TOWER OF LONDON

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The next castle documentary I watched talked about the Tower of London. It was first constructed during the reign of William the Conqueror as the original royal palace. It was meant to frighten the Anglo-Saxons into submission to Norman rule. When it was constructed, the Tower was the tallest building in all of 11th century London. The Tower of London is most famous as the sight of the disappearance of the twelve year old Edward V and his younger brother Richard Duke of York. During the reign of Charles II, the bones of two children were discovered inside the Tower’s walls. The bones were given a royal funeral, but certain groups banned any attempt to confirm the bones’ identities with modern science, which leaves the ultimate fate of the Princes unknown. During the reign of Henry VIII, the Tower of London was the monarchy’s personal prison. Countless people were condemned to the Tower for execution, including one of Henry VIII’s top ministers, Thomas Moore, and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. The royal family of England were given exotic animals as gifts of good will from monarchies across Europe, including a polar bear from the King of Norway. The Tower became a zoo for these exotic animals until the Duke of Wellington had them moved to a location that would become the modern London Zoo. Overall, the Tower of London is a castle with a history of murder, power, and intrigue.

LAND OF THE DEAD

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In the Disney film Coco, we were presented with the Land of the Dead. It is a beautiful realm full of color, light, and music. Once a year, the dead would visit their living friends and relatives as though they never left. The only drawback to this shining place was that everyone’s stay was temporary. As long as the living remembers those who have passed on, the dead will continue to exist. Unfortunately, if the dead are forgotten, they fade away as though they never existed. Overall, Coco depicted the Land of the Dead in such a wondrous and heartfelt way. If this is what is waiting for me on the other side, then it would be an afterlife worth having. I would love to spend the rest of eternity amongst all my friends and relatives (both living and dead) while being surrounded by so much light, magic, and music.

DOVER CASTLE

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The first castle documentary I watched explained the history and background of one of England’s most impregnable and imposing castles: Dover. Dover Castle had significant strategic importance for over two thousand years. Because of its position overlooking the English Channel to France, Dover served as a fortress to defend against foreign invaders. The castle was originally built by the Romans, but it started out as a mere lighthouse meant to guide Roman legions across the channel. When William the Conqueror and his Normans came, Dover Castle was upgraded even further. During the reign of Henry II, Dover was built into a proper castle with a keep and the first of many walls. Henry II turned the castle into a combination between a strategic stronghold and a private residence to foreign visitors such as the King of France. During the reign of John I, a network of tunnels was constructed under the castle to thwart miners who attempted to compromise the castle’s foundations. The idea was even if the miners dug under the castle, they would break into one of these tunnels and be cut down by the garrison inside. During the reign of Edward I, Dover received more curtain walls and gate houses. During England’s war with Napoleon, Dover received many more significant upgrades incase Napoleon crossed the channel. It gained more walls that were fitted with cannons and the underground tunnels were expanded for miles to accommodate a larger garrison. During World War II, Dover Castle served as an important base of operations for the British military. Important events such as the rescue mission of Dunkirk and the Invasion of Normandy were all managed and directed from within Dover’s walls. During the Cold War, the tunnels were dug even deeper in order to turn Dover Castle into a bunker for VIPs. However, there was one major flaw with this design. The surrounding rock of Dover was made from limestone, which meant that if a nuclear blast went off, the radiation would still seep into the bunker, which resulted in the British government abandoning the whole project. Overall, Dover Castle has guarded the channel to England from the Romans to the Cold War. This goes to show that even though a building was constructed centuries ago, it could still be used for modern purposes. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from Dover Castle for my fantasy series.

CASTLE DOCUMENTARIES

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For now, I believe I have acquired enough knowledge of medieval battles, wars, and individuals for a while. Tonight, I will begin watching a series of documentaries that talk about several medieval castles. By learning about the history of castles such as the politics and everyday life, I am hoping to gain a better idea of what it is like to live inside of a castle. I will keep you updated on any developments.

ALTERNATE REDGRASS FIELD

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One of the most significant battles in Game of Thrones lore would be the Battle of Redgrass Field, which was the deciding battle of the first Blackfyre Rebellion. Daemon Blackfyre, the First of His Name, and his two eldest sons were slain in this battle while his surviving children and some of his followers fled into exile. Daemon’s surviving supporters who could not escape into exile lost lands, titles, and had to surrender hostages to the Iron Throne to guarantee their future loyalty. Even though Daemon was dead, his descendants still fought for the Iron Throne in four more rebellions until the last of his male descendants, Maelys the Monstrous, was slain. The fate of Daemon’s descendants from the female bloodline is unknown.

However, even though the story of Game of Thrones went the way it went, I am always curious of how the story would have turned out if Daemon Blackfyre won the Redgrass Field and overthrew the Targaryen Dynasty. What kind of world would Westeros be if it was ruled by a Blackfyre Dynasty instead of a Targaryen one. One of Daemon’s supporters made multiple notes of how the battle could have turned out differently. If Daemon left Gwayne Corbray to his fate after defeating him instead of trying to rescue him, if Fireball was not slain on the eve of battle, if Lord Bracken was not stalled by storms while transporting Myrish crossbowmen from Essos, and so forth.

If House Blackfyre ruled the Iron Throne, the alliance that Baelor the Blessed and Daeron the Good tried to forge with Dorne would have been destroyed. One of the reasons so many sided with Daemon was because they were unhappy with the peace Daeron the Good was promoting and they wanted a warrior like Daemon as their king. With the Blackfyres in charge, the Iron Throne would be waging never-ending wars against Dorne that would cause more loss of life like when Daeron the First tried to conquer Dorne. With these events happening, I think the story of Game of Thrones would become less like the War of the Roses and more like the War of Scottish Independence. Overall, I think a Blackfyre Dynasty would be an interesting alternate reality of the Game of Thrones universe that is worth exploring.