Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series. Catch up on all the episodes here.

Best. Game of Thrones. Season. Finale. Our final medieval art recap features a range of manuscripts, from devotional texts to history and chronicle. We once again find interesting pairings between a mysterious hermit in a cave and a man seated lofty in a tree surrounded by birds; or a man and a woman beating each other and spice merchants setting sail; or a suggestive juxtaposition of adulterous lovers and a man preparing an arrow in a bow. We were as frightened by armed and as a group of wealthy boys were in a popular medieval legend of “The Three Living and the Three Dead.”

In war, while some negotiate terms, others are forced to surrender. Saddest moment: when the Mother of Dragons was forced to tame her winged, fire-breathing children. True medieval moment: examining the bloody content of a side wound. Cannot wait for the next season!

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through masterpieces.

Echoes of the carnage of battle – sounds all too familiar to medieval warriors – filled last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.  This week’s visual recap features several images from the 15th century World Chronicle, since after all battles do make for legendary stories filled with plenty of bloodshed and formidable enemies like mammoths, vicious foreign tribes, and giants (imagined foes even in the ancient world).  When preparing for battle, some retreat to study the wisdom found in books, others spy on enemy movements, and some are asked to defend the walls of centuries-old fortifications.  When the situation looks bleak, be sure to have a hungry wolf at hand.

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through masterpieces.

No word or image can describe the absolute horror of the final scene from last night’s Game of Thrones episode, except perhaps this bronze head of a man with hollow eyes. So what did we experience last night? There was an intemperate gathering, a rowdy brothel, a young woman confesses some deep truths (with a few major white lies), a glimpse at the original black dress, a surrender, touches from the patron saint of those flayed alive, a betrayal that stings like the kiss of a loved one, a bit of voyeuristic bathing, and a beetle banter among brothers

Medieval family motto week continues!

Denise Poncher has a kitty by her family crest and a zombie-like figure of death in her prayer book. We don’t know her family motto precisely, but might be something like “Death always comes knocking, so be bold right meow.”

Medieval family motto week continues!

While we don’t know the mottos of Margherite Crohin and Lois de la Fontaine, we do have brightly illustrated pages of many family coats of arms.

Margherite’s appear on the left, and Lois’ appear on the right. Romantic!

Families in the Middle Ages often boasted clever mottos.

"Arte et marte!" (Art and war!) —House Derrer

This week, in keeping with our Game of Thrones-themed looks at art history, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite clever and cunning family tag lines, which resonate with the houses in Westeros. Stay tuned!

The Fifth Generation, Friedrich Derrer, about 1626-1711, Unknown illuminator. J. Paul Getty Museum.

Another manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

The plot for a few Game of Thrones characters was advanced in last night’s episode thanks to a lengthy conversation over a meal and some symbolically shaped bread.
This illumination presents the earliest representation of pretzel-shaped bread in art, and boy did that Last Supper alter the path and destiny of each of those gathered around the table!

Don’t mess with the bread.

Another manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

The plot for a few Game of Thrones characters was advanced in last night’s episode thanks to a lengthy conversation over a meal and some symbolically shaped bread.

This illumination presents the earliest representation of pretzel-shaped bread in art, and boy did that Last Supper alter the path and destiny of each of those gathered around the table!

Don’t mess with the bread.

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through masterpieces.

Last night’s episode could have been titled “A Million Ways to Die in Westeros.”  Not only did we witness some gruesome deaths — slaves mercilessly and effortlessly slaughtered by a mountainous man as well as a psychotically jealous queen flying to her death — but we also learned various strategies for staying alive, like caging a deadly wolf, walking in on a bathing queen and looking for prophetic answers in a fire, treating one’s festering wounds, flattering a potential lover with wild flowers, and showing off your birthday suit as a royal messenger.  Final lesson: Do you wanna build a snow castle?  Just don’t destroy it or else the would-be-lover might seek revenge on your mother!

Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

One of the most intense moments of Game of Thrones season 4 was when a trial was to be determined by combat. In thirteenth century Spain, feudal law required a trial by combat when a dispute over a significant sum of money was raised by a creditor.  
The miniature above shows spear versus sword in a duel. The undertones in the image of Christian and Muslim knights (wearing a cross and crescent moon, respectively) suggest that the Christian will be victorious (spear over sword).  We’ll have to wait to see how the GoT trial ends (or you can read my prediction here).

Oh, the suspense! 

Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

One of the most intense moments of Game of Thrones season 4 was when a trial was to be determined by combat. In thirteenth century Spain, feudal law required a trial by combat when a dispute over a significant sum of money was raised by a creditor. 

