Game of Thrones: medieval inspiration

From warrior eunuchs to shadowy assassins, Carolyne Larrington introduces some of the remarkable medieval people whose lives are reflected in the all-conquering fantasy drama...


First aired in 2011, the TV series Game of Thrones – and George RR Martin’s fantasy novels on which it’s based – follows the dynastic clashes of the powerful families of Westeros as they scheme and fight for the Iron Throne. But though the story’s setting, plot and characters are fictional, much of it seems familiar. Martin was influenced by real people and events, notably from the medieval era – aspects of the Wars of the Roses are recognisable, as are nods to Hadrian’s Wall and the Icelandic sagas. The series is sparking wider interest in the Middle Ages – but how much are the characters, their allies and enemies drawn from history?


Margareta I

The queen who used the deaths of her husband and son as a springboard to uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden

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