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aka: Game Of Thrones

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The world of Westeros created by George R. R. Martin and the outlying lands have been inspired by a real-world culture, Expy, or simply a well-worn fantasy trope.


Literature

    A Song of Ice and Fire 


  • The Dothraki live on a big grassy plain, and according to GRRM, are based primarily on peoples from the Eurasian steppe and the North American Great Plains — "Huns, Alans, Sioux, Cheyenne, and various other Amerindian tribes... some Mongol, certainly... seasoned with a dash of pure fantasy." Although, a closer look reveals that he based them more on generally false stereotypes of horse nomads, as opposed to basing them on actual historical practices. Contrary to fan belief, he stated that "any resemblance to the Turks or Arabs is purely coincidental."
  • The Rhoynar culture, whose history is told in The World of Ice and Fire is somewhat modeled after the ancient Greeks: independent city-states with a common culture, eventually conquered by Rome/Valyria. Though considering that they lost their homeland and eventually found home in Dorne/Moorish Spain, they are also quite similar to the state of Judea after the fall of Jerusalem by Rome (Valyria), which birthed the Jewish diaspora. Most Jews settled in the Iberian peninsula (equivalent to Dorne) for centuries. Within the Rhoynar, the orphans of the Greenblood bear even more similarities with Jews, as they have retained their ancient culture, while modifying it to their status as exiles.
  • The Free Cities are loosely based on the medieval city-states of Italy (including Italian-sounding names) and some elements of Ancient Greek culture, with Braavos being a City of Canals like Venice and Volantis having an oligarchical form of democracy like Athens. Also, the Sealord of Braavos is analogous to the Doge of Venice, since both are non-hereditary positions that any wealthy aristocrat can fill out in an election and the current officeholder's residence is a lavish palace located near the sea. Additionally, the Free Cities correspond to Northern Europe's (France, England) bias about Italian cities as petty domain ruled from lords of bourgeois origin (mostly merchants as the De Medicis), although their cities are extremely wealthy and cultured. They even speak a language descended from Old Valyrian (Latin). Volantis is also one for Constantinople, as the most powerful of those cities which sees itself as the new heart of the Vestigial Empire.
  • Qarth is the major trade center between East and West, like Constantinople. Its intricate walls art also sounds like the Ishtar Gate of Ancient Babylon.
  • The Ghiscari Empire is a blatant counterpart of Carthage, right down to its rivalry with Valyria, the ASOIAF counterpart of Ancient Rome. The Slaver Cities —Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen— are reminiscent of the Barbary States,note  with their location (where the former Carthaginian Empire and later The Roman Empire reigned), geography, and dependence on slave-trading to sustain themselves, as well as slave soldiers. Likewise, Qarth seems to share a great deal with ancient Baghdad.
  • Westeros as a whole has many similarities to Britain, including the general shape of the continent, The Great Wall up in the Grim Up North to keep out the Barbarian Tribes (the Wall as Hadrian's Wall- or more accurately Antonine's Wall), the large and cold Northern province with an independence movement owing to keeping some Celtic/First Men culture intact rather than full assimilating to Andal/Anglo-Saxon culture (Scotland), waves of conquering cultures (e.g. Aegon as William the Conqueror), and the Viking-esque isle kingdom off of the northwestern coast. Even the collective name of the independent kingdoms, the Seven Kingdoms, is a dead ringer for the Heptarchy: the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of late Antiquity and The Low Middle Ages. Specific regions tend to show their own influences:
    • The North—Northern England and Scotland, with their retaining of First Men culture reminding of Celtic influences in Scotland. The Northern mountain clans are reminiscent of the Scottish Highland clans. House Stark in particular is similar to a Northern English House, the House of York, that went to war against the House of Lancaster. Its political organization, somewhat of a federation with thinly populated and isolated settlements in a vast taiga expanse swearing loyalty to a nominal overlord at the center, is somewhat similar to Kievan Rus'.
    • The Iron Islands— Scandinavia and/or Ireland due to their culture of being seafaring raiders (which the Vikings were most famous for, but the Irish did their fair share of, too), with their independent streak reminding of Ireland's relationship with the rest of Britain. They bear an even stronger resemblance to the seafaring hybrid Norse-Gaelic culture of the Hebrides under the MacDonald Lords of the Isles.
