Non-Book Review: The Wars Of The Roses: The Conflict That Inspired Game Of Thrones

The Wars Of The Roses: The Conflict That Inspired Game Thrones, by Martin I. Dougherty

This particular book I received today from the De Re Militari, and there are a couple of ways a book like this could go. For one, it is pretty obvious that this book is a popular history (as opposed to a scholarly one) that seeks to trade on the popularity of HBO’s Game Of Thrones series [1]. This need not be a bad thing; a good popular history can bring fairly obscure historical knowledge to an audience by taking advantage of a confluence between history and popular culture. Those who would be interested in the dark history of the imaginary continent of Westeros, and its neighboring continent Essos, might want to get to know real history that was every bit as complicated and odd as that of a fictional world, minus the dragons, at least.

In looking at the book so far, I am pleased by its scope, even though it’s just a bit over 200 pages, so it is not likely to be very deep in terms of its study. That said, its range is at least impressive. So far at least I have seen that it starts with the Anarchy as the context for the War of the Roses, and it looks at the legacy of the Wars of the Roses on contemporary culture and gives some family trees at the end that at least point out the main names and somewhat simplify the complicated genealogical claims on the throne of England, and the somewhat underwhelming quality of some of the monarchs (King Henry VI comes to mind here). I also flipped through some pages and saw some information on the early Tudor pretenders and some comments about Richard III taking advantage of recent DNA testing that suggests some paternity issues in the York line. Playing a game of Plantagenet “who’s your daddy” is almost as dangerous a task as trying to guess the paternity of the young boy-kings of Westeros. At any rate, it promises to be an interesting read, but whether it is a good book or not will have to wait until I can actually read it.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-first-of-his-name/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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