Jamie Adair

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."

All that Glitters is Not Gold: The Lannisters, Gold, and their Empty Mines

The Lannisters are broke, and the Iron Bank of Braavos will get its due one way or another. The Lannister wealth originally came from its gold mines, but the vein ran dry over three years ago. This article looks at some of the Lannister’s golden goods and their relationship to history. The Lannister Gold Mines Casterly Rock© HBO, via Wikia Map of Roman Britain showing the Dolaucothi mine in what is modern-day Wales. Image: Via Wikimedia Commons.   On the Westeros…

Read More

Love is the Death of Duty: Episode 9, Season 4 “The Watchers on the Wall”

The Battle of Castle Black is bigger, better, and more exciting than Season 1’s Battle of the Blackwater, which Neil Marshall also directed. If I had to rate “The Watcher’s on the Wall,” I would fly in the face of some critics and give it a ten. The emotional heart of the episode parallels that of many real wars: love. ~~Warning: This post contains the odd violent animated giff.~~ When you read about the wars of the fourteenth and fifteenth…

Read More

Quick Character Cheat Sheet for Ep. 9 “The Watcher on the Wall”

Tonight’s episode is fantastic. However, it is a little complicated in some ways so the recap will take a little longer than usual. In the meantime, here is a cheat sheet to help follow through the flurry of secondary characters. I hope you love the episode as much as I did! Maester Aemon. Once upon a time, the old blind man was Aemon Targaryen. He would have been king if he hadn’t said the words and become a member of…

Read More

GoT Art? Part 1

As an adaptation, Game of Thrones has significant, often overlooked artistic merit that is distinct from the novels, including what may be allusions to works of art. Former Game of Thrones production designer Gemma Jackson mentioned in this video that they “search for images from all around the world”; presumably they are constantly looking at paintings, sculpture, friezes, and other art for ideas. As as result, I thought it might be fun to look at some places in Game of…

Read More

Oberyn Martell, the Eighth Book, and Other GoT News

Not since the Red Wedding has the fan reaction to a Game of Thrones death unleashed such a torrent of emotion, humor, commentary, and news articles. (Some great reactions from the Tweetosphere.) That split second when Oberyn smiled at his paramour Ellaria – instead of focusing on his own safety and killing the Mountain – changed everything. Why are we sad that Oberyn is gone, or, for that matter, shocked that he expired fighting a goliath of a man like…

Read More

Esquire Names History Behind Game of Thrones One of Eight Best GoT Sites

Recently Esquire UK named us one of the eight best Game of Thrones websites. (Admittedly, the “best” part is in the article’s URL.) Seriously, this is quite the honor — we are in rarefied company on that list. Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, and contributing (especially Olga Hughes, Clare Cherry, Ross Wittenham, Steve Isaacs, and others for writing great articles). And, thank you Esquire! Check out Esquire’s article here to see the other fantastic websites.

Read More

The Wrong Place for Justice? (Ep. 8, Season 4 Recap)

The theme of “The Mountain and the Viper” is justice: justice delivered and justice perverted. The obvious struggle for justice is the trial by combat itself. But the struggle for justice is everywhere. Cersei struggles to find justice for her son’s death. Tywin doesn’t struggle nearly hard enough to deliver justice for Joffrey’s death. Instead, Tywin uses his son’s trial not to punish the real killer but possibly to eliminate a reminder of a betrayal from decades before. As the…

Read More

Sam Tarley, Bull Sacrifice: Rituals too hot for Rome (Pagan Part 2)

This article continues from here and discusses the history behind Sam Tarley’s ritual bath in a bull aurochs’ blood, which is likely based on the Roman taurobolium ritual. In the real world, bull sacrifices occurred first in modern-day Turkey (Asia Minor), Greece, and eventually Rome. From the first century until Pagan worship sputtered out, the Romans sacrificed bulls – in a highly ritualized way  – and dedicated those sacrifices to the Great Mother (also known as Cybele). It’s easy to…

Read More

Learn More Than Jon Snow: “It’s Okay To Be Smart” Joe Hanson on the Science of Game of Thrones

Could the Game of Thrones universe ever exist? Is it scientifically possible for Westeros to have two moons? Can winter truly last for years at a time? And how is it possible for dragons to breathe fire? Those are some of the rough questions that biologist Dr. Joe Hanson tackles in “The Science of Game of Thrones” the PBS Digital Studios “It’s Okay to be Smart“. We loved the show and spoke with Joe to learn more. But, first, here’s the video:  …

Read More

The 1500 Year Old Murder Mystery: An Interview with Historian Michael Babcock

Recently History Behind Game of Thrones ran a series of articles speculating about the real historical basis behind Game of Thrones‘ Purple Wedding (in which Joffrey dies). Although George RR Martin has stated the wedding is based on the Anarchy-era death of Prince Eustace, thanks to this theory by Emily Yoshida, we suspect there are other historical influences he is not mentioning. There are far too many parallels between Joffrey’s death and Attila the Hun’s murder for it to be a coincidence. Is the…

Read More