    • The Riverlands— Northeastern France (e.g. Lorraine, Burgundy, Champagne) and the Low Countries. Very rich and fertile, with rivers flowing through, but flat and without natural defenses. They also tended to get invaded a fair amount. Also, north-central England for much the same reasons. Their place on the map also roughly corresponds to the core areas of England's Danelaw, mirroring how the Riverlands were conquered by the Viking expies of the setting in the backstory.
    • The Vale— The nations of the Alps such as Austria, Switzerland, and Milan, for their terrain and architecture. Also Wales, for being a heavily mountainous jutting peninsular region with green valleys, featuring an ethnic conflict between the First Men (Celts) and Andal (Anglo-Saxon) settlers.
    • The Westerlands— England, particularly western England. House Lannister is based on a Western English House called the House of Lancaster (coat of arms a golden lion on a red background) who went to war against the House of York, and Tywin Lannister is, per GRRM, based on Edward I of England, the Hammer of the Scots.
    • Dragonstone—Wales, in that the heir apparent to the throne is named Prince of Dragonstone. In terms of history, one could make a case for it being based on Britain, in that it’s a small island that created a massive empire.
    • The Stormlands—Medieval Germany in that it's a heavily forested, rivered, and martial land that once had a massive empire that slowly fell apart over the centuries.
    • The Reach—Medieval France due to their terrain and status as the most populous kingdom and the homeland of chivalry and stereotypical knights, at least in the eyes of the common people. Also, middle-south England. The most populated region in the kingdom, immensely fertile and rich, and the heart of the kingdom's chivalry. The historical Tyrrell family hails from Essex which lies in this region; the ruling family of the Reach, the Tyrells, are named after this house.
    • Oldtown is modeled after Alexandria, with its great lighthouse which is an architectural marvel, as well as its vast library which is known across the world. It's also the Rome to King's Landing's Constantinople, losing its significance as a primate city and a religious seat to a quickly growing capital city located to the East.
    • Dorne—according to GRRM, "Dorne is Wales mixed with (Moorish) Spain and Palestine". Like the rulers of Wales, the rulers of Dorne style themselves as Princes. Also like Wales, Dorne was initially able to resist conquest by their powerful neighbors, before finally being subdued, later liberating itself, and finally pledging conditional fealty through alliances to the monarchy of the kingdom it shares a landmass with. Like both Wales and Spain, their borders are lined with marches and many wars have been fought between them and their neighbors. Like Spain, a large mountain range separates them from the rest of the continent. And it shares the hot, dry climate of Spain and Palestine. Its positioning also evokes Gibraltar.
    • North of The Wall—the wildlings/freefolk are roughly analogous to the Pictish tribes north of the Antonine Wall.
    • The Neck—bears striking similarities to The Fens of Eastern England, at least up until they were drained from the 1600s onward. A mass of swamps and marshes inhabited by hardy, insular "crannogmen", who seem to take after the notoriously hermetic towns and settlements of East Anglia.
    • Crackclaw Point—a small peninsula in the continent's east where every valley has a king and they've been feuding with each other since time immemorial. Aegon Targaryen had great troubles conquering that place and had to convert the local rulers one by one. This sounds like the Balkans, especially in the wake of the Ottoman conquest. Its Northern border is a large river flowing into the sea to the East, like the Danube.
  • While Westeros's cultures have European inspirations, the layout of Westeros's geography mirrors that of North America, particularly the United States. The North and Beyond-the-Wall are analogous to the northern US and Canada, with their notoriously freezing climes; the Riverlands are the Midwest, and the Trident is a fantasy counterpart of the Mississippi River; the Stormlands and the Crownlands are the Northeast and the coastal Southeast since they're seat of government and they're famous for being battered by coastal storms; The Reach is the analogous to the Southeast, since it's fertile and produced many food products, with the main difference being that the Reach is located on the southwestern side of Westeros; Dorne is similar to the Southwest and Mexico, with its deserts and mountains and the fact that the land was colonized by the Rhoynar, which are partly based on Moorish Spain (though the Americas were colonized centuries after the Moors lost control of Spain); the Westerlands are similar to California and other western states, since their economy is based on mining gold and silver from their mountains; the Vale are the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico) with their extremely mountainous terrain; and the Iron Islands can be seen as Hawaii and other island holdings, which have a markedly different culture and background from the rest of the country/continent, as well as being located farther west than any other location in the story.
