Real People Who Inspired the Game of Thrones Characters

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is full of political intrigue, war and death, and it will be no surprise that many of the characters were created from inspiration of real people. While George R.R. Martin has never expressed all the inspirations for his novels, it is clear that many of the characters have been inspired from the Wars of the Roses and people who fought on either side.

Daenerys Targaeryn is one that quickly stands out for many, and is clearly based on the inspiration of King Henry VII of England. Henry Tudor was banished to exile and had to raise an army in France. He spent time building this army and went to war against Richard III, the Yorkist king. Despite having a smaller army, Henry Tudor succeeded and became Henry VII of England. There are many who believe Daenerys’ storyline will have a similar ending.

Cersei Lannister is another Game of Thrones character often viewed as others from history. There are some who view her as Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI of England. However, others view her as Catherine de Merdici, the wife of Henri II of France. This comes from the fact that Catherine lived as regent through three of her children. Cersei has played regent for two of her young sons in the Game of Thrones books.

Moving onto the men, there are a few Game of Thrones characters that have been inspired by real people in history. Robb Stark is one that quickly jumps to the forefront. While some would view him as Henry VII of England, others look at him as a young Edward IV of England. Edward Plantagenet fought against King Henry VI, officially starting the Wars of the Roses. He lived through the death of his father and brother and went onto claim the throne. The idea of Robb rising up against King’s Landing after the execution of Ned Stark has been the reason many view him as Edward IV, even if his ending was not the same.

The later Edward IV of England is sometimes viewed as the inspiration for Robert Baratheon. After all, Robert was the one who had fought against the Targaeryns and won the Iron Throne, very much like his historical counterpart. Edward IV also reportedly had a string of mistresses and enjoyed his food later in life. However, there are others who view Robert as Henry VIII, especially during the later years. Henry VIII allegedly had a number of mistresses and illegitimate children—although only one was ever officially claimed—and he enjoyed his ale and food, very much like Robert before his death at the start of Game of Thrones.

One that was added in just for the TV show was Talia. Some Game of Thrones fans view her as Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. This comes from the home-wrecker view. Robb Stark was supposed to marry one of Walder Fray’s daughters until he fell in love with Talia and she became pregnant with his child. For Anne Boleyn, she came into Henry VIII’s life when he was already married to Catherine of Aragon and waited seven years before finally marrying him and giving him Elizabeth I of England.

There are a number of historical inspirations throughout Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. They have been continued into the TV show, and the above are just some of the real people who have likely inspired Game of Thrones characters.

Opinion by Alexandria Ingham


Encyclopedia Britannica


History Behind Game of Thrones

4 Responses to "Real People Who Inspired the Game of Thrones Characters"

  1. Leslie   May 22, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I always thought of Cersei as more of an Elizabeth Woodville type – though she and Edward IV definitely had a better marriage than Cersei and Robert – and Jaime as Anthony Woodville, Elizabeth’s brother, who was much admired and hated, though as far as I know one of the few things they never were accused of was sleeping together. 🙂

  2. Leslie   May 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    It’s actually Talisa and in the books she doesn’t exist. The girl “real” Robb married was Jeyne Westerling and she never became pregnant, nor was she present at the Red Wedding. I can’t decide if book Robb (who married a girl he had slept with to preserve his precious personal “honor,” thereby sacrificing his honor as a leader by breaking his prior promise to the Freys) or show Robb (who just fell in love) acted more stupidly. (I’m not saying he deserved the end he came to, but it was certainly a consequence of his actions.)

  3. Jeanne   April 29, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Please spell the wife of Henri II– Catherine’s– last name correctly – it was “Medici,” a very famous Italian family.

  4. Alex   April 20, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Talia could more likely be Elizabeth Woodville – spouse of Edward IV? Was a moment where Edward married below his station to an ‘enemy’, much to the discontent of all around him?

    Though without the same gory ending for Edward of course.


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