First off, is “anachronism” the right word? That’s more about something not being in its right time, not in its right universe. For example, when they use modern slang in a show like Downton Abbey, THAT is an anachronism. This is more that something from our universe has slipped over into the Game of Thrones universe. Regardless, it’s out of place.
I first noticed this in Dynamite’s Game of Thrones #2 comic book, after Robert has asked Ned to be the Hand of the King. Ned and Catelyn make the beast with two backs, and then discuss their options, and Ned says the following. Please note that I’ve cut out the ass and nipple from the panel because this is a family friendly blog (most of the time). Anyway, so Ned says:
And it’s in the book as well:
The anachronism in question is the bit about “I never asked for this cup to pass to me.” When we talk about a cup passing, we’re actually making a specific reference. Most of us probably don’t know it because it’s just become an expression now, but it’s from the Bible when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane praying about how he would really rather not be crucified. This is from Matthew 26:39, in the King James version just to be classy:
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
Yes, there’s a difference with “to” and “from”, but still it’s very close. And the meaning is exactly the same. The “cup” is a terrible burden that the bearer doesn’t want to take on but has to. For Jesus it was that crucifixion situation and for Ned it was going to King’s Landing to be the Hand. Now that I think about it, most people would probably rather be crucified than have to hang out with Joffrey.
The problem is that, as far as I know, Jesus didn’t go and die for the sins of Westeros. Crucifying a monotheistic hippie totally sounds like something Arys Targaryen would’ve done, but I don’t think it’s really a part of that universe. They certainly haven’t mentioned the Bible yet, and that’s where this expression comes from. So I call anachronism!! Or whatever the cross-universal equivalent is. Anacosmosism maybe?
I’m not too worked up about it, since the books are SUPER awesome and all, but maybe George R.R. Martin could reword that in future editions. OR work a sweet legend about an unpleasant cup passing to someone into The Winds of Winter so that the line in Game of Thrones gets retconned into an actual Westerosi reference. That would be cool too.
Either way, if you know George R.R. Martin, get him on the horn and let him know that this anacosmosism (I’m liking that word) has slipped between the cracks of our universes.