There are a number of Game of Thrones characters who seemed to be inspired from real-life people in history. George R.R. Martin has never shared all of his inspirations from his book. Some of the inspirations he has made clear are the Wars of the Roses and Hadrian’s Wall for the battle in Westeros and The Wall separating the Wildlings in the north, and the rest of Westeros.
Martin also made it clear that the history was only used as a loose basis. The problem with writing historical fiction is that the ending is already known. The author wanted to be able to write his own land and his own battles, so he was not restricted by the way lives and battles really ended throughout history.
It is often fun to try and link the people who have inspired many of the characters, especially those that have been adapted for the HBO show. The show has taken a few liberties on the books, and has been able to adapt the characters in a way to make them people fans can connect to better.
One of the characters is Cersei Lannister, who seems to have been inspired by Margaret of Anjou. Margaret of Anjou was the wife of King Henry VI of England, and the mother of Edward of Westminster. She had to take control of the kingdom when her husband was mentally ill, and worked with people to make sure her husband ended up back on the throne when Edward IV of England deposed him. Her son was believed to speak about nothing but war and killing people, much like Cersei’s eldest child Joffrey. This certainly seems like the most probably real-life inspirations for this Game of Thrones character.
Robb Stark was very likely inspired by the young Edward IV, although their stories take a different path. Edward IV of England was just 18-years-old when he became King of England, after deposing Henry VI. Before that, he was the eldest son of England’s most influential and richest dukes in the country. Both men lost their fathers when they were just 18. Robb’s father Ned was executed and Edward’s father Richard was killed at the Battle of Wakefield. Both their heads were on show to the public—Ned’s in King’s Landing and Richard’s in York. Robb’s marriage to Talisa is also similar to Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. Talisa and Elizabeth were not considered the right stature to marry a king, and both men were supposed to marry other women and broke alliances with their marriages for love.
Some view Game of Thrones’ Mother of Dragons Daenerys as Elizabeth I, but she most certainly has some of King Henry VII in her. Henry VII was better known as Henry Tudor during the Wars of the Roses. He was the only son of Margaret Beaufort, and exiled to France from a very young age. However, he always believed—due to his mother’s beliefs—that he was the rightful King of England. He fought for the crown, and eventually won it at the Battle of Bosworth. Daenerys has spent all her time on the show exiled across the narrow sea, and is building an army to take the Iron Throne, believing it belongs to her.
Many other characters share likenesses with real-life people from history. However, many are a mixture of people from history, which can be seen in the likes of Sansa Stark, Margaery Tyrell and Jaime Lannister. It is interesting to see the real-life inspirations for the Game of Thrones characters, and to see how paths have changed in this fictional world.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham