Game of Thrones has become one of the highest grossing and most popular TV shows of all time. Based on the book series “A song of Ice and Fire” by American author George RR Martin which are still being written (whereas the TV show has completely overtaken in terms of plot progression) The series has been expertly adapted onto our screens by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.
The series takes the traditional good vs evil, light vs dark trope and turns it completely on its head. With no real defined purely “Good” or purely “Evil” characters, just many shades of grey in-between. It also follows a huge array of different characters and storylines, we start by loathing characters who we later come to love and in turn rooting for characters who go on to do some morally dubious things… to say the least.
With season 7 of Game of Thrones now aired in full, Evade are going to take a look at some of the most fascinating and undeniable links between real life history, and the world of a Game of Thrones. As creator George RR Martin is fond of saying “history is stranger than fiction” So here are some of the most interesting links to real history, in this case an English civil war, that helped create the masterpiece we all know and love from earlier seasons.
SPOILERS AHEAD (Duh!!)
The Wars of the Roses and The War of the Five Kings
Perhaps the most compelling parallel between English history and the plot of Game of Thrones is the Wars of the Roses. The main players in the Wars of the Roses where the Lancasters (Lannisters) and the Yorks (Starks)
In the show the war of the five kings is a civil war which engulfs all of Westeros. It began after the death of King Robert Baratheon I. In-fighting over the succession of the throne, which was tied in to, as we all now know, the illegitimacy of the character we all loved to hate, Joffrey ‘Baratheon’ (who is in-fact, along with his siblings the child of Jaime Lannister) who immediately took the throne following his father's death.
This civil war is something inspired heavily by the Wars of the Roses. Fought back in 1455 - 1487 Medieval England, also following the death of a leader, King Edward III. Likewise the succession of the English throne was hotly disputed, amongst the King's brothers and led to English Civil war between the Lancasters and Yorks. (Just as we see in the show, with Renly and Stannis Baratheon both brothers of the now late Robert I, claiming right to the infamous ‘Iron Throne’ all the while fighting with the Yorks (mirrored in the show as Stark's, with the ‘King in the North’ Robb Stark.
Margaret of Anjou was French nobility who married Henry Lancaster for mutual political gain. She can be seen on screen as Cersei Lannister. Both people are described as “beautiful, ruthless and ambitious” Margaret of Anjou helped get Rickard Yorks head on a pike. The same happens to our season 1 protagonist Ned Stark (mirror of Richard York), although this was more down to the new King Joffrey, the similarities are still striking. After his father dies, Edward York is named King Edward IV. In the show this is directly mimicked by Robb Stark who is hailed “King in the North” and raises an army against the Lannisters. As in reality with Edward York taking an army to the Lancasters.
King Edward IV of the Yorks made a tragic mistake. He broke a promise to marry a French princess to marry a ‘commoner’ that he fell in love with which alienated much of his support. Likewise King Robb of the Starks, makes a tragic mistake by breaking a promise to marry a woman from an (arguably) noble house, house Frey, in favour of a lowbown he fell in love with. In a Game of Thrones this leads to one of the most iconic TV plot twists ever aired, where the entire Stark family is betrayed and brutally slaughtered at what became known as “The Red Wedding”
The Lannisters and Starks have a tendency to get very stabby stabby and heads on pikes toward each other. As did the Lancasters and Yorks. Of course today we have Lancaster and Yorkshire as regions within the UK. Speaking of the UK…..
Yeah...I think it's pretty clear what good old George RR Martin did here. Westeros is quite literally the UK flipped upside down, with Ireland thrown in for good measure. We see what you did there George. We see. There are of course a lot more parallels to be drawn, but those can be saved for another article. These include the Roman conquest of England (Think the Targaryen conquest of Westeros) and this also ties in nicely with Hadrian’s wall designed to keep out, what the Romans saw as the barbaric native Scottish. “The Wall” in the show keeps out the ‘barbaric’ wildlings and the others.
There are now just 7 episodes left unaired of Game of Thrones, to wrap up the storylines and tie up any loose ends. Although fans will rejoice to know that a rumour still persists, that HBO might be creating a prequel show, to a Game of Thrones. By the old Gods and the new, we hope this is true!