So on to book two and another 873 pages of fighting, politics and... fighting and politics. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Quite the opposite in fact; it is a testament to how much a fantastic writer Martin is, as he has managed to develop so many interesting and exciting characters. And some real masters of hypocrisy as well. But I’ll get to that later.
However, my first stopping point was on page 16 when Stannis, Davos and a few others are having dinner. Two women are being discussed and Davos says ‘her.’ I had to read the paragraph several times to work out that Davos was actually talking about Stannis’s wife and not the evil witchy Melisandre. I was thinking that, in a book of over 800 pages, a few extra words to clear this confusion up wouldn’t have hurt.
On page 54, we switch from not explaining enough to stating the clearly obvious. Tyrion lying is like a fish swimming. It doesn’t need to be drawn attention to. In fact, this sort of thing should be left to the reader. Readers would get more satisfaction out of working out whether Tyrion is lying than having the author use unnecessary exposition to tell them.
The next thing is something I’ve been wanting to discuss for a while –the use of ‘a’ and ‘an’ and when it is appropriate. First off, on page 121 the sentence reads, ‘...what a honor it is...’ which is correct on a technical level, however, if spoken it should be ‘an honor’. I’m not sure if this is down to my English background (that’s my being English, not my study of the language) but the use of ‘an’ before most words being with h is encouraged but is not something I wholly agree with. There are only four words beginning with h where it is appropriate to use ‘an’ as a prefix, of which ‘honor’ is one of them. Incidentally, most words that begin with a vowel should be preceded by ‘an’ except for the word ‘eunuch’ which appears as ‘an eunuch’ on page 166.
There are a few other small typing errors, which are to be expected in book of this magnitude, however there is one more punctuation mishap that caught my attention. On page 168, Theon is talking about some inane bullshit, the way that he does, but there was no closing speech mark and then someone else started talking, but the punctuation led me to initially believe Theon was still prattling on.
All that aside it is a fantastic book and one that generated a lot of emotion in me especially towards Catelyn Stark. She made me laugh whole heartedly when she thought to herself, Is there any creature on earth as unfortunate as an ugly woman? I couldn’t help but think of her dead husband or maybe her young crippled son who would never walk again. But no, to Cateyn, Brienne is most unfortunate creature alive because she is ugly! Brienne can kill pretty much anyone in single combat but she is more unfortunate than Catelyn’s own crippled boy who can’t ride a horse unaided and will never be able to walk again.
I found it a rather poor decision that when Robb rides of off with most of the North in tow, Catelyn decides that the best place for her is by his side rather than looking after her two youngest sons who are effectively alone, without any parents, knowing their father is dead, in Winterfell. She is the equivalent of an 18 year old mother of two who leaves her children with her parents so she can go out and get pissed.
So in summary it’s an excellent book with a few minor mistakes in the early pages. Once hooked, I couldn’t put it down and charged straight on with the next one.
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin was published by Voyager in 1998. RRP £9.99 (Paperback)