My Game of Thrones Quiz

May 15th is another slow
history day, so I was going to fall back on that old standby, Game of Thrones,
which is quite medieval except for the dragons and Others and dyrewolves
and…Okay, maybe it is not so medieval.  But I decided that my Game of Thrones quiz
would make a better blog than a Facebook entry. 
First, I want to pass on an interesting bit of information.  George RR Martin wrote Sunday’s episode
himself.  He writes one each season; I’m
not sure which one he did in Season One but he did the Blackwater Battle
episode in Season Two.

     I hope this will
be fun for my fellow Game addicts.  
While we are all living in the Martin universe, we live on separate
continents; there are those of us who have read the books and those of us who
have not, preferring to watch the series without knowing what is coming
next.    So it will be tricky to pull
this off without telling the latter what they do not want to know.  But I have confidence we can do it.   The first SPOILER ALERT is for those who are
watching the HBO series but have not seen Sunday’s episode yet.  Read no further if you want to preserve the
suspense.    I found it interesting that
almost all of the scenes in this episode were not in the books, and even more
interesting that Master Martin penned them himself.   I really like the by-play between Bronn and
Tyrion.  I am still very worried about
Gentry.  I loved Tywin’s response when
bratty grandson Joffrey whined about having to climb all the steps up to the Hand’s
Tower.  Tywin said coolly, “We can always
arrange to have you carried.”   Joffrey
may be an idiot as well as a sociopath, but at least he has enough sense to be
wary of Grand-dad.   And I also loved Arya’s answer when asked who
her God was:  Death.    Rather sad, though, that this young girl
could make that sound so believable.

            Okay, now
we are into more dangerous territory.  I
want to ask a few questions about the characters.  Only some of my own answers come from the
books and we do not want to give anything away for our HBO-only brothers and
sisters.  So I suggest this.  In your own answers, do not specify WHY you
are choosing a particular character if his or her bad behavior has not yet
occurred in the series.    Just say; see
books.   Those who’ve read them will
understand and we won’t be spoiling the suspense for those who haven’t.  Here are the questions.

1)        Who do you think is the most evil character
in the Ice and Fire series?  For me, it
is Littlefinger, but my pick is based on what he does in later books.  So I am not going into detail about his many
sins.  This is a SEE BOOKS sort of pick.

2)       Who do you think is the most unlikable
character in the series?   For me, it is
Cersei.  My choice is based more on the
books than the series, especially the fourth book when we are allowed into
Cersei’s head—not a pleasant place to visit.

3)      Who
do you think is the character who has made the most remarkable
rehabilitation?  For me, that has to be
Jaime.

4)       Who do you think is the most sadistic
character in the series?    For me, it is
a dead heat between Joffrey and Theon’s torturer.  (Notice I do not identify the monster since
he has not be identified yet on HBO)  I’d
actually give him the edge over Joffrey, although it is a close race.

5)      This
is strictly an HBO question.  Which
character do you think makes more of an impact in the series than in the
books?   For me, it would be Margaery,
who did not make much of an impression on me on the printed page, but who
steals every scene she is in, thanks to the wonderful Natalie Dormer.   Same for her grandmother, the Queen of
Thorns, played by the incomparable Diana Rigg, who’d make a marvelous Eleanor
of Aquitaine in her winter years.   And
while I think Tywin is a strong character in the books, Charles Dance gives him
even more of an edge on screen. 

6)      Who
do you think is the character nowhere near as smart as he or she thinks?   For me, this is Cersei, based on both the
series and the books.

7)      Which
“good character” do you find the least sympathetic?   For me, that is Catelyn.  I can’t forgive her for the cruelty she
displayed to Jon Snow as a boy. 

8)       I
often found myself wanting to scream at my Angevins when they were about to do
something they’d greatly regret.  
Eleanor, maybe you ought to rethink this rebellion idea.  Richard, I think you forgot your hauberk;
want to go back for it?   Henry, for a
brilliant man, how can you be so dense as a dad?   Applying the lessons you belatedly learned
with Hal to Richard and Geoffrey is not going to work out so well for you.   You get the drift.  So here is my Game of Thrones question.   Which character did you want to grab and
give a good shake?  For me, this was an
easy one—the noble Ned Stark.  

9)      This
one is posed out of curiosity about your answers.  Who is your favorite character?  For me, it is Tyrion, both in the books and
as played by the brilliant Peter Dinklage in the HBO series.  

10)   Which secondary characters are you most happy
to see in a scene in the HBO series?  
For me, it would be Bronn and Ygritte and Brienne.    

11)   Lastly, what is your favorite scene in the
series so far?  And which one do you
think is the most shocking to date?   For
me, my favorite is the scene with Daenerys and the slimy slave trader, when she
trades one of her precious dragons for his Unsullied slave army and then pulls
a beautiful double-cross.   The most
shocking to me—especially since I had not read any of the books when I watched
the first episode of Season One—was when Jaime murmured, “The things I do for
love,” and pushed Bran out that window.

 

May 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

231 Responses to “My Game of Thrones Quiz”

  1. Allison Macias Says:

    My answers almost completely mirror yours. I haven’t read the books, YET.
    And I have to admit, I am not a Sansa fan. I understand her (I think), but wish that she could be more intelligent at times.

  2. Sarah Brooks Says:

    Ack! My answers mirror Sharon’s completely, I am a hack! lol Great questions. :)

  3. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I absolutely enjoy the conversations between Tyrion and Bronn. My favourite character is also Tyrion… and Queen of Thorns. They are both disarming, each in his/her individual way, but both very clever.

    The most shocking scene so far? Definitely Ros’s death.

    The most engaging story? Jaime and Brienne :-)

  4. Koby Says:

    Joan, I have not seen Vision, though it sounds quite interesting, and I will have to look into it. Kasia, you had an excellent blog post; I am sorry if I preempted you.

    A very interesting blog, Sharon. I will go full out, and though I think most of my answers will mirror yours, there might be some surprises…

    1. Littlefinger is a good choice… but really there are so many horrible people in the series. In the end, I’m forced to measure it in intent and actual damage caused, so I’m going with Aerys the Mad King, though he has not appeared in the series, being dead. If the damage Littlefinger has caused expands, I may change my choice.

    2. Cersei, because we’ve been into her head. But without that, again, the choice would be near-impossible.

    3. Jaime, no doubt about it.

    4. Theon’s torturer. In the end, Joffrey is a child and has not had time to reach the extent of Theon’s torturer - see A Dance With Dragons.

    5. Margaery, without a doubt. In the books, she barely makes a ripple, at least to my mind.

    6. Well, Cersei is a good choice, but again, there are so many candidates. I’ll agree, though, mostly for reasons that we’ve no actually seen, primary among them the utter failure of their conspiracy until the end.

    7. Catelyn? People blame her overmuch for not loving Jon. Frankly, I see her reaction as reasonable, given what she knew and was expecting. Surprisingly, probably Tyrion. For a supposedly ‘good’ character, he can be quite cruel when he feels he was wronged. And he has his share of ruthlessness.

    8. Again, I have to disagree. To my mind, Ned made barely three mistakes in his time in King’s Landing (see Race for the Iron Throne), and though the first was monumental yet justified as far as he knew (trusting Littlefinger), the last was foolish. But you don’t shake someone for doing what he’s always done. I think I’d choose Jon Snow, for his actions in A Dance With Dragons, which were amazingly foolish, considering how he knew better, and had spent the previous four books learning so.

    9. Among the major characters, Jaime, among the (living) minor, Arianne Martell, who reminds me of Eleanor, if rather less intelligent.

    10. Bronn. Though I hope we see Oberyn Martell soon, because all of that family was perfect except for Quentyn.

    11. Agreed with your choice for favorite. Most shocking… I can’t really think of one, having read all the books before the series. Maybe the one with Ros and Joffrey…

  5. theLioninWinter Says:

    1) Theons torturer wins in pure evil. But both Varys and theTyrells are strong contestants for the title of top bastards. Not only are they evil, but they are even bigger hypocrites than the other baddies.
    2) Daario because he made Dany’s storyline boring
    3) Agree with Jaime
    4) Theons torturer, the Mountain, Rorge, Septon Ut, … Joffrey dangles somewhere below if you think about it.
    5) Tywin, Maester Pycelle, Theon (superior to Theon in aCoK)
    6) Cersei, Illyrio, Tywin, Renly
    7) Tyrion, because he gets a free pass for everything.
    8 ) Agreed
    9) Books: Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon, Victarion Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister, Hot Pie, Ser Barristan.
    Show: Jaime Lannister, Stannis Baratheon, Shireen Baratheon, Daenerys Targaryen, Tywin Lannister, Viserys Targaryen, Ser Jorah
    10) Which secondary characters are you most happy
    to see in a scene in the HBO series?
    Ser Jorah, Grandmaester Pycelle, Locke, the Blackfish
    11) The bath scene, Viserys getting his golden crown, Shireen-Stannis and Shireen-Davos, Theons baptism, Theons speech, Dany taking Astapor
    Since I read all the books: nothing shocked me

  6. Kim Barton Says:

    I’ll go all out and answer them all too. Fun to think about! I’ve read the books, but have only watched the first two seasons of the HBO series.

    1. I’d have to pick Melisandre as the most evil.

    2. I might have to pick Joffrey as the most unlikeable. I hated him from the moment he rode preening into Winterfell!

    3. Jaime, absolutely.

    4. Theon’s torturer. Joffrey was much more impatient. Theon’s torturer is chilling with his ability to keep the torture going for ages.

    5. Margary.

    6. Renly, although he didn’t last long! Jon Snow, but this is based on the books. He made some monumental mistakes.

    7. We don’t have much to choose from in the “good” category. I do have sympathy for Catelyn. Maybe Robert? He was supposed to be good, but I didn’t have much sympathy for him when he’d bemoan his problems as King or complain about Cersei and her relatives.

    8. Jon Snow. I agree with Kobe on this one.

    9. Tyrion! I’d add Jaqen H’gar, even though we only saw him for a short time. I found him intriguing, and I really liked him on the show.

    10. Bronn and Sam.

    11. My favorite scene was when Bronn fought for Tyrion at the Eyrie. The most shocking to me was the scene in which Joffrey demanded the whores beat each other.

  7. Kim Barton Says:

    Just thought of someone else who needed a good shake! Robb, when he reneged on his promise to marry a Frey.

  8. Joanne Says:

    I’m glad to hear Martin wrote the last episode because I really love the further insights into some of the characters. As I was watching I was thinking while I can’t remember reading this bit or that I am lovin’ it! I also remembered the bear pit scene differently from the book and I think I like the way Brienne and Jamie’s relationship is being portrayed in the tv series better than in the books.

    As to your quiz Sharon, try as I might I have to agree with all your responses. I know that sounds lazy but ’tis true.

    Tyrion is my favourite character in both the books and TV series. Joffery is most evil in the TV series while Theon’s torturer comes across worse in the books. It’s a visual v psychological difference I think.

    I love Natalie’s portrayal of Maergery in the tv series and she seems to be a real power force. While I hardly noticed her in the books. On the other hand Melisandres character seems to be making less of an impact in the tv series. Maybe that will change.

    The most shocking scene is a toss up between Jamie pushing Bran (TV & Books ) and poor Roz in Joffrey’s bedroom (tv).

    Jamie definitely has the most redemptive qualities. Its hard to imagine he is the same guy who pushed Bran in episode 1!

    Catelyn is the least sympathetic character to me also. Cersi the most unlikable and the character not as smart as she thinks she is

    Brienne is my favourite secondary character. I’m not convinced with the dynamic between Jon Snow and Ygritte as much as I am with Brienne and Jamie. That may be the fault of the actors.

    My favourite scene from the tv series is no doubt Danerys and her Dragons giving it to Astapor.

    As to who I would yell at? Definately Ned Stark. Stay home! Don’t go to Kings Landing! Then of course there would be no series either book or tv. Then there’s Rob. I can’t say anymore…

  9. Carrie Daggett Says:

    My answers are close to yours but…
    1. Most evil character has to be the torturer because he has no aim except to torture. However, Littlefinger is most dangerous (as Varys points out).
    2. Ditto. Cersei - can you BE more clueless and cruel? (The show does portray her in more sympathetic light. She deserves no sympathy.)
    3. Yep, Jaime for sure.
    4. Joffrey is sadistic but its tempered, at least in the show, with a desire to be admired by others (ie. Margarie) and by the restraints of society and family. The torturer guy is like a serial killer who does not seem to have any restraints.
    5. I think the actor playing Tywin is fantastic! I actually kinda like the character in the show but not at all in the books. I like Bronn better in the show. They really fleshed out the relationship between him and Tyrion.
    6. Ditto!!!!!!!!!
    7. I don’t like Catelyn’s character much so I would have to agree.
    8. Ummm…and his eldest daughter, and his eldest son, and his wife.
    9. I love Arya and Brienne and have a soft spot of Sam. Tyrion is getting on my nerves a bit in the show.
    10. Bronn and Sam
    11. My favorite scene was the fight between the Hound and Dondarrion. I was really looking forward to seeing the Brotherhood without Banners in general. I can’t say the the most shocking scene from the books because of spoilers but it made me sit up in my bed and say “OH MY GOD!” And I’m NOT looking forward to seeing it in the show. In the show, because like you I had not read the books, the most shocking scene was the very end of Season One. I really had my heart set on seeing more Sean Bean.

  10. skpenman Says:

    Fascinating comments. I think it is wonderful that we can watch this show together in countries all around the world like this. Usually there is a delay, like Downton Abbey being shown first in the UK before it appears in the US, and American shows often are delayed before they show in the UK. But Game of Thrones is being shown in the US, Canada, Europe, Koby’s Israel, and Down Under. It truly is an international phenomenon.

  11. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note for my holdout friends (you know who you are) who refuse to venture into the Facebook realm.

    On May 16, 1164 Heloise d’Argenteuil died. She is one of the more interesting women of the MA, famous for being one-half of the Heloise and Abelard love affair. I’ve always found her much more sympathetic than Abelard, who always seemed selfish and self-centered to me. However, Abelard does deserve credit for helping to mitigate one of the medieval Cburch’s harsher teachings. Until the 12th century, it was preached that babies who died before being baptized could not be buried in consecrated ground and went to Limbo for all eternity where they suffered the same torments as those in Hell. I had a scene in one of my mysteries where Justin came upon a pitiful little grave separate and apart from the others in the cemetery and realized that this was the last resting place of an unbaptized baby. But Abelard argued that there was no physical suffering for babies in Limbo, that they knew “natural happiness,” although they still could never look upon the Face of God or be reunited with their families in the Afterlife. His view gradually prevailed, so at least grieving parents no longer needed to imagine their children enduring the flames of Hell. The Catholic Church did not get around to disavowing the concept of Limbo until very recently, I am sorry to say. Heloise appears occasionally as a character in Sharan Newman’s excellent mystery series set in 12th century France, and Marion Meade, author of a biography of our Eleanor, also wrote a novel about Heloise and Abelard called Stealing Heaven; I think it was also made into a film, but I did not see it.
    Also on May 16th, 1568, Mary Queen of Scots made another of her characteristic bad decisions and sought refuge in England. That did not turn out so well for her.

  12. Stephanie Says:

    Okay, Sharon, as promised, here are my answers: (keep in mind that I’ve only read books 1-3 and have only watched seasons 1-2 of the show, so these answers are not based on a complete understanding of the series)

    1) Tie between Joffrey and Littlefinger. Joffrey because of what I see on the show (I think they paint a more detailed picture of his character in the series) and Littlefinger because I’m a sucker for the power of persuasion and you all make a great case for it. I see glimpses of his evil in the show that the book just did not bring out.
    2) Ceresi is the easy choice. I don’t need to explain further. But I also really dislike Theon. A lot.
    3) Jaime. That one is kind of a hands-down choice.
    4) So far Joffrey but I’ve hears spoilers about Theon’s killer and that is pretty grotesque… so they may get my vote later.
    5) Both Tywin and Jaqen. I love the actor playing Tywin and I actually am finding his character much more compelling in the series than in the books. And Jaqen… I love the actor playing him too. He seems softer in the HBO series than in the books and I find him much more appealing. I think I’d be okay meeting him in a dark alley to give him some names… ahem…
    6) I suppose Cersei here too.
    7) Maybe Jon Snow? Just because I have to pick someone. I haven’t fallen for him quite like everyone else has I guess. He’s made some pretty dumb decisions.
    8) Theon. He could have done so much better, but his choices… ugh.
    9) Arya, Dany and Tyrion, in that order.
    10) Brienne is the obvious choice, but also Gregor Clegane (”Dog”) because I was curious to see how they’d portray him, Khal Drogo, because I’ve never met a Dothraki before. Ygrette too, but she’s much prettier in the show than I imagined her to be in the books.

    Did I mention I was pleasantly surprised by Jaqen?

  13. Stephanie Says:

    Oh, favorite scene… Well, my favorite anticipatory scenes are anything involving Dany’s dragons breathing fire.

  14. Koby Says:

    Very interesting answers indeed. I still highly recommend the blog ‘Race for the Iron Throne’ for anyone who’s interested in a deeper analysis of the series, as well as comparison to Medieval equivalents and influences.
    Today, Edmund, Earl of Rutland was born.

  15. Stephanie Says:

    On my #10 above, it should be Sandor Clegane I guess. Gregor is the Mountain. Sandor is the Dog. Silly me.

    Koby, is that an online article somewhere? If you listed it above, I apologize. I haven’t been reading people’s posts here for a while.

  16. Koby Says:

    It’s a blog on the web, Stephanie. They basically review every chapter of the books - they’re about halfway through Game of Thrones right now, I think. They also review episodes. I’d post a link but then I’d have to ask Sharon to free my post… Just search for ‘Race For the Iron Throne’, it should be the top result.

  17. skpenman Says:

    Interesting, Stephanie, for I share your sentiments about Jaquen. But for me, it is the actor who makes his character work so well, so if he changes his appearance and later comes back, I don’t think he’ll have the same impact.
    Just what I need, Koby, another excuse to put off writing Richard’s death scene. Race for the Iron Throne, is it?

