Game of Thrones: The Real History behind the Hit TV Series
Updated On: February 08, 2022
Almost everyone has seen or heard of or watched the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. Ever since it debuted in 2011, Game of Thrones has won over fans from across the globe, inspiring role-play festivals and events around the world. Of course, the world where Game of Thrones is based is entirely fictional, but are there real life events that inspired George R.R Marin, who wrote the original books? If you think that Game of Thrones is completely fictitious and has no relation to real life then you might just be wrong.
Martin acknowledges, “I take [history] and I file off the serial numbers and I turn it up to 11.”
The final season of Game of Thrones is set to air on April 14th, so before that happens, let’s consider this a recap.
First of all:
George R R Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire
George R R Martin is where it all began. Born in 1948, GRRM is an American novelist whose roots spread to Ireland, Wales, England and Germany. While GRRM began his career as a teacher, he quickly returned to his passion for writing, which he had developed since he was much younger.
According to Financial Times, young Martin began writing and selling monster stories for pennies to other neighbourhood children. He also wrote stories about a mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles; the turtles died frequently in their toy castle, so he finally decided they were killing each other off in “sinister plots”.
This, perhaps, paved the way to his most notable work to date, a series of fantasy novels titled A Song of Ice and Fire, that traces several characters as they either seek justice or battle it out to win the Iron Throne of the seven kingdoms with multiple characters tragically losing their lives in the process. The series intertwines numerous plots and character stories together beautifully creating a stunning tapestry of adventure, love, war, and revenge. The story has a complex timeline spanning hundreds of years and several generations.
The first book in the series was called A Game of Thrones and took Martin five whole years to finish. It was first published in 1996 and received wide critical acclaim and received several prestigious literary awards.
Lauren K. Nathan of the Associated Press wrote that the book “grip[s] the reader from Page One” and is set in a “magnificent” fantasy world that is “mystical, but still believable.”
Phyllis Eisenstein of the Chicago Sun-Times described the book as “an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal.”
A Clash of Kings, the second book in the series, was published in 1998 in the UK, followed by the US in 1999. Like its predecessor, the novel was well received by literary critics, such as Dorman Shindler of The Dallas Morning News who described it as “one of the best [works] in this particular subgenre”.
The third and fourth volumes, A Storm of Swords (2000) and A Feast for Crows (2005), Martin had become a well-established and well-known author all around, frequently featured on the bestselling lists.
By the time the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, was released in 2011, the real change, took place, when an American TV channel, HBO, decided to adapt the books into a TV series. While it’s reported that it costs the network $60 million to produce each episode, the show became a worldwide hit overnight, more than compensating for its reported production cost. The series is now the most successful show in TV history.
Although Game of Thrones is not Martin’s first foray into TV land, as he previously worked as a writer on The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast, it is certainly his most successful endeavour. The show now airs in 29 countries and with average US viewing figures of more than 10 million per episode.
Unfortunately, the show ran into a bit of roadblock when it was discovered that Martin would most probably not be able to finish his sixth novel by the time the show reaches that point in the plot.
While there have been some deviations made by the show’s creators from the original plot in Martin’s narrative, this time, the showrunners made a creative decision to delve into the unknown and worked on the plot of season five without a book to back them up. While Martin definitely provides the showrunners with the main points and contributes to writing the script, the plot points of the past few seasons have largely deviated from the books.
What is the Game of Thrones plot?
The fantasy drama TV series takes place in an imaginary world where several prominent royal families fight for the ultimate throne (The Iron Throne) of the seven kingdoms.
The story unfolds through many alliances and betrayals between the numerous main characters all in an effort to win the ultimate prize, the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms.
Not only are these royal families fighting each other, but they’re also battling mystical creatures like the White Walkers led by the Night King. But not all mystical creatures are against humans, some can even be tamed by them, like the dragons.
Now, how does all that relate to real history?
Let’s break it down by season.
Which historical events may have inspired Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones Season 1
The first season of Game of Thrones was made up of 10 episodes.
The story kicks off in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros where the mantra of ‘Winter is Coming’ keeps getting repeated by several characters. We understand that the Seven Kingdoms have been going through a long summer, probably indicating a modicum of peace, and that winter is drawing near, which means that trouble is about to brew. Even the weather conditions in the show are inspired by real events. In medieval Europe, during a period called the Medieval Warm, temperatures were 2 degrees Celsius higher than they are today. That period, however, was followed by the Little Ice Age, which destroyed harvests and brought the greatest famine in European history.
In Game of Thrones, Lord Eddard Stark seems to be our main protagonist, a man with strength and morals. He is the closes confidant of King Robert Baratheon, who we learn grew up with him and was in love with Eddard’s sister Lyanna who was throught to have been kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, which prompted Robert’s Rebellion and landed him on the Iron Throne. Lyanna’s story bears a striking resemblance to the kidnapping of Lucretia, a Roman woman who was taken by the Etruscan King. Her last words even resemble Lyanna’s as Lucretia said, “Pledge me your solemn word that the adulterer shall not go unpunished”, while Lyanna spoke to her brother Ned on her deathbed asking him, “Give me your word, Ned”.
As Ned Stark helped Robert during the rebellion, it makes sense that the two grew quite close, but as King Robert asks Lord Stark to serve as the Hand of the King. Ned suspects that the previous Hand of the King, his mentor Jon Arryn was murdered, so he accepts Robert’s offer to investigate the matter further.
In Essos, the eastern continent of the Seven Kingdoms, trouble is indeed brewing as the children of House Targaryen, Viserys and Denaerys, which Robert destroyed to claim the throne, are plotting to return to regain their ‘lawful right’ to the throne. Since alliances are important when it comes to political schemes, Viserys Targaryen arranges the marriage of his sister Daenerys to Khal Drogo, the leader of the Dothraki warriors in order to gain his support and guarantee the aid of the famed Dothraki warriors in his plans to regain the Iron Throne. However, when it becomes apparent that Viserys is getting too greedy and his demands become more and more outrageous, Khal Drogo is fed up and ends up pouring molten gold on his head to give him his “crown”.
The story is not far off from a similar event that took place in real life.
Marcus Licinius Crassus, a Roman general and patron of Julius Caesar failed to conquer Parthia (present-day Iran) and he died during the Battle of Carrhae, not as most Roman generals die in battle however as the Parthians poured molten gold into his throat as punishment for his greediness.
The Night’s Watch is Real?
Then we move further North, where the sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch guard the Wall at the borders of the Kingdoms, which protected them for thousands of years against the attacks from the wildlings and other possible dangerous threats.
The story of the Wall in Game of Thrones is also not far off from what actually happened in real life. If we go back in time to the Roman Empire and its invasion of the British Isles in 43 CE, they actually built a wall to protect them from the tribes further up North, towards where Scotland is nowadays. The wall was known as Hadrian’s Wall, and, very much like the events of Game of Thrones, the men who served at the wall were low-ranking and forbidden to take wives or hold lands.
