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Game of Thrones SPOILER below the cut.

(This warning wasn't in place earlier; the topic and response were high-profile enough I didn't think one was needed. Apologies to anyone affected.)




So Ned Stark got it in the neck (literally) in last night's episode of Game of Thrones, and D tells me it produced a chorus of outraged disbelief from many viewers. What? Didn't they see that one coming a long way off?

Neither of us have read the books, and decided to hold off until after the end of the series so we can judge the show not as an adaptation but on its own merits. Even so, I was still able to tell D about four episodes ago that Robert's drinking would do for him; that young Joffrey would turn out a nasty piece of work; and that honour-blinkered Ned would be the first to know about it. Joffrey is going to be a Bad Husband (cruel, not disinterested) to Sansa if that marriage ever happens, and his dear indulgent mummy will find last night's over-ruling of her wishes a dangerous precedent.

It's the Wars of the Roses, of course, as GRRM has said; something I slogged through at University but have had a fondness for once the need to pass exams was over. Though the parallels in the books may be different, here's how I interpret some of the characters:

Robert was Edward IV, once a great warrior but now more interested in beef, booze and broads (being killed by a boar has another resonance as well, suggesting that GRRM was thinking of Richard III's badge.) Cersei is a combination of Margaret of Anjou (vicious maternalism) and Elizabeth Woodville (devious nepotism.) Joffrey's a combination of Edward of Westminster and George of Clarence, wanting to prove he's not taking orders any more and using harsh justice to be feared by those who won't ever love him. Tywin Lannister seems a bit like Richard of Warwick, the Kingmaker*, though until the war started his means of control was more gold than force of arms. Sansa's a version of Anne Neville, one more pawn in the marriage stakes, and Ned is (or was) a less ambition-driven Richard of York, trying to do the right thing for the right reasons even though doing the wrong thing would be more sensible. All good convoluted stuff, and never a back that doesn't have a dagger ready to be stabbed in it.

*There was a board game called "Kingmaker". I don't know if it still exists, but it was most wonderfully convoluted. I used to play it with my best friend Charles and his two brothers, and each game was litigous ("show me in the rules where it says I can't do that...") treacherous and thoroughly entertaining.

Oh, and young Edward of Westminster's behaviour in malevolent youth is another reason why Richard III might have wanted rid of his deposed nephews (if he did it.) Edward was passing death sentences at the age of 7, and though that might have been at his mother Margaret's urging, a few years later a foreign ambassador (Milanese, I think) reported that he was talking about little else.

If Richard's nephew the ex-king Edward V (people with the same names infest this period: Edwards, Richards and Henrys are all over the place, and it's safer to go by title though you then get a railway-timetable effect: York, Gloucester, Somerset, and the every-popular saucy Worcester) ever got his throne back, I doubt he'd be very sympathetic to the uncle who proclaimed him a bastard in order to pinch it...

Date: 2011-06-14 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fleetfootmike.livejournal.com
I may of course get in trouble with your wife, editor and publisher for this timesink, but....

http://original.onlinekingmaker.co.uk/

Date: 2011-06-14 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
Cute, but it'll never be the same as playing it with Real Rule Lawyers People.

Date: 2011-06-14 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] armb.livejournal.com
I haven't seen the TV series, but have read the book, and Ted's death wasn't a surprise there. Did the full extent of the, um, "devious nepotism" make it to TV?

Date: 2011-06-15 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ruthi.livejournal.com
Full twincest in the first episode. This is an HBO series, so a lot of things make it onto the screen. Some that were not in the books, also, I am told.

Date: 2011-06-15 11:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] ruthi has already answered this.

Oh yes, Cersei is fond of her brother. Very, very, very fond indeed, and from the implications, has been for quite some time.

Date: 2011-06-14 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
I am banned from playing both Kingmaker and Britannia in this house, because I will try and make the game come out the proper historical way. Apparently that isn't the idea. Who knew?

Date: 2011-06-15 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
It's probably a great source for alternate Roses-era plotlines.

Meanwhile, I used to always spend my efforts on making Richard of Gloucester the King, and the only I actually won was when I didn't.

Everyone else was keeping a beady eye on the Gloucester counter, and didn't notice someone else (I think it was Edward of York) overtaking fast on the inside lane near Chester.

(Having a PLAGUE card and playing it at just the right moment during a major siege didn't hurt either.) :-)

Date: 2011-06-15 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
Arranging for Richard to win is also a good target. The marquis had a tendency, however, to be far too good at being Warwick.

Date: 2011-06-14 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaxomsride.livejournal.com
How can they not have forseen it?
After all the number of films or in this case series where Sean Bean survives (Other than when he plays Sharpe) aren't that large. :¬D

Date: 2011-06-15 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
A bit like Liam Neeson. His survival record in anything vaguely actiony hasn't been that good either, though it's improving, for instance in Taken, where it's the Bad Guys whose chances aren't so hot. :-)

Date: 2011-06-15 05:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eleika.livejournal.com
My husband and I have also not read the books, but we've been enjoying it, too. We have writer's brains, though, so we have fun predicting how shows will play out. This was a sad one but we did see it coming

Also: theaterhopper.storenvy.com/products/18067-movie-law-948

Date: 2011-06-15 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
The T-shirt is amusing, but that's a surprisingly large list of KIA roles. Maybe he likes being able to go home early...

Otherwise he needs to have a word with his agent, because that's starting to look like typecasting. "Ooh look, Sean Bean's in a new movie: how/when does he get killed this time?"

Date: 2011-06-15 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silly-swordsman.livejournal.com
Maybe he's done a Dorian Gray deal? Just last week he was having a smoke outside a pub in Camden, got into a fight and got punched and stabbed, then went back in to order another drink rather than go to hospital.

Date: 2011-06-15 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
"I'm an 'ard man, me."

I wonder if his screen persona (in modern-setting as well as period stuff) is what prompted the fight in the first place.

Date: 2011-06-16 10:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beckyl.livejournal.com
Kingmaker is, indeed, long out of print. Today's closest equivalent is 'Wars of the Roses' published by Z-man games, and pretty readily available from Friendly Local Games Stores everywhere. Darrell has played both, and considers the experience, if not quite the actual gameplay, very similar.

Date: 2011-06-16 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petermorwood.livejournal.com
Turns out there's also one from Columbia Games called Richard III: The Wars of the Roses. It would be interesting to try either of these with "The Old Gang" and see how it compared to playing Kingmaker...

But getting the experience just right would also require going back to about 1972, and that would require inventing a time machine, so it won't happen. :-(

Pity.

Date: 2011-06-16 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beckyl.livejournal.com
Should have remembered Richard III - after all, both of these games are on my shelves for sale! Should you ever be over in the Reading area and at a loose end one evening, not only is there a favourite Indian restaurant I want to take you and D to, but I'm sure we could round up suitable players for a game...

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