graphics and more by darkangsty42 and knightbusdriver

1, 2, 3, 4, tell me that you love me more

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
126. Game of Thrones characters' historical counterparts picspam
par: boom! sadness
darkangsty42 wrote in excellentnotion
I picked up the A Song of Ice and Fire series around the time of my obsession with the Wars of the Roses as it was consistently described as the fantasy equivalent. One of my favorite things to do now is pick apart the characters from the series and see what historical personages they are based upon.

This is not comprehensive by any means and is based on my own limited knowledge. Many times I see multiple historical figures in a given character; I just boiled this list down to their core counterpart. Not all of the comparisons are Wars of the Roses-related; figures from the Tudor period are here as well. knightbusdriver and I collaborated this list a lot and she made the absolutely beautiful graphics to go with it. Spoilers for the whole series, especially beyond the show.

Both were great warriors in their prime, overthrowing their insane predecessors Henry VI and Aerys Targaryen, respectively. Kingship was too good to them however, as they ate, drank, and debauched their way into early graves. Both married women who were reviled by the people.

Married to kings who strayed more often than were loyal, both women were considered stunningly beautiful and simultaneously hated. Both worked and schemed tirelessly for their children and their birthrights, distrusting their appointed Lord Protectors after the early demise of their husbands.

Both were devastatingly handsome warriors, nigh untouchable under their gold sigils, the sun and the lion respectively. While Jaime's relationship with Cersei is inappropriate due to its incestual nature, Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was damning politically.

Based in the popular interpretation of Richard III's appearance, Tyrion outwardly resembles the "hunchback king." Both were accused of murdering their nephew(s) for political gain. Shakespeare's Richard III and Tyrion are skilled at talking their way in and out of things, but that is where the similarities end.

Based in the Richardian interpretation of Richard III, both served as protectors of the northern parts of their realms. Both were loyal to their kings; their brothers-in-arms, literally and figuratively. These loyalties were to a fault however, and they lead to their downfall, with the widows of the kings fighting just as hard against them.

Both lost their "traitorous" parents at an early age and were raised in the courts that saw to their parents' execution. As a result, both had to learn how to navigate those waters and survive. Both were hated by the sitting queen and both had dubious, if crucial, relationships with men associated their mother figure(s).

Both were exiled across the water from the throne they saw as their birthright. Both intended to regain their throne via conquest under their banners with red dragons. With the current state Westeros is in, Daenerys will be able to regain the Iron Throne after the other houses have exhausted their resources, just as the civil wars decimated England enough to make Henry's grab for power easier. Finally, Aegon Targaryen is the better claimant to the throne, and if Daenerys marries him, it would be similar to Henry's marriage to Elizabeth of York.

Both were players in their respective courts who guide the naive, red-headed princesses through dangerous waters, but with other intentions in mind. All of this goes on while still in relationships with the girls' mother figures; Thomas was married to Katherine Parr, Petyr was in love with Catelyn Stark and married to Lysa Arryn.

Both had great expectations in marriage, both were bitterly unhappy with the men who became their spouses. The radical actions of their fathers drove them to fanaticism; Mary saw her legitimacy revoked by her father, while Lysa's terminated pregnancy allowed her to be her father's pawn. Both experienced extreme jealousy towards their younger relatives with their husbands.

Both queens famously married multiple times. Upon their arrival on the stage, they outshone all other queens around them. Both were imprisoned by queens who feared the potential power that they wielded. Dissimilarly, Mary famously made rash decisions while Margaery has political acumen to survive.

  • 1
This is pretty close to our most perfect picspam yet! ♥ Thanks for being insane with me all the time!

Always. Please, any excuse to discuss history, especially re: fandom is the best.

oh, this is perfect ♥

Thank you! I feel like there were definitely more comparisons that could be made, but these were the major ones.

Love this! One of the reasons why I like ASOIAF is the very clear allegory of the Wars of the Roses and other dynastic conflicts in Medieval/Renaissance England. These picks are awesome, especially Tyrion as Richard III, Sansa as Elizabeth I, Daenerys as Henry VII.

Thank you, and I agree. Reading the series is both very familiar and completely foreign, and that's what makes it all the more appealing to me. I've got to admit, I was pretty pleased with the Sansa and Dany connections.

