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Yes, this series has so many examples of this trope that we had to create a page just for it. Despite being a fantasy saga, George R. R. Martin grounds his work on a foundation of historical fiction, which he channels to evoke important social and political elements of The Middle Ages and The Renaissance, and taking example from historical characters and their fictional portrayal for the main characters.

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As always, beware of spoilers.

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    House Stark 

House Stark

  • Eddard Stark:
    • Like Richard, Duke of York, his death in the early Wars of the Roses as a result of Margaret d'Anjou (a Cersei inspiration) sparked the Cycle of Revenge when his sons avenged him. His body was also beheaded and submitted to a mocking Decapitation Presentation, with the Duke of York having his head outfitted with a paper crown. His young son, the young Edward IV (an inspiration for Robb Stark) marches to war to avenge his death.
    • Like Ned, Richard III, Duke of Gloucester was popular and loved by Northern England for being a fair lawgiver and defender of their homeland. Richard of Gloucester was also named by Edward IV (a Robert Baratheon inspiration) as Regent of his children and tried to prove his children as bastards. Ned was also framed as an usurper and submitted to an in-Westeros Historical Villain Upgrade by his enemies, which is believed, by some historians, to have happened to Gloucester.
    • Also reminiscent of George VI, a second son who was never expected to rule, but was pushed into the role by unforeseen circumstances, and almost immediately had to lead his people through a major war. Both were quiet and shy as young men, and dealt with a lot of insecurity about their new positions, but nonetheless became much beloved rulers. Also have daughters who are almost polar opposites.
    • Martin has said that Ned is also based on William Hastings, a close friend of Edward IV, who is an inspiration for Robert Baratheon. Hastings sought to remove his friend's children from the line of succession of the suspicion that they were bastards, as Ned did, and summoned one of Edward's/Robert's brothers to take the throne in their place. Despite Hastings' scheme being successful unlike Ned, they were both betrayed and unceremoniously executed.
  • Lyanna Stark:
    • Helen of Troy. A famously beautiful young woman engaged to one man, who either ran away or was kidnapped by another, no-one's quite sure, starting a devastating civil war.
    • It's possibly coincidental, but her skill as a horsewoman and Rebellious Princess tendencies, and the widespread grief at her early death makes her somewhat reminiscent of Charlotte, Princess of Wales (daughter of George IV). If the common fanon that Lyanna rebelled against her Arranged Marriage and married for love, only to die in childbirth not long after, this parallel is even closer.
  • Catelyn Stark:
    • Has a lot in common with Catherine of Aragon. Both beautiful redheads. Both betrothed to heirs, Brandon Stark and Arthur Tudor, of a realm who wouldn't usually marry someone from their land (Northerners typically marrying among themselves, whereas Spain was new to great power status at the time of Catherine and Arthur's betrothal, and the kings of England had typically married French princesses instead). Both their betrotheds died young, leading them to be married to their younger brothers instead. Both were politically astute (Catherine even serving as de facto Spanish ambassador to England for a time). Both were Mama Bears devoted to protecting their children's inheritance. Both were deeply pious, Cat being a devoted follower of the Faith of the Seven, the counterpart to the Roman Catholic Church Catherine followed. Luckily, Cat's marriage to Ned turned out a lot more happily than Catherine's did to Henry VIII.
  • Robb Stark:
    • To the young King Edward IV, whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville alienated his supporter Warwick the Kingmaker to betray him. In real life, Edward IV dodged that bullet but Robb Stark pays a steep price.
    • His life as a Young Conqueror genius tactician from Grim Up North who dies as the result of betrayal may also remind one of Charles XII of Sweden.
    • He leads a rebellion against the crown, trying to secede the Northern half of the kingdom, like William Wallace (yes, the one from Braveheart). It helps that the North is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Scotland and Northern England, while the Westerlands are one to Southern England. Also, we have Tywin Lannister sharing many traits with King Edward Longshanks, while Robb shares his name with the first Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Not to mention that like Wallace Robb his betrayed by an ally and killed, letting Tywin Lannister (just like Edward Longshanks) win the war.
  • Arya Stark
    • Her being a Rebellious Princess and tomboy, her family being (seemingly) massacred, her disappearance and deep confusion over whether or not she survived makes her more than a little reminiscent of Annastasia Romanova.
  • Sansa Stark:
    • She shares several similarities with Elizabeth of York: both were red-headed, regarded to be extremely beautiful, whose two younger brothers went missing, and who become "the key" to holding their respective inheritances once their father and brothers are killed. They even share a love for tales of chivalry (it was revealed in Elizabeth's letters that she had interest in Arthurian stories). Elizabeth didn't suffer to the extent like Sansa does, however.
  • Bran and Rickon Stark:
    • Edward V of England and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York - better known as the famous Princes in the Tower. Heirs to a king, they were imprisoned, usurped and seemingly killed by a former ally of said king, but there is great uncertainty over their actual fate.
  • Rickard and Brandon Stark:
    • Their horrific execution and the war that follows bears similarity to the execution of Richard, Duke of York and his son Edmund, the Earl of Rutland. Their deaths were a critical turning point in the Wars of the Roses. See above for Ned Stark for more.

