War of the Roses

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…

Read More

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…

Read More
medieval-childbirth-lying-in-chamber

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…

Read More
richard-iii-dna

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…

Read More
Green_Fork

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This article contains minor spoilers Above is a paragraph from an early Tyrion chapter in The Winds of Winter, the yet-unpublished sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series; George R.R. Martin has read it in public.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…

Read More
rhaeg_lyanna

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…

Read More
theon-and-robb-house-greyjoy-34368333-1920-1072

Guardians or Guards? Theon Greyjoy and the House of Stark

A Polite Fiction We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing the story of one of George R.R. Martin’s more divisive characters, Theon Greyjoy. We have looked at his relationship with Robb Stark, we’ve examined the effects that being held hostage for a decade have had on Theon, we’ve discussed choices he was forced to make between his two families and the crimes he committed in the pursuit of ambition. If we take a closer look at Theon’s relationship with his…

Read More
theon-and-robb-house-greyjoy

Brothers Apart: Oathbreakers and Turncloaks

As viewers we tend to see Theon as Robb Stark’s adopted brother, therefore we see his betrayal as an unnatural thing. When we look at Edward IV’s younger brothers, George Duke of Clarence and Richard III, we see George as the betrayer and Richard as the loyal one. Is it not natural to support one’s own brother over a cousin? Or was George’s decision a little closer to that of Theon Greyjoy’s, choosing between a father and a brother? Theon…

Read More
tyrion-jaime-flee-dungeon

The Lost Princes & Tyrion’s Escape from the Tower

Tyrion’s flight from the tower faintly reinforces George RR Martin’s Princes in the Tower theme. Tyrion, as the son of the duke-like Tywin, could be considered a prince. When Tyrion escapes from the dungeon, it mirrors the hypothetical escape of the princes in the Tower of London. [This article is the latest installment of  the Princes in the Tower series. It picks up on a theme in an article Olga Hughes wrote that discusses how Martin plays with the idea…

Read More

Richard III, Theon Greyjoy and The Lost Princes

I often forget exactly why the people of the North loathe Theon Greyjoy. Theon Turncloak. Many Northerners still believe Theon Greyjoy murdered Bran and Rickon, the last sons and heirs of the beloved house of Stark. However we know that Theon did not murder Bran and Rickon. It is true he murdered two innocent children, a terrible crime of which he should not be absolved. But Bran and Rickon still live. And in A Song of Ice and Fire there…

Read More