War of the Roses


The Winds of Winter: Historic Recap (Season 6, Episode 10)

Last night’s Emmy nominated episode paved the way for what may be Game of Thrones’ last battle: the battle against the Night King and the white walkers. Once again the rulers of Westeros’ houses have changed and new alliances have formed. This recap looks at the history behind a few key scenes and their historical basis. An explosive end for Cersei’s rivals This year’s season finale did not disappoint in terms of its death toll. What was surprising is how Cersei escaped…

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A Greensighting of Mad King Aerys

In Episode Six of Season 6 (“Blood Brothers”), we caught a glimpse of the notorious Aerys Targaryen through the greensight of Bran – aka the incoming Three-Eyed Raven. We see flashes of the alchemists mixing the wildfire, a tunnel exploding, and King Aerys on his throne. Some fans theorize that Bran caused Aerys’ madness by whispering at him through time. The real-life Aerys-es’ madness had entirely different causes — one may have had paranoid schizophrenia and the other may have suffered…

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Does Ramsay Need to Kill His Rivals?

This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2. Growing up abused and unsure of his place in his father’s household, is it any wonder Ramsay doesn’t want any rivals? The scene will chill your blood. Not only does Ramsay kill the father whom he appeared to love so deeply, he feeds his stepmother and baby brother to his dogs.  As he cooly explains to Walda moments before her death, “I prefer being an only child.” But,…

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Richard III Funeral Procession Begins Today: Live Now (Live Updates)

The beginning of Richard III’s funeral procession starts today — an event that signifies the final chapter of a 500 year long story. His cortege is conveying his remains to Leicester Cathedral where they will be on display, effectively “lie in state” for the next four days. Richard’s burial is next Thursday. In keeping with medieval tradition, the funeral procession is weaving through multiple stops. In fact, if you are reading this right now (at 12:10 PM EST) you might be able…

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More on Aerys and the Mad Kings

Aerys II Targaryen, the mad king who commanded his pyromancer to set King’s Landing ablaze (before Game of Thrones began), may be inspired by a couple of kings: Charles VI of France and his grandson, Henry VI of England. This article explores some nuances to their madness, possible hereditary sources, and how Charles VI’s madness worked its way into the CW drama Reign, which is about Mary Queen of Scots. Like King Aerys, Charles VI of France’s reign began benevolently…

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Was Being a Medieval Queen Hazardous to Your Health?

Was being a medieval queen was hazardous to your health? Given the push for queens to have many babies, did most medieval queens die in childbirth? To find out, I put 139 years of late medieval and Tudor English queens — from 1400-1503 – in a table to compare their causes of death. Depending on how you slice and dice it, the answer is: Yes. (But, the usual disclaimers apply.) Baby machines It is no secret that medieval queens and…

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Richard III, a Royal Bastard? An Illegal Queen? The King’s DNA & Signs of Adultery

Recently, University of Leicester announced that with nearly 100% certainty the skeleton in the car park is Richard III — and they discovered evidence of adultery somewhere in Richard III’s family tree. Now newspapers are leading with headlines questioning Queen Elizabeth’s right to the throne. Regardless of whether there is illegitimacy in Elizabeth’s line, it doesn’t matter. She’s been anointed. Monarchs can legitimately claim the right to the throne in several different ways, including by right of conquest. As soon as a monarch is…

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Shakespeare’s Shadow on Game of Thrones: The Art of Villainy

This article contains minor spoilers Above is a paragraph from an early Tyrion chapter in The Winds of Winter, the yet-unpublished sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series; George R.R. Martin has read it in public. Does it hit you with a sense of déjà vu? Do you have a tingle of recognition in the back of your mind? If yes, you might be remembering a famous battle scene you have read or seen before: “A…

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Black Princes, Lost Kings and Chivalric Savages? The Historical Inspirations for Rhaegar Targaryen

We are delighted to have this article is by Tom Pert, who recently completed a Masters Degree in early-modern history at the University of Birmingham (UK). Congratulations Tom! Please give him a warm welcome and show your support of him by sharing this article with your friends. After reading a previous article on whether Daenerys Targaryen (marching under a dragon banner in command of a “mercenary” army) is a reimagining of Henry VII, I found myself pondering the question: “Does Rhaegar Targaryen have…

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