The Wall in Game of Thrones does have a link to Great Britain. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Martin admitted that the initial inspiration came from Hadrian’s Wall, which sits on the border between England and Scotland. It was the wall built during the time of the Romans as they attempted to take over the whole of the United Kingdom.
It has been long expected that The Wall has a link to British history. There are many other aspects of the show that seem to have been developed from the inspiration of British history. One of those is the main storyline of the war for the throne of Westeros. It is very similar to the Wars of the Roses, which took place between 1455 and 1485, although saw battles beforehand that led to the First Battle of St. Albans.
The author of the Songs of Ice and Fire series has never quite admitted that the inspiration for the war for Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms is from the Wars of the Roses. This Rolling Stone interview is the first time he has admitted that The Wall came from his visit to Hadrian’s Wall in 1981. He did admit that it was just the idea. From there, his Wall took a life of his own. However, many fans in the United Kingdom, especially Scotland and England, will be happy to know that the Game of Thrones Wall has a British link.
In reality, Hadrian’s Wall was never has big or as long as the one in the series. Martin took the inspiration and ran away with it, much like he has for the rest of the book. He made it three times longer, while standing at 700 feet high. The wall of inspiration was 73 miles long, covering coast to coast, and was around 15 feet high—a major difference right there.
Another major difference was the materials used for the wall. In real life, Hadrian’s Wall was made out of anything the Romans could get their hands on. It led to many limitations, which were not there for Martin’s Game of Thrones and subsequent books. He made his completely out of ice, which is fitting for the story beyond the wall with the White Walkers. It was the ice storyline in his Songs of Ice and Fire series.
There are many other areas of British history that seem evident in the series. While the war of Westeros is one, there is also the battle between religions. Some follow the “Old Gods,” while others pray to the “New Gods.” Then there are those who follow the Lord of Light. All of this is similar to the reformation of the Christian religion, which took place across the whole of Europe, but has been a major part of British history since the time of Henry VIII. Finally, the Brotherhood Without Banners is a nod to the Merrie Men of Robin Hood. While that is not 100 percent history, there are elements in the tale.
Martin has opened up a lot about writing his series, especially about the ideas for the storylines. The Wall has been a major talking point for many, and those in the UK will be happy to know that the Game of Thrones Wall does have a link to the British Hadrian’s Wall.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham