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The History Behind Game of Thrones (Hardback)

The North Remembers

British History Ancient History Scotland P&S History Military

By David C Weinczok
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 235
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526749000
Published: 13th May 2019
Last Released: 4th December 2019

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A wall in the distant north cuts the world in two. Ruthless seaborne warriors raid the coasts from their war galleys, yearning to regain lost glories. A young nobleman and his kin are slaughtered under a banner of truce within a mighty castle. A warrior king becomes a legend when he smites his foe with one swing of his axe during a nation-forging battle. Yet this isn’t Westeros – it’s Scotland.

Game of Thrones is history re-imagined as fantasy; The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers turns the tables, using George R. R. Martin’s extraordinary fictional universe as a way to understand the driving forces and defining moments from Scotland’s story. Why were castles so important? Was there a limit to the powers a medieval king could use – or abuse? What was the reality of being under siege? Was there really anything that can compare to the destructive force of dragons? By joining forces, Westeros and Scotland hold the answers.

Writer and presenter David C. Weinczok draws on a vast array of characters, events, places, and themes from Scottish history that echo Game of Thrones at every dramatic turn. Visit the castle where the real Red Wedding transpired, encounter the fearsome historical tribes beyond Rome’s great wall, learn how a blood-red heart became the most feared sigil in Scotland, and much more.

By journey’s end, the cogs in the wheels of Martin’s world and Scottish history will be laid bare, as well as the stories of those who tried to shape – and sometimes even break – them.

I absolutely devoured the writing, the style was easy, fun, and educational without being too text book like and would likely appeal both to history fans and fantasy fans alike. The book was meticulously researched as it moved literally from the study of the land of Westeros and Scotland, all the way to the history that connected the two worlds. And the book was just really enjoyable to read so good job David Weinczok.

NetGalley, Eugenia Austin

An interesting read that will appeal to fans of GOT or people interested in Scottish history.
I learned a lot and it was great to discover the history of places and the relationship to the sage.
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I recently finished reading a review copy of David C. Weinczok's analysis of George R.R. Martin's "The Game of Thrones." The book in question, published by Pen and Sword in 2019, and entitled "The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers" is a thoroughly entertaining study of Weinczok's interpretation of the historical basis of Martin's work. He situates events principally in Scotland and does a superb job of illustrating this with numerous geohistorical examples of his thesis. The book reads like a peculiar and enchanting hybrid of history and fantasy and in so doing shines a light on both genres (history and fantasy). Indeed, as I read the book, the boundaries between fantasy and history seemed to collapse and fold in on themselves in a complex pattern that serves to reveal how incredibly successful each genre is in informing and explicating the other. I enjoyed it thoroughly and urge anyone with an interest in either of the two genres under discussion or simply an interest in Scottish and Medieval history and culture to peruse a copy. You will be glad you did.

NetGalley, William Harris

An incredibly interesting view on the real life history behind the television series Game Of Thrones, definitely would recommend to anyone interested in the real history.

NetGalley, Kira Critchlow

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book!

When I read the Game of Thrones (still waiting for book six!), I had envisioned Scotland and England. I just knew that the “wall” was probably Hadrian's Wall, and was able to identify other locations as well.

This book illustrates it all so well: the locations and the countryside – even the history of Scotland. I did not tie together the “Red Wedding” and the massacre described in this book. Oh, heck, as I slapped my forehead.

Mr. Weinczok's book makes history very interesting and easy to read and understand. Very well done, sir!! And the castles – ooohh – got to love them.

I want to thank NetGalley and Pen & Sword/Pen & Sword History for forwarding to me a copy of this most delightful book for me to read, enjoy and review.

NetGalley, Joyce Fox

Weizczok’s book is densely packed with information. Fortunately, it is clearly written and not in the least bit dry for this fan of Game of Thrones and history... I highly recommend this book for anyone who has enjoyed Game of Thrones – either as a book, or in the television format.

