The political scene of Westeros is all about manipulation: of people, of information, of money, of the law, of other manipulators, and so on. Of course, this is nothing new if you read the first book in the series, so why bring it up again? Because of Tyrion Lannister. See, Ned Stark wasn't very good at playing the game of thrones, hence his political career was cut short. On the other hand, Tyrion is pretty good at the game of thrones. In A Clash of Kings, we witness how the game is properly played, giving us a whole new appreciation for the manipulation it takes to lobby in Westeros politics.
Questions About Manipulation
- Whom do you see as the great manipulator of the Seven Kingdoms? What does this character's tactics tell you about getting ahead in politics and/or society? How does this inform your view of both in the novel?
- Which character would you say is the least manipulative of the bunch? What role does this character play in politics and/or society, and how do you think they are doing? Comparing your answers with the question above, what does this tell you about the theme in the novel?
- Is there any place in Martin's world free from manipulations and political scheming? Why or why not?
- Does the novel feature forms of manipulation other than political scheming? If yes, what are they and how do they change your view of the theme? It not, then why not?
Chew on This
None of the great manipulators—Varys, Littlefinger, or Tywin Lannister—are given point-of-view chapters in the novel because readers are being manipulated by them, too.
Although Arya and Cersei develop two unique styles, both require the art of manipulation to survive in their respective parts of society.