Oh my goodness best subject for a picspam ever! Sansa and Elizabeth I my entire heart ♥.

I knew you'd love this. :D For real, Sansa and Bess are my homegirls so much it hurts. This is why I'm fairly certain Sansa will make it out (mostly) okay. I've noticed you've taken a break from the series - when do you plan on picking up ADwD?

I love this post! Why are you guys so clever and talented? ♥


Are Hayley's graphics not stunning?! I keep going back to look at the pretty.


OH MY DAYYYYYYS, this is perfection, you clever clever people. Sansa as Elizabeth is particularly brilliant, ach. ♥


I would have never made the Sansa/Elizabeth I connection besides the hair. But I can see it! Loved the rest of them too!

Dear Lord! Your connections and your pictures are so so so amazing! Awesome!

I'm wordless!

Would you mind if I translate and post It on my blog? With your link and rights of course!!

Thanks for the great post!

Oh, wow! This is a wonderful picspam. I've seen the Sansa/Elizabeth comparison written about before, but I haven't seen many of the other comparisons before. I'm really going to have to read up on the War of the Roses.

Thank you! I personally got hooked on the Wars of the Roses with Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour which I highly recommend. :)


I love this post an agree with most of them.

As for another outlook, while reading I really saw a lot of Elizabeth I in Dany, and more of Mary Tudor in Cersei as far as rules in the 4th an 5th books especially.

Cersei's growing almost fanatical paranoia and obsession with getting rid of those people who threaten her, and her family (Mary's imagined child) particularly makes me think of Bloody Mary.

In the ADWD I really saw a lot of Elizabeth I in Dany in regards to a lot of subordinates/advisers all trying to manipulate her and herself trying the best for her people.

Again thanks for putting this up really enjoyed reading it. :)


Thanks for commenting! Yeah, there are many elements of many historical figures in individual characters which makes me love them all the more. I particularly agree with your assessment of Cersei with Mary Tudor.

Wonderful picspam - I loved reading your reasoning for the connections you've created! Sansa/Elizabeth I is perfect, especially. :D

Great post! Some of those likenesses are stunning, as well. I like Tyrion's twist on the Richard III archetype because while he is not perfect, he is not the monster that most everyone thinks he is.

Thank you! Tyrion and Shakespeare's Richard III are certainly very adept at charming the audience in spite of appearances.

The history nerd in me is bursting at the seams right now. LOVELY WORK.

Awesome picspam! I greatly enjoyed the comparisons between the characters and the historical figures; my knowledge of medieval English history is practically null

Thank you! I don't pretend that my medieval knowledge is up to snuff, but I do have a fondness for the period.

this is awesome!

i love the connections and while i don't know all the history behind some of the characters, i find your match ups very intriguing. i especially like sansa/elizabeth. wouldn't it be interesting if sansa remained "pure" like her?


It would be interesting to see if Sansa remained "pure" especially since it's widely known that her marriage remains unconsummated.

Very cool. I'm impressed. :-)

This is great! Really well-thought out. I especially like the Sansa/Elizabeth I comparison.

Thanks! And omg, you have an Anne of the Thousand Days icon. Awesome.

Oh, this is excellent! I've often thought of the parallels, but not in so much detail. Thank you.

I love these comparisons!

Mary I actually cared for Elizabeth a great deal until Elizabeth became staunchly Protestant and suffered a scandal with Thomas Seymour. I think it turned to hatred when Elizabeth was connected with the Wyatt the Younger rebellion directed at Mary. It definitely ties further into Cersei/Sansa - Cercei only mistreated Sansa after her father's actions. It also fuels into the "younger queen" prophecy!

I would add Edward IV and Richard III's brother George, the Duke of Clarence as a Renly/Stannis comparison. I would even offer an additional comparison of Henry VII/Robert Baratheon concerning Henry's attitude and actions towards any rival surviving Plantagenet claimants.

Thank you!

Yeah, I agree, Mary and Elizabeth's relationship was much more complex and had baggage that Cersei and Sansa's didn't. The comparison isn't perfect.

I was trying to figure out a way how to incorporate George. How exactly do you see Renly and Stannis as a George figure? I like the comparison of Robert and Henry as well - I guess depending on the validity of the rise of Aegon in ADwD, he could end up being like Perkin Warbeck.

