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On "How I Met Your Mother" the other night there was a game of thrones reference. Barney and Robin (who are engaged to be married) were talking about the possibility that they were cousins. Barney said something like: "king Joffrey's parents were brother and sister and he turned out to be a fair and wise leader"

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Talisa in the TV series seems inspired by Rebecca in Ivanhoe - exotic/foreign woman healer. I'm sure I saw a film or TV series as a child where she was carting a wounded man about in a caravan like Talisa's wagon.

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Don't know if this is coincidence, and there's certainly no relevance, but Lothlorien in LotR was originally founded near an elven city called Tirion.

Tirion was the Elven city in Valinor. Lorien was originally a garden in Valinor. I think you are conflating several different things.

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Don't think I've seen this one: Petyr Baelish's steward at his tower in the Fingers is named Umfred, which has to be a nod to Brother Umphred the vile Christian monk/missionary in Vance's Lyonesse trilogy.


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Tyrian with an a is the name of the royal purple dye prized in the ancient world.

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Probably been pointed out before but weirwoods are likely taken from the Chinese three legged crow (which itself is almost certainly the inspiration for the three eyed crow moniker) legend in which the three legged crows perch on red mulberry trees with faces on their branches.



Also I think the (ancient) Korean Samjok-o (three legged crow) symbol as depicted below bears a strong resemblance to the common House Targaryen sigil (the show's sigil?), wouldn't be surprised if there was some inspiration lifted.


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6eY7WLdZzzk/T4bm1BLfAuI/AAAAAAAAARs/5mMWASBgvFQ


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Surprised I'm the first person picking up on this one, but the evidently mad Slaver's Bay captain The Little Pigeon appears to be a parody of King Friedrich Wilhelm I, of Prussia. He was one of the more respected rulers of his generation, insofar as he avoided warfare, but he consolidated his own army early on, and then decreased expenses at court in order to build up an army of supertall soldiers averaging 6 to 7 feet. The Potsdam Giants, as his regiment wound up called, was recruited from all over his empire, even to the point of kidnap, though they were never risked in battle, on account of his fetishistic affection for his troops. He once confided to a French ambassador, "The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers--they are my weakness." In other words, he was most likely a closet homosexual (it ran in the family), in which case what was actually a menagerie of sorts he was weirdly in love with no doubt provided the inspiration for another wacky character, The Yellow Whale. Friedrich Wilhelm used his troops purely for drill practice and parade in front of amabassadors in order to show off his military might, but also in later years had them march in front of his sickbed. They were led in their marches by their regiment's mascot, which was a bear. So the idea of a very short man attempting to compensate for it by building an army of giants on stilts dressed up as herons isn't actually so far fetched, since there was actually a half-mad ruler of Prussia to serve as inspiration for two of the zaniest commanders of Slaver's Bay.


Edited by The Killer Snark

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So after finally finishing A Dance with Dragons the other day I went back to Lovecraft. In "The Whisperer in the Darkness" I came upon this passage:




“I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connexions—Yuggoth, Great Cthulhu, Tsathoggua, Yog-Sothoth, R’lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Hastur, Yian, Leng, the Lake of Hali, Bethmoora, the Yellow Sign, L’mur-Kathulos, Bran, and the Magnum Innominandum…”





Huh.


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The Children of The Forest remind me of the Tuatha Dé Dannan of Irish mythology. They were a magical race who ruled Ireland until the Celts arrived, fought a war against them and eventually agreed to a truce, before moving into caves and the underground and becoming forgotten except in the stories and legends.


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The Children of The Forest remind me of the Tuatha Dé Dannan of Irish mythology. They were a magical race who ruled Ireland until the Celts arrived, fought a war against them and eventually agreed to a truce, before moving into caves and the underground and becoming forgotten except in the stories and legends.

How does Tuatha De Dannan translate?

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Might be a stretch, but I noticed a few similarities while rereading To Kill A Mockingbird recently.



