Author Archives: stevenattewell

RFTIT Tumblr Weekly(ish) Roundup!

Hey folks! Jon III is coming along nicely, but in the mean-time I’ve got some really good stuff on the Tumblrs for you.




Race for the Iron Throne Volume I Now In Print!

I am very happy to announce that Race for the Iron Throne, Volume I is now in print! And unlike Volume II, this one didn’t have to be chopped into two books to stay under binding limits.

As before, I have an ask for all of you: if you’ve not had a chance to get your copy through the Kickstarter, please buy my book. And then, regardless of whether you’ve bought your book through the Kickstarter or through Amazon, please rate and review the book on Amazon and help spread the word about the book.

And for those of you who ordered a copy through the Kickstarter, you don’t need to buy a copy seperately (although if you want to get more copies for friends and family, I won’t say no), my editor and I will be gearing up to ship those out to you very soon.

So check it out!

Vox Populi, Vox Deorum: Elections in ASOIAF, Part I

Image result for the hustings goarth


As a historian, one of the steepest hurdles and most fascinating mysteries I deal with is how to overcome the gap in patterns of thought between the past and the present that have convinced so many that “the past is a foreign country.” So many beliefs and attitudes that we today consider to be universal human characteristics or values turn out to be bounded by culture and epoch, so often historians and our students struggle mightily to understand the mindset of the people we study. This also affects works of art set in long-distant periods: how do creators make these characters understandable and sympathetic while still being recognizably premodern without falling into the trap of putting modern characters in period drag.

Indeed, one of the ways that George R.R Martin grounds the reader in the world of Westeros is to confront us with the foreignness of his characters’ thinking. An excellent example of this is the way that sympathetic characters like Tyrion or Jon view democracy as backwards and barbaric and see their own feudal order as modern and enlightened. Indeed, there is good historical basis for this: up until the late 19th century, democracy was seen as a pejorative term, a slur thrown at political reformers from the Jacobin left all the way to constitutional monarchists by various absolutist monarchists.

And yet, electoral politics did not spring forth from the ground fully formed in 1776 or 1865 or 1920 or 1965 (if it ever had). Long after the passing of the Athenian demos or the Roman res publica, medieval societies retained some aspect of electoral or at least selectoral politics. In the early Middle Ages, prior to the emergence of established dynasties, there were quite a few elective monarchies, where groups of warriors and warlords would acclaim one of their number king on the basis of their generosity as a “ring-giver” (more on this when we get to the Kingsmoot). And while the Vikings were disdained as heathen barbarians by Christian Europe during the 8th century, the Allthing of Iceland stands as the oldest parliamentary body in the world, having been founded in 930 CE. On the continent, Parliaments emerged out of assemblies of nobles at the outset of the 14th century, as kings sought to increase compliance with taxation. And in towns and cities across Europe, you had elections in craft guilds and municipal governments.

Westeros is no exception.

However, elections come in many different forms, in no small part because people have conflicting ideas about how they should work – who should be eligible to vote, how voting should take place, whether the winner should be decided by simple majority or some proportional system, whether elections should be geographically specific or at-large, whether voters should choose elected officials directly or indirectly, whether individual candidates or formal candidates should appear on the ballot, who should be eligible to hold office and how they should be nominated to run, and so on. Indeed, the great economist Kenneth Arrow famously theorized that there is no way to resolve these contradictions in a way that satisfies everyone.

Thus, in this essay series, I’m going to examine GRRM’s use of elections in ASOIAF – who’s eligible to vote and run for office, how voting is carried out, how many votes you need to win, but more importantly how GRRM uses elections to advance ideas and themes within his series.

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Non-ASOIAF Content Corner: Avengers Infinity War Edition

Image result for avengers infinity war

So a whole lot of people went to go see Avengers: Infinity War over the weekend, and I was one of them so that I could discuss the film with the good folks at Graphic Policy Radio. We talk about the movie for about an hour and a half, and we get very, very spoilery. So definitely give a listen only if you’ve seen the film and follow comic book movie news, or if you don’t care about spoilers at all.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Davos III, ASOS


“I am the king’s man, and I will make no peace without his leave.”

Synopsis: Davos has his first dialogue with Polemarchus and his second dialogue with Adeimantus.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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My (Academic) Book is Done!

Page proofs and index are done, which means the book is now officially out of my hands and off on its way to the publisher and eventually to print. Which for you all means that I’ll have a lot more free time for ASOIAF writing very shortly.

RFTIT Weekly(ish) Tumblr Roundup (Part II)

Now that Bran II is out the door, I’ve got some fun stuff coming up. The elections essay has the quotes added to the outline and about 2 pages roughed out, Davos III is outlined but needs the quotes added, and there should be some more book book news towards the end of the month.

In the mean-time, though, I’ve got more Tumblrs for your reading pleasure.



Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Bran II, ASOS

“If the little crannogman could visit the Isle of Faces, maybe I could too.”

Synopsis: Bran is told one story by the Liddle and one story by Meera.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Continue reading

RFTIT Weeklyish Tumblr Roundup (Part I)

Hey folks! Apologies about how long it’s taking to write Bran II – I’m currently up to 6700 words, but I’m slammed with IRL work – so in the mean-time I’ve got some Tumblrs. So much Tumblrs, it turns out, that I’ll probably need to do another this week.



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