December 10, 1317

On December 10, 1317, King Birgir of Sweden pulled some Game of Thrones action called the Nykoping Banquet. King Birgir of Sweden invited his two older brothers, Valdemar, Duke of Finland and Eric, Duke of Sodermanland to his castle at Nykoping to celebrate Christmas at a big multi-day banquet. As a little back history, seven years earlier, the two older brothers tried to stage a coup against Birgir, called the Hatuna Games, but failed. Seven years later, the three brothers were getting along better, as strong armies make good neighbors, or at least keep your neighbors from invading, and King Birgir and his wife Queen Marta decided to invite Valdemar and Eric to a banquet to show that bygones were bygones. Well, 36 hours in on the drunken feast, Birgir had his bailiff walk in with a company of crossbowmen and manacle Valdemar and Eric and throw them into the dungeon. Where were Valdemar’s and Eric’s guards? Most of them were lodged in the town, not the castle, because Birgir told the brothers there wasn’t enough space for them inside the castle itself. The next morning the brothers’ retinues were also apprehended. Valdemar and Eric were thrown into the dungeon, where Birgir went to taunt them. It is said that he even told them, “Do you remember the Hatuna Games? I’ve never forgot them.” He then and went and threw their cell key into the Nykoping River and Valdemar and Eric slowly starved to death. It should be noted that a large medieval key was found near the castle during the 19th Century. But this wouldn’t be the end of it. It turns out that the people of Sweden liked Valdemar and Eric better and a rebellion happened in 1318 which forced Birgir to flee to Denmark, where he died in exile three years later. Also, Eric’s toddler son, Magnus, was named King and he ruled Sweden for over 40 years. See, I told you this was some real Game of Thrones action.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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