The Wars of the Roses inspired HBO's Game of Thrones

Except for the flying dragons, wight-walkers, and the never-ending snow, HBO's Game of Thrones was mostly inspired by England's the Wars of the Roses.

It all started in 1399 when Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke Duke of Lancaster. This triggered a change in the Royal succession. Henry Bolingbroke, who would be crowned as Henry IV, essentially stole the throne from Richard II and his chosen heir Edmund Mortimer Earl of March. 

This paved the events leading to the Wars of the Roses which pitted members of the Plantagenet Dynasty against each other. Family intrigue, warring relations, and changing loyalties marked one of the bloodiest chapters in British history.



Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen

The red rose became the symbol of House Plantagenet who descended from John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, the third son of Edward III. While the House of York can trace its origins from Lionel Duke of Clarence and Edmund Duke of York, the second and fourth sons of Edward III. The Yorks were recognized by the white rose.

As we tell the historical comparison between the Wars of the Roses and Game of Thrones, I'll be using my Funko Pop collection to illustrate the different personalities featured in the top-rating HBO show.

The cast of characters in George RR Martin's epic fantasy series can be traced to personages who were prominent in English History during the 15th Century.

Who says that History can't be entertaining? If it's handled superbly by a master storyteller, historical events have been proven to be a huge source of material for TV shows and movies.


Father and Son


Eddard "Ned" Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, was appointed by King Robert Baratheon to be the Hand of the King. It was the second most powerful position in the kingdom. But because of treachery, Ned Stark ended up losing his head.

Similarly, Richard Plantagenet 3rd Duke of York was named Lord Protector in 1453 when Henry VI was incapacitated by illness. Richard asserted his right to the English Throne and fought the forces of Margaret of Anjou, the Queen Consort. He would be killed in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460.

Robb Stark

For Robb Stark and Edward IV (the Duke of York's son), love was their weakness. Both men reneged on the marriage arrangements that were made for them in order to marry the woman they love. These two rulers would lose their allies because of their decision and endanger their hold on power.

Robb Stark was betrayed by Walder Frey and Roose Bolton. While Edward IV would battle it out with his onetime mentor, the Earl of Warwick.


She-Wolves

We all thought that during the Medieval period, women were powerless but it turned out that Feminism was already in play during this time. The fulcrum of power shifted several times towards these noble women. They worked behind the scenes or even at the forefront. But their political maneuverings affected the course of events. 

In real-life England, we had Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville (Queen Consort of Edward IV), and Lady Margaret Beaufort (Henry VII's mother). With their ambition and intelligence, they fought the right of their families to rule England. They wouldn't let their gender or circumstances hinder them from achieving their goals.

Sansa and Arya Stark

There are no shortages of Women in Power in Game of Thrones. They dominate the Cersei, Daenerys, Lady Olenna, Catelyn Stark, and Margaery Tyrell embodies the She-Wolves. Even Arya and Sansa Stark are emerging to be the successors of these women. And of course, we should also include Lady Lyanna Mormont in the list.


The Troublemaker

William Shakespeare and his contemporaries during the Tudor Dynasty had a hand in maligning the character of Richard III. They put much emphasis on his physical appearance and cunning. Rumors abound that he had his nephews, Edward V and Richard Shrewsbury Duke of York, murdered in the Tower of London. He was king for a mere three years. His reign was one of the shortest in England's History. 

Tyrion Lannister had an almost similar role in Game of Thrones. He was a womanizer, a drunkard, and an intellect. He later redeemed himself when he temporarily acted as Hand of the King during the reign of his nephew, Joffrey. He became the scapegoat of the Tyrells and Petyr Baelish for the poisoning of Joffrey. And her sister, Cersei, was quick to believe that he masterminded the whole thing.

After escaping from prison and committing patricide, he found himself in the realm of Daenerys. He was eventually named the Hand of the Queen, as Daenerys makes her way to Westeros. 

Knowledge is power


And Then There Was None

Killing or banishing your rival is a tale as old as time. And both the fictional and historical worlds agree on this one. 

Henry VI, Richard 3rd Duke of York, the Princes in the Tower, Edward Plantagenet, and Richard III, all fell victim to ambition, influence, and authority. 

In Season 1 of GoT, Robert Baratheon ordered that all of those who had Targaryen blood be killed. Even Cersei got in the game, by having all of Robert's illegitimate offspring murdered to ensure that only her children would inherit the Iron throne.

Even Stannis Baratheon, Robert's brother, obsessed with the throne had their younger brother, Renly murdered by Melisandre through magic. 


But Karma is a bitch. And Cersei found this out the hard way. All of her children with her brother, Jamie, died horrible deaths. 


In the end, there were none left to rule King's Landing but her. 

Lannister Twins, Jamie and Cersei


Season 7 of Game of Thrones will begin on July 16, 2017. 

For more information about the Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenets, I recommend the books by Dan Jones, Alison Weir, and Sarah Gristworld.

(READ: The Hollow Crown: the Wars of the Roses

George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series are individually available in major bookstores. I've even seen graphic novel versions of it. 

Want to catch up with all the seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones? If you still have a working DVD player, I've seen boxed sets of the series in Astrovision, SM Department stores, and other record bars. You can also download episodes in the App store. 




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