Win “Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones!”

book cover

We have an exciting worldwide giveaway for our readers today! We’re giving away THREE copies of the new book that discovers the medieval myths and legends that inspired Game of Thrones.

Carolyne Larrington’s Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones explores the historical basis of A Song of Ice and Fire: the warfare, love and power struggles found in the War of the Roses. Larrington examines the figures and symbols used in Game of Thrones such as the giants, direwolves, and dragons of medieval texts, the ravens, gods and weirwood of Norse myth, and more.

Check out an excerpt from the book’s Introduction below!

Tyrion: ‘The wide world is full of such mad tales. Grumkins and snarks, ghosts and ghouls, mermaids, rock goblins, winged horses, winged pigs … winged lions.’ Griff: ‘Kingdoms are at hazard here. Our lives, our names, our honor. This is no game we’re playing for your amusement.’ Of course it is, thought Tyrion. The game of thrones.” (A Dance with Dragons, 8)

Grumkins and snarks’ and kingdoms at hazard: Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire encompasses both high fantasy, with its dragons and manticores, its White Walkers and blood-magic, and also very real questions about the politics of kingship, religious faith and social organisation. Like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire constructs its fantasy out of familiar building blocks: familiar, that is, to us medieval scholars. These blocks are chiselled out of the historical and imaginary medieval past, out of the medieval north, with its icy wastes, its monsters and its wolves; out of the medieval west, with its recognisable social institutions of chivalry, kingship, its conventions of inheritance and masculinity; out of the medieval Mediterranean, with its hotchpotch of trading ports, pirates, slavers and ancient civilisations; and out of the medieval fantasies of the exotic east, where Mongol horsemen harried fabled cities of unimaginable riches, and where bizarre customs held sway among strange tribes on the edges of the known world – and even beyond.

The codes which govern the Baratheon monarchy, the clan system of the Dothraki, the Brotherhood of the Night’s Watch and the responsibilities of the Warden of the North: all these chime with the kinds of social and cultural organisation found in medieval Europe and Central Asia. George R. R. Martin’s world-building draws primarily upon medieval European history (the fifteenth-century English civil uprisings known as the Wars of the Roses are often cited as a major inspiration), but he also makes use of the customs of earlier warrior cultures (the Celts, Anglo Saxons and Vikings), of the history of the Mongols, whose courage and ambition brought into existence the largest land empire the world has ever seen, and he draws on the folklore and beliefs that were widespread in medieval Europe. From the cultures of high medieval Europe, Martin borrows and adapts overarching concepts such as the Catholic Church and chivalry; from further afield, the Mongols – hybridised with some Native American societies – inform the Dothraki.

The author, Carolyne Larrington, is Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Literature at St. John’s College, Oxford. Her previous books include Land of the Green Man and King Arthur’s Enchantresses. She’s also a fan of Game of Thrones herself! You can find her on Twitter at @profcarolyne.

If you don’t want to wait, pick up the book now on AmazonUK, and in January, on Amazon.com!


Now, for the worldwide giveaway rules! Remember, we’re randomly choosing 3 winners.

How do you enter?

Method #1: Simply comment on this post, using a valid email so we’re able to contact you when you win!

For additional or alternate entries (making it possible to have 3 entries total):

Twitter: Follow our Twitter, WatchersOTWall, and retweet the Winter is Coming: Medieval World of Game of Thrones Contest post (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already follow us, no problem! Simply retweet the contest post.

Facebook: Like the WatchersontheWall Facebook page and share the Winter is Coming: Medieval World of Game of Thrones Contest post (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already Like our page, again, no problem. Just share the contest post and you are entered!

Entries are accepted until 12PM EDT, Friday, December 18th, 2015. The THREE winners will be randomly selected and announced Friday afternoon.

**The contest is open internationally.** The winner is selected by random drawing. The winner must respond within 48 hours of notification or will forfeit their prize and another winner will be selected. The winner must have a valid shipping address.

Twitter and Facebook are their own entities and are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Good luck, everyone!

301 responses

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    1. WOOOOOW! Looks amazing, beautiful book!!!
      I’m a history and geography student and books lover!! I’m jumping now!! 🙂
      GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

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    2. I will be looking forward to reading this book even if I don’t win; which would be the best possible outcome.

      Happy December to all!

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    3. Question – interested in purchasing this book but am I correct in thinking that we can’t order in the States?

      Also, throwing my hat in the ring.

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    4. Thanks you, on behalf of all fans, for this great idea! I usually don’t win, but I’ll try and hope! I’d like to have this book, obviously!
      BTW, would you consider to do the same when TWOW is finally published? More copies for more fans to benefit, please 🙂

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    5. Lancel Lannister is a jerk!!!

