A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 3 – East of Sun and West of Moon to Gold Tree and Silver Tree

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As you can see, most of the forgotten fairy tales you see will come from Europe. Indeed, Eurocentrism is part of it since there are plenty of fairy tales around the world that you never hear about. However, we have to keep in mind that fairy tales have always originated through oral tradition that’s passed on to generations. And it takes a long time for someone to write these stories down. In this installment in my blog series, I bring you another 10 forgotten fairy tales. First, are two Norwegian tales with monstrous beasts and amazing supernatural elements. Second, we have an Italian story about a merchant’s son who’s too generous for his own good. Third, is an English tale of a woman who becomes a royal servant in drag. After that we have two Russian stories with magical creatures and mystical lands. Next, are 3 Grimm tales about a man who tries cheating death, a golden goose, and a golden mountain. Lastly, is a Scottish version of Snow White that ends with a threesome and contains no dwarves whatsoever.

21. East of Sun and West of Moon

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The Norwegian tale East of Sun West of Moon opens when a white bear offers to fix a poor family’s situation in exchange for the youngest daughter. Indeed, he has a nice castle and the girl’s got a nice life save with that awkward sleeping situation.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe. Though this might be the Norwegian version of Eros and Psyche from Greek mythology.
Best Known Version: Obviously, the Asbjørnsen and Moe version.
Synopsis: A white bear offers to take a poor family’s youngest child to fix their situation. The parents accept and the bear takes the young girl to a castle where a man slept in the same room as her at night in the dark. As such, she can’t see who it was. When she’s homesick, he lets her go home on the condition that she can’t stay with her mom alone. Of course, the girl doesn’t listen and takes a magic candle from her mom. When she returned to the castle, she’s able to see the face of the man who’s been visiting her bed at night who was actually the bear. After he yells at her and is revealed to be a handsome prince the whole time, his troll stepmother takes him away to marry a troll princess. But before leaving, he tells her that he’ll be at a land East of Sun and West of Moon.

So the girl sets off to find him, meeting a woman and her daughter along the way. The woman gives her a golden apple and lets her borrow a horse. She meets another woman who gives her a golden carding comb. While a third woman gives her a golden spinning will and tells her that she should find the east wind who might take her to her destination. But the east wind couldn’t help her as he never blew that far and suggest she visit the west wind. After the west wind gives her the same answer, she goes to the south and finally, north wind. The girl then gives up all her golden items to a princess in exchange for a night with the prince. But she couldn’t wake him the first 2 nights.

Eventually the servants tell him about the girl and he tosses away a drink (actually a sleeping potion) from the princess that night. In the end, the girl defeats the trolls by washing out the tallow from one of the prince’s shirts because the prince refused to marry a girl who couldn’t do something so simple. The trolls explode and everyone lives happily ever after.

Other Versions: Some versions have her knowing that she’s trying to break a curse. Sometimes she’s even told not to look at him for a few more nights and is given a cure by a wise woman who turns out to be the troll stepmother. Swedish version is “Prince Hat under the Ground.” Included in Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book.
Adaptations: Novels East by Edith Pattou and Once Upon a Winter’s Night by Dennis L. McKiernan. Also, ICE by Sarah Beth Durst which inserts some Inuit imagery. There’s even an adaptation by Mercer Mayer.
Why Forgotten: It’s popular in Norway. But it’s hardly mainstream. Perhaps the weird sleeping situation has something to do with it.
Trivia: N/A

22. Fair Brow
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Frederick Thomas Crane in Italian Popular Tales.
Best Known Version: Probably the Crane translation.
Synopsis: A merchant sends out his son, Fair Brow with some money to trade. He blows that on paying off a dead man’s debts so he can be buried. The merchant gives him another sum, which he spends on a kidnapped slave whom he marries. Thus, since Fair Brow’s too altruistic for his dad’s bottom line, the merchant throws him out and he can’t work. Luckily his wife’s an artist who has him sell her paintings but warns him not to tell anyone who paints them. Unfortunately, some Turks recognize them as the Sultan’s daughter work, trick Fair Brow into revealing his wife’s identity, and abduct her once more. He goes east and meets an old man who asks him to go fishing with him. A storm carries them off to Turkey where they’re enslaved as the Sultan’s gardeners. His wife recognizes him and they run off with her maids and much treasure. The old man demands half share for both the gold and the wife. But Fair Brow insists he takes the larger share of the treasure instead. The old man reveals he’s the ghost of the man he buried and leaves him with all the treasure before vanishing. They return home. Fair Brow’s dad comes to live with them and dies shortly afterward after making him his heir.

Other Versions: Italo Calvino has a variant in his Italian Folk Tales.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: It’s kind of specific to the region while it also involves bad Middle Eastern stereotypes.
Trivia: N/A

23. The Famous Flower of Serving Men

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In the English The Famous Flower of the Serving Men, a young woman dresses in drag and gets a job at the palace as a chamberlain. Though it’s only a matter of time when she gets the king’s attention.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Child Ballad #106. Collected by Francis Child.
Best Known Version: Probably Child’s version.
Synopsis: A woman’s husband and child are murdered by her mother’s knights. After the funeral, she dresses herself as a man and works for the king, where she eventually becomes his chamberlain (essentially the masculine equivalent of a chambermaid). One day, the king goes hunting where a white hind leads him into the forest. The king reaches a clearing, the deer vanishes and a bird appears (the personification of the woman’s dead husband) lamenting what’s happened to his love. The king asks why and the bird tells his story. Realizing he no longer had to question his sexuality when his favorite “chamberlain” was in the room, he kisses the still dressed as a man servant in front of the assembled court to their shock. The woman’s mother is put to death and the two marry.

Other Versions: Child’s version has the woman lament her fate during the king’s hunting trip and a servant overhears it. Some have the woman’s mother her stepmother.
Adaptations: Well, it’s been covered a lot.
Why Forgotten: Though the protagonist is a woman disguised as a man, the title might drive off some who may not be comfortable with the LGBT community. Also, contains a grisly murder scene.
Trivia: N/A

24. The Feather of Finist the Falcon

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In the Russian tale, The Feather of Finist the Falcon, a merchant’s daughter is given to marry a falcon. Actually, the falcon is quite nice. But the sisters, not so much.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: The Afanasyev version obviously.
Synopsis: Before going to the fair, a merchant asks his three daughters what they want him to bring back. The two plain, nasty, and vain older sisters asked for rich gifts. The pretty and nice youngest daughter asks for a red flower to put at her window. Twice he remembered to bring the expensive gifts but forgot about the flower. He remembered the third time but couldn’t find one anywhere at the fair. On the way home, he meets an old man who had one for the future bride of his son, Finist the Falcon. The merchant gets it only on the condition his daughter marry his son.

After her dad explains the whole situation, the daughter agrees to marry if he wooed her. That night, a falcon flew into her room and transformed into a handsome prince. He gave her a feather which would conjure whatever she wished. As her sisters went to Mass the next day in all their finery, she waited until they were gone before summoning a coach and fine attire and herself. Even her own family didn’t recognize her. But when she returned home early and sent away her treasures, she forgot to remove a diamond ornament from her hair. Her envious sisters tell their dad that she must’ve taken a secret sugar daddy. When he didn’t listen, they roofie their sister with sleeping potion and put knives in the window so the falcon is badly injured. Thinking his fiancee caused this, the falcon curses the girl, “My beautiful dearest, hast thou ceased so soon to love me? Never shalt thou see me again unless thou searchest through three times nine countries, to the thirtieth Tsardom, and thou shalt first wear through three pairs of iron shoes, and break in pieces three iron staves, and gnaw away three holy church-loaves of stone. Only then shalt thou find thy lover, Finist the Falcon!”

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After her sisters put knives in Finist the Falcon’s wings, the girl sets off to find him. Here she overlooks an immense castle.

The girl sees the blood the next morning and remembers hearing the words in her sleep. She has the shoes, staves, and bread made out and sets out to look for him. Along the way, he meets 3 of Finist’s elderly relatives, telling her he was due to marry and give her magic trinkets as a wedding gifts. Reaching the Tsardom of Finist’s new bride, the daughter finds a servant unable to wash the blood out of Finist’s shirt. But her own tears of sorrow washed it clean, attracting his bride’s attention. The daughter gets a job as a scullery maid, but even then, she couldn’t catch Finist’s eye. The cruel and greedy bride offered to trade her 3 nights to sit up by him, each bought with one of the 3 trinkets. Each night, the daughter weeps and begs over Finist’s bedside. But the bride had put an enchanted pin in Finist’s hair so he wouldn’t wake up. Despairing on the third night, she leaned over to kiss him removing the pin for fear it might him. He wakes up and is joyfully reunited with his beloved. The next day, Finist summoned all to court and asked whether he should marry the woman who bought him or the one who sold him. All agree he should be with the former so he marries the daughter.

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Reaching the castle, the girl gets a job as a scullery maid and bribes Finist’s fiancée 3 times in order to see the guy. The first 2 he’s sleeping in his bed. On the third night, she removes the pin keeping him out.

Other Versions: In some versions, the girl goes to her dad, goes to church with Finist in all her finery, and has her sisters talk about seeing a prince and princess there. The girl confesses and marries Finist.
Adaptations: Retold by Josepha Sherman as The Shining Falcon. Also made into a Russian film.
Why Forgotten: Well, it’s popular in Russia. Nonetheless, there’s a scene of violence involving knives at a window.
Trivia: N/A

25. The Fire Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilissa

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In the Russian tale, The Firebird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilissa, a Tsar sends an archer and his wonder horse on a series of impossible tasks. Of course, the horse does all the work.

From: Russia
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki.
Best Known Version: Probably the Afanasyev version.
Synopsis: One of the Tsar’s archers had a horse of power. One day riding through the forest, he saw a marvelous feather which he knew must’ve been shed by the legendary Firebird. Despite the horse’s warnings to not pick it up, he does so anyway, thinking the tsar would reward him. But the tsar demanded that he bring back the whole firebird or lose his head. Terrified, the archer asks the horse what to do. On its advice, he requests that 100 maize sacks be spread over a field at night. The firebird arrives at dawn as he and the horse capture it. But as soon as he arrives with his price, the king sends him on another quest to go to the world’s very edge and bring back Princess Vasilissa as his bride. At the horse’s advice, the archer asks for a silver tent with a golden roof along with food for the journey. He rides to her land, sets up a tent, and spread out the food. When the princess arrives out of curiosity, the archer invites her to eat and drink. She drank and falls asleep, he carries her off on the horse.

Despite such treatment, Vasilissa prefers the handsome young archer to the old and greedy tsar. So she refuses to marry him without her wedding dress which was still in her own country and still hidden in the sea besides. Again, the king dispatches the archer who rode to the world’s edge on his horse. On the shore, the horse waited until it could get between the enormous lobster and the sea before stepping on its tail and not letting it go until it agreed to bring up the wedding dress. After his return, Vasilissa still wouldn’t wed until the archer had been boiled alive as punishment for abducting her. Terrified, he asks to see his horse one last time, but the horse advises him to submit. The princess waves her hand over the boiling cauldron. The archer plunges in and comes out unharmed and even handsomer than before. The tsar jumps in afterwards and boils to death. After the funeral, the archer becomes tsar in his place, marries Vasilissa, and built a nice stable for his horse to show his gratitude.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Adapted into a Soviet cartoon called Ivan and His Magic Pony.
Why Forgotten: Let’s just say, the fact the princess requests the archer dive into a boiling cauldron will certainly scare the crap out of you. Luckily, he’s fine. But the Tsar should’ve really taken the Don’t Try This at Home disclaimer very seriously. Then again, that was Princess Vasilissa’s intention. Also, it’s from Russia. Not to mention Princess Vasilissa wouldn’t fit in a Disney movie as she manipulates her way to get the man she wants.
Trivia: N/A

26. The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body

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In The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body, a young prince sets off to find his brothers after they and their new wives end up petrified. There he meets a hostage princess and they conspire to get rid of the giant.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe.
Best Known Version: Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe’s version, obviously.
Synopsis: A king has 7 sons who he loves very much that he always had to keep one of them with him. One day, he sends the older 6 to find brides and directed to bring back a seventh for their little brother. The brothers met a king with 6 daughters who were so lovely that they forgot about their brother. On the way back, they pass too closely by a giant’s home. And the giant turned them all into stone. Seeing that his brothers didn’t return, the king wanted his youngest to never leave. But the prince finally persuaded him and set out. He gave his food to a raven, helped a salmon back into the river, and gave his horse to a starving wolf on the condition it help him as his steed. The wolf brought him to the giant’s house, showed him his brothers and their brides and told him where to go and do whatever the princess instructed him.

