asoiaf inspiration

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Elizabeth Woodville || The queen consort of a warrior king who took the throne after a rebellion, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the realm. Her critics also viewed her as cold, manipulative, and calculating. Her family benefited greatly from her status as queen, garnering positions and influence. After the death of her husband, she attempted to take control of her son and the crown from the new Lord Protector. Her children were proclaimed illegitimate by her husband’s brother, who took the throne.

Catherine de Medici || From a family known for money, she became queen consort to a king she had a difficult relationship with and was the mother of three kings, two of whom died before her. She wielded varying degrees of power over the government, ruling as queen regent for a time. The reigns of her sons saw civil war and religious turmoil.

Margaret of Anjou || Known to be beautiful, volitile, “passionate and proud and strong-willed”, she became a prominent figure in the English civil war, the War of the Roses, as one of the Lancastrian leaders. She married the reigning king and gave birth to his heir. Many speculated that her son was the product of adultery, though this was never proven. She survived both her son and husband.

Jane Shore || The mistress of a king, she was known to be a great beauty with many suitors. The part she played in attempting to stop Richard III’s rise to power led to her being forced to perform a public walk of penance as punishment. George R. R. Martin cited the event as the basis for Cersei’s walk of penance.

Inspiration for Game of Thrones - Former Yugoslavia!

George RR Martin wrote the first book from 1991-1996, when the Croatian and Bosnian wars were a big deal for American foreign policy and got a lot of popular news coverage. It started out with six republics (seven if you count Kosovo) of Yugoslavia, each with differing cultures, started fighting for autonomy.

What was Yugoslavia?

Yugoslavia was a country in Southeast Europe during most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918. under the name of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (itself formed from territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) with the formerly independent Kingdom of Serbia.

The Serbian royal House of Karađorđević became the Yugoslav royal dynasty. That dynasty, or better said prince Aleksandar united the country (it was his idea). So, Yugoslavia gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The country was named after the South Slavic peoples (Serbs, Croats etc.) and constituted their first union, following centuries in which the territories had been part of the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary.

Renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929, it was invaded by the Axis powers on 6 April 1941. In 1943, a Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance. In 1944, the king recognised it as the legitimate government, but in November 1945 the monarchy was abolished. Instead of Aleksandar’s son Petar II, Tito, the Partisan’s leader, came to power. Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established.

After Tito’s death in Slovenia, an economic and political crisis in the 1980s and the rise of nationalism, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics’ borders, at first into five countries, leading to the Yugoslav Wars.

“..they (Yugoslavs) attempted to do the American model taking these five countries to construct Yugoslavia. So long as Josip Broz Tito was alive it seemed to be working, I mean, that people would say: “I am Yugoslav”. But nobody says that anymore; there are all are Serbs, or Croats, or Bosnians, and the ethnic identity is clearly more important than jumping out of the melting pot. They don’t wanna melt into Yugoslavs like we melted to Americans, so I don’t know… It’s interesting.” - George RR Martin

One Croatian comedy site  first wrote about this and, really there are many similarities between people of Former Yugoslavia and people of Westeros:

Lannister - Slovenians blond, rich, people, who think that they are better than others.

The Reach- Slavonia and the Coast (North Croatia), a rich and fertile soil, never in charge, but always the crucial factor.

Greyjoys - Dalmatians (Croats from Dalmatia), only people who they respect are themselves, they believe that others are weak. They are the people of the sea, pirates.

The Vale - Montenegro, a separate mountainous land, unconquerable. Strange family relations, sons on the first place. They have hawk as a coat of arms.

Dorne - FYR Macedonia Land in the south. They have the sun as coat of arms. They have always been segregated from the rest. Dark handsome men, somewhat different than the others from ex YU.

Baratheons - people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a large, happy people ready to drink and eat, brave and burly. Neum is Storm’s End, since it has access to the sea. Robert is like Tito, who died when collapse of unity begins.

The North - Serbia the country of wolves and ancient heroes. Proud people, freedom fighters. Some see them as wild, cruel. White Harbor is Belgrade, Kosovo is The Wall. behind The Wall wildlings (Albanians? lol) live.

Targaryen - Karadjordjevic, the royal family in exile, young Danny as throne princess.

Riverlands - Vojvodina (Northern Serbia), a neutral land, similar to Slavonia. Somehow always affected by wars.