  • King Theon Stark:
    • His determination to keep invaders out of his kingdom at all costs and preserve his forefathers' religion is similar to Vlad Tepes. The story about how he cut up invaders and put them near his borders to scare off invaders comes directly from an account of Vlad doing that to keep the Ottoman sultan away.

    House Lannister 

House Lannister

  • Tywin Lannister:
    • His original role in Robert's Rebellion is inspired by Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, known as "The Kingmaker", i.e. a wealthy fence-sitter who decisively tilts the balance one way and is too valuable an ally to ignore altogether.
    • In terms of personality, reputation and physique, Tywin resembles Edward Longshanks - tall, intimidating and ruthless. Longshanks' suppression of the Second Barons' War, which included the defeat of Simon de Monfort (who had a Silver Lion on Red Field sigil) at the Battle of Eversham and his reputation as the Hammer of the Scots (whose national sigil is the Lion Rampant - a Red Lion) both of which are combined in the suppression of House Reyne of Castamere (Red Lion on Silver Field) and his successful defeat of the Northmen (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Northen England and Scotland). This is alluded to when Pycelle at Tywin's funeral notes that while Tywin was never King, he was all a King should be.
    • He also resembles King Philip IV "le Bel", the French King famous for his ruthless purge of The Knights Templar. King Philip IV was famous for being icy and unsmiling, and for his relative celibacy for a French King. He took France to a position of great power in Europe only to die before his time in an anti-climactic fashion and have his children (one of them, Queen Isabella of England, being a Cersei analogue) ruin all his gains and eventually spark The Hundred Years War. The books dealing with Philip IV and his descendents, The Accursed Kings was cited by Word of God as an influence for the whole series.
  • Cersei Lannister:
    • Margaret of Anjou. A beautiful, ruthless and ambitious queen, whose fierce desire to rule the realm of England paved the way for disaster. She was wife to an ineffective king, her son was a cruel boy of questionable descent, and her tumultuous relationship with her husband's right hand man helped draw their Feuding Families into a bloody civil war (The War of the Five Kings/War of the Roses). She eventually becomes the leader of her respective faction, the Lancasters; although, Margaret actually commands her army and participates in battle at some point. After the death of her son and a devastating defeat, she is held in captivity and effectively declawed; although, Cersei actually has a way out of this predicament.
    • Isabella of France, daughter of King Philip IV "the Fair" of France (who incidentally is one of the inspirations for Tywin Lannister), she was married off to Edward II King of England. Isabella was soon trapped in an unhappy marriage as she was constantly humiliated Isabella by the king's favourites, who were also granted a higher position at court than Isabella herself. For both queens, the actions of their husbands lead to disdain towards them and as result both queens eventually look lovers and plotted against their terrible spouses. Isabella had an affair with English nobleman Roger Mortimer and together they have King Edward disposed from the throne and assumed power of her son Edward III due to his young age, but their Regent for Life plans were thrown off a cliff as soon as Edward III grew up, who wanting to avoid the same fate as his father, executed Roger Mortimer and exiled his mother Isabella. Incidentally Isabella was the instigator of the Tour de Nesle Affair, a scandal amongst the French royal family in 1314, during which the three daughters-in-law of King Philip IV of France were accused of adultery, which inspired the "Fawlty Towers" Plot (of framing Margaery Tyrell and her cousins for adultery) schemed by Cersei in A Feast for Crows.
    • Lucrezia Borgia, another beautiful blonde with a sinister reputation, daughter of a powerful man. Both thought accused of killing men with liquid (wine in Cersei's case, poison in Lucrezia's) and sexual impropriety, particularly committing incest with their own brother.
  • Tyrion Lannister:
    • Alongside Stannis, Ned Stark and Theon Tyrion is a version of Richard III, with his Deadpan Snarker rhetoric and angst about his disability and flirtations with Then Let Me Be Evil coming from Shakespeare's Richard III. In addition, there is a Show Within a Show play made of his exploits, called "The Bloody Hand" which submits Tyrion to a Historical Villain Upgrade analogous to the posthumous reputation of the Duke of Gloucester as a result of Shakepeare.
    • He also has a lot in common with Jeanne "le Boiteuse" de Bourgogne, Philip VI's queen who ran the country while her husband was fighting in the Hundred Years' War. Both are very intelligent, love books, and are capable rulers, but due to their deformities, they get no thanks for it and are often Misblamed for things completely out of their control.
    • Also of the Emperor Claudius, specifically as portrayed in I, Claudius, who made up for being the runt of the litter in a powerful family by exercising his intellect through study. Also, Claudius' marvelous relationship with his nephew Caligula and inferiority complex towards his elder brother Germanicus mirrors Tyrion's one with Joffrey the Adorable and big brother Jaime.