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    May 17th, 1443 was the birthdate of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, younger brother of Edward IV and older brother of Richard III, who was tragically murdered after the battle at Wakefield, at only seventeen. Here are a few passages from that chapter in Sunne. Edmund, injured and in a state of shock, has been captured on Wakefield Bridge by soldiers who cannot not believe their good luck, for they’ll be able to collect a huge ransom. But then Lord Clifford arrives on the scene and recognizes Edmund. He tells the soldiers to get the boy on his feet. Pages 43-44.
    * * *
    Fear made the man clumsy and Edmund was no help to him at all, his muscles cramped with cold, constricted with pain and fright. The soldier managed to help him rise, but in so doing, knocked them both into the railing. Pain radiated upward from Edmund’s torn knee, racked his body with agony. The darkness was shot through with a blood-red haze, swirling colors of hot, hurtful brightness that faded then into blackness.
    When he came back to the bridge, he was assailed by sound, rushing at him in waves and then retreating. The soldiers were shouting. Rob was shouting. He heard words but they meant nothing to him. He reeled back against the railing, and the soldier who’d been holding him upright hastily withdrew, so that he stood alone. There was something wrong with his eyesight; the men seemed to be wavering, out of focus. He saw contorted faces, twisted mouths, saw Clifford, and then, saw the dagger drawn, held in Clifford’s hand.
    “No,” he said, with the calm of utter disbelief. This wasn’t real. This couldn’t possibly be happening. Not to him. Prisoners were not put to death. Hadn’t Tom said so? Tom, who’d been taken prisoner, too. Tom, who was dead. He began to tremble. This was madness, a delusion of his pain-clouded mind. Less than one hour ago, he’d been standing beside his father in the great hall of Sandal Castle. That was real, but not this. Not this.
    (Omission)
    Rob’s anguished sobbing was all that echoed on the bridge. (omission)
    “York bore the blame for the death of my father,” Clifford said loudly. “I had the right to kill the son!”
    No one spoke. Rob held Edmund and wept. He looked up at last, to turn upon Clifford so burning a stare that one of the Lancastrian soldiers was moved to lay a restraining hand upon his shoulder.
    “Easy, man,” he cautioned softly. “It was a bloody piece of work, I grant you. But it’s done, and you’ll not be changing that by throwing your own life away.”
    “Done?” Rob echoed, his voice raw, incredulous. “Done, you say? Jesus God! After today, it is just beginning.
    * * *
    And Rania reminded me that another murder occurred on May 17th, this one a judicial murder in 1536 when George Boleyn, Anne’s brother, was executed.

  18. Stephanie Says:

    I will look for it, thanks, Koby. It would be helpful to review for times like this. I don’t remember details well.

    Sharon, I totally agree about the actor making all the difference regarding the character. Jaqen could have been done in a much more sinister way which is how he came off to me in the books. The actor in the HBO series made him much softer and compassionate to Arya than I imagined him to be. I like that version better. And yes, I agree too that if he comes back later with a different face, his appeal may be gone.

  19. Anna Says:

    Ooh, the fun questions! :-D Here goes…

    1 - Most evil: Theon’s torturer. The whole attempted escape only to lead him right back, the intensely psychological aspect to the torture…then there’s what the same SOB does later. Littlefinger’s manipulative, but somewhat predictable because he’s always out for himself, and as Kim pointed out above, Joffrey’s too impatient and short-sighted to reach Torturer’s level

    2 - I can’t believe I actually have one that hasn’t been suggested yet, at least on the blog, but for least likeable, I would say Viserys. It may because Lena Headey has given Cersei more vulnerability in the series than I originally got from the books, but I always felt a little bad for her. While she might not have been the nicest of people prior to marrying Robert, it seems like she really went downhill after their infamous wedding night with him being blind-drunk and saying Lyanna’s name. I got the impression she adored him up until that point, and that’s a hell of a start to a marriage. She’s also tried all her life to win her father’s approval and no matter how obvious it is that she’s never going to get it, she never stops trying and that also wins some sympathy points for me. Viserys, on the other hand, got the Targaryn madness without a single redeeming quality and his stunt at Vaes Dothrak just proved there IS no moral rock-bottom for him

    3 - Like everyone else, I say Jaime all the way

    4 - Same as #1, Theon’s torturer. Joffrey’s too impatient to win the most sadistic title

    5 - Definitely Margaery. I liked her in the books, but I LOVE her in the series! Then again, I’m a huge Natalie Dormer fan, which may have something to do with it. I also somewhat liked Olenna in the books, but in the series, she has me dying of laughter and it’s like watching my late Oma

    6 - Cersei, Joffrey, Viserys, and Theon, though the only two there I pity as a result are Cersei and Theon

    7 - Here, I have to agree on Catelyn. I can most definitely understand being hurt, angry, etc, that your husband cheated on you (I should probably mention here that I’m in the R+L=J camp), but blaming the child? I don’t know if the scene with the prayer wheel was in the books (I keep meaning to go look, so at some point I’ll actually have to) and while it got some redemption points from me, there are too many times I want to knock her into a wall, preferably of the strongest stone I can find. Jon did some really stupid stuff, too, but it doesn’t make him unlikeable to me

    8 - Ned definitely tops my list here since he’s one of my favourites in the whole series. I spent the second half of the first book literally yelling at the book in hopes of somehow changing his fate, and I still think someone needs to invent books where you can interact directly with the characters. This is also where I’d put Jon and Robb, both of whom I really like, though I understand a lot more Robb breaking his promise to Walder Frey for falling in love with Talisa than because he stupidly deflowered Jeyne Westerling and married her for honour

    9 - Tyrion! Loved him in the books, love him even more in the series because Peter Dinklage is absolutely brilliant! Robb is a VERY close second for the top spot and in the first book, Arya was right up there as well, though I’m not sure how I feel about the character she’s turned into. Margaery has jumped to the front of the queue as well due to the series and though this is far from a popular opinion, I also really like Varys. Unlike Littlefinger, I think he’s actually trying to accomplish what he thinks is good even if it requires despicable means, and I love their banter

    10 - Bronn, Jaqen, Brienne, and Ygritte doesn’t irritate me quite as much in the series as in the books. I also have a big soft spot for Jeor Mormont, so when I heard James Cosmo was playing him, I was happy-dancing

    11 - Having read the books, the only thing that’s really shocked me in the series was Ros. Stuff that shocked me in the books, however, were Bran’s ‘fall’, Renly and the shadow, Jaime losing his hand, the appearance of Lady Stoneheart, and Carrie, I wonder if the shocker you describe is the same one I’m thinking of (the chain incident)? I honestly don’t know how they’re going to do that one in the series, but I really, really don’t want to see it and as much as I want them to completely change the result, I don’t think they’ll make that big of a departure. :-(

  20. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I’m sure Sharon is going to write more about the wedding that took place today in 1152 at Poitiers, marking the beginng of the union without which there would have been no Henry the Young King :-)

    I would love to see the shocked expression on the faces of Eleanor’s contemporaries- for surely she must have shocked entire Europe, taking her second husband just two months after her first marriage had been annulled.
    I can’t help admiring her.

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  22. skpenman Says:

    Anna, a fascinating post.
    And yes, Kasia, you guessed correctly!
    Today’s Facebook Note.

    May 18th was a day of historical happenings. The Persian poet, philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer Omar Khayyam, was born on May 18th, 1048. He is best known in the West for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated in the 19th century by Edward Fitz Gerald. Even those who’d not recognize his name would recognize this verse:
    The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

    On May 18, 1096, there was a bloody massacre of the Jews of Worms, Germany; whenever crusades were launched in the MA, men afire with crusading fervor turned their zealotry and wrath upon the “infidels” closer to home than the Saracens. The Bishop of Worms had tried to shelter the city’s Jews from the mob, but they broke into his palace and murdered at least 800 of the Jews they found there when they refused to accept baptism. Sadly, this would happen again after the Second and the Third Crusades were preached, and while I am not one of St Bernard of Clairvaux’s greatest fans, I do admire his response to these pogroms in 1146. When the Archbishops of Cologne and Mainz appealed for his aid in ending the violence against the Jews in their cities, he set out at once for Germany, and stopped the attacks that had been led by a fanatical French monk named Radulphe.

    Still on the subject of crusades, Richard Coeur de Lion had failed to recapture Jerusalem, which caused many—including Richard himself—to view the Third Crusade as a failure. But he had been able to give Acre one hundred more years of life as a Christian bastion. That came to an end, though, on May 18, 1291, when the city fell to the Sultan of Egypt, al-Malik al-Ashraf Khalil. Michael Jecks has a new novel coming out next month about the fall of Acre, a prequel to his Templar mystery series called Templar’s Acre, which offers a dramatic and compelling account of this siege.

    But for me, May 18th will always be most significant for the wedding that took place in the cathedral of St Pierre in the city of Poitiers in 1152, a marriage that truly changed history, when the young Duke of Normandy, Henry Fitz Empress, took Eleanor, the former Queen of France and Duchess of Aquitaine, as his wife. Here is a brief scene from their wedding night in Saints, page 646, as they enjoy a late-night supper in bed and Eleanor regales Henry with tales of her infamous grandfather, the duke known as the first troubadour.
    * * *
    Henry brushed back her hair. “Tell me more,” he urged, and she shivered with pleasure as he kissed the hollow of her throat.
    “Well…Grandpapa Will painted an image of Dangereuse on his shield, saying he wanted to bear her in battle, just as she’d so often borne him in bed. He liked to joke that one day he’d establish his own nunnery—and fill it with ladies of easy virtue. And when he was rebuked for not praying as often as he ought, he composed a poem, ‘O Lord, let me live long enough to get my hands under her cloak.’”
    Henry gave a sputter of laughter. “Between the two of us, we’ve got a family tree rooted in Hell! Once Abbot Bernard learns of our marriage, he’ll have nary a doubt that our children will have horns and cloven hooves.”
    “The first one with a tail, we’ll name after the good abbot.” Eleanor reached for a dish of strawberries in sugared syrup, popping one neatly into his mouth. He fed her the next one, and when she licked the sugar from his fingers, as daintily as a cat, his body was suddenly suffused in heat. Dipping his finger in the syrup, he coated one of her nipples. She looked startled but intrigued, and when he lowered his mouth to her breast, she exhaled her breath in a drawn-out sigh. “Abbot Bernard preaches that sin is all around us,” she said throatily, “but I doubt that even he ever thought to warn against strawberries.”
    “He’d likely have an apoplectic seizure if he only knew what can be done with honey,” Henry predicted and Eleanor began to laugh.
    “I think,” she said, “that you and I are going to have a very interesting marriage.”
    Henry thought so, too. “I want you, Eleanor.”
    Her eyes reflected the candle flame, but brighter and hotter, making promises that would have provided Abbot Bernard with a full year of new sermons. “My lord duke,” she said, “tonight all of Aquitaine is yours for the taking.”
    * * *

  23. Joan Says:

    One of the best scenes of all time!!

  24. Joan Says:

    I should add, in view of the epic history this couple made, that last quote is one of the best lines of all time!!

  25. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I cannot agree more Joan! Speaking (or writing) of Abbe Bernard, Elizabeth Chadwick posted today a few snippets of his letters. Great fun to read, especially that in great measure they probably concern Eleanor ;-) Do visit Living the History.

  26. Theresa Says:

    Well here are my views on the GOT questions

    1. For me the most evil is the torturer of Theon Greyjoy. Joffrey, Ser Gregor Clegane and Littlefinger are also contenders

    2. Cersei -never learns from her mistakes.

    3. Jaime- from pushing a boy out the window to defending Brienne in the Bear pit.

    4. Most sadistic - Theon’s tormentor, Joffrey and Varys (for what he did to the wizard - although that may have been deserved)

    5. This
    is strictly an HBO question. Which
    character do you think makes more of an impact in the series than in the
    books
    Margaery Tyrell - I agree with Sharon that this may be due to the actress who plays her. Natalie Dormer was the best thing about another show about royalty which I shall not name. Also Jaqen Hagar and Brienne.

    6 Who
    do you think is the character nowhere near as smart as he or she thinks?
    Probably Cersei and Viserys - his insult of the Dothraki was the crowning moment

    7. Most unsympathetic Catelyn Stark

    8. Most in need of a shake: Robb Stark and Sansa

    9. I can’t pick my sole favourite character. Though I do like Jon, Tyrion, Jaime, Dany, Ayra, Gendry and Davos

    10. Which secondary characters are you most happy
    to see in a scene in the HBO series
    Bronn, Jaqen Hagar, Ros (although Joffrey ended that)

    11. Favourite Scene - any that has Tywin Lannister castigating his family, Dany emerging from the bonfire with her dragons and Jon Snow climbing the Wall.
    Most Shocking: the ‘crown of gold’ incident, I knew then this was a show worth watching

  27. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Theresa, I too found the ‘crown of gold’ incident really shocking. Thanks for reminding me about it. Now I have two most shocking scenes.

  28. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for today’s events, on 19 May 1218 Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor died, aged 43. Fascinating albeit tragic figure. The grandson of Henry and Eleanor, the third son of their eldest daughter Matilda and Henry the Lion and the favourite nephew of his illustrious uncle, Richard the Lionheart, what did he have in common with Henry the Young King (except for the family ties of course)? The answer is: Gervase of Tilbury, the Young King’s former chaplain, who later wrote Otia Imperialia for the “recreation for an emperor” (read Otto), extraordinary work including the famous, haighly laudatory lines concerning the young king:

    “Gracious to all, he was loved by all; amiable to all, he was incapable of making an enemy. He was matchless in warfare, and as he surpassed all others in the grace of his person, so he outstripped them all in valour, cordiality, and the outstanding graciousness of his manner, in his generosity and his true integrity”.

    When still in Henry’s service Gervase had written for him a work, which is now considered lost, Liber Facetiarum. I wish I had access to this one :-)

  29. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m posting a link to my friend, Gabriele’s blog post on Otto. Could you free it? Thank you.

  30. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Here it is. Enjoy the reading and the photos!

    http://lostfort.blogspot.de/2009/03/unfortunate-emperor.html

  31. Koby Says:

    I cannot agree more, Sharon, that was an excellent scene.
    Kasia, thank you for sharing that with us; I somewhat doubt the ‘matchless in warfare’ part, given his history, but it is high praise due a worthy man. Also today the Second Battle of Ramla took place, where Stephen Count of Blois, King Stephen’s father died. In addition, the Tudors dominated it: Catherine of Aragon was married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, Anne Boleyn was beheaded, Elizabeth I of England ordered the arrest of her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, and the Long Parliament passed an act declaring England a Commonwealth.

  32. skpenman Says:

    Joan and Kasia, thank you for the kind words about my Henry-Eleanor scene.
    Kasia, I cannot believe I forgot Otto died on this date! My only excuse is that I shot his unlce yesterday so things are rather chaotic about the house today. I will pay the ransom for your friend’s blog, too. Otto is a very interesting man. For many years, historians were not kind to him, but he has recently started to get a fairer assessment of his reign. He was one of those who lost when Richard died at Chalus, for without Richard’s support, his hold on power was never all that secure. If only I could read German, I’d have been tempted to write about Otto and his rival, Philip of Swabia, who was so unlike his evil brothers that I wonder if he was a foundling.
    Anyway, here is my Facebook Note, written last night after Richard did not duck fast enough.
    May 19, 1102 was the day that Stephen, the Count of Blois, was slain at the battle of Ramleh. Stephen appears briefly in the prologue of Saints, as he tries to explain to his five year old son and namesake that his wife, the Countess Adela, daughter of the Conqueror, is insisting he return to the Holy Land to regain the honor she thinks he lost by abandoning the siege of Antioch. I found myself sympathizing with Stephen’s plight, both for being unfairly accused of cowardice and for being wed to Adela. She prevailed, as she usually did, and her husband redeemed his “lost honor” by his death at Ramleh. Here is a touching and very personal letter that Stephen wrote to his wife before the siege of Antioch.
    http://mw.mcmaster.ca/scriptorium/stephen.html
    I seem unable to keep the Tudors from crashing the party this month, for I have to mention that on May 19th, 1536, Anne Boleyn was murdered in the Tower of London by her husband, who went riding off to court Jane Seymour as soon as the canons sounded to assure him that his unwanted wife was no longer a hindrance to his plans for a third marriage.

  33. Joan Says:

    What a privilege to read the letter by Stephen, Sharon. Thanks for posting it! It’s quite an emotional experience to read such an eloquent telling of the events with such feeling, esp when I too sympathized with Stephen in your novel. To think it was written all those centuries ago. Adela did not deserve him!! Very uplifting when we see eloquence in a warrior. And that wasn’t rare, was it? My kind of man, an eloquent warrior!! I love that site, have bookmarked it!

    Kasia, I went to Gabriele’s site too & thanks for posting! Isn’t she an interesting person! Loved the post as well as the photos. Must visit in future.

  34. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, Gabriele is amazing indeed! Not only a linguist and historian, but also a traveller. All the pics she includes on her wonderful blog come from her rambles. Her and her dad’s, for they travel together. This year Gabriele is paying a visit to the North of England. She has promised me a photo of Alnwick Castle, where William the Lion was caught by the English during the Great Revolt of 1173-74 :-)

    And “the Lost Fort”- what a great name, don’t you think?

  35. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Now, down to reading the letter by Stephen. Thank you Sharon for sharing it.

