Game of Thrones

The Wrong Place for Justice? (Ep. 8, Season 4 Recap)

The theme of “The Mountain and the Viper” is justice: justice delivered and justice perverted. The obvious struggle for justice is the trial by combat itself. But the struggle for justice is everywhere. Cersei struggles to find justice for her son’s death. Tywin doesn’t struggle nearly hard enough to deliver justice for Joffrey’s death. Instead, Tywin uses his son’s trial not to punish the real killer but possibly to eliminate a reminder of a betrayal from decades before. As the…

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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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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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Confused By All Those Game of Thrones Characters? Here’s One Reason Why

Recently, a good friend of mine in Florida started watching Game of Thrones. During episode one, he sent me a text bemoaning the fact I wasn’t there with him to explain what was going on. Game of Thrones can be really hard to follow – especially for the new or casual viewer. In fact, when Conan O’Brien interviewed George RR Martin, Conan admitted to using a cheat sheet, which is completely understandable. A cast of thousands of characters (hundreds on the…

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Whodunnit? Olenna Tyrell and the Usual Suspects

Warning: Fourth Season TV SPOILERS – Possible Spoilers from Tonight’s Episode The A  Song of Ice and Fire novels still have not revealed definitively who killed Joffrey. Recently, Rolling Stone ran a teaser promoting a longer interview with George RR Martin in which the great one replied to the question we all want to know: “Who killed Joffrey?” Note George RR Martin’s key words: “I make no promises, because I have two more books to write, and I may have more surprises to…

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“Pay for Dinner?” “I Incest”: Anne Boleyn, Lucrezia Borgia, & Cersei Lannister

Between The Borgias, The Pillars of the Earth and Game of Thrones, we have seen rather a lot of incestuous relationships in medieval settings on television in the last few years. We even had a recent allegation of incest in The White Queen. The Pillars of the Earth producers made the decision to add an incestuous relationship between mother and son, William and Regan Hamleigh, which was not actually depicted in the book. Considering Pillars has a set of fictional…

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Purple Wedding: Joffrey and the Death of Eustace of Boulogne

  According to George RR Martin, the Purple Wedding was partially based on events at the tail-end of the Anarchy: the death of King Stephen’s heir Prince Eustace. Here’s the dramatic, turbulent story and its background… [Jump over the background] The King’s Heir is a Girl Before Henry I died, he named his daughter Matilda heir and made his barons swear allegiance to her. The barons must have been play acting: nobody believed a woman could rule. The oath would…

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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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Richard Madden on the Red Wedding

I have no idea when HBO posted this interview with Scottish actor Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but I thought I would share it with you in case you were rewatching  “The Rains of Castamere” in anticipation of the big event (aka the premiere of Season 4). In the interview, Madden expresses his thoughts about Robb Stark as a character and his experience. After HBO cast his son, Madden’s no-doubt proud father read the A Song of Ice…

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False, fleeting, perjured Theon

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, (1449 –1478) was the middle brother of two Wars of the Roses kings: Richard III and Edward IV. Although almost forgotten today, George played a pivotal role during the struggles between York and Lancaster. George is immortalized in Shakespeare’s plays Henry VI, part 3 and Richard III as well as in the classic line “…false, fleeting, perjured Clarence.” In real life, George had to choose between his father-in-law or elder brother. George succumbed to his own ambition, sided with his…

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