Interviews

Learn More Than Jon Snow: “It’s Okay To Be Smart” Joe Hanson on the Science of Game of Thrones

Could the Game of Thrones universe ever exist? Is it scientifically possible for Westeros to have two moons? Can winter truly last for years at a time? And how is it possible for dragons to breathe fire? Those are some of the rough questions that biologist Dr. Joe Hanson tackles in “The Science of Game of Thrones” the PBS Digital Studios “It’s Okay to be Smart“. We loved the show and spoke with Joe to learn more. But, first, here’s the video:  …

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The 1500 Year Old Murder Mystery: An Interview with Historian Michael Babcock

Recently History Behind Game of Thrones ran a series of articles speculating about the real historical basis behind Game of Thrones‘ Purple Wedding (in which Joffrey dies). Although George RR Martin has stated the wedding is based on the Anarchy-era death of Prince Eustace, thanks to this theory by Emily Yoshida, we suspect there are other historical influences he is not mentioning. There are far too many parallels between Joffrey’s death and Attila the Hun’s murder for it to be a coincidence. Is the…

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The Secret Love of Henry Percy and Anne Boleyn: An Interview with Elizabeth Norton

Long before Anne Boleyn was relentlessly pursued by King Henry VIII, long before she could ever have dreamed that she would enter into a marriage that would change the course of English history and put her on the throne, Anne Boleyn had simpler ambitions. Anne hoped to become a countess, albeit by marrying into one of the most powerful families in the realm. Henry Percy is a shadowy figure in Anne Boleyn’s life. After their romance ended, Percy fades into…

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Who is George Boleyn? A Guest Article by Clare Cherry

  For centuries, George Boleyn has lived in the shadow of the Boleyn women.  Although the Boleyns are one of the most controversial families in Tudor history, they are often overlooked due to  the all-encompassing legacies of Queen Anne Boleyn and the immortal Queen Elizabeth I. George’s sister, Mary Boleyn — the long-time mistress of her sister’s future husband Henry VIII — has recently emerged as the romantic heroine who outlived them all. George’s wife “that bawd” Jane Boleyn, who for centuries has been the Boleyn scapegoat, carries the burden of…

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Interview with Cultural Historian Susan Bordo about Anne Boleyn

  As part of our Anne Boleyn series, History Behind Game of Thrones is extremely proud to present this interview with cultural historian and philosopher, Dr. Susan Bordo. Susan is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and holds the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of five books and editor of two. Her most recent book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn, is a fascinating and entertaining examination of not only…

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Interview with Historian John Ashdown-Hill about George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

History Behind Game of Thrones is delighted to welcome Dr. John Ashdown-Hill today. John Ashdown-Hill is a renowned historian who played a crucial role in finding Richard III’s remains. John recently released a remarkable book on George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence — The Third Plantagenet. In this fascinating book, John explores not only George’s life, but also the duke’s remarkable discovery about Edward IV’s children plus the most recent archaeological findings about George’s tomb. As the brother of Edward IV…

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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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Dragonlords, Dark Ages, and Deeper Meanings in Game of Thrones

This is the third part of the interview. This part focuses on George RR Martin’s world building, the themes in Game of Thrones, and if those themes have any relevance or deeper meaning for us today. This part of the interview made me reflect on questions like, Why study medieval history? Traditionally, people have believed in studying history because it can prevent repeating the mistakes of the past. But, what lessons are there in the Wars of the Roses? 9….

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Symbols in Game of Thrones

In many ways, Game of Thrones is written like a traditional literary novel. It has symbols, themes, and foreshadowing – all of which it employs to create a richer story. In this part of last Sunday’s interview, I talk about the symbols I’ve noticed in the books. I’m sure there are probably a lot I’ve missed, so I’d be very interested in hearing what you think. 6. What analysis have you come across reading the books? Literary analysis? Very little. I…

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What is the cultural and literary value of Game of Thrones?

Recently a student asked me for a private interview for an assignment.  I thought it might be interesting to share the interview here, and if nothing else, it might stimulate some interesting comments and conversation.  The interview is about not only the history in Game of Thrones but also why we are drawn to it as well as its literary and cultural value.  The interview is long, so I’ve broken it into three parts. I’d be very interested in your own ideas about…

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