Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War


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About the Book

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and HBO’s Game of Thrones series depict a medieval world at war. But how accurate are they? The author, an historian and medieval martial arts expert, examines in detail how authentically Martin’s fictional world reflects the arms and armor, fighting techniques and siege warfare of the Middle Ages. Along the way, he explores the concept of “medievalism”—modern pop culture’s idea of the Middle Ages.

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About the Author(s)

Historian, fencing master and jouster Ken Mondschein is the author of several books on medieval and Renaissance history and martial arts. He holds a PhD from Fordham University and lives in an 18th century house on a horse farm in New England.

Bibliographic Details

Ken Mondschein

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9970-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2926-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Timeline ix
Introduction 1
1. No True Knights: Chivalry in Myth and the Middle Ages 11
2. A Good Way to Survive a Battle: Armor in Westeros 33
3. Dragonsteel and Wildfire: Weapons in Westeros 55
4. “Stick them with the pointy end”: Fighting Arts in Westeros and the Middle Ages 75
5. The Wager of Battle: War, Duels and Tournaments 105
6. Down and Out in Westeros: The Economics of Feudal Warfare 133
7. Women Warriors of Westeros 148
8. Words and Swords: Conquest and Culture 174
9. A Medieval Atrocity Sourcebook 191
Chapter Notes 207
Further Reading 213
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Extremely informative and often entertaining…an erudite and well-written book…hits a welcome sweet spot on the spectrum from academia to popular writing. Thoroughly documented, filled with informative and interesting examples, never straying too far or for too long from the Game of Thrones series, clearly written and structured…an excellent example of recent books that straddle the world of academia and pop culture. Highly recommended”—Fantasy Literature

• “It’s impressive that Mondschein manages to delve into each topic in so much detail…a fascinating read…. This survey of warfare in medieval Europe might just help you better appreciate Martin’s world-building”—Legendarium Media

• “As inherently fascinating a read as it is informed and informative…will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections”—Midwest Book Review

• “From steelmaking to sword physics, battle strategy to medieval economics, Ken Mondschein knows his knights. In his book, he applies lore of historical figures, European culture, armor diagrams, and cleverly-reasoned timelines to Game of Thrones, but does so much more: He blends an enormous scholarly knowledge of medievalism and personal armor expertise with wry humor and chatty modern analogies, creating a book both thorough and approachable. An impressive reference for fantasy fans and historians alike.”—Valerie Estelle Frankel, author of Women in Game of Thrones

• “Mondschein has compiled a fascinating and well-researched study of medieval warfare in Game of Thrones, written in an accessible style. Chapters on feudalism, chivalric literature, and women in warfare make this an excellent teaching resource and perfect study guide for fans who want to know more about Martin’s epic battle scenes. A cracking read.”—Jes Battis, co-author of Mastering the Game of Thrones

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