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Real Historical Figures Who Inspired Game Of Thrones Characters

Real Historical Figures Who Inspired Game Of Thrones Characters
As the son of Pope Alexander VI, Cesare Borgia was expected to be a noble and religious warrior whose life essentially belonged to the Vatican. As the story goes - and Showtime's The Borgias showed - Cesare followed his skewed moral compass rather than catering to what others wanted him to be.


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Robert Baratheon matches Henry VIII Of England

Henry VIII was a British King, best known for having 6 wives, 2 of which were beheaded.


  • Like Robert, Henry VIII was rather stout.
  • Both enjoyed lavish celebrations and dangerous games of sport.
  • Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was rumoured to have an incestuous relationship with her brother. 



Tyrion Lannister matches Claudius

Emperor Claudius was Rome’s fourth emperor. 


  • Claudius was looked down by his family because he had a speech impediment and a limp. Tyrion’s family literally looked down on him because of his size.
  • Both proved themselves to be brilliant politicians and administrators.


Jaime Lannister matches Cesare Borgia

Cesare Borgia is the son of Pope Alexander VI who resigned from the cardinality to become a military commander and powerful lord.

  • Like Ser Jaime Lannister, Cesare was known for his many betrayals including the alleged murder of his brother.
  • Cesare was also rumored to seduce his younger brother’s wife and to have an ongoing sexual relationship with his sister.


Catherine De' Medici and Margaret of Anjou inspired Cersei Lannister

  • Catherine De' Medici was born to nobility and married King Henry II of France. Similarities: Both Catherine and Cersei were paranoid and ruthless when protecting their families.
  • Margaret Of Anjou was the Queen of England by marriage to King Henry VI. SimilaritiesMuch like Cersei Lannister, she was married off to create an alliance.


Caligula and Edward, Prince of Wales inspired Joffrey Baratheon

Caligula was Rome's most tyrannical emperor. Similarities with Joffrey:

  • Both vicious and hated.
  • Both boys came into power at a young age and both loved to wield their power by tormenting others.
  • Both fond of spending tons of money on ridiculous spectacles.
  • Both were killed before they were old enough to become men.

Edward, Prince of Wales - possibly illegitimate son of King Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Similarities with Joffrey:

  • Both illegitimate.
  • Both found their own ways to nurture their madness.


Robb Stark matches Edward IV Of England

Edward IV was king of England. He was a key figure in the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Similarities

  • Edward IV was given the crown after his father was beheaded, just as Robb became King of the North after Ned faced the same brutal fate.
  • As kings, Edward and Robb fought on the battlefields during their respective civil wars and tried to avenge their families.
  • Both men were extremely close to their mothers, who yielded more influence than any political advisors.


Catelyn Stark matches Cecily Neville, Duchess Of York

Cecily Neville was the wife of Richard, Duke of York, and the mother of two kings of England, Edward IV and Richard III.

  • Both women followed House Tully’s motto of “Family, Duty, Honor,” which made their sons’ decisions to abandon their betrothal promises nearly unforgivable.


Ned Stark matches Richard III Of England

Richard III was king of England for two turbulent years, best known for being accused of murdering his nephews to protect his throne. Similarities

  • Both men were popular in the North, led their people with peace, and believed in loyalty above all other things.
  • Richard lived by the motto “Loyalty binds me” and Ned followed the same unspoken words.


Sansa Stark matches Elizabeth Of York

Elizabeth of York  was the wife of Henry VII, and mother of Henry VIII. Similarities:
  • Just as Sansa spent her younger years twirling around and dreaming of a happily ever after royal wedding, Elizabeth practiced the grace, obedience, and vanity expected of any future queen.
  • Both girls were tall, had skinny statures and golden-red hair.


Margaery Tyrell matches Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn was Queen of England as the second wife of King Henry VIII. She was found guilty of charges including adultery, incest and conspiracy against the king and was beheaded.

  • Since Robert was dead, Margaery settled for his highly illegitimate son – even though he was betrothed to Sansa Stark.
  • Margaery probably would have lost her head just as Boleyn did if Joffrey wasn’t poisoned on their wedding day.
  • Margaery had to restart the tedious process of trying to become the queen again, but she found her way to the throne next to the naïve King Tommen pretty quickly


Littlefinger matches William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley was the longest-serving minister of any of the Tudor monarchs. Similarities: 
  • William Cecil was born into a simple life and climbed the social hierarchy using his inherent abilities to think ahead and give good advice. 
  • Born into a fairly low position, Littlefinger moved his way closer to the Iron Throne by talking and aligning himself with all the right people.


Varys matches Francis Walsingham

Sir Francis Walsingham was the principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I. Similarities:

  • Francis Walsingham had a gigantic network that kept him in the know of everything that happened. 
  • Similarly, Lord Varys has his “little birds”, who are mostly underprivileged children who reveal information for sweet treats.


Elizabeth I Of England and Genghis Khan inspired Daenerys Targaryen

  • Queen Elizabeth I reign is referred to as England's Golden Age, an era of peace and prosperity: Both queens enjoyed the company of lovers but neither was willing to jeopardize her quest for domination by taking on a potentially dominating husband; Elizabeth had her friend and advisor Robert Devereaux executed for trying to orchestrate a rebellion behind her back, similar to how Daenerys banished Jorah Mormont of House Friend Zone after she learned of his role as a spy. 
  • Genghis Khan was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire: like the Dothraki, the Mongolians were once scattered across the Eurasian Steppe in small hordes until they were united by a charismatic leader bent on invading another continent.
  • Genghis Khan and his Mongol Empire, unified in the 13th century, sought to expand into Europe, while Daenerys Targaryen set her eyes on Westeros.