    House Baratheon 

House Baratheon

  • Robert Baratheon
    • He is quite similar to King Edward IV, just as Stannis and Renly are to Edward's brothers Richard III and George, the Duke of Clarence. Just as Robert was the greatest warrior of his day who overthrew a dynasty and began his own, Edward was considered to be England's finest warrior at the time, and went on to reclaim the throne for the Yorkists during the War of the Roses. Both Robert and Edward fell into sedentary lifestyles during their respective reigns, which contributed to each king's death later on.
    • Robert was also inspired by Henry IV. As Lord Henry Bolingbroke, he established his own family dynasty (The Lancasters) after being slighted one time too many by the current king, Richard II, whom Henry deposed. Like Robert, Henry IV was a famed warrior and tournament champion. And like Robert, he had mixed feelings about becoming the next king and ended his life regretting the things he'd done in the past. And it's this change in the system that sets the stage for the country's next big conflict (ones which threaten to bring their new dynasties to early ends); The War of the Five Kings for Robert's kingdom and The War of the Roses for Henry's. Henry like Robert, also had doubts of his son. Luckily for Henry, Henry V turned out to be up to the task, while Joffrey was not. The image quote on his page even describes Henry as the "The Real-Life Robert Baratheon."
    • Possibly of Alexander the Great and Henry VIII. Like the two, Robert is fairly mercurial in personality, and like the two, he undergoes a decline in rulership before his death despite his reign being inaugaurated with great promise. Like Alexander the Great, Robert is an utterly fantastic general neatly married with boundless charisma, but who's administration of the empire he conquered left much to be desired, and who's death triggered a Succession Crisis amongst his former subjects that tore apart most of his gains. Like Henry VIII, Robert was the Hunk with a passion for physical activities early in life, only to descend into being a Fat Bastard by the end of his reign (due to an injury in Henry VIII's case, versus Robert's depression), with an Awful Wedded Life to boot.
    • To Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, leaders of the popular rebellion which overthrew the Tarquin dynasty and ended the Roman monarchy. Collatinus was married to Lucretia, whose rape by Sextus Tarquinius (a son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus) enraged Collatinus to the point he incited the rebellion against the Tarquin dynasty. Brutus and Collatinus were both cousins to the royal family, but Brutus was spared the enmity held for the Tarquin name by belonging to the Junia gens and remain in power following the rebellion; Robert was able to legally claim the Iron Throne through his Targaryen grandmother while avoiding the hatred held for the Targaryen name by being a Baratheon.
  • Stannis Baratheon:
    • Martin admitted that he based Stannis partially on George Baker's rendition of Caesar Tiberius, in I, Claudius. A sombre and gloomy ruler, who was reluctant to rule, didn't like the fact he was never thanked for his work, and spent a lot of time sulking on an island. Like later Tiberius whose reputation was stained by his association with his sidekick Sejanus, Stannis gets a darker reputation by associating with Melisandre, and becomes feared for his ruthlessness.