When the Romans finally relinquished their claim over Britain in 410 C.E., they were replaced by the Anglo-Saxons who in turn established Seven Kingdoms.
It is quite clear that the Anglo-Saxons were the basis for the Andals, who invaded Westeros from the continent of Essos and formed Seven Kingdoms.
Moreover, some have drawn comparisons between Willian the Conqueror, a bastard Duke of Normandy who invaded England and ruled over the Seven Kingdoms in 1066, and Aegon who took over Westeros and established the Targaryen Dynasty.
The War of the Roses
George R.R Matin drew on many historical events as the basis for the events in the Game of Thrones books. The most prominent of which was the War of the Roses, a civil war that took place between the Lancasters (i.e Lannisters) and the Yorks (i.e Starks), both of whom wanted to stake their claim over the English throne.
While both families came from one royal branch: the House of Plantagenet, they both fought tooth and nail to win over the other and gain the ultimate power. The conflict took place between 1455 and 1487, effectively ending the male lines of both families.
How does all that relate to Game of Thrones?
In Game of Thrones, Robert Baratheon dethrones the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen who was believed to have completely lost his sense and became unfit to rule.
The same happened as the War of the Roses began. It was believed that King Henry VI was becoming weak and losing his mental abilities as well, and so interest in Richard of York’s claim to the throne began. It also did not help that Henry’s wife Margaret of Anjou was taking over the responsibilities of ruling the kingdom as her husband grew weaker, which brings us to a comparison between Margaret of Anjou and Cersei Lannister, Robert Baratheon’s wife, who is a scheming and manipulative queen intent on undermining her husband’s rule.
Cersei’s marriage to Robert Baratheon united House Lannister and House Baratheon, while Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI brought peace to both England and France. Their similarities lie in how they both ruled when their husbands couldn’t, and both battled rumours about the legitimacy of their children, both had violent sons, and both lost their sons in horrible ways.
If that’s not enough of a similarity between history and Game of Thrones, Henry also brought back Richard of York from Ireland and appointed him as Lord Protector of the Realm (basically Hand of the King), which is exactly what took place between Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark.
Also like the show, as Margaret of Anjou and Richard of York never saw eye to eye, just like Lord Stark and Cersei Lannister, matters grew more and more complicated. King Henry took away Richard’s position, prompting him to start a rebellion just as Ned attempted to seize the thrones from Joffrey Baratheon. Unfortunately, both Richard of York and Ned Stark were killed by beheading.
Robert Baratheon also seems to have a striking resemblance to Edward IV, who like Robert descended into debauchery in the latter part of his life and was also killed in a hunting accident.
After Ned Stark’s death, his son Robb is proclaimed as the King in the North, much like Richard of York’s son Edward was.
|Real Life||Game of Thrones|
|King Henry VI/ Edward IV||Robert Baratheon|
|King Henry VI||Mad King Aerys II Targaryen|
|Margaret of Anjou||Cersei Lannister|
|Richard of York||Ned Stark|
|Marcus Licinius Crassus||Viserys Targaryan|
|Little Ice Age||Winter is Coming|
Game of Thrones Season 2
Season 2 of Game of Thrones continues the tumultuous events between the families at war with each other for the Iron Throne. In the North, Robb Stark is fighting to win independence for his people and is trying to make alliances, so he sends his best friend Theon Greyjoy to forge an alliance with his father. In King’s Landing, Joffrey Baratheon has been proclaimed king as his “father’s” successor to the Iron Throne with the backing of the powerful House Lannister. However, his uncle Renly also claims he has a right to the throne with the support of his wife’s family the House Tyrell.
All the while, Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s younger brother and Renly’s older brother, has also claimed the Iron Throne, aided by Melisandre, an enigmatic priestess from the east.
Despite his confidence, Stannis Baratheon is defeated by House Lannister in the Battle of the Blackwater led by Lord Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and the real power behind the Iron Throne.
Back in the East and after overcoming her husband Khal Drogo’s tragic death, Daenerys Targaryen has become even more powerful with three dragons by her side. They now have to find themselves new allies in order to grow stronger and retake what she believes is rightfully hers as well: the Iron Throne.
Further up North, the men of the Night’s Watch, including Jon Snow, Ned’s bastard son, have gone off on an expedition beyond the Wall in search of their missing comrades and to look into the matter of the infamous wildlings that are perceived as a threat.
Art Imitates Life
Now, the similarity to real life history in season two starts with King Joffrey who has a striking resemblance to Edward Lancaster. Both real life and fictional king were known for their unparalleled cruelty and mistreating their significant others. It makes sense since Edward Lancaster’s mother Margaret of Anjou was compared to Cersei Lannister on the show as well.
Another resemblance lies between him and George III. Joffrey is not the only insane ruler to torment his wife. George III of England’s youngest sister Princess Caroline Matilda was married to King Christian VII of Denmark in 1766. In time, it was revealed that Christian was suffering from severe mental instabilities, which prompted his extremely cruel streak, sexual addictions and paranoia. When Dr. Johann Friedrich Struensee was summoned to treat the king, he went even further than the call of duty by taking the reins of the government and even beginning a relationship with the young queen. Their ending was not a happy one, however, as Struensee was executed and Queen Caroline was sent into exile where she died at the age of 23.
As for Renly’s character, it could have been drawn or based on the famous Richard the Lionheart, who like Renly was quite charismatic and had a preference for the same gender.
Another similar real-life King is Edward II of England whose marriage to Queen Isabella of France fell apart due to his obsession with Piers Gaveston and Hugh Despenser. As a result, his wife and her lover Rogert Mortimer launched a successful coup against him. Edward was imprisoned, and in 1327 died mysteriously, much like Renly who was murdered by a shadow creature sent by Melisandre with the face of his brother Stannis.
In Game of Thrones, Melisandre seems like a fictionalised and feminised version of Rasputin, an influential advisor to Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He was said to be very charismatic and appealing and numerous attempts to assassinate him were futile until he was eventually drowned in an icy river.
As for the Battle of Blackwater Bay, it can be compared to the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople. As Stannis Baratheon attempted to siege King’s Landing and was defeated after Tyrion attacked his navy with wildfire, a chemical that burns on water. During the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople, Greek Fire was used to repel invaders.
Another similarity with real events comes from Robb Stark’s love life. Despite promising to marry Walder Frey’s daughter in order to guarantee his allegiance, Robb falls in love with Talisa, a healer he met on the battlefield. The same happened to Richard York’s son, Edward, who was also a military genius who backed out of his betrothal in order to secretly marry Elizabeth Woodville for love.
However, after Edward York’s death, his younger brother, Richard III, was quick to step in and proclaim himself as king, saying that because Edward married in secret that all of his children were illegitimate. Like Richard III, Stannis Baratheon wanted to announce that his brother’s children are illegitimate in order to solidify his claim for the Iron Throne.
