Happy May the Fourth!
Game of Thrones has returned, and as we know that many CNU students are fans, we’d like to draw your attention to some of the connections between the show, the books, and actual medieval history. At the University of Minnesota they have published a round table with some very prominent medieval scholars discussing the series and how it compares with the history that they study. This was done before the season premiere, so there are no spoilers for the current season. Those of you who have taken (or are considering taking) ENG 373 Myth & Legend / Medieval Britain will be very interested in the insights of Mary Franklin-Brown, such as:
“[A] major influence on Martin was Maurice Druon’s Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of historical novels published 1955-77. English translations were reissued in 2013, with a foreword by George R R Martin himself, after the success of A Song of Ice and Fire. Les Rois maudits follows the last of the Capetian kings of France, so it deals with the events that set the stage for the Hundred Years’ War. In 1314 the Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, cursed King Philip IV the Fair from atop the funeral pyre where the king had condemned him to die. How specific the curse was is not clear… legend has given it to be a curse upon Philip and his descendants for 13 generations, but eyewitness accounts indicate nothing quite so flamboyant. What is historically accurate is that at about the same time accusations of adultery threw the royal family into turmoil. Philip’s daughters-in-law were tried and executed. Philip’s own death, involving a stroke and a fall from a horse, followed before the end of the same year. None of his direct heirs reigned for more than six years (one lasted only five days), and in 1328 the throne passed to Philip VI, the first Valois king of France.”
For Tolkien fans, the Bodleian Library in Oxford has just purchased Tolkien’s own annotated map of Middle Earth. The Guardian has a good discussion of it here.