Steven Isaac

Dr. Steven Isaac is a professor of medieval history at Longwood University in Virginia. He organizes an annual medieval conference and has published extensively in the discipline.

Mountain vs. Viper Duel Echoes Medieval History

In the seventh episode of the first season of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister speaks the line from which the series takes its name: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Since 2011, a fever for Machiavellian treachery and ever-looming supernatural doom has moved beyond the usual fantasy-reading public’s borders, with a growing base of aficionados following the fortunes of the Lannisters, Starks, Targaryens and others. The show has, at…

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Game of Thrones Trial by Combat: An Unlikely Duel

The following is a guest article by Dr. Steven Isaac, professor of medieval history at Longwood University. In one of the newest wrinkles being ironed out on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, accused of killing his nephew the king, finds a surprising ally—at least they have one common purpose—in Prince Oberyn Martell. Conclusion of the fight aside, Martell’s motives are personal: he seeks vengeance, not Tyrion’s innocence, as he agrees to champion the Imp in a…

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