As in Game of Thrones were alliances are made through marriage to solidify political claims and win wars, Henry Tudor, who had a legitimate claim to the English throne though his mother. He was actually the last English monarch to win the throne through battle as he defeated King Richard III. He decided to marry Elizabeth York, Richard’s niece and thus combining the Lancaster and York families and putting an end to the War of the Roses.
Henry Tudor has also been compared to the character of Denaerys Targaryan who, like Henry, was exiled or had to run away after the death of her father, only to return after amassing large armies in order to reclaim her lawful right to the Iron Throne.
|Real Life||Game of Thrones|
|Richard III||Stannis Baratheon|
|Edward York||Robb Stark|
|Elizabeth Woodville||Talisa Stark|
|Edward of Lancaster||Joffrey Baratheon|
|Henry Tudor||Denaerys Targaryan|
|Richard the Lionheart||Renly Baratheon|
Game of Thrones Season 3
In Game of Thrones season 3, “winter” draws closer and closer, and our characters begin preparing and getting even more anxious. Amid the civil war in the Seven Kingdoms, King Renly Baratheon has been assassinated. As a result, King Joffrey Baratheon strengthens his alliance with House Tyrell, and even defeats his uncle Stannis in battle.
King Robb Stark is weighing his options to take the right course of action to win an overall victory. He’s now got more enemies than before after offending House Frey by breaking his betrothal with Walder Frey’s daughter in order to marry for love. Walder Frey’s anger grows however and he ends up orchestrating a massacre, killing Robb Stark, his wife, and his mother at what is infamously known as the Red Wedding.
Stannis Baratheon has been defeated and retreated back to Dragonstone Island with the red priestess Melisandre at his side.
As for the younger Starks, Bran Stark has to cross the frozen wastelands of the North to reach the Wall, while Arya must brave the war-torn Riverlands in search of her mother and brother.
Another intimidating character rises through the ranks as well. Brienne of Tarth has to escort the captive Jaime Lannister home across hundreds of miles of battlefields and carnage. Moreover, Theon Greyjoy now finds himself facing the consequences of his betrayals at Winterfell.
In King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark are simply trying to survive through the court intrigue.
In the east, Daenerys Targaryen has grown stronger and more powerful, but she is still in search of an army to take on the Iron Throne, so she decides to pay a visit to Slaver’s Bay.
Another danger lurks in the dark as the White Walkers begin to move towards the Wall, threatening all of the Seven Kingdoms who are unaware of the danger they’re all facing at this point. Now, Jon Snow is forced to infiltrate the wildling army led by the King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder to discover his plans.
Art Imitates Life
Theon Greyjoy’s story is quite similar to his real life counterpart George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, who betrayed his brother, King Edward IV, to align with his father-in-law, Richard Neville, just as Theon betrayed Robb in order to get ahead and be Lord of Winterfell himself and gain the admiration of his own father Baylon.
Both Theon and George were separated from their parents at a young age, as George’s father was killed at the Battle of Wakefield, while Theon was fostered by the Starks and grew up with the Stark children.
Similarities were also drawn between the character of Brienne of Tarth and the real life historical heroine Joan of Arc. Both Joan and Brienne take their oaths quite seriously and were very idealistic, both dressed as men and fought battles despite the ridicule they faced as a result.
The Red Wedding has also been compared to an equally gruesome event in real life known as the Black Dinner that took place in 1440. The 16-year-old Earl of Douglas and his younger brother were invited to dine with 10-year-old King James II at Edinburgh Castle. Fearing the growing power and influence of the Black Douglas clan, the king’s Chancellor had one of his men drop a black bull head on the table during dinner, to symbolise their house. Afterwards, the young Earl of Douglas and his brother were dragged outside and beheaded.
Another similar event to the Red Wedding scene in Game of Thrones is the Massacre of Glencoe in 1691. James VII had offered pardons to the Scottish Clans in exchange for them swearing oaths of allegiance to William III. Alasdair Maclain of Clan MacDonald also tried to swear his oath, but he was too late. In early 1692, the MacDonalds took in several soldiers who stayed with them for 12 days as the MacDonalds thought they were safe, but the soldiers killed 38 MacDonalds and burned down their homes.
History recalls another wedding that had equally gruesome consequences; the wedding of King Henri De Navarre and Marguerite De Valois. Marguerite was the daughter of the Catholic King Henri II of France and Catherine de Medici, while Henri was the Protestant King of Navarre.
Their marriage in Paris on August 18, 1572, brought both Catholics and Protestants to the city to celebrate the royal nuptials. However, the spirit of unity was very short-lived as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was carried out on the orders of Marguerite’s brother King Charles IX and her mother ending with the slaughter of many Protestants.
A similar massacre took place in Egypt in 1811 at the hands of its then ruler Mohammed Ali. Hoping to eliminate his enemies and establish an uncontested rule of the country, he invited all of the Mamluk beys in Cairo to a ceremony in the citadel to appoint his favourite son, Tusun, as the head of the army. However, as soon as the Mamluks arrived at the citadel, the doors were shut and all the Mamluks within the citadel were massacred.
Game of Thrones Season 4
In Game of Thrones season 4, the plotting and vicious wars continue as the fight for the Iron Throne grows stronger with a lot now at stake. Robb Stark is now dead after being betrayed by the Freys and his own bannermen. Most of Westeros is under Lannister control, but not without personal loss as Jaime Lannister loses his sword hand in the process. They decide to strengthen their alliances even further by arranging a marriage between King Joffrey and Margery Tyrell, the widow of Renly Baratheon, to gain her family’s support. The royal wedding, however, does not go as planned as King Joffrey is poisoned and his uncle Tyrion Lannister is framed for his death.
The Boltons now control Winterfell, with Theon as their “captive” after his father abandons him to their sadistic torture.
Despite his previous defeat and losing most of his army, Stannis Baratheon still refuses to surrender. Melisandre advises him to focus on the threat of the wildlings beyond the wall.
The only two kingdoms which have remained neutral so far are the Vale of Arryn and Dorne. So naturally, the Lannisters are clamouring for their support as well. Petyr Baelish, former Master of Coin and new Lord of Harrenhal, is sent by Lord Tywin Lannister to marry Lysa Arryn, the Lady Regent of the Vale. One of the most cunning people in the realm, with an agenda of his own that no one knows about, he manages to do just that.
As for House Martell of Dorne, they are more reluctant to form any sort of alliance with the Lannisters due to their hatred of them that goes back to the Sack of King’s Landing, when Ser Gregor Clegane murdered Elia Martell, sister of Doran Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne. Previously, Princess Myrcella, daughter of Cersei Lannister and sister of King Joffrey, had been sent to Sunspear as part of her betrothal to Prince Trystane Martell, and in return, the Martells were promised a seat on the Small Council. But instead of the expected arrival of the elderly Prince Doran, his younger brother Prince Oberyn comes to claim the council seat also hoping to exact revenge on his sister’s murderer.
Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons are in Salver’s Bay and an army of eight thousand Unsullied warriors. She goes through city after city freeing the downtrodden slaves and gaining more and more support from the people of the region.
In the North at the Wall, the White Walkers have now come out in full force, leading an army of wights, which motivates the wildlings to try and evacuate further south. They plan to force their way through the Wall if they have to. The Night’s Watch, including Jon Snow and Samuel Tarly, are doing what they can to prepare for the attack from the wildlings.
The wildlings attack and climb over the Wall, resulting in losses on both sides, including Jon Snow’s lover Ygritte, who was one of the wildlings.
Sansa Stark, who throughout all of this had still been a hostage of the Iron Throne, had been forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, and Arya Stark, is doing everything she can to survive and try to avenge her family.
Art Imitates Life
Richard III, who we’ve mentioned before, could also be compared to Tyrion Lannister. Richard was framed for murdering his nephews, the two young princes who were locked up in the Tower of London and never heard from again. Much like Richard, Tyrion was also tried for the murder of his nephew King Joffrey, who was poisoned at his own wedding to Margery Tyrell.
After losing his hand, Jaime Lannister received a gold hand to replace the one that was hacked off. Similarily, Gottfried von Berlichingen (Gotz of the Iron Hand) was born to a noble family before serving as an Imperial Knight, just like Jaime. During the battle, Gotz’s hand was blown off and he later on designed a prosthetic iron hand and returned to combat.
Petyr Baelish shows incredible similarities to famous British historical figure Thomas Cromwell. The master of coin in Game of Thrones did not come from nobility, just like Cromwell. Both rose in the ranks, Petyr in Robert Baratheon’s court and Cromwell in Henry VIII’s court, using their intelligence. Both were also ready to betray those closest to them to get ahead, as Baelish betrayed both Ned Stark and his wife Catelyn leading to their gruesome murders. Cromwell also betrayed one of his strongest allies, Anne Boleyn, which ultimately saw her executed.
Game of Thrones Season 5
In Game of Thrones season 5, the world is in absolute chaos with everyone exacting their own revenge. Tyrion Lannister kills his father Tywin Lannister and then flees King’s Landing. Joffrey Baratheon is also dead after being poisoned at his own wedding. His pliable younger brother Tommen is now King.
The Iron Throne is now in massive debt to foreign banks due to the wars they’ve been embroiled in, so they have to find a way to placate the Iron Bank of Braavos.
Due to the continuous wars that have led to starvation across major lands, the people of Westeros have started going back to old religious fanaticism led by a religious leader who has dubbed himself the High Sparrow.
The rivalry between the Lannisters and the Tyrels continues to increase as Margery marries Tommen and begins to exert her control over him. However, the Lannisters continue to depend on Tyrell aid due to their depleted resources, either money or soldiers.
One of the main masterminds behind all of what has transpired so far is Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish who was responsible for poisoning Jon Arryn by conspiring with his own wife Lysa Arryn. He also betrayed Ned Stark, and helped Olenna Tyrell assassinate King Joffrey.
Baelish also went as far as to murder Lysa, only days after marrying her, to seize power over the Vale as regent for her young son. Baelish is also attempting to control Sansa Stark, who fell into his custody after he helped her escape the royal court.
Meanwhile, the people of Dorne demand vengeance for the death of Prince Oberyn, who died in a trial by combat at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane in King’s Landing. Now, the Lannisters have one more major family looking to wage war against them.
Back in the North, the wildling attack on the Wall was suppressed by Stannis Baratheon. Stannis needs to win the allegiance of Robb Stark’s defeated bannermen, to rally the North against Lannister rule. He has become so power hungry that he listens to Melisandre as she suggests that he sacrifice his daughter to the gods so that he can win the upcoming battles.
In search of a new Lord Commander, the Night’s Watch look to Jon Snow for leadership while the White Walkers are inching closer to the Wall.
The Boltons are now allies of the Lannisters as their leader Lord Roose Bolton personally killed Robb Stark, and they have been installed as the new rulers of the North.
Theon Greyjoy is now a prisoner of the Boltons, having been brutally flayed, tortured, and psychologically broken by Ramsay Snow, Bolton’s illegitimate son, himself, who has reduced Theon to his personal slave, “Reek”. He was also forced to witness Sansa Stark’s marriage to Ramsay Bolton, which finally moved him to regret his past actions against the Starks.
Sansa and Ramsay’s marriage was horrific from the start, as it seems like Sansa’s future is incredibly bleak. Ramsay’s goal in marrying Sansa was to solidify the Boltons’ claim on the North.
Tyrion Lannister has fled after murdering his father to the Free Cities, accompanied by Varys. Arya Stark has also fled to Braavos, due to a favour she was owed for saving the life of one of the mysterious guild of assassins in Braavos known as the Faceless Men.
In Slaver’s Bay, Daenerys Targaryen is struggling to remain in control of the city of Meereen as violence ensues between the former slaves and former slave-masters. Not only that, but also her dragons that have grown in size have become almost uncontrollable.
Word has finally spread to Westeros that the last living Targaryen heir has three live dragons. Westeros are now pondering how Daenerys and her dragons will factor into the already confusing and multi-sided civil war still tearing the Seven Kingdoms apart. Envoys are beginning to head east to court Daenerys’s allegiance.
Art Imitates Life
We’ve mentioned the Iron Bank, which was not a foreign concept in the real world during medieval times. The best example of the concept of banking at the time would be the Medici banking family of Florence. Not only were they incredibly wealthy, but they were also very influential in the worlds of politics, art and culture. Some of their family members were also reigning monarchs, such as Catherine de’ Medici who was married to King Henry II of France and Marie de’ Medici, Queen of France, as the second wife of King Henry IV.
When Edward IV, the inspiration behind the character of King Robert Baratheon, was unable to pay his loans, he negotiated with the Medicis concerning the importance of English trade with Florence to convince them to keep lending him money.
During the War of the Roses, the Medicis ended up lending too much to the Lancastrian side, which meanat that they sided with the side of the war that lost most of their leaders, and of course neither the Yorkists nor the Tudors would pay those debts back.
Eventually, the Medici legacy ended due to the French invasion of Italy. They were evicted from Florence and had their assets confiscated.
The plotline of sacrificing Shireen could also be attributed to a story in the Old Testament that comes really close to the sacrifice of Shireen by her father Stannis Baratheon. Jephthah, a judge who presided over Israel for six years, led the Israelites in battle against Ammon and, in exchange for defeating the Ammonites, made a vow to sacrifice whatever would come out of the door of his house first. When his daughter was the first to come out of the house, he immediately regretted the vow, which would require him to sacrifice his daughter to God. It is disputed whether or not the sacrifice was actually carried out, but if indeed it did happen, it is said that his daughter was given as an offering by burning her at the stake, just as Stannis did to his daughter on Game of Thrones in order to please the gods and win his upcoming battle, which is what Melisandre suggests to him and although horrified at first, he ends up listening to her and sacrificing his own daughter.