    • As with Eddard Stark, Tyrion Lannister and Theon Greyjoy, Stannis is modelled on Richard III, the former Duke of Gloucester. His brothers Robert and Renly are based on Edward IV and George Clarence, Richard III's brothers, and like his historical inspiration his campaign is based on his desire to prove the illegitimacy of his nephews. He's also a great military commander like Richard III, and faces opposition from a family symbolized by a rose. Stannis eventually wins support in the North after coming to rescue them from Wildlings and has a heavy emphasis on giving justice, while Richard III was similarly well-known for his defense of the North from Scottish border raids and his legal reforms.
    • Can be considered a Gender Flipped version of Mary I of England: the rightful heir to the throne, whose inheritance is nonetheless constantly interfered with. Both reluctantly arrange the death of a short-lived usurper (Renly and Lady Jane Grey, respectively). Both are middle-aged by the time they (attempt to) ascend the throne. Both have great trouble producing a viable heir. Both are viewed with great suspicion for following a different religion than most of their kingdom (Mary's Catholicism and Stannis' Rh'llorism), and gain a sinister reputation for having people burned alive for religious reasons (Mary's zeal for persecuting Protestants to restore England to the Catholic faith, Stannis performing Human Sacrifices to invoke the powers of Rh'llor).
  • Renly Baratheon:
    • Renly as the analogue to George, Duke of Clarence, a resentful, spoiled brother overshadowed and resentful of the prestige and reputation of his brothers, and finally rising in rebellion against the family by marrying into an enemy house, killed by his brother for his treachery, and who is wrongfully lionized as a hero by the new regime.
    • Henry I of England, the youngest of three brothers, not in line to the throne, who upon the death of one brother, took advantage of the other's - who'd been declared the rightful heir - widespread unpopularity and acted quickly to amass a greater military force with which to take the throne for themselves. Things worked out better for Henry than Renly however, presumably because Robert Curthose had no access to shadow magic.
  • Joffrey Baratheon:
    • Prince Edward of Westminster. Also known as Edward of Lancaster (Lannister), he was the spoiled son of a ruthless queen. Though there were those who questioned his paternity, he was determined to succeed his father as king. Like Joffrey, Edward had a penchant for cruelty, despite his young age; he was rather zealous about having captured Yorkists (Starks) beheaded. Unlike Joffrey, Edward was at least brave enough to take part in battle. And they both died badly while still just barely boys, failing to consummate their marriages or truly reign as kings.
    • Emperor Caligula. Both young rulers infamously known for their insanity, which in Caligula's case may have been caused by illness or poisoning, while Joffrey's cruelty is the result of inbreeding and poor upbringing. Also they had both less than stellar relationships with their uncles Claudius and Tyrion's, respectively. Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey in Game of Thrones, even looks similar to Caligula, as shown here.
  • Orys Baratheon:
    • Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother of William the Conqueror (Aegon the Conqueror's inspiration). William considered him one of his greatest supporters and made him one of the greatest landholders in his half-brother's new Kingdom of England. Orys too, despite his uncertain origins was made Hand of the King, a position as the King's Number Two made right for him, and was granted the rule of the Stormlands through his marriage to Princess Argella, the Storm King's only daughter.
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    House Targaryen 

