George RR Martin and the Futility of War: Famine, War, and The Little Ice Age

Game of Thrones is essentially the story of rival nobles fighting over the succession – who will be king. But, does it have a deeper meaning? I might argue that perhaps it does. During the fourteenth century, while Europe was embroiled in succession wars and other forms of squabbling for territory, the climate changed and medieval peasants starved. But, the kings were too busy empire building, chasing their legacies, and feeding their own egos to care. Today, in America, people speak…

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Tywin Lannister’s Legacy and the Medieval Obsession with Genealogy

During one of Tywin’s war counsels at Harrenhal, back when Arya was Tywin’s cupbearer1 , Tywin discovers, much to his fury, that Amory Lorch inadvertently sends a letter detailing the Lannister’s infantry movements to Lord Marlin of House Dormund instead of Lord Damon of House Marbrand. The following exchange occurs: “Girl, fetch me the Histories of the Greater and Lesser Houses.” – Tywin When Arya immediately retrieves the correct book, Tywin scoffs, “My cupbearer can read better than you.” Tywin…

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Winter is Coming: The Long Winter in Westeros

The dog days are over and before winter arrives here in the northern hemisphere, in one of the last summer weekends—when we might still be hot enough to appreciate stories of cold weather—I thought it might be fun to look at the origins of the legends of the long winter in Westeros and the threat “winter is coming.” (My apologies to everyone in the southern hemisphere who is currently in winter!) This is the first of a two-part post. As…

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‘The White Queen’ Episode 3 Recap: Stormy Times Ahead for Isabel

As this week’s episode opens, Warwick and George have betrayed Edward and are attempting to oust him from power. Last week, although imprisoned by Warwick, Edward got a message to Elizabeth and warned her to flee. If George has a boy, all will be lost. Fearing for her life after Warwick executed her father and brother, Elizabeth and her children have barricaded themselves in the Tower of London, preparing for a siege.  As the show begins, Elizabeth frets about Edward’s safety and…

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Seven Ways Edward IV Was Like a Modern Politician

Although Edward IV is a central part of the story in The White Queen, his character is still somewhat elusive. The White Queen’s focus is on the women. The king, although dominant, is almost a secondary character. Edward IV presents a paradox. In The White Queen, he is the great romantic hero who married for love and yet he is also a known “lecher.” What was the real Edward IV like? In some ways, he was similar to the archetype…

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The White Queen – Episode 2 Recap: “The Price of Power”

Episode 2 of The White Queen is episode is extremely fast-paced and essentially flies through the 1460s. It begins with Elizabeth Woodville’s coronation… After witnessing Elizabeth run an emotional gauntlet in Episode 1, Episode 2 opens with Elizabeth firmly on the path to consolidating her position. It’s the morning of Elizabeth’s coronation: she is pregnant and dazzlingly golden in her magnificent pearl and gold brocade gown. Warwick and Edward’s brother George (Clarence) meet up with her to accompany her to…

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