Wars of the Roses

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…

Read More
Sansa_stark_young

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Historical Basis of Lord Frey

In yesterday’s season finale of Game of Thrones, we found Lord Walder Frey sitting in his great hall matter-of-factly eating and talking to Lord Bolton while old women scrubbed the Stark’s blood off the wood floors. Lord Frey is beginning to rival Joffrey as the most reviled character in the show. He’s abrasive, hostile, lecherous, egotistical, and completely indifferent to anyone’s needs but his own. During the Red Wedding, Lord Frey coolly tells Catelyn Stark to go ahead and kill his wife….

Read More

The Red Wedding and Heworth Moor

Episode: Season 3, Episode 9 “Rains of Castamere” While we’re all still reeling from the Red Wedding last weekend, I thought I’d follow up with the second half of the blog post I promised when I first wrote about the Red Wedding. Admittedly, I’ve been umming and ahhing about writing this post because I’m not 100% sure if I’m right. But, this blog isn’t meant to provide a “secret-decoder ring” for the history George RR Martin borrows. Admittedly, I’m only making…

Read More

Catelyn Stark: The Heart of Game of Thrones

At the emotional center of Game of Thrones, you’ll find Catelyn Stark. Trying desperately to hold her family together after her husband died, Catelyn represents toughness, ferocity, and love. House Tully’s words are “Family, Duty, Honor.” Quite possibly, George RR Martin loosely based Catelyn on Edward IV’s proud and passionate mother who repeatedly struggled to save her children during the turbulent Wars of the Roses. Like Catelyn, Cecily was once a great beauty. Contemporaries called Cecily “the Rose of Raby” after the…

Read More

The Seriousness of Arranged Marriages: No Jane Austen Novel

Episodes: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” Season 3, Episode 7 As Season 3 winds up, arranged marriages are becoming an incredibly important theme. Tywin Lannister wants to marry Tyrion to Sansa Stark and prevent the Tyrells from becoming Lord in the North. Robb Stark pleaded with his uncle to marry Lord Frey’s daughter so he can regain the lord’s military support. In the HBO interactive features from this week’s Game of Thrones, George RR Martin talks about the political importance…

Read More

More on Cersei and Elizabeth Woodville

This post continues from my previous post on Elizabeth Woodville and Cersei Lannister. Elizabeth, like Cersei, had her share of sorrows. Elizabeth was the mother of twelve children, including the heir to the throne, the blonde-haired Prince Edward.  After Edward IV died, his brother Richard (later Richard III) effectively kidnapped Prince Edward and imprisoned him in the Tower along with his brother. Neither boy was ever seen again. While Elizabeth experienced grief, she also shared in the moral ambiguity seen…

Read More

Cersei Lannister: The Evil Queen We Love to Hate

Tyrion: “You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality; that and your cheekbones.” Episodes: Season 3, Episode 6 “The Climb”;  Season 2, Episode 1, “The North Remembers” In tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones, I almost found myself warming up to Cersei a little bit. Her son is a monster she can’t control and her father was forcing her to marry another man who will never be interested in her. However, I suspect my compassion for the evil queen won’t…

Read More

Hidden as a Scullion Maid

Episode 3, Season 2 “What is Dead May Never Die” at 19:41 “Every man who has ever tasted my cooking tells me what a good whore I am.” – Shae In the Game of Thrones, when Tyrion wants to hide Shae, his <ahem> courtesan, to protect her from Cersei, Shae refuses, stating flatly, “I am not a kitchen wench.” Tyrion rethinks and arranges for her to become Sansa’s handmaiden instead. However, in the past, lords have hidden women far higher born than…

Read More