A Clash of Kings
George R. R. Martin
Some people might tell you that A Clash of Kings broadened scope and fresh perspectives are what make it such an engrossing read. Some might say that Tyrion’s scheming is top notch, or the Hound really gets some fantastic character moments. But really the thing that makes A Clash of Kings worth reading is one man. Dolorous Edd Tollett.
Introduced on page 180 (of the ebook version) as follows:
Jon was paired with dour Eddison Tollett, a squire grey of hair and thin as a pike, whom the other brothers called Dolorous Edd. “Bad enough the dead come walking,” he said to Jon as they crossed the village, “now the Old Bear wants them talking as well? No good will come of that, I’ll warrant. And whose to say bones wouldn’t lie? Why should death make a man truthful, or even clever? The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints—the ground’s too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does he have more worms than I do…
That last bit is brilliant. But it only gets better. I chuckled at this line “All I smell is the shit of two hundred horses. And this stew. Which has a similar smell now that I come to sniff it.” Dolorous Edd has a pretty strong following on the internet, particularly as he is a character whose primary job is to complain with droll humor. I can’t say why in particular Dolorous Edd enchanted me as much as he did but I found myself looking forward Jon Snow’s chapters in A Clash of Kings more as a result. For such an event and plot driven novel that Martin has such command over the characterization of even the most minor players is impressive almost beyond belief.