House Targaryen

  • King Aerys II:
    • To the French King Charles VI the Mad who was initially seen as a good and wise King but eventually became mentally ill. Charles VI was famously paranoid, believed he was made of glass, would randomly attack and kill pageboys and knights, and in the infamous Bal des Ardents, aka "the Ball of the Burning Men", he and several other young nobles disguised themselves as wood savages as a lark, using costumes made of linen, flax and inflammable resin, which accidentally caught firenote .
    • To Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome. Lucius had a penchant for murdering his political rivals, particularly senators, while also judging capital criminal cases without consulting his advisors, blanketing Rome in a reign of terror. But it would be the actions of one of his sons which would spark the popular rebellion against the Tarquin dynasty.
    • His general eccentricism, long hair and nails, and constant paranoia are quite similar to the legends surrounding the later life of billionaire Howard Hughes who refused to allow anyone except a trusted few in his company and was deeply hypochondriac. Like Hughes, Aerys II was an active youthful playboy filled with a passion for impractical schemesnote  who eventually became a paranoid hermit.
  • Rhaegar Targaryen:
    • To Edward the Black Prince. Both are seen as the ultimate embodiment of medieval chivalry and subject to a great deal of romanticism in life and after death, and they are regarded as the ultimate Great-King-That-Never-Was, at least by supporters.
    • He also has elements of the Trojan princes Paris and Hector from The Iliad. Like Paris, his abduction of a woman promised to another started a war. Like Hector, he was loved and admired by everyone who knew him, was slain on the battlefield by the vengeful leader of the enemy forces, and his death precedes the ruin of his family and their dynasty.
    • To Sextus Tarquinius, the youngest son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. Sextus is the perpetrator of the legendary Rape of Lucretia, who was the wife of his cousin Collatinus; this event would instigate the rebellion which resulted in the overthrow of the Tarquin dynasty in Rome, the end of the Roman monarchy and birth of the Roman Republic.
  • Viserys Targaryen:
    • James Francis Edward Stuart, "the Old Pretender", living in exile after his father was killed (though James' father James II was merely forced into exile), and styling himself as King. He also has a great deal of similarity in personality to "Bonnie Prince Charlie" (son of the Old Pretender), who despite his romantic reputation in poetry, was an alcoholic, obsessed with reclaiming his birthright and abusive to his lovers.
  • Aegon "Young Griff" Targaryen:
    • His landing of the Golden Company on the Stormlands under the Dragon banner echoes the arrival of Henry Tudor in England (his banner was a Red Welsh Dragon) who likewise spent much of his reign on a continent separated by sea from his native homeland and most of his supporters were fellow exiles Fighting for a Homeland. If he is actually a female-line Blackfyre that makes him more like Henry VII, considering that Henry's "claim" was through his mother being descended from John of Gaunt's legitimatized bastards.
    • On the whole, he echoes many historical pretenders claiming to be missing and dead Princes who somehow survived massacres and purges. Examples include Pseudo-Demetrius I of Russia, and from the Wars of the Roses itself: Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, both of whom claimed to be the lost and presumed dead "Princes in the Tower" challenging Henry Tudor's claim to the throne.
  • King Aegon I "the Conqueror ":
    • William the Conqueror. Pretty self-explanatory, minus the dragons and the aforementioned incest, an absolute outsider to a land where he is gravely outnumbered and conquered by bringing something new to the battlefield (the Saxons hadn't faced anything like the Norman heavy cavalry before).
    • Also greatly resembles Henry VII, coming from across the sea with a small force and welding a previously gravely divided kingdom together, before providing decades of pragmatic and peaceful rule.
    • Likewise, his focus on ruling and administration after winning his battles, overall stoic personality and the peace he brought to Westeros after the constant wars of earlier kingdoms recalls the First Roman Emperor Augustus, especially since his immediate descendants proved to be one Sketchy Successor after another.
    • King Cnut. Both are foreign conquerors, both gain a reputation as great and wise kings, and both are bigamists with two wives, whose respective children fight viciously over the succession after his death.
  • King Maegor I "the Cruel":
    • Henry VIII of England, both were the sons of ruthless but pragmatic kings, both married six times and had great trouble producing an heir — although Henry never married three women at once, and he did eventually succeed in his endeavors as Maegor never did. Both king's were known for their stocky build, bluebeard tendencies, their troubling tendency for butchering their advisors, ministers and friends, and a disturbingly large body count. Also, both had problems with the faith; as Henry VIII was busy founding the Church of England to remove the Pope's influence on the kingdom for good (and also for the selfish reasons we all know), while Maegor put down the Faith Militant rebellion with much bloodshed.
