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."

Pagan Sacrifice: A Glimpse of an Ancient Religion in Game of Thrones

The beating of drums, gushing blood, and acts of courage – is this another Red Wedding or a pagan ritual buried deep in the pages of Game of Thrones? George RR Martin may have based the Faith of the Seven – the new gods that the southern Westerosi worship – on the pagan religion of Ancient Rome. One clue is a throwaway line about Samwell Tarly in the first A Song of Ice and Fire novel that alludes to an ancient…

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The Betrayal: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

Although eventually George Plantagenet (Duke of Clarence) would betray his brother (King Edward IV), originally Edward was George’s maker. Edward rapidly raised George up from irrelevant third brother to his heir. When Edward IV became king, he was single, without any children. As a result, his heir was his closest brother: the twelve-year old George. Edward soon lavished many titles on him, including the dukedom of Clarence. [This article is part of the Theon and Clarence series. See here. ]…

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Michelle Fairley’s Take on the Strong Women of Game of Thrones

One of the most compelling aspects of Game of Thrones is its strong female characters. In far too many medieval shows and films, attempts to create empowered women fall short and come across as cardboard anachronisms. Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of controversy over the series of rape scenes in the Season 4 television show. Some critics applauded Daenerys’ show of sexual assertiveness in the last episode (“Mockingbird”) — no doubt because of the contrast it provided with sexually…

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Openings and Closings: Episode 7, Season 4 Game of Thrones Recap

The “Mockingbird” of Game of Thrones focuses on openings and closings: a conflict over a tunnel passage into Castle Black, an opening for vengeance, a new beginning for Daenerys, and an emotional opening up of the Hound. There is a hole in Tyrion’s line-up for a champion. And, once again, we see that Petyr – “Littlefinger” – Baelish is truly the master of the game. There are some obvious historical allusions in this episode, including one to the mythology surrounding Richard…

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Margaery and Isabeau of Bavaria Marry the Younger Man

Despite last week’s olive branch, Cersei does not like Margaery, and the reasons Cersei dislikes her mirror some events in Isabeau of Bavaria’s life. Cersei perceives Margaery as a “doe-eyed whore,” an older “sexually knowing” girl who manipulates her younger husband through her sexuality, which is also how historians have traditionally described Isabeau of Bavaria. This view of Isabeau is now disputed, but historians could just as easily been describing Cersei’s perspective on Margaery Tyrell. George RR Martin appears to…

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Who Killed Attila the Hun? Who Killed Joffrey?

Does the murder of Attila the Hun offer any clues about who killed Joffrey? After reading Dr. Michael Babcock’s truly amazing book The Night Attila Died, I decided it might be fun to compare the suspects in Attila’s murder to the suspects in Joffrey’s murder. While Michael Babcock’s highly compelling analysis provides evidence that Attila may have been killed as part of a conspiracy, George RR Martin wouldn’t have known that so if Attila’s murder inspired him, he could have chosen any…

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Drunk at a Wedding? How Attila & Joffrey Died – Attila Part 3

Drunk and staggering, a bloody death from esophageal cancer, poison, murder – how Attila the Hun died is a 1500-year old murder mystery and may be the historical basis of Joffrey Baratheon’s murder – despite George RR Martin’s fishy story about it being based on Prince Eustace’s death. This article looks at Attila’s death, especially in light of Dr. Michael Babcock’s remarkable book, The Night Attila Died, and shows the similarities to Joffrey’s death. According to various legends and historians,…

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Attila the Hun, Part 2

When Attila and his brother Bleda became kings, the Romans met with them, hoping to renegotiate their tribute. If the Romans had expected the young men to reduce the annual gold payment, they must have received a rude awakening. [This article is continued from here…] The meeting was brief. The Huns did not get off their horses, and, the befuddled Romans followed suit. The Huns had four demands — all of which the Romans immediately agreed to. Double the gold…

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Attila the Hun: A Motive for Murder?

Series introduction: Did a 1500 year old murder mystery inspire George RR Martin’s Purple Wedding? Sure, he’s admitted that Prince Eustace’s death during the Anarchy inspired him, but there are way too many parallels between Joffrey’s death and Attila the Hun’s death for it to be a coincidence. The vicious barbarian raider Attila the Hun died of a massive nosebleed at his wedding in 453AD. However, not everyone is convinced that Attila died of natural causes. Some historians suspect poison. And,…

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Tyrion’s Trial: A Changing Tide? — Episode 6, Season 4 Recap

Is a seachange brewing in Westerosi power politics? The Iron Bank may have foreclosed on the Lannisters as they turn on one of their own. Yara finally sails into the Dreadfort to rescue her brother. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys struggles for control. Who is the Titan of Braavos? The tides are about to change in King’s Landing and the changes commence as a ship sails through the massive legs of the Titan of Braavos. Braavos is the largest of the Free Cities on…

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