July, 2014

braavos-faceless-men-history

Florence and Braavos: An Introduction

The article takes a first look at Game of  Thrones‘ Free City of Braavos and Florence. Given Braavos is a lagoon city that is famed for its banking and skilled assassins, it seems possible Venice and Florence inspired it. This article takes a first look at some of the similarities between Florence and Braavos – and in particular, the Braavosi assassins. While the Wars of the Roses raged on in England and English nobles tried to increase their power while aligning…

Read More
Bran_and_Luwin

Game of Thrones Reaches Academia

Is academia embracing Game of Thrones? And, if so, what does this mean? Does it mean the world is changing or simply that Game of Thrones is worthy of analysis? Recently, I learned from David Levesley’s great Mic.com article that the University of Virginia is offering an English summer class on Game of Thrones. The course aims to use literary techniques to teach students how to analyze television. Instructor Lisa Woolfork describes Martin’s work as follows: “Literarily speaking, it’s very diverse and rich text….

Read More
grrm-burgundy

George RR Martin’s French Interview Translated, His Use of Burgundian History

Recently, George RR Martin did a book signing in <gasp> Burgundy. Why is this a reason to get excited? Because he also gave an interview with the French alternative rock station Le Mouv from the burial site of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, who were key players in the French civil war that inspired so many events A Song of Ice and Fire. Saying I was excited about Martin’s interview when I found it on Nerdalicious is the…

Read More
theon-and-robb-house-greyjoy

Brothers Apart: Oathbreakers and Turncloaks

As viewers we tend to see Theon as Robb Stark’s adopted brother, therefore we see his betrayal as an unnatural thing. When we look at Edward IV’s younger brothers, George Duke of Clarence and Richard III, we see George as the betrayer and Richard as the loyal one. Is it not natural to support one’s own brother over a cousin? Or was George’s decision a little closer to that of Theon Greyjoy’s, choosing between a father and a brother? Theon…

Read More
tyrion-jaime-flee-dungeon

The Lost Princes & Tyrion’s Escape from the Tower

Tyrion’s flight from the tower faintly reinforces George RR Martin’s Princes in the Tower theme. Tyrion, as the son of the duke-like Tywin, could be considered a prince. When Tyrion escapes from the dungeon, it mirrors the hypothetical escape of the princes in the Tower of London. [This article is the latest installment of  the Princes in the Tower series. It picks up on a theme in an article Olga Hughes wrote that discusses how Martin plays with the idea…

Read More
names-symbols-game-of-thrones

George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Names Symbols, Part 2

This article is continued from George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Name Choices and looks at the names in Houses Bolton, Greyjoy, Baratheon, and Tyrell. One of the interesting patterns in George RR Martin’s character name choices is how often Greek names come up. Out of the twelve first names in this article, at least three (25%) have Greek roots and there were three Greek names in the last article. This seems to be yet another connection to the Greek-Roman empire (Byzantium)….

Read More

George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Name Choices

It’s widely known that novelists, including George RR Martin, agonize over the naming of their characters: names represent much more than just a handy handle. Classic literature often uses symbolic names to foreshadow the destiny of characters, amplify theme, or simply cement the character’s identity in the reader’s mind.  As Alastair Fowler writes on the Oxford University Press’ blog, “In literature, names are often doors to meaning, and words giving glimpses of the writer’s intentions.” Charles Dickens not only invested significant time in…

Read More

George RR Martin Now Officially on Twitter

  In case you haven’t heard, George RR Martin is now on Twitter, as described in this CBC article. His official Twitter handle is @GRRMspeaking. I’ve seen a few media references to the account, but the CBC article is the first article I’ve found that actually confirms it. I mention this in case you’ve been following a fake George RR Martin account (such as the widely followed impersonator, @GeorgeRRMartin).  Although Twitter should restrict the ability to create handles using famous names, it doesn’t. (I don’t want…

Read More

Richard III, Theon Greyjoy and The Lost Princes

I often forget exactly why the people of the North loathe Theon Greyjoy. Theon Turncloak. Many Northerners still believe Theon Greyjoy murdered Bran and Rickon, the last sons and heirs of the beloved house of Stark. However we know that Theon did not murder Bran and Rickon. It is true he murdered two innocent children, a terrible crime of which he should not be absolved. But Bran and Rickon still live. And in A Song of Ice and Fire there…

Read More

Rolling Stone Ranks “Top” Game of Thrones Characters: Do They Get It Wrong?

While researching an upcoming article about character names, I got distracted by a Rolling Stone article from before Season 4 began. The article lists the “top” Game of Thrones characters, and its rankings, which I discuss below, are definitely debatable. Rolling Stone uses the word “top” to mean “the most memorable” characters, or the ones with the “strongest story arcs. The best one-liners. The most shocking demises.” Are their choices truly memorable? And, are they memorable now that Season 4 is over? A lot has changed. First of…

Read More