    • This is mostly a consequence of England being blown up to a massive size, as otherwise Westerosi geography corresponds to that of Great Britain with Ireland attached on the bottom.
    • The coastline contours of Westeros and Essos look a lot like those of the Balkans and Anatolia - Westeros is elongated in the north-south direction, with its southern coast having some more prominent peninsulas. Eastward of its southern half there is a small sea riddled with islands which separates it from a more monolithic, rectangular landmass stretching from west to east.
  • Yi-Ti is heavily inspired by Imperial China. The similarity is only hinted at in the main novels, but The World of Ice & Fire gives a detailed description where it becomes self-evident.
    • The Five Forts are enormous buildings that protect the Empire from intruders much like the Great Wall of China, though unlike the real deal the YiTish did not build the Forts, predating the culture for an unknown number of years.
    • Much like the Dothraki to Western Essos are the Mongols to Europe, the Jogos Nhai are the Mongols to China's perspective, which would be the Golden Empire of Yi Ti. The Jogos Nhai are horse lords as well, though they do not quarrel between themselves like the Dothraki; however, they are not less barbaric when it comes to war.
    • In A Dance with Dragons after we are told that no Ghiscari feast is complete without a dish of dog, they are said to "eat anything that swims or flies or crawls but for man and dragon." This echoes a common modern Chinese saying about the Cantonese.
  • The town of Port Plunder in the Basilisk Isles is a settlement of pirates, slavers and debauchery in the style of the now sunken town of Port Royal in Jamaica; unlike Port Royal, Port Plunder is usually reconstructed elsewhere in the islands whenever the previous town falls.
  • The Free City of Norvos, with its Northeastern location, as well as its name, are reminiscent of Novgorod, and just like that and other Russian medieval cities, it is on the frontier of barbarian invasions and pays tribute to them.
  • The Valyrians are basically the Roman Empire with dragons with some Atlantis/Lemuria thrown in. From their small peninsula nation they conquered a huge chunk of their continent and their form of government, the Valryrian Freehold, was the Roman Republic with the Serial Numbers Filed Off. Now (Middle Ages), though their empire is no more, their provinces stand as independent kingdoms and speak dialects derived from Valyrian on their way to become separate languages (like the Romance languages).
    • Dragonstone is thus analogous to Roman Britain, as the farthest island outpost of an important empire (Valyria/Rome).
    • Dragonstone is also an equivalent to the Channel Islands, which are personal possessions of the British crown and were held by the Dukes of Normandy over a century before the invasion of England, similarly, Dragonstone was home to the Targaryens for over a century before Aegon's conquest.
    • There are also comparisons to be made with the Minoans, including the fact that they were apparently destroyed by tectonic activity and were based off a chain of Southern islands.
    • The Targaryen custom of incestuous marriage has some similarities to another aspect of the Macedonian Greek Ptolemaic Pharaohs of Egypt, who married brother to sister as well.
    • The Targaryen conquest of Westeros mirrors the Norman conquest of England, but the Targaryens themselves also have some Byzantine trappings (ex. "wildfire", a green-colored version of Greek Fire). They are of Valyrian (i.e. "Roman") origin, too.
  • The Hightowers, vassals of the Tyrells have close ties and have been longtime patrons to the Order of Maesters and the Faith of the Seven. This closely mirrors the real life House of Medici of the Republic of Florence, both in their pursuit of the higher arts and knowledge, and in their contributions to the church; much like the Medicis of old who became Popes, for instance, there have been Hightowers who have become High Septons as well.
  • The Tyrells may be partially based on the Carolingian dynasty. The Merovingian dynasty that ruled France were eventually eclipsed in power by their stewards (the Mayors of the Palace), who ended up overthrowing them. The Tyrells are a family related to the ruling House Gardner, who are hereditary stewards of Highgarden. When House Gardner is wiped out the Tyrells are given control of Highgarden.