  36. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, please tell Gabrielle how much I enjoyed her blog about Otto.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    My friend Kasia kindly reminded me that yesterday was the death date for Richard’s nephew, Otto of Brunswick, on May 19, 1218. He was only 41 at the time. Richard was quite close to the children of his sisters, especially Henri of Champagne and his sister Matilda’s daughter Richenza and son Otto, both of whom grew up at the English court. Richard seems to have given serious consideration to naming Otto as his heir once it seemed likely he’d not have a son by Berengaria. But Heinrich’s unexpected and untimely death in 1197 gave Richard the opportunity to so some wheeling and dealing with his Rhineland allies, and Otto ended up as the Holy Roman Emperor, although he had a strong rival in Heinrich’s youngest brother Philip of Swabia, who seems to have been so unlike his evil siblings that I could almost believe he was a foundling. Richard’s death was both a personal and political blow to Otto, who was very attached to his uncle. Without Richard’s support, he was much more vulnerable, but he was able to win the good will of Pope Innocent, benefiting from the traditional hostility of the papacy toward the Hohenstaufen House. But Philip succeeded in getting himself crowned as emperor, too, by a rival faction, and after Otto and Innocent fell out, Philip seemed likely to prevail. Only then he was tragically assassinated by a deranged Bavarian nobleman, and his supporters reluctantly recognized Otto as emperor. There would be no happy ending for Otto, though, not after the battle of Bouvines which effectively dethroned him in favor of Heinrich’s son, Frederick II.
    Otto had always been unlucky—Richard had come close to arranging a marriage for him with the Scots king’s daughter and heir that would have made him King of Scotland one day, but the plans fell through. And if Heinrich had not died so suddenly, it is certainly conceivable that Otto could have ended up as Richard’s heir. That raises all sorts of interesting scenarios. What would John have done? Would Richard’s vassals have found Otto a more appealing choice than John, who was tainted by his past betrayals? Otto was about 22 when Richard died, so that would have eliminated the problem that Arthur faced—no one wanted a child king. And Otto seems to have had much in common with his favorite uncle—a love of troubadours and music, the sort of bravado in battle that medieval men admired, an inveterate hatred of the French king. He was even said to have physically resembled Richard in stature.
    This is, of course, yet another one of those tantalizing What Ifs of history, raising questions impossible to answer. But one thing I can say for certain, that Otto would have been happier as King of England or even Duke of Aquitaine, (for Richard had made him Count of Poitou in 1196) than ever he was as the Holy Roman emperor. He’d been raised at Henry’s court, so French rather than German was his language of choice. He seems to have been far more at home in the Angevin domains than he was in his native land; we know he missed the fine wines of Poitou! I don’t have time here to catalogue all of the other times in which Lady Luck showed herself to be no friend to Otto. I can say only that his was a sad and lonely death.
    As you can probably tell, I find Otto a sympathetic figure, and he will appear in Ransom. I do have a legitimate excuse for forgetting his death, though. This weekend Richard was shot at Chalus, and things got a bit hectic after that.
    May 20th is also the anniversary in 1217 of the second Battle of Lincoln, in which the French were so decisively defeated that it was sometimes known as the Fair of Lincoln. The hero of the hour was everyone’s favorite, William Marshal. And to close the circle, the Count of Perche who was slain in that battle was Otto’s nephew, the son of Richenza, who was Otto’s sister and Richard’s favorite niece, whom he’d wed to the Count of Perche at the time of his coronation in 1189. Richenza is another favorite of mine, also a character in Ransom, and she was spared the death of her son Thomas at Lincoln by her own untimely death in 1210 at only age 39.

  37. Gabriele Says:

    Sharon, thank you for your compliments. I actually read your blog though I’ve been a lazy commenter of late. :)

    I have more material about Otto IV I need to work through, but alas, he is not the only one on my list to blog about; that one includes the whole set of Ottonian and Salian emperors, Thuringian landgraves, more Roman stuff, some Scottish history and whatever else I come across on my travels, like a later member of the Welfen family I posted about the last weeks - another Otto, nicknamed the Quarrelsome. He is past my main time of interest, but left a lot of traces in my immediate surroundings, so he gets a series of posts. No shortage of photos there, after all.

    Otto as king of England is indeed one of those fascinating What If speculations. But in the end the House Welfen of Hannover got the job, though a few hundred years later. :)

  38. Gabriele Says:

    I wrote another post which features Otto IV, but it concentrates on a specific problem. I put the link in a separate post because I understand those have to be ransomed. :D

    http://lostfort.blogspot.de/2010/12/monastery-in-magdeburg-part-2-emperor.html

  39. Gabriele Says:

    Joan, thank you.

    Kasia, The Lost Fort is a title that comes from a story that over time has morphed into something so different that the title no longer fits - and it has grown into a novel-in-progress, too. They always do on me. ;) So I resurrected the title for my blog.

    Yes, I do my travels in Germany together with my father, but the longer ones to Scotland, Wales, the Baltic Sea and such I do alone. My father is 82, after all, and those Try to Fit As Many Castles in As Possible-trips would be too stressful over a period longer than a few days.

  40. Joan Says:

    Lots of interesting info on Otto…..I look forward to seeing him & Richenza in Ramsom.

  41. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, thank you for mentioning me in your brilliant post. I’m honoured. Although, IMHO, we should both thank Henry the Young King. Thanks to him and his notebook- including all the important dates and events concerning him and his family- we haven’t forgotten of Otto.

    Would you mind if I post a link to your blog post on Otto on Henry’s blog?

  42. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Gabriele, thank you for the explanation and your kind permission to post a link on my blog.

  43. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, I’d be delighted. Gabrielle, I hope you do find time to write more about Otto, for he has been sadly neglected by English historians.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On May 21st, 1172, Henry made peace with the Church at Avranches after Becket’s murder. His enemies must have been very disappointed that he was able to slide out from under this with so little damage. He had to promise, among other things, to take the cross, which does not seem ever to have interested him very much. He was reprieved by his sons’ rebellion and did not keep this vow. He would later be ambushed with the French king by the Archbishop of Tyre, who’d come to preach a new crusade after the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin. The Archbishop got the crowd so aroused that Henry saw he and Philippe (another reluctant crusader) had no choice but to take the cross, too. This was done before thousands of eye-witnesses, but I am not convinced Henry would have followed through with it. His failing health and death at Chinon got him off that particular hook. But Philippe had to honor his own vow, made all the worse for him because he had to accompany the Lionheart to the Holy Land and while Philippe hated every moment of the experience, Richard was born for such a grand stage and took gleeful pleasure in eclipsing the French king at every opportunity.
    May 21st, 1471 was the death date of the last Lancastrian king, Henry VI, who died suddenly in the Tower of London. Edward put it about that poor Henry had died of grief and melancholy upon learning of the death of his son at Tewkesbury. If you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida that I’d love to sell to you.

  44. Koby Says:

    Speaking of Kasia, allow me to add another event to today: Jan Sobieski was elected king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, becoming Jan III of Poland, eventually leading them to great victory in the Battle of Vienna, with the famous charge of the Winged Hussars, for which he was famed. He is also the only non-astronomer to have a constellation named after him.

  45. Christy Says:

    1) Who do you think is the most evil character in the Ice and Fire series? I would have immediately said Theon’s torturer – that is the obvious answer. But Littlefinger might be more evil. He is so cold and calculating. His evilness is underlied by the desire for power and wealth above all else, while Theon’s torturer is pure evil in that he enjoys being a sadistic $&#%!! A tough one!!

    2) Who do you think is the most unlikable character in the series? From which aspect? I can’t stand Stannis – while I feel his claim to the Iron Throne is just, he annoys the hell out of me with his whining and not making any decisions of his own accord – instead always looking to Melisandre for guidance. That brings up Melisandre. She is definitely unlikable!! However, I’d have to go with Littlefinger as my answer. See future books. Shae is a contender too – see books.

    3) Who do you think is the character who has made the most remarkable rehabilitation? Jaime, Jaime, Jaime. LOVE me some Jaime!!

    4) Who do you think is the most sadistic character in the series? Theon’s torturer for sure. To get to a “Reek, Reek, it rhymes with meek,” mindset, I think they’ve done an EXCELLENT job of portraying just how sick and twisted he is!

    5) This is strictly an HBO question. Which character do you think makes more of an impact in the series than in the books? Agree with you on Margaery. Her character is not nearly as developed in the books. She is very complex in the series. There are only little tiny hints in the books as to her strengths.

    6) Who do you think is the character nowhere near as smart as he or she thinks? For sure, Cersei. Theon, too, felt he was smarter than he was. However, he realized it, while Cersei will continue to live in denial!

    7) Which “good character” do you find the least sympathetic? I agree with your answer of Catelyn. I do not think she is a good person. A good mother to HER children? Yes. Also, I think of Daenerys. Come back to Westeros and claim the Iron Throne for God’s sake! Her dallying in Slaver’s Bay irritates me and I just wanted to throw the books across the room during her scenes. Clearly, see books!

    8) Which character did you want to grab and give a good shake? Yes, Ned, for sure. Stop being so good! It will get you killed! Also, Daenerys, for the reasons above. Robb, for breaking his marriage promise to the Freys. Stannis, for being so dependent on Melisandre. Sansa, for being so damned meek and pliable. Jon Snow, see future books.

    9) This one is posed out of curiosity about your answers. Who is your favorite character? Love me some Tyrion. Also love Jaime. Maybe it’s something about the Lannister sons! 

    10) Which secondary characters are you most happy to see in a scene in the HBO series?
    Brienne, Daario (whew, he super HOT in the series), The Hound, Gendry (WHAT is going on with him??), Hodor

    11) Lastly, what is your favorite scene in the series so far? And which one do you
    think is the most shocking to date? Favorite? When Drogo gave Viserys his “crown”, when Daenerys pulled the about face with her Unsullied, when Cersei found out she had to marry Lloras. Most shocking? When Jaime pushed Bran out the window and when Ned lost his head (hadn’t read the books yet)!

  46. Gabriele Says:

    Sharon, I posted a link that needs to be fred.

    Who’s getting all that ransom money? :D

  47. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thanks Koby for reminding me of king Jan. I just want to add that by winning the Battle of Vienna the king saved Europe from the Ottomans. One can only guess what would have happened to us if the outcome had been different (with all probability I would not be writing these words today :-))

    During my trip to Austria (Vienna in particular) I visited the museum of Kahlenberg, situated on the mountain, where the battle took place. I had the occasion to admire the Hussars’ armours and weapons, the Polish-Lithuanian banners and- I’m not sure, for it was some time ago- king Jan’s own armour. Very impressive and… moving.

    Apart from being great politician and tactician, king Jan was also a romantic at heart and… a skilled letter writer. Correspondence between him and his beloved Marysieńka (Marie) went down in history as the perfect example of epistolary genre and here, in Poland we read their letters at school nowadays :-)

  48. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note. Unfortunately, Gabriele, I’m not getting any of the ransom. This may be why my webmaster is making so many trips to the Bahamas, though.

    May 22nd was a busy day in history. Unfortunately I am also busy right now at Chalus with the Lionheart, so I can’t spare the time to do justice to these events. Richard reminded me that a dying king trumps a Facebook post. So very briefly, here is what happened on this date.
    May 22, 1149, Henry Fitz Empress was knighted by his uncle, the King of Scotland, at the age of sixteen. When he kept delaying his son Hal’s knighthood, you may be sure that Hal repeatedly reminded him that he’d been knighted at only sixteen.
    May 22, 1176. Saladin was almost murdered by the sect known as the Assassins. It is a very interesting story and I hope eventually to be able to post about it.
    May 22, 1200 Treaty of Le Goulet signed between John and the French king, Philippe Capet. Another interesting event, but it, too, will have to wait.
    May 22, 1455 First battle of St Albans. The victory went to York. The Lancastrian Earl of Northumberland and Duke of Somerset were slain and Henry VI was captured. But the Duke of York’s triumph would be short-lived. Again, a story that deserves more than I can offer today.

  49. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Speaking of busy days in history, I’ve found out that also on this day, in 1216, Prince Louis of France (future Louis VIII), arrived in England with an army ready to support the barons who rebelled against John.

  50. Koby Says:

    And having Kasia add another event as well as her preivous post about the importance of Jan’s victory, I too will another event: Today the Battle of the Granicus took place, where Alexander of Macedon defeated the Persian army, beginning his conquest of the Persian Empire and the known world.

  51. Theresa Says:

    23rd of May 1430 saw Joan of Arc captured by the Quislings (sorry Burgundians) who then sold her to the English

  52. skpenman Says:

    Interesting posts, as always. I learn so much from my readers.

    Today’s brief Facebook Note.

    I am making a quick foray from Chalus to report that on May 23rd, 1430, one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of the MA, the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc, was captured by the Burgundians at the siege of Compiegne and sold to the English, with dire results.

    And on May 23rd, 1533, Henry VIII found compliant English prelates to declare his marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void. So naturally I’d label today’s entry as The Maid and the Monster; sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  53. Koby Says:

    Also, Maude’s husband, Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich V died today.

  54. homepage Says:

    Wow, fantastic weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging
    for? you make running a blog glance easy. The overall glance of your website is fantastic, as
    neatly as the content!

  55. Koby Says:

    And today, David I of Scotland, Maude’s uncle and supporter died, The Fifth Crusade left Acre for Egypt, and Lambert Simnel was crowned in Dublin as Edward VI.

  56. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Yesterday, I missed the anniversary concerning the Young King. On 23 May 1183, already on the path that was to be his last, together with his knights and mercenaries he seized control of Richard’s castle at Aixe, a hollow victory taking into consideration that his younger brother had already abandoned the keep.

  57. skpenman Says:

    Okay, I made a break for it when Lionheart was busy cursing out his doctor. I am beginning to wonder if he is dragging out his dying just to spite me. But quickly, for May 24th. On this date in 1444, Henry VI was betrothed to Marguerite d’Anjou. If she could be given a glimpse into the future to see what misery this marriage would bring her, I wonder if she would have run for the closest convent?
    And on May 24, 1487, the Yorkist pretender Lambert Simnel was crowned in Dublin; his claim that he was the Earl of Warwick was supported by Margaret of York and Richard’s nephew, John de la Pole, the Earl of Lincoln, but it ended bloodily for John at the battle of Stoke Field later that year. I always thought it was strange that they claimed he was the Earl of Warwick when the real Warwick was being held captive in the Tower of London; wouldn’t they have been better off had they advanced the claim that he was one of Edward’s missing sons? Henry Tudor famously gave Lambert Simnel a job turning a spit in the royal kitchens instead of tossing him in the Tower, and I have actually heard it argued that this was proof of Henry’s “clemency.” Anyone who uses the words “clemency” and “Henry Tudor” in the same sentence is not that well acquainted with the man who dated his reign from the day before Bosworth Field so he could then charge with treason those who’d fought for Richard III. It was a shrewd political maneuver, a clever way of mocking the young pretender and the Yorkists who’d supported him. Say what you will of Tudor, he was clever.
    Now back to Chalus. Over the years and books, I’ve had characters die in a number of different ways. Many died bloodily, of course. Others died of TB and pneumonia and typhoid fever and septicemia and dysentery and in childbirth. But I’ve concluded that gangrene is by far the worst way to go. Aside from those poor souls who were tortured to death, of course.

  58. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, by coincidence, I was just writing of Hal in my Chalus chapter. Richard is thinking that if pain atones for past sins, by the time he dies, he’ll not only have atoned for all of his sins but those of his father, too, and maybe even Hal and Geoffrey’s as well.

  59. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m deeply moved! I am! Richard giving Hal a thought on his deathbed… Perhaps even musing on dying too soon, in the flower of youth and knowing how his elder brother must have felt, “his life suddenly cut off like a thread”. They both had time to prepare themselves for their last journey, although they both must have had difficulties with resigning themselves to their fate, each for differnet reasons: Hal being still so very young, his dreams unfulfilled, and Richard, as you pointed out, suffering terribly from gangrene, leaving so many matters unresolved. How very sad. I already dread reading Ransom.

  60. Joan Says:

    What I’m looking forward to in Ransom, and it will be hugely emotional, is the culmination, the tying of all those threads we were left with in Lionheart, the full circle of a life that would become legend. And only in your hands, Sharon, will justice be done.

    Kasia, your post above is very poignant & eloquent!

  61. Joan Says:

    More so, it will be the culmination of the story of Henry & Eleanor.

  62. Sharon K Penman Says:

    They both had very unpleasant, drawn-out deaths, Kasia. Hal didn’t suffer the extreme pain that Richard did, but dysentery is not a fun way to go. They both made what medieval people considered important, a “good death.” And interestingly, they both sought forgiveness from Henry on their deathbed. Hal sent him that letter, and Richard asked to be buried at henry’s feet as a gesture of atonement. I don’t really like writing death scenes, even though they are dramatic. But it is the grieving of those left behind that is very challenging, too. Poor Eleanor. To have to keep a death vigil for two of her children in less than five months. That sounds like hell on earth to me.
    Joan, I plan to do an Epilogue for Ransom in which I write of Eleanor’s death. I felt that I owed her that after writing about her in so many of my novels.

  63. Theresa Says:

    Speaking of unpleasant deaths - poor Edward II surely had the most horrific one of all. I remember being really shocked when I first read this.
    I was glad that Davydd’s execution was never shown in The Reckoning- I liked his character and was moved by the solitary ‘conversations’ he had with Llywellyn whilst he waited for his trial.

  64. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Bloody flux must have been a very unpleasant way to depart this world, this I cannot deny, but gangrene was much worse I suppose :-( As you said, both unpleasant and drawn-out deaths. As for seeking forgivness, perhaps both Hal and Richard saw it as a way of mending the rift they had not been able to mend when there was still time to do it. Even if it meant solely the peace of their conscience, no more no less. After all, in both cases, it was too late for true reconciliation.

    Thanks Joan for your kind words, but I was just moved and tried to do my best to express myself :-)

    Theresa, the red-hot poker myth is a…. myth, sadly still not entirely demolished (there are grounds to think that Edward did not even die in 1327, as the offical version states). Fortunately, Kathryn Warner on her wonderful blog (devoted to the king) has been doing her best to refute the story. Do pay her a visit!

  65. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for today’s anniversaries, accompanying Hal in his last journey, I just want to mention that on 26 May 1183, the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of Bayeux, Evreux, Lisieux, Sees and Rochester, acting on Henry II’s orders, excommunicated all, except the Young King, who “impeded the making of peace between the king and his sons”.

  66. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    (Sorry, I submit the comment to soon). Hal could not have known about it. At the head of his routiers, he was at the town of Uzerche, suffering from- as it may seem- the first bout of illness. He quickly came to himself though and joined forces with Hugh of Burgundy and Raymond V of Tolouse, his much-awaited allies.

  67. Theresa Says:

    So Edwards II death is yet another possible untruth along with the following long held scandals about the English royal family

    1. Anne Boleyn had six fingers on her left hand

    2. Richard the Third was a hunchback

    3. Eleanor of Castile sucked the poison from her husband Edwards wound thus saving his life

    4. Henry II took Princess Alys of France as his mistress, his son Richard the First was a homosexual and that Eleanor of Aquitaine murdered Rosamond Clifford.

    I think I could add some more stories here - but then this list would be longer than the credits for the Superman movies.

  68. Koby Says:

    Today, Malcolm IV ‘the Maiden’ of Scotland was crowned - he accompanied Henry II on his expedition to Toulouse. John was crowned today King of England. John Beaufort, duke of Somerset died today - his daughter was Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s [VIII] mother, and lastly, Margaret Pole, George of Clarence’s daughter was executed today.

  69. skpenman Says:

    I agree with Kasia,(as I usually do!) and highly recommend Kathryn Warner’s blog about the life and times of Edward II.
    Theresa, I am not sure we can call the story of Henry’s seduction of Alys a myth, for these rumors were current in his lifetime, and quite a few historians give them credence. When I was researching my Angevin books, I eventually rejected it, as does Henry’s primary biographer, Dr. Warren. And I confess I felt rather disappointed to reach that conclusion, for writers are hooked on high drama and what could have been more dramatic than scenes between Henry, Eleanor, and the son whose betrothed Henry seduced? Wow.