    • His Shoot the Builder tactics are derived from many legends revolving on Kings killing builders of famous monuments, such as Ivan the Terrible and the architect of the St Basil's Cathedral's.
    • Finally, while culturally very separate from the other examples here, Maegor burning the followers of the Faith inside the Sept of Remembrance is highly evocative of Oda Nobunaga burning down the Buddhist temple Enryaku-ji. Like Nobunaga himself after the act, Maegor would forever be tainted in the eyes of the followers of the Faith he persecuted.
  • Jaehaerys I "the Concilliator":
    • Henry II of England, who came to the throne after the troubled reign of Stephen I and spent most his long tenure reforming the government and touring his vast realm with his wife and children. Also had a very politically powerful wife.
    • George III of Great Britain. Both the third generation of a foreign dynasty to ascend the throne. Both reigned for over fifty years, setting a record. Both were considered The Good King through most of that time, but mentally degenerated late in life. Both were humble and kind men, despite coming from Royally Screwed Up families. Both had a lot of children, which a couple of Sketchy Successors in there. The succession of both was also somewhat irregular (Jaehaerys was the third son of a the second-previous king, George the grandson of the previous king), as was the succession after them (Jaehaerys' crown passed to his grandson by his second son, Viserys I, while George's crown passed, after his eldest son George IV and third son William IV, to his granddaughter by his fourth son, Queen Victoria).
    • Also to King William III/II of England and Scotland. Both took over following highly controversial kings who directly conflicted with the dominant religion (Maegor the Cruel and the Catholic James VII/II), both were popular, effective monarchs who helped restore the reputation of the monarchy in the eyes of the faith and the people, and both ruled effectively as a Ruling Couple with their wives, who they were closely related to and who also had strong claims to the throne in their own right. They also both experienced very notable depression and downturns in their health and general effectiveness following the deaths of their respective wives.
  • Queen Alysanne Targaryen:
    • GRRM himself has compared her to Eleanor of Aquitaine—in terms of her power, dignity, and political skill, but without any of Eleanor's potential flaws (her marriage controversies, scheming with her sons, etc.)
    • She also bears some resemblance to Queen Mary II of England and Scotland, being one-half of a popular Ruling Couple with a King whom they were closely related to, taking the reins from a highly unpopular ruler who had clashed with the dominant religion, and helping to restore the monarchy in both popularity and effectiveness. Also like Mary II, she predeceased her husband, which directly contributed to his own decline in both health and effectiveness.
  • King Viserys I
    • King Henry I, who after the death of his son and heir (William Adelin died when his ship sank, while Baelon Targaryen died an infant) named his daughter and only surviving child his heir in defiance of a misogynistic society still firmly rooted in the Heir Club for Men. While both were regarded as fairly competent kings in their own time, the thing they're remembered most for looking back is the Succession Crisis this decision directly precipitated. Although Henry Beauclerc never muddied the issue by remarrying and having more sons; Matilda's usurper Stephen of Blois was the son of Henry's sister, who was backed by the nobles who would rather have any available male heir.
  • King Aegon II "the Usurper":
    • Stephen of Blois, nephew of King Henry I of England, who vied over the English throne in the 12th century "Anarchy" against his cousin Empress Matilda, King Henry's daughter. Aegon was even persuaded to take the throne by his wife and mother, much as Stephen was. Both Stephen and Aegon suffered of Pyrrhic Victory, as they eventually defeated their female rivals but in the long run they couldn't pass the crown to their sons, and the kingdom went respectively to Mathilda's and Rhaenyra's son, King Henry II the Plantagenet and King Aegon II the Younger.
  • Queen Rhaenyra I "the Realm's Delight", "Maegor's Tits"
    • Empress Matilda, who vied with her cousin Stephen of Blois for the English throne from 1135 to 1153. Matilda's father left the throne to her, her cousin overruled that claim with the support of several English barons, and Matilda's son Henry became king after Stephen's death (thus vindicating his mother's claim), as is the case with Rhaeneyra and Aegon III respectively. It must be noted, however, that Matilda died peacefully and at the height of her powers (ensuring that her son Henry II remains king), while Rhaenyra was defeated and truly wretched when she was executed.
    • Mary of Scotland. Rhaenyra died in disgrace as a usurper but at least her son becoming king united two warring factions. Also like Mary's descendants, Rhaenyra's descendants were deposed and exiled.
  • Daemon Targaryen "the Rogue Prince"
    • Robert of Gloucester, Empress Matilda's illegitimate half-brother and chief military supporter during the Anarchy. Robert of Gloucester, due to his illegitimacy was spurned as a possible king, so he joined his half-sister's cause. Daemon Targaryen was spurned as his brother's heir because of his rivalry with the powerful Hightower family, who plotted first to have Princess Rhaenyra made heir to the throne despite her gender, and then arranged a marriage between Lord Hightower's daughter Alicent and producing King Aegon II...and the Dance of the Dragons.
