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."

Just Today: New The Winds of Winter Chapter

An hour ago, George RR Martin released a new The Winds of Winter chapter on his website. It is from Alayne’s point of view. Here is the link. Enjoy! P.S. Please avoid TV spoilers if you leave comments, or preface them with “spoiler” and a paragraph return or two, so the spoiler doesn’t show up in the sidebar feed on our home page.    

Read More

Richard III’s Burial (Round Up)

The lines to pay last respects to Richard III’s body circle the block, standing in line up to four hours. By early Monday morning, nearly 3000 people had seen his body. After all, you don’t get to see a king’s body lie in state every day. The internment starts tomorrow at 10:30 AM UK time. Apparently, you can watch it on BBC Channel 4; this may be tricky from overseas. There is an official site for the burial here and the…

Read More

Q&A at Oxford Union: Sex, Piracy, Eunuchs, and When the Books Will Run Out

Oxford University’s debating society, the Oxford Union, asked Kit Harrington, John Bradley, and HBO showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff everything we want to know: how they feel about sex and piracy, when the show will run out of book runway, and why John Bradley wants to play a eunuch. How important is sex in the way they tell the story? The showrunners noted that when they pitched the show to HBO they included A Song of Ice and Fire‘s steamy scenes…

Read More

Richard III Funeral Procession Begins Today: Live Now (Live Updates)

The beginning of Richard III’s funeral procession starts today — an event that signifies the final chapter of a 500 year long story. His cortege is conveying his remains to Leicester Cathedral where they will be on display, effectively “lie in state” for the next four days. Richard’s burial is next Thursday. In keeping with medieval tradition, the funeral procession is weaving through multiple stops. In fact, if you are reading this right now (at 12:10 PM EST) you might be able…

Read More

Season 5 & The Sand Snakes Video

~~~Very Mild TV Spoilers~~~ This season we are going to meet the Sand Snakes — Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters who are looking to avenge their father’s gruesome death. In the novels, Oberyn has eight daughters, all with the last name “Sand,” since that is the name for natural born children in sunny Dorne. The daughters who are shown in the second video below are as follows: Obara — the eldest who is the daughter of an Oldtowne whore. Nymeria —…

Read More

More on Aerys and the Mad Kings

Aerys II Targaryen, the mad king who commanded his pyromancer to set King’s Landing ablaze (before Game of Thrones began), may be inspired by a couple of kings: Charles VI of France and his grandson, Henry VI of England. This article explores some nuances to their madness, possible hereditary sources, and how Charles VI’s madness worked its way into the CW drama Reign, which is about Mary Queen of Scots. Like King Aerys, Charles VI of France’s reign began benevolently…

Read More

Nothing like a little human sacrifice for the holidays…

It’s widely known that Christmas has its roots in the blood-soaked pagan traditions for the winter solstice. What may be less well known is the origin of the delightful gingerbread people. At a symbolic level, these sugary snacks may be no more than a proxy for human sacrifice. The tradition of backing cookies in human form dates back to the grandfather of modern-day Christmas, the Roman winter celebration of Saturnalia. At this time, Romans honored the god Saturn. His name stems from…

Read More

Was Being a Medieval Queen Hazardous to Your Health?

Was being a medieval queen was hazardous to your health? Given the push for queens to have many babies, did most medieval queens die in childbirth? To find out, I put 139 years of late medieval and Tudor English queens — from 1400-1503 – in a table to compare their causes of death. Depending on how you slice and dice it, the answer is: Yes. (But, the usual disclaimers apply.) Baby machines It is no secret that medieval queens and…

Read More

Harald Bluetooth & Black Friday’s Bastard

On Black Friday, the day after US Thanksgiving, American retail shops unleash legions of deals upon consumers. As retailers attempt to milk more profits from consumers, a new tradition has arisen to induce people to shop online the Monday after Black Friday: Cyber Monday (or Cyber Week). This year, online retailers like Amazon, “celebrated” Cyber Week from December 1st to December 7th – and the sales totals are now in ($2.68 billion). So, in honor of Cyber Week – or simply…

Read More

Richard III, a Royal Bastard? An Illegal Queen? The King’s DNA & Signs of Adultery

Recently, University of Leicester announced that with nearly 100% certainty the skeleton in the car park is Richard III — and they discovered evidence of adultery somewhere in Richard III’s family tree. Now newspapers are leading with headlines questioning Queen Elizabeth’s right to the throne. Regardless of whether there is illegitimacy in Elizabeth’s line, it doesn’t matter. She’s been anointed. Monarchs can legitimately claim the right to the throne in several different ways, including by right of conquest. As soon as a monarch is…

Read More