Study Guide

A Clash of Kings Society and Class

By George R.R. Martin

Society and Class

Think living in the 21st century can be rough? Then we suggest you skip your Westeros vacation, since that place can go medieval on you. You know the drill: kings, knights, chivalry, and disease—whole bunches of disease ruining everything for everyone. This is a society that loves its hierarchy, be it financially-based or structured around gender. So here's the deal: If this all sounds pretty terrible to you, then just visit vicariously by bringing A Clash of Kings with you on your next beach vacation. You can get a tan and visit a society that leaves a whole lot to be desired.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. The king controls the society of the Seven Kingdoms. Based on your reading of the novel, do you agree with this statement? If yes, then why? If not, then why not, and who really cracks that whip?
  2. Why do you think the novel refers to the common people as "smallfolk"? In your opinion, do we get to know many smallfolk personally or not? What does this tell you about class in Seven Kingdoms's society?
  3. Why do you think the novel spends so much time detailing Qarth's society and class structure? How does this broaden our understanding of this theme in the novel?

Chew on This

Although the rigid feudalist structure of the Seven Kingdoms hinders social mobility, there are a few characters that demonstrate an ability to rise—namely Davos, Varys, and Littlefinger.

The women of the Seven Kingdoms receive their social status based on their husband instead of personal merit. This is why Dany's story of moving up the social ladder takes place on an entirely different continent.

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