How European history creeps up on ‘Game of Thrones’

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How European history creeps up on ‘Game of Thrones’

Striking parallels when you look closely at George RR Martin’s characters, now in their eighth season

Amy Blumsom


The eighth and final episode of Game of Thrones starts next week. There are some striking historical parallels in European history when you look closely at George RR Martin’s characters.
BRIENNE OF TARTH AND JOAN OF ARC
G.O.T CHARACTER
Brienne is a sword-wielding, armour-clad protector known as The Maid of Tarth.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
Joan of Arc referred to herself as La Pucelle (The Maid). Contemporary sources confirm that she preferred wearing male clothing, and owned a suit of armour and sword.
THE NIGHT'S WATCH AND THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
G.O.T CHARACTER
A chaste military brotherhood who vow to defend the realm from wildlings and white walkers. They wear a black uniform, and all previous sins are forgiven when you join.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
The medieval Knights Templar protected pilgrims to Jerusalem from brigands, and took a lifelong vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. When the order was founded, the pope absolved the knights of all sins. They wore a distinctive white uniform with a red cross and were commanded by a grand master who was appointed for life.
SANSA STARK AND ANNE NEVILLE
G.O.T CHARACTER
Young Sansa Stark is a prize bride as the heir to the North and has lost most of her family to war. She was betrothed to tyrannical Joffrey before being married to Tyrion and then to the monstrous Ramsey.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
Anne Neville, daughter and heir to the Earl of Warwick, was first married at the tender age of 14 to Henry VI’s son Edward of Lancaster. Months after the wedding, both her father and husband were killed in battle. She was then married by the future king, Richard III in 1472 in order to secure her wealth and land for House York.
ROBERT BARATHEON AND EDWARD IV
G.O.T CHARACTER
A dashing young lord, Robert Baratheon overthrew the tyrannical King Aerys.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
The handsome Edward IV of the House  of York usurped the mentally incapacitated Lancastrian King Henry VI during the War of the Roses.
STANNIS BARATHIAN AND RICHARD III
G.O.T CHARACTER
Robert Baratheon’s brother Stannis is convinced that he should rule Westeros because his nephews (Joffrey and Tommen) are illegitimate.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
Edward IV’s brother Richard of York issued a decree that his nephews were illegitimate in 1483, and then took the throne for himself.
TYRWIN LANNISTER AND WARWICK THE KINGMAKER
G.O.T CHARACTER
Tyrwin Lannister is one of the wealthiest, most powerful nobles of Westeros. His support proved decisive in Robert Baratheon’s usurpation of King Aerys.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was one of the richest men in England and his support for Edward IV was pivotal in bringing about the downfall of the mentally ill King Henry VI.
DAENERYS TARGARYAN AND HENRY TUDOR
G.O.T CHARACTER
Daenerys Targarean is the last surviving member of her house, living in exile in Essos, and the mother of dragons.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
Henry Tudor was the last surviving member of the Lancastrian family with a viable claim to the throne in the War of the Roses. When the Yorkist Edward IV reclaimed the crown in 1472, the 14-year-old Henry was forced to flee to Brittany. He also flew a dragon as his banner.
CERSEI LANNISTER AND ANNE BOLEYN
G.O.T CHARACTER
Cersei Lannister’s incest with her twin brother Jaime has been a cornerstone of the plot.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
While there is no hard evidence of covert royal incest in history, one of the reasons Anne Boleyn was executed by Henry VIII was that she had been accused of sleeping with her brother George.
THE SPARROWS AND PROTESTANT REFORMATION
G.O.T CHARACTER
The sparrows are a religious group bent on reforming the corrupt Westeros church. They espouse poverty and humiliation, and are lead by the preachy High Sparrow.
HISTORICAL PARALLEL
During the 15th and 16th centuries, theologians such as Martin Luther became fed up with the opulence of the Catholic Church and wanted religion to go back to basics – focusing on the word of the Bible and doing away with wealth.
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

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