Historical Periods

Second Sons

In Game of Thrones, bands of soldiers-for-hire (known as “sellswords”) sell their fighting services to the highest bidder. Without loyalty to a country or king, they fight for whomever holds their contract. In the “Second Sons” (Season 3, episode 8), Daenarys encounters a company of sellswords in Yunkai known as the Second Sons.   “Men who fight for gold have neither honor nor loyalty. They cannot be trusted.” – Ser Barristan Selmy  “They can be trusted to kill you if they are…

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The Dark Ages: George RR Martin Reveals Origin of Hospitality Laws

Episode: Season 3, Episode 9 “The Rains of Castamere” It sounds like a lot of people are still reeling from the Red Wedding and understandably so. Admittedly, I read A Storm of Swords a couple of years ago, so The Rains of Castamere was not shocking to me. But, when I figured out it would probably be Sunday, I was dreading seeing it. I really liked Catelyn and Robb. George RR Martin has been making the rounds of newspapers and…

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The Seriousness of Arranged Marriages: No Jane Austen Novel

Episodes: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” Season 3, Episode 7 As Season 3 winds up, arranged marriages are becoming an incredibly important theme. Tywin Lannister wants to marry Tyrion to Sansa Stark and prevent the Tyrells from becoming Lord in the North. Robb Stark pleaded with his uncle to marry Lord Frey’s daughter so he can regain the lord’s military support. In the HBO interactive features from this week’s Game of Thrones, George RR Martin talks about the political importance…

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Trial by Ordeal, Combat, and the Hound’s Fight

Episode: Season 3, Episode 5 “Kissed by Fire” In last night’s episode, “Kissed by Fire,” the Hound is accused of murder and the red priest sentences him to trial by combat. If the Hound kills his combatant, it means the Lord of Light deemed him innocent. However, for the Hound to save his own life, he must face his greatest fear, fire. By pitting the Hound against a flaming sword, George RR Martin combines both trial by combat and trial…

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The Seven Kingdoms

Episodes: Season 1, Episode 10 “Fire and Blood” Three hundred years before the Game of Thrones era, there were seven independent kingdoms – the Kingdoms of the North, the Vale, the Isles and Rivers, the Rock, and the Reach; the Storm Kingdom; and the Kingdom of Dorne.  However, Aegon Targaryen and his two sisters flew dragons over those kingdoms and burned the people into submission. This event, known as Targaryen Conquest, merged the seven kingdoms into one mega kingdom under House…

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A Few Introductory Points about the Late Middle Ages

<People who are familiar with the Wars of the Roses may want to skip this post.> I’ve been reading about the Wars of the Roses as a hobby for the past eight years. However, because it is such an intricate period, it has taken me a long time to get even a moderate understanding of the period. There are several reasons why the Wars of the Roses are confusing: Multiple Phases and Causes The wars were not a uniform struggle…

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An Easy Intro to the Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses (~1455-~1485+) was a thirty-year period of civil wars filled with bloodshed and betrayal; it marked some of the most violent and dramatic events in English history. There were four different kings on the throne – all except one of whom had overthrown another king in violent battle or subterfuge. However, even if you don’t like war or military history – I didn’t before – the period captures the imagination. Plus the period is a kissing cousin…

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