The princess warned him that the giant didn’t keep his heart in his body so he couldn’t be killed the usual way. Rather, she had him hide and begged the giant to tell him where his heart was. He claimed it was under the door sill. But when she and the prince dug there the next day, they find nothing. The princess adorned it with flowers and told the giant it was to honor the place where his heart lay. The giant told her it was in the cupboard, which was the same. And the princess strewed the flowers again. Finally, he tells her: “Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a church; in that church is a well; in that well swims a duck; in that duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart, — you darling!” With the assistance of the wolf, salmon, and raven, the prince gets the heart. He squeezes it and demands that the giant his brothers and brides. The giant refuses. So the prince squeezes the heart in half and kills him. They all return to their dad. While the youngest prince marries the princess the giant held hostage, who was the prettiest one of all.

Other Versions: Included in Ruth Manning Sanders’ A Book of Giants. A harsher version has the prince split and eat the giant’s heart and use its head as a trophy.
Adaptations: Retold by George MacDonald as “The Giant’s Heart.”
Why Forgotten: This basically involves a guy stumbling to a house outside of town where he falls in with some other guy’s wife and they conspire to kill her husband. Granted, the giant really deserves it, but yeah it’s kind of unsettling how similar the plot is to movies like Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Trivia: Has a variant in a Mario video game.

27. Godfather Death

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The Grimms’ Godfather Death is about the Grim Reaper taking a young man under his wing and helping him to become a doctor. But when he tries to cheat death is when the trouble starts.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm Brothers’ version is the most famous.
Synopsis: A poor man has his 13th child. And since he’s already asked every suitable candidate he knows to be godparents to his other 12 kids, finding one for his newborn son is a serious problem that he’s eventually asking random strangers he meets on the road. After meeting God and the Devil and rejecting them as godfathers, the man meets a stranger claiming he’s Death and would like to be his son’s godfather. This time, the man accepts.

When the boy comes of age, Death visits and declares he’s going to make his godson a famous physician. Showing him a magic herb, he tells the young man that whenever he’ll visit a patient, he’ll see Death standing at the sick person’s head or feet. If Death stood on the head, the patient can be cured. But if he stood at the bed’s foot end, well, that one gonna die. Armed with this knowledge, the young man becomes a famous and wealthy doctor. One day, the physician is called to cure the king. But Death stands at the king’s feet. Yet, because the sick man is a king, the doctor turns the bed around so that Death could stand at the head. The trick works and the king gets better.

However, Death is super pissed for his godson tricking him. He lets it slide but only with a warning that if he does it again, he’ll take the doctor’s life. Not long after, the princess falls ill. The king promise his daughter’s hand in marriage and inheritance of the crown to the physician if he could cure her. But when the doctor sees the princess, he sees Death at her feet. Ignoring this and wanting to marry the princess and get her dad’s sweet kingdom so badly, the physician turns the bed so princess can get better. But Death grabs the doctor by the arm and drags him to a cave with millions of candles each burned to different lengths. Death explains that each candle’s length shows how much longer a person has to live. When Death shows the physician his candle, the doctor notices that It’s very short. So he doesn’t have much time left.

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After reviving the princess when she should’ve died, Death brings the physician to a cave of candles. Each candle represents each person and the longer it is, the longer the person will live. Still, if you think the hero in this tale gets a happy ending, you’re sorely mistaken.

The physician pleads with his godfather to light him a new candle so he’d live a long and happy life as a king and husband to a beautiful princess. He then walks to his child’s candle and tries to make it his own. But Death says he can’t for if one must be lit, one must go out. The physician begs that he take out one candle to light a new one. Death obeys. He walks to the physician’s candle and looks at it. But just as he’s about to light a new candle, Death lifts his scythe and the boy’s candle goes out. And the physician falls dead to the ground as Death whispers, “You once looked for the most righteous one to be the godfather of your child, but at the Bed of Death you betrayed that and instead grasped for the life of another. Now sleep my unwise apprentice.”

Other Versions: A later Grimm edition has Death pretending to light the candles and failing on purpose, killing the doctor. Other cultural variants exist in Poland, Lithuania, Ireland, and Mexico.
Adaptations: Adapted into an Anne Sexton poem.
Why Forgotten: You know how many of these fairy tales where the hero marries the princess and inherits the kingdom? Well, the hero in this one doesn’t.
Trivia: N/A

28. The Golden Goose

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In The Golden Goose, an idiot villager finds a golden goose in s tree stump. However, whoever else touches it ends up stuck.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: Grimm’s version is the most famous.
Synopsis: A man has 3 sons with the youngest a “fool” who’s continually abused. One day, the older sons go out to cut wood and are rude to a little old man who asked them to their food. Both of them cut themselves so badly they had to return home. The youngest asks to go, too. Yet, unlike his older brothers, he actually shares his food. The old man points to a tree to chop down and found a goose with golden feathers down to its roots when he did. The youngest takes the goose to the inn where he stays for the night. When one of the innkeeper’s daughters tries stealing a feather and got stuck to it. Her 2 sisters tried as well and got stuck to her. The youngest set out the next day and the girls had to run to keep up to him. The parson chides them for their antics, grabbed hold, and he got stuck on it as well along with the sexton. The youngest son went to the city where a princess lived. Now she was so serious that she never laughed. So the king decreed that whoever makes her chuckle. Well, in comes the youngest son with a procession that the princess thinks is hilarious. So he marries her and inherits the kingdom.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Made into a musical.
Why Forgotten: Maybe cause the plot is so absurd.
Trivia: N/A

29. The Gold Mountain

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In the Grimms’ The Gold Mountain, a young boy stumbles upon a castle where he finds a princess, gets beat up, and becomes King of the Golden Mountain.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: Obviously the Grimm version.
Synopsis: A ruined merchant meets a black-haired and bearded dwarf offering 7 years of wealth and prosperity as well as success in all of his endeavors in exchange for his firstborn son. Said son grows up well acquainted with fairies. But when the day comes for the merchant to pay up, the boy draws a circle he can’t cross and spends an entire day arguing with his dad on the deal’s validity. Finally, the dwarf and the boy’s dad reach a compromise that the boy will sail off in a boat so neither will have him. In turn, the boy’s fairy friends send a squall capsizing the boat to fake the kid’s death so the dwarf won’t look for him.

The boy travels the world and sometime later stumbles upon a castle by a mountain made of gold. The castle is empty and abandoned save for a white snake claiming to be a princess under a curse that first caused her food to vanish, then her guests to leave, and finally herself transformed into a snake. To the break the curse, someone must spend 3 nights in castle. But there’s a cache. During the first night, men will come at midnight and viciously beat him. The second night will be worse. And the third night they will kill him. Should he cry out, fight back, or escape, the curse won’t be broken. Still, if he endures all 3 nights she’ll become human and resurrect him from a healing spring. He succeeds and the grateful princess marries him, making him King of the Gold Mountain. In time, they have a young son of their own.

But eventually the King’s heart grows heavy as he thinks of his parents who still assume him dead. The princess gives him a wishing ring for him to carry but begs he must never wish his wife or son from their home at Gold Mountain. He agrees and wishes himself home, changing clothes with a beggar at the city gates to get in. His dad is thrilled to find his son alive and they speak long into the night and the following day. Unfortunately, he carelessly wishes his dad could see his wife and son who are immediately brought before them by the wishing ring. The princess is furious but holds her tongue. She then takes her husband for a long walk and picnic. When he falls asleep, she immediately steals the ring and wishes herself and her son home.

When the King of the Gold Mountain wakes up, his wife, son, and wishing ring are gone. He vows to find them. Yet, he doesn’t know the way back to his former kingdom. He quests far and wide until he meets 3 quarreling giants whose dad just died and are squabbling over their inheritance consisting of an invisibility cloak, a pair of boots that can carry someone anywhere in the world, and a sword that could cut a hundred heads or fell a hundred trees with one swing. Seeing him as one of the clever “little people,” the giants ask the king to resolve their dispute. He replies that he must test them, to make sure they work as said, and the giants hand over the goods asking to promise not to use the sword against them. Instead, he flees and tells the boots to take him to the Gold Mountain.

Once home, the king sneaks in under an invisibility cloak and finds a horde of suitors vying for his wife’s hand. He hides by her and starts eating and hiding her supper, reminding her of how the curse first began. When she runs into a private chamber, she asks why this is happening again in despair. He whispers that she betrayed and left her rightful husband. As the princess breaks down crying, the king strides out in the great hall, and kills all the suitors with a magic sword.

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When the King of the Golden Mountain comes home, he psychologically torments his wife and beheads all her suitors with a magic sword. Now we know why they don’t read this to children.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, I think the mass slaughter in the great hall at the end might have something to do with it (despite it being quite similar to the end of Homer’s Odyssey). Also, contains murder, theft, and psychological torture as well as the hero coming off as a jerk once he marries the princess.
Trivia: N/A

30. Gold Tree and Silver Tree

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In the Scottish Gold Tree and Silver Tree, a queen relies on a fish on ego boosts. When the fish proclaims Gold Tree as prettier, Silver Tree goes on a quest to get her killed.

From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in his Celtic Fairy Tales. A variation of Snow White but with no dwarves, a magic fish instead of a mirror, and basically ends with a threesome.
Best Known Version: Probably the Jacobs version.
Synopsis: Gold Tree is the daughter of a king and his wife Silver Tree. One fateful day, Silver Tree meets a magical fish telling her Gold Tree is prettier than she is. Offended and not realizing that being the prettiest isn’t everything, Silver Tree vows to kill Gold Tree. One day, she lies to her husband claiming to be very ill and that she needs Gold Tree’s liver and heart to cure her. Fortunately, a faraway prince recently proposed to Gold Tree so the king marries her off and tricks the queen with an animal’s heart and liver instead. The next year, Silver Tree consults the fish again, who informs her that Gold Tree is still alive in her new husband’s country. So the queen persuades the king to let her visit her daughter. Yet, upon learning that her mom’s coming, Gold Tree’s servants lock her away for her own safety. But the queen manages to sneak a poisoned thorn through a keyhole and into Gold Tree’s finger.

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After the servants lock Gold Tree in a tower to keep her from Silver Queen, the queen still manages to knock her out with a poisoned thorn. Wonder how she accomplished it.

When the prince returns, he’s horrified to see his wife dead but he can’t bury her since she’s too pretty. So he keeps Gold Tree’s remains in that room. Times passes and he marries a new woman out of royal obligation but warns her to stay out of that room. However, her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Gold Tree and the thorn in her finger. The new bride removes it, resurrecting Gold Tree and possibly implicating her new husband on bigamy charges. The next year, Silver Tree learns about this from the fish and sets out to kill Gold Tree again. But now the threesome know better and prepare ahead of time (apparently they seemed to work things out and give polyamory a try). When Silver Tree offers her daughter a poisoned drink, the prince’s second wife tells the queen to take the first sip to take the first sip, claiming it the land’s custom. As the queen raises the glass, the second wife forces her to actually swallow the potion. Silver Tree is dies while Gold Tree, the prince, and the second wife live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: For God’s sake, it’s basically Snow White ending in a threesome.
Trivia: N/A

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A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 2 – Cap O’ Rushes to Donkeyskin

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Well, we’re off to a good start. Nonetheless, we often associate fairy tales with children’s stories. While we often cater fairy tales to children. However, at another time, this hasn’t necessarily been the case. After all, many of these fairy tales contain content much more suitable for Game of Thrones like sex, rape, incest, nudity, and graphic violence. Hell, even some of the classic fairy tales we know and love contain stuff that’s really not suitable for children. In this installment, we’ll look at 10 more forgotten fairy tales. First, we look at 3 tales of young women who get turned out of their homes and have to resort to unconventional clothing choices. Second, is an Italian story of Catherine and her series of unfortunate events. Third, is Norwegian tale about a man and his “cat.” Next, is a Scottish story about a boy’s adventures in Elfland to save his sister. After that is an Italian fairy tale about three magical triplets followed by a legend of an Armenian war hero and a future Lord Mayor of London. And finally, we get to a French fairy tale about a princess who’s a lot smarter than she initially seems.

