March, 2014

The French Wars of the Roses: the Lion vs. the (Dire) Wolf

At the end of last season, the House Stark was gutted of its leadership. All the adults are gone: Ned Stark, Robb Stark, and Catelyn Stark are all dead. Since the Stark/Lannister conflict may be winding down, let’s examine one possible event that may have inspired it – Armagnac-Burgundian War, sometimes dubbed the “French Wars of the Roses.” There are striking parallels between the start of the Armagnac-Burgundian War (that is, the events leading up to the assassination of Duke Louis…

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Game of Thrones vs. A Song of Ice and Fire: Which is the REAL Game of Thrones?

Are the A Song of Ice and Fire novels better than the Game of Thrones TV show? Or, do you think the novels are too long and like the TV show better? Although Game of Thrones showrunners D. B. Weiss and  David Benioff have tried to stay true to the novels, as George RR Martin has noted, a little change in Season 1 becomes a huge change by Season 3. Olga and Craig Hughes, editors of Nerdalicious and beloved contributors to this website,…

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Arya, the Hound, and Men of the Hundred Years War

While rewatching the near gang rape of Brienne, it is striking how Jaime knew that Locke’s men would try to rape Brienne. Jaime knew because, for many soldiers in the periods on which the novels are based, rape was the standard behavior for many soldiers. At a six-hundred year remove, it is easy for the level of violence of these men to escape us. Historians assume and, consequently, neglect to elaborate on the “standard operating procedure” of medieval soldiers. In Medieval Warfare…

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Interview with Historian John Ashdown-Hill about George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

History Behind Game of Thrones is delighted to welcome Dr. John Ashdown-Hill today. John Ashdown-Hill is a renowned historian who played a crucial role in finding Richard III’s remains. John recently released a remarkable book on George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence — The Third Plantagenet. In this fascinating book, John explores not only George’s life, but also the duke’s remarkable discovery about Edward IV’s children plus the most recent archaeological findings about George’s tomb. As the brother of Edward IV…

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Drowned Men: Theon and George, Duke of Clarence

In many ways, Theon Greyjoy’s story mirrors that of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence – who betrayed his brother, King Edward IV, to align with his father-in-law, Richard Neville (Earl of Warwick). Given that historian John Ashdown-Hill recently released the first new book on George in 34 years, now is a good time to compare Theon and George. Although Game of Thrones is by no means an allegory for the Wars of the Roses or its only inspiration, George RR…

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Richard Madden on the Red Wedding

I have no idea when HBO posted this interview with Scottish actor Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but I thought I would share it with you in case you were rewatching  “The Rains of Castamere” in anticipation of the big event (aka the premiere of Season 4). In the interview, Madden expresses his thoughts about Robb Stark as a character and his experience. After HBO cast his son, Madden’s no-doubt proud father read the A Song of Ice…

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Book Review: The Third Plantagenet

There is something very poignant about the image of a little boy falling into a well and finding his heart’s desires, something that reminded historian Dr. John Ashdown-Hill of a young boy’s ambitions but also of his eventual tragic demise. George Plantagenet, the Duke of Clarence, may have come from one of the most powerful families of the middle ages, but somewhere along the way, we have lost him. We know him as false fleeting perjur’d Clarence — always as…

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False, fleeting, perjured Theon

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, (1449 –1478) was the middle brother of two Wars of the Roses kings: Richard III and Edward IV. Although almost forgotten today, George played a pivotal role during the struggles between York and Lancaster. George is immortalized in Shakespeare’s plays Henry VI, part 3 and Richard III as well as in the classic line “…false, fleeting, perjured Clarence.” In real life, George had to choose between his father-in-law or elder brother. George succumbed to his own ambition, sided with his…

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Dracula: Impalement, Punishment by Proxy of his Brother’s Lover?

What drove Dracula? Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as simply “Dracula,” was a Transylvanian noble man whose atrocities and military escapades were so notoriously savage that his legend lives on today when his contemporaries have been nearly forgotten. During his reign, Vlad killed 80,000 people, including the 20,000 he impaled on stakes at  Târgoviste  and placed in the path of Ottoman leader Mehmed II’s invading  army.   Dracula’s atrocities stood out in a medieval world where life was cheap and…

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Ramsay Snow and Vlad the Impaler

History Behind Game of Thrones reader “BoredMe” suggested that Ramsay Snow and House Bolton may be inspired by Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. In fact, there’s a very entertaining thread on Westeros.org about this theory. Just for kicks, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the legendary Transylvanian warlord, House Bolton, and Ramsay Snow. Ramsay Snow is, of course, Roose Bolton’s bastard, and he has shown a long-time penchant for torture. Ramsay is a greedy, ambitious, crafty sadist…

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