The Soprano’s Medieval Heart

For quite some time, I have been meaning to write an article about Game of Thrones‘ fantastic Emmy win. Yes, I realize the news cycle has passed, but I still think the win is superb and long overdue recognition of fantasy as a genre. In the meantime, however, I found this article sitting on my hard drive, so I thought I would publish it. While rewatching some episodes of The Sopranos, I noticed some references to the Middle Ages and became…

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Sons of Anarchy, The Bastard Executioner, Honor-based Culture

It’s a long winter when Game of Thrones is off the air. In fact, it feels like years. So when Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner premieres in the United States on FX tonight, it might provide some respite. The Bastard Executioner follows fourteenth-century warrior Wilkin Brattle after a messenger implores him to give up warfare to become an executioner. I’m excited about the show because the showrunner is Kurt Sutter of Sons of Anarchy. Ron Howard’s partner superproducer Brian Grazer pitched Kurt Sutter…

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Longshanks and the Lion: Edward I of England and Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterley Rock, Warden of the West, Hand of the King and (and my favourite character in the TV series) is often regarded as a reimagining of ‘The Kingmaker’ Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428-70). Certainly, if Robert’s Rebellion and the events preceding the books and TV series are assumed to represent the early stages of the Wars of the Roses, this is a fair comparison. Both Warwick and Tywin were the most powerful noblemen in their…

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Valar Morghulis & Memento Mori

One of the most powerful and often quoted catch phrases from Game of Thrones has to be “valar morghulis” – a mantra that closely resembles a memento mori. In the Middle Ages, art depicted reminders of our mortality – skulls and other symbols of death. Artists intended these symbols to remind their audience of the fleeting vanities of wealth and other earthly pursuits. A Latin phrase – memento mori, or “remember that you have to die” – came to encapsulate this mortal reflection….

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Daenerys & Deianira: Greek Myths and Khal Drogo’s death

I am probably not alone in having read the demise of Khal Drogo in A Game of Thrones with disbelief and a bit of outrage. For such a super-masculine warrior, who had a headful of bells tied into braids because he had never lost a battle, this was no fitting way to go. Yet, if we think about it, it all makes better sense than having him cut down heroically in combat. He had of course killed many in his…

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I couldn’t have said it better myself…

In the category of “I couldn’t have said it better myself,” I found this delightful article about Game of Thrones and history from Cinemania in Madrid, “6 lecciones de Historia que has visto en ‘Juego de tronos’ by Yago Garcia. My Spanish is terrible and Google Translate chokes on this article, so here is my very crude translation… The article begins with the most common excuses we hear for not watching GoT or reading ASOIAF – and, boy, do I get…

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