11. Cap O’ Rushes

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Cap o’ Rushes revolves around a princess who gets kicked out of the castle by her dad by spouting a metaphor he doesn’t understand. So she lives in the wilderness under a coat of rushes over her finery.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: The Jacobs version obviously.
Synopsis: A rich guy asks his 3 daughters how much they love him (you can see where this is going). The oldest says more than her life. The second says like the whole world. The youngest says like meat loves salt. Not understanding what the youngest daughter meant by her use of strange metaphors, the rich guy flies into a rage and throws the girl out. Wandering the wilderness, the girl makes a hooded cloak out of rushes to conceal her fine clothing.

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Cap o’ Rushes earns her nickname since she wore clothing made out of marsh plants. Thankfully, she never had to deal with a forest fire.

Eventually, the girl finds a job scrubbing dishes at a great house. Because she didn’t give her bosses a name, she’s called “Cap O’ Rushes” due to her cloak. One night, the house holds a ball and Cap O’ Rushes sneaks into the party by removing her cloak so her full fine clothes are on display. The master’s son sees her and falls in love with her, but he couldn’t go up to her to know who she is. After meeting at 2 more balls, he gives her a ring. When he couldn’t find her, he fell ill. The sick son receives her at his bed. After Cap O’ Rushes persuades the cook to have her make the gruel for him, she puts the ring in the bowl, allowing the son to find and marry her. At the wedding party, Cap O’Rushes tells the cook to make a meal without any salt. This left all the dishes without flavor and her father starts crying since he realized what his daughter meant, fearing she’s dead. Cap O’ Rushes reveals herself as his daughter and forgives him. And they all lived happily ever after.

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Cap o’Rushes seeks employment at a great house. Though she gets a job as a scullery maid, she’s game on anything.

Other Versions: Also included in Andrew Lang’s journals.
Adaptations: Read on a BBC series.
Why Forgotten: I’m not exactly sure. Too much like Cinderella but far removed from civilization I guess.
Trivia: N/A

12. Catherine and Her Fate
From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Thomas Crane in Italian Popular Tales.
Best Known Version: Probably the Crane version.
Synopsis: Catherine is a merchant’s beautiful daughter. One day, a woman visits and asks her whether she’d be happy when young or old. Catherine says she’d rather get it over with and be happy in old age. Called Fate, the woman vanishes. Soon, her dad loses all his money and dies. Realizing this was the unhappy part, Catherine tries getting a job but Fate ruins it for her for 7 years until she gets a servant job and keeps it. One of her tasks is bringing bread for her mistress’ Fate.

Catherine’s mistress finds out why she’s always crying and told the girl to ask her Fate whether she could be freed. She does. That Fate brought her to her own, who gives her a hank of thread. Think it useless, Catherine considers throwing it away. But her mistress convinces her to keep it. One day, a young king was to marry. But his wedding garment needed a hank of thread, and none in the kingdom had the proper color. Except the thread Catherine’s Fate had given her. And the king declared she’d be rewarded with an equal weight in gold.

But when it was put to scale, the thread always outweighed however much gold they put on the other side. After putting the entire treasury and the king’s crown, the king demands how Catherine came by this thread, she tells her story. Then a wise old court lady declared it was time for her happiness to begin and the crown showed that it was her fate to be queen. So the king declared Catherine will be his, marrying her instead of his original bride.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Pink Fairy Book.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Not exactly sure.
Trivia: N/A

13. The Cat on the Dovretell

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Originating from Norway, The Cat of Dovretell is actually not about a cat but a bear. Sure it’s scary, but provides great protection against trolls.

From: Norway
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe. Contrary to the title, it’s actually about a bear, not a cat.
Best Known Version: The Asbjørnsen and Moe version.
Synopsis: A man was bringing a trained bear to the king, but had to stop at Dovretell. Yet, because of the trolls driving visitors out during the Christmas season, the people couldn’t offer him a place to stay. But the guy says he’d stay anyway. So they let him and all sorts of food for the trolls’ feast. The trolls come. Calling the bear, “pussy,” one of them tries baiting the bear with a sausage. But the bear turned on the trolls and chased them off. The next year, a troll asked townspeople if they still had the “cat.” The man said he did and that she had 6 “kittens” all fiercer than she was. The trolls never came back again.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Retold by Kaja Foglio in comic book form and Jan Brett as Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve.
Why Forgotten: The title is very misleading. Since it’s actually about a bear not a cat.
Trivia: N/A

14. Catskin

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An English fairy tale, Catskin tells of a lord’s daughter who runs away because her dad wanted her to marry a guy she didn’t like. In the wilderness , she wears the skin of cats over her finery.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Joseph Jacobs in More English Fairy Tales.
Best Known Version: The Jacobs version obviously.
Synopsis: A lord has a daughter when he’d rather have a son to inherit the estate. Naturally, he orders her married off as soon as she’s old enough. But she hates the groom and demands 3 fancy dresses and a catskin coat. With it, she runs off, bringing the dresses with her.

She gets a job as a scullery maid and sneaks off to a ball, winning a young lord’s heart. He manages to track her down and marry her by the 3rd ball. Later the cook jeers at the girl for being poor. After having a son, she tells her husband about her dad. The lord tracks him down to find him all alone and wishing he could see his daughter again. He brings him home and he lives with them.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not exactly sure.
Trivia: N/A

15. Childe Rowland

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Based on a Scottish ballad, Childe Rowland focuses on a boy trying to rescue his sister from the King of Elfland. Inspired Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

From: Scotland and England
Earliest Appearance: Said to be based on a Scottish ballad.
Best Known Version: The one in Joseph Jacobs’ English Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: Four of the queen’s children consisting of 3 boys and a girl play ball near a church. When the youngest boy, Rowland kicks the ball over the church, their sister Burd Ellen goes to retrieve it. Yet, she inadvertently circles the church’s “widershins” or opposite the sun’s way, and disappears. Rowland goes to Merlin asking what happened to her. According to the wizard, the King of Elfland took her to the Dark Tower and only the boldest knight in Christendom can save her. Yet, should he venture, Merlin instructs the boy not to eat anything in Elfland and lop off every elf he meets there. Rowland’s brothers try to save their sister in Elfland but the Elf King puts them in a magical coma. Rowland goes in, decapitates 3 elves, saves his sister, evades evil elf magic with brute force and a good sword, and grants mercy to the Elf King.

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Childe Rowland confronting the Elf King in Elfland. Still, you have to like the gothic design.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, the title isn’t forgotten. But most people aren’t familiar with the story.
Trivia: Was referenced in King Lear and served as an inspiration for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

16. The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird

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In The Italian tale, The Dancing Water, 3 babies are abandoned in the forest and taken in by a deer. They then grow up with very special talents.

From: Italy
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giuseppe Pitrè.
Best Known Version: The one in Joseph Jacobs’ European Folk and Fairy Tales.
Synopsis: Wandering the streets, a king overhears 3 sisters chatting. The oldest one said: “If I were the wife of the royal butler, I would give the whole court to drink out of one glass of water, and there would be some left.” The second one said: “If I were the wife of the keeper of the royal wardrobe, with one piece of cloth I would clothe all the attendants, and have some left.” While the youngest said: “Were I the king’s wife, I would bear him three children: two sons with apples in their hands, and a daughter with a star on her brow.”

The king takes the youngest as queen and arranges the marriages for the older sisters who do as they say. But the older sisters resent the queen. When she gives birth to the magical triplets she promised she would, they kidnap the babies for exposure to the elements and put puppies in their place. Furious and ignorant on human reproduction, the king orders his wife put on a treadmill as a slave. 3 fairies see the kids and give them a deer to raise them, a purse full of money, and a ring that changes color when one of them is in danger.

When the children were grown, the fairies tell them to go into the city. As soon as they get a house, the sisters realize these are the wonder children who could reveal what they’ve done. They try to dispose of them with impossible tasks. The older brother fetches the Dancing Water and the Singing Apple. But when sent to get the Speaking Bird, it reveals its past and startles him into speaking, turning him into stone. The next brother did the same. But the sister managed to do it and save her brothers. The king comes to see these marvelous young men and woman. The Speaking Bird reveals the truth and then, at the king’s orders, describes how their aunts and the nurse who aided them are to be executed. While the king, queen, and their kids are all reconciled.

Other Versions: Thomas Crane’s translation as “The Herb Gatherer’s Daughters” in Popular Italian Folk Tales.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, putting one’s wife on a treadmill as a slave might do it.
Trivia: N/A

17. David of Sasun

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The Armenian tale David of Sasun is about a legendary king and his epic adventures. Based on an epic poem.

From: Armenia
Earliest Appearance: From oral tradition dating from as early as the 8th century. Part 3 of a 4-cycle epic poem called Daredevils of Sassoun. Though scholars point out the pagan elements which might make it even older. It’s said that the Egyptians are an expy of the Arab conquerors
Best Known Version: The first written version by Garegin Srvantdziantz in 1873.
Synopsis: Sasun King Lion-Mher and his wife regret they are unable to conceive a child in their old age. An angel visits and informs the king that his wife will bear a son, but in exchange they will both die. Lion-Mher agrees and 9 months later, David is born. But his parents die just in time for Egypt to invade Sasun and force its citizens to pay tribute. David is to live with Sasun ruler and his paternal uncle Big-Voiced Ohan who surrendered to Egypt. Wary that her nephew might take the throne from his uncle, Ohan’s wife ensures that nobody tell David about his past. For most of his childhood, David is sent outside where he befriends the animals and terrorizes the town by bringing them home with him. One day in the woods, he meets an old hag who tells him about his father. With this knowledge, David decides to become a warrior, take back his throne, and challenge Egypt for Sasun’s independence.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Made into an Armenian cartoon.
Why Forgotten: This is primarily from Armenia and seldom remembered anywhere else.
Trivia: N/A

18. Dick Whittington and His Cat

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Unlike most of the fairy tales on this list, the story of Dick Whittington and His Cat is based on a real person. Whittington really did rise from humble origins to become Lord Mayor of London. But his cat was just totally made up.

From: England
Earliest Appearance: This tale is based on a real Lord Mayor of London who was elected 4 times as well as served as its sheriff and Member of Parliament. During his reign, he made many beneficial changes to the city like building an unmarried mother ward at St. Thomas Hospital and prohibiting apprentices from washing animal skins in the Thames River. Started as a play, The History of Richard Whittington, of his lowe byrth, his great fortune.
Best Known Version: An 1861 play by H. J. Byron.
Synopsis: Hearing tales of the streets paved with gold, Dick Whittington leaves his home in Gloucestshire for London. When that quickly proved to be horseshit, he’s so disheartened that he’s ready to leave. But suddenly, he hears London’s bells call out, “Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London!” So he decides to stick it through. After some Tonga adventures where his cat killed all the rats in the country, he’s given 3 chests of gold and realizes his destiny.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Has been presented on TV many times.
Why Forgotten: This is kind of a specific myth about a real guy which doesn’t have much basis in fact.
Trivia: Often performed around Christmas as a pantomime.

