War of the Roses

A Valentine for Tywin: That Bastard (Feudalism) 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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The Real Red Queen at Historical Honey

Who was the real Margaret Beaufort? Was she the religious zealot shown in some fictional portrayals? Was she obsessed with her son? Did she hate the Yorkists? Recently,  Historical Honey published an article I wrote about the real historical figure behind Philippa Gregory’s Red Queen. Even if you aren’t a fan of Philippa Gregory, check it out. The article focuses mainly on Margaret Beaufort. Here’s the link: http://www.historicalhoney.com/margaret-beaufort-the-red-queen/. Also, check out Historical Honey. It is a great magazine and has some fascinating…

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New books on Elizabeth of York: The True Story of the White Princess

Today Alison Weir’s latest book on Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World was released in the United States. I’ve been reading an advance copy, and it is marvelous. If you enjoyed my posts on Sansa, I highly recommend Weir’s book and Amy Licence’s new book (more below). Not to be effusive, but I think Alison Weir is truly at the height of her writing powers. She’s always been a great writer, so it is impressive her style…

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Henry VIII, the Game of Medieval Politics, and Game of Thrones

At the heart of Game of Thrones is the game of medieval politics. George RR Martin worded the title of this novel very careful: it is no coincidence the first word is game. Henry VIII’s one-time Lord Chancellor, and later victim, Sir Thomas More described the court politics as “a king’s game, and for the more part played on scaffolds.” Since Henry VIII presided over the greatest political game of all, it seems fitting that George RR Martin should base…

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Was Sansa’s Marriage to Tyrion Inspired by a Tale of Incest?

Sansa Stark’s marriage to Tyrion curiously mirrors Elizabeth of York’s near marriage to her own uncle, Richard III. When the Tyrells provide military support to the Lannisters, Tywin Lannister agrees Joffrey will marry Margaery Tyrell. The result is Sansa’s betrothal to Joffrey is called off. Tywin, however, realizes that with Robb Stark gone, Sansa is the heir to Winterfell and makes Tyrion marry her. Although Sansa never married Joffrey, she was informally betrothed to him. In some respects, this would…

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Sansa Stark and Elizabeth of York: A Shattered Childhood (Part 2)

The rioters are raping her. Sansa awakens gasping and shaken only to discover her nightmare has been born to life. She’s “bled.” Fearing the queen will learn she is now a woman and she’ll be forced to consummate her betrothal with Joffrey, Sansa frantically tries to cut the stain out of the mattress. Sansa’s realities are harsh. Childhood is over and womanhood endangers her. Worse than the risk of dying in childbirth, Sansa’s betrothed, Joffrey, is a cruel cowardly boy…

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The Origin of Sansa May Lie in Elizabeth of York

Sansa Stark is lovely: everything you’d imagine a medieval princess to be. Beautiful, poised, graceful, soft-spoken, and mannerly, Sansa studies the feminine arts and tries to stay composed. She isn’t the sort of girl who would upstage her prince. Instead, she would remain quietly waiting in the background, smiling sweetly, as she ties a favor to his lance or kisses his sword before battle. Yet, Sansa is quite possibly the most annoying character on Game of Thrones. Why is that? Through our twenty-first century eyes, the…

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Origins of the Iron Throne?

Recently, George RR Martin wrote that few artists render the iron throne the way he imagined it. In fact, on his blog, he provides a picture of Marc Simonetti’s depiction of the iron throne – an enormous monstrosity so large you have to mount it by climbing steps. Today, while reading J.R. Lander’s Wars of the Roses, I stumbled across a picture that made me wonder if it planted a seed for the iron throne in GRRM’s mind a long time…

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New Fledgling Book List

I’ve added a new book list about the Wars of the Roses. (Sorry it has taken me so long to fix the broken menu link from the homepage.) The list is still very basic and rough.  I’ve only jotted down a few books that came to mind – some for people who know nothing about the Wars of the Roses and some for buffs. If you know of any great books on the period, please add them to the comments…

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Cersei and Margaret of Anjou (part 2)

This post continues from Margaret of Anjou’s Influence on Cersei Lannister. Like Cersei after Robert’s death, Margaret had to unofficially function as the head of government. When Henry VI went “mad” and lapsed into an unresponsive state for nine months, Margaret tried to hold the various factions together to prevent other claimants from usurping Henry. In Cersei’s case, the Baratheon brothers and Robb Stark both threatened to oust the Lannisters from the throne.  In Margaret’s case, the disaffected Richard of York…

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