George R.R. Martin really likes food, if “Game of Thrones” is any indication. A Song of Ice And Fire, the book series GoT is based on, is full of descriptions that serve as better food porn than whatever post your stroll past on Instagram. His fantastic world-building begins with the food, the very fuel that motivates his characters forward.
Just read this description from a wedding feast in A Dance With Dragons:
The Lord of White Harbor had furnished the food and drink, black stout and yellow beer and wines red and gold and purple, brought up from the warm south on fat-bottomed ships and aged in his deep cellars. The wedding guests gorged on cod cakes and winter squash, hills of neeps and great round wheels of cheese, on smoking slabs of mutton and beef ribs charred almost black, and lastly on three great wedding pies, as wide across as wagon wheels, their flaky crusts stuffed to bursting with carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, and chunks of seasoned pork swimming in a savory brown gravy.
Did you climax? Because I did.
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There are travel and food writers, whose very job predicates them writing well about gastronomy, who can’t pull that off. Martin’s food writing is in a class with Ernest Hemingway about this stuff. So in honor of the upcoming Game of Thrones season, we wanted to mention some of the best food moments from the series. Remember that without Martin, none of this possible. Thanks dude.
Daenerys Targaryen Eats A Stallion Heart
This was one of the first moments when we realized Daenerys Targaryen wouldn’t be stopped. As Dothraki legend goes, if she can eat the entire raw horse heart, Daenerys will give birth to a healthy son. This is like the 17th weirdest thing about Dothraki tradition, but Dany does what she must.
Red And Purple Wedding
You do not need my recap of why both the Red Wedding and Purple Wedding are absolute bonkers. Watching both is an exercise in disbelief, in shattering of fantasy narrative tropes long held. You can’t believe they’d actually do that.
But my favorite moment of the Red Wedding in the books is how even as the action turns to 12, he still sneaks in a great food description. “Ser Wendel crashed forward, knocking the table off its trestles and sending cups, flagons, trenchers, platters, turnips, beets, and wine bouncing, spilling, and sliding across the floor,” he writes. The tragedy is as much about the lost lives as the lost food.
Margaery Asks Cersei If She Wants Some Wine
This is the coldest shade in the series. Allow me to transcribe the above moment for you. The newlywedded Margaery is enjoying some treats and drinks as her new mother-in-law Cersei approaches. Her greeting: “Can we bring you anything to eat or drink. I wish we had some wine for you. It’s a bit early in the day for us.” Too cold.
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Sansa Stark And Lemon Cakes
Imagine everyone winning your favor with the food you love. What Game of Thrones realizes—what George R.R. Martin understands—is the sensuality of food and drink. How your consumption affects your internal feelings on those around you. How food can seduce and bribe and confuse you. Multiple characters use lemon cakes to bring Sansa closer to them, both for good and bad intentions.
Ramsay Bolton Eating Pork Sausage
“Do you think I’m some sort of savage?” That is how Ramsay cements his legacy as the series most sinister villains. Watching him eat that pork sausage after he just castrated Theon is what the show does best. Sensuality mixed with oddly erotic subtext. Just like a good meal, right?