Does Game Of Thrones Have Any Historical Parallels? I Oxford Open Learning

    Game of Thrones

    Does Game Of Thrones Have Any Historical Parallels?

    While the Game of Thrones prequel, the House of the Dragon, has not reached the TV phenomena status of Game of Thrones, its second season is certainly capturing attention.

    What has been so captivating about the Game of Thrones magical-realistic universe is that the period-drama element has been inspired by real historical events. The author G R.R. Martin has confirmed the many intentional parallels between fictional characters and events in Game of Thrones and real historical figures and happenings.

    Real Wars Of The Roses And The Fictional War Of Five Kings

    The Wars of the Roses was a series of bloody battles between rival Royal families, principally the Yorks (With a House emblem being a White Rose) and the Lancasters (whose emblem was a Red Rose), in competition for the throne of England between 1455 and 1485. This resonates with the Game of Thrones’ War of the 5 Kings, which was an asymmetrical battle for the fictional Iron Throne between the Baratheons, Starks, the Greyjoys, and even the Lannisters, taking place over several years.

    Joffrey Baratheon And The Bloodthirsty Edward Of Lancaster

    Love or loathe the sociopathic character and illegitimate heir Joffrey Baratheon, he is thought to be inspired by the bloodthirsty Edward of Lancaster, who was thought to be the illegitimate son of King Henry V, who wed the ruthless Margaret of Anjou, herself resembling Queen Cersei in Game of Thrones.

    Hadrian’s Wall And The ‘Wall’ Of Game Of Thrones

    G R.R. Martin has acknowledged that the great ice wall in the north was inspired into being during a visit to Hadrian’s Wall (remains in our north that still stand are pictured).

    The Red Wedding And The Black Dinner

    During the War of the Five Kings a bloody massacre takes place during a wedding orchestrated by the Starks and the Freys to help cement a strategic alliance of armies. The Freys renege on the deal (choosing to side with Stark’s enemies) and slaughter the unsuspecting Stark contingent of the wedding in cold blood. It’s pretty graphic! This has been likened to the Black Dinner, an event in late medieval Scotland where the heads of the Douglas Clan were invited to dine with King James II, during which a black bull’s head was placed on the dining table, which signified death. They were dragged from the court, falsely labelled as traitors, and executed.

    The Horse-backed Dothraki And The Mongol Empire

    Again, R.R. Martin has admitted that the Dothraki, the roaming, horse-backed warrior clan were inspired by the Mongols, who drove westward from Central Asia during the 13th century.

    Whilst there may be other historical parallels but these are the ones George R.R. Martin has spoken most explicitly about.


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