War of the Roses

The Time Traveller’s Manual to a Medieval Wedding

The government has issued a safety advisory against attending weddings in Westeros. However, you are cordially invited to travel back in time to attend the greatest wedding of the fifteenth century. This event that will blow your mind with its conspicuous consumption the likes of which you will probably never hear tell of in the modern world. Do you accept? Great. Make sure you rest up! This medieval wedding has ten days of partying and festivities – not to mention…

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Jaime, Ned, and the Assassination of Louis of Orleans

  Jaime’s men ambush Ned and his party © HBO The ambush and assassination of Louis of Orleans. In the Season 1 episode, “The Wolf and the Lion,” Arya chases a cat into the dungeon. Hearing voices, she hides behind a dragon skull where she overhears Varys telling his spy, “The Wolf and Lion will be at each other’s throats. We will be at war soon, my friend.” Later in that episode, a decisive ambush occurs that starts a chain…

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Kidnapping a King’s Son, “Kidnapping” Tyrion: The Armagnac-Burgundian War continued

One key episode that led to war between the Armagnac/Orleans and Burgundian parties was the kidnapping of the king’s heir, which caused Burgundy and Orleans’ relationship to deteriorate.  Curiously, one of the key episodes that caused the Stark-Lannister relationship to deteroriate was Catelyn Stark’s “arrest” or “kidnapping” of Tyrion for allegedly attempting to kill Bran. [This article is continued from here.] In August 1405, John of Burgundy – unhappy with his fading power and diminishing payments — marched for Paris…

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The Stark-Lannister Conflict and the Armagnac-Burgundian War continued…

Admittedly, the Stark-Lannister conflict does not last nearly as long as the Armagnac-Burgundian War. However, the seeds of the Stark-Lannister conflict were planted years before the Wars of the Five Kings began. [This article is continued from here.] First, Ned walks into the throne room immediately after Jaime kills the mad king, Aerys Targaryen, and Ned automatically assumes Jaime killed the king without honor. The knowledge of Ned’s judgment rankles Jaime for years before Ned arrives in King’s Landing. Then,…

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The French Wars of the Roses: the Lion vs. the (Dire) Wolf

At the end of last season, the House Stark was gutted of its leadership. All the adults are gone: Ned Stark, Robb Stark, and Catelyn Stark are all dead. Since the Stark/Lannister conflict may be winding down, let’s examine one possible event that may have inspired it – Armagnac-Burgundian War, sometimes dubbed the “French Wars of the Roses.” In particular, this article discusses the parallels between the events leading up to the assassination of Duke Louis of Orleans, the brother…

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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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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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Book Review: The Third Plantagenet

There is something very poignant about the image of a little boy falling into a well and finding his heart’s desires, something that reminded historian Dr. John Ashdown-Hill of a young boy’s ambitions but also of his eventual tragic demise. George Plantagenet, the Duke of Clarence, may have come from one of the most powerful families of the middle ages, but somewhere along the way, we have lost him. We know him as false fleeting perjur’d Clarence — always as…

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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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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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