For Millennials. By Millennials.
Unlike previous works of fantasy fiction, George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire has a lot of strong women. The female characters of his universe are fierce, brave, and whole characters in themselves, instead of conforming to sexist stereotypes. However, Martin is a history buff. As a result, he used a lot of female inspirations to form the women of Game of Thrones. Let’s look at some of them.
George RR Martin’s own personal inspiration
We all know that George RR Martin absolutely loves history. And no, we’re not talking about modern history, but the history of the Middle Ages, Scottish history, and primarily the times before the Renaissance. And to build his female characters for Game of Thrones, he drew inspiration from a lot of the women from the time. Here’s one woman interview:
Eleanor of Aquitaine of course was a major one. She was one of the most kick-a*s women of the Middle Ages. And as you know, she had her own crusade… She married two kings and then the mother of several more. She was a great character.
Other than that, George RR Martin was very impressed by the women from the Italian Middle Ages. They inspired him a lot when writing down the women of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. He further said:
If you read Italian history, the Italian Middle Ages, and the Renaissance period, there were a lot of very powerful and bloody women who controlled various city-states in Italy and did some amazing things.
But of course, there are a lot more direct comparisons with the female characters of Game of Thrones and actual queens and warriors of our real world.
The real-life counterparts of the women of Game of Thrones
Of course, the truth is stranger than fiction. And there’s no doubt that our real world is a lot more messed up than the one we saw in Game of Thrones. Of course, minus the dragons. Therefore, some of the female characters of Game of Thrones are inspired by real women who existed in our world. Here are some of our fiercest women we saw in Game of Thrones and their real-life counterparts:
Cersei Lannister – Margaret of Anjou
It’s remarkable how similar Cersei Lannister’s and Margaret of Anjou’s lives are. Firstly, they were both married off to kings for political alliance. Secondly, the two ruled their kingdoms from the shadows when their husbands were going crazy. Moreover, both Cersei and Margaret had to face rumors about the legitimacy of their children. Joffrey was rumored to be Jamie’s son, while Margaret’s son Edward was not from her husband, as Henry had gone insane at the time. But, both Edward and Joffrey had violent tendencies. And not so sadly, both of them died horrible deaths, with Joffrey getting poisoned and Edward beheaded at the battlefield.
Daenerys Targaryen – Queen Elizabeth I
Apart from Cersei, Daenarys was another incredibly strong woman from Game of Thrones. For starters, both of them had huge armies and were single ladies ruling by their own might. They did not need the help of any man to rule their subjects. Even though Daenerys was married to Drogo, she didn’t need any marriage pact to rule her subjects later on, apart from Hizdar zo Loraq.
Moreover, both of them wanted to expand their influence. Daenerys wanted to return to Westeros on the Iron Throne, whereas Queen Elizabeth wanted to expand British control and establish the first British colony in America. Lastly, both their close advisors betrayed them. For Dany, it was Jorah Mormont, and for Queen Elizabeth, it was Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who tried to stage a rebellion.
Related: Was Daenerys The Bernie Sanders Of Game Of Thrones?
Brienne of Tarth – Joan of Arc
I think this historical comparison was quite obvious for one of the fiercest warriors and women from Game of Thrones. Joan of Arc is the true inspiration for Brienne of Tarth. Both women wore armor, were great warriors, and were extremely loyal. Brienna was loyal to her oath. Whereas, Joan of Arc was loyal to Charles VII of France, whom she helped win the siege of New Orleans. However, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the British, which was quite a gruesome death. Let’s hope George RR Martin doesn’t have a similar fate for Brienne in Game of Thrones.
So, these are the strong historical female inspirations that George RR Martin used to write the women of Game of Thrones. Some of these women might be imperialist rulers, but back then, that is what they had to do to prove themselves in a man’s world. But, it’s sad to see how Game of Thrones ruined so many women. Let’s hope George RR Martin does them justice in the remaining books of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Re: comparing Brienne of Tarth to Joan of Arc and calling both of them “great warriors”: historians have pointed out that Joan of Arc said bluntly that she didn’t fight in combat: during the fourth session of her trial (27 February 1431) she said “during assaults I carried the banner, so as to stay out of any killing; and I have never killed anyone.” She didn’t lead directly either since the military records and eyewitness accounts show that there was always a nobleman at the head of the army.