Harald Bluetooth & Black Friday’s Bastard

On Black Friday, the day after US Thanksgiving, American retail shops unleash legions of deals upon consumers. As retailers attempt to milk more profits from consumers, a new tradition has arisen to induce people to shop online the Monday after Black Friday: Cyber Monday (or Cyber Week). This year, online retailers like Amazon, “celebrated” Cyber Week from December 1st to December 7th – and the sales totals are now in ($2.68 billion). So, in honor of Cyber Week – or simply…

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Richard III, a Royal Bastard? An Illegal Queen? The King’s DNA & Signs of Adultery

Recently, University of Leicester announced that with nearly 100% certainty the skeleton in the car park is Richard III — and they discovered evidence of adultery somewhere in Richard III’s family tree. Now newspapers are leading with headlines questioning Queen Elizabeth’s right to the throne. Regardless of whether there is illegitimacy in Elizabeth’s line, it doesn’t matter. She’s been anointed. Monarchs can legitimately claim the right to the throne in several different ways, including by right of conquest. As soon as a monarch is…

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The Origins of Chivalry, Knights Beating Maidens

I only just discovered that, for the next four days, the Getty museum in Los Angeles, California has an exhibit about chivalry. It ends on November 30th, 2014. The museum created two videos for the exhibit, which made me reflect on the origins of chivalry. If you love knights and all things martial, definitely check out the combat demonstrations in the first video. It brings to life the fighting styles in the Italian manuscript The Flower of Battle (Il Fior di Battaglia) c. 1410. Both videos are embedded…

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Reversed: Tyrion as Richard III and Coriolanus

Late in A Storm of Swords, Tyrion Lannister goes on trial for the murder of King Joffrey, his 13-year-old nephew. The plot is obviously inspired by not only the historical mystery of “Princes in the Tower,” but also Shakespeare’s depiction of the event in the play Richard III. A clear indication of George R.R. Martin’s nod to the play itself, beyond historical facts, is the effects of being born deformed and ugly on the central character and the dynamics between…

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Isabeau & Cersei Sleep With Their Brothers, Part 2

This article is continued from here. Like Cersei, Isabeau was extremely close to her brother Louis of Bavaria (c. 1368-1447). Isabeau continuously promoted his career and arranged excellent marriages for him. Isabeau was also accused of sleeping with her brother-in-law, Louis of Orleans — a proximity the Church considered incestuous. Maybe the rumored relationship between Isabeau and Louis and the blatantly false accusation that Anne Boleyn slept with her brother George inspired George RR Martin to create Jaime and Cersei’s incestuous relationship. Like Jaime, Louis…

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The Queens Who Love Their Brothers: Cersei and Isabeau of Bavaria

An unfaithful power-hungry silver-tongued queen, who sleeps with her brother, bore an illegitimate heir to the throne, and acts as regent – who else could this be other than Cersei Lannister? Surprisingly, it could also be, at least by the traditional view, Queen Isabeau of France. Born Elizabeth of Bavaria-Ingolstadt (c.1370), Isabeau (as the French called her) was the queen of France during the Armagnac-Burgundian phase of Hundred Years War. Isabeau is also famous for being the mother of two…

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