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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 Ramsay coolly explains to Walda moments before her death, “I prefer being an only child.” But,…

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Longshanks and the Lion: Edward I of England and Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterley Rock, Warden of the West, Hand of the King and (and my favourite character in the TV series) is often regarded as a reimagining of ‘The Kingmaker’ Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428-70). Certainly, if Robert’s Rebellion and the events preceding the books and TV series are assumed to represent the early stages of the Wars of the Roses, this is a fair comparison. Both Warwick and Tywin were the most powerful noblemen in their…

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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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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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Medieval Food: Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah and tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. – two tremendous feast days. I thought it might be interesting, given the occasion, to look briefly at medieval food and Game of Thrones. George RR Martin has acknowledged that he “loosely” based Game of Thrones on England in the 1400s and limits GoT food to what was available during that period. Martin describes food so much throughout the Song of Ice and Fire series that…

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Is Chivalry Death?

“Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men at battle than a dozen at dinner?” Twyin Lannister rhetorically asks Tyrion when Tyrion disparages Tywin’s role in the Red Wedding.1  Tywin’s question embodies one of the central philosophical issues in Game of Thrones: did chivalry cause more harm than good? Tywin and Lord Frey’s actions possibly prevented thousands of deaths. By resolving the conflict with Robb Stark quickly, Tywin may have saved the lives of half his…

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Ghost and Other Dogs of War

When Jon said goodbye to Ghost after the Battle of Winterfell, the poor pup didn’t exactly get his due. Still covered with blood from two days earlier and missing an ear, Ghost looked like a poster boy for an ASPCA ad. Did real armies ever use dogs in combat? You betcha… and this goes all the way back to antiquity. ~~Violence Warning: This article contains descriptions that some readers may find disturbing.~~ War Dogs War dogs must have presented a…

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Baby’s Got Blue Eyes: Recap “Beyond the Wall”

Before tonight’s episode, journalists laid odds as to which member of Jon’s ranging party would die north of the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Tonight’s episode offered lots of thrills and was a game changer. There’s intrigue at Winterfell, but it’s far from clear (to me at least) who is playing whom. Intrigue at Winterfell The Stark sisters are not getting along – and, frankly, it reminds me of nothing so much as the Wars of the Roses. Littlefinger turned the already…

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King Jon? Who Will Win the Game of Thrones

Given Rhaegar Targaryen’s likely marriage to Lyanna Stark, Jon Snow might not be a bastard after all. Instead, Jon might be Westeros’ “rightful” king – whatever that means. But, not so fast: Gendry is Robert Baratheon’s only (known) surviving son on the Game of Thrones TV show – and depending on your perspective, his claim might be just as valid. But, then what about Daenerys? She’s last surviving child of the last non-usurping king. Wouldn’t her claim be stronger? And,…

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Ramsay’s Last Strategy: Battle of the Bastards

This article breaks down a few historically significant moments from the Battle of the Bastards between Jon Snow & the Wall’s forces and Ramsay Bolton and his vassals. This is from last year: Season Six, Episode 9 of Game of Thrones. [Author’s note: I wrote this last year but I got a little carried away with the illustrations. I created 12 drawings for different parts of the battle and then I got sick shortly after that so I never published this…

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