The miniature above shows spear versus sword in a duel. The undertones in the image of Christian and Muslim knights (wearing a cross and crescent moon, respectively) suggest that the Christian will be victorious (spear over sword).  We’ll have to wait to see how the GoT trial ends (or you can read my prediction here).

Oh, the suspense! 

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through masterpieces.

What an episode!  We had a dynamic attempted rescue mission, terrifying fire-breathing dragons, a heated debate about justice, and let’s not forget an epic trial scene complete with false accusations, downright lies, and impassioned familial combat. 

These ancient and medieval images feature humans submitting to the power of dragons (hey, called it!), a dragon enjoying a meal, a scene about burial rights, a banking city full of silver, a man with fewer fingers than most, a woman caught in the bath (to catch up with the gratuitous nudity), a failed rescue mission that revealed the fate of an individual who has suffered as much as Job, and of course a prisoner led to his fate.

Word of the episode? Intensity.

Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

"The text accompanying this miniature explains perfectly the fate that befell one of the villainous characters in last night’s episode: When the blade of your enemy comes straight at your head, there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  Indeed all men must die.”

Indeed.

Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

"The text accompanying this miniature explains perfectly the fate that befell one of the villainous characters in last night’s episode: When the blade of your enemy comes straight at your head, there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  Indeed all men must die.”

Indeed.

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through medieval masterpieces.

Coronation, conversations, counsels, conflagration… and lots of consequences.  That about sums up last night’s episode.  One of my nine predictions has already come to pass with a young boy becoming king.  We witnessed the travails of trying to rule a kingdom without slaves; we learned that it’s wise not to make an enemy of your sister/mother-in-law/mother (especially if they’re weirdly the same person); we were subjected to a wild night of loud sex in a castle high in the clouds; we got a glimpse at how a crazy aunt can link lemons with lust (we threw in the nudity in the image below just to play along GoT style); we oversaw a potential budding romance as a squire helped unfasten a knight’s armor; we heard vengeance in the words of a foreign prince with a knack for poetry; and unsurprisingly, lots of people died by stabbing, beheading, and axe and sword through the head, the usual.  Fire and ice were again one as a shack of villainy in a snowy wood was burned to the ground.


Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

The icy White Walkers might not feature among the pages of medieval manuscripts, but people in the Middle Ages did imagine a range of strange, frightful, quirky, and exotic peoples living at the extremes of cartographic and geographical knowledge. Some had names like Cinomologus or Trococite, while others lacked basic knowledge or certain appendages. 

Another gruesome manuscripts match up based on last night’s Game of Thrones from our Medieval manuscripts curator:

The icy White Walkers might not feature among the pages of medieval manuscripts, but people in the Middle Ages did imagine a range of strange, frightful, quirky, and exotic peoples living at the extremes of cartographic and geographical knowledge. Some had names like Cinomologus or Trococite, while others lacked basic knowledge or certain appendages. 

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!

Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through medieval masterpieces.

As with any game, in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones several key moves were made, true cards were revealed, and the dystopian medieval-esque world came more vividly to life with talk of treason, seduction, justice, mutiny, and sacrifice. 

The episode opened with fire (set for a language lesson and overthrow of a city) but ended with ice (and a chilling look at a mysterious and disturbing form of a tribute offering). Medievalisms in last night’s episode include: lots of crucifixion (a medieval mainstay, and 163 in the episode to be exact); a guilty grandmother who suffered a tedious garden walk with her charming (and seductive) granddaughter; plenty of swordfighting (even one-handed); a dark and quiet night’s slumber was interrupted by a beautiful wife-to-be; the nearly opposite “Kingslayer brothers” shared a moment of banter in prison; drunken tirades by queens and mutiny leaders required glass goblets and cracked skulls, respectively; and what’s more medieval than a new suit of armor?

Winter is coming. All men must die. And Game of Thrones is back!
Stay tuned each week as we unpack Sunday’s episodes through artworks.

A lot happened in this episode for most of the major characters involved, but then again, nothing earth-shattering happened.

We saw a witness to a murder flee the scene of the crime in a boat concealed by a fog bank; we got a lesson in kingship (N.B. wisdom is the greatest strength); a burial scene got steamy with, um, incestuous rape; two lovers fled an awkwardly male-dominated residence for an ironically female-dominated one; we watched a little girl give an old man a reading lesson; a pair of travelers took advantage of a feeble old man; there was a fierce massacre (and some cannibalism) and a bisexual brothel trist; a prison cell conversation turned emo real fast (*feels*); and the sphinxes of a foreign city may prove no match for the might of a slave-freeing, dragon rearing queen, especially when her unmounted knight bests the enemy’s horse-bound champion.

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