1. The Finch's have their ancestral home, Finch's Landing.


-That made me think of King's Landing which I always thought was a bizarre name for a capital. I get it, but still.


2. It's tradition for a male of the family to live and earn a living there (until an Aunt becomes "the Finch who remained at the Landing").


-Reminded me of the whole "the Stark in Winterfell" business


3. Scout is a tomboy and her father encourages her despite the protests of female authority figures.


-This is nothing new. The first time I read AGOT, I pictured Scout in medieval garb when Arya was described.


4. Atticus reluctantly serves the town when called upon to put down a rabid dog


-Ned is reluctantly serving as Hand of the King when he commands the execution of Gregor Clegane, Tywin Lannister's "mad dog"


5. And of course, the dramatic courtroom scene where Atticus addresses the jury while wielding his greatsword, Ice.


-Actually, I might be misremembering that last one.


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OK, this is based on such a slight moment in the text you will all think I’m nuts.



The part in ASOIF where Jaime frees Tyrion but their encounter ends with Tyrion falsely and viciously confessing to killing Joffrey and Jaime striding off, reminds me of this little bit in the Odyssey which I happened across in a dictionary of literary symbols (under Asphodel).



The asphodel is the flower of Hades. After talking to Odysseus, the shade of Achilles "stalked away in long strides across the meadow of Asphodel." Odyssey 11:539 translated Lattimore cf 11,573 (from Michael Ferber A Dictionary of Literary Symbols)



I think what struck me was the image of someone turning on their heel and striding away on their long legs, the setting (a dungeon is like like Hades, especially this one) and the poignancy. Possibly also the fact that Jaime is a bit shade-like since his return to KL: he feels displaced, he is gaunt and grey; people see him but do not recognise him. I have since looked up this section of the Odyssey and can see some more connections although they are ironic ones. In this scene, Odysseus has gone to Hades to ask Tireisis advice on how to get home, since the Gods seem determined to stop him. The lonely shades in Hades gather round him, asking for news and in particular what has happened to their relatives. Achilles asks for news of his son, asking did he go off to war, did he become a leader or hang in the rear? And then for news of his father, imagining that Peleus must be old now, and fearing that age and infirmity may mean he is disrespected, and wishing he were alive in the sunlight to punish any who dared to show disrespect. Odysseus tells him that he knows nothing of Peleus, but that his son Neoptolemus has gone to war and been a brave and respected warrior. He tells him in some detail about his son, then:


"I spoke. Then the shade of swift Achilles


moved off with massive strides through meadows


filled with asphodel, rejoicing that I'd said


his son was such a celebrated man.



So this is the opposite from ASOIF where Tyrion tells Jaime that he killed his son, who was vile and would have made a terrible king.



Also, all the talk about Achilles’ respected father, grown old, is acutely different from what is about to happen to Tywin, killed on a privy by his own son, with his son’s mistress in his bed.


I think this comparison gains a little weight from the fact that Jaime is identifiably an Achilles type character, he is the model from which Jaime the wrathful brilliant knight in gold armour comes. Some other poster has pointed put that Tyrion was like Odysseus, something I thought was a stretch at the time, but now I’m coming round to it. As well as being the man who the Gods seem conspiring to send off course, Odysseus is described, as cunning, wily, a man of twists and turns, which certainly suits Tyrian, also as a sacker of cities, which Tyrian may become if he ever manages to join up with Dany.

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The following comes courtesy of Television Tropes and Idioms, and is the work of another writer or writers:



The Habsburgs were inbred even by the standards of European royalty, which might not have been a problem except that their matriarch (Juana de Trastamara aka "Juana La Loca", known in old-timey English sources as "Joan the Mad") became a total basket case after the death of her husband Philip the Handsome (their marriage, fortunately for them and unfortunately for Spain, was Perfectly Arranged); she ended up incarcerated by her own father Ferdinand and, later, her son Carlos I/Charles V, who had to be told to treat his poor mother better as a condition to be elected Holy Roman Emperornote Yes, this is that Charles V. The one who might have been ruler of all Europe (save England and France) had it not been for the emergence of Protestantism. That one.. Don Carlos, the rebellious son of Philip II, was insane to the point of being physically dangerous and would take swipes at passing servants with a knife. Ferdinand II's favourite occupation was rolling around in the bin. Even the more mentally stable scions of the dynasty tended to feature a massively disfigured lower jaw, often to the point they could not even close their mouth.


