Freeeeedoooomm!

After a brief but glorious career as a legendary freedom fighter, William Wallace was executed for treason on August 23, 1305 after being captured near Glasgow. Wallace was a member of the minor Scottish nobility who came of age at a time of political instability and widespread infighting amongst the greatest Scottish landowners. King Alexander III had died in 1286 after falling from his horse, … Continue reading Freeeeedoooomm!

Enough is Enough

Peace at last (for the time being)! On August 5, 910, the last major army sent by the Danes to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall, near modern-day Wolverhampton. Frequent Danish raids over the preceding centuries had placed significant parts of Northeast England under their control. Although they attempted to attack areas in central England, they were resisted by Alfred the Great … Continue reading Enough is Enough

Two Crowns

Care for a coronation? On July 6 two of England’s most famous (and infamous) kings ascended the throne or were crowned. First, in 1189, was Richard the Lionheart, who’s become legendary for his military prowess (which, in some cases, was particularly brutal). The road to the throne was a rocky one: Richard was involved in several rebellions against his father, Henry II, in an effort … Continue reading Two Crowns

Higher Education

On June 20, 1214, the University of Oxford received its charter, making the place official more than a century after students began studying there. Nobody really knows for sure when Oxford was established, but we do know that teaching was going on there all the way back in the late 11th century. In those days, most wealthy Englishmen seeking higher education went to the University … Continue reading Higher Education

The Great Charter

On June 15, 1215, King John of England put his seal to the Magna Carta in the meadow at Runnymede, after months of negotiations with his rebellious barons. The Magna Carta was the first document forced on an English king by his subjects that basically said he couldn’t do whatever the hell he wanted. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to John … Continue reading The Great Charter

Game of Thrones: And What Do We Say to Death?

Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned’s idiocy got him thrown into prison, which pissed off Robb, so he gathered a big ol’ army and started marching on the Lannisters. Up on The Wall, Jon proved his worth by saving Mormont from a zombie. Oh, and Drogo got a scratch on him in a fight that I’m sure will somehow wind up being fatal.

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Game of Thrones: Things Get Ugly

Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned confronted Cersei about her twincestuous ways and then ran about being suicidally stupid, putting his faith into people like Petyr, who ended up betraying him. Maybe. I feel like you can never tell with this show. In other news of dumbassary, the attempt on Daenerys’s life failed and just made Khal Drogo decide to invade Westros after all, and King Robert died from drunk hunting, putting Joffrey on the throne. Joy.

Arya’s having a fencing lesson, blithely unaware of the very real fighting going on a few floors below her. So I guess we’re staring immediately where we left off. Sansa and Septa are walking the halls, wondering where Arya is, when Septa hears the unmistakable sounds of battle and sends Sansa right back to her rooms. Sansa runs off, and Septa is almost immediately confronted by a bunch of guards with bloodied swords. In her lesson, Arya loses, and she’s a terribly sore loser.

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Camelot: Fallout

Previously on Camelot: Morgan took Igraine’s place in Camelot just long enough to tell Leontes his wife slept with Arthur, and to have some sexy time with Merlin, who, amazingly, didn’t realize he was being tricked. Finally, the real Igraine escaped from her prison at Magical Manse and ran back to Camelot, where she came face-to-face with…herself.

We start the show right where we left off. Igraine, naturally, freaks out considerably when she sees her exact double staring at her calmly, and she wonders if she’s going crazy. Now, Igraine, you know that magic exists in this world, so you didn’t think for a second that this might be some sort of trickery? I guess not, because she asks Morgraine what she is, and Morgraine tells her she’s Igraine’s damaged, dirty soul made manifest. Igraine freaks out some more and runs out of the room. A few minutes later, Morgan shifts back to her true form, grabs a horse, and rides back toward Magical Manse. And not a single person notes her presence in Camelot, or the fact that she’s making off with one of their horses. Once again, security in this place sucks.

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Game of Thrones: Win or Die

Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned got his Hand job back, and finally figured out that Cersei’s been sleeping with her brother. Tyrion won his freedom through trial by combat, but it’s probably not enough to prevent an all-out war between the Starks and Lannisters. Viserys finally got his crown—molten, and poured over his head. I don’t think he’ll be too missed.

In a magnificent encampment somewhere, Lannister Senior, played by Charles Dance, aka Lord Stockbridge, is gutting and skinning a deer while Jaime reads aloud the order for Senior to return to court and answer for Clegane’s crimes. Senior tells Jaime he was stupid to attack Ned, and even stupider to leave Ned alive. He does, however, give Jaime 30,000 men to go attack Cate and free Tyrion. So, hang on a minute, they don’t know that Tyrion’s already been freed? Communcation in this world is confusing to me: Robb Stark knew about the attack on his father, like, a day after it happened, but the Lannisters still haven’t received any kind of raven or whatever telling them that Tyrion’s on his way home? It seems like the first thing Tyrion would do. This seems really inconsistent to me.

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Game of Thrones: Well, That’s One Way to Crown a King

Previously on Game of Thrones: Ned got fired/quit as Hand of the King and was all ready to go home, but then Jaime Lannister attacked him in the city and killed Jory because he was pissed off about Tyrion being taken prisoner by Cate, who hauled the Imp to The Eyrie to see her nutjob sister.

Ned wakes, looking a bit feverish, perhaps from that leg wound he wound up with during Jaime’s attack. He finds Robert and Cersei hovering over his bed. He and Cersei almost immediately start harping at each other over the Tyrion situation, until Robert shouts at them both to shut up and orders Ned to return Tyrion to his family and make his peace with Jaime. Ned’s unwilling to do either and wants to go fetch Jaime so he can face justice for all of last episode’s unlawful murdering. Robert hesitates, and Cersei starts nagging him, telling him he should be wearing the dress and she the armor. He decides to show her how tough he is by smacking her in the face. I’m in no way an advocate of domestic violence, but I have to admit, I was a tiny bit happy to see someone smack this awful bitch for a change. Maybe that’ll shut her up for a minute. She leaves, and Robert admits he shouldn’t have hit her. He also repeats his order for Ned to release Tyrion so they can all get on with their lives. And he can’t go after Jaime, because he’s deeply in debt to Lannister Senior, and he really can’t have the Starks and the Lannisters at war with each other. He reinstates Ned as King’s Hand and leaves him in charge of the kingdom while he goes out hunting for a few days.

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