Read the full review here

Miniature Wargaming

Ok!!!!! Yes!!! This is amazing for GOT fans. I am obsessed with Scotland and this takes fiction to reality. I have only skimmed through, so I will update my review more thoroughly later, however it is excellent!! It is a phenomenal perspective that brings Westeros to life. The descriptors are so strong you can feel the cold on your skin from outside the pages. Outstanding!!!!

NetGalley, Jamie Trauth

This is a fab companion book for anyone who has enjoyed the Game of Thrones series, either through the books or TV show. It delves into the inspiration behind the stories, exploring real life battles and conflicts etc. I found it really interesting examining the parallels between the real and the fictional, and think many other GOT fans would too - I can see this book being a very popular gift!

NetGalley, Amelia Louise

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A quite interesting and informative read, I have long been a fan of GoT and have visited many parts of Scotland many times but I have to admit i was not fully aware of the history of those places, you don’t need to be a fan of GoT nor an ardent Scottish nationalist to enjoy this book, it is really enjoyable.

NetGalley, Paul Sparks

A curious and interesting book.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers by David C. Weinczok is perhaps one of the most interesting books I've read this year. I'm a Game of Thrones fan who has watched the entire series twice and some seasons three times so I was super excited to read this book not really knowing exactly which angle it would take. I came away deeply admiring the series/books even more and having a great appreciation for the history of the British Isles and Scotland in particular... I highly recommend this book if you're a GoT fan and want to get more from the series while also learning a great deal about British and in particular Scottish history.

Read the full review here

Military History Online

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Just as 'Game Of Thrones' was hailed as a fantasy show for people who don't like fantasy shows, this book is an entertaining and fascinating history book for readers who don't like history books.

The Scots Magazine, October 2019 - reviewed by Katrina Patrick

Article: 'Author explores crossover between fantasy of Game of Thrones and reality of Scottish history' as featured by

The Courier (Dundee) print & online, 4th May 2019 – words by Michael Alexander

Author article: 'Two Worlds Of Fantasy And Fire' as featured by

The Scots Magazine, May 2019

An absolute 'must read' for the legions of Game of Thrones fans, "The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

If you like Game of Thrones and Scottish history, you will find it hard to put down.

Read the full review here

Balkan Wargamer

Game of Thrones: Nova Scotian explores link between Scotland and Westeros in new book

From Nova Scotia to Scotia, David C. Weinczok has written a book connecting Westeros to Scotland’s history. Weinczok hopes Game of Thrones fans will appreciate and understand the story more once they learn the connection it has to Scotland’s history.
His book, The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers, looks at the history of Scotland and how it relates to Game of Thrones.

Read the full feature here

The Chronicle Herald (Canada), 25 April 2019

Author interview on STV Scotland Tonight. Watch here

STV Scotland Tonight, 15 April 2019

Game of Thrones: How grisly Scottish history inspired Westeros

See here for the author's article.

Daily Express, 12 April 2019

Game of Thrones: The real historic objects behind the dark fantasy

Author article here

The Scotsman, 9 April 2019

As featured in

Sunday Times 24/3/19

I am in apparently a small minority who have not watched Game of Thrones. I actually managed about three episodes and gave up when the word ‘dragons’ confirmed it was a fantasy. I don’t do dragons, which likewise was a great disappointment to JK Rowling. That said the book stands well despite my ignorance of the series and does offer insight into the darker history of Scotland. I’m sure that the avid follower of GoT will pick up all the connections and it will add much to their understanding of the history behind it.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About David C Weinczok

David C. Weinczok is a writer, presenter, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland based in Edinburgh. He is a regular features writer for The Scots Magazine and has composed works on Scottish history for History Today and History Scotland. David is a frequent guest on BBC Radio Scotland, and presents documentary videos for Dig It! TV. He has visited nearly 400 Scottish castles to date, and is known for creating online historical content as ‘The Castle Hunter’ to raise the profile of Scotland’s ancient and medieval historic sites.


Follow him on Twitter: @TheCastleHunter

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