Our last kit review was a barely concealed fanboy rave. This one is going to be more…mixed. Today, we’re looking at the infantry of the army of House Lannister, from Game of Thrones. I find this design very interesting, because the concept has some clever historical precedents, but much of the context and content is mismatched and the practical execution of the concept is quite poor.
This is going to be a long one – it’s not that there’s so many things wrong here (there’s really one main problem which infects the entire design, which is then executed poorly), but because explaining why this is a problem takes a bit more time.
As before, we’ll start by looking at the possible historical models for the kit (the historical basis) which will give us some grounds for comparison. Then we’ll look at armor, weapons and other equipment.
Let’s be up-front with the main problem here: the Lannister army is a pastiche of elements from across the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, which are not mutually compatible. I don’t have a problem with combining elements from different periods of cultures, but some care has to be taken so that they make sense together. We’re going to see this dissonance in the very nature of the Lannister army, as well as the equipment they use. This arises from the same place as the problem of saying Game of Thrones is ‘medieval’ – which Middle Ages? The European Middle Ages cover around a thousand years of history (c. 450 to c. 1450 or so), to which must be added the first century of the Early Modern Period (c. 1450 – c. 1550), because without that, you don’t have the quintessential knight in high Gothic or Milanese armor (pedantry note: these historical periods are very rough and scholars of both periods argue about where the rough period-breaks ought to go between the late medieval and the early modern). For instance, the knights that guard the famous Arms and Armour room at the MET – often used visually as a shorthand for ‘medieval knights’ (which I used as a shorthand for medieval knights, because they are so recognizable) date to the 1540s – which is to say almost a century after the Middle Ages had ended.