1: Character: Khal Drogo
Historical counterpart: Genghis Khan
If their similar titles weren’t enough of a hint, the horse-lord of the Dothraki shares a startling number of similarities with the Mongol king. Drogo seems intent on conquering the entire world, not dissimilar to Khan’s quest to expand the Mongol Empire as far as possible, and both were unafraid to burn, pillage and rape their way to victory. The fate Drogo submits Viserys Targaryen to in the first season (he gives him a ‘golden crown’ by pouring molten gold over his head) is incredibly similar to Khan’s treatment of Inalchuq, who met his death by molten silver being poured into his ears and eyes. Last but not least, Drogo’s demise by way of an infected wound is one of the most popular theories of how the great Khan met his end.
2. Character: Cersei Lannister
Historical counterpart: Margaret of Anjou
The author of Game Of Thrones George RR Martin has said the War of the Roses inspired much of his plotline, and Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, bears a scary resemblance to ice queen Cersei Lannister, and not just in appearance. Both women were married off when they were young to create a political alliance, uniting warring houses (or countries), and both marriages were ill-fated. Cersei’s husband Robert drank and whored while she ruled behind the scenes, and the real-life Margaret handled the ruling of England when Henry VI went insane. Finally, both women had children who were rumored to be illegitimate and violent; Joffrey’s sadist tendencies go without saying, and Edward, Margaret’s son, was rumoured to be of a similar vein, talking of ‘nothing but cutting off heads and making war.”
3. Character: Eddard Stark
Historical counterpart: Richard Plantagenet
Continuing the War of the Roses theme, the noble and somewhat naïve Eddard Stark may very well have been inspired by Richard Plantagenet, the leader of the Yorkist cause during the conflict. Not only were both men northern lords, but both also found themselves standing in for incompetent kings – Eddard as ‘Hand of the King’ and Richard as Lord Protector. Richard Plantagenet clashed with Margaret of Anjou just as Eddard clashed with Cersei, two strong-willed queens who lusted for power and things went downhill for both men when they attempted to prove that their respective Crown Prince’s (Joffrey and Edward) didn’t deserve their place on the throne.
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