Game of Thrones and the War of the Roses

Game of Thrones and the War of the Roses

To celebrate the arrival of Game of Thrones Season 8, we decided to write a blog post all about Game of Thrones and the War of the Roses!

Now what do these two things have in common you might ask? Well George R. Martin confirmed that some of the story line and characters from the hit book and TV series were actually inspired by events and people in the War of the Roses! History is pretty cool!

The War of the Roses (1455-1487) was a series of battles that lasted over 30 years between two warring noble families, both with claims to the throne: the house of Lancaster and the house of York. The War of the Roses ended after much bloodshed, with Henry Tudor taking the crown after defeating Richard III at the battle of Bosworth. He cemented his victory by marrying Elizabeth of York, thus joining the two families together in a clever political move.

Although medieval England wasn’t quite as violent and terrifying as Game of Thrones and there weren’t any white walkers, dragons or magical children that we know of, the War of the Roses and Game of Thrones share many similarities. The story of the War of the Roses includes plenty of throne rivalry, powerful families, weak monarchs, changing loyalties, murdered princes, conniving protectors of the realm and even help from across the ‘narrow sea’, or as we like to call it, the English Channel. The ruthlessness of many of the battles fought during the War of the Roses is also reflected in Game of Thrones. The battle of Towton, fought in 1461, is largely considered to be the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil, where 50,000 men were slaughtered and a nearby river was said to run red with their blood. The descriptions of this battle are thought to have inspired many of the epic and brutal Game of Thrones fight scenes.

It wasn’t just events from medieval England that inspired George R. Martin though, it was also the people involved! With so many cunning, dangerous and attractive characters in Game of Thrones, we bet you are all wondering who is who. Well here is a list of some of the key Games of Thrones characters and which person from the War of the Roses inspired their character: 

  • Daenerys Targaryen – Henry Tudor (Henry VII)
  • Stannis Baratheon – Richard III
  • Cersei – Margaret of Anjou
  • Ned Stark – Richard of York
  • Joffrey – Edward of Westminster
  • Robb Stark – Edward IV
  • Lord Roose Bolton – Earl of Warwick
  • Dothraki – 13th & 14th century Mongol Empire

We don’t know about you, but we were pretty convinced by some of these! Check out the video and link below if you want to learn more about the War of the Roses and its’ link to Game of Thrones!