The character of the High Sparrow of course has its foundations in real life as well. Girolamo Savonarola, an Italian Dominican friar and preacher in Renaissance Florence, was known for his bigotry and for undoing much of the Gold Age that was brought to Florence under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici.
When he came to Florence, he was “disgusted” by what he perceived as the excessive extravagance of the city under the Medici family.
After Lorenzo’s death, Savonarola became more popular through his sermons and he gained many more followers. Like the High Sparrow, he also appealed to those in poverty by decrying the vanity and corruption of the wealthy.
His power culminated in the Bonfire of the Vanities where his followers knocked on the doors of the wealthy and demanded they hand over any luxury items. They were all collected and thrown into the large bonfire. Fortunately, Savonarola’s power waned after a while.
In May of 1497, Pope Alexander VI excommunicated Savonarola from the Church and he confessed under torture that he fabricated his visions and prophecies. He was publicly hanged and burned alive in the Piazza della Signoria.
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote of Savonarola’s rise and fall in The Prince, “If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long—as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who was ruined with his new order of things immediately [when] the multitude believed in him no longer, and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe.”
As for the tragic story of Sansa Stark’s marriage to Ramsay Bolton, unfortunately, history is full of political marriages that ended in disaster.
The British King George I had an arranged marriage in 1682 to Sophia Dorothea of Celle, a Germanic noble. Like many monarchs before and after him, George I had several mistresses whom he flaunted in front of his wife. Perhaps to exact revenge, Sophia also entered a relationship with Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, a Swedish count. When George found out and confronted his wife, the exchange turned into physical violence as the husband began beating his wife. He also divorced her in 1694 and virtually imprisoned her for the rest of her life. What’s even more tragic is that her lover was also murdered.
Ramsay also has his counterparts in history. Prince George IV of Britain led a life of debauchery and accumulated so many debts that his father had to strong arm him to marry and settle down. The chosen bride was his first cousin Caroline of Brunswick. Their marriage was a complete disaster from the start. Their wedding night, much like Ramsay and Sansa’s wedding night, was a mess as George was completely drunk. The couple separated shortly after the birth of their daughter and George spent the rest of Caroline’s life trying to prove she was an adulteress in order to divorce her. Evidence of any adultery was never found.
Also similar to the Ramsay-Sansa disaster is the story of the fierce Queen Tamar of Georgia. Although she was a queen in her own right and ruled alongside her father, everyone believed she needed a man by her side. So she married Yuri Bogolyubsky in 1185, which turned out to be a huge mistake. His debauchery and life of leisure proved that he was unfit to rule. Tamar decided to annul their marriage in 1187. She even defeated a revolt that he led against her and went on to rule until 1213.
Game of Thrones Season 6
Season 6 of Game of Thrones finally brings us the awaited Winter. As everyone braces for a long winter ahead, the White Walkers are ready to attack the Wall and everything beyond it.
A turnabout of events has taken place in King’s Landing. After reigining supreme as the undisputed Queen of Westeros, Queen Cersei Lannister has been bested by the High Sparrow and publicly shamed by the Faith of the Seven. She’s also awaiting her trial for regicide and incest. Cersei’s inept leadership nearly destroyed House Lannister’s hold on the throne. Now, everyone has turned against her and they have no intention of ever letting her wield power again as they try to deal with the debt crisis to the Iron Bank and the rise of the fanatical Faith Militant.
In the North, Stannis Baratheon has been defeated by the Boltons, while Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy made their escape by jumping off Winterfell’s castle walls. Brienne of Tarth is actually the one who executed Stannis and feels immense guilt for putting her vow to avenge the slain Renly Baratheon before the vow she gave to Catelyn Stark to find and protect her daughters Sana and Arya, now that Sansa was so close but they’ve been forced apart again by unforeseen circumstances.
The remaining Tully forces, who were not present at the Red Wedding, are now in the Riverlands, surrounded by House Frey’s army. Commanded by Robb Stark’s great-uncle Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully, one of the most experienced and skilled generals in Westeros, Riverrun’s garrison have formidable defences and enough food supplies to last for years. The Lannisters and their Frey allies need to control Riverrun as soon as possible.
As much as the Lannisters try to gain more ground, they continue to face personal losses. In Dorne, Oberyn Martell’s lover Ellaria Sand poisoned Cersei’s daughter Princess Myrcella.
Daenerys Targaryen continues her attempts to liberate Meereen, but it has resulted in bloodshed, as the former slave masters try to retake the city. They stage an ambush, forcing Denaerys to flee by climbing onto Drogon’s back. They fly North where she finds herself surrounded by thousands of Dothrakis. In the meantime, her friends and advisors split up, as some of them go in search of her, while others attempt to hold down the fort in her absence.
Even further North, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch Jon Snow’s plan to stand up to the White Walkers by letting as many wildlings through the wall to the south backfires, as even more wildlings fall victim to the white walkers and are turned into undead wights. Consequently, the leading officers of the Night’s Watch have stage a mutiny and stab Jon multiple times.
Another player has now joined the war as well. Since the ironborns have not really been involved in any battles so far, their massive fleet remains at full strength, and with the sudden return of the ruthless Euron Greyjoy, the ironborn begin conquering new territories.
Art Imitates Life
Throughout this season of Game of Thrones, many dramatic events have taken place, but none more so than Cersei’s walk of shame. George R.R. Martin talked before about the inspiration for what happens to Cersei, saying that he based it on the story of Jane Shore, a mistress of King Edward IV of England. When Richard III finally took hold of the throne in 14831 after defeating Edward, despite Jane conspiring against him, she was tried for conspiracy and for her promiscuous behaviour. So, she was made to walk barefoot through the city in her undergarments.
Another historical-mythological parallel comes from the Arthurian legend of Guinevere and Lancelot. Guinevere, who was married to King Arthur, fell for the knight Lancelot. Some of you may remember that the person whom Cersei is accused to have committed adultry with is her cousin Lancel, which sounds quite similar to Lancelot.
The comparison with the Arthurian Legend does not stop there, as many seem to compare Jon Snow to King Arthur himself. A noble knight who protects the realm at all costs seems to describe both Jon Snow and King Arthur. In Arthur’s time, England was divided into seven kingdoms, just like Westeros. Arthur’s bravery in the face of invaders earns him the love and devotion of his people, let’s hope Jon Snow will have the same fate.
One of the favourite characters on Game of Thrones is Daenerys Targaryen who we can compare to another favoured historical queen: Queen Elizabeth I. Both women were born to families going through political strife, and both of their fathers dreamed of having their male heirs continue their legacy only to be left with none other than a daughter to carry on the family name and rule their kingdoms.
While Daenerys had an arranged marriage to Khal Drogo, the leader of the Dothrakis, and became ruler after his death, Queen Elizabeth was known as the “Virgin Queen,” who refused to marry until her death. Both queens built strong armies and were a force to be reckoned with. Both also had to punish a close advisor after discovering their betrayal: Daenerys banished Jorah Mormont after she found he had spied on her, and Elizabeth executed her close advisor Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, after he tried to stage a rebellion.
Now, when it comes to the blockade of Riverrun on Game of Thrones, the blockade technique was used numerous times throughout history to force an enemy to surrender by blocking their access to food, water or any resrouces they might need to survive. Similar blockades were imposed on Leningrad in Russia known as “The Siege of Leningrad” undertaken by Nazi Germany during World War II. Every road leading to the city was blocked from 1941 to 1944 with severe casualties.
Game of Thrones Season 7
Winter is finally herein the 7th season of Game of Thrones. In King’s Landing, despite her many losses, Cersei Lannister has finally seized the power that she has craved by eliminating most of her enemies, including Queen Margaery Tyrell, the High Sparrow, and most of the Faith Militant when she planted large amounts of wildfire beneath the Great Sept of Baelor, blowing it up in the process. As a result, her last surviving child, the current King Tommen takes his own life and she crowns herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Still, Cersei cannot help but remember a prophecy she received when she was younger that said that she would live to see her three children’s deaths before her own, which makes her even more vicious in pursuing her enemies. It would be quite hard, however, since she is now the most hated woman in Westeros, with most of the seven kingdoms rebelling against the Iron Throne.
Her strongest ally, her brother Jaime led an army to take over Riverrun. Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully, is dead, having chosen to fight to the death rather than surrender, while his nephew Lord Edmure Tully, who had been held hostage by the Freys ever since the Red Wedding, ordered the Tully garrison to stand down for the sake of his wife and child, whom Jaime had violently threatened if Edmure refused to cooperate.
Arya Stark has returned to Westeros intent on exacting revenge for what has happened to her family after completing her training as a Faceless Man in Braavos. She manages to kill Walder Frey, the last surviving orchestrator of the Red Wedding that claimed the lives of her mother and brother, and also killing his two sons, Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers who helped carry out the massacre.
Theon Greyjoy returned to the Iron Islands after helping Sansa Stark escape from Ramsay Bolton and endorsed his elder sister, Yara, as their father’s successor. However, their uncle Euron has claimed and won the Salt Throne by promising an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen, which he will use to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.
Fearing for their lives, Theon and Yara steal a hundred ships from the Iron Fleet with sailors who are loyal to them and travel to Meereen to meet Daenerys and ask for her help. Now, Denaerys also has the Dornish and the Tyrells on her side. In Dorne, Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes have gained control after murdering Prince Doran Martell and his heir, Trystane.
On the other hand, Cersei declared war against the Sands for their murder of her daughter Myrcella. Moreover, Lady Olenna Tyrell, the only surviving Tyrell, is grief-stricken by the deaths of her son, grandson, and granddaughter, so she joins Denaerys’ forces to avenge her family.
In the North, Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, now reunited, have defeated Ramsay Bolton and reclaimed Winterfell, largely due to the support from the knights of the Vale, led by Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.
Now that house Stark rules the North once again, the Northern and Vale lords have turned to Jon and named him the new King in the North, while Sansa rejects Littlefinger’s proposal to help him take the Iron Throne and become his queen. So, he tries to plant seeds of distrust in Sansa towards Jon to create a rift between the siblings and claim the upper hand in the war.
After discovering her role in sacrificing Shireen Baratheon for the Lord of Light, Melisandre is dismissed from Jon’s service.
Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and her son have finally arrived at the Citadel in Oldtown, where Sam will train as a maester to replace the deceased Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch, hoping to gain some insight into the White Walkers and how to defeat them. However, Sam has incurred his father’s wrath by stealing his family’s ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane. Samwell must use the sword to uncover the secrets behind Valyrian steel for the coming battle against the dead.
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen has finally defeated the slave masters and the Sons of the Harpy, setting sail for Westeros. With an army of Unsullied, Dothrakis, and the troops from House Greyjoy, House Tyrell, Dorne, and her three full-grown dragons, and aided by Tyrion Lannister as Hand of the Queen, Denaerys has become a force to be reckoned with in the war for the Iron Throne.
All the while, Bran Stark has been training Beyond the Wall to develop his power of sight, learning some devastating secrets in the process, including the true parentage of his half-brother Jon Snow. It is discovered that Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, which would make him the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen and a true claimant for the Iron Throne. Bran is taken back to the Wall as he prepares for the arrival of the Night King.
New alliances are made as the fate of the Seven Kingdoms lies in the balance.
Art Imitates Life
Cersei’s plan to destroy all of her enemies by blowing them up with wildfire is reminiscent of the real life Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Although Cersei was successful in her plans, the Gunpowder Plot was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
The assassins planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on 5 November 1605. The plan came as the people lost hope of securing more religious tolerance during King James’ reign, so they intended to kill him and install his nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, as the Catholic head of state.
However, the authorities were informed of the plot beforehand through an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, on 26 October 1605. Thirty-six barrels of gunpowder were discovered. During an attempt to find the assassins and arrest them, Catesby was shot and killed. Eight of the conspirators were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
Throughout the show, many mentions are made of Valyrian Steel, which was manufactured in the Valyrian Freehold. Valyrian Steel blades are known to be lighter, stronger, and sharper than any other type of steel. Westeros only has 227 Valyrian Steel weapons remaining, most of which belong to noble houses.
The description of Valyrian Steel seems to match the real world Damascus steel, which was used to produce weapons in the Middle East dating back to the 11th century. Both the fictional and the real world counterpart are characterised by their unique ripple patterns.
Game of Thrones Cast
- It’s a well-known fact, now, among Game of Thrones fans that Peter Dinklage was always Martin’s first choice to play Tyrion Lannister, the youngest and wittiest of the Lannister offspring. The Lannisters are one of the strongest and most powerful families in the realm and are currently the ruling family in Westeros.
- It is also said that Sean Bean was the only choice to play Ned Stark on Game of Thrones, that is why you’ll never find any audition videos for him or Peter Dinklage, because they never had to audition in the first place.
- As countless children audition for the younger generation roles on Game of Thrones, Martin noted that Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) is “…really a very nice young man, charming and friendly.” Martin then sent Gleeson a letter saying, “Congratulations on your marvellous performance, everyone hates you.”
- Charles Dance was Martin’s first choice to play Tywin Lannister, the Lannister family’s ruthless patriarch.
- Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, is reportedly Martin’s wife’s favourite character, so she is the only character he has promised not to kill off. Arya, FTW!
- Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali actually auditioned for Game of Thrones Season 2 to play the part of Qarthian merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. He commented on his almost casting, “I had gone in for this casting director before, and I felt like I had two other wonky auditions with her.”
- Another miss on the part of the casting director is the Outlander heartthrob Sam Heughan. “I auditioned for Game of Thrones seven times!” He told Vulture in 2014. “I auditioned for Renly, Loras, some of the members of the Night’s Watch. And I’d always get so close! I’d be like, ‘Guys, just give me a sword!’”