Brienne Of Tarth matches Joan Of Arc

Joan of Arc is one of the most famous female warriors in history. Similarities

  • Joan of Arc had to convince Charles VII of her worth, whereas Brienne had to prove herself to Prince Renly.
  • Both Joan of Arc and Brienne preferred to wear masculine clothing
  • both were most comfortable in a suit of armor whilst wielding a sword. 


The Night’s Watch matches The Knights Templar

The Knights Templar protected European travelers visiting sites in the Holy Land while also carrying out military operations:

  • Both groups are charged with protecting a realm against outside invaders,
  •  both are led by an elected leader who serves for life.
  • Both would eventually fall into disrepute after storied histories.


Mad King Aerys matches Mad King Charles VI

Charles VI  of France was called the Beloved and the Mad.

  • King Charles was known for his paranoid psychosis, which caused him to see enemies everywhere and punish them harshly. Mad King Aerys II of Westeros was prone to similar outbursts.
  • Both kings had a connection with fire - Aerys was obsessed with it, Charles VI nearly burned to death as a youth. 


Aegon The Conqueror matches William The Conqueror

The historical parallels between the two isn’t just obvious to readers—George R.R. Martin has straight-up said that Aegon’s story was inspired by William. Similarities

  • Both were overseas invaders who bent an entire continent to their will. In the case of Aegon, it was Westeros, and for William it was England.


Melisandre matches Rasputin

Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia. Similarities

  • Plots are made to take this alleged magician out, but they demonstrate an uncanny ability to cheat death. 


Julius Caesar and John Stark inspired Jon Snow

  • Julius Caesar was a Roman politician, military general, and historian. Julius Caesar and Jon Snow do not share identical life stories - although both were born into prominent families before joining a military service - but they do share identical death stories
  • John Stark  served as an officer in the British Army. The stories and names of Jon Snow and John Stark are so similar, it seems almost impossible that George R.R. Martin wasn’t at least partially inspired his life: Stark was adopted into a tribe he was captive to. Later on as a free man he refused to take part on a raid against the tribe. Jon Snow’s shows conflicted loyalties when fighting the Wildlings.


The Unsullied match The Ottoman Janissaries

The Janissaries were an elite corps in the Ottoman Empire.

  • The Janissaries specialized in providing personal protection for various sultans, just as Grey Worm and his troops guard Daenerys wherever she goes.


Loras Tyrell matches Piers Gaveston


  • Both were known for their skill and agility,as well as their militaristic ingenuity
  • Both rose to prominent positions due to their abilities
  • Both were gay, and both had serious romances with royal partners


Games of Thrones inspiration

Games of Thrones inspiration

A main ingredient in George R.R. Martin's fantastical concoction is the medley of historical figures who inspired Game of Thrones.

When Martin first started writing the book series, he drew a lot of his inspiration from the people and events surrounding the War of the Roses. Influences weren’t confined to that era, nor were his characters necessarily linked in the same ways as their historical counterparts. Instead, he blended bits of history all around the Westeros map, picking and choosing the traits he would use and discard from the historical figures who inspired Game of Thrones.



Niccolò Machiavelli's Prince

Machiavelli ends his treatise The Prince invoking a "redeemer" who shall save enslaved Italy from the domination of foreign powers that have left her gravely wounded and "almost without...

Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen

Her character development throughout the seasons unfolds within a dynamic that probes fundamental questions of politics and leadership. 

Machiavelli examined the same questions in the 16th century in his treatise, The Prince.  Daenerys may be a version of the redeemer  he talk about in his treaty.

Machiavelli's First instruction

First instruction to maintain power and preserve order: The prince does not have free range to conduct evil, but must strive for goodness as the primary measure of actions.

Daenerys gives conquered soldiers a choice: "Bend the knee and join me. Together, we will leave the world a better place than we found it. Or refuse and die."

Thomas Hobbes explained

Hobbes, an English philosopher, believes mankind's nature to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short as described in his book, The Leviathan.

This is why people adhere to social c...

Moral issues

The 'Show, don't tell' rule is especially pertinent when it comes to immoral acts.

Until a book becomes moving pictures, any moral issue with it doesn't seem to reach national press levels, because it shows these contentious issues to a wider audience.  If you show the act, but don't tell anyone what to think about it, the fact that an author or film-maker hasn't clanged down a big sign saying 'And this is bad' is tantamount to advocation. 

GoT's similarities with the Leviathan

A Song of Ice and Fire might very well deliberately echo Leviathan. The notion that, without protection from the Iron Throne, the land falls into an every-man-for-himself struggle does echo the ideas laid down in Leviathan. 

Make People Feel Important

A charming person makes everyone, regardless of their status, feel important. People around them feel heard, understood, and worthy of their time.

Remember Names

It feels good to hear our own names, and when someone uses it we're more likely to pay greater attention to them.

Use mnemonic devices if you have a hard time remembering names.

Compliment With Confidence

When someone known for their charisma compliments you, it gives the impression that it is not only sincere but valuable, because of their natural confidence.