Academic reveals real-life history behind Game of Thrones

Friday, 4 November 2016

Could real-life history predict how George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series Game of Thrones might end?

Medieval literature scholar and visiting Oxford University academic Carolyne Larrington says it certainly could – and she is game enough to try.

Professor Larrington, author of Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones, will discuss her GoT predictions and more at a free public lecture at the University of Adelaide next week (Tuesday 8 November) in conjunction with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

Professor Larrington says Game of Thrones is far more embedded in real-life history and literature than many people think.

“From the high medieval culture of King’s Landing to the Mongol-like Dothraki tribespeople, from the Iron Bank of Braavos to Slavers’ Bay, there are historical precedents for many of the show’s characters, institutions and societies,” Professor Larrington said.

Game of Thrones has become the most popular fantasy epic of the 21st century but, watching it as a medieval literature scholar, I can see how creator George R. R. Martin has chiselled the building blocks for his imaginary world out of the real world of the past.”

Professor Larrington says even the dragons, giants and white walkers that feature in the novels and TV show can be traced to the very real myths and legends of medieval times.

“While we now know these things to be simply stories, in times past people really did believe they existed and were fearful of them,” she said.

Carolyne Larrington’s public lecture, Game of Thrones! History, Medievalism and How it Might End, will be held Tuesday 8 November from 6.15–7.15pm, at the Napier Lecture Theatre 102, level 1, Napier building, North Terrace campus, University of Adelaide.

Free event – but bookings are essential at:


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