Wow this is fantastic! Must have taken you quite a while to put this together! Brilliant job! The Sansa and Tyrion comparisons are the best!

Love it! Glad I came across it while I was looking for images of Henry VI.

I love the comparisons and agree with all. I like the comparisons with Mary I and Lysa Arryn. There are a lot of elements that make them alike like Mary getting too obsessed (to the extremes -_-) with Philip II and thinking everyone was against her, etc I think Lysa is a bit more like KOA in that too.
After reading Porter and Erickson I think Mary is a lot like Arya, both more than an ideal it is revenge that motivates them, Arya does not care about the court, Mary you could say she was a player but she cared more about her own revenge of her mother being pushed to the ground her father seeing her as a nuisance, being alienated as Arya from all she loved. And much as I sympathize with most of the Tudors and Arya too, if Elizabeth and Sansa did the whole rebellious, I want to fight and be warrior, no silly girly, weaving types that Mary and Arya were doing they would be dead.
On side note: I hope Arya gets out of where she currently is. She was truly born to be a warrior Queen!

I think Daenerys like you said could win the throne and if she marries her nephew Aemon it would make a more powerful marriage. I am rooting for her but sometimes I also root for Jon Snow, despite taking the Black because of Mel's visions who knows ... he could be.:)
Hope you like my comments, great thread, wish everyone well. Be gentle.

Thank you for commenting! I love having AoSIaF discussions! Yeah, I was particularly happy with the Mary I and Lysa comparison: they're two people whom I don't necessarily love/root for, but their lives are just so utterly tragic in how they didn't turn out the way they should have been. In a lot of ways, Sansa could have turned out like Lysa, but for her incredible inner strength. I sort of see Sansa sitting somewhere in between Lysa and Cersei in terms of situations and how men in their lives used them, but she has more fortitude than Lysa, but lacks Cersei's vicious streak.

I think Lysa reads as a lot of KoA as well, since KoA and Mary I's lives paralleled each other in their many tragedies, from not having the children they so desperately wanted, to the failed marriages, to devotion to their faith. Again, not necessarily my favorites (I will forever be biased towards Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I), but they engender so much sympathy because they were victims of circumstances beyond their control and could have flourished in different times.

Maybe it's because it's early and my morning coffee hasn't sunk in yet, but I'm a bit confused by your Arya/Mary I comparison. I would have loved to worked Arya into the picspam, but despite being a lord's daughter, her narrative takes place outside the courtly world, and history isn't as good at documenting individuals' lives as extensively. If Mary sought "revenge" for anything, it was it was more her faith than her mother (although I can't deny that her faith and her mother were VERY wrapped up in each other). Arya's drive for revenge still exists in the narrative, but I feel like it's cooled off since she's joined the Faceless Men as she becomes increasingly detached. And I do think that each Stark girl was thrown into circumstances they could survive in. Had Arya been in King's Landing with the Lannisters, she would have died; had Sansa gone with the Night's Watch in disguise, she would have died. GRRM cleverly put them in opposite circumstances to illustrate their strengths and similarities.

I think Dany winning is in GRRM's cards... if he would just pick up the damn pace on her narrative. (I've been increasingly frustrated with her chapters since ACoK, but her last chapter of ADwD finally gave me hope again). Jon Snow's one of my favorites, despite the internet's propensity to want to pick on him. Unlike the other Starks, he does make pretty prudent political decisions and has the interest of people at heart. Again, it's interesting that GRRM's got so much clearly set up for him, but I really admire how he rejects what could be obviously big power grabs for him. (Stannis offering him Winterfell; Jon's insistence that it's Sansa's inheritance; Melisandre misreading her fires on Stannis, etc.)

Sorry this is rambly and doesn't make much sense. Again, it's early. ;)

I think Catelyn Stark, more than Cersei, is based on Elizabeth Woodville. Both were devoted and deeply in love with their husbands. Also they were both protective mothers. Catelyn was from Riverrun and Elizabeth was a Rivers. Elizabeth's eldest son is executed, just like Robb, Catelyn's eldest. And Elizabeth was hated because she was a "commoner" and some said a witch, not because she was ruthless. Cersei resembles the conniving Margeret of Anjou. Both were willing to kill whomever it took to keep their children in power.

  • 1

Log in