his name day. A Drunk knight disgraces himself, and Sansa saves him from getting killed. Tyrion returns to the capital with a letter from his father stating he is the acting Hand of the King.
In Winterfell, Bran begins having dreams about being a wolf. He tells maester Luwin about his visions, and the maester gives him a sleeping drought. He later walks into the body of his direwolf, Summer.
Meanwhile, on the road to the Night’s Watch, Yoren gets stopped by some soldiers from King’s Landing. Arya thought they were after her but learns they were after someone else, a boy named Gendry. Yoren fends them off, stating that Night’s Watch had no business with the Queen. In the Night’s Watch, Jon hears a tale about the past of maester Aemon, the true heir to the Iron Throne, because he was the oldest surviving child of King Maekar I. Lord Mormont tells Jon how Aemon rejected the throne every time. He also learns the history of the Targaryen kings.
In Riverrun, Robb frees Ser Cleos and uses him to send a message to King’s Landing stating the terms of releasing Jaime Lannister. Catelyn talks with her uncle about allying with Renly Baratheon, Stannis’s brother.
From Dragonstone, Stannis writes several letters to different lords, stating why he claimed the Iron Throne. He accuses Cersei of having illegitimate children for her brother Jaime.
In Essos, Daenerys and her small Khalasar travel through the desolate land in search of water and food. She decides to follow the comet as doing otherwise puts her new dragons at risk. After traveling for a long time, she finds refuge in an abandoned city. She sends out her bloodriders, and Aggo later returns with three strangers from Quarth Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhaon Daxos, and Quaithe.
Jon investigates a deserted village beyond the wall. In Winterfell, Bran receives Stannis’s letter and learns from Lady Manderly that Ramsay snow is amassing men and may try to take her land. Bran dreams that a golden man threw him off a tower.
In King’s Landing, Sansa receives a letter from an unknown person telling her to meet her in the godswood if she wants to escape. She finds Dontos, who tells her he has a plan to rescue her.
Arya spots a small village, and in trying to learn more about it, Gendry gets captured by Ser Gregor Clegane. Later, a plan to free Gendry fails, and Arya gets captured while her friend Lommy gets killed.
Tyrion receives the terms from Ser Cleos to free Jaime. He agrees to give back Eddard Stark’s bones and sword. He also reveals to Cersei that he has arranged a marriage for Myrcella to Martell of Dorne.
Catelyn meets Renly Baratheon, who had also claimed the title of King. He tells her how he offered to help her husband take the throne for peace. With the support of the Tyrells, Renly shows Catelyn the might of his army. He tells Catelyn that her son must acknowledge him as King. Stannis sieges Storm’s End, and Renly gets word of the siege.
Beyond the wall, Jon meets Craster, a man who married his daughters. He learns from one of them, Gilly, that the boys get sacrificed to the cold gods with blue eyes. Later, Lord Mormont reveals to Jon that Mance Rayder was gathering men to march on King’s Landing.
Theon Greyjoy travels back home and proposes to his father his plans to capture Winterfell so that house Greyjoy can become the leader of the North. With Yoren and his men dead, Arya gets taken to Harrenhal, the castle holding Tywin Lannister. She gets assigned to the kitchen.
In Essos, Daenerys gets welcomed to Quarth. She learns of the death of Robert Baratheon and the war for the Iron throne. In Winterfell, Bran meets Jojen and Meera Reed and discovers he has greensight. When Jojen tries to press Bran into revealing more about his dreams, Summer gets angry Jojen escapes for his life.
In Harrenhal, Arya learns that her brother, Robb, was winning against the Lannisters. She gets punished by Chiswyck and meets Jaqen H’gar, a man that promises to kill three people she names. She chooses Chiswyck, and he gets killed.
As Renly prepares to battle his brother, Catelyn tries to make both brothers see to reason but fails. Renly tells her to stay and witness his victory. Later, he gets killed by a shadow, and Brienne gets accused of killing her King. Catelyn escapes with her.
The men of the Night’s Watch reach the Fist of the First Men to wait for men from the shadow tower of the Night’s Watch. Ghost, Jon’s Direwolf, uncovers Dragonglass weapons.
In Winterfell, Bran learns about his brother’s victories against the Lannisters. Later, Ser Rodrick returns with a prisoner, Reek, who helped Roose Bolton’s bastard in killing his wife by starving her. On hearing of Renly’s death, Tyrion begins arranging for his wife, Margaery, to marry Joffrey.
In The Iron Islands, Theon tries to win over Winterfell and interrogates Benfred Tallheart. He makes a plan with his uncle to capture Winterfell. Back at Harrenhal, Tywin begins marching out against the Starks.
Catelyn learns that her son was victorious against Stafford Lannister. She learned some men tried freeing Jaime but got killed. She also receives her husband’s bones and sword and commands the silent sisters to lay Ned to rest in the crypts of Winterfell.
In Quarth, Xaro asks for Daenerys’s hand in marriage, but Jorah warns her that he is only after her dragons. Quaithe warns her to leave Quarth as they will not want her to go again.
Daenerys visits the House of the Undying, where she hallucinates many visions and gets saved from ghosts by her dragon. She learns from Xaro that the warlocks from the House of the Undying will be out to get her.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion puts Myrcella on a boat to Dorne. On the ride back to Maegor’s Holdfast, feces get thrown at Joffrey, and a riot ensues as he orders Sandor Clegane to kill the people. After they escape, Tyrion slaps Joffrey.
Davos, Stannis’s knight, learns that Melisandre has been sleeping with Stannis. She uses her dark magic to give birth to a shadow. Beyond the Wall, Jon learns that Mance Rayder plans to break it.
Catelyn watches her brother, Edmure, march to take over Harrenhal. Later, she gets word of his successful defeat against Gregor Clegane. In Winterfell, Bran walks in his direwolf summer. He wakes up to Theon telling him that he has taken over Winterfell. Reek and Osha join Theon.
Back in Harrenhal, Arya helps in the sacking of Harrenhal by using H’gar to free 100 northern men. Before he leaves, H’gar gives Arya a coin and tells her that whenever she reaches Braavos, she should give it to any man and say, ‘Valar Morghulis.’ Arya later escapes from Harrenhal by killing a guard.
In Winterfell, Bran and his brother disappear; this forces Theon to stage their death. In King’s Landing, Tyrion gets a letter about Bran and Rickon’s alleged death. He and his sister talk about what happened to Bran as she confesses.
On hearing the news of her son’s death, Catelyn gives in to grief. In a desperate attempt to find the truth, she gets Jaime drunk, and he reveals how he threw Bran off the tower. He also narrates to Catelyn the horrors Ned’s father and brother, Brandon experienced at the hands of Aerys II Targaryen.
In Winterfell, Theon’s sister, Asha, visits and scolds him for killing the Stark boys. In King’s Landing, Sansa stays in the Red Keep as the Battle of the Blackwater begins. She prays for Joffrey to die.
As Davos’s fleet reaches Blackwater, he notices a chain boom but does nothing. Wildfire gets unleashed on Stannis and Tyrion’s troops.
As Tyrion watches Stannis and his troops burn, he gives Joffrey the chance to release the catapults. He learns that a faction of men is trying to break down the King’s Gate and goes to confront them.
In the Red Keep, Sansa learns that Cersei does not plan to live should King’s Landing fall. On the battlefront, Tyrion gets injured across the face but gets saved by Podrick, his squire.
Cersei hears from Lancel that the war is lost. Sansa celebrates but receives news from Dontos, who tells her that Tywin Lannister and the Tyrells came in and saved King’s Landing before Stannis got through.
In Winterfell, Ser Rodrick returns from the battle at Torren’s square and tries to reclaim the city. He gets killed, and Reek reveals himself as Ramsay Bolton.
Beyond the Wall, Jon meets Ygritte and sets her free. Later, Qhorin, a man of the Night’s Watch, devises a plan that involves Jon becoming a part of the wildlings. He tells Jon to do whatever he gets asked when they get captured. Jon gets asked to kill Qhorin.
In Winterfell, Bran and his brother escape with the help of Osha. Bran decides to go North with Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, to the North in search of answers, while Osha takes Rickon South to White Harbor.
What is the plot of A Clash of Kings?
The events in ‘A Clash of Kings’ begin after the death of Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark in ‘A Game of Thrones.’ With Joffrey the new king, Stannis Baratheon lays claim to the Iron Throne on receiving a letter from Ned. Renly also rises. Eventually, Westeros gets thrown into a conflict called the War of the Five Kings. As the war rages on, Arya escapes from King’s Landing but gets captured by Tywin Lannister’s men. She eventually escapes. Beyond the wall, Jon Snow investigates the disappearance of his uncle, and it leads him to the camp of the wildlings. Daenerys travels to Quarth, where she visits the House of the Undying and almost gets consumed. In the end, Renly dies, Stannis suffers a heavy defeat, and the Greyjoys lose Winterfell.
How long will it take to read A Clash of Kings?
With an average reading rate of 300 words per minute, it will take about 18 hours to complete ‘A Clash of Kings.’ The lengthy novel contains many primary and secondary characters, each having a specific role.
Who are the five kings in the War of the Five Kings?
Who dies in A Clash of Kings?
By the end of ‘A Clash of Kings,’ Renly Baratheon dies, Ser Rodrick gets killed by Ramsay’s men, and maester Cressen dies by poisoning himself. Renly’s death heavily impacts the war as Tyrion gets an alliance with the Tyrells and secures Margaery as Joffrey’s wife.