    • Geoffrey of Anjou, Matilda's second husband and other main supporter, father of future King Henry II and pretty much founder of The House of Plantagenet, and said to have given the Plantagenets their name from the broom-plant he wore on his chest, the Latin name of which was Planta Genista. Like him, Prince Daemon was the father of the future King who would reunite the feuding branches of the dynasty, and despite having being spurned as a ruler in his own right, the current Targaryen dynasty descends directly from him.
    • Charles of Valois, King Philip IV's boisterous brother. All his life went on in the pursuit of power and a throne, like his brief adventure of being Emperor of Constantinople or King of Aragon, but every chance of ruling in his name or his brother's heirs' name would eventually be spurned. Despite this, he was an excellent military leader, and after his brother's son all died without heirs' it is his son Philip of Valois who would inherit the throne. So like Daemon he was never a king, but his offspring eventually were. Also The Accursed Kings were a source for George Martin's characterization of many characters.
  • King Aegon III "the Dragonbane":
    • Henry II, son of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou (Real Life counterparts of Rhaenyra I and Prince Daemon Targaryen). He became his uncle's heir for lack of any other suitable candidate, thus ultimately vindicating his mother's claim. However, the rest of his life was rather more peaceful than Henry's. He also had a son who was renowned for his abilities as a warrior (see Daeron I below).
  • King Daeron I "the Young Dragon":
    • Alexander the Great, according to Word of God, at least in terms of how many young Lords and Princes wanted to emulate his prodigious achievements. Like Alexander, he died at young age and his conquest dissolved shortly after his demise.
    • Julius Caesar, he also wrote a book that is a favorite among Lords, and prized by commoners like the newly-literate Davos for its readability.
    • Richard the Lionheart in that he waged a war in a desert region at great loss of life and money, yet remains popular as a warrior king while criticized as a reckless Blood Knight by historians and the less glory-minded characters such as Stannis.
  • King Baelor I "the Blessed":
    • Louis VII of France. Both were the second sons of their fathers, the reigning kings; both were fervently devoted to their faiths and were training for ecclesiastical careers before coming to the throne. As kings, both proved to be meek, timid, and pious, but also strengthened relations between the Crown and the Church/Faith. Just like Baelor had three sisters, Louis had three wives, the first of whom was a passionate, free-spirited, temperamental young woman who defied her royal husband and kept lovers. They also founded famous religious buildings; Baelor commissioned the Great Sept in King's Landing, while Louis VII laid stones for Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
    • King Louis IX of France, the Saint. Both Baelor and Louis led zealously religious lives, and Louis was even canonized as a saint. There are many similarities between the two pious kings, especially between how they chose to rule their respective realms: both made attempts at reconciliation with neighbouring territories, both made a pilgrimage of some kind, and both oversaw many religiously motivated changes. The obvious differences are that Baelor was a complete pacifist, celibate and died childless, while Louis IX was a The Paladin, Happily Married and had nine children with his lady wife.
    • Edward the Confessor, another famously religious monarch, elevated to (near) sainthood after their deaths. Both had very troubled family relationships. Both failed to produce heirs, eventually leading to a Succession Crisis (albeit the one following Baelor was delayed by a couple of generations).
  • King Aegon IV "the Unworthy":
    • Along with Maegor I, Martin describes him the Henry VIII of the Targaryens. Henry’s life differs in its progression and his gradual decline into corruption and disrepute, and both left a legacy of conflict in their stead based on political decision made upon personal whims. Each became known for their relationships with women and how these affairs affected their rules, more often in a negative manner than not.
    • John of Gaunt, too. He's practically the worst aspects of both put together. Without the foresight of either. And his legitimized bastards cause a lot of trouble, rather like how those descended from Gaunt's bastards, the Tudors, ended up usurping rule of England.
  • Prince Duncan Targaryen:
    • Edward VIII of Britain, who abdicated the throne because he wanted to marry a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson, clearing the way to the throne for HM The Queen.
  • Princess Saera Targaryen:
    • Her promiscuity and causing a national embarrassment to her father is reminiscent to Julia, the daughter of the Emperor Augustus who partook in orgies and one of her lovers being Augustus' arch-enemy Mark Antony's son. However, Julia was banished by Augustus, whereas Saera escaped her captivity and becomes a prostitute.