  • We know almost nothing of Mossovy, but its extreme northeastern placement within the known world, a terrain of cold forests, and folkloric reputation for hosting "shapechangers and demon hunters" – together with the phonological character of its name – all suggest a counterpart to Russia.
  • The destroyed Kingdom of Sarnath has a similar location and culture to Achaemenid Persia, and its name sounds like that of the Sarmatians, a culture based around horses and chariots. Its destruction at the hands of the Dothraki - a threat they had previously considered a minor nuisance - can also bring to mind the Arabian conquest of the Sassanid Empire.
  • Asshai and its native religion were probably inspired by Persia and its native religion, Zoroastrianism. The actual shape of the region it resides in, the Shadow Lands, is also obviously inspired by India, where the vast majority of surviving Parsi Zoroastrians reside today. Its characteristics as a land plunged in darkness seems to be drawn from the Land of Darkness of medieval legend, which also has a (fictional) connection to Persia.
  • The rarely-mentioned southern continent Sothoryos is roughly analogous to Africa during this time period—specifically the image of Darkest Africa as Europeans historically perceived the continent. Except in this case, replace Hollywood Natives with Frazetta Man.
  • The Summer Islands also resemble Africa and The Caribbean, in the skin color of their inhabitants and in what little we know of their culture. It could also be argued that they have a more Pacific Islander based culture, as they wear feather capes much like in Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures, and their diet (mainly fruit and fish) is similar to that of the Pacific Islands.
  • From what we know of the port city of Ibben, it sounds like a theoretical Inuit or Siberian native society if they had founded cities. And if those cultures had arisen among surviving Homo neanderthalensis populations instead of among Homo sapiens.
  • While Sacred Hospitality is observed in all Indo-European cultures (think of the Greeks, the Vikings or the Romans), the tradition of serving salt and bread is typically Slavic, increasing the Kievan Rus' connection to the North. In Russia (and also Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria) the tradition is greeting important guests at the door with a traditionally-baked bread with a bit of salt on the top. The tradition is so typical that in Russian the idiomatic phrase "with bread and salt" is equivalent of "with open arms".
  • Word of God says that the planet it all occurs on is an alternate Earth.
  • If viewing the First Men as the Celtic Britons and the Andals as the Anglo-Saxons, the Children of the Forest can be seen as similar to the Tuatha Dé Danann as described in the Irish Book of Invasions. Initially the Tuatha Dé Danann warred with the Milesians (the ancestors of the Celtic Irish) before eventually making peace with them and dividing the land between them, with the supernaturally gifted Tuatha Dé Danann taking command of the Otherworld, and the Milesians taking command of the temporal world. This mirrors the initial violence and then coexistence between the Children and the First Men.

Live-Action Television

    Game of Thrones 

  • Westeros has clear parallels to medieval Britain:
    • Word of God has confirmed the parallels between the Wall that separates the kingdom of the North from the land of the free folk and Hadrian's Wall, the 80-mile-long barrier built to protect Roman Britain from the Picts, are intentional. The Narrow Sea also approximates the English Channel and King's Landing roughly corresponds with London.
    • In terms of history, the First Men are similar to the Celtic Britons as the oldest human culture in the realm and their connection to the old gods and the children of the forest echoes legends of druids and fairy folk. The next migrants, the Andals, are similar to the Anglo-Saxons in bringing new cultural and political influences to the south. Then the Targaryens, like the Normans, conquer the entire realm and institute further political, cultural, and infrastructure reforms. The Targaryens are also a counterpart to the House of Normandy and The House of Plantagenet.
    • The accents generally approximate England's own accent distribution, particularly in early seasons. For example Ned, a northerner, has Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent whereas Cersei, a southerner, has more of a London/RP accent. The mountainous region of the Vale tends to Welsh or Celtic accents and Dorne has Latin Lover accents.
    • The names Lannister and Stark are thinly veiled references to those of Lancaster and York, the two great warring houses in the Wars of the Roses in England, while the Joffrey, Stannis, and Renly branches of House Baratheon mirror the Lancasters and Yorks as rival branches of House Plantagenet. Martin openly said that the story is loosely inspired by the real life War of the Roses.
