Guest Essay on Tower of the Hand: Hollow Crowns and Deadly Thrones, Part I


Over on Tower of the Hand, I’ve written the first of my new series of historical/political essays, this time focusing on the monarchy of Westeros (for my five-part series on the Hands of the King, see here). This first essay tries to figure out what kind of monarchy the Seven Kingdoms has – is it hereditary or elective? Absolute or constitutional? Weak or strong?

So go check it out!


9 thoughts on “Guest Essay on Tower of the Hand: Hollow Crowns and Deadly Thrones, Part I

  1. scarlett45 says:

    Very interesting. Enjoyed your post. Looking forward to the analysis of the use of dragons to support the monarchy of Westeros.

  2. Tim says:

    Interesting…so Westeros is more Mediaval England than France? What’s your best source on the state diuring the middle ages?

    • stevenattewell says:

      Well, the Reach has a lot of the signifiers of High Medieval France, but yes, Westeros is heavily based on England (geography, the Targaryens as Norman invaders, the North/South political and cultural divide, etc.).

      Richard Bonney, The European Dynastic States, 1494–1660 is pretty good for a start
      Reynolds, Susan (1997) “The Historiography of the Medieval State”, in M.Bentley (ed.), A Companion to Historiography is a good overview of the historical debate
      State formation in early modern England, c. 1550–1700. By Michael J. Braddick. for the flip side

  3. Andrew says:

    I look forward to the next essay.

    I would add that the Ironmen had an elected monarchy traditionally, and again with Euron.

  4. Abbey Battle says:

    I was just re-reading this fine series and was struck by the thought that the idea of a King being obliged by his subjects (or at least his most powerful vassals) has roots even deeper in the past than The War of the Three Kingdoms:- both the second Edward and his great-Grandson Richard the Second were deposed for failing to hold up the Crown in time-honoured fashion (Edward being replaced by his young son – ANOTHER Edward – and Richard by Henry of Lancaster, later Henry the Fourth).

    It seems that while the English have no problem with the IDEA of Kings, it must be said that regicide sometimes seems to be their OTHER national sport!

  5. […] irregular oversight from the the Red Keep, and other such matters.” Given the already fairly de-centralized nature of the Westerosi monarchy, this would essentially mean Robb would be King in the North in fact as well as in name. Renly asks […]

  6. […] conflicts with its vassals over taxation. Perhaps this was because the early monarchy relied on dragons rather than armies, or perhaps because the Iron Throne has an unusually well-developed fiscal apparatus given its […]

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