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In case you still haven't seen last night's Game of Thrones, this is a warning: Major spoilers lie ahead.
For the rest of you:
Yes, last night the legendary Red Wedding episode finally aired—yes, it was harder to watch than anyone could have ever anticipated. Questions we can't answer right now: Why does everyone keep dying? What does this show have against the Starks? Was baby Ned Stark's fate sealed the second Talisa suggested they name him Ned Stark? Everyone knows Sean Bean's characters always die! Everyone! (Seriously, they always do.)
Clearly, none of us are going to be getting over last night's episode for a long time, so we might as well learn something about history because of it. According to author George R. R. Martin himself, this traumatic event was actually inspired by a real-life event called "The Black Dinner," which took place in 1440. Martin explained to EW:
The Red Wedding is based on a couple real events from Scottish history. One was a case called The Black Dinner. The king of Scotland was fighting the Black Douglas clan. He reached out to make peace. He offered the young Earl of Douglas safe passage. He came to Edinburgh Castle and had a great feast. Then at the end of the feast, [the king's men] started pounding on a single drum. They brought out a covered plate and put it in front of the Earl and revealed it was the head of a black boar — the symbol of death. And as soon as he saw it, he knew what it meant. They dragged them out and put them to death in the courtyard. The larger instance was the Glencoe Massacre. Clan MacDonald stayed with the Campbell clan overnight and the laws of hospitality supposedly applied. But the Campbells arose and started butchering every MacDonald they could get their hands on. No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse.
We're not crying. It's just raining on our faces.