Study Guide

A Clash of Kings Family

By George R.R. Martin

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Family plays a huge role in A Clash of Kings, and not just because the families of the Seven Kingdoms are huge. Seriously, everybody is related to everybody, and they all share, like, five names between them. Thematically, though, families represent the conflict between the individual and the group he or she associates with. That is, does being a member of a certain family make you a certain type of person, or is the individual free to choose their own being? It's a bit like the nature versus nurture debate, and just like that debate, the answer here is both.

Questions About Family

  1. What family do you hope will succeed and why? If you cannot root for any one family, then explain why? Based on your answer, what can you determine about the theme of family in the novel?
  2. The novel focuses on many characters that are the misfits of their family: Theon, Arya, and Tyrion for example. How do these characters interact with their families and what life decisions do these interactions lead them to? What does this tell you about the relationship between the individual and family in the novel?
  3. Check out this comprehensive list of House Words. What do these house words tell you about the families to which they belong? Do these mottos reflect all members of each family? If not, do you notice a pattern in which ones they do reflect? What does this tell you about the novel's use of this theme?

Chew on This

Political and family conflicts are one and the same in the Seven Kingdoms, a consequence of the tightly bound feudalist social structure.

The breakup of the family unit is one of the major consequences of war presented by the novel.

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