    Today’s Facebook Note.
    Memorial Day is one for remembering those who served, so it seemed appropriate to post this today. We now understand that throughout history, soldiers have been haunted by PTSD. Sadly, until very recently in human history, not only was this not recognized, there was nothing that could be done for those suffering from it. But Homer described the symptoms in the Iliad and so did Shakespeare in his portrayal of Hotspur.
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/24/18471262-unmasking-the-agony-combat-troops-turn-to-art-therapy?lite
    From a historical perspective, John was crowned King of England on May 27, 1199. It went better than his investiture as Duke of Normandy the preceding month, when he was joking with friends and accidentally dropped the investiture lance. Naturally when he later lost Normandy, everyone saw this an “Ah-ha” moment.
    And on May 27, 1541, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, was beheaded at the Tower of London; butchered is a more apt description for it took eleven blows with the axe to kill her. Henry VIII committed some vile acts as king, but this judicial murder of the frail, ailing 68 year old countess on a trumped-up charge of treason was surely one of the vilest. She would later by beatified by the Catholic Church, the third of the four stages toward canonization.

  70. Joan Says:

    Sharon, I think no one wanted to recognize PTSD. Then what?!

  71. Theresa Says:

    Sharon in your authors note for Devils Brood, you put together a very convincing argument as to why Henry did not have an affair with Alys. Personally I thought there was enough drama in that family already.
    On a another topic did William the Conqueror really assault Matilda of Flanders when he heard she wouldn’t marry him because of his illegitimate birth?

  72. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    I am beginning to feel like the Grim Reaper, for lately all I seem to do is write death scenes. Unlike my other books, of course, which all had such happy-ever-after endings.
    Anyway, on May 28, 1265, the Lord Edward outsmarted his cousin Harry de Montfort, which does not seem to have been all that difficult. Edward had been held captive since the battle of Lewes the year before, but he was treated more as a guest than a prisoner or even a hostage, and on this May afternoon, he convinced Harry that it would be fun to hold races. Harry and his knights took turns racing one another, while Edward lamented that his new stallion had gone lame. You can see where this is going, can’t you? A pity Harry couldn’t. When Edward got the signal he’d been awaiting from a nearby hill, he vaulted into the saddle of his “lame” stallion and after a mocking salute to his de Montfort cousin, spurred toward freedom. Of course Harry and the other knights pursued him, but their horses soon shortened stride, no match for Edward’s fresh stallion. Roger de Mortimer and his men then rode out to meet him, and the scene was set for the battle of Evesham in August. This is another What If moment of history. If Simon had entrusted Edward into the custody of his son Guy instead of Harry, he’d not have been able to escape. Why am I so sure? Because when some of Edward’s supporters had tried to free him from Wallingford Castle that past November, Guy had threatened to send him out to them–via a mangonel. And there would have been no Evesham if Edward had remained Simon’s hostage. English history would have taken a dramatic detour—and so would Welsh history.

  73. Koby Says:

    Today dominated by the Tudors… firstly, the Battle of the Eclipse took place today, which is important, as it is a cardinal date which allows us to calculate when other dates were in the ancient world. As for the Tudors, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury declared the marriage of Henry VIII [IX] to Anne Boleyn valid, and the Spanish Armada began to set sail from Lisbon.

  74. Ken John Says:

    Here’s what I posted on FB about this. It is certain (in my mind) that Simon de Montfort was badly let down by his sons. Henry de Montfort already had experience of Edward’s duplicity at Gloucester the previous year. You’d have though he would have kept a tighter reign on the ‘Leopard!’ This is how I treat part of the story:

    “……Edward smiled in turn, ‘yes, it really has become a bit of a tit-for-tat, hasn’t it? You take those lands, I take others and where will it all end?’ He banged the table, ‘think Hal, think! Do you really want to make war against your king?’ The bishop spoke up, ‘King Louis should have thought of that before he annulled the Provisions. He must have known … or ignored the danger that would result.’ Edward regarded the bishop with some contempt, ‘is it Louis’s award you fear, bishop, or the arrival of the pope’s legate to curb your and the clergy’s powers?’ He turned to Hal, ‘so far Hal, there have been minor skirmishes and few lives lost. But this situation we find ourselves in is different. I don’t suppose you would consider surrendering the town to me?’ He had accompanied this question with a very large grin and neither of the Montfort boys could refrain from laughing. ‘You suppose correctly, said Guy, suddenly serious again, ‘how about you surrendering to us as your situation is so hopeless?’

    Othon felt it time to end this to and fro. ‘You need to take this seriously. There will be no surrender and if you were to take the castle by force, perhaps kill the king’s son and his men, this country would descend into utter chaos. The king and his barons would seek total revenge. Yes, King Louis’s award was too one sided and exceeded his mandate, but that can be discussed and the award amended. The king has always said that he will uphold the agreement if he is allowed to choose his own advisors and ministers, that surely is a small price to pay for peace in England. If you accept his right to that, I am sure that he will accept some modifications also. Neither he nor the Earl of Cornwall want war. I’m sure Earl Simon shares that sentiment.’

    Hal sighed, ‘much of what you say is true, Othon, but what do you propose? ‘A truce,’ said Edward, ‘a truce of one week to allow me to return to my father and convince him to compromise on the Provisions while you return to yours for the same reason. Hal, it should never have come to this. We grew up together. Are our differences so great we cannot overcome them?’ Bishop Canteloup now spoke up again, ‘and how would we know if you would keep the truce my lord? I remind you of the oath you broke in Bristol.’ ‘That was different,’ snapped Edward, ‘that was an oath to common people; this will be an oath between lords. Have I broken my oath to uphold the Provisions? Was I not the foremost supporter of them? Nothing has changed.’

    Hal drew his sword, the screech of metal on metal startling Othon although Edward did not flinch. Pointing the tip of the sword towards the ground, Hal held the pommel out towards Edward. ‘Swear on the cross of this sword that you will uphold a truce between us; that you will withdraw from Gloucester and go peacefully back to London. I will swear also to withdraw and I shall return to my father at Kenilworth.’ They both swore in turn and all shook hands and Edward and Othon left to be escorted back to the castle, to be met by a much relieved Henry of Almain and the Countess Joan.

    In the evening of the following day, they watched as Hal’s forces left the town and headed north for Worcester and on to Leicester for Kenilworth. De Ferrers had already departed. Edward had heard of the fury with which the Earl of Derby heard the news of the truce and his army had simply upped sticks and moved out even before Henry. With both armies out of sight, Edward ordered his men back into the streets of Gloucester to arrest the senior citizens and aldermen who he considered had aided his enemy. Those guards who had been duped by the false wool merchants and allowed the barons access through the southern gate were identified and summarily beheaded….”

  75. skpenman Says:

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    A brief greeting from Deadline Doomland, which is no Disneyworld. I am taking time away from my grim reaping to mention that on this date, May 29th, in 1630, my favorite non-medieval king, Charles II, was born. And with a lovely sense of symmetry, on May 29th, 1660, Charles was crowned as England’s king, after fifteen years in exile. If only I had nine lives like a cat, I would have liked to write about Charles; I’ve always seen certain similarities between the Restoration king and the first Yorkist king, Edward IV. This intelligent, cynical, pleasure-loving king has sauntered through many novels over the years. He appears in the once-scandalous-now-tame Forever Amber, written some seventy years ago, and much more recently, in Priya Parmar’s excellent Exit the Actress, the story of Charles’s best known mistress, the actress Nell Gywn.

  76. Joan Says:

    Oh don’t even seduce our greedy literary desires with a not-to-happen novel about Charles II, Sharon. Maybe you will have 9 lives, so I’ll wait for it. But then I’d need 9 lives too. I can always keep rereading Exit the Actress.

  77. Theresa Says:

    May 29 1453 was also the day in which the city of Constantinople was taken by the Ottomans thus finally ending the Byzantine Empire.

  78. skpenman Says:

    Thanks, Joan. Maybe if Charles starts haunting me and guarantees I can live to be 110.

    Today’s Facebook Note

    On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake. This is surely the most dreadful of all deaths and even the worst of us do not deserve such a fate. Joan was far from that, one of the most enigmatic and intriguing figures of the MA, and so we ought to spare a sympathetic thought for her today, France’s patron saint and possibly one of the greatest challenges for any historical novelist.
    Also on May 30th, 1536, Henry VIII took his third wife, Jane Seymour, after mourning his second wife, Anne Boleyn, for all of ten days. In my more cynical moments, I think that Jane was the luckiest of Henry’s wives, dying before the bloom was off the rose, so to speak, and before she could fall from this fickle monarch’s favor.

  79. Koby Says:

    Ah, I am sorry for my absence, but allow me to make it up by sharing with you more music from Voices of Light, in honor of Jehanne la Pucelle: The Burning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1SVOIC2AhH8

    In any case, today, Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s [VIII] mother was born, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York died. In addition, the Battle of the Kalka River took place today, where the Mongols decisively defeated the Rus.

  80. Koby Says:

    Sharon, would you please free my post?

  81. skpenman Says:

    Will do, Koby. Sorry about that, but I haven’t had time to look for captive comments.

    Today’s Facebook post.

    On May 31, 1246, Isabelle d’Angouleme, former Queen of England, “John’s Jezebel,” as the historian Nicholas Vincent colorfully calls her, died at the abbey of Fontevrault. After John’s death, she left England and wed Hugh de Lusignan, son of the man to whom she’d once been betrothed, before John had swooped down on her like a hawk on a pigeon. Her second husband was betrothed to Isabella’s own young daughter at the time, and Isabelle and Hugh apparently held the little girl as a hostage until the Pope angrily intervened and insisted upon her return to England. I think my portrayal of Isabelle in Here Be Dragons was too kind, but in my defense, there had not been much written about her when I was researching and writing Dragons more than 25 years ago. She had a very turbulent second marriage and embroiled herself in dangerous political intrigues, motivated to some degree by hostility toward the French queen-regent, John’s niece, Blanche of Castile. The chroniclers are almost unanimously hostile to her, so it is difficult to sift truth from rumor; but she does not seem to have been a happy woman, very beautiful, but sharp-tongued and prideful and manipulative, at least during her marriage to Hugh de Lusignan. John apparently kept her on a shorter leash.
    May 31, 1443, was the birthdate of one of my least favorite medieval women, Margaret Beaufort, mother of you-who-who. For a fun read, I recommend Brian Wainwright’s hilarious spoof of the Wars of the Roses, the Adventures of Alienore Audley; Alienore’s account of the birth of Henry Tudor is not to be forgotten. Brian is a man of many talents, for he is also the author of a serious historical novel set during the reign of the first Lancastrian king, Within the Fetterlock. I recommend this one, too.
    Lastly, on May 31st, 1495, Cecily Neville died, having outlived eleven of her thirteen children, a sad epitaph for any mother. Only five of those thirteen survived to adulthood, six if you count 17 year old Edmund of Rutland. By the time of Cecily’s death at age 80, only her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret still lived. Anne Easter Smith’s Queen by Right tells Cecily’s story.
    Say what you will of Margaret Beaufort, she was devoted to the interests of her only child; she’d been wed at twelve and impregnated almost at once, with the result that she could bear no other children after Henry. I will resist the temptation to say snarkily that one Henry Tudor was more than enough. Actually, I sympathize with Margaret, the child-bride, and find it admirable that she later argued against child marriages for her granddaughters. She serves as a stark example of the reason why– although the medieval nobility often wed their daughters at very young ages– such marriages were rarely consummated until the girl reached puberty, which occurred later in the MA than in modern times.
    Cecily Neville was also a devoted mother. She’d have to be, to have forgiven George of Clarence’s follies. Isabelle seems to have been the odd woman out in this maternal grouping. Or maybe she just didn’t care much for John’s children, for once she sailed for France, she never looked back. Henry III rather sadly seems to have yearned for her love and approval and rashly heaped favors and titles upon his numerous half-siblings from her marriage to de Lusignan. The English looked upon them as a foreign plague of greedy locusts and naturally blamed Henry for their bad behavior. As a general rule, medieval kings fared better if they were only children.

  82. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, thank you for this fascinating insight into the lives of the three exceptional (say what you will of Margaret Beaufort:-)) women. I just want to add that Professor John Gillingham, in his Angevin Empire, notes that on 31 May 1128, less than three weeks before his son, Geoffrey le Bel’s wedding, FulkV of Anjou took the cross, leaving his county in charge of a fpurteen-year-old :-) Say what you will, but Geoffrey must have already proved to be worthy of his father’s trust.

  83. skpenman Says:

    I agree, Kasia. Geoffrey was undoubtedly very clever; at this point in his life, immaturity was probably his greatest failing, and that is to be expected of a young teenager. He and Maude both did their best to turn their marriage into a desert, but at least initially, I tend to put more blame on Maude, for she was the adult and I find it hard to believe that a beautiful woman could not have won over a 15 year old boy if she’d tried.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    On June 1st, 1191, Philip, the Count of Flanders, an occasional character in my Angevin series, died at the siege of Acre, very soon after his arrival. He gave the Angevins a fair amount of grief during his long career and I am sure he was no favorite of Eleanor’s either, for he accused her niece Isabel, her sister Petronilla’s eldest daughter, of adultery, putting the alleged lover to death in a rather gruesome fashion and using the accusation as an excuse to seize his wife’s inheritance, the rich county of Vermandois. If I seem skeptical about the charge, many of his contemporaries were, too. He did, however, do Richard a very good turn and Philippe Capet a very bad one in Sicily, backing Richard up when he declared that he could not wed Philippe’s sister Alys because she was reputed to have been his father Henry’s mistress. Here is a brief scene from Lionheart between Richard and Philip, page 186.
    * * *
    While Richard had little interest in discussing his father’s carnal conquests, he did want to know why Philip had taken such a risk. “You’re going to pay a price for your honesty, as you well know. Not many men would have dared to defy Philippe like that, for he’s one to nurse a grudge to the end of his earthly days. Yet that does not seem to trouble you.”
    “And you want to know why.” Philip leaned back against the altar and was silent for a moment. “Ah, hellfire, Cousin, I’d think the answer would be obvious. I am nigh on fifty and there are mornings when I feel every one of those fifty years, thanks to aging and the joint evil. I can no longer ride from dawn till dusk without aching bones, find the pleasures of the flesh are losing their allure, and I’ve had to face the fact that I’ll not be siring a son to follow after me. At this point in my life, I do not much care about disappointing Philippe Capet. What matters is not disappointing the Almighty. This is the second time I’ve taken the cross. The first time I had less worthy motives, for I had it in mind to meddle in Outremer’s politics, hoping to see the Leper King’s sisters wed to men of my choosing. As you know, that did not happen. Now I’ve been given another chance and I mean to make the most of it. Most likely I’ll die in the Holy Land, but to die fighting for Jerusalem is not such a bad fate, is it?”
    Richard had never expected to feel such a sense of solidarity with Philip, for they’d been rivals for as long as he could remember. Now he found himself looking at his cousin through new eyes. “No, it is not such a bad fate at all,” he agreed, although he did not share the older man’s fatalism. He was confident that he would safely return from Outremer, for surely it was not God’s Will that he die in a failed quest.
    * * *
    And of course the Count of Flanders did die in the Holy Land, although not as he probably anticipated and surely wanted—storming the barricades, sword in hand. He died, instead, of one of the many illnesses that swept the siege camp, disease actually killing more crusaders than the Saracens did.
    And on June 1st, 1204, both Henry and Richard were surely spinning in their graves like tops, doubtlessly making the nuns of Fontevrault wonder if their abbey church had been struck by an earthquake, for on this date, the capital city of Normandy, Rouen, fell to the French king.
    Lastly, on June 1st, 1533, Anne Boleyn was crowned as Queen of England. It was probably a very triumphant day for her, but we know how that turned out.

  84. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I love your note on Philip. I’m just in the course of wrriting a new text for Henry’s blog and have started with Philip’s death at Acre :-) He and Henry shared one great passion: tournaments and the snippet of Lionheart you quoted fits perfectly, esp. Philip’s grief that he’ no longer ride from dawn till dusk without aching bones’. That must have been very hard for the once tournament patron and champion.
    Oh, and one more thing, I can’t help admiring Philip-politician. His ambition, shrewdness and skills, all made Flanders flourish. Not for long, unfortunately, for it all ended with Philip’s death. No wonder he had no love for Phillippe Capet. After all on 1 June 1191 it was the French king, who turned out to be a winner (I mean Vermandois, Isabel and Eleanor’s inheritance which fell into his hands and from which he later drew resources in his war against John).

  85. Koby Says:

    Having mentioned Geoffrey and Rouen, let us not forget that his son and namesake, Geoffrey Fitz Empress, was born today in Rouen.

  86. skpenman Says:

    And Philippe also snagged Artois, Kasia, which seems to have been one of his primary motivations for abandoning the crusade. Henry II was very lucky when Philip of Flander’s brother Mathew was struck by a crossbow bolt at the siege of Arques in 1173. (Not so lucky for Matthew, of course) But Matthew’s death caused Philip to withdraw from the Great Rebellion, and Henry thus found himself facing Louis, who was not exactly the 12th century’s answer to Alexander the Great, and his green teenage sons instead of the battle-seasoned Philip of Flanders.
    Thanks, Koby. I confess I forgot all about Geoffrey.
    Today’s Facebook Note.
    June 2nd, 1420 was the wedding day of King Henry V of England and Catherine Valois of France. She soon satisfied a queen’s primary duty and gave him a son and heir, (the unfortunate Henry VI) but within two years, she’d be a young widow after his death from dysentery, which was often lethal in the MA; John and Edward I were among its royal victims, as was Henry’s son Hal. Catherine had a much more interesting widowhood than Berengaria of Navarre, who never wed again, which can be interpreted in a number of ways. But Catherine’s eye was taken by a handsome young Welshman, Owen Tudor; a secret marriage followed, and the result would be a blessing for future historical novelists and Hollywood screenwriters—the Tudor dynasty. Whether they were such a blessing for England is very much open to debate. They did save their best for last, though, Gloriana.

  87. Joan Says:

    Speaking of which, I just started Elizabeth I by Margaret George. And speaking of Henry V, I was reminded to give you my impressions of Azincourt, Kasia. I understand now, Sharon, why you’ve proclaimed Bernard Cornwell “the man” where battle scenes are concerned! Couldn’t help but do a little research online after reading the book.

