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."

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The Soprano’s Medieval Heart

For quite some time, I have been meaning to write an article about Game of Thrones‘ fantastic Emmy win. Yes, I realize the news cycle has passed, but I still think the win is superb and long overdue recognition of fantasy as a genre. In the meantime, however, I found this article sitting on my hard drive, so I thought I would publish it. While rewatching some episodes of The Sopranos, I noticed some references to the Middle Ages and became…

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Sons of Anarchy, The Bastard Executioner, Honor-based Culture

It’s a long winter when Game of Thrones is off the air. In fact, it feels like years. So when Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner premieres in the United States on FX tonight, it might provide some respite. The Bastard Executioner follows fourteenth-century warrior Wilkin Brattle after a messenger implores him to give up warfare to become an executioner. I’m excited about the show because the showrunner is Kurt Sutter of Sons of Anarchy. Ron Howard’s partner superproducer Brian Grazer pitched Kurt Sutter…

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Valar Morghulis & Memento Mori

One of the most powerful and often quoted catch phrases from Game of Thrones has to be “valar morghulis” – a mantra that closely resembles a memento mori. In the Middle Ages, art depicted reminders of our mortality – skulls and other symbols of death. Artists intended these symbols to remind their audience of the fleeting vanities of wealth and other earthly pursuits. A Latin phrase – memento mori, or “remember that you have to die” – came to encapsulate this mortal reflection….

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I couldn’t have said it better myself…

In the category of “I couldn’t have said it better myself,” I found this delightful article about Game of Thrones and history from Cinemania in Madrid, “6 lecciones de Historia que has visto en ‘Juego de tronos’ by Yago Garcia. My Spanish is terrible and Google Translate chokes on this article, so here is my very crude translation… The article begins with the most common excuses we hear for not watching GoT or reading ASOIAF – and, boy, do I get…

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The Marginalized Rise in Mother’s Mercy: Episode 10, Season 5

The name of the final Game of Thrones episode in Season 5 is “Mother’s Mercy”–  and, at least in this episode, the mother has none. In “Mother’s Mercy,” the mighty are brought down by the lowliest of people, often women or the transgendered, whom everyone has forgotten or discounted. “Mother’s Mercy” is truly an event-filled, game changer. It has strong echoes of other game-changing historical events like the assassination of Julius Caesar and Richard III’s last stand at Bosworth Field. In…

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Jon Snow [Spoilers – Ep 10, S5]

This article contains spoilers for anyone who has not seen Episode 10, Season 5. Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers Spoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilersSpoilersSpoilers SpoilersSpoilers === === Is Jon Snow really? Yes. Well, at least according to the actor and the showrunners. But it’s pretty hard to believe for anyone who has read the books and is convinced that Jon warged into Ghost to save himself. The showrunners refer to…

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War Machines: “The Dance with Dragons” (Episode 9 Recap)

“The Dance with Dragons” episode is the ninth episode of season 5, and the ninth episode (aka end of Act 3) is always the most climactic episode on Game of Thrones. While this year’s episode 9 did not pack the same emotional wallop as Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, or the Battle at Castle Black, it was equally special in its own way – notably for its wondrous, transcendent closing scene. This episode is about war machines whether they be burned siege…

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Hardhome – Recap, Part 2

One of the most thrilling revelations this season is the battle at the settlement in the “Hardhome” episode (Season 5, Episode 7). We get a preview of what the Long Night — the dark winter in which the White Walkers attack — will be like if the Night’s Watch doesn’t figure out how to stop the wights and White Walkers. Incidentally, most people in Westeros believe the Long Night is just a fairy tale. According to legend, the Long Night…

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Breaking the Wheel – Hardhome Recap (Part I)

Because “Hardhome” (Ep. 7, Season 5) is nearly twenty minutes longer than most episodes, I’m publishing this recap in two parts. (The second part is dedicated specifically to the events at the Hardhome settlement.) In this episode, we see how dark both Stark sisters have become as a result of the horrors of the War of Five Kings. Arya’s character arc has been on a dark, downward spiral for quite some time. Her nightly prayers focus on killing the people on…

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The True Gift: Recap Episode 7, Season 5

There are at least three types of “gifts” in Episode 7 (“The Gift”): actual gifts or presents, the Gift of death (to borrow the phrase from the House of Black and White), and the Gift or region of land where Jon intends to settle the Wildlings. In the “The Gift” episode, the game really begins to change for all of the would-be kings and queens. Some listen to bad advice. Some may be swayed by bad advice. Some reap the…

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