      [Actually, this is CatspawAssassin, writing under an assumed name for fear of retribution from the Warrior’s Sons]

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    6. Speaking of ASoIaF stuff… did anyone else order any swag right after Thanksgiving when they had the shirts and stuff on sale? If so, has anyone received their items yet? I haven’t, and my order status simply says “prepared”. It’s said that for almost 2 weeks now…

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    7. This looks really interesting, I’ve been meaning to read up of the War of the Roses for a long time now. My husband knows a little more about those Wars than me (from school a million years ago) and has always used this ‘knowledge’ to maintain Tyrion will end up on the Iron Throne. No idea how the War of the Roses leads him to this conclusion, though!

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    8. Fienix,

      The company we partnered with were having some issues with the production of the free gifts. However, that issue has been resolved and all orders will be shipping out this week. Very sorry for the delay. I’m told that all orders will be received before Christmas. Thank you and everyone who helps support our site!

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    9. This looks awesome–I’ve been reading about the women of the Wars of the Roses recently and would love to add this to my collection!

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    10. As a once-upon-a-time literature major, this book sounds awesome! Can’t wait to win it. 🙂
      Thanks for another great giveaway, WotW!

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    11. I bet this is a fascinating read! Might be a perfect segue for my husband, who only reads history books and biographies. He likes the show but doesn’t read fiction, despite my numerous attempts to get him to read the series.

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    12. I would love, love, love to win this. I would love to learn more about the history and mythology GRRM used in writing these books.

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    13. This sounds amazing. The author’s other books look very interesting too especially King Arthur’s Enchantresses. I’ve also been a fan of Arthurian stories.

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    14. I know nothing. Like Jon Snow. This book will educate me and provide another link to my maesters chain. Valar mustwinnis

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    15. Wow- what a fabulous book! One of the things I love most about lots of fantasy writing is the basis it has in reality (the science of the discworld for example) and being able to compare the world created by Grrr Martin to the realities of medieval life would be fascinating!

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    16. Sounds like a wonderful book – thanks for bringing it to my attention. The Wars of the Roses was an amazing period. I’m always intrigued at people’s horror at GRRM’s killing off characters, when the historical events on which he bases the story were so incredibly blood-thirsty and politically devious.

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    17. I have to disagree with the wording of some of that intro to the book. They say “… of the history of the Mongols, whose courage and ambition brought into existence the largest land empire the world has ever seen…” which is untrue. I know what they mean, and they aren’t wrong in what they’re trying to say, but technically the British Empire still had the largest land empire in history. I only bring it up because I just like to try and make sure people give respect where it’s due, and it’s due to the British Empire as the largest empire in history.

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    18. It would be great to have a book like this. I did my Masters degree in Ancient cultures by contextualising an early Christian ascetic text 🙂

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    19. Looks like an exciting book for those of us who love myths and legends, medieval and otherwise. Go Joseph Campbell — I wonder what he would have had to say about GOT.

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    20. I seem to be short of reading material, and think this would fit the bill as we wait 2 months, 16 days to the next GRRM release*. Mother, may I?

      * I have no secret knowledge of a release date, nor am I a greenseer. I am merely filling comment space in a creative way. If, however, I am correct, I will be very busy playing the lottery and betting on ponies as soon as I finish both these books.

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    21. I would love a copy of this book – Carolyne and I went to school together in Woking for our A levels – love to read one of her books!

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    22. I’d love to win one, reading this would combine my love of history with my love of the world of Westeros 🙂

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    23. If you’re unlucky, it’s available on Amazon.co.uk at the moment and due on Amazon.com January 30th! I’m sure you’d enjoy it! Best wishes, Carolyne

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    24. Oh yeah, I’d read that. Here’s a comment: once more, GRRM, kudos for pulling from so many sources of inspiration, swirling them around in your amazing brain, doing the work of putting it down on paper then offering up this amazing world that has so charmed so many.

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    25. Love the Watchers on the Wall website, and this book “Winter is Coming” actually is getting me excited that winter is coming!

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    26. Oh god…how will you guys notice me in all these comments…need to say something fun and original…
      Err…

      Hodor.

      (I have no yigrettes hue)

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    27. I’m a bit sick of pseudo-intellectual fanboy/girls discussing this series – would love to hear from an acutal scholar of the relevant time period(s)! 😉

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    28. So, I guess time’s up. I can’t wait to find out who are the lucky winners. I don’t expect to be one of them, but until it’s really over… damn! I wish I stop hoping.

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