      • House Lannister bears resemblance to the House of Lancaster and medieval English nobility in general and, to some extent, the infamous Borgia family of the Italian Renaissance. Game of Thrones has often been compared to the Borgias and their schemes, mainly because of the Lannister characters. Their home, the Westerlands, bears a small resemblance to South Africa as well (lots of gold, lions, a huge mountain behind the main port city.) Furthermore, if the North is Scotland under William Wallace, then the Westerlands could be England under Edward Longshanks. The HBO show's version of Lannister armor combines features from The Renaissance, Feudal Japan, the Teutonic Knights, and the German men-at-arms of the Russian film Alexander Nevsky, which in turn were a reference to Nazi Germany, as is Tywin's dream about a thousand-year dynasty. The Medieval Japanese style to their armor was to make them look distinct, and is loosely implied to be a holdover from when they were close allies of the Targaryens — who, being from the eastern continent, also dress in very "foreign" looking Asian styles.
      • House Stark is a counterpart of the House of York, at least in name and its individual members' characterization. When you take into account political position, war glories and subsequent vulnerability, however, they borrow more from the reputation of the House of Lancaster (a junior branch of The House of Plantagenet)—who were deposed by the ruthless and (sometimes) quite dishonorable methods of the Yorkist faction. This mixing with Lancastrian and Yorkist tropes also characterize their rivals, House Lannister. This becomes more explicit come Season 6, where Jon Snow's ascension as King in the North (the same time it became clear he's not an illegitimate son of the main line, he's a Stark in the matrilineal line) after deposing the tyrannical rule of the Boltons harkens the propaganda of Henry VII's rise — a matrilineal relative of the Lancasters who established The House of Tudor. This fuels speculation that Snow will marry Danaerys, since how did Henry VII secure his rule politically after defeating Richard III? That's right, by marrying Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York. (In-series this is a little squickier, since Danaerys is Jon's aunt, but given that the Targaryens are all about incest, this probably shouldn't matter too much.)
    • House Baratheon:
      • King Robert draws elements from Henry IV of England (a man that usurps the throne from a distant cousin with the force of arms as his sole right) and his successor, Henry V (a tall, muscular, popular warrior and battle commander, who dies early leaving an unfit child as his successor and lays the ground for decades of warfare). Not surprising since the War of the Five Kings draws inspiration from the historical War of the Roses and the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years War, the roots of both being in Henry V's reign. Robert also bears a good deal of resemblance to Henry VIII as King: a dynamic and charming young man who eventually goes into moral and physical decay as he gets older and eventually ends his life as an obese, paranoid failure. Not to mention an obvious parallel to Richard the Lionheart, a popular figure remembered by history as a warrior king. In reality a terrible monarch who cared very little for the throne of England and preferred fighting.
      • The three Baratheon brothers are a good match for the three Yorkist brothers. Edward IV (Robert Baratheon) a fearsome warrior who never lost a battle who was not as gifted in politics, while Renly and Stannis are inverted sibling order versions of George, Duke of Clarence (Renly) who revolted against his elder brother only to be imprisoned and sentenced to death by him and Richard III (Stannis) who claimed the throne by legal right and sought to declare his nephews as bastards and who likewise enjoys a highly sinister reputation.
  • In the current generation of House Baratheon, parallels could also be made for the Bonapartes or the Julio-Claudian dynasty of The Roman Empire, as a ruling family based on the influence of several siblings after the usurping of the throne of the biggest brother.
  • The Ironborn resemble hornless Horny Vikings, particularly the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Like the Norse, they are a seafaring society with a foreign religion from a harsh region that drives them to rely heavily on adventuring and raiding for prosperity, hence the Greyjoy motto, "We Do Not Sow."
  • The Vale is the most mountainous part of Westeros and has an ethnic mix of castle-dwelling Andals (i.e. Anglo-Saxons) and restive tribes of First Men (i.e. Celts) that likens it to Wales, which suits Ser Vardis Egan's Welsh accent. In addition, a mountainous region that is notoriously hard to invade and whose people keep to themselves militarily draws obvious comparisons to Switzerland.
