Characters

names-symbols-game-of-thrones

George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Names Symbols, Part 2

This article is continued from George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Name Choices and looks at the names in Houses Bolton, Greyjoy, Baratheon, and Tyrell. One of the interesting patterns in George RR Martin’s character name choices is how often Greek names come up. Out of the twelve first names in this article, at least three (25%) have Greek roots and there were three Greek names in the last article. This seems to be yet another connection to the Greek-Roman empire (Byzantium)….

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George RR Martin’s Symbolic Character Name Choices

It’s widely known that novelists, including George RR Martin, agonize over the naming of their characters: names represent much more than just a handy handle. Classic literature often uses symbolic names to foreshadow the destiny of characters, amplify theme, or simply cement the character’s identity in the reader’s mind.  As Alastair Fowler writes on the Oxford University Press’ blog, “In literature, names are often doors to meaning, and words giving glimpses of the writer’s intentions.” Charles Dickens not only invested significant time in…

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Rolling Stone Ranks “Top” Game of Thrones Characters: Do They Get It Wrong?

While researching an upcoming article about character names, I got distracted by a Rolling Stone article from before Season 4 began. The article lists the “top” Game of Thrones characters, and its rankings, which I discuss below, are definitely debatable. Rolling Stone uses the word “top” to mean “the most memorable” characters, or the ones with the “strongest story arcs. The best one-liners. The most shocking demises.” Are their choices truly memorable? And, are they memorable now that Season 4 is over? A lot has changed. First of…

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Drowned Men: Theon and George, Duke of Clarence

In many ways, Theon Greyjoy’s story mirrors that of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence – who betrayed his brother, King Edward IV, to align with his father-in-law, Richard Neville (Earl of Warwick). Given that historian John Ashdown-Hill recently released the first new book on George in 34 years, now is a good time to compare Theon and George. Although Game of Thrones is by no means an allegory for the Wars of the Roses or its only inspiration, George RR…

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Ramsay Snow and Vlad the Impaler

History Behind Game of Thrones reader “BoredMe” suggested that Ramsay Snow and House Bolton may be inspired by Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. In fact, there’s a very entertaining thread on Westeros.org about this theory. Just for kicks, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the legendary Transylvanian warlord, House Bolton, and Ramsay Snow. Ramsay Snow is, of course, Roose Bolton’s bastard, and he has shown a long-time penchant for torture. Ramsay is a greedy, ambitious, crafty sadist…

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A Valentine for Tywin: That Bastard (Feudal) Poster Boy

Call this a late Valentine, but I love Game of Thrones‘ villain Tywin Lannister – even when he is at his most heinous. As the Machiavellian mastermind behind the Red Wedding, Tywin dwells down there with villains like Cersei, Joffrey, and the Boltons. Still, from a literary and historical perspective, Tywin gives us a lot to love. Tywin exemplifies the old guard in early phases of the Wars of the Roses: the brutal veterans of the Hundred Years’ War. You can’t…

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A Valentine for Tywin: That Bastard (Feudalism) Poster Boy

Call this a late Valentine, but I love Game of Thrones‘ villain Tywin Lannister – even when he is at his most heinous. As the Machiavellian mastermind behind the Red Wedding, Tywin dwells down there with villains like Cersei, Joffrey, and the Boltons. Still, from a literary and historical perspective, Tywin gives us a lot to love. Tywin exemplifies the old guard in early phases of the Wars of the Roses: the brutal veterans of the Hundred Years’ War. You can’t…

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Gilly & The Gillyflower

Poor sweet Gilly is one of Craster’s wives, the disgusting polygamous quarrelsome man north of the wall who marries his daughters. Samwell Tarly befriends Gilly and rescues her after she delivers a would-have-been-sacrificed baby boy. Gilly mentions the origin of her name in passing: “Gilly” stems (no pun intended) from the gillyflower, which is the old-fashioned name Chaucer, Shakespeare, and others use for carnations.

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Vikings: Could a Real-Life Yara Ever Exist?

Yara (Asha in the books) is an amazing symbol of female power, but was she based on real life? Would a Viking-esque culture ever have a woman commanding a fleet of ships? At first glance, Yara seems like she might be a sophisticated version of the female super hero/warrior trope – a female powerhouse created to please a modern audience with no historical basis. If that is what George RR Martin had done, that would have been fine. After all,…

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Game of Thrones Brazil Article, Lucrezia Borgia

A wonderful article by Lidiany CS discussing some of the theories on this blog appeared on the Game of Thrones Brazil site (GameofThronesBR.com). Not only is the article extremely well written, the best part is it introduces a new idea I’d never thought of before: Lucrezia Borgia being an inspiration for Cersei Lannister! This is a fantastic interpretation. Lidiany does an excellent job of drawing a parallel between Lucrezia and Cersei. It fits very nicely. I’m including a rough English…

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