    I was expecting a heavy read so was happy that Cornwell took a light tone (are all his books similar in tone?) in undertaking such a gruesome battle. In the first half, I had some rip-roarin’ laughter……he catches us off guard a lot, as he does with the more serious events. like Michael’s hanging….Boom, it’s done!! So I found myself doing a lot of wide-eyed tsk-ing, also a lot of exclaiming loudly at the book! But loved these punches & he is very good at it. And have to say, Cornwell raises “bathroom talk” to a whole new level (I’ve saved a few good bits for my own use). I loved this “man’s world”, esp the archers & everything about the longbow, a fascinating weapon. We can’t imagine the strength of those guys! I’ve always wondered how so many arrows could be at hand.

    But the battle itself is unbelievable……the massive miscalculation by the French, the uncanny luck of the English…..no wonder Henry saw God as his ally. The planets were not in alignment for the French that day. Can you imagine drowning in your helmet?!? That’s like doubly claustrophobic! Those poor souls. All in all I loved the book, the characters are great, not the least, the roles of Sts Crispin & Crispinian. What a great approach to the story.

  88. skpenman Says:

    I totally agree, Joan; the man is a master wordsmith.

    Today’s brief Facebook Note.

    There were a few historical happenings on June 3rd, ( the fall of Antioch, for one) but I am going to have to beg off from dealing with them, for real life has come to a screeching halt as I remain trapped in the deadline doldrums. I can’t resist mentioning, though, that June 3rd, 1162 was a day that would soon give Henry II considerable grief, for it was on this date that his great good friend, Thomas Becket, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury, just one day after he’d been ordained as a priest. Henry was convinced theirs would be the perfect partnership. He was wrong.

  89. skpenman Says:

    “Sunday morning, two days after the shooting, two days that felt like two eternities, I sat with my husband, Matt, on our living room couch in Newtown, Connecticut, staring at the blank document on my laptop, wondering where to start, how to start. How to find the words to write my little girl’s obituary.”
    This is the opening paragraph of a story no one who reads it will ever forget, written by the mother of one of the twenty children murdered at Newtown, CT. Their daughter Catherine loved animals and when her mother struggled to write her obituary, she added a line that donations could be made in lieu of flowers to a local animal rescue. She and her husband would later be stunned to learn that the shelter received over $175,000 in donations from all around the world, and the rescue—which had been made up of volunteers—decided to create the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.
    http://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/stories-of-hope/a-sanctuary-of-healing-born-of-tragedy?page=full
    https://www.facebook.com/CatherineVioletHubbardAnimalSanctuary

  90. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thank you Sharon for sharing! I’m deeply moved.

    Joan, I absolutely love the battle scene itself, but my favourite aspect of the novel is (are) … Sts Crispin and Crispinian. They are such a clever invention, a tool that the author employed to depict the medieval duality: crulety and merciless fighting vs. godliness bordering on obsession. This is at least how I see it.

  91. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for GoT, after the Red Wedding episode, George R.R. Martin and HBO are doomed :-) (although, on the other hand, every writer dreams of such extreme reactions to his work, I suppose) I’ve just read some comments on Twitter via David Blixt blog. So many lives ruined after Sunday premiere. Do Richard Madden’s good looks have anything to do with it? Judging by some of the comments, they do :-) Why do people think that the Starks should be spared??? Or the wrongdoings they fell prey to avenged? Why do we employ such a schematic thinking? Perhaps the author himself favoures… let’s say, the Lannisters :-)

  92. Koby Says:

    Today, Adele of Champage, Wife to Louis VII and mother to Philip II ‘August’ of France died, as did Mary de Bohun, wife of Henry IV [V] and mother of Henry V [VI] - she was never Queen of England, having died some 5 years before her husband ascended the throne.

  93. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Okay, okay, let’s face it: Robb Stark (Richard Madden) how could you get yourself killed like that????? You’ve broken my heart! (although I knew what was going to befall you at the Twins!) :-)

  94. Joan Says:

    Yes, very moving, Sharon. That little girl reminds me so much of my 8yr old granddaughter…..”she couldn’t contain her need to care about every living thing….she had a thing for critters”. Her parents have supernatural strength.

    Clever insight, Kasia. The medieval duality! To a psychotic degree. And if there’s one thing that perpetually baffles me about human nature, it’s that very thing, which still goes on! I also love how Cornwell perches us right there so we can watch every single detail….it satisfies my obsessive nature.

  95. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    It baffles me too, Joan! And it probably baffled the author himself.

    As for GoT, sorry for the SPOILER above!

  96. Theresa Says:

    Well I think I have a new ‘most shocking moment in Game of Thrones’..Even though I read the books first, it was still pretty awful to watch that scene. Please G R R Martin let the Freys and Boltons get their just deserts by the last book (and Cersei too)

  97. skpenman Says:

    I cannot imagine how it was for people who’ve not read the GoT books to watch Sunday’s Red Wedding. At least we knew what was coming, although it was still hard to watch.
    Kasia, today in 1257, Krakow received its first city rights, at least if we can trust Wikipedia?

    I will only be able to make hit and run visits for June, thanks to that deadline bearing down on me like a runaway train. So my Facebook entries are going to be brief although we know that brevity does not come naturally to me.
    Edward I was luckier than he deserved, IMHO. One of the ways in which he was lucky was that he was blessed with a brother both competent and very loyal, not always the case for brothers of kings; George of Clarence, anyone? Edmund, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, died on June 5, 1296, at age 51. I found him quite sympathetic, as anyone reading Shadow can probably tell.
    And be forewarned. This story will have some reaching for a box of tissues. It shows a K-9 shepherd grieving for his slain master. http://www.today.com/pets/police-dog-bids-touching-farewell-fallen-human-partner-6C10167525

  98. Koby Says:

    Speaking of which, Sharon, today Edmund of Langley, Edward III’s son and grandfather to Duke Richard of York was born. He was also loyal and competent, though at the last he switched his allegiance from his nephew Richard II to his nephew, Henry of Bolingbroke, making him Henry IV [V].
    Also, today one of the more interesting but lesser known figure of medieval England died, Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester. He was the father of the Beaumont twins known to readers of When Christ and His Saints Slept, but a great man in his own right: One of the Fifteen Proven Companions of William the Conqueror, who at Hastings “was as yet but a young man and he performed feats of valour worthy of perpetual remembrance. At the head of a troop which he commanded on the right wing he attacked with the utmost bravery and success”. He served William I faithfully, as he did to William II Rufus - he was a member of that fatal hunting party in the New Forest. He pledged allegiance to Henry I, who created him Earl of Leicester (originally he was the Count of Meulan).

  99. skpenman Says:

    Another fascinating post, Koby.

    June 6th is seared into history, of course, as the date of D-Day. Saving Private Ryan justifiably received many accolades, but I also like a much older film, The Longest Day.
    Going much further back in time, on June 6th, 1191, Richard Coeur de Lion reached the crusader city of Tyre. Here is a description of the city from Lionheart, page 280.
    * * *
    The men fell silent as Tyre came into view, impressed by its formidable defenses and moved by their first glimpse of a city where the Lord Christ had once walked. Tyre was virtually an island, connected to the mainland by a short and narrow causeway. A protective breakwater or mole extended out into the sea, a heavy chain stretching from a high tower on its eastern edge to a second tower on land, barring entry to the harbor. Richard was surprised to find his eyes misting as he gazed upon the ancient stone walls of this legendary biblical city. It had been more than three years since he’d taken the cross upon hearing of Jerusalem’s fall, years in which his holy quest had often seemed like a tantalizing dream, glimmering on the horizon just out of reach. At long last, it was about to take tangible form.
    * * *
    Unfortunately, he soon learned that in the Middle East, nothing was simple and not all of his enemies were Saracens. Tyre was held by Conrad de Montferrat, who was just as strong-willed as Richard himself, and the English king received his first hard lesson in the cut-throat politics of the Kingdom of Jerusalem when he found he and his men were denied entry to Tyre, on Conrad’s orders. This did not get their relationship off to the best of starts. Lionheart, page 281.
    * * *
    Raising a hand to silence the indignant protests of his men, Richard gave Alan Trenchmer a terse command to anchor the fleet in the lee of the breakwater. Glancing back at Tyre, deceptively tranquil in the golden dusk, he shook his head in disgust. “What does it say,” he said caustically, “when our enemy, an infidel Saracen, is a man of greater honor than our Christian ally?”
    * * *
    Interestingly, and rather ironically, Richard got along much better with his Saracen foes than he did with Conrad and the French. Saladin’s chronicler, Baha al-Din, reported that Richard formed friendships with some of Saladin’s emirs, and he even knighted a few of them, including the son of Saladin’s brother, al-Malik al-Adil. He would later pay a high price for this mutual respect, though, when he found himself in a German court, charged with betraying Christendom to the infidels.

  100. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    In this we have to trust Wikipedia, Sharon, for I had no idea of this anniversary. Thanks for sharing. I love Kraków. Many of the Polish still consider it the real capital of Poland.

  101. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Another D-Day-related movie is one of my favorites: “The Americanization of Emilie,” with Julie Andrews and James Garner. They enjoyed acting together again twice. Allys and I visited Utah Beach on 2 June 1974, four days before the 30th anniversary.

  102. Koby Says:

    Today, the Siege of Jerusalem began in the First Crusade, and Robert the Bruce of Scotland died.

  103. Theresa Says:

    Robert the Bruce would probably have to be the only political opponent of Edward who wasn’t killed in battle or executed. Simon De Montfort, Llywellyn and Davyyd ap Gryffud and William Wallace were not so lucky.

  104. skpenman Says:

    I loved the Americanization of Emily, too, Malcolm.

    On June 7, 1099, the siege of Jerusalem began; when the crusaders eventually took it, the result was a shameful massacre of the Muslims and Jews living in the city. The crusader chronicles boasted of the streets running ankle-deep in blood. When Saladin lay siege to Jerusalem, he intended to take it by storm and put the townspeople to the sword to avenge this brutal slaughter, but Balian d’Ibelin persuaded him to allow the city to surrender by threatening to destroy all of the Muslim holy sites in the city if they had nothing left to lose and by offering a ransom, much of which came from money that Henry II had contributed to Jerusalem’s protection over the years. There was not enough money to ransom all of the citizens, and some were sold into slavery, but at least the streets did not run with blood as they did in1099.
    On June 7, 1329, the Scots king Robert the Bruce died and on June 7, 1394, Anne of Bohemia, beloved queen of Richard II, died of the plague; she was 28 and had been wed to Richard for 12 years. She’d been quite unpopular initially in part because she brought no dowry worth mentioning and the medieval English seemed to have looked askance at foreign queens. But she appears to have been a kind-hearted woman and by the time she’d died, she’d won over many of the people. Richard loved her deeply, and things went from bad to worse for him after he lost her stabilizing influence.

  105. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    On June 8, 1191, Richard finally arrived at the siege of Acre, having taken time off to conquer the island of Cyprus. This was a fun scene to write because the Lionheart could have taught Barnum and Bailey a lesson in self-promotion; he had a real flair for making grand entrances, much to the frustration and fury of his enemies. Philippe knows what to expect, having witnessed Richard’s entry into the harbor at Messina, but Conrad of Montferrat hasn’t a clue and he is vexed to see the entire camp running toward the shoreline as word spreads that Richard’s fleet has been sighted. Lionheart, pages 291-292
    * * *
    Watching in bemusement as this throng surged toward the sea, Conrad said scornfully, “Will you look at those fools? You’d think they hope to witness the Second Coming of the Lord Christ! What is there to see, for God’s sake? Just some ships dropping anchor offshore.”
    Philippe gave the older man a tight, mirthless smile, thinking that Conrad was about to get his first lesson in Ricardian drama. (omission)
    * * *
    Philippe then baffles Conrad by asking if he had troupes of traveling players back in Montferrat and he makes Conrad wonder if his wits are wandering by going on about the entrance of such a troupe into a town, seeking to attract as large an audience as possible, describing how they blow their trumpets, beat on drums, sing and banter and trot out dancing dogs. occasionally even a dancing bear. Conrad demands to know what he is talking about, but he merely smiles.
    * * *
    By the time they reached the beach, it looked as if every man, woman, and child in the camp had gathered at the shoreline. To the west, the sun was setting in a blaze of fiery color, the sky and sea taking on vivid shades of gold and red, drifting purple clouds haloed in shimmering lilac light. The ships entering the bay were backlit by this spectacular sunset, and Philippe wondered if Richard had timed his landing for maximum impact. The sleek war galleys were slicing through the waves like the deadly weapons they were, the royal banners of England and Outremer catching each gust of wind, the oarsmen rowing in time to the thudding drumbeats, the air vibrating with the cacophony of trumpets, pipes, and horns. And just as he’d done at Messina, Richard was standing on a raised platform in the prow of his galley, a magnet for all eyes. When the crowds erupted in wild cheering, he acknowledged their tribute by raising a lance over his head and the noise level reached painful proportions, loud enough to reach the Saracen soldiers lining the walls of the city as they, too, watched, spellbound, the arrival of the legendary Lionheart.
    Conrad was staring at the spectacle in disbelief, eyes wide and mouth open. When he finally tore his gaze away from the scene playing out in the harbor, he saw that the French king was watching him with a mordant, cynical smile, one that he now understood. “All that is lacking,” Philippe said, “is the dancing bear.”
    * * *
    Moving on, June 8, 1376 was the death of another celebrated soldier, Edward, the Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III and father of Richard II, also a character in several of Bernard Cornwell’s novels. And on June 8, 1476, George Neville, Archbishop of York, died; not one of my favorite characters in Sunne.

  106. Koby Says:

    Also, Harthacnut died today, making Edward the Confessor King of England.

  107. Koby Says:

    And today, Nero committed suicide, starting the civil war known as the Year of Four Emperors, and Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated the Moors at the Battle of Toulouse, halting their westward expansion for ten years, until their decisive defeat in the Battle of Tours by Odo and Charles Martel.

  108. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    A quick escape from the deadline doldrums to say Hi. I will be MIA most likely for the rest of the month; please wish me and my obstreperous Angevins lots of luck. Meanwhile, here are links to two interesting stories about Game of Thrones, one arguing that the only characters who survive are those capable of changing and one that discusses the ways in which the HBO series differs from the novels. I am not thrilled by the way they are softening Cersei on HBO from Cersei in the books, and I am beginning to suspect that they are transforming Shae’s character, too. (trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers) Lastly, they seem to be deviating enough from Master Martin’s gospel that even we book readers may find ourselves surprised in the coming season, so far, far away. http://www.today.com/entertainment/throwing-book-game-thrones-could-tv-changes-impact-finale-6C10245219
    http://www.today.com/entertainment/game-thrones-you-change-or-you-probably-die-6C10222985

  109. Koby Says:

    Today, Frederick I ‘Barbarossa’, Holy Roman Emperor, died on his way to the Holy Land to join the Third Crusade, from drowning (and possibly a heart attack). In addition, today (or possibly tomorrow), one of the greatest generals (and among my favorite) of the world died: Alexander of Macedon.

  110. Carl Says:

    GoT not as smart as she thinks has to be Catelyn who leaves her children scattered to die inmthat world of all places.

  111. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Today in 1183 (the then Saturday, the feast day of St Barnabas the Apostle), Henry II and Eleanor’s eldest son and heir, Henry, known to his contemporaries and to posterity as the Young King died at Martel, Limousin. He was twenty-eight, so, as one of the chroniclers put it “in the flower of his youth” and his untimely passing provoked universal outpouring of grief. I’m posting about his last moments on Henry blog later in the day.

  112. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, I just want you to know that I’ve done a bad, bad thing yesterday… I’ve joined “the dark side”. I hope I won’t regret it :-)

  113. Theresa Says:

    On this day Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon- it started so well but then…
    I would like to add something to the GOT questions - in particular question three. For me one character who appeared to change was Prince Rhaegar. The first impression one had of him was that he was just as bad as his father King Aerys (the abduction of Lyanna Stark and its aftermath) However the more you hear of Rhaegar (from the stories told to Dany and other peoples recollections) one has the impression that he was a rather tragic character who could have been a better king than his father or the usurping Baretheon/Lannister dynasty.

  114. Koby Says:

    Kasia, you did nothing wrong, and have indeed joined the right side. Speaking of which, a simply amazing blog post, thank you so much for sharing it!
    In addition to the above events, today Anne Neville was born, and the Battle of Jargeau took place, where Jehanne la Pucelle defeated an English army, in the second stage of her Loire campaign.

  115. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, I just left you a message on the Dark Side, wondering if Stephanie browbeat you into it or Koby bribed you? Whatever, delighted to have you in our crazy little kingdom. Now we work on Joan!

    A quick Hi from Deadline Doomland, and here’s a great little video about “The Bad-ass women of Game of Thrones.” I think that term could apply to a few of the women in my books, too. Certainly Eleanor! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/game-of-thrones-badass-women_n_3403640.html

  116. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon and Koby, thank you! As you can guess it was Henry the Young King (no bribes required) and… Ken John ;-)

  117. skpenman Says:

    Here is Kasia’s blog about the death of the young king, Hal in my books. He is very lucky to have her as his champion. http://henrytheyoungking.blogspot.com/

    Henry the Young King

    henrytheyoungking.blogspot.com

  118. Joan Says:

    Oh I’m happy for you Kasia & for the young king….he’s smiling down on you. You’ll have a ton of fun. I’ve had a little event over the w/end which led me to emerg…..looks like I’ll be needing some fairly minor surgery down the road but don’t know how specific I should get. Let’s just say it’s a common problem in women….the 3 “f’s…..female, fat, & forty”, though I’m not overweight & certainly not 40!!

    I missed the beginning of G of T a few times & refused to watch it until I could see it right from the beginning. So all this intriguing info is killing me! And now I’ll read the site on Bad-ass women, Sharon. Have fun as you meet your deadline!!

  119. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Kasia, Facebook does have its positive side. The creation of a group page has kept the many of the members of the June 2011 Eleanor Tour together via remote contact. Over time, we have become closer friends, with personal reunions here and there. I have not seen a single Eleanor “colleague” in person since 13 June 2011, nearly two years ago, and thus await 8 September in the City of York with great anticipation. Your post on the death of young Henry in 1183 is well written and comprehensive. On this date two years ago, we toured the château d’Angers, then spent the night in Orléans.

  120. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, one more time “Thank you!” :-) I’m so very happy and honoured.