19. The Discreet Princess

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The French tale The Discreet Princess is about a bad prince trying to get into 3 princesses pants. When he gets to the third, she pushes him down a sewer.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: In 1696 in a compilation written by Charles Perrault’s niece Marie-Jeanne L’Héritier de Villandon as L’Adroite Princesse ou les Aventures de Finette.
Best Known Version: N/A
Synopsis: A king goes on a crusade and leaves his 3 daughters locked in a tower. They’re called Nonchalante (Dronilla; the lazy one), Babillarde (The Babbler; or Pratilla), and Finette. Each receives a glass distaff designed to break apart as soon as the princess misbehaves. Oh, and an evil prince from a neighboring country with a grudge against the royal family called Riche-Cautèle (Rich-Craft) decides to make a visit. Dressed as a female beggar, he sneaks into the tower where he tricks the two older sisters into letting him and seduces them. Consequently, their distaffs break. Rich-Craft tries to do the same to Finette, but she waves with a hammer and makes a bed for “them” which is on top a sink with a large drain leading to a sewer. Rich-Craft gets on the bed and well, he goes down and ends up with shit all over him. He then has his servants kidnap her and tries to roll her down a mountain in a barrel full of blades. But she puts him in the barrel instead. She later seals her little nephews in boxes and sneaks them in Rich-Craft’s placed as “medicine” while disguised as a doctor. Now dying from being stabbed through a bunch of blades in a barrel, Rich-Craft asks his brother Bel-à-Voir marry Finette, which he does. But at consummation time, Finette uses a sheep’s bladder dummy which Bel-à-Voir stabs before having a moral meltdown. But don’t worry, he and Finette live happily ever after, anyway. Meanwhile, her two older sisters end up dead by having to toil in a garden.

Other Versions: There’s a bowlderized where the evil prince just beats up the 2 older princesses instead of seducing them.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Given that Finette pushed a guy in a barrel filled with blades and sent him down a mountain which resulted in his death, I don’t expect her becoming a Disney Princess anytime soon. Also contains extra-marital sex and smuggling babies.
Trivia: N/A

20. Donkeyskin

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To escape her incestuous father, a princess flees the castle donning a donkeyskin. By the way, when this donkey was alive it could shit gold.

From: France and Italy
Earliest Appearance: Recorded by Charles Perrault in 1697. Though Giovanni Francesco Straparola’s Doralice might even be older, which is basically Cinderella meets Game of Thrones.
Best Known Version: The Perrault version is the best known.
Synopsis: A king loses his wife on her deathbed where she demands to promise her not to remarry except to a woman more beautiful than she is. But the king finds it impossible to find such a woman until he realizes that his daughter is the only one who surpasses her mom’s beauty. Thus, not letting the incest taboo stand in his way and being to sexist to perhaps let his daughter inherit the throne, the king decides to marry her. The despairing princess begs for her Fairy Godmother’s help who advises her to declare she won’t marry unless she’s brought 3 impossible dresses: one as blue as the sky, one that shines like the moon, and one like the sun. When the king succeeds anyway, the fairy godmother advises the princess to ask for the king’s magic donkeyskin that literally shits gold. But despite the potential money you can make from it, the king has the donkey slaughtered and presents the skin to the princess. She then decides to run away clothing herself in a donkey’s skin so no one would recognize her.

Next, she travels to a far-away kingdom, takes a menial farm job, and calls herself “Donkeyskin.” While entertaining herself by dressing in her sun golden dress in her hut, a prince passes by and is quite taken with her. In an effort to prove her identity, he requests she bake him a cake, in which he finds the princess’s ring. Then consulting the Cinderella Prince playbook, he announces that he’ll only marry the girl whose finger fits this ring and tries it on every woman in the kingdom. When the ring fits Donkeyskin’s finger, her identity is revealed and the two get married.

Other Versions: The Grimm Brothers had one called “All-Kind-of-Furs.” Some versions have the princess have 3 golden items that she hides in the prince’s soup each morning after a ball. And sometimes she doesn’t see the prince before baking the cake for him. While bowlderized versions have the king wanting his daughter to marry a guy she doesn’t like. One version from the Victorian era just has the donkey drop gold from the ears and makes the princess the king’s adopted or stepddaughter to soften the creepy incest vibe. Sometimes the king is easily forgiven and marries a hot dowager queen (who could be the prince’s widowed mom). Then there’s the primitive version called Doralice by Giovanni Francesco Straparola where the king doesn’t take his daughter’s new marriage to a foreign prince very well at all. In fact, he hides in the castle, kills his grandchildren, and blames Doralice for the crime so she’d be condemned to execution. But the nurse’s testimony exonerates her and the king gets dismembered.
Adaptations: Adapted as “Sapsorrow” in The Storyteller, Deerskin by Robin McGinley, and as a 1970 musical by Jacques Demy. Wikipedia also lists plenty of others.
Why Forgotten: For one, it bears some similarities to Cinderella. Second, a king wanting to marry is daughter is clearly incestuous.
Trivia: N/A

A Treasury of Forgotten Fairy Tales: Part 1 – Adalmina’s Pearl to The Brown Bear of the Green Glen

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Tired of the same old bedtime fairy tale stories every night? Are you a struggling screenwriter desperate for ideas but don’t want to risk a lawsuit? Or are you a producer who doesn’t want to pay for the rights of the source material? If so, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a treasure trove of fairy tales that have been recorded hundreds of years ago. But lately haven’t been as well remembered as the ones you often heard of. Sometimes it’s because they’re utterly messed up. Sometimes they don’t age well. Sometimes they’re from certain countries. And sometimes there’s not really a reason. They’re just overlooked. Anyway, in each installment of this series will bring you 10 of these tales for your reading pleasure. Though some take longer to summarize than others.

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In this first installment, I’ll bring you the first 10 forgotten fairy tales you can enjoy. First, a Finnish tale spoiled rotten princess who gets her comeuppance after losing a key piece of jewelry. Second, an Armenian story about a king who’s so handsome that a queen starts a war to get him, making Gaston look seemingly rational. Third, is a Grimm tale about a man who dons a bearskin and not do anything to his hair for 7 years so the Devil doesn’t get his soul. Next, is an Irish yarn about a 3 brothers and a black knight known for his tall stories. After that, is a French story about a prince who gets turned into a bluebird when he refuses to get married when the wrong girl shows up at the altar. Then we come to a British tale about an Irishman who ventures to the Blue Mountains after meeting a princess while spending a night in a castle. Next, it’s on to a Grimm tale about a tailor who goes from killing flies to killing trolls followed by another Grimm tale about a group of geriatric animals who start a band. Then, we have an Italian story about a boy turned into a deer and a girl who falls victim to attempted murder. And finally, a story about a young man who meets a talking bear, giants, and a sleeping woman he eventually knocks up.

1. Adalmina’s Pearl

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Adalmina’s pearl is basically about a bratty princess who gets her comeuppance after losing a piece of jewelry that makes her hot. Don’t worry, she gets better.

From: Finland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Sakari Topelius.
Best Known Version: The one by Topelius, obviously.
Synopsis: As the only child of a king and queen, Adalmina receives gifts from 2 fairy godmothers. One gives her a pearl that will make her prettier, smarter, and richer every day. The other promises should she lose pearl and all it gives her, she will gain a pure, loving heart in its place. Naturally, the princess grows up to be smarter, prettier, and richer than everyone else. But she is unbelievably proud, vain, selfish, and cold-hearted spoiled brat. And is generally a pain in the ass to everyone but her doting parents. As her pearl is permanently set into a crown that magically grows to always fit her permanently.

One day, Adalmina sneaks out of the castle and comes across a clear forest pond where she loses her crown while admiring her reflection. Instantly, the princess turns into a plain peasant girl in rags and forgets everything about herself. As she aimlessly wanders in the forest, and old lady finds her. Out of pity, she lets her live with her and tend goats. Now possessing a kind and loving heart, Adalmina is grateful for what little the old lady can offer her and is happy to live with her in a humble cottage.

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Here are a couple of pictures of Adalmina after losing her pearl. In one she tends goats. In the other she sews with an old woman in her cottage.

Terrified of their daughter’s disappearance, the king and queen, they send out a message that should a prince or noble successfully find her, he will receive her hand in marriage and half of her dad’s kingdom as a reward. One prince who has heard of Adalmina’s unparalleled beauty and brains, has fallen in love with her from afar and is determined to find her. However, once he travels far and wide and finds that everyone he meets thinks she’s such a brat who should stay lost, he loses interest in the princess after finding her crown in the woods. Tired and lost, he stumbles upon an old woman’s cottage where he stays for a few days before returning to the king and queen with the crown.

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Adalmina arrives to the castle in rags and herding goats. Here you can see the shiny tiara with the magic pearl.

Overjoyed to learn about the crown, the king and queen summon every appropriately aged girl in the kingdom to the castle in order to try it on. As expected, the crown passes from head to head but fits no one. Having enough of this, the prince decides to stay until sunset if the princess isn’t found by then. Yet, just as the sun is disappearing on the horizon, a goat herder girl from the cottage shows up on the road to town. Happy to see her, the prince promises to marry her whether Adalmina is found or not. In the end, the crown fits the girl and she transforms back into the Adalmina everyone knew with all beauty, intelligence, and riches restored. But now that her heart is permanently thawed, she falls to her knees begging forgiveness for every bad thing she’s done. The people rejoice. While the prince and princess are married and live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: Adapted into a Russian opera.
Why Forgotten: It’s well known in Finland, Russia, and Scandinavia, but nowhere else.
Trivia: N/A

2. Ara the Handsome

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Ara the Handsome is about a king who’s so hot that a queen starts a war against him, which ends horribly. Despite that she should just give up and find somebody else, especially if the guy’s married.

From: Armenia
Earliest Appearance: Earliest written records were by the early Christians. Though it’s possible that the pagan Armenians worshipped Ara as a god of war and rebirth. It’s also possible that Ara might’ve been based on King Aramu, first king of Uratu, an empire from the 800-500 BCE that comprised of Turkey and Armenia. While Semiramis might’ve been based on the real life Assyrian Queen Shammuramat, his contemporary.
Best Known Version: The Christian version is the best known.
Synopsis: Hearing of King Ara’s legendary hotness, Assyrian Queen Semiramis is so obsessed with him that she’ll stop at nothing to have him. Hell, she even drove her husband away because of her infatuation. But when she asked to marry the guy, Ara turns her down. Mostly because he already had a wife named Nvard. As a result, Semiramis declares war on Armenia and orders her army to attack the country and bring back Ara alive. Except they don’t since he was killed during the war.

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Here’s King Ara in his procession. He raises his child with his queen. Too bad everything’s about to go to shit.

So in order to calm down the Armenian armies who want to avenge their king’s death and to satisfy her lust, Semiramis tries to use black magic to resurrect Ara. Placing his body upon her castle, she calls on hound spirits to lick his wounds clean and heal him but to no avail. Grief-stricken, Semramis instead had him buried at the mountain’s foot and dressed up one of her lovers as Ara to convince the Armenians that she resurrected him. Thus, the war ended. Aferwards, Semiramis has all but one of her sons killed for mocking her lust for the dead king. Eventually the son grows up to kill her.

Other Versions: Earlier versions have Seramis successfully resurrecting Ara.
Adaptations: Not that I know of.
Why Forgotten: Well, outside Armenia, he mostly is.
Trivia: Armenians see Ara as one of their country’s forefathers.

3. Bearskin

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Bearskin is a Grimm tale about a man who must wear a bearskin outfit and avoid cleanliness for 7 years. Or else the Devil gets his soul. Not surprisingly people don’t seem to like him much.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimm version, naturally.
Synopsis: After leaving the army, a soldier can’t return home or find work. Desperation drives him to make a deal with the Devil who makes a bet with him. For the next 7 years, he’ll carry a purse of gold that’s always full. But he must wear a bearskin and neither pray nor wash or cut his hair within that time. If he survives, he can keep the purse. If he dies, then the Devil has his soul.

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After saving an old man from debtor’s prison, the guy offers Bearskin one of his daughters in marriage. Only the youngest one goes for it though. They fall in love but Bearskin can’t marry her until his ordeal is through.

The soldier spends several years walking the earth, giving to the poor, and asking them to pray for him. One night he rescues an old man from debtors’ prison. In exchange, the man promises the hand of one of his daughters in gratitude. The older 2 reject him, while the youngest accepts knowing that only a good guy would’ve rescued her dad. The soldier gives her half a ring and tells her to wait 3 years for his return. If he doesn’t show up by then, she’s free to marry somebody else.

