November, 2013

Medieval Food: Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah and tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. – two tremendous feast days. I thought it might be interesting, given the occasion, to look briefly at medieval food and Game of Thrones. George RR Martin has acknowledged that he “loosely” based Game of Thrones on England in the 1400s and limits GoT food to what was available during that period. Martin describes food so much throughout the Song of Ice and Fire series that…

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Sigils in Game of Thrones, Medieval Marketing

Game of Thrones famously employs “words” and sigils to represent houses. As we all know, House Stark’s words are “Winter is Coming” and their sigil is the dire wolf. George RR Martin lifted sigils, banners, and words directly from the pages of real-life history – although he did rename them and made them more transparent to readers. Badges, coats of arm, banners, mottoes all fall under the broad and extremely complex category of heraldry. George RR Martin was right to…

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Is Chivalry Death?

“Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men at battle than a dozen at dinner?” Twyin Lannister rhetorically asks Tyrion when Tyrion disparages Tywin’s role in the Red Wedding.1  Tywin’s question embodies one of the central philosophical issues in Game of Thrones: did chivalry cause more harm than good? Tywin and Lord Frey’s actions possibly prevented thousands of deaths. By resolving the conflict with Robb Stark quickly, Tywin may have saved the lives of half his…

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