    Joan, I do hope it’s nothing serious. I mean the surgery??? I keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Malcolm, I know Facebook does have its positive side. I can judge it by yesterday’s number of entries :-) Probably reached a peak. I’m so happy for Henry. As the anniversary of Geoffrey and Matilda’s wedding is approaching (17 June) together with my friend Richard we’re planning to create a FB group, “The Angevins”. We will be honoured if you join us there and contribute. Your knowledge of Geoffrey is very impressive and may turn out to be of great use!

    I wish I could take part in Eleanor’s tour… We’ll see.

  121. skpenman Says:

    Kasia, what a wonderful idea. You and Richard are going to make a lot of people very happy.
    While social media like Facebook is dangerously time-consuming, I think it offers phenomenal opportunities. We get to make friends all over the world!
    Good wishes and positive vibes coming your way, Joan.
    Now back to the drudgery. My agent said that what I am doing now is “forensic work,” and I think she is right. But who ever enjoyed doing an autopsy?

  122. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Good luck, Sharon! And thank you for your supportive words! Perhaps, if you find some time (grin) you will join us in the Angevin realm??? As our guide and mentor.

    Joan, perhaps you could change your mind and join us as well?

  123. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I just want to add that on 12 June 1152 Henry of Huntingdon died. He was the only surviving son of king David I of Scotland. His untimely death left David with his boy-grandson Malcolm as an heir. Had Henry lived Malcolm (IV) and his younger brother William (later William I the Lion) would not have lost Northumberland to Henry II. And hadn’t Malcolm and William lost Northumerland, William would not have got himself involved in the Great Revolt of Henry the Young King in 1173-74.

  124. Joan Says:

    Thanks Sharon & Kasia for your good wishes. It’s routine very common surgery. I think I was more upset than I should have been, having enjoyed such excellent health all along.

    Well your plans for FB sound great Kasia. Maybe it’ll be part of my “try 5 new things N Years resolutions” for next year. It does sound tempting. I see I have some catch-up to do on your blog. I checked the GOT site & was amused by the older woman (don’t know her name) who said…..”We mothers do what we can to keep our sons from the grave……they do seem to yearn for it.” Isn’t this rich & a lament that has echoed down through the ages…….can’t you just hear Eleanor saying that very thing!

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  127. skpenman Says:

    I probably won’t be able to resume my Today in History posts until the book is done since I will have to flee the country if I miss the deadline. But I couldn’t resist taking a brief break today to link history and Game of Thrones. Most know that the Martin series is loosely, very loosely, based on the Wars of the Roses. His readers have amused themselves over the years by speculating who his characters are supposed to be. Everyone thinks that Cersei and Robert are Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV, although I personally think Martin has maligned Edward if that is so. But after that, it is anyone’s guess. Is Danaerys a much more attractive stand-in for Henry Tudor? Is Ned Stark a version of Richard III or, as I’ve heard it suggested, his father, the Duke of York? Who in the world is Joffroi modeled after? Even George of Clarence would consider that character assassination. I’ve come across some very intriguing and imaginative theories from Martin readers, many of whom should clearly be writing their own books. I confess that at times I saw Richard III in Ned Stark. But they differed in some important aspects as today’s historical happening proves. On June 13, 1483, Richard sent Will Hastings to the block after an acrimonious council meeting at the Tower. And I think all Game of Thrones fans can agree on this—that the honorable Ned Stark would never have executed a man without benefit of trial. I am not saying honor did not matter to Richard, too, merely that he had more finely honed survival skills than Ned. Sadly, men who always put honor first did not thrive, either in the MA or the Martin universe.
    Very nasty weather in the US. Good luck to all of us in the paths of these dangerous storms.

  128. Koby Says:

    Not connected to Sharon’s books, but today, the Battle of Naseby took place, where the New Model Army under the Parliamentarians decisively defeated the Royalist army, beginning the end of the civil war. Also, the Dutch Raid on the Medway ended today, the English having lost 13 ships.

  129. Theresa Says:

    I can see a resemblance between Viserys and Edward of Lancaster. Both young when their parents lost their crown, bitter (well Viserys certainly was) and both died violently.

  130. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Today in 1170 Henry (since then known as the Young King) was crowned king of England at Westminster by Roger, Archbishop of York. I’ve just posted a short account of the ceremony on Henry’s blog. You are all welcome :-)

  131. Gabriele Says:

    I’m back from a tour to Northumbria and Scotland with some castle photos and more fun to come. :)

    (Since I won’t feed Sharon’s webmaster by more link ransom, just click on my name, it’ll get you to my blog. :P )

  132. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Gabriele, the pics are lovely! Thank you for Alnwick castle :-)

  133. skpenman Says:

    Just a quick Hi to assure everyone I have not been eaten by the deadline dragon, although he is getting hungry. Fortunately he does not spew flames like Danaerys’s dragons. Anyway, here is a link to a lovely story about an orphaned foal and his teddy bear. http://www.care2.com/causes/orphaned-foal-finds-comfort-in-giant-teddy-bear-after-rescue.html

  134. Mary Martinez Says:

    Hi! in my opinion I think poker is the most fascinating activity of all the card games.

  135. skpenman Says:

    Gabriele, if you post the link here, I promise to pay the ransom!

  136. Koby Says:

    Today, John affixed his great seal to the charter of rights at Runnymede meadow, ratifying the Magna Carta. To quote: “Given under our hand–the above-named and many others being witnesses–in the meadow which is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.”
    In addition, Edward, the Black Prince was born today, as was Henry FitzRoy, the bastard son of Henry VIII [IX].

  137. Gabriele Says:

    Sharon, there would be several posts to ransom by now. Just clicking the link to my blog should do fine. Nor do I mind new followers. :)

  138. Koby Says:

    I must hurry off to work, but the Battle of Stoke Field took place today, the last engagement of the Wars of the Roses, where Henry VII [VIII] defeated the Yorkist army under John de la Pole, Martin Schwartz and Francis Lovell. John and Martin died on the field, and Francis’s body was never found - it is theorized he either drowned or managed to escape and hide until his death.

  139. Joan Says:

    Well you have a new follower in me, Gabriele, & I have Sharon & Kasia to thank. Your blog is outstanding!

  140. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, thank you for paying a visit to our blog. I really appreciate.

    Koby, I highly enjoyed our “conversation” yesterday. You have a very nice friends. If only I could understand what they were talking about :-)

  141. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Happy Wedding Anniversary to Matilda and Geoffrey, who were married on 17 June 1128 at Le Mans. Although their marriage proved to be an unhappy one, we should be grateful to them for Henry II, the greatest of English medieval monarchs.

    P.S. Personally I’m most grateful for their eldest surviving grandson, the certain young king ;-)

  142. skpenman Says:

    Coming up for air to assure everyone that I am still among the living. Here is a fun article about the dads on Game of Thrones, a day late. http://www.today.com/entertainment/good-dads-are-rarer-dragons-game-thrones-6C10315943 It occurred to me that many of the medieval kings were not great dads, either. Just off the top of my head, Henry III was a loving dad, but few of us would have wanted Edward I as a dad. Or Henry I. I think Edward IV was a better king than he is sometimes given credit for, but I also think he was a failure as a father. Not as neglectful as Robert Baratheon, granted, but he did his son no favors by letting him be raised far from his court by Woodvilles. And to me, the most tragic father remains Henry II, who loved his sons and managed to alienate them all. Okay, back to fight the deadline dragon. Wish me luck.

  143. Gabriele Says:

    Thank you, Joan.

    I think Edward II was a pretty decent father, too, judging by the rewards he gave to those who brought him news about the birth of his children - seems he really wanted them. And with his love for more rustic pastimes, I can totally see him letting little Ed ride on his shoulders and play with his kids.

    *hands Sharon a Valyrian steel greatsword; that should help with the dragon* :D

  144. Koby Says:

    Thanks, Kasia! Indeed, my friends are odd, but I wouldn’t have them any other way.
    Today (it’s still today!), Edward I of England was born. In other matters, Vlad ‘the Impaler’ III Tepes led the highly successful Night Attack on the Ottoman army of Sultan Mehmed II, and Jan III Sobieski died.

  145. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, you put me to shame by mentioning Jan Sobieski’s death. He was certainly one of our- read the Polish- greatest monarchs. And the entire Europe owes him much :-)

    As for Edward I, let me recommend Kathryn Warner’s wonderful blog again. She posted a very detailed note of the circumstances surrounding Edward’s arrival into this world.

    I would like to make amends and say that today, on 18 June, in 1574, our first so called “elected” king, upon receiving the news of his brother, king Charles IX’s death, run away to his native France. I mean Henryk I Walezy (Fr. Henri de Valois) who ruled from 1573 to 1574. After his escape he became king of France as Henri III.

  146. skpenman Says:

    Thank you, Gabriele! A Valyrian sword will do the trick.
    Thank you all, too, for carrying on in my stead. I will surface again, soon, I hope.
    PS Kasia, I am embarrassed to admit I know little of Jan Sobieski. Maybe you could tell us more about him?

  147. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Of course, wit pleasure, but not today, since I’m very busy prepering a post on a very important anniversary for Henry the Young King. It begins in this vein: “19 June marked a sad date in Henry the Young King and his wife, Marguerite’s life. On this day in 1177 at Paris the queen gave birth to their only child, William. Born premature, the child died soon after” Had he only survived… Another “what-if” of history…

  148. Koby Says:

    Well, I shall leave the details of Jan II to Kasia… today, Eleanor de Montfort died while giving birth to Llewellyn the Last’s daughter, Gwenllian, and James VI and I was born. Yesterday, the Battle of Patay took place, where Jehanne d’Arc decisively defeated the English, mowing down the longbowmen, capturing John Talbot and concluding the Loire campaign with a resounding victory.

  149. skpenman Says:

    Gabriele, I mentioned on Facebook that you’d given me a Valyrian sword and my readers decided it must be named, as swords are always named in Westeros. Stephanie came up with the winner, Time Freezer.
    Great posts, Koby and Kasia. Thanks for taking up the slack while I battle my dragon.

    Today’s Facebook Note.

    The deadline dragon is right behind me, so I only have a moment until I feel his hot breath on the back of my neck. I just wanted to remind everyone that Elizabeth Chadwick’s new novel, The Summer Queen, the first volume in her trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine, is now out. Here is the link to Amazon.com.uk. I thought it was coming out today in the US, too, but the Amazon mother ship was only offering it from third-party sellers last night—very puzzling. But until that gets straightened out, you can buy it from Amazon.com.uk or from Book Depository, which ships worldwide free of charge. Now my hair is starting to scorch, so I’m away.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Queen-Eleanor-Aquitane-Trilogy/dp/1847445454/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371699633&sr=1-1&keywords=elizabeth+chadwick

  150. Koby Says:

    Very tired, but thank you Sharon for the compliments, and the links of course. Good luck with the dragon.
    Today, the battle of the Catalaunian Plains took place, where Flavius Aetius led the Roman and Visigoth army to a bloody stalemate against Attila the Hun, resulting in his retreat and the end of Hun raids on Western Europe.

  151. Gabriele Says:

    Aw, that’s sweet, Sharon. Hope it will live up to its name.

    The Catalaunian Planes are one plotbunny I don’t need; I got enough of the critters already, and most of them Roman. ;)

  152. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I promised to write a few words about king Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696), but since I already posted about him some time ago, let me re-post what I wrote then:

    The most important fact is that by winning the Battle of Vienna (12 September 1683) the king saved Europe from the Ottomans. One can only guess what would have happened to us if the outcome of the battle had been different…

    During my trip to Austria (Vienna in particular) I visited the museum of Kahlenberg, situated on the mountain, where the battle took place. I had the occasion to admire the Hussars’ armours and weapons, the Polish-Lithuanian banners and- I’m not sure, for it was some time ago- king Jan’s own armour. Very impressive and… moving.

    Apart from being great politician and tactician, king Jan was also a romantic at heart and… a skilled letter writer. Correspondence between him and his beloved Marysieńka (Marie) went down in history as the perfect example of epistolary genre and here, in Poland we read their letters at school nowadays

  153. Koby Says:

    Indeed, Kasia. In truth, I do believe I wrote a bit about him when I mentioned the Battle of Vienna.
    Today, Fulk III Nerra of Anjou died, as did Walter de Luci (who feuded with Bishop Hilary of Chichester at the beginning of Time and Chance), Edward III of England, and Niccolo Machiavelli. The Battle of Lake Trasimene took place today, where Hannibal again defeated the Roman army. Lastly, today is the Midsummer, the Summer Solstice (and the Winter Solstice down in the Southern Hemisphere), so happy holiday to any who celebrate.

  154. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    A quick Hi from me and the deadline dragon. Thanks for taking up the slack while I’m gone. Meanwhile, here is an interesting article about the most memorable fictional characters of all time.
    http://entertainment.time.com/2013/05/21/vote-now-the-most-memorable-fictional-characters-of-all-time/

  155. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Just stopping by to say that my deadline dragon and I are still locked in a war of wills. I was thinking of naming him Dracarys but that might be too much alliteration. Wish me luck–not him!

  156. Joan Says:

    Not too much alliteration for you, Sharon. That’s one of the first things I noticed about your writing because I’m absolutely ardent about alliteration.

  157. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Assonance has it province. Ou, assonance a sa Provence.

  158. Koby Says:

    And today, the Battle of Bannockburn began. More on which tomorrow, the day the battle finally ended, but I will include this account of one event of the battle: “Riding in the vanguard of heavy cavalry, Henry de Bohun (nephew of the Earl of Hereford) caught sight of the Robert the Bruce who was mounted on a small palfrey (’ane gay palfray Li till and joly’) armed only with a battle-axe. De Bohun lowered his lance and charged, but Bruce stood his ground. At the last moment Bruce manoeuvred his mount nimbly to one side, stood up in his stirrups and hit de Bohun so hard with his axe that he split his helmet and head in two. Despite the great risk the King had taken, he merely expressed regret that he had broken the shaft of his favourite axe.”

  159. Koby Says:

    Today, the Battle of Bannockburn ended with a decisive victory for Robert the Bruce and the Scots, with some 10,00 English dead, among them Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, William le Marshal, Marshal of Ireland and Edmund de Mauley, King’s Steward. Also, the Battle of Sluys took place, where Edward III gained a great victory over the French Fleet, with the French Admiral Hugues Quiéret dead, along with some 12,000 French, and the majority of their ships captured. Edward III was himself wounded in this battle.

  160. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    On the Battle of Bannockburn see Kathryn Warner’s blog. You are going to find many fascinating texts devoted to the battle itself and Edward II’s personal involvement (you’re going to find out how harmful Braveheart considering Edward’s reputation).

  161. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    “Braveheart was”… sorry for the omission. Oh, and there’s a fascinating text on Gilbert de Clare and his death at Bannockburn.

  162. Koby Says:

    And today, Simon de Montfort (’our’ Simon’s father) was blessedly killed by a stone crushing his head, fired from a mangonel operated by the “ladies and girls and women” of Toulouse. So did Eleanor of Provence, Henry III’s [IV] queen, and Anthony Woodville.

  163. Gabriele Says:

    Kasia, oh yes. Zombie sex between Wallace and Isabella included. ;) Most Scots HATE that movie.

  164. Koby Says:

    And today, Edward IV was crowned King of England, Charles V was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and Elizabeth of York gave birth to Henry VIII [IX] of England.

  165. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I just want to add that on 28 June 1180, at Gisors, Henry II and young Philip Augustus held a conference, where the former acted as a mediator between the French king and his maternal relatives. Sharon brilliantly described the meeting and the circumstances of the conflict in Devil’s Brood, pp. 392-395 (UK hardback edition, 2009). I’m just there with all the afore-mentioned participants. The day is hot “and despite the shade offered by the tree known as the peace elm”, the men are sweating… (me among them :-)).

  166. Joan Says:

    Koby, this is off subject, but have you seen the trailer for The Desolation of Smaug? Amazing!!!!!

    And thanks to you & Kasia for keeping us posted on the history of the day.

  167. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Hi Joan :-) Good to hear from you. What about the surgery you have mentioned? I hope you are well?

  168. Koby Says:

    Indeed, Joan, I have, and as you say it looks absolutely amazing. As Kasia said, it is good to hear from you, and I hope you are doing well?
    Today, Hugh, Earl of Chester, Maude and Ranulf’s son died.

  169. Joan Says:

    Kasia, & Koby, thank you for your concern……it won’t be till the fall….but it’s routine so not worried. 2 of my sisters will come down to “nurse” me (ya, right)……mainly to keep me amused!

    Kasia, I finally got to The Greatest Knight & loving it! Has anyone read the Poldark series? Ken from Cornwall?? I happened upon it so ordered the first book.

  170. Ken John Says:

    You may all remember the amazing success of my re-launch of Sharon’s books last year featuring Angelique cherie; the financial rewards of which were huge. Now that poor Sharon’s tied up with a Dragon Deadline and running out of money, Angelique and I have decided to help her out again. No, I know….. but no thanks are necessary… really.

    ‘The Devil’s Brood’ is to be re-launched as ‘The She-Devil’s Broody’ (Cover of a heavily pregnant Angelique, in a gorgeous medieval smocky-thing surrounded by dozens of little girls).

    Read how the fair Angelique Clifford steals the heart of King Henry II when her deadly rival, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine fails to provide Henry with a son who loves him.

    Called the she-devil by Eleanor, read how the fair Angelique is caught in the crossfire of bitter enmity between Henry and his wife. Finally, when he gets really cross, Henry imprisons Eleanor and turns to Angelique in love, desperation and desire for more children. Unfortunately, although constantly abed, their love making produces only girls. Eager to continue to please her lover king, Angelique refuses to leave his bed, beseeching Henry for ‘just one more time,’ thereby earning the ‘broody’ epithet.

    Excommunicated by Thomas Becket as a harlot, cast aside by Henry for also failing to produce a loving son, the fair Angelique retires to the Monastery of Godstow where in possibly the most dramatic act of the age, she is poisoned by her deadly rival, the queen.

    This story will make your heart weep…not to be missed

    “A stunning tale of Medieval hokum and mischief” – The Mid Cornwall Gazette..

    Oh, hello May..How are you today..?

  171. Ken John Says:

    Sharon, I’m sure you are a little overcome with emotion at my post above, but there’s really no need to thank me. Could you just send your agents email address and we’ll get these sorted. The money will soon start rolling in and you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams..:

    Continuing the saving Sharon from the Poorhouse theme, Angelique cherie and I have re-written ‘When Christ and His Saints Slept.’ Now to be re-issued as ‘Angelique, Henry and a well aimed arrow.’