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Apparently, the old man’s daughters don’t seem to have much interest in Bearskin. After all, he wanders the earth wearing a bearskin outfit and doesn’t cut his hair.

The soldier survives to the end of his term, gains the gold purse, and cleans himself up before visiting the old man again. Everyone but the youngest daughter takes a keen interest in him, especially when he says he’s come to seek a bride. As the older girls pretty themselves up, the soldier shows the younger girl the other half of the ring. They marry and live happily ever after. But the older sisters are eaten alive with envy and kill themselves pleasing the Devil who got a 2-for-1 deal.

Other Versions: Included in Andrew Lang’s The Pink Fairy Book. Some versions have the father about to kill himself before the Bearskin guy saves him. Italian variants include Italo Calvino’s “The Devil’s Breeches” and “Don Giovanni de la Fortuna” in Laura Gonzenbach’s Sicilianische Märchen. Other variants consist of “Hell’s Gatekeeper” and “The Reward for Kindness.”
Adaptations: Adapted into an Americanized version set around the Civil War by Tom Davenport, a Russian cartoon, two operas, and a musical.
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why it’s not made into a Disney movie. Then again, it takes place over some years.
Trivia: Said to have much in common with Beauty and the Beast.

4. The Black Thief and the Knight of the Glen

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The Black Thief and Knight of the Glen is an odd tale since it’s more of a frame story pertaining to 3 guys stuck in a prison cell with the title character. It’s complicated.

From: Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected in Hiberian Tales.
Best Known Version: The one in Andrew Lang’s The Red Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A king promises his dying wife that their 3 sons will never be under another woman’s power. When he remarries, he hides the boys from their stepmother. But she discovers them, and with a pack of cards she got from a henwife, wins a game with the 2 older ones that puts them in her power. However, she doesn’t succeed with defeating the youngest. Yet, when she orders the older ones to return with the Knight of the Glen’s wild Steed of Bells or else lose their heads, he goes with them.

Enter the Black Thief who decides to accompany them. They try to steal a horse, but it neighs and rings its bells. So the knight catches them. He decides to boil them all. First, the boys by age and then the thief. Each time a prince is up, the Black Thief spins a yarn about how he narrowly escaped death from a greater danger. And with each tale he tells, the knight spares each prince one by one.

Yet, his third story pertains to him saving a mom and baby in the forest from a giant, which the old woman confirms as true. She then goes on to say that she was the woman and the knight was the baby. Grateful, the knight pardons the thief and gives him the horse. When they return to the kingdom, the queen is so enraged that she throws herself from a tower and dies.

Other Versions: There’s a variant by Seumas MacManus in The Donegal Wonder Book called “The Steed O’ Bells.”
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: I’m not sure why exactly.
Trivia: N/A

5. The Blue Bird

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The Blue Bird is a French tale of a prince who gets turned into a bluebird because he wanted to marry a different princess than an evil queen wanted. There he meets his beloved princess locked in a tower for the next 2 years.

From: France
Earliest Appearance: Originally published in 1697 by Madame d’Aulnoy.
Best Known Version: Andrew Lang’s English translation in The Green Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A queen dies, leaving her husband and a daughter named Florine behind. The king remarries a single mom with a daughter little older than the princess named Truitonne. Florine grows up to be kind and beautiful. While Truitonne becomes an ugly and selfish bitch. This causes the Queen to become jealous of her stepdaughter and goes out of her way to make the girl miserable. One day Prince (or King) Charming of a neighboring kingdom pays a visit. Despite the Queen and Truitonne’s best efforts, it’s love at first sight between him and Florine. Enraged, the Queen and her daughter persuade the king to lock the princess up in a tower for the rest of Charming’s visit, insisting Florine is ill and needs rest. However, the Queen concedes and has Florine and Charming meet one night where he proposes to her. Or so he thinks because it’s too dark and he can’t see who the hell he’s talking to. And in reality, he’s actually proposed to Truitonne.

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Here the stepsister’s fairy godmother turns the prince into a bluebird. Because the prince didn’t want to marry her and had meant to propose to a different girl.

Luckily, Charming realizes he’s been had at the altar. As a result, he and Truitonne get in an argument, with her insisting he say, “I do.” When he refuses, her fairy godmother Soussio curses Charming for the next 7 years as a bluebird. In his new form, Charming flies to the tower where Florine’s kept prisoner. Now reunited, the lovers spend the next 2 years bonding and keeping each other company through their respective misfortunes. While Charming often flew in with some sort of treasure he’d pass to Florine as a gift. Meanwhile, the Queen tries to find another husband for Truitonne, but to no avail. Frustrated by the task’s futility, she decides to let off steam at Florine in the tower, only to burst in on her and Charming singing together. She also discovers Charming’s gifts to the princess and realizes that her stepdaughter is receiving aid. The Queen recruits a servant girl to keep Florine company, but actually to spy on her and recruit back to her and Truitonne. Fearing Florine’s step-family discovering their secret, she and Charming decide not to see each other for awhile. Only to meet again when they’re sure the spy is asleep. But she isn’t and tells the Queen and her daughter about everything.

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The bluebird visits Florine at her tower. Because the queen in this fairy tale is a bitch and her daughter has her own fairy godmother for some reason.

When Charming isn’t visiting Florine, he’s built a nest for himself in a nearby cypress tree, which the Queen had covered with knives and razors. When Charming flies over, he cuts his wings and falls to the ground. Fortunately, his old sorcerer friend finds him and helps him recover. He even finds Soussio and convinces her to transform Charming back into a man. But on the condition that he’ll only get to be himself again for a few months and he must marry Truitonne during this time. Or else he’ll be transformed back into a bird forever. Oh, and unbeknownst to him, Florine has no way of communicating with anyone outside her tower and doesn’t know of this. So she fears something bad must’ve happened to Charming. One day, the king dies, causing the people to rise against the Queen and eventually kill her. Truitonne seeks refuge with her godmother. While Florine is released from her tower and becomes the new Queen. After appointing a council to run the kingdom, she embarks on a quest to find out what happened to Charming.

Disguised as a peasant, Florine meets an old woman. Impressed by her goodness and devotion, she reveals herself as a fairy. She tells the new queen that Charming has regained true form and has returned to his kingdom. She also gives Florine 4 magical eggs on her journey. When she has to scale a steep ivory mountain, she cracks open the first egg containing good grappling irons. So Florine makes it over the mountain in no time. She then finds a village in a valley with an enormous mirror that shows you only what you want to see about yourself. To avoid giving into the same temptation and the villagers’ wrath if she harms the mirror, she uses the second egg with a dove-pulled chariot. And she uses the chariot to fly to Charming’s castle.

The guards don’t recognize Florine and turn her away. Even worse, since she doesn’t know the complete story, she hears that Charming is to marry Truitonne soon. Disguised as a peddler, Florine bribes her stepsister with the same jewels and gifts Charming had given her while he was a bird. In return, the queen is allowed to sleep in the castle, specifically the “echo room” underneath Charming’s bedroom where he can overhear every word a person says in there. Florine takes full advantage of this, crying as loudly as she could every night and asking for some explanation from her ex. Yet, she doesn’t know that Charming had been taking sleeping potions for insomnia over worrying about her.

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Here Florine tries bribing her stepsister. Though it doesn’t seem to look like it since Truitonne ages quite prematurely that she appears old enough to be Florine’s mom.

Florine opens the third egg containing a mice-pulled chariot she sells for another night in the echo room but Charming can’t hear her. Fortunately, one of the servants does. She opens the last egg, containing a pie with singing birds that she gives to the servant so Charming could hear her next time. The servant keeps his promise and Charming doesn’t take the potion, causing him to hear every word. Florine and Charming finally reunite and after explaining everything that went on, affirm their love. Of course, there’s still Sussio to contend with. Luckily, the sorcerer and Florine’s fairy sponsor promise to keep her at bay. Truitonne tries to protest, but the sorcerer turns her into a pig. Free from their enemies, Charming and Florine marry and live happily ever after.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Perhaps it’s because it was first written by a French aristocratic woman. Other than that I’m not sure. Then again, the story’s pretty weird.
Trivia: A favorite of Jean Paul Sarte.

6. The Blue Mountains
From: UK or Ireland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Andrew Lang in The Yellow Fairy Book but with no bibliographical information.
Best Known Version: The one in Andrew Lang’s The Yellow Fairy Book.
Synopsis: A Scotsman, Englishman, and Irishman, all soldiers, go AWOL together. They’re dying of hunger when the Scotsman sees a castle and goes in without telling the others. An astoundingly beautiful woman feeds him and gives him a bed where he falls asleep. The Englishman follows and gets the same. But when the Irishman comes in, he asks what it all means before eating anything. The woman reveals herself as a princess who can only be saved by a man who stays in a little room from 10:00 till midnight for 3 nights on end. When he does this, he’s severely beaten but the princess revives him.
She disappears. But the Irishman is instructed to stay awake to see her. However, a little boy sticks a pin in his coat, putting him to sleep. He spends 3 years searching for her and is ready to kill himself. Yet, when he draws his sword that she gave him, it tells him that he’d find her in the Blue Mountains. He goes onward. 2 hermits can’t tell him anything while a third commands all the birds in the world. When they arrive, only the eagle knows of the Blue Mountains but is willing to carry the Irishman there. He comes the day she’s forced to marry, gets the hen-wife to bring her to him, and they tie the knot on the spot.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, its origins are obscure that barely anything is known about this fairy tale.
Trivia: N/A

7. The Brave Little Tailor

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A Grimm classic, The Brave Little Tailor is about a tailor who swats some flies and cultivates a fearsome reputation. He then goes off to fight giants.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The Grimms’ version is the best known.
Synopsis: Preparing to eat some jam, a tailor kills 7 flies on it with one blow before making a belt describing the deed and setting out in the world to make his fortune. He meets a giant who thinks he’s a badass from the phrase (which is a joke) before challenging him but the tailor defeats him in his wit. The giant then takes him to other giants and makes plans to kill him in his sleep. But the plan fails as the tailor decides to sleep in a corner since he finds the guest bed too large. Discovering the tailor alive, the giants flee in fear.

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Here the tailor ventures to the land of Giants. Wonder how he’ll get out of this.

The tailor joins the royal service but the guards are afraid of him and appeal to the king to remove him. In response, the king sends him on a series of difficult quests, which involves giants, hostile unicorns, and other hazards armed only with his wit. After completion, he receives half the kingdom and the king’s daughter in marriage. Later, his wife hears him mutter in his sleep that he’s a simple tailor. Though a squire later warns him, he decides to speak of his legendary deeds.

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After defeating giants, the brave little tailor enters the King’s service and is sent on a series of impossible tasks. Armed with only his wit, he succeeds to win the King’s daughter and inherit half the kingdom.

Other Versions: An Italian version has him smacking 500-1000 flies instead of 7. Included in Joseph Jacobs’ European Fairy Tales as “Seven in One Blow,” Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book, and in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ A Book of Giants.
Adaptations: Made into a Mickey Mouse cartoon and musical suite.
Why Forgotten: Well, it’s not quite forgotten but it’s hardly well-remembered.
Trivia: Said to inspire “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

8. The Bremen Town Musicians

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A Grimm classic, The Bremen Town musicians decide to retire, get a house, and start a band. Yet, let’s just say you don’t want to see them in concert.

From: Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Best Known Version: The one by the Grimms.
Synopsis: Since their owners want to kill them for being too old, a group of animals decide to run away and form a band. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, their singing is atrocious. While their first “concert” scares away its audience: a group of robbers stationed at a cottage. The animals settle into the cottage and when the robbers return by night, they accidentally repel them because of the thieves’ superstitious fears. The animals decide to stay there and live happily ever after.

