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Have you read everything George R.R. Martin has every written? Do you know what in Game of Thrones is based in real history? A young pretender raises an army to take the throne. Learning of his father's death, the adolescent, dashing and charismatic and descended from the old kings of the North, vows to avenge him. He is supported in this war by his mother, who has spirited away her two younger sons to safety. Against them is the queen, passionate, proud, and strong-willed and with more of the masculine virtues of the time than most men. She too is battling for the inheritance of her young son, not yet fully grown but already a sadist who takes delight in watching executions. Sound familiar? It may read like the plot of Game of Thrones. Yet that was also the story of the bloodiest battle in British history, fought at the culmination of the War of the Roses. George RR Martin's bestselling novels are rife with allusions, inspirations, and flat-out copies of real-life people, events, and places of medieval and Tudor England and Europe. The Red Wedding? Based on actual events in Scottish history. The poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon? Eerily similar to the death of William the Conqueror's grandson. The Dothraki? Also known as Huns, Magyars, Turks, and Mongols. Join Ed West, as he explores all of Martin's influences, from religion to war to powerful women. Discover the real history behind the phenomenon and see for yourself that truth is stranger than fiction.
From William Shakespeare's series of history dramas to Sir Walter Scott and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire?not to mention the smash-hit TV show Game of Thrones?the British civil war of 1455 to 1485 has inspired writers more than any other. Ed West's My Kingdom for a Horse illuminates the bloody war fought for thirty long years between the descendants of King Edward III in a battle for the throne. Named after the emblems used by the two leading families, the Houses of York and Lancaster, the title of the conflict gives it a romantic feel that probably wasn't as apparent to those on the battlefield having swords shoved into their eyes. And, for all the lovely heraldry and glamorous costumes of the era, the war saw the complete breakdown of the medieval code of chivalry in which prisoners were spared, which makes it even better drama. In 1460-61 alone, twelve noblemen were killed in the field and six were beheaded off it, removing a third of the English peerage. Written in the spirit of a black comedy, My Kingdom for a Horse is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in one of history's most insane wars. Featuring some of history's most infamous figures, including the insane King Henry VI, whose madness triggered the breakdown, and the wicked Richard III, who murdered his young nephews to take the throne, this fifth entry in West's A Very, Very Short History of England series is a must for fans of British history.
A revealing glimpse into the tumultuous history of England's medieval period, full of knights in shining armor and terrible peasant suffering. Covering the violent and disease-ridden period between 1272 to 1399, England in the Age of Chivalry. . . And Awful Diseases covers the events, personages and ideas most commonly known as "medieval". This includes Geoffrey Chaucer, the Peasants revolt, the Scottish wars of independence, the Great Famine of 1315, the Black Death and the 100 Years War. Central to this time is King Edward III, who started the 100 Years War and defined the concept of chivalry, including England's order of the garter. His legacy continues to shape our view of England's history and is crucial in understanding the development of Europe.
A riveting account of the most consequential year in English history, marked by bloody conflict with invaders on all sides. 1066 is the most famous date in history, and with good reason, since no battle in medieval history had such a devastating effect on its losers as the Battle of Hastings, which altered the entire course of English history. The French-speaking Normans were the pre-eminent warriors of the 11th century and based their entire society around conflict. They were led by William 'the Bastard' a formidable, ruthless warrior, who was convinced that his half-Norman cousin, Edward the Confessor, had promised him the throne of England. However, when Edward died in January 1066, Harold Godwinson, the richest earl in the land and the son of a pirate, took the throne . . . . this left William no choice but to forcibly claim what he believed to be his right. What ensued was one of the bloodiest periods of English history, with a body count that might make even George RR Martin balk. Pitched at newcomers to the subject, this book will explain how the disastrous battle changed England and the English forever, introducing the medieval world of chivalry, castles and horse-bound knights. It is the first part in the new A Very, Very Short History of England series, which aims to capture the major moments of English history with humor and bite.
1215 is one of the most famous dates in English history, and with good reason, since it marks the signing of the Magna Carta by King John and the English barons, which altered the entire course of English and world history. John Lackland was born to King Henry II and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitane in December, 1166; he was the youngest of five sons. However, he unexpectedly became the favored heir to his father after a failed rebellion by his older brothers in 1173. He became king in 1199, though his reign was tumultuous and short. After a brief peace with Phillip II of France, war broke out again in 1202 and King John lost most of his holdings on the continent. This, coupled with unpopular fiscal policies and treatment of nobles back home, led to conflict upon his return from battle. Buffeted from all sides, King John was pushed in 1215 to sign along with his barons the Magna Carta, a precursor to constitutional governance. But both sides failed to uphold the agreements terms and conflict quickly resumed, leading to John's untimely death a year later to dysentery. Pitched at newcomers to the subject, 1215 and All That will explain how King John's rule and, in particular, his signing of the Magna Carta changed England-and the English-forever, introducing readers to the early days of medieval England. It is the third book in the acclaimed A Very, Very Short History of England series, which captures the major moments of English history with humor and bite.
Charles IIOCOs ascent to the throne came at a time of national turbulence: his father had been beheaded, and rival Cromwell threatened his right to rein. England was now a puritanical island, isolated in a sea of Catholic countries. But Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St. Albans, was there to keep the royal family together. The KingOCOs Henchman tells for the first time the story of how this Stuart spy-master - and lover of Charles I's Queen - made sure that Charles II did not suffer the grim fate of his father. His skilful, but secretive, ways of manipulating government were also vital during the Civil War and finally in ensuring the restoration of the Stuart dynasty to the throne. Against this historical backdrop is also the birth of the London that we know today. Jermyn developed the London West End which became the model for the whole of London after the Great Fire. Like Christopher Wren, he was a Freemason and used his contacts not only to spy but also to rebuild London with its characteristic uniform squares and wide streets; doing away with the Medieval free for all that existed before."
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