- Jason Momoa’s casting process was, perhaps, the most interesting. The Aquaman star landed the Season 1 role of Khal Drogo, by taking a different approach. “[Drogo] doesn’t say much,” Momoa said. “So how do you convey him? There’s nothing in the script. So I said: ‘I have this idea. Is it O.K. to do [a dance] before the audition?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, sure.’ Then I did the Haka. It was challenging to do the audition afterward—I couldn’t stop my heart from beating. The first time I did it, they were very scared. But then they wanted me to come back in so they could put it on tape.”
- Apparently, Momoa’s Game of Thrones partner, Emilia Clarke, also took a similar approach by dancing her way through her audition, doing The Funky Chicken and The Robot.
- As for the performance by scene-steeler Pedro Pascal, who played Oberyn Martell in Season 4, he nabbed the part by adopting his father’s Latin accent, which was what the casting director was looking for to best portray the role of the Dornish prince.
- Tamzin Merchant was actually cast to play Denaerys Targaryan and Jennifer Ehle nabbed the role of Catelyn Stark, but after filming a disastrous” pilot episode that was completely scraped, the entire show or most of it was recast.
- Sam Claflin (Me Before You and The Hunger Games) also revealed that he auditioned for both the roles of Jon Snow and Viserys Targaryen
Game of Thrones Characters
The Game of Thrones cast is the largest on television and some of the highest paid as well. In 2016, several actors renegotiated their contracts and reportedly their salaries increased to £2 million per episode for the last two seasons.
Sean Bean as Eddard “Ned” Stark
Ned was the head of House Stark on Game of Thrones, whose members are the main protagonists throughout the entire show. He is a dedicated husband to Catelyn Tully and father to Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon, as well as his “illegitimate son” Jon Snow, whose presence always annoyed Catelyn, thinking he was the product of her husband’s betrayal. It was later revealed that Jon is Ned’s nephew, not son, and that he had kept the secret to protect him.
Eddard’s execution took place because he threated to reveal the illegitimacy of Cersei Lannister’s children, which in turn sparked the War of the Five Kings between Joffrey Baratheon, Robb, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon and Balon Greyjoy.
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Jon Snow, or Aegon Targaryen as we now know him to be, is the son of Lyanna Stark (Ned Stark’s Sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Denaerys Targaryan’s older brother). For all of his life, Jon was thought to be the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell.
Jon joins the Night’s Watch and rises in the ranks to reach the status of Lord Commander. However, when he sides with the wildlings, the men of the Night’s Watch stage a mutiny and murder him. He is later resurrected by the Red Priestess Melisandre.
Later on, Jon is freed from his Night’s Watch vows and reunites with Sansa Stark to build an army and retake Winterfell from House Bolton. They succeed in restoring House Stark’s dominion over the North with Jon is declared the new King in the North. As the threat of the White Walkers grows, they realise that they need a united front to face the danger beyond the Wall. They capture a wight and take it to the Lannisters as proof that the Army of the Dead is real. Afterwards, Jon pledges himself and his army to Daenerys Targaryen and steps down as King in the North.
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Sansa is the eldest daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark. She had a distant relationship with Jon, due to her mother’s influence, which she later regrets. Sansa was quite delicate and enjoyed ladylike pursuits unlike her younger sister Arya who is a bit of a tomboy. Sansa dreamed of being a Queen like Cersei Lannister. However, llater one she discovers how evil the Lannisters truly are, and her life becomes a living nightmare when she is married off to Ramsey Bolton. She manages to escape his hold with the help of Theon Greyjoy, who was her brother Robb’s best friend but had betrayed him in the past. She reunites with Jon and together they reclaim the North.
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Arya Stark is the second daughter of Lord Eddard Stark and Lady Catelyn Stark. She was present at her father’s unjust execution, which fostered her hate for the Lannisters and keeps a growing list of people that she wants to exact revenge on for wronging her family after undergoing training as a Faceless Man at the House of Black and White in Braavos.
Contrary to her older sister Sansa, Arya has always aspired to forge her own destiny instead of merely becoming a lady and marrying for influence and power. She is also fascinated by warfare and training in the use of arms. Also unlike Sansa, she is close to Jon, who seems to be the only one other than her father who encouraged her interests and actually gifted her with her first sword.
Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark
Bran is the second son of Lady Catelyn and Lord Ned Stark. Bran was named for Ned’s elder brother, Brandon, who was brutally executed by the Mad King along with Bran’s paternal grandfather Rickard Stark. We first see Bran as a young child dreaming of one day becoming a knight of the Kingsguard. Unfortunately, his favourite hobby of climbing the walls of Winterfell brought about his downfall, as he saw the illicit relationship between Cersei and Jaime Lannister after which the latter pushed him down the wall. Bran has not been able to walk ever since.
However, he has acquired the power of vision, through which he foresees events that are about to happen and delves into the past to discover many secrets, including Jon Snow’s true parentage.
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Queen Cersei I Lannister is the widow of King Robert Baratheon. She is the twin sister of Jaime Lannister and elder sister of Tyrion Lannister, who she despises because she believes he was responsible for their mother’s death, while actually, her mother died in childbirth. She had an incestuous relationship with Jaime, who is the father of her three children, Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen.
After the tragic death of her three children, Cersei becomes Queen of Westeros.
When she was about fifteen, Cersei visited a witch who foretold her future. She said that Cersei wouldn’t marry “the Prince” but “the King”, and while the king would have twenty children, she would bear only three children who will wear golden crowns as well as golden shrouds. She also told Cersei that although she would indeed be Queen, she would be cast down by another, younger and more beautiful queen.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Ser Jaime Lannister is the eldest son of Tywin, younger twin brother of Cersei, and older brother of Tyrion Lannister. As we’ve mentioned before, he was involved in an incestuous relationship with his twin sister Cersei, and is the biological father of her children.
Jaime was part of the Kingsguard of Aerys Targaryen (the Mad King), before infamously backstabbing him during the Sack of King’s Landing, earning Jaime the nickname of the Kingslayer. He continued his role within the Kingsguard of Robert Baratheon, and then he became Lord Commander for Joffrey and Tommen when each ascended to the throne. However, he was dismissed from the sworn order following a confrontation with the Faith of the Seven.
Unlike Cersei, Jaime always treated Tyrion with kindness and respect. Although Jaime is thought to be callous and as murderous as his sister, few instancecs prove that he is not quite as evil as everyone thinks him to be.
He confided to Brienne of Tarth the true motives behind his betrayal of King Aerys, saying that Aerys’ final orders were for Jaime to kill his father, and to burn the entire city and its inhabitants with wildfire. He also expresses his disapproval of how Ned Stark was treated admitting that he believes that he should have been given a chance.
After Cersei’s ascension to the Iron Throne, Jaime became Commander of the Lannister armies. But after constantly clashing with Cersei and disagreeing with her methods of ruling Westeros through a path of destruction, he leaves his position to help the North face the White Walkers.
