Bastards and Game of Thrones | OUPblog

… there is more to it than just good fun. Game of Thrones also helped me think through one of my main interests as a scholar, illegitimacy in Medieval Europe.

According to the Game of Thrones wikia page, a bastard is “anyone born out of wedlock.” Until recently, scholars of medieval Europe have generally adhered to the same definition. I have argued that we need to revisit our definition of bastard, at least for medieval Europe through the late twelfth century, and I would suggest that the same rule holds for Game of Thrones. Medieval Europe did not divide its people into two stark categories: children born of marriage and children born outside marriage. Instead, children were ranged on a spectrum of illegitimacy.
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