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

Season 5 & The Sand Snakes Video

~~~Very Mild TV Spoilers~~~ This season we are going to meet the Sand Snakes — Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters who are looking to avenge their father’s gruesome death. In the novels, Oberyn has eight daughters, all with the last name “Sand,” since that is the name for natural born children in sunny Dorne. The daughters who are shown in the second video below are as follows: Obara — the eldest who is the daughter of an Oldtowne whore. Nymeria —…

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
Sansa-Stark-Sandor-Clegane

Broken Promises and Shattered Bonds

The Tully family’s motto is Family, Duty, Honor. While Catelyn Tully perfectly embodies these virtues, her fate seems to be a slap in the face to these ideals. In a turbulent time like that in ASOIAF, doing the right thing can get you killed — a recurrent theme of the series. George R.R. Martin’s body of work suggests that  he is not a cynic. But, in the ASOIAF series, Martin is brutally honest about the gap between perception and reality: following…

Read More
Gingerbread_men-human-sacrifice-history

Nothing like a little human sacrifice for the holidays…

It’s widely known that Christmas has its roots in the blood-soaked pagan traditions for the winter solstice. What may be less well known is the origin of the delightful gingerbread people. At a symbolic level, these sugary snacks may be no more than a proxy for human sacrifice. The tradition of backing cookies in human form dates back to the grandfather of modern-day Christmas, the Roman winter celebration of Saturnalia. At this time, Romans honored the god Saturn. His name stems from…

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