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They may not be good musicians. But at least they don’t need to worry about a security system anytime soon.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: There’s a Soviet animated musical called The Town Musicians of Bremen, Jim Henson’s The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, the German cartoon movie The Fearless Four, the Spanish animated film and TV series Los Trotamusicos, and the Cartoon Network short The Bremen Avenue Experience. There’s even a Richard Scarry version.
Why Forgotten: It’s well-known, especially in regards to cartoons. But it’s still nowhere near mainstream. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t have much of a plot.
Trivia: N/A

9. Brother and Sister

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In the Grimms’ Brother and Sister, 2 kids are driven out of their home by their stepmother and forced to live in the forest. But unlike Hansel and Gretel, the brother turns into a deer.

From: Italy and Germany
Earliest Appearance: Collected by Giambattista Basile in Pentamerone around the 17th century.
Best Known Version: The one collected by the Grimm Brothers.
Synopsis: After their mother’s death, a boy and a girl are mistreated by a wicked witch stepmother that they decide to run away from home and into the forest. In turn, the stepmother enchants the forest streams so that drinking from them will turn the siblings into animals. The girl sees through the trap and talks her brother out of drinking from 2 streams that would’ve turned him into a tiger or a wolf. But when they come to the stream that turns people into deer, he’s too thirsty to care anymore. So he drinks and is turned into a roe fawn. Later, the two find a deserted cottage and decide to live there, fending for themselves in the wilderness. Years have passed when a king and court come hunting in the forest. The brother makes a game for the hunters to chase him before hiding in the cottage that evening. But he’s wounded the second time and leads the hunters to the cottage.

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The girl and her deer enter in a cottage. Despite that the deer is actually her brother as you can notice with the antlers.

On seeing the sister, the king falls in love with her asks her to marry him. She agrees but only if her deer brother can come, too. She’s made queen while her brother resides in the royal gardens. After a while, the sister and the king have a child. But by now, the stepmother has learned that the siblings are still alive. So driven by hate and envy, she plots to destroy their happiness. She has the sister suffocated in a bath house and replaced with her own ugly one-eyed daughter, magically made to resemble her stepsister. But the sister returns as a ghost to look after her baby. This works for awhile until the king recognizes the spirit as his true wife before she’s restored by God. The king executes the witch and the brother turns back into a man. As they all live happily ever after.

Other Versions: A Hungarian version has a much younger sister turn into a deer instead of a brother. Some versions have the brother marry the king’s sister after he turns back into a man. The Grimm version refers the brother as Rudolph and the sister as Rose (and no, I don’t think Rudolph is a red-nosed reindeer). Known as Sister “Alionushka, Brother Ivanushka,” in Alexander Afanasyev’s Narodnye russkie skazki.
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Overshadowed by Hansel and Gretel. I guess the candy house beats boy turned to deer any day of the week. Also, the sister gets suffocated.
Trivia: Often confused with Hansel and Gretel.

10. The Brown Bear of the Green Glen
From: Scotland
Earliest Appearance: Collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the West Highlands.
Best Known Version: Campbell’s version, obviously.
Synopsis: An Erin king sends his 2 older sons to find a cure for his blindness and lameness. Later his youngest son, John goes with them, despite being a fool. He found his brothers in the first town and went on. He meets a talking bear who tells him to stay with giants for 3 nights. While the last giant tells him how to get an eagle to carry him to the land with healing waters. When John gets there, he takes 3 bottles of water along with a bottle of brandy, a loaf of bread, and a wheel of cheese that are always the same no matter how much you ate from them. Oh, and he kisses a sleeping woman (or date rapes her if you want to interpret it). On the way back, John leaves the brandy, cheese, and bread with the giants, but on the condition they give them to his sweetheart if she came. He meets up with his brothers. They try to kill him and leave him loaded onto a rusty iron cart, making him rough skinned and bald.

Meanwhile, the woman gives birth to a baby boy. The henwife gives her a bird that would hop onto the man who’s the kid’s father. She tracks him down and gets the brandy, cheese, and bread back. Reaching the king’s court, all the men line up, but the bird doesn’t jump on them. Asking whether there are others, she’s told that a rough-skinned gillie who worked as a smith. The bird hops on his head, proving that he got the water his brothers had stolen. John marries the woman as his brothers are punished.

Other Versions: N/A
Adaptations: N/A
Why Forgotten: Well, it contains date rape, for one. Though whoever wrote this down didn’t seem to know much on how human reproduction works.
Trivia: N/A

The Final Season of Game of Thrones: Part 3 – Tossups

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Finally, considering the nature of Game of Thrones, are the tossups. Given this is a show where fantasy tropes are subverted and anything can happen, you can’t be sure whether these figures will live or die in the final season. Besides, since we’re getting close to the end, main character plot armor may not be as reliable as in earlier seasons. Hell, even the characters I’ve guessed could live or die may not face their predicted fate. Seriously, who knows what will happen. Though as they say in Hamilton, you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.

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Tormund Giantsbane– as the last real leader of the free folk, Tormund needs to survive to bring them into a new time of peace and prosperity and romance Brienne of Tarth. As a savagely fierce warrior, Tormund has fought tooth and nail against the wights beyond the Wall. But it’s also thoroughly fitting for Tormund to die in battle alongside Jon Snow, the man he’s chosen to follow. Since fighting’s what he knows best and there’s little for him in a ruined world. Hell, we’re not sure if he survived the Night King’s break through the Wall. Since he was last seen standing atop of it. Either way, he’s come painfully close to death plenty of times before. So it can be either way.

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Bronn– as his world’s Han Solo with less moral scruples, he’s a survivor who’s got a knack for picking a winning side in a fight while managing to remain likeable, it would be nice to see him get his own dream castle. However, given how Season 8 will be the show’s most dangerous, it’s a bad time to be a mercenary since a lack of loyalty on one side for money will come back to bite him. One mistake and it can be his life. But since he genuinely cares about others, he’ll be back fighting for the right side no matter how much he’d complain about it or say otherwise. Above all else, Bronn is a man who loves to fight which he’s best at. He may not get his castle (since there won’t be many left by the end), but dying with a sword in his hand seems like a good consolation prize. Nonetheless, even if he fights the wrong side, we’d like to see him live.

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Sandor “The Hound” Clegane– from child-killing Lannister lackey to stalwart defender of the living, The Hound has changed more than almost any character on Game of Thrones. Given his figurative “death” in Season 4 and all the hardships he’s suffered, it would be nice to see him enjoy a peaceful retirement. Assuming if he survives the White Walkers and his undead brother the Mountain. But now he’s weary of the battles he’s had to fight and the people he’s had to fight them for. While there are few people he genuinely cares about, it would make more sense for him to die on the battlefield. Since he may not have a purpose once his brother dies. Though it would be nice for him to have some happiness in his life.

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Brienne of Tarth– as one of the most loyal and honorable characters who will be on the front battle lines against the White Walkers, defending her charges from harm with her fighting prowess and her Valyrian steel sword. Though she’s already filled her purpose in protecting the Stark sisters. On one hand, being noble and true can get you killed on Game of Thrones. On the other hand, since Brienne is so self-sacrificing, killing her off would be a low blow. Besides letting her live will give the opportunity for Jamie Lannister to die in the arms of the woman he platonically loves. Also, I’d like to see her marry Tormund Giantsbane.

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Daenerys Targaryen– as the only character with dragons, she will be an integral part of whatever plan of the living make to take down the army of the dead. Since this is Game of Thrones, the plan won’t go off without a hitch. People close to Daenerys will die and she will be in constant danger. But will the White Walkers take down the Mother of Dragons herself? Given that the show has a reputation of killing off characters who seem like heroes. After all, anyone can go away at any moment.

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Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen)– now that he’s been revealed as Aegon Targaryen, he’ll certainly be important in the endgame. But will he get to rule the Seven Kingdoms or will he nobly die to prevent the Night King from obliterating humanity? Now it’s probably a given that he’ll marry and have a child with Daenerys. Yet, Jon has no problem throwing himself into battle, no matter who the enemy is. From the moment he joined the Night’s Watch, he’s been in dangerous situations every other minute of his life. Since he’s a tested battle commander with more experience fighting White Walkers than anyone living and knows it’s the right thing to do, Jon will lead the army of the living against the army of the dead. Given his plot armor as one of the main characters, he may survive the wars as they come. But his importance to the plot hasn’t always saved him. After all, if it weren’t for Melisandre’s magic, Jon would’ve ended up 6 feet under in Castle Black’s cemetery. And as we get close to the end, Jon’s plot armor may not be as effective as it used to be. Even if he survives the battle, there’s no guarantee he’ll survive the scramble for leadership that will follow. Even more than his uncle, Jon has always tried doing things honorably. And we know how that worked out for Ned. Then again, maybe he’ll combine his claim with Daenerys and let her handle Cersei so he won’t have to die. Of course, given that it’s Game of Thrones, we know nothing.

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Drogon– since hatching from a dragon egg, Drogon has taken part in some of the most important moments of Daenerys’ journey. Since he’s shared a tender moment with Jon Snow after Viscerion’s death, he’s more than a one-dimensional death machine. Drogon and Rhaegal are Westeros’ best hopes for surviving the coming war with the White Walkers. Since things will have to get worse before they get better, one of them may have to go. And given that Drogon is Jon and Dany’s biggest weapon, odds don’t look good.

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Rhaegal– while Drogon got to do all the exciting stuff, Rhaegal usually played second fiddle with his brother Viscerion. If Drogon falls to the White Walkers, Rhaegal can step up to the plate and help Daenerys and Westeros in dire need. But even if he survives the war, his future in a post-Night King Westeros could be in doubt.

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Ghost– sure he hasn’t been seen since the start of Season 6, but he’s implied to be alive though not at his master Jon’s side. Yes, money could be a reason but CGI dragons cost a lot while we’ve seen Arya meet up with Nymeria and her family. Though if a character isn’t on the show, can he really be killed? Let’s hope not. Still, killed or not, expect him to have at least some heroic moments on-screen.

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Davos Seaworth– he’s been clear he’s not a fighter. He’s also an old man and doesn’t have all his digits (or at least finger ends), which makes him less likely to survive the carnage. But with the Night King and his army marching, the Onion Knight may not have a choice but to get the sword and go right at it. Sure he may enjoy Daenerys’ and Jon Snow’s protection as one of Jon’s closest advisors. But the army of the dead won’t care. Should Winterfell fall, Davos may sacrifice himself should things go south, noble soul he is. Since there will be heartbreaking deaths in the series, it’s likely his will tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. And there will be plenty of opportunities for him to bite the dust. Still, it’s possible Davos could survive since he’s lived through the deaths of the 2 men he’s chosen to follow. As the wizened adviser, if he lives, he can go on as Jon or Dany’s right-hand man.

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Arya Stark– a trailblazing in the high stakes world of reparation and murder, a connoisseur of vigilante justice, and a stone-cold, blood-lusting assassin with serious moves. But more importantly, she’s a young woman with a big heart who’s suffered through more loss and pain than most people will deal with in a lifetime. Such losses have left her lost, scared, and forced to carve her own way in the world with little or no guidance from anyone who could’ve served as a nurturing influence in her life. Losing her dad Ned, her mother Catelyn, and her brother Robb have affected Arya deeply and set her on a dark, dangerous path to no return. But when faced with the choice of vengeance or return home, she went back to Winterfell. Sure, she’ll take down a few more. But her arc is about a loss of identity and by prioritizing family, she gave herself a new beginning, not an end. It seems downright foolish to kill her off when she’s got a whole new world of potential. Besides, given that she’s led a life of violence, there are 2 outcomes: either she falls by the sword or settles down to a quiet life and starts a family. As of Season 7, she seems heading toward the latter, especially given that Nymeria’s leading her own pack and that Gendry’s back. On the other hand, given that she puts herself through the most dangerous situations, she also has the least purpose in a post-war Westeros world, aside from having a family with Gendry. So if another Stark child has to die, it will probably be her.

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Podrick Payne– squire to the rich and famous, he’s a magical instrument of pleasure. Podrick may not be overly clever, great with a sword, or even chatty, but he must be doing something right. Since he’s made it to the final season. Lately, he’s been following Brienne while she’s smacked the crap out of him. Besides, he’s so good-natured, affable, and kind-hearted, that we can’t think of who’d want to hurt this guy. Okay, everyone. Still, chances are he’ll survive and get his knighthood, but barely. But once Brienne returns to Winterfell, he’ll be facing the army of the dead and unlike her, he won’t have a Valyrian steel sword to protect himself. So killing him off might make more sense, especially given his ineptitude on the battlefield as well as tug at fans’ emotional heartstrings.

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Yara Greyjoy– since Season 7, she’s been her uncle Euron’s prisoner and is in a lot of danger. So we’ll have to hope that Theon rescues her soon (despite that he’s headed in the wrong direction and that he failed the first time he tried due to PTSD). Then again, she might be dead already since she’s a threat to Euron’s rule. Yet, seeing that seeing Euron emerge victorious is too nightmarish and that Theon seems destined for heroic sacrifice, Yara could be the one Greyjoy to make it out alive.

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Daario Naharis– now that he’s no longer in a relationship with Daenerys, I don’t see him appearing in the show anytime soon. He’ll live since he’ll be running Meereen with the Second Sons, anyway. On the other hand, since Cersei has enlisted the help of the Golden Company from the East and the Second Sons wouldn’t let them invade Westeros unchallenged. So Daario may join the fray with his own band of mercenaries and he may not survive it.

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Hot Pie– the only way he’ll die would be if the army of the dead ransacks the Crossroads Inn and kills everyone there. Still, he probably won’t appear in Season 8 at all. Then again, since the Crossroads Inn is along the Kingsroad in the Riverlands, he’s not really out of the woods. Besides, he doesn’t have any impact on the story anymore.

The Final Season of Game of Thrones: Part 2 – Who Dies

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As it’s said on Game of Thrones, all men must die. But during the show’s final season, some will bite the dust sooner than others. With the army of the dead marching towards Winterfell with an intention to wipe out humanity and Cersei trying to cement her power in the Seven Kingdoms, plenty of characters will not make it. Some will fall to the army of the dead. Minor characters will put on redshirts to show how much danger everyone’s in. Some will get killed in gruesome ways. While some will get what’s coming to them. Nonetheless, expect fans to shed tears on some of them. Because when you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. And even if you win, you won’t be on top for long since you’ll end up dead.

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Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane– given that he’s a giant, intimidating, zombie killing machine who does Cersei’s bidding, he’ll have to swing his sword at someone who matters at some point. When he does, the show will milk it for all it’s worth, especially when he falls. The only question is who’ll take him down and whether he’ll take anyone down with him. Still, if he doesn’t fall to his brother the Hound at Cleganebowl (which will most likely happen since the showrunners have teased it for a couple of years), someone will get him. And it’ll be after Qyburn goes so there will be no way to resurrect him again.

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Ellaria Sand– given now that she was last seen headed for a Red Keep dungeon, she’s probably dead already. Sure Cersei said she wouldn’t let her die even if the guards have to force feed her. But that promise probably isn’t going to stick after she watches her daughter Tyene bite the dust to poison.

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Cersei Lannister– now that she’s sitting pretty on the Iron Throne, she’s been setting herself for a huge fall from the jump, making nothing but enemies and the wrong kind of friends. Daenerys wants her throne and has dragons. Arya’s vowed to kill her for years. The Night King wants to kill everyone. While her brother, lover, and confidante Jamie has abandoned her. Even her allies are dangerous, like Euron who wants to marry her. Furthermore, she’s pregnant, which won’t go well with Euron. For all the evil’s she’s done, Cersei needs to go. Thus, the only question is how many more enemies she’ll have to take down before she bites the dust.

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Melisandre– at 400 years old, she’s got a lot of blood on her hands. Melissandre’s blind devotion to the Lord of Light and belief that she’s saving the world has inspired her to commit terrible atrocities. But in recent seasons, she’s been wrestling with her guilt and it’s difficult to imagine a situation she’d try hard to avoid meeting her maker. Hell, she’s admitted that she’s been ready to die for many years while she’s scared the hell out of Varys by proclaiming they’d both die in Westeros. Though Melisandre is so powerful that it’s hard to picture a mere mortal taking her down, she’s made an enemy of Arya Stark for taking Gendry to Dragonstone. And while we know that Gendry is alive and well after a multi-season absence, Arya thinks Mel killed him and his death must be avenged. While the red witch has assured the two will meet again. If not, then she could sacrifice herself to the White Walkers.

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Theon Greyjoy– now that Ramsay neutered him after he’s made just about every wrong decision he could possibly make, Theon’s only purpose in life is rescuing his sister Yara from his evil uncle Euron. Yet, whether he may succeed is another matter since he failed the first time due to his PTSD and he’s headed in the wrong direction. Sure his betrayal of the Starks have paved way for the Boltons taking over Winterfell, which he’s paid for dearly. Yet, he ultimately helped Sansa escape from her monstrous husband Ramsay. Nonetheless, his story may end in 2 ways. He could die saving Yara and atoning for his sins. Or he could live after Euron and Yara as the last Greyjoy leader of the Ironborn. But more likely, he seems to be on the path to a redemptive death, which will be a fitting end to the unluckiest guy in Westeros.

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Jorah Mormont– despite initially serving Daenerys in order to secure a pardon and return to Westeros, Jorah fell in love with his queen and spent the next 6 seasons by her side. Though considering he’s much older than his Dany, he knew that any romance with her wasn’t going to happen. So he stuck around as her adviser instead. Due to his grayscale things looked bleak for Jorah in Season 7, but a trip to the Citadel and Sam Tarly cured his illness. Only for him to head to the North for a suicide mission before returning to Dany’s side. As a secondary character, his place in the narrative puts him in the crossfire. Since Jorah won’t sit on the sidelines when his queen’s under threat from her many enemies, expect him to become his world’s version of Sidney Carton.

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Edmure Tully– otherwise known as the Groom from the Red Wedding, we’re not 100% if he’d make an appearance. Though with Walder Frey and his heirs dead and being the last Tully to change himself, someone has to fill the leadership vacuum in the Riverlands. Though he might be rotting in Riverrun’s prison dungeon at this point. Still, if he does show up, the show probably wouldn’t gain much from killing him since we don’t know the guy very well. On the other hand, this makes him expendable which isn’t a great thing to be when an army of zombies bears down on you. Nonetheless, the show will need someone to rule the Riverlands after the main conflict is over and Edmure is the prime candidate. Though he has a son who could fill the role. Either way, he’s not much of a fighter and doesn’t have a knack for strategy. But he’s honor-bound to fight with his Stark in-laws against the White Walkers. But unless being stuck in prison has knocked some sense into him, he’s going down.

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Jamie Lannister– though he started the series pushing a kid out the window, he’s slowly morphed into a character we could cheer for. After he’s spent some time with Brienne and got his hand chopped off. At the end of Season 7, Jamie’s headed north to join the fight against the army of the dead, which will be very, very dangerous for a man with one hand. If he survives, he has to deal with his sister. Jamie and Cersei both said they would leave together as they were born. Perhaps he could spend his days with Brienne or alone. But since Jamie has crimes to answer for, he probably can’t escape his fate.

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Varys-he’s an enigma who’s intent on placing a Targaryen on the Iron Throne. But we don’t know whether if he truly cares about the realm or if it’s just a self-serving desire. If he’s an all-seeing altruistic manipulator seeking a peace that will last beyond his own life, he might have a chance at a comfy retirement. But he could just as easily die in the service of it as well. Yet, if Varys is serving his own nefarious purposes, he’s sure to meet an untimely end. After all, he did very little to advance Daenerys’ cause in Seasons 2-4. And in Season 7, Dany threatened to burn the eunuch if he betrayed her. On top of that, Melisandre prophesized his death. “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”

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Grey Worm– we’ve probably seen his death coming for awhile since he’s on the front lines in every engagement. But fighting the undead in the wintry North is different than what he’s used to in combat. Besides, one can only escape death so many times. But don’t feel bad since dying fighting is what he’s prepared his whole life anyway. Also, he has a beautiful love story with Missandei so you’ll be shedding tears on this one.

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The Night King– well, he has to die, doesn’t he? But we don’t really know much about him or his motivations. Perhaps deep down he’s a man who the Children of the Forest turned him into an ice monster against his will and he’s only knocking down the Wall to escape a prison he didn’t deserve. Then again, he could just have no feelings whatsoever. Though most likely Jon will drive Longclaw into his chest. Though it’s possible that he could be driven back or even win.

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Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollet– a fan favorite for his dour wit, friendship with Jon Snow, and a knack for staying alive in a show known for redshirting (killing off minor characters). As of Season 7, new Lord Commander Edd and the remnants of the Night’s Watch are holed up in Castle Black. While the White Walkers have broken through Eastwatch and are heading south. Should the Night King brings his forces to bear on the castle’s unprotected side, the acting Lord Commander and his men might as well be the redshirt army. Sure, Edd has fought wights before, but when the army of dead comes knocking at their door, it’s over. The only way he can avoid death is if anyone summons him before the White Walkers descend on Castle Black or if the army of the dead skips the place entirely.

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Beric Dondarrion– now that Red Priest Thoros died in Season 7, the next time the Brotherhood Without Banners leader dies will be his last. In fact, he’s already dead in the books. A champion of the Lord of Light, Beric has been fighting the Great War against darkness since the series began. Given he’s a walking dead man who’s got nothing left but to live and die for the cause, he doesn’t stand a chance of surviving past victory. Since he’s not a big part of things.

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Euron Greyjoy– with Jamie’s departure and Cersei’s promise of sharing her bed and kingdom, things might be looking up for this Ironborn king. When he returns from Essos with the Golden Company, he’d want to cash in those IOUs. But with the army of the dead along with Daenerys and Jon’s forces, and Yara and Theon still around, Euron’s number coming up. Besides, Cersei doesn’t make the best ally, given what happened to the Tyrells. So it’s only a matter of when Euron will bite the dust and by whom. Since it’s difficult to see such an irredeemable villain being left alive in the end.

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Qyburn– he’s one of those supporting characters who’s been slipping directly under the radar for years since he’s been on the show since the beginning. In the show, he’s saved Jamie from losing his arm, brought the Mountain back to life, and helped Cersei to blow up the Great Sept of Baelor. He may be a quiet man, but he’s got tricks. Given the projected high body count in Season 8, he’s sure to have a great opportunity to examine fallen White Walkers. Still, once he’s hitched a ride to Cersei’s star, he’s destined to fall. Chances are, he’ll stand with her to the last. Maybe the Mountain can hulk out and lash out some poetic justice to his Dr. Frankenstein.

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“Bronze” Yohn Royce– a sturdy secondary character since Season 4, Royce is steely and no-nonsense. But we haven’t really delved into his inner thoughts and feelings. Nor has he ever been the head of his own storyline. Since a clash at Winterfell is inevitable, not every character will survive. Sure a couple major characters will die but not right away. So we must kill off some from the supporting cast and Royce is the ideal candidate. He’s a military commander so it’s all too easy for him to meet the end of a White Walker’s ice spear. Or the writers could surprise us. Since there won’t be much fallout on whether he lives or dies. But chances are good that he dies.

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Visceryon– now that he’s an undead ice dragon who’s broke down the Wall, his destruction has become a top priority for the good of humanity in Westeros and the known world. Chances are, either one his brothers or that giant dragon killing contraption will.

The Final Season of Game of Thrones: Part 1 – Who Lives

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Of course, one of the more important questions of HBO’s Game of Thrones is who’s going to die next? Given that this show has been notorious for killing off major characters we’ve come to know and love as well despise. For God’s sake, the show began with Ned Stark as the main character. Only for King Joffrey to chop off his head just before the first season finale. The list goes on from there. Now some characters did get resurrected like Jon Snow and the Hound. While others got saved in the nick of time like Jorah Mormont. However, given that the show’s approaching the end, the stakes have been substantially raised. So it’s only fair that I make my own list on who will survive the series or who will die in the final season.

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Note: Most of these will be guesses based on what I know about each surviving character in the show and what may happen in Season 8. So take each with a grain of salt. Also, if you haven’t made it to Season 7, there will be spoilers.