  • The Riverlands are climatically and culturally similar to northern France and southern England, but its status as a crossroads surrounded by antagonistic regions means it's people are frequently drawn into turmoil in the same manner as Poles or Belgians. As such, the ruling House Tully has developed a penchant for forging marriage alliances to secure further power, similar to the Hapsburg dynasty.
  • The Reach is analogous in many ways to the south-east of England and to Aquitaine in southern France as the most populous and prosperous region of Westeros and the heartland of chivalry. House Tyrell also bears a strong parallel to the The House of Stuart as stewards who ascended to power following the demise of the previous rulers while their golden rose sigil is a near-exact replica of the red-and-white Tudor Rose.
  • If the people of the Reach are analogous to the people of Aquitaine, then stormlanders like Robert, Stannis, and Brienne of Tarth are analogous to the people of northern France such as Normandy and Maine: a similar but harsher people from a harsher climate. This is perhaps best exemplified by Renly's dissonance with his own family and his affinity for the Tyrells.
    • Furthermore, although much less pronounced than any of the other regions, the Stormlands as a whole are loosely like medieval Germany, though there’s a mish-mash of other factors: Like Germany, the Stormlands are the most densely forested part of the Seven Kingdoms (of the three major forests, two are located in the Stormlands, the third in the North; but while the North is vast, those two forests take up most of the Stormlands). Similarly, medieval Germany was densely forested.
    • The other similarities have more to do with their history, which is gleaned from the books, which is a lot like the Holy Roman Empire.
      • Before the Targaryen Conquest, the Stormlands under the Durrandon dynasty conquered the Riverlands (including the future Crownlands), as well as bits of the eastern Reach, and expanding further into the Dornish Marches. This Durrandon super-kingdom controlled essentially the entire eastern half of southern Westeros, and it held these lands for a full three centuries. They had over-expanded, however, because now they shared hostiles borders with all six of the other Kingdoms. Most kingdoms could handle having two powerful bordering kingdoms: the Westerlands border the Reach and are right near the Iron Islands, Dorne borders the Reach and the Stormlands, etc. The Reach gets away with having four powerful neighbors (the Westerlands, the Stormlands, Dorne, and the nearby Iron Islands to the north) because it’s the most fertile part of Westeros, has twice the population, and can field twice as many armies (though this balances out because they have twice as many hostile borders). The old Storm Kingdom’s westward expansion, however, meant it wasn’t just fighting its traditional enemies of the Reach and Dorne: now it had to defend its conquests against the Westerlands, the Vale, the North, and particularly the Iron Islands pressing from the west — nor did they have the numbers advantages the Reach did.
      • This is much like what happened to the medieval Holy Roman Empire – basically centered around Germany, but also trying to hold on to the eastern parts of France, northern Italy, fighting Slavs to the east and Vikings to the north. Its borders were so amorphous, and faced so many powerful rivals on every side, that its lands got chipped away over time. Similarly, about three generations before the Targaryen Conquest, King Harwyn Hoare led the Ironborn to conquer the Riverlands from the Stormlands. In the next generation his son kicked them out of the future Crownlands, while the Gardener Kings of the Reach from the southwest chipped away at their lands on the upper Mander, and the Dornish edged them back in the Marches. The remaining core territories of “The Stormlands”, ruled from Storm’s End, got taken over by the Baratheons during the Conquest, when a Targaryen general named Orys Baratheon married the daughter of the last Durrandon king. Other points going towards considering the Stormlands to be a fantasy counterpart to Germany are their long history of wars across a poorly defined border to the west with the Reach (which is much more clearly Fantasy!France).
      • One difference is that Germany doesn’t border Spain, but the Stormlands do have contested mountainous borders with Dorne (Fantasy!Muslim Spain) – though the Holy Roman Empire at its height did compete with Spain for control of the southern parts of France. Again, the similarity to a real life counterpart isn’t quite as pronounced as in other regions.
    • The Season 3 Blu-ray animated featurette on “The Stormlands”, narrated by Brienne of Tarth, does quickly explain how the Stormlands conquered the Riverlands but later lost it to the Ironborn - establishing that their backstory is also pretty much the same in the TV continuity.
