The history behind Game of Thrones: Trial by Combat

In this featured article the historian Dr. Steven Isaac of the Longwood University gives a little insight into the medieval rites, which inspired G. R. R. Martin and looks behind the seemingly savage religious rituals of letting a fight decide if someone is guilty or innocent.

Of the actual duel between the Mountain and the Viper, judging its accuracy is no easy matter.  Certainly, there are famous fights like the 1386 combat most recently discussed in Eric Jager’s The Last Duel.  There, a husband defended his wife’s charge of rape by killing the man she had accused.  While contemporaries accepted the outcome as proof, the dead man’s guilt has attracted debate ever since.

© HBO

© HBO