    Angelique triumphs as the concubine of Henry I, King of England. When by a strange mishap, Henry’s older brother William, known as Rufus, perchances to meet with an arrow while hunting in the New Forest, Henry, ignoring Angelique’s protests of poor eyesight, hurries to Westminster Abbey where he is crowned King of England. Angelique then helped Henry to restore order to a war torn country.

    In spite of Henry’s insatiable sexual appetite and numerous illegitimate children, Angelique held on to him and produces two legitimate heirs, Matilda (Maud) and William. Read how Angelique on board the White Ship desperately tries to put out the Barbecue, but as she fails and as the White Ship burns and finally sinks, Henry rounds on her, blaming her for the loss of his heir William. Poor Angelique is now abandoned by Henry for a rich lady Adeliza of Louvain.

    Read how Angelique helps Maud assume power and finally get rid of her husband, the despised Geoffrey of Anjou. Read how Angelique helps Maud’s son Henry to escape to France and helps him to become the ultimate victor of the tumultuous battle between Stephen and Maud.

    A novel of tremendous power, flawed human beings caught up in bad judgement calls, betrayal, devastation, rebellions and medieval mayhem. Another triumph for Angelique…

    I know, I know. I’m just a big hearted kind of guy…

  172. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Joan, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you in September. Good to have so many sisters. You mentioned once that you have four, am I correct? I’ve got three and they happen to be my best friends. I, just like you, can count on their help and support in difficult moments.

    As for The Greatest Knight, it’s, next to Sharon’s Angevin trilogy, the most “breakthrough” book of my life (not counting Regine Pernoud’s Alienor of Aquitaine, in which, being myself very young, I met the Young King for the first time and immediately fell in love with him…).

  173. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    On 2 July we, the Polish, celebrate the anniversary of our Nobel Prize winner and my personal favourite poetess, Wisława Szymborska. Had she lived she would have been ninety today.

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  175. Valerie L. Says:

    Joan, I’ve read the Poldark series and enjoyed them all. Better yet are the TV series made from them in the late 1970s. They starred Robin Ellis, who played Ross Poldark with brooding intensity. We saw them here in the States on Masterpiece Theater, but I own both Series 1 and Series 2 on DVD. They would be great to watch while recuperating this fall and watching with your sisters.

  176. Joan Says:

    Kasia, I have 5 sisters. My brother is the oldest, then me at the head of the 5. I left home at 20, off to new adventures in the alluring & exciting Montréal. My brother followed suit, where he still lives. How nice that you & your sisters are all best friends. I find I have different things in common with each one.

    Interesting that The Greatest Knight played such an important role in your life. I posted a note about it on your blog about baby William’s death, just after I read that part. There is so much more to this book than meets the eye.

    Valerie, I’m glad to hear from someone who read the Poldark series. I heard that BBC may be (will be??) doing another adaptation & Richard Armitage’s fans are all rooting for him to play the part. Dark, brooding intensity is what he’s all about! And what a great idea for recouping!!

  177. Koby Says:

    Joan, I’m glad to hear that some of your family is still close, and that they are happy to take care of you.
    Today, William the Conqueror was anointed Duke of Normandy.

  178. Joan Says:

    Thank you Koby.

  179. Jacelyn Fennessey Says:

    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that is not the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read!

  180. Koby Says:

    Today, the Battle of Hattin took place, where Saladin decisively defeated the Crusaders under Guy of Lusignan, Raymond III of Tripoli, Balian of Ibelin, Gerard de Rideford Grand Master of the Templars, and Raynald of Châtillon. Raymond managed to escape after one of his charges broke through but was cut off, and Balian also managed to escape, probably by wheeling the rearguard around in a charge that broke the Saracen envelopment. The rest were captured, with Raynald immediately executed after being brought to Saladin.
    And for Kasia, today Sigismund II Augustus signed the Union of Lublin, making Poland into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
    Lastly, Happy 4th of July to any who celebrate!

  181. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Thanks Koby :-)

  182. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Henry, king of England died in the year of our lord 1189, in the month of July, on the sixth day of the month, within the octave of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the nineteenth lunation, on the fifth day of the week, at Chinon. He was buried at Fontevrault in the abbey of the nuns who served God there. The day after his death, when he was borne to burial, he lay in state robed in royal splendour, wearing a gold crown on his head, gauntlets on his hands and a gold ring on his finger, holding the sceptre in his hand, with gold-braided shoes and spurs on his feet, girded with his sword, and his face uncovered.

    from The Deeds of King Henry II

  183. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Well, the final score was Sharon 1, Dragon 1. I got the manuscript off to my American and British publishers in time, but I couldn’t slay the dragon and he skulked off to lick his wounds, threatening to be back for the next round—the Author’s Note, Acknowledgments, and Afterword. I am very tired, too tired even to worry about my editors’ verdict on the book, which means I must be semi-comatose. I am sorry I missed so much; apparently even a thread that sparked a thousand posts. It may take me the rest of the summer to catch up. Meanwhile, July 6th 1189 was a very sad day, as Henry II’s life came to a bitter end, betrayed by the son for whom he’d sacrificed so much. Henry is my favorite English king and I really missed writing about him after he went and died in Devil’s Brood. So I am happy to report that I managed to interject him into two scenes in Ransom. Also on this date in 1483, Richard III’s ill-fated kingship began and in 1553, Edward VI died, setting the stage for the reigns of his sisters Mary and Elizabeth.
    PS I’ll be back to try to respond to the posts that popped up while I was in Deadline Hell.

  184. Malcolm Craig Says:

    Welcome back, Sharon. It now appears that you will make it to the Richard III Tour. IMHO, John was the least worthy of all Henry’s sons, legitimate or illegitimate.

  185. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Sharon, I’m so happy you are back! Congratulations on defeating the Dragon! (for your final victory is only a matter of time, is it not? :-))

  186. Koby Says:

    Congratulations Sharon. As I wrote on Facebook, I think it will suffice to quote Napoleon Hill: ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve’ and ‘A goal is a dream with a deadline’.
    Today, Edward I died, and Jehanne d’Arc was posthumously re-tried, acquitting her of heresy and annulling her sentence.

  187. Joan Says:

    Sharon, you have won the battle & you shall win the war. And we lucky readers will reap the rewards along with you. I hope you mange to get a bit of rest now. Poor Henry…..I’m with him now at Le Mans in The Greatest Knight, so must bear his death yet again. Keep well!

  188. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Thanks to all of you for being so patient with me. I am still exhausted; dragons are tough opponents. But I’ll put up a new blog as soon as I catch my breath. Meanwhile, here is a very long Facebook post about Henry II.

    I am still trying to catch up on Real Life, which fell by the wayside while I was fending off the deadline dragon, so my Facebook appearances are likely to be hit or miss for a while. I missed an important date in my favorite English king’s history, the day that he did such a spectacular penance for Thomas Becket’s death in Canterbury Cathedral. I’m going to do something I’ve not done before—serve up a repeat. I posted parts of Henry’s penance scene from Devil’s Brood early in the spring, but I can’t resist doing it again on the 839th anniversary of his act of contrition. This is one of my favorite scenes, in part because I was nervous about tackling it, for it was bound to be challenging. This was so unlike Henry, after all. (As opposed to his son Richard, who made a couple of dramatic confessions of past sins during his reign, but then Richard thrived on the limelight.) But to my surprise and relief, the scene practically wrote itself, almost as if Henry were standing at my shoulder, whispering in my ear, and the feedback from readers was wonderful.
    The research background was rather unusual, too. The talkative Brother Benedict compiled a list of the martyred archbishop’s miracles that he bored Henry with down in the crypt. Naturally I wanted to get my hands on his book, which was translated from the Latin in the 19th century. I finally found it in a Tokyo bookshop on-line, and loved the eclectic nature of all this—a medieval monk writing a book that would be translated by a Victorian historian and sold to an American author by a Japanese bookseller!
    So with apologies for the recycling, here is Henry in all of his Angevin complexity.. Devil’s Brood, 246-247, with some omissions due to length. The loquacious monk has finally departed, “leaving Henry alone in the crypt with the dead and the ghost of the murdered archbishop.”
    * * *
    At least it seemed that way to Henry. He had not been able to invoke the saint’s presence, but it was easier to imagine Thomas’s earthly spirit lurking in the shadows, watching his abasement with sardonic amusement. For Thomas had once had a quick wit, a playful humor, a droll sense of mockery. He’d lost that humor, though, as soon as he’d put the sacred pallium about his neck, yet another mystery Henry could not fathom. Had the man he’d known and trusted and loved ever truly existed? (omission)
    “It is just the two of us now, Thomas. No one else can hear our secrets, so why not talk to pass the time? We have hours to go till dawn, time enough for honesty if nothing else.”
    (omission)
    He cocked his head, hearing only the silence of the grave. “I suppose you’re rather talk about the killing. Fair enough. I never wanted your death. I swear this to you upon the lives of my children. But you know that already. Why am I so sure? Because Roger showed me a letter written by your subdeacon, William Fitz Stephen. I’ve restored him to royal favor, by the way. In fact, he and his brother are co-sheriffs of Gloucestershire now. Life goes on.
    “What was I saying? Ah, yes, the letter. Fitz Stephen wrote that you told the killers that you did not believe they came from the king, from me. So there really is no reason to swear my innocence upon holy relics, is there? You know the truth. Of course Roger knew the truth, too, and was the one man with the ballocks to say it straight out to my face. I may not be guilty, he pointed out, but neither am I innocent. I daresay you agree with him, no?”
    He waited, heaving a sigh that echoed in the stillness. “Come, Thomas, hold up your part of the conversation. You need not do anything dramatic, like loosing a thunderbolt or per-forming one of your miracles. But at the least, you could extinguish a few candles to show me you are paying attention. Surely that is not too much to ask?”
    He was feeling light-headed again, and sank down upon the floor, slumping back against one of the pillars. “I sound like a drunkard or a madman…mayhap both. But just between you and me, talking to a ghost makes as much sense as talking to a saint. What else do you want to know, Thomas? Did I grieve for you? No, I did not. My grief was for myself, for I knew at once that you’d trapped me well and truly. For you are not innocent either, my lord archbishop. You sought your martyrdom, you craved it, even lusted after it for all I know. You could have escaped, Thomas, had so many opportunities to evade your killers. But you did not, did you? You had to confront them, had to taunt them. Was it true that you called Fitz Urse a pimp?”
    (omission.)
    Henry leaned forward, rested his head upon his drawn-up knees. He was either burning up with fever or losing his mind. “Sancte Thoma,” he mumbled, “requiescat in pace.” But there was as much pain as mockery in his voice, and when he looked up, he saw the crypt through a haze of hot tears. “Do you know why I did not grieve for you when you died? Because I’d already done my grieving. I trusted you, I had faith in you, I loved you more than my own brother. And then you turned on me. But it need not have been that way. You could have served both me and the Almighty, and what a partnership we could have forged, what we could not have done together!”
    Getting to his feet with difficulty, he had to hold onto the pillar, for his head was spinning. “When I told you that I would raise you up to the archbishopric, you said you would not want to put our friendship at risk. And I assured you that it would not happen, that I was not so prideful that I saw God as a rival. Do you remember what I said? That the Almighty and I would not be in contention for your immortal soul. Why could you not believe me, Thomas?”
    His tears were falling faster now, but there was no one to see them. “I am truly and grievously sorry that our paths led us to this place, this night. I do mourn you, Thomas. But do I think you are a saint? God’s Truth, I do not know. You are the only one who can answer that question, my lord archbishop. We both know you could never resist a challenge. So take it up. Prove my doubts are unfounded. Prove me wrong.”
    Dropping to his knees, he winced at the pain that action caused his fevered, battered body. “St Thomas,” he said in a low, husky voice, “guard my realm.”
    * * *
    And, of course, Thomas did, at least in the eyes of medieval men. For as Henry did penance in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, the king of the Scots was being captured at Alnwick Castle, which effectively ended the rebellion—and certainly convinced Henry’s contemporaries that he had God and the martyred archbishop on his side. As for me, I am just grateful that Henry was willing to collaborate with me on this scene! I think I mentioned that I managed to infiltrate him into two scenes in Ransom, but the real challenge will be to see if I can do it in the next book, The Land Beyond the Sea.

  189. Joan Says:

    Yes, this is a wonderful scene, Sharon, & a favorite. And I love that perfect little circle, with you closing the final arc as you then put Brother Benedict’s words to paper.

  190. Koby Says:

    Today, Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury died, and the Swiss Confederation decisively defeated the Duchy of Austria in the Battle of Sempach, with some 600 Austiran nobles dead on the field, Duke Leopold of Austria among them.

  191. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Interesting post, Koby. Thanks, Joan! I had no idea I was going to add Brother Benedict for a little comic relief, with Henry musing upon how he can kill the talkative monk and make it look like a natural death), but it just sort of happened in the writing.

    Today’s Facebook post.

    I was hoping to catch up on some of the historical events I missed while I was fighting the dragon, but July 10th turned out to be a very busy day in its own right. According to one of the more famous medieval legends, on this date in 1040, Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry after her husband, the Earl of Mercia, dared her to do it if she wanted him to lessen the taxes imposed upon the townspeople. (Sounds like they had a very interesting marriage, doesn’t it?) We get the phrase “Peeping Tom” from the legend, for supposedly Lady Godiva warned the citizens to stay indoors during her ride, but a tailor disobeyed her, watched her naked ride, and was struck blind as a result. There really was a Lady Godiva, but historians discount the legend, which dates from the thirteenth century. Too bad; it’s a good story. Also on July 10th, 1212, much of London burned in a terrible fire; just about every medieval city suffered tragedies like this, which was why fire was so greatly feared in the MA. On this date in 1460, the Yorkists, led by the Earl of Warwick, won an important victory over the Lancastrians at the battle of Northampton and captured the king, Henry VI. And on July 10th, 1553, a reluctant Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England. She ruled for nine days and would eventually pay for her family’s sins with her own life. Susan Higginbotham’s novel, Her Highness the Traitor, deals with this episode of English history.

  192. Gabriele Says:

    How on earth did that book end up in Japan?

    And what about that new book ‘Beyond the Sea’? Curious readers want to know. :)

  193. Koby Says:

    Well, Sharon filled in for me for yesterday. I apologize for my absence; my great aunt died, and I had to attend the funeral and comfort my grandmother afterwards…
    In any case, today, Amalric I of Jerusalem, the son of Fulk of Anjou and Melisende of Jerusalem (and so Geoffrey le Bel’s half brother) died of a fever, making his son Baldwin IV ‘the Leper King’ (he was Henry II’s cousin). Also, Robert the Bruce was born, and the Battle of the Golden Spurs took place, where some 9000 Flemish pikemen comprised of the local militia decisively defeated a French army of some 8000. The Frnech made a grave mistake in forcing their infantry to retreat in order so that the noble cavalry might claim the victory. The land was rough, and the charge was easily broken, upon which they fled. The Flemish were ordered not to take prisoners, with at least a 1000 dead, their spurs taken as a sign of the victory. Among the French dead were Robert II, Count of Artois, the French commander, Raoul of Clermont-Nesle, Constable of France, Guy I of Clermont, Marshal of France, Simon de Melun, Marshal of France, Count John I of Aumale, Count John II of Dammartin, Count John II of Eu, Count John d’Avesnes of Ostrevent and Pierre de Flotte, Chief Advisor to Philip IV the Fair.

  194. Joan Says:

    Koby, I’m sorry for your loss, & am sure you were a great comfort to your grandmother & other family members.

  195. Koby Says:

    Thank you Joan.
    Today, Acre surrendered to Richard I, and Henry VIII [IX] married Catherine Parr.

  196. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Koby, I am sorry to hear of your great aunt’s death. Thank you for such an interesting post; I’m always happy to fill in for you. :-)
    Gabrielle, I am sure there is an interesting story in how that collection of Becket miracles ended up in a Tokyo bookshop, but we’re not likely ever to know. And Land beyond the Sea is my next novel, about the Kingdom of Jerusalem; it will feature some of the characters who appeared in Lionheart.

    Today’s Facebook note.

