Game of Thrones Draws Inspiration From History

The hit series Game of Thrones is strongly based on the European Middle Ages, and many of the popular characters in the series are derived from historical figures.

Robb Stark

The English king Edward IV (1442–1483) did about the same. He should have married Princess Anne, daughter of the French King Louis XI, but married in the deepest secret Elizabeth Woodville.

The English nobles, who had allied with the French king, were furious and revolted. But unlike Robb Stark, Edward made it out alive and ruled until his death.

King Joffrey

Joffrey’s cruelty is copied from Edward of Westminster, who according to sources was very violent and possessed of war. The Ambassador of Milan wrote about him:

‘This boy, even though he is only 13, talks only of warfare and cutting off heads, as if everything is in his hands whether he is a god of war’.

His fighting spirit soon became fatal: he died at the age of 17 at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471

Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

Cromwell was a descendant of the low nobility, but managed to climb up to Lord Protector, and was thus in charge in England.

Another source of inspiration for Littlefinger may have been Richard Neville (1428–1471), Duke of Warwick. His great wealth and nose for political intrigue earned him the nickname Kingmaker.

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys was married for a short time, but Elizabeth is known as the virgin queen because she was never married. Both women decide to remain unmarried to strengthen their power: Daenerys wants to recapture The Iron Throne, and Elizabeth wants to expand the English Empire.

Moreover, both of them punished a close advisor who had damaged their trust. Daenerys banishes Jorah Mormont when she hears about his past as a spy, and Elizabeth has her adviser Robert Devereux executed when he tries to incite an uprising against her.

Cersei Lannister

Both women took over the government of the country because their husbands could no longer govern. Cersei ruled behind the scenes while her husband went hunting and shared the bed with other women, Margaret took over when Henry VI slowly became senile.

Moreover, there were rumours about both of them committing adultery, and both had a cruel, sadistic son (Joffrey and Eduard van Westminster).

Jaime Lannister

Like Jaime, Götz was of nobility and became a knight. In 1504 he lost his hand when it was hit by a cannonball during a siege. But Götz did not allow himself to be confined and had an iron hand made, with which he could throw himself back into battle.

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