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Given that Game of Thrones is infamous for killing off characters, we should expect some to make it through the series alive. After all, even as everything goes to hell, some will have to stand. The ending may not what we want, but after the White Walkers and Cersei is gone, people will have to roles to play in the Seven Kingdoms. Some have reasons to survive. While with others, there’s no way they’ll be in the thick of the action, especially against the army of the dead.

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Jaqen H’gar– since he hasn’t been on the show since Arya left the House of Black and White to Westeros, he’ll probably live since she didn’t kill him in Braavos. Yet, remember those who live by the sword die by the sword. But he’s not likely to get it since we won’t be seeing him again.

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Sansa Stark– past the Long Night and into the future of Westeros, she’s one of the only major characters with the political savvy to lead what will be left of the Seven Kingdoms after the Great War has ripped them to shreds. Throughout Season 7, Sansa grew as a ruler demonstrating empathy, humility, and dedication to her role and her family. Along the way, she gained the respect of the Northern lords and bannermen, and the lord of the Vale. Sansa’s title as Lady of Winterfell isn’t just her birthright, but one she’s earned. This season, she was the only person in power to tackle the mundane, everyday tasks that are essential to a functioning household and kingdom. When she wasn’t busy spurning Littlefinger’s advances, Sansa was seldom seen without a ledger or other such documents in hand, showing that leadership isn’t just about battles, but also organization and community. She asked questions to the lords in order to improve her own knowledge, and made suggestions for how to better their circumstances as she prepared Winterfell for the Northerner influx she expects to host before war hits. Essentially, Sansa knows the threats surrounding all sides and she prepares accordingly. Once the Long Night is over, this is exactly the sort of leadership Westeros will need.

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Samwell Tarly– since he doesn’t get his hands dirty, abhors violence of any kind, and would rather run from a fight if he can avoid it, he’ll certainly survive. Besides, he has a family now and will be happy to assist in the evacuation efforts before the armies clash. But more importantly, Sam needs to survive so he can tell the story of A Song of Ice and Fire. While he’s the most unlikely and perfect survivor as the intelligent, loyal, and often overlooked character who comes great in the end. Still, there’s no telling what will happen at the Citadel when the Maesters find out he stole all those books, which will be more than revoking a library card. Also, he’ll unquestionably sacrifice his life to save Gilly and Sam if need be.

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Gilly– all Gilly has done in this show is try to get away from her abusive family and support Sam. Yes, I know Game of Thrones may be tempted to kill her or her son off since they’re totally innocent people in a danger zone, but seeing them die would just seem callous. Besides, being Little Sam’s mother and in a relationship with Sam, she’s the link to make the show’s most functional family. One family has to endure.

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Bran Stark– considering that he got flung from a tower in the first episode, it’s such a feat that he’s made it to Season 8 at all (though Meera Reed should get a lot of credit for that). For the first time in years, Bran is formally ensconced in Winterfell as well as surrounded by friends and family. But given that an undead army led by a dragon-riding ice demon’s heading south, he’s not out of the woods yet. However, Bran’s foresight power could give him and the army of the living an advantage in the wars to come. He’s incredibly focused in the fight to the point where he’s tuned out all human emotion. For now, that’s a good thing. The last Three-Eyed Raven lived for an incredibly long time, Bran will likely follow suit. And at least he’ll know that it doesn’t end in the hands of the Night King.

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Tyrion Lannister– he’s unlikely to be in the line of fire since he’s more of a battle strategist than a fighter since he won the major battle for the Lannisters during the War of the Five Kings. Furthermore, unlike in Season 2, he’s likely to be planning and organizing behind the scenes. So he’ll be safer than most. Besides, he needs to be around to advise the new regime once the Night King and Cersei are gone. And as the series wraps up, Tyrion is perfect to give the narrative weight and the God-given eloquence to give a believable speech summing everything up. Besides, he’s such a fan favorite that fans have sworn they’d stop watching the show if he’s killed off. So he needs to live.

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Robin Arryn– given that he’s a sickly child who usually spends most of his time in a castle up on the mountains, he’ll be fine. Though with White Walkers on the prowl, we can’t be sure of anything.

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Archmaester Ebrose– unless the army of the dead directly threatens the Citadel or he succumbs to natural causes, Ebrose will be fine. Besides, he’ll most likely not appear in the final season at all.

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Gendry– now that he’s back fighting the White Walkers, there’s no point of killing him off. He’s the last true Baratheon (biologically speaking since he’s a bastard), it’s possible that Daenerys could legitimize him and give him a big promotion so he could marry one of the Stark girls (though more likely Arya unless she dies). It would be cruel to kill him off after returning to the show so soon. Seeing him still standing will be a nice sign of how history repeats itself and things come full circle, which are recurring themes in the show. Seriously, after all the misery we’ve seen, there needs to balance some happiness.

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Nymeria– after years in the wilderness, we finally see her meet with Arya in Season 7. But now she’s the leader of her own pack and we hope she’s too busy raising a new litter of pups to get involved in human affairs. Though it’s possible she could die saving Arya from a mortal blow.

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Little Sam– all little Sam has done was be a baby while we’ve seen at least one baby fall to the White Walkers already. Killing him or his mom of off would just be exploitative though killing innocents might be a way to drive home the life-or-death stakes in a war against the dead.

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Missandei– though she’s been in the show for years, we don’t know her very well and she hasn’t been vitally important to the ongoing plotlines. So she’s more expendable than most, which isn’t a great thing to be. Redshirting one of Daenerys’ oldest friends would emphasize out heroes’ dire circumstances. But Daenerys can still do everything she wants with or without Missandei’s help. On the other hand, the show would have to go out of its way to put Missandei into any life-threatening danger. While she’s following her queen into a war, she’s not on the front lines. So her death may come off as a shock and it would be better off not happening. She’s more likely to survive. Hell, she might be democratically elected ruler of Meereen after the war is over since she’s proven to be an intelligent, insightful, and capable leader in her own right.

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Lyanna Mormont– she may only be ten, but this lady of Bear Island is the only character everyone’s afraid to cross since she possess the same might as men twice her age and her size. Nor is she afraid of being on the front lines and call everyone for battle training. But a battlefield is no place for a child and Lady Mormont might put herself in serious danger unless her Bear Islanders can protect their endearing grizzly. Nonetheless, killing this pint-sized spitfire and fan favorite would be cruel and won’t advance the plot. Besides, fans were not happy when Stannis let Melissandre burn Shireen at the stake as a sacrificial offering that went nowhere. Not to mention, there’s something quite delightful in seeing so many hardened warriors die but a plucky little girl survive.

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Meera Reed– the daughter of Ned Stark’s most trusted bannerman, Howland Reed, Meera has stuck through the gravest dangers with Bran, which left her brother Jojen, Hodor, Summer, Leaf, and the Three-Eyed Raven dead. She fought off White Walkers and brought Bran to the outer reaches of Beyond the Wall, doing what no one else could all in the memory to her dead brother. Hell, Bran would’ve been dead if it weren’t for her. Fortunately, she’ll be safe at Greywater Watch which isn’t worth the trouble to try and conquer it since it’s in a swamp. So the only threat facing it are the White Walkers. Thus, Meera’s most likely fate would be staying gone without further mention. Still, she could get the Blackfish treatment of being reintroduced to be unceremoniously killed off by White Walkers, possibly offscreen. Since the series has a habit of killing off characters who’ve outlived their usefulness to the plot. Though she may have a role to play should Howland Reed show up to save the day. But that’s unlikely.

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Aeron Greyjoy– a Drowned Man who’s also Euron’s brother as well as Theon and Yara’s other uncle, Aeron doesn’t really involve himself much in dynastic squabbles on the Iron Islands. And since he’ll have to preside over at least 2 funerals in the final season, I’m betting he’ll most likely survive. Yet, the question is whether he’ll be the only Greyjoy standing.

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Roslin Tully– she may be the infamous Walder Frey’s daughter and the bride at the Red Wedding. But given that her niece Arya Stark murdered the men in her family and has a son to raise, she’ll probably be fine. Though she might need to find a hiding place since a lot of battles take place in the Riverlands. Besides, we’ll probably never see her again anyway.

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Kitty Frey– as Walder Frey’s last wife and a teenager, Arya Stark spared her life so she could tell others that the North remembers. Nonetheless, given that she was forced into a marriage to an old treacherous man, Kitty will most likely not seek revenge against her husband’s assassin and will certainly live. Since we’re unlikely to see her again. Besides, Arya did her a favor.

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Melessa Tarly– as Sam’s mother, she’ll probably be in mourning for her husband and son who Daenerys had burnt to a crisp in Goldroad. Still, as long as she doesn’t leave her home at Horn Hill or the White Walkers don’t come knocking at the door, she’ll be fine.

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Talla Tarly– given that her brother and father are dragon ashes and her brother is a Maester in the Night’s Watch, she’ll be the Lady of Horn Hill and head of her family. So as long as she doesn’t leave home with an army or have any White Walkers show up, she’ll be fine.

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Tycho Nestoris– working for the Iron Bank of Braavos, he’ll probably not visit Westeros very often except when someone owes him money, he’ll be fine. Unless Cersei goes batshit crazy and has him put to death. Though that’s unlikely given the bank is in Braavos. What’s questionable is whether he’ll get paid.

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Orell– okay, he’s got killed off before as a Wildling. But he still lives on as warg in an eagle. So he can expect to spend the rest of his life in the forest settling down with an eagle family of his own. Thus, he’s unlikely to appear in his new form.

The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 14 – Qarth

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Finally, we go to the eastern trading hub of Qarth, a mercantile city that boasts one of the greatest ports in the world. Separated from land-based travel from the Red Waste, the Qartheen use their strategic position to conduct brisk maritime trade with merchants of every land between Westeros and Asshai. Defended by immense stone walls and strong gates, the Qartheen tend to be kind of snobbish to travelers. Specifically, they have a reputation of barring entry to those who don’t meet their approval. And due to Qarth’s isolation entry denial often spells doom for travelers since their bones are often found around their walls. Fortunately, Daenerys isn’t one of these unwelcome visitors. Though she does lose her cool when someone steals her dragons from her at the Warlock-ruled House of the Undying.

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Location: South of the Red Waste and in a narrow strait between the 2 continents of Westeros and Essos.

Size: It’s not incredibly large.

Capital: The Hall of a Thousand Thrones

Climate: Tropical.

Environment: A coastal city oasis surrounded by desert.

Resources: It’s more of a trading center of exotic goods than anything else.

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Population: It’s possibly one of the most populous cities in the world whose inhabitants call “the Greatest City that Ever Was or Will Be.”

Key Cities: N/A

Culture: The society is built on skill of business and trade. Ruled by a council of merchants called the Thirteen. Merchants who aren’t Pureborn and The Qartheen look down on foreigners and close doors to let anyone they don’t like die in the Red Waste. People are known to wear extravagant outfits to show off their fabulous wealth.

Religion: Various religions are practiced.

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Great House: N/A

Vassal Houses: N/A

History: An independent city state once ruled by the Kings of Qarth before they were deposed. Later ruled by The Thirteen, a council of Pureborn nobles and merchants. Any non-Pureborn member of the Thirteen must appear wealthy and powerful before the other members or else be quickly removed and replaced.

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Current Status: All of its leaders are dead as of Season 2, which would be detrimental to its economy. We don’t know what’s happened to the city since.

Best Known for: Its port is one of the greatest in the world, which opens to trading centers further east. Defended by immense stone walls and strong gates.

Home of: Xara Xhoan Daxos, Quaithe, Pyat Pree, and The Spice King.

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Landmarks: There’s the Hall of a Thousand Thrones and the House of the Undying.

What to Avoid: Stay out of the grounds round the city called the Garden of Bones, where unfortunates are said to die. Also, don’t mess with the magic using Warlocks who sport blue lips and rely on shade of the evening.

For Those Who Want to Visit: Don’t be surprised if people close their doors to you. But you’ll probably be staying at an inn, anyway. If there’s an inn available.

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