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion Lannister is the youngest brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. He overcomes people’s perceptions of him as a dwarf, by using his wit and intellect to overcome their prejudice.
Due to Jaime’s place in the Kingsguard, he cannot inherit his father’s lands or titles, making Tyrion his father’s heir; a fact which vexes their father immensely.
His abduction by Catelyn Stark for a crime he did not commit serves as one of the catalysts of the War of the Five Kings. He manages to escape and is appointed by his father as acting Hand of the King to Joffrey Baratheon. He proves his worth by successfully defending King’s Landing against Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of the Blackwater. Howevere, he is later demoted to Master of Coin and framed for Joffrey’s murder. He escapes to Essos but is captured once again, this time by Jorah Mormont who delivers him to Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen. Daenerys decides to enlist his help in reclaiming the Iron Throne, so she names as Hand of the Queen before they sail for Westeros.
Emilia Clarke as Danaerys Targaryan
Daenerys is the youngest child of Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, and his sister-wife, Rhaella. Her father was killed by Jaime Lannister during the Sack of King’s Landing before she was even born. Her pregnant mother and brother Viserys, fled to the island of Dragonstone, the ancestral home of House Targaryen, to escape Robert Baratheon who installed himself as King. Daenerys’s brother Rhaegar Targaryen was killed in the war by Robert, as Robert falsely believed that Rhaegar had kidnapped his fiancée Lyanna Stark, while in fact, they both ran away together and secretly wed after Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Elia Martell. Their union resulted in their only son, Aegon Targaryen (aka Jon Snow). The forces of House Lannister murdered Elia Martell, along with her children, during the Sack of King’s Landing.
Denaerys believes she is the last Targaryan alive and so she must reclaim the Iron Throne that was unjustly stolen from her family after her father’s murder.
Game of Thrones Books vs Show Timeline
Like any television or film adaptation, the filmmakers take liberties with the original text in order to make it more appealing to audiences on the screen. The same goes for Game of Thrones, as there are many differences between the Game of Thrones books and the TV show.
Does Game of Thrones seasons correspond to books?
Yes, they do for the most part. However, in Game of Thrones Season 6, the show moved beyond the events of the books written by George R.R Martin, so the events from then on have not taken place in the books yet, or will not do so, depending on Martin’s upcoming work that fans are awaiting impatiently.
What are the differences between the Game of Thrones Books and the Show?
- Daario Naharis looks very different in the books. The Queen’s enforcer is forced to part ways with her as she sets sail for Westeros. He was famously played by Ed Skrein in season three, before being replaced by Michiel Huisman (seasons 4 to 6), when the former actor chose to part ways with the show. While the character in the show is portrayed as quite handsome and charismatic, but also very understated, in the books he is described as flamboyant, with brightly coloured hair and clothes. Daario is described in the novel “A Storm of Swords” as having a “blue trident beard and bright blue, long hair, with a gold moustache and one gold tooth”.
- Sansa Stark does not go back to Winterfell in the books. Until now, she still hasn’t reunited with Jon, and was never married to Ramsay Snow. However, the showrunners combined her storyline with that of her old friend Jeyne Poole (posing as Arya Stark) who was the one sent up North to marry Ramsay in the books.
- The character of the well-known schemer Petyr “Little Finger” Baelish is quite different in the books. Instead of organising her marriage to Ramsay Snow in the show, in the books Lord Petyr Baelish organised Sansa’s marriage to Ser Harry Hardyng, also known as “Harry the Heir,” in “A Feast for Crows.” Harry Hardyng is heir to the Eyrie behind Robert Arryn (named Robin on the show). Littlefinger presents Sansa as his bastard daughter and not his niece as she’s described in the show.
- Denaerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding night is quite different in the books. In the show, their wedding night is portrayed as violent as Drogo asserts his power over her, while in the books Drogo seduces Denaerys and asks for her permission before doing anything.
- The love story between Robb Stark and his wife does not take place in the Game of Thrones books. While on the show Rob rejects a political marriage to the daughter of Walder Frey, and instead marries Talisa for love, in the books he actually marries Jeyne Westerling in “A Storm of Swords”, a girl from an ancient house in the Westerlands whose family is sworn to House Lannister, because they spent a night together and he believes it is the right thing to do. After news of the marriage breaks out, he loses the respect of the Northeners for marrying the enemy and also garners the hatred of House Frey. Jeyne survives the Red Wedding as she was afraid of Walder Frey’s wrath and chose not to attend.
- In Game of Thrones, there’s another Aegon Targaryan, not Jon Snow. When Tyrion escapes from King’s Landing to avoid persecution after killing his father, he sets off for Meereen with several travelling companions, including a young boy, who later turns out to be Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen, making him Daenerys’ nephew—the heir to the throne of Westeros.
- Robb Stark had a pretty good relationship with his “brother” Jon, which prompted him to try to legitimise him before his death, in an effort to keep the North out of the hands of the Starks. However, on the show, when Robb brings up the idea, his mother vehemently refuses.
- One of the main reasons by Tyrion detested his father is that he discovered that his lover Shae had been having an affair with the Lannister patriarch, so he kills her off as well. It was a devastating turning point for Tyrion’s character on the show, but in the books, Shae never pretended to love Tyrion at all and was only with him for his wealth and status.
- Tyrion Lannister is already mad fin of for his dwarfism on the show, but in the books, he is actually quite disfigured as well. He is described as having stunted legs, a swollen forehead, a squashed-in face, a horrible waddle, and a disfigured face after the Battle of Blackwater Bay, in which he loses part of his nose.
Common Questions about Game of Thrones
How can I watch Game of Thrones Episodes?
Game of Thrones airs on the American cable network HBO on Sundays. The eighth and final season of the show will air on 14th April.
Is Season 8 the last of Game of Thrones?
Yes, it is.
Will there be a Game of Thrones spin-off?
Yes, several spin-offs are in the works at the moment. A prequel, potentially titled The Long Night, is planned for the show and the cast has already been selected. All we know is that it will take place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, chronicling the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. It is also said that it may alter fans’ conceptions of what they believed to be true about the origins of the White Walkers and the history of Westeros.
What we know is that the Age of Heroes was 8,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones. It was disrupted by a brutal winter known as The Long Night that grew even more destructive when the White Walkers arrived in Westeros for the first time. They were eventually defeated by someone called the Last Hero along with the Children of the Forest.
The already selected cast includes Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse, alongside Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp, and Toby Regbo.
When will the Game of Thrones Prequel be released?
Unfortunately, there is no news as to when the prequel will start filming, much less be released. HBO president of programming, Casey Bloys, commented at a Television Critics Association panel in 2017, “The number one priority in all of this is the final season of Game of Thrones…I don’t want to do anything with a spinoff or anything that detracts or distracts from that.”
Check back here as Season 8 of Game of Thrones airs on April 14th for our in-depth look at the history that inspired the most epic saga on television!
Other worthy reads that might interest you: