Having spent all of A Game of Thrones accustoming myself to Roy Dotrice’s narration, I found that I could actually just listen to A Clash of Kings without perpetually wondering why Tyrion is Welsh when Jaime and Cersei aren’t, and who exactly Pee-tire and Bryeen are meant to be. I mean, it’s still there on the periphery, but it pulled me out of the story less this time around.
And what a story it is. Given that this is my third go through A Song of Ice and Fire, reading all five back-to-back without much of a break, it’s easy for the finer details of each book to merge into one another. I’m already a solid chunk into A Storm of Swords and it’s difficult to separate out what happened specifically in Clash. My favourite elements remain the Kings Landing politics. To say that Tyrion is far, far far from my favourite character, I still found myself eagerly anticipating his chapters, just to get back to the centre of things.
In Clash we also meet my One True King Stannis Baratheon, as seen through the eyes of perhaps Westeros’ truest Knight, Davos Seaworth. Stannis is a frustrating figure in this book, with Melisandre (who Dotrice bestows with a fifty-a-day smoker’s voice) taking most of the spotlight. I will never not enjoy Arya’s time at Harrenhal, playing Jaqen at his own game and growing from mouse to direwolf. Daenerys takes more of a back-foot here, and I’m not overly enamored with her time in Qarth. And Theon is just ugh ugh ugh.
Overall though, man these books are special.
[Read from 2 December 2016-9 January 2017]