A Clash of Kings By George R. R. Martin

A Clash of Kings By George R. R. Martin
A Clash of Kings is 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.

From the book
At Winterfell they had called her “Arya Horseface” and she’d thought nothing could be
worse, but that was before the orphan boy Lommy Greenhands had named her “Lumpyhead.”
Her head felt lumpy when she touched it. When Yoren had dragged her into that alley
she’d thought he meant to kill her, but the sour old man had only held her tight, sawing
through her mats and tangles with his dagger. She remembered how the breeze sent the
fistfuls of dirty brown hair skittering across the paving stones, toward the sept where her
father had died. “I’m taking men and boys from the city,” Yoren growled as the sharp steel
scraped at her head. “Now you hold still, boy.” By the time he had finished, her scalp was
nothing but tufts and stubble.
Afterward he told her that from there to Winterfell she’d be Arry the orphan boy. “Gate
shouldn’t be hard, but the road’s another matter. You got a long way to go in bad company. I
got thirty this time, men and boys all bound for the Wall, and don’t be thinking they’re like
that bastard brother o’ yours.” He shook her. “Lord Eddard gave me pick o’ the dungeons, and
I didn’t find no little lordlings down there. This lot, half o’ them would turn you over to the
queen quick as spit for a pardon and maybe a few silvers. The other half’d do the same, only
they’d rape you first. So you keep to yourself and make your water in the woods, alone.
That’ll be the hardest part, the pissing, so don’t drink no more’n you need.”
Leaving King’s Landing was easy, just like he’d said. The Lannister guardsmen on the
gate were stopping everyone, but Yoren called one by name and their wagons were waved
through. No one spared Arya a glance. They were looking for a highborn girl, daughter of the
King’s Hand, not for a skinny boy with his hair chopped off. Arya never looked back. She
wished the Rush would rise and wash the whole city away, Flea Bottom and the Red Keep
and the Great Sept and everything, and everyone too, especially Prince Joffrey and his mother.
But she knew it wouldn’t, and anyhow Sansa was still in the city and would wash away too.
When she remembered that, Arya decided to wish for Winterfell instead.
Yoren was wrong about the pissing, though. That wasn’t the hardest part at all; Lommy
Greenhands and Hot Pie were the hardest part. Orphan boys. Yoren had plucked some from
the streets with promises of food for their bellies and shoes for their feet. The rest he’d found
in chains. “The Watch needs good men,” he told them as they set out, “but you lot will have
to do.”
Yoren had taken grown men from the dungeons as well, thieves and poachers and rapers
and the like. The worst were the three he’d found in the black cells who must have scared
even him, because he kept them fettered hand and foot in the back of a wagon, and vowed
they’d stay in irons all the way to the Wall. One had no nose, only the hole in his face where it
had been cut off, and the gross fat bald one with the pointed teeth and the weeping sores on
his cheeks had eyes like nothing human.
They took five wagons out of King’s Landing, laden with supplies for the Wall: hides
and bolts of cloth, bars of pig iron, a cage of ravens, books and paper and ink, a bale of
sourleaf, jars of oil, and chests of medicine and spices. Teams of plow horses pulled the
wagons, and Yoren had bought two coursers and a half-dozen donkeys for the boys. Arya
would have preferred a real horse, but the donkey was better than riding on a wagon.
The men paid her no mind, but she was not so lucky with the boys. She was two years
younger than the youngest orphan, not to mention smaller and skinnier, and Lommy and Hot
Pie took her silence to mean she was scared, or stupid, or deaf. “Look at that sword
Lumpyhead’s got there,” Lommy said one morning as they made their plodding way past
orchards and wheat fields. He’d been a dyer’s apprentice before he was caught stealing, and
his arms were mottled green to the elbow. When he laughed he brayed like the donkeys they
were riding. “Where’s a gutter rat like Lumpyhead get him a sword?”

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