I mean…Sansa is most likely said to be based on Elizabeth of York and Jon is said to be partially based on Henry VII…and Henry and Elizabeth got married for a political alliance when Henry took the throne of England to mark the end of the War of the Roses (which is what ASOIAF is loosely inspired by mainly)….so I’m just saying.

  • Arya: Gendry, would you do anything for me?
  • Gendry: Yeah, of course!
  • Arya: Good I have something I need you to do and you can't ask any questions
  • Arya: I have a stash of 100+ waffles in the car and I need you to scatter them throughout the neighborhood
  • Gendry:
  • Gendry:
  • Gendry:
  • Gendry:
  • Gendry: I'll do it. But on the condition I get one of those waffles.
The Symbolism of Fruit

(Petyr x Sansa Analysis)

Fruit has been a long-standing symbol in both art and literature. It is a symbol of fertility, nature, and of plenty.  In the western world, it has also come to be seen as symbol of temptation and pleasure. Different types of fruit have different types of meaning as well.

GRRM has noted that his own storytelling in ASoIaF was inspired by a combination of history, fantasy, and mythology, and thus, I wanted to focus on a particular passage in ASoS (regarding fruit, no less!). Perhaps we can glean additional meaning from the books, and possibly gain insight into what’s to come?

Let’s begin.

In ASoS, Petyr has whisked Sansa away from King’s Landing, reassuring her, “You are safe with me, and sailing home.” When they arrive, Sansa is dismayed, believing that they were to return to Winterfell, instead, Petyr has brought her to his home, a small Flint tower on the Fingers.

When they settle themselves in the tower, Petyr has one of his servants bring up some fruit for Sansa and himself, he mentions, “Some fruit might serve, perhaps. Oswell’s brought some oranges and pomegranates from the King.”

Oranges and pomegranates eh? Ok, rather deliberate of GRRM to specify the type of fruit, let’s continue.

As the scene unfolds, Petyr begins to speak of The Game, asking her if she was fond of games. She responds evasively, telling him that it depended on the game. Petyr then cuts open a pomegranate in two with his dagger, offering half of it to Sansa, “You should try and eat, my lady.” She thanks him, but declines (pomegranate seeds were so messy), so she opted for a pear instead.

Many readers have drawn parallels of this scene to the Greek story of Hades and Persephone. Hades, Lord of the Underworld, kidnapped Persephone to make her his queen. Through the Gods intervention, Hades was forced to return Persephone, but before he did so, he urged her to eat pomegranate seeds. The act bound her to him, and thus she was compelled to stay with him as his queen, returning to the Underworld every year.

What does this mean for Petyr and Sansa?  Sansa refused to eat the pomegranate seeds offered by Petyr. Does this foretell of her refusal to be his Queen? 

Not necessarily…in fact, this is where things get interesting. Let’s continue.

Sansa chooses a pear instead, a ripe pear, and the juice runs down her chin. The pear is a symbol of sensuality, sexuality, immortality, and also a symbol of marital fidelity. It serves as a symbol of Sansa’s blossoming transition from girl to woman. She is a child no longer, instead, she is a woman grown. She is a woman with a will, who cannot be compelled in the same way that a child can. Her refusal of the pomegranate seeds is a validation of the fact, that she cannot, will not, be forced to do anything.

Onward then.

Petyr and Sansa continue to speak of The Game, and Petyr allows Sansa to put the pieces together as he explains the events that have transpired. He is pleased with her thoughtful answers, and cuts a blood orange in two, offering it to Sansa, which she accepts. Petyr squeezes the blood orange, the juice runs into his mouth, and he comments, “I love the juice but I loathe the sticky fingers…Clean hands, Sansa. Whatever you do, make certain your hands are clean.” Sansa then spoons the juice from her own orange, noting his earlier advice.

What is the symbolic importance of choosing the orange over the pomegranate?

Oranges are a symbol of innocence, fertility, and free will.  They are also symbolically linked to marriage and love.  

According to folklore, the exchange of an orange between unmarried men and women was a simple charm to invite love to blossom between the two. 

This entire exchange was deliberate by GRRM. I think this is where Petyr becomes aware that Sansa would not become a simple pawn of his, compelled and forced at his side (her refusal of the pomegranate seeds), but rather, a clever, strong woman whom he could invite to his side as his capable equal, and hopefully, as his willing lover (her acceptance of the orange).

This foretells that Sansa will remain by Petyr’s side, not through force, but through her own acceptance and willingness to be with him.

9

Great and terrible… there are no better words to describe the Dark Order.

                                           for @dolorousedditor​, inspired by The Conquest