European Game of Thrones

For those with no clue what the video above or the title Game of Thrones references, here's a quick explanation.  The HBO series Game of Thrones is a TV adaptation of a fantasy novel series, Songs of Fire and Ice, by George R.R. Martin.  It is the story of the struggle between rival noble houses of a land called Westeros.   Some critics and admirers have made parallels between the fictional world of Westeros (and its eastern continent of Essos) and medieval Europe and Asia.  


Specifically, many have looked at the rivalry between the Starks and Lannisters (fictional families) as an homage to the 15th century English War of the Roses between the York and Lancasters (for more on this see the pdf below).  

YouTube Video

Other conjecture on the authors intent, equates his fictional world to  the Mongols, Moors of Spain, and the Reformation (one link here MENTAL FLOSS).

Whether the connections exist of not, the more interesting parallel between fiction and reality is how keenly the author encapsulates the position of the nobility in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe.  European nobility in some form or another evolved from Germanic or Nordic tribal leaders - the ring-giver in Beowulf or leader of the comitatus (warrior band) or Roman patricians that grew into local leaders during the decline of Rome.  Their power rested in their control of the land (and thus the common people living on it), the loyalty of smaller less powerful houses to them, and their ability to marshal military resources in times of trouble.  Intricate alliances, often sealed by marriage, helped to secure and expand power (and confuse students and teachers with intersecting family trees and hyphenated family names).

Your task is to dive deeper into history by investigating the major noble houses of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries and identify how they play the Game of Thrones or quest for ultimate power.

You and a partner will be assigned one of these houses of Europe:

Bourbon     Dorcas, Hannah
Borgia        Niha, Abeer
Hapsburg    Annalise, Abhi
Medici        Cassie, Ana, Amulya
Nassau        Maggie, Nick
Trastamara    Aathreya, Evan
Tudor            Sai, Abel
Valois            Duncan, Jack
Vasa               Rameen, Justin 
Wittlesbach    Brooklyn, Jackson

Find the following:
  1. Origin of the house, house crest or sigil, foundation of their legitimacy - What makes them important or connects them to the past?
  2. General geographic location - Kingdom or area they control - FIND A MAP
  3. Most important member of the house from 1450-1648 - Be able to explain why?
  4. Best example of their projection of power - What makes them a force to be reckoned with? 
  5. Best example of interaction (conflict, alliance, etc.) with another house on the list.
  6. What impact will the house have on the future of Europe (post 16th century)?
  7. IF you watch the show Game of Thrones or have read the books, which house from the series is your house most like and why?
You will present your family with a combination of oral argument and visuals (no more than a slide or two with visuals not text heavy).  As each house is presented, the larger class (and myself) will fill out a European Game of Thrones tourney bracket - see below - to determine which house wins the Game of Thrones!  Awesome prizes to the bracket that comes closest to mine.

Mr. Fain,
Aug 12, 2014, 7:22 AM