  • The trope's picture is a portrait of Charles II of Spain, last Habsburg King of Spain—and the art style of that time tended to gloss over any blemishes someone had (much like fashion magazine photos today) so in all likelihood, his looks were even worse. He was physically and mentally disabled as well as disfigured (he had the "Hapsburg Lip" to such an extent that he could not close his mouth; that's why his tongue is poking out). His subjects nicknamed him "The Bewitched". Unsurprisingly, he closed the Habsburg chapter in Spain by not perpetuating his genetic pool, constituted among many other issues by his grandmother being also his aunt. After all, Charles descended from Juana La Loca just 14 times... twice as a great-great-great grandson, and 12 times further. When your grandparents' most recent common ancestor is their great-grandmother,note For most people, their spouse's MRCA is ludicrously distant-past and her name is Joanna the Mad, you're not off to the best genetic start in life.
  • It should be pointed out, however, that recently a lot of historians are questioning Joanna's madness. Witnesses who weren't paid by the ones who wanted her throne claimed she had opened the coffin of her husband once (which was the custom at that time, to ensure the right person was being buried). Yes, her throne: technically she inherited it from her mother Isabella and was a queen in her own right, a fact that annoyed her father, husband and son equally. While she most likely was depressive and passionate, her "fits of madness" mostly broke out when her children were taken from her or when she was locked up for years. Who wouldn't have fits under such circumstances? (By way of comparison, England's Queen Victoria was morbidly depressed for decades after being widowed and avoided almost all official business, to the point where leading political figures seriously considered declaring a republic just so they could have a full-time head of state to rubber-stamp their decrees; nobody thinks of her as insane, just broken-hearted.)



Now compare it to the following, also from the same site source. It's easier quoting here than using my own words:




"Madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, the gods toss that coin into the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."
Barristan the Bold, A Song of Ice and Fire



The page quote comes from A Song of Ice and Fire, in which the royal Targaryen line is blessed with greatness as much as it is cursed with madness due to centuries of inbreeding. It started with the first Targaryen king, who was a great man but unfortunately married and had children with both of his sisters (a family tradition, his parents were brother and sister too); from there on out it's been a crapshoot. The line has produced many able warriors, statesmen, and scholars as well as a rogue's gallery of tyrants and psychopaths. Some Targaryens begin quite noble and lose their grip on sanity as they age, such as King Aerys II— by the end of his reign, he was known as King Aerys the Mad, and in the end his excesses sparked a revolt that toppled the dynasty. Daenerys, the only POV character with Targaryen blood (so far as we know) seems to have come out fine; her brother, Viserys... not so much. The books do give us some other normal Targaryens— Rhaegar (universally loved, killed in Robert's Rebellion), Maester Aemon of the Night's Watch, and Aegon VI, who it turns out is still alive— and is essentially the opposite of Joffrey.





Note: So it seems that Martin had some historical precedent for Aerion 'drinks wildfire when drunk because he thinks it will turn him into a dragon' Targaryen somewhat. Incidentally, it was the hydrocephalic, tongue-deformed Ferdinand "I am the Emperor and I demand dumplings" the First who used to sit in a wastepaper basket and roll around the floor in it, not Ferdinand II.


Edited by The Killer Snark

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Short of even closely examining that family tree, the shape alone is enough to give one pause. Branches should never rejoin one another and come together at the bottom like that. Yikes. I'm sure we've all heard about the Habsburg's inbreeding, but to see it represented visually like that, over so many generations really is instructive. And as you say, comparing them and their physical, mental and emotional handicaps to those of the Targaryens, who are similarly inbred, is very instructive as well.


Edited by Jon Flowers

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