Britain's real-life Game of Thrones

Tuesday 05 March 2019

With British accents dominating the cast of Game of Thrones, it is no surprise that genuine British history helped inspire the epic and often gory spectacles on the screen; original series author George RR Martin has previously spoken about the grittiness and excitement of medieval eras.

Much of that inspiration can still be seen today, as Britain’s history is very vivid and very visible; you can step inside castles and courtyards and wander the corridors of power in the footsteps of kings and queens or stand in the middle of ancient battlefields that saw thousands of sword and shield wielding warriors changing the course of history. The warring houses of Stark and Lannister in the series are comparable to the real-life 15th-century battles between the houses of York and Lancaster in the War of the Roses; a bloody civil war which thundered on for decades.

Where to see it for real

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bosworth Battlefield (@bosworthbattlefield) on

Bosworth Field Visitor Centre brings the site of one of the War of the Roses' most decisive battles to life with fascinating displays and battlefield tours.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Eoin Byrne (@byrneeoinm) on

To the north, Dunstanburgh Castle was taken twice by the Yorkists and now remains as dramatic looking ruins perched along the Northumbrian coastline - a pristine location dotted with castles.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Visit Hadrian's Wall (@visithadrianswall) on

Head around 43 miles south and you'll come to Hadrian’s Wall, an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching right across northern England. Building began back in AD 122 under the orders of Roman Emperor Hadrian to separate the Romans from the Picts who were seen as “wild” and “barbarian”. Giant wall? “Wildings”? Sound familiar?

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Clare Fuller (@clarreey) on

Another key plotline in Game of Thrones sees Daenerys Targaryen – known as the Mother of Dragons – exiled before building an army across the ‘Narrow Sea’. Compare that to Henry Tudor who, during the War of the Roses, was across a different narrow sea – the English Channel - building an army of his own. He’d later return with his troops to Wales, the land of his birth, gathering more support before tearing into the action and claiming the throne. Wales, a country with more castles than anywhere in Europe, is rich in history and bloodshed. In fact, you can pretty much pick any period and place in Britain and you’ll find enough battles, seiges and conspiracies to inspire plenty more fantasy series from a land with an epic past.

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