    I am really sorry that I can only manage these hit and run visits, but I still feel that deadline dragon’s fiery breath on the back of my neck. While he is taking a break, though, I wanted to mention that July 12th, 1191 saw the surrender of Acre to Richard I and Philippe Capet, and it was also one of the Tudor Bluebeard’s many wedding anniversaries. Below is the scene from Lionheart about Acre’s surrender, pages 320-321, and below that are some snarky comments about the Tudors.
    * * * * *
    Friday, July 12th dawned hot and humid. Joanna, Berengaria, and their women passed the hours restlessly, unable to concentrate upon anything but the meeting taking place in the pavilion of the Templars, where Acre’s commanders, Sayf al-Din al-Mashtub and Baha al-Din Qaraqush, were conferring with Richard, Philippe, Henri, Guy de Lusignan, Conrad of Montferrat, and the other leaders of the crusading army. Berengaria kept picking up her psalter, putting it down again, while Joanna tried to continue Alicia’s chess lessons, but her gaze was roaming so often toward the tent entrance that the young girl managed to checkmate her, much to her glee.
    “They will yield, yes?” Anna asked at last, giving voice to the question uppermost in all their minds. Her grasp of their language had improved in the six weeks since her world had turned upside down, and she continued in charmingly accented French. “Or they will all die, no?”
    “Most likely,” Joanna confirmed, too nervous to put a gloss upon the brutal reality of warfare in their world—that a castle or town taken by storm could expect no mercy. Whether there would be survivors depended upon the whims of the victors or upon the ability of the defeated to raise ransom money. There had been a bloodbath after the Christians had seized Jerusalem in 1099, almost all of the Muslims and Jews in the city put to the sword. But Saladin had spared the Christians of Jerusalem four years ago after Balian d’Ibelin persuaded him to let them buy their lives; Joanna was proud that the money her father had sent to the Holy City over the years had kept thousands of men and women from being sold in Saracen slave markets.
    Glancing over at Anna, she amended her answer, saying, “That is why they will accept our terms. They know their fate will be a bloody one if our men seize the city. By yielding, they can save themselves and those still living in Acre.”
    Anna looked from Joanna to Berengaria, back to Joanna. “Why you fret, then, if outcome is certain?” Before either woman could respond, she smiled, dimples deepening in sudden comprehension. “Ah…I see. You fear for Malik Ric.” This was how the Saracens referred to Richard, and Anna had begun to use the name, too, much to Richard’s amusement. “He would be healed for another….” She paused, frowning as she sought the right word. “Another attack…that is it, no?”
    “Yes, that is it,” Joanna confirmed, exchanging silent sympathy with Berengaria. While Richard was regaining strength with each passing day, he was by no means physically up to taking part in a battle, and yet they feared he would want to do just that; he’d been very frustrated at not being able to join his men in yesterday’s assault. Although they felt confident that Henri and the Bishop of Salisbury and Richard’s friends would not permit him to risk his life so foolishly, they well knew how stubborn he could be, and so both women were praying that today would end the siege.
    They were about to send one of Joanna’s household knights back to the Templars’ tent to learn how the negotiations were proceeding when they heard it—a sudden roar, as if coming from thousands of throats, even louder than the sound Greek fire made when it streaked toward its target, trailing a flaming tail. Mariam darted toward the entrance and was back in moments, smiling. “Either they’ve come to terms or the whole camp has gone stark mad, for men are shouting and cheering and all the whores are hurrying out to help them celebrate!”
    Joanna and Berengaria were on their feet now, embracing joyfully, determined to ignore the fact that this was but a respite, that Acre’s fall was only the first in a series of bloody battles on the road leading to the Holy City.
    Within the hour, the noise level suddenly increased, alerting them that Richard must be approaching. He was flanked by Henri and the Earl of Leicester, with friends and lords following jubilantly in his wake. He still looked like what he was, a man recently risen from his sickbed, his cheekbones thrown into prominence by his weight loss, his complexion unnaturally pale for one with such high coloring. But his smile was dazzling and he appeared as happy as either woman had ever seen him.
    “It is done,” he said huskily. “Acre is ours.”
    * * * * *
    Saladin had not been willing to accept the terms offered and had planned to send a swimmer after dark to tell the trapped garrison not to yield. But he was too late and they surrendered before he could send such a message. This would have dire consequences for the men later on, but that is a story for another day, one I told at some length, of course, in Lionheart.
    Meanwhile, July 12th was the date of the last marriage of Henry VIII. For on this day in 1543, he wed Catherine Parr. It must have been a very unhappy day for her; she was in love with another man—Thomas Seymour—and she could not have been reassured by Henry’s marital track record. And indeed, she almost ended up in the Tower herself. Margaret George once sent me a cartoon showing Henry and an unhappy queen entering the tube (London’s subway to my American readers) and asking for two tickets to the Tower, a round-trip and a one-way. I think we can be sure that Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn were very happy on their wedding days. Jane Seymour? Maybe, but she remains an enigma to me; I am never sure if she was a pawn of her ambitious family or a willing conspirator. I don’t doubt that Anne of Cleaves was not a happy bride, certainly not as happy as she’d be when her marriage was later annulled. Foolish little Catherine Howard? She may have fancied being a queen, but surely not wedding the man Henry had become by then; he must have seemed downright elderly and unattractive to this shallow, silly teenager. But I think Catherine Parr’s wedding day was probably the saddest of all. What is truly tragic is that worse was still to come, for her marriage to Thomas Seymour brought her little joy and much grief.
    Well, once again those pushy Tudors have crashed the party. Not surprising. For a dynasty that ruled only 118 years, they have managed to get the lion’s share of attention, both of historians and the public in general. So I’ll let them have the last word.

  197. Joan Says:

    Sharon, what would be the approximate current value of Richard’s ransom of 150,000 marks? There must be conversion sites online but can’t find any, & I’m often curious about the value of MA currencies.

  198. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    I have seen amazing figures bandied about, Joan. If my memory serves, Ripley’s Believe it or Not estimated it would be worth about half a trillion dollars today! I am not sure if either my memory or Ripley’s is correct, but we are talking about a serious chunk of change, all the more outrageous in light of the fact that it was a criminal act, with no legal justification. Not only was Richard under the protection of the Church as a crusader, but no state of war existed between Germany and England.
    I am sorry it is taking me so long to get a new blog up; it is all the deadline dragon’s fault, of course. But I hope to get one posted this weekend.
    Meanwhile, here is today’s Facebook Note. Unfortunately, I cannot show the new Sunne book cover here, but it can easily be found on Amazon.com.uk.

    July 13th is a slow medieval news day; the only thing that comes to mind is the death of Hubert Walter in 1205, who was the Bishop of Salisbury and then the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as Richard’s justiciar and John’s chancellor, wielding considerable influence in the reigns of both kings. He was a character in Lionheart and also appears in A King’s Ransom, where he proves to be a very good friend to Richard.
    Here is the new jacket cover for the hardback edition of The Sunne in Splendour, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.uk. I mentioned before that I was given the opportunity to make some changes to the new edition, mainly to the dialogue. Sunne was my first novel and was in some respects a learning experience; I subsequently concluded that when it comes to constructing medieval dialogue, less is more. I was also able to correct some typographical errors in the original hardback edition, and I have written a new Author’s Note, so this truly is a “new and improved” Sunne. And my British publisher is even going to issue a new e-book edition of Sunne that will incorporate these changes. This ought to please my British readers, for the current e-book of Sunne has American spelling and that apparently can be jarring to British sensibilities. I am, of course, delighted to see Sunne getting a rebirth after thirty years. Yet another reason for me to be grateful to Richard III, who freed me from a lifetime of legal servitude as an unhappy lawyer.

  199. Gabriele Says:

    No, England was not at war with Germany, but the Staufen and Welfen did not get along at all, and in the eyes of a Staufen emperor, Richard was half a Welf because of his connections to that family. Add to that the personal antipathy between both men and you have a disaster in making.

    But it still was a nasty thing to do. The pope should have excommunicated Heinrich. But then, German emperors were used to that ever since the clashes between Heinrich IV and Pope Gregory. If there were any logic in history, the German emperors should have separated from Rome long before Henry VIII did. ;)

  200. Joan Says:

    I wouldn’t doubt Ripley’s estimate because raising even billions wouldn’t cause too much of a flap. So it had to be way up there.

    Now off to look at the new Sunne cover!

  201. Koby Says:

    Thank you, Sharon. Today, the Battle of Alnwick took place, where Ranulf de Glanville, Henry II’s Justiciar, captured William I ‘the Lion’ of Scotland, and Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.

  202. Koby Says:

    And today, Philip II Augustus of France died, making his son Louis VIII the Lion for the next three years.

  203. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve been very busy and have not been able to post earlier, so I’m posting today on Henry blog about the capture of William the Lion at Alnwick (actually I’m re-posting, for I posted the text already last year on Henry’s former website).

    As for today’s anniversaries, in 1223 Philip Augustus died and was succeeded by his son Louis VIII.

  204. Sharon Kay Penman Says:

    Gabriele, Pope Celestine hated Heinrich but hadn’t the courage to challenge him directly. Once he was dead, Celestine mustered up some backbone and refused to allow him to be buried in consecrated ground until the ransom was repaid. It never was, although the next pope, Innocent III, eventually permitted Heinrich’s burial. But things probably would have gone better for Richard had Innocent been on the papal throne in 1193, for he definitely did not lack for backbone and did not take defiance of the Church kindly. Yet another of history’s What ifs. Below is today’s Facebook Note.

    Happy Bastille Day, everyone. What…..you all don’t celebrate the storming of the Bastille? How strange.
    Here is an amazing video. It was taken by astonished tourists at Kruger National Park in South Africa. A herd of impalas suddenly scampered across the road in front of the tourist caravan, with two cheetahs in close pursuit. One impala was in danger of being caught—until he dove gracefully through the window of an SUV. When the tourists recovered their wits, they opened the door and he calmly exited out the other side, leaving the baffled cheetahs looking as if they could not figure out where their dinner had gone.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/11/travel/impala-escapes-cheetahs/index.html?hpt=hp_bn10

    PS And on this date in 1223, Philippe Capet, the King of France and Richard I’s bitter foe, died just shy of his 58th birthday. He lived long enough to resurrect his reputation, which was in tatters when he abandoned the Third Crusade and suffered some serious hits once the Lionheart was uncaged and took to humiliating him militarily on a regular basis. But he found John to be a much easier adversary and because of the huge territorial gains he made at John’s expense, French historians now rate him as one of the best and most successful medieval kings. Not a man I’d ever mourn, though. At least his death liberated his much abused Danish queen, Ingeborg, for his son and grandson treated her very kindly.

  205. Gabriele Says:

    Coelestine may have been afraid Heinrich would come down with an army and send him packing. It would not have been the first time that happened, either. ;)

    The problem with the whole Italian mess (and that includes the northern Italian towns nominally under imperial rule) is that the Alpes lie in between, and every time the emperor went back to Germany, the towns and the pope started doing their own thing again. I’d have to look up just how many times Friedrich Barbarossa went south to put down another rebellion; there were at least four wars. In the end he had to make a compromise with the same pope, Alexander III, he had sent packing some years prior, and he never forgave Heinrich the Lion of Saxony for not accompagnying him this time.

  206. Joan Says:

    When Richard was imprisoned, could Prince John not have been arrested for treasonous activity? I’m surprised he wasn’t assassinated. The Greatest Knight has raised all these questions again.

  207. skpenman Says:

    Joan, the danger was that John was Richard’s likely heir if Richard died in captivity or was never freed. And men were understandably wary of antagonizing the man who could be England’s next king. As a result, they had to tread carefully. I am convinced that if not for Eleanor, that vast ransom would never have been collected. It was an almost impossible task, but she made it happen and then convinced Richard to pardon John. This was done again because he was still Richard’s most likely heir until Richard had a son of his own with Berengaria; Arthur was a non-starter to many because of his age and ties to the French king.

    today’s Facebook Note.

    Am I the only one hoping that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a daughter this week? I love the idea of a daughter finally being able to claim the crown instead of being bumped off center stage by younger brothers. Think how different English history would have been if Elizabeth of York, first-born of Edward IV, had been his heir when he died rather than her younger brother. And if this comes to pass, I am sure that somewhere the Empress Maude will be smiling.

  208. Joan Says:

    True enough, Sharon. And John did make it to the throne sooner than anyone expected, once the ransom was in place, that is. Or maybe some still wondered whether Richard would ever actually be a free man again.

    I’m also hoping the royal couple have a daughter. I so see them with a beautiful little baby girl.

    Holiday time & I’m off to visit family for 3 wks & spend time at the lake. Good luck with your final touches, Sharon, & I hope you, Kasia, Koby, & everyone else enjoys the summer weather.

  209. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Enjoy your holiday, Joan! I’m going to be absent for some time in August. And I’m too hoping the royal baby is a girl :-) For the time being, we can only wait patiently :-)

  210. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    As for today’s anniversaries, on 16 July, 1212, the greatest victory in the course of the Spanish Reconquista was achieved. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, where, with pope Innocent III’s blessing, Henry the Young King’s brother-in-law, Alfonso VIII of Castile [Leonora's husband], together with Sancho VII of Navarre, Alfonso II of Portugal and Pedro II of Aragon defeated the Muslims under the caliph Miramamolin.The Christian triumph at Las Navas de Tolosa was complete and ended once and for all the Almohad threat to Christian Spain.

  211. Koby Says:

    Thank you, Kasia. I hope you are not too busy, or at least enjoying yourself!
    My apologies for my absence once more; yesterday at sundown the great fast of Tisha b’Av began, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and I was rather busy. Yesterday was also the great Battle of Grunwald, where a Polish-Lithuanian alliance decisively defeated the Teutonic Order. Kasia, I am surprised you did not think to mention it here as well.
    Today, Pope Innocent III died, as did Anne of Cleves. The great Battle of Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place, where an allied Spanish army under Alfonso VIII of Castile’s (Leonora of England’s husband), decisively defeated the Almohad Caliphate.

  212. Koby Says:

    Ah, Kasia, my apologies! I did not see you already wrote of the battle, with far more details. The fast must be making me somewhat dizzy; pray forgive me.

  213. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    That’s okay Koby! FB is already taking its toll :-) I posted about the Battle of Grunwald on both my personal FB and Sharon Fan Club Page and forgot to mention it here on Sharon’s blog. Still I do hope I have fulfilled my civic duty. I highly recommend The Knights of the Cross by our Nobel prize winner, Henryk Sienkiewicz (our Polish male version of Sharon :-)). He masterfully described the events of 15 July 1410.

  214. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    I wish you wonderful celebrations. I must learn more of the fast of Tisha b’Av later in the day. Will Wikipedia note suffice? Sometimes error occur and I would rather avoid them :-)

  215. Kasia (Kate) Says:

    Koby, this time I’m the one who is saying “My apologies”. I had no idea that the fast is such a sad occasion. Forgive me, please.

  216. Koby Says:

    Not a problem, Kasia. It is easy to confuse it and the Day of Atonement, they are both the only full fasts we have. Wikipedia is indeed a credible source in this case, as I am sure you learned. And indeed, there is no doubt in my mind you have fulfilled your patriotic duty.

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  218. skpenman Says:

    Koby and Kasia, thanks for taking up the slack as I struggle with Deadline Dragon!
    Here is today’s Facebook Note.
    My friends in Echo Rescue are trying to get a beautiful girl named Sophia from Alabama to start a new life in Haines City, Florida. Here are the legs still open. If any of you live in the area she’ll be passing through or have friends who do, please consider volunteering an hour or so to drive her. Here is the contact information and the legs still needed.
    Echo Dogs Transport
    Sunday July 20nd
    “Sophia”, White German Shepherd
    Tuscaloosa AL to Haines City FL
    ECHO DOGS TRANSPORT SHEET - PASSENGER INFORMATION
    Passenger(s): Sophia
    Breed: White German Shepherd
    Age: 6 years
    Sex: Female
    Neutered/Spayed? No
    Size/weight: 90 pounds (should be about 70)
    UTD on shots, including rabies: Yes
    Overall health? HW positive, irritated ears but have been treated
    Housebroken? Unknown
    Does he get along with other animals? Yes to dogs, unknown to cats
    Does he get along with children? Yes
    Does he get along with Men?/ Women? Yes
    Any behavior problems? No
    Is a crate optional or mandatory? Not necessary
    If so, is one provided and what size is it? Extra large
    Items traveling with: medical papers, collar and leash
    Reason for transport: Going to Rescue Foster home
    ***************************
    Route
    Saturday July 20th, 2013
    Leg 4: Brundidge AL to Campbellton FL
    63 miles, 1 hr 10 min
    Time: 12:15 pm to 1:25 PM
    *** Needed ***
    Leg 5: Campbellton FL to Tallahassee FL
    88 miles, 1 hr 20 min
    Time: 1:40 pm to 3:00 pm
    *** Needed ***
    Leg 6: Tallahassee FL to Live Oak FL
    80 miles, 1 hr 10 min
    Time: 3:15 pm to 3:25 pm
    *** Needed ***
    Leg 7: Live Oak FL to Gainesville FL
    65 miles, 1 hr 10 min
    Time: 3:40 pm to 4:50 pm
    *** Needed ***
    Leg 8: Gainesville FL to Leesburg FL
    74 miles, 1 hr 20 min
    Time: 5:05 pm to 6:25 pm
    *** Needed ***
    Leg 9: Leesburg FL to Haines City FL
    55 miles, 1 hr 10 min
    Time: 6:40 pm to 7:50 pm
    *** Needed ***
    Amy Lusty
    Echo Dogs White Shepherd Rescue, Transport Coordinator & Foster Home
    http://echodogs.org
    email: amylusty@comcast.net

  219. Koby Says:

    Today, the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople, Charles VII of France was crowned Reims Cathedral thanks to a successful campaign by Jehanne d’Arc, and lastly, her legacy was completed in the Battle of Castillon, where Jean Bureau decisively defeated the English under =John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, who died on the field. Due to this defeat, the English lost all landholdings in France besides Calais and the Channel Islands.

  220. skpenman Says:

    Thanks, Koby and Kasia, for taking up the slack for me with your excellent posts. I’ve never gone this long between blogs, but when you read my Facebook Note below, you’ll understand why.

    Well, the good news—actually the great news—is that my editor really loves Ransom. The not-so-good news is that Putnam’s is keen on publishing next February, which means that they will need my Author’s Note, Afterword, Acknowledgments, maps, cast of characters, and my responses both to the edited and copy-edited manuscript all before I leave for England in early September. So this means yet another epic struggle with the Deadline Dragon. And it also means, of course, that my Facebook time will be hit-or-miss for the rest of the summer. I know I can count upon you guys to carry on in my absence. I don’t anticipate any problems on my personal page, but you’re a livelier bunch on the fan club page, so please don’t cause too much mischief or stage a coup.
    I will pop by whenever I can. Meanwhile, I want to express my admiration for Queen Elizabeth’s action in approving the parliamentary bill that will now allow same-sex marriage and give all British citizens the right to marry those they love. I see this as a basic civil liberty and I am very sorry that only twelve or thirteen states in my country have legalized it. New Jersey would have been one of them had our governor not vetoed it; he ought to be ashamed of himself.
    More later, I hope. I also hope that all in the path of this scorching, deadly heat wave now afflicting both sides of the Atlantic will somehow keep cool. The heat index here is 105 degrees F.

  221. skpenman Says:

    Many of you probably saw this photo last year when it went viral. It showed a man and his arthritic, 19 year old dog, whose aching joints eased when he was floating in water. His owner thought he was near death and wanted one last photo. But so many people then donated to the dog’s care that his master was able to afford treatment that prolonged his life by another year. He has just died and I thought my fellow dog lovers would like to see the photo again, for it is the very essence of love. Now back to that very hungry dragon.
    http://www.today.com/pets/dog-pictured-floating-sleep-owners-arms-has-died-6C10680004

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  224. Bend3r Says:

    1) Ramsay, without hesitation. Littlefinger can do whatever it takes to achieve a goal, but he doesn’t cause pain just because he enjoys causing pain. That’s what Ramsay does.

    2) Agree, Cersei.

    3) Agree, Jaime

    4) Ramsay

    5) Totally agree. Natalie Dormer is terrific. I also agree with you regarding the queen of Thorns and Tywin. I would also add Bronn, especially since Jerome Flynn shares most of his scenes with Peter Dinklage.

    6) Totally agree

    7) Daenerys. She has zero carisma, especially in the books.

    8) Ned, yeah… and Robb.

    9) Tyrion is great, but i have a weakness for Arya.

    10) Bronn.

    11) Tyrion comanding King’s Landing forces during the battle of the Blackwater. “They say I’m half a man,” he said. “What does that make the lot of you?”

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