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Real Historical Figures Who Inspired Game Of Thrones Characters

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.


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Real Historical Figures Who Inspired Game Of Thrones Characters

Real Historical Figures Who Inspired Game Of Thrones Characters


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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.

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


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."

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Internet's favorite person

Keanu Reeves: philosopher, martial artist, musician, motorcycle enthusiast, movie star, conspiracy theories material and the internet's favourite person.

Throughout his ...

Don't let setbacks define you

A difficult start does not define the rest of your life.

Born in 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon, Keanu Reeves’ life began with an instability that would last throughout his childhood and teenage years. But he chose to find stability in chasing his own aspirations and grew into a man who takes responsibility for his own life and decisions.

Be generous

It can be more rewarding than riches.

Keanu is thought to have made about $110 million from Matrix, $75 million of which he reportedly gave to the special effects team and costume design department. He also bought the entire stunt team their own Harley Davidson motorcycles. Over the years, Keanu has also given millions to charities including PETA, the SickKids Foundation, and Stand Up To Cancer.

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Effects of ordinary medication

There’s emerging evidence that ordinary medications - from paracetamol to antihistamines, statins, asthma medications, and antidepressants - can change our brains. They can make us impulsive...

The crisis of over-medication
  • The US buys an equivalent of 298 paracetamol tablets per person every year.
  • The average American consumes $1,200 worth of prescription medications over the same period.
  • In the UK, one in 10 people over the age of 65 takes eight medications every week.
Statins and personality changes 
  • People with lower cholesterol levels are more likely to die violent deaths.
  • If you put primates on a low-cholesterol diet, they become more aggressive. Lowering animals’ cholesterol seems to affect their levels of serotonin. Even fruit flies start fighting if you interfere with their serotonin levels.
  • Studies have linked serotonin levels in people to violence, impulsivity, suicide, and murder.
  • In a randomized controlled trial, statins were found to increase aggression in post-menopausal women though, oddly, not in men. Giving statins to Nile tilapia made them more confrontational and altered the levels of serotonin in their brains.

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Unfree in a Free World

We all are unfree in a free world. We do things we are obliged to do. We spend money on things we are told by society to spend on.

We are responsible for our lives, while we...

Awareness in Action

If we have to do something even if we don't want to do it, it is not freedom, whatever the reason for doing it may be.

Doing something should be your conscious decision and choice.

What Imprisons You

You need to make certain sacrifices and get out of your comfort zone to experience real freedom.

We can be imprisoned by certainty, by the lies we tell ourselves, even stuck with incompatible people. We can be caged with the fear of losing money, or expectations, or even debt. We can be caged by our need to help people or to please people, or hope that they like our ideas. We can be imprisoned by our idea of happiness the endless entertainment options we have. as well.

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The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

It is a story about materialistic success transforming into true prosperity. The personality development journey of both characters from the book is a guidebook to life.


Positive Thoughts
  • The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts. Mastering your mind means seeing setbacks as opportunities. 
  • Occupy your mind with uplifting thoughts, because they will give you the energy you'll need to attain the success you desire.
How To Attain Your Goal
  • Visualize your goal.
  • Keep yourself positively motivated.
  • Make a deadline.
  • Take steps daily.
  • Laugh along the way.

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Jordan Belfort's life

... was modelled by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2013

Lessons from the real Belfort
  • The importance of thinking big. "Belfort thinks very big, he talks in very big numbers."
  • The dangers of instant gratification. "people say ‘well instead of an inch how can I get a mile,’ and often times they’ll sacrifice honesty, integrity, whatever it is within their moral compass that will allow them to get there quickly.”
  • Most people will go through a disassembling.“If you aren’t experiencing pain you don’t question reality and seek different ways of going about things.”
  • Whatever it is that disassembles is typically linked to our highest values. For example, if money is of the highest value in your life, as it was for Jordan Belfort, the ego around money must dissolve. Same goes for relationships, or whatever you value most in life.
An Uncertain Future
  • The past decade gave rise to the 'Gig' economy, spawning one-click app-based transactions.
  • Artificial Intelligence and automation are further transforming how people live and work.
Future Proof Your Career

Future-proofing your career to stay relevant isn't about learning how to code or going back to college.

It is about having a career plan with a long-term vision, taking into account the current job-market conditions, economic factors, emerging opportunities, personal interests, and family realities.

Shrinking Life Cycle of Jobs

A life cycle of a job is shrinking rapidly, and if you're not re-inventing yourself or pivoting on time, you are rendered out of work sooner than in the past decades.

We need to check our career plan and ask ourselves what skills need to be developed to pursue future opportunities, in this shifting economy.

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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.

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The Zen View Of Morals

Evil cannot be destroyed, any more than good can, because they are polar opposites of the same thing. Destruction and creation, chaos and order; opposite aspects of reality, in tension with one ano...

The Zen View Of Life

For Zen practitioners, life is transitory and insubstantial. There is no security and thinking otherwise is a waste of time. 

They also don’t believe in an afterlife. Reincarnation can be more accurately thought of as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy before and after death.

The Zen View Of The World

The word 'Zen' means emptiness or void. This is the basis of Zen — that all that exists is based on a dynamic emptiness. Which is also what quantum science says.

In this view, there is no difference between matter and energy. Look at anything closely enough and you will see that it is an event, not a thing. Furthermore, there is not a ‘multiplicity of events’. There is just one event, with multiple aspects, unfolding. 

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