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Episode 8: The Pointy End

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

I’ve written a book about this episode.  But I felt like there was so much I wanted to say.  I’m not sure if this was my favorite episode of the season (the last few weeks have been fantastic), but there’s no denying the excitement caused by the mere fact that George R.R. Martin himself wrote the screenplay for this hour.  I imagine that opportunity was almost like a way to write “alternate scenes” or to change things GRRM may have thought he would have done a different way after having nearly 15 years to ponder his work (A Game of Thrones was first published in August 1996).  For that reason, a lot of what I discuss demonstrates the differences between the text and show.

*This review contains spoilers for Episode 8 of Game of Thrones as well as the first four A Song of Ice and Fire books.  Please proceed with caution.*

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What’s in a Name? STARK Edition

*This post contains spoilers for all four ASOIAF books; please do not continue beyond the cut if you are wary of book spoilers.* 

Some parents choose their children’s names because of their meanings. Others simply choose names they like and never bother with the significance. The name may end up fitting the child, or it may end up having an arbitrary meaning that doesn’t relate at all to the personality the child develops. Parents, when choosing a name, never know how their child will turn out.

Authors, meanwhile, do possess this knowledge before or during the naming process. George Martin, the father of ASOIAF, has a cast of hundreds of characters, all of whom he got to name. But what do characters’ names say about them? Do the meanings of their names match up with their personalities or deeds? In this article I will examine the etymologies of the names of several characters from the series and will analyze if and how the name fits with the character.

For this first batch, I have selected what is arguably the central family of ASOIAF: House Stark.

Note:  All first names were researched using Behind the Name: The Etymology of History and First Names, unless otherwise cited.

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