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What's in a name? History and fantasy in Game of Thrones.

Uckelman, Sara L. and Murphey, Sonia and Percer, Joseph (2017) 'What's in a name? History and fantasy in Game of Thrones.', in Game of Thrones versus history : written in blood. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 241-250.


Nowhere is the border between history and fantasy more blurred than in people's perceptions of names. People often assume that names in modern fantasy stories are medieval in origin. Some fault for this assumption can be laid at the feet of the Father of Fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, because many of his names are in fact genuine medieval names, and many of those which are not are explicitly marked out as such, originating in his constructed Elvish languages. A natural conclusion then is that fantasy names which are not otherwise identified as fantasy are plausibly medieval. This chapter discusses names in the Game of Thrones books and television series, and shows that this conclusion is not warranted. It considers not only the historicity of individual name elements, but also the patterns of the complete names, and their similarity to medieval naming patterns and practices.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Date accepted:15 July 2016
Date deposited:20 July 2016
Date of first online publication:01 April 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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