So the next season of Game of Thrones is here at last! The colossally successful show is set to hurl us through more scenes of plotting and intrigue, bloody battles and epic twists as the fight to rule the Seven Kingdoms and secure the Iron Throne rages on.
Real-life British history
With British accents dominating the cast, it's genuine British history that inspired the epic and often gory spectacles on the screen, confirmed by George RR Martin, the author of the books. 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 compared 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.
So where to see it for real
Bosworth Field Visitor Centre brings the site of one of the war's most decisive battles to life with fascinating displays.
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.
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?
And of course Game of Thrones has Daenerys Targaryen – Mother of Dragons – exiled and then building an army across the ‘Narrow Sea’. Compare to Henry Tudor who, during the War of the Roses, was over another 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, has a rather iconic national flag. It's emblazoned with an enormous snarling red dragon. 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. Hope you enjoy the new series!
Come and see the real thing soon!