Study Guide

A Clash of Kings Chapter 1

By George R.R. Martin

Chapter 1

Prologue

  • Cressen is maester to Lord Stannis Baratheon, the late King Robert's brother and legal heir. The maester will be our prologue narrator.
  • He recently received a white raven from the Citadel. The raven carried a message: Summer is over and winter is coming.
  • Cressen allows Shireen, Stannis's daughter, to visit the rare bird—the white raven, that is.
  • He learns Ser Davos Seaworth returned in the night and goes to provide Lord Stannis counsel.
  • On his way to the Chamber of the Painted Table, Cressen encounters Davos, one-time smuggler turned lawful knight.
  • Davos informs Cressen that the storm lords will not support Stannis's claim to the Iron Throne as they have thrown their support behind his younger, more popular brother, Renly Baratheon.
  • Cressen advises Stannis to find a common cause with Renly or Robb Stark, but Stannis refuses as long as they call themselves kings.
  • Lady Selyse, Stannis's wife, enters and asserts that the red comet is a sign sent to them by R'hllor, the Lord of Light. She believes Stannis is destined to kill Renly.
  • Cressen insists this new god, the Lord of Light, is the cause of the current madness and blames its priestess, the red woman, Melisandre of Asshai.
  • Returning to his chambers, the maester plans to poison Melisandre at the evening's feast. (It was the maester, in the great hall, with the poison, right?)
  • During the feast, Cressen learns he has been retired as maester and replaced with his assistant, Pylos.
  • After Melisandre mocks him, Cressen slips the poison into his wine glass and proposes a toast.
  • Melisandre drinks from the cup and is unaffected. Cressen then drinks and dies in agony. And with that, our first narrator bites the dust.