Winterfell or Vermont
"You know... there is an infographic going around comparing Westeros to the United States," a friend mentioned to me after we had just binged watched the first season of Game of Thrones©.
He continued, "Los Angeles would be Kings Landing... and Winterfell is up in New England. Probably Vermont or Maine."
I did not think about this conversation for years until I recently saw a commemorative plaque and statue at the Bennington Battle Monument, located in the small Southern Vermont town of Bennington.
The plaque stated:
Brigadier General John Stark
Victory of the Battle at Bennington 1777
What caught my eye, was the name of the general: John STARK.
Hmmm… A leader named Stark here in Vermont. Maybe there are some similarities between Vermont and Winterfell.
Is it possible that Ned Stark of Winterfell from the Game of Thrones' fictitious land of Westeros could be based on the Revolutionary War hero John Stark from Bennington, Vermont?
The first thing I did when I got home was look for the graphic my friend had described, but unfortunately, I was not able to find it, nor any comparison between the United states and Westeros.
This was enough to inspire me to make a list of all the ways Vermont could be Winterfell, in addition to John Stark and a ski shop called Winterfell.
We spend the entire year saying "Winter is Coming", except we say it with joy and excitement as opposed to dread and fear.
We are joyfully isolated from the hustle and bustle of other busier cities.
Vermont has a noble and ethical leader who is headed to the capital to improve the way government is run (though I pray he thrives in his mission much better than his fictitious Game of Thrones counterpart. I think he will because he seems much more gung-ho than Ned Stark ever was.)
We share a border with the “free folk” aka Wildlings in Canada.
Horses are a common form of transportation (in Wilmington, check out Flame Stables for horseback riding and Brookside Stables for carriage and pony rides.
We watch birds like Bran watches the one-eyed raven. In fact, Wilmington has a number of Bald Eagles nesting locally and are frequently spotted by visitors.
Vermont and Winterfell both have forests and LOTS of it.
Vermont and Winterfell are both in the northern part of their country.
That’s all I could come up with until I was strolling through the center of Wilmington with my dog.
As I arrived in front of The Crafts Inn, I looked up at a statue and smiled, because I had forgotten the most obvious clue of all.
I am so used to seeing Molly Stark’s name (wife of John Stark) all over Southern Vermont that I had completely forgotten to put her at the top of the list.
Everywhere you turn in Southern Vermont you will see Molly’s name.
Rt. 9 is the Molly Stark Scenic Byway.
Travel a few miles east of Wilmington and you are at Molly Stark State Park.
Even the Natural History Museum of Southern Vermont has a bald eagle named Molly Stark.
It is no wonder that I have subconsciously connected Winterfell to the Deerfield Valley.
Now it is your turn…
Am I missing anything? Are there any other similar characteristics between Southern Vermont and Winterfell?
Please leave your comments here!
Leslie Lello is a photographer, documentary director, writer and photojournalist living in the Southern Vermont.
Some of her clients include ZocDoc.com, Party Earth, Portrait Simple and North Jersey Media Group.
She splits her time between the New York Metropolitan area and Southern Vermont.
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