    Other Characters 

  • Jon Arryn
    • A Decomposite Character of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick and dubbed "the Kingmaker". Like Jon, he would bravely fight to make a young Lord he was close to, (in Warwick's case his nephew Edward IV, for Jon his ward Robert) King. Both Jon Arryn and Warwick were treated well by the King they helped create upon ascension. The crucial difference is that Robert and Jon never had a falling out unlike Warwick and Edward IV.
  • Roose Bolton
    • Very loosely, but several prominent features of his (sociopathic, pale and ageless, proponent of Cruel and Unusual Deaths (via flaying), and association with bloodsucking creatures (leeches) give the impression that he's based off of Dracula, both the real person and the fictional vampire.
    • A treacherous noble who betrays his northern realm to a southern kingdom who has been in a union with the northerners, sporting a barbaric coat of arms featuring a dead enemy and being responsible for a infamous nasty party? Gustaf Trolle is a pretty good match.
    • Earl Godwin, a powerful, ambitious noble whose reputaion was forever marked by the accusation he betrayed and murdered a potential claimant to the throne (Robb Stark and Alfred Aetheling, respectively). Both married a child of theirs to the siblings (or an imposter thereof) of the men they were accused of killing, to try and maintain control over their lands.
    • Another Decomposite Character of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick. Roose was a powerful supporter of Robb Stark, an analogue to the young King Edward IV. After Edward/Robb broke a betrothal and married someone else, Roose/Warwick betrayed their king and became a supporter of the rival house of Lancaster/Lannister. The difference is that Edward got lucky and took his revenge on Warwick.
  • Theon Greyjoy.
    • Theon is a Decomposite Character of Richard III, alongside Ned Stark, Tyrion and Stannis. Theon is more heavily inspired by the darker interpretation of Richard III. Most notably, Theon imprisoning Bran and Rickon and proclaiming himself Prince of Winterfell, only for Bran and Rickon to disappear, closely mirrors Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Unlike Theon, though, Richard did not personally ruin his reputation by claiming to have murdered the princes that vanished under his watch; history did that for him. Theon initially fights on behalf of the Starks and the North (his first kill was a wildling he shot to rescue Bran), which is similar to the Duke of Gloucester, who was well-known for his efforts to defend Northern England from Scottish raiders. However, the whole time he's fighting for King Robb Stark, Theon secretly resents his status as a Stark hostage and dreams of imminently gaining his own glory as future King of the Iron Islands; this echoes the popular depiction of Richard as an opportunistic villain scheming for his brother's crown. Theon's fate, being tortured into an ugly, limping cripple is also a meta-joke on the manner in which Richard III was made into a caricature of a scheming hunchback by William Shakespeare. Theon's nickname Reeknote  also alludes to it.
    • Theon has frequently been compared to George, Duke of Clarence. Both were separated from their fathers at young ages, the third surviving son of said father and spent time as hostages, seen as turncoats after betraying Edward IV/Robb Stark, and both received horrific fates (George is executed, possibly via a butt of malsmey wine, while Theon is tortured to the point he forgets his own name).
  • Margaery Tyrell:
    • Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife; Margaery's incarceration on false or trumped up charges of adultery is much the same as how many historians now believe Anne's downfall went. Incidentally, in the adaptation of both stories, Margaery in Game of Thrones and Anne Boleyn in The Tudors are both played by the same actress. Ironically, Natalie Dormer has said in interviews that she took the part on the reassurance she wouldn't just be playing Anne Boleyn again, which may explain some of the show's changes to her character arc.
  • Robert 'Sweetrobin' Arryn
    • He has various aspects in common with Charles II of Spain, the last king of the Habsburg dynasty. Both born feeble and sickly brought by consanguinity- the Arryns are said to be the purest of the Andals (though Sweetrobin is not intellectually disabled like the Spanish monarch), their seats, prospective alliances and capacity to rule were brought into question and lead to succession crises. They were both the only surviving sons of multiple attempts at having heirs; with time, they both became considerably unkempt and rowdy.
  • Lysa Tully Arryn
    • Livilla, a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, whose blood ties resembled those of Lysa to the Starks. Both resentful of a female relative (Livilla toward her sister-in-law Aggripina, Lysa toward her sister Catelyn). And both murdered their husbands in conspiracy with commonborn lovers, Sejanus and Littlefinger respectively, as part of each man's ambitious plan of social climbing. Both these acts indirectly brought a Caligula (in Livilla's case, the Caligula) to the throne. And both received a nasty death as a result, Lysa being thrown from the moon door by Littlefinger, Livilla being starved to death by her own mother.
  • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish
    • He's been compared to the Ancient Roman figure Sejanus. Both were heavily ambitious men of relatively humble origins. Both played a major role in running a country on behalf of its depressed, uninvolved ruler. Both were effective administrators, but also corrupt, unscrupulous and ruthless in their ambitions to gain power. And both seduced a powerful, married noblewoman and used their infatuation with them to poison their husbands.
  • Prince Doran Martell
    • Appears to have much in common with the infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. Both were hated by their own country for their endless appeasement to their enemies. Doran is actually The Chessmaster and is simply waiting for the moment to avenge his sister and brother. His disability and enjoyment of the Water Gardens also bears some resemblance to FDR's struggle with polio and his hydrotherapy at Warm Springs.
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