Study Guide

A Clash of Kings Mortality

By George R.R. Martin

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Death is everywhere in A Clash of Kings, and that's not an exaggeration—people die in every location in every horrific way imaginable. Ser Amory is killed by a bear at Harrenhal, and thousands die by wildfire in the Battle of Blackwater at King's Landing. Heck, Renly is murdered by a shadow at Storm's End, and, generally speaking, we can't think of anything less harmful than a shadow. Death comes for everyone, but in this world, it can be shocking to see just how commonplace this macabre part of life really is.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Why do you think death is so prevalent in the novel? Does it make you reconsider the use of this theme in other fantasy novels or movies?
  2. What reasons do you see characters providing to warrant killing others? Do they provide sufficient reasons? Any insufficient ones? Why do you think this?
  3. Martin seems to employ many different ways to kill his characters. Consider a few of the more exotic ones. Why do you think so many different methods of death are present in the novel? How does this relate to your reading of this theme?

Chew on This

Joffrey's disregard for death and its effects on others stems from his father's praise of war and the men who fight in them.

Witnessing so much death and destruction has desensitized Arya to the mortality of others, weakening her ability to feel empathy and increasing her understanding of killing as the solution to her problems.

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