History and Game of Thrones

May 2017
1,201
Syria
#1
S1 to S7 spoilers.

Now let's just state the obvious; the world never witnessed dragons, an invasion of frozen zombies, and years long winters. But there are plenty of more-than-subtle similarities between George RR Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' and world history.

For example, Westeros in itself largely resembles 15th century Britain. The first three books and the Stark-Lannister conflict appear to be based on the War of the Roses and the York-Lancaster conflict, and links can be drawn from many, many features in the book and show to history.

But since it's no news that George RR Martin takes loads of inspiration from history in his world building and story telling, it isn't unlikely that he also took the same inspiration for his characters. He obviously did a great job writing the books and creating the characters, who obviously aren't gonna follow anyone's life story, but it's quite easy to spot parallels between history and fiction and match the characters with corresponding historical figures.

-Robert Baratheon for me corresponds to both Henry VII and Henry VIII of England. Robert was a fit, handsome and desirable charming man (like Henry VIII in his early years) who won the throne which he claimed through his maternal lineage (like Henry VII..) before turning into a fat lecherous drunkard, much like Henry VIII in his later years.
-Cersei Lannister for me seems like a mixture of Margaret d'Anjou and Catherine de Medici, but personally I see her more as the latter. Both were born into rich families, both were married off to kings, both were ruthless and paranoid monarchs who were the real power in their kingdoms, and both heard prophecies of their children's deaths. Obviously Cersei is one of the show's most interesting characters and my personal favorite.
-Tywin Lannister and Edward I. Both were intimidating, ruthless and domineering men who although not loved, were greatly respected and feared by their subjects who they ruled with an iron fist. Both also were extremely faithful and devoted to their wives, whom they loved dearly, and both were deeply affected by their deaths, as well.
-Petyr Baelish corresponds to Thomas Cromwell. Both were lowborn men who rose to royal courts and became powerful and influential courtesans famed for their cunning ways and shifting alliances. Both were executed after falling out of favor.
-Sansa Stark as Elizabeth I. Okay I know this is relatively far fetched but hear me out; both are the redhead daughters of publicly executed so-called traitors, both had a hard time as the disgraced daughters of traitors, both had to contend with older men, Sansa with Littlefinger and Elizabeth with Thomas Seymour, and both became queens, Elizabeth of England and Sansa of the North. Now this is slightly far fetched because we are yet to see more similarities between her and Elizabeth as we are yet to see more of her reign to form a direct opinion.

So, anything more to add? I'd be glad to hear what you have to say.
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#3
The Lannisters are similar to the Woodvilles; lots of money and influence , and a family most dislike. Cersei is Elizabeth Woodville. Ned Stark is the Richard III that let the princes live rather than becoming king himself. Littlefinger is Hastings the scheming powerful lord whose loyalty depends on who is in charge. Going out on a bit of a limb here, but Jaime could be Edward IV (he kind of IS marroed to Cersei ie Elizabeth Woodville) and his brother the misshapen, misunderstood Tyrion as Richard III , who allegedly killed Jaime/Edward's son Edward V/Joffrey (who in both GoT and real life was claimed to be a bastard)

They are a mix of these characters, but undoubtedly based on/inspired by the Wars of the Roses, except rather than just the Houses of Lancaster and York we now have several more - plus dragons!
 

Offspring

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
7,774
România
#4
From GRRM: https://grrm.livejournal.com/263800.html?thread=15365240#t15365240

The Dothraki were actually fashioned as an amalgam of a number of steppe and plains cultures... Mongols and Huns, certainly, but also Alans, Sioux, Cheyenne, and various other Amerindian tribes... seasoned with a dash of pure fantasy. So any resemblance to Arabs or Turks is coincidental. Well, except to the extent that the Turks were also originally horsemen of the steppes, not unlike the Alans, Huns, and the rest.

There do exist many other cultures and civilizations in my world, to be sure. The peoples of Yi Ti have been mentioned, as have the Jogos Nhai. I am not sure to what extent those peoples will ever enter this present story, however... their lands are very far away.

(I also have peoples and tribes that are pure fantasy constructs, like the Qartheen and the brindled men of Sothoryos).

In general, though, while I do draw inspiration from history, I try to avoid direct one-for-one transplants, whether of individuals or of entire cultures. Just as it not correct to say that Robert was Henry VIII or Edward IV, it would not be correct to say that the Dothraki are Mongols.

IMNSHO, anyway.
 
May 2017
1,201
Syria
#6
The Lannisters are similar to the Woodvilles; lots of money and influence , and a family most dislike. Cersei is Elizabeth Woodville. Ned Stark is the Richard III that let the princes live rather than becoming king himself. Littlefinger is Hastings the scheming powerful lord whose loyalty depends on who is in charge. Going out on a bit of a limb here, but Jaime could be Edward IV (he kind of IS marroed to Cersei ie Elizabeth Woodville) and his brother the misshapen, misunderstood Tyrion as Richard III , who allegedly killed Jaime/Edward's son Edward V/Joffrey (who in both GoT and real life was claimed to be a bastard)

They are a mix of these characters, but undoubtedly based on/inspired by the Wars of the Roses, except rather than just the Houses of Lancaster and York we now have several more - plus dragons!
Yes, the Lannister/Woodville connection makes a lot of sense. I see that now!
 
Aug 2015
2,359
uk
#8
Onestly I think that King Robert is directly inspired by Constantine. Both great figures in the youth, both great disappointments and followed by civil wars.
Imho Robert is closer to Edward IV. He marries into a rich and upcoming family the Woodvilles (Lannisters). His 'brother' (in this case Ned = Richard III) helps him win the throne and becomes his protector in the North. Upon Edward IV/Robert's unexpected death it comes to light that his heir (Joffrey/Edward V) is a bastard. Whereas Ned doesn't take the throne, Richard did.

Did I say in a previous post that Tyrion was Richard and Jaime was Edward IV? Yes I did, because the real characters are a mix of the fictional ones.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#9
The analogy between the Baratheon brothers and the sons of Richard of York seems obvious to me. Robert is the young, powerful, handsome (his physical description even appears to be based off Edward IV, both as a young man and as going to seed later in life) and charismatic eighteen-year old military leader who leads a rebellion and becomes King. Stannis is the militarily and administratively competent middle brother who lacks the older brother's natural charisma and finds himself at war with his sister-in-law's family, and ultimately murders his nephew for the throne. Renly is George of Clarence, the somewhat unreliable youngest brother whose ambitions outweigh his ability, and resembles his eldest brother rather than the middle in appearance and temperament.
 

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