Are you a fan of HBO’s television series Game of Thrones? The sixth season of the series based on George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire ended in June, and has proven to be as exciting as the first five. The sixth season was even more intriguing to readers of the novels, because as we eagerly await Mr. Martin to release his sixth novel, The Winds of Winter (we’ve been waiting five years now!), the television show isn’t slowing down; they are continuing to tell the story where the novels left off. This has left many readers scratching their heads because many plot lines are diverting from the books, but it all adds to the fun.
Game of Thrones takes place in a setting where kings, queens, knights, lords, giants, magic, dragons, and even the walking dead, exists. What you might be surprised to know though is this fantasy world was actually inspired by historical events. Mr. Martin has stated that, "The War of the Roses was one of the original inspirations for A Song of Ice and Fire. The War of the Roses was fought between the Yorks and Lancasters and I have the Starks and the Lannisters."
The War of the Roses was a series of battles between the House of York and House of Lancaster in medieval England for the right to the throne, between 1455 and 1487. It’s called "War of the Roses" for the badge of each house: the white rose for York and the red rose for Lancaster (even though it’s said these particular badges weren’t often used). The war was won when Henry VII (a Lancaster and first monarch of the House of Tudor) defeated Richard III (the last king of House York). When Henry VII assumed the throne, he married Elizabeth of York and invented the double rose (white superimposed on red) to symbolize the union of the two warring houses (which encouraged writers to use the roses as emblems of the feud).
SPOILER WARNING: I discuss some events which take place in the novels and television show. If you haven't read the books or watched the show, I recommend you bookmark this post and come back after you're finished the show or novels. Read at your own risk!
Here are some plot points from the show loosely based on historical events:
Have you noticed any additional historical events you think were inspired in the books or show? Please share them in the comments below!