  • In addition to their vaguely Hispanic accents (as opposed to the ubiquitous British/Irish spoken elsewhere), the Dornish are traditionally Hot-Blooded, sexually adventurous, and hail from an arid peninsula separated from the rest of the continent by mountains. In fact, Spain was a primary location for Dorne in Season 5. Also, just as medieval Spain was heavily influenced by the Moors, Dorne is the only part of Westeros to be influenced by the Rhoynar culture. Dorne also has similarities with Wales in that both were once independent realms that maintain an separate culture, have "marches" along their border, and are ruled by a prince.
  • The Dothraki are a loose conglomeration of Turko-Mongol nomadic horse-culture influences and actors who range from Indian to Hawai'ian in ethnicity.
  • Mirri Maz Duur's people, the Lhazareen, resemble the Semitic shepherd cultures of the ancient Middle East and even worship a "Great Shepherd."
  • Qarth is part ancient Carthage ("Qart Hadasht") for its wealthy mercantile center surrounded by desert and part medieval Constantinople for controlling an important sea lane. The set decor and motifs also feature eastern influences from ancient Babylon, Persia, and India.
  • The Free Cities seem to represent a hodgepodge of Mediterranean cultures. Braavos is a city of canals like Venice guarded by an expy of the Colossus of Rhodes called the Titan, Lorathi characters have German accents, Volantis is a powerful city obsessed with the legacy of a lost empire like Constantinople, etc.
  • The Valyrian Freehold and its successor states resemble Ancient Grome; Valyrian even sounds similar to Greek. On the other hand, the throne room of Dragonstone is in brutalist style, characteristic for the mid-20th century.
  • As independent city-states with a shared cultural heritage, Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen are reminiscent of Ancient Greece, but their clothing and cosmetics are more reminiscent of North Africa and their pyramids are a mixture of Mesopotamian ziggurats and Egyptian pyramids. Their strong reliance on slave soldiers also has parallels to the Mamluks and Janissaries who served the Ottoman Empire, and the Unsullied in particular receive training similar to the Ancient Spartans. The cities in Slaver's Bay and Old Ghis are also reminiscent of the Phoenician city-states such as Tyre and Sidon, and their most powerful colony, Carthage, respectively - only swapped in time, so that the city-state (Ghis) that waged wars against another superpower (Valyria) is the original empire, and the rest are its former colonies.
  • The Wildlings from beyond the Wall mirror the Scottish/Pictish/Celtic tribes that gave the Roman legions so much trouble and lived beyond Hadrian's Wall, as they come from an inhospitable area of the land with pale skin and red hair being a common trait but names like Tormund, Ygritte, and Styr show obvious early medieval Norse, Dane, Svear and Geat influence and the costuming is clearly influenced by the Sami and Inuit cultures of the far north. Some aspects of their culture and egalitarian/libertarian views towards leadership and nobility also make them more similar to aforementioned Norse, Danes, Svear and Geats, and not to mention their love of axes and tribal organisation.
  • House Bolton:
    • They are basically a Northern European medieval version of Wallachia under Vlad Tepes of House Draculesti. Yes, that one.
    • And in a more obscure but very poignant way, the Swedish House of Trolle. They are both ancient houses, carry a ridiculously violent banner (the Boltons have a flayed man, House of Trolle a decapitated troll) and they betray their northern comrades who wish independence from the southern king at a feast, where the gates are looked and all of the rebels are put to the sword. Just google Stockholm's Bloodbath. And yes, Trolle does mean Troll.
  • House Targaryen being of Valyrian (i.e. "Roman") descent and having access to wildfire, an analogue of Greek Fire, makes them a bit Byzantine. Their preference for dynastic incest to maintain the purity of their bloodline, and their rulership of a land to which they have little ethnic relation and speak a different language, draws from Ptolemaic Egypt. They are also similar to the semi-legendary Tarquinius family, the ancient kings of early Rome. Besides the similarly spelt names and connections to a lost, ancient civilization, Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the final (and notably cruel) Roman king, kidnapping and raping another man's wife is seen as the event that triggered the eventual overthrow of the Etruscan kings and the establishment of the Roman Republic, much like Prince Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark.
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    House of the Dragon 


Alternative Title(s): Game Of Thrones, House Of The Dragon

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