Medieval Themed Literature in Focus: A Song of Ice and Fire Series

war of the rosesAs the saying goes: history is everywhere.

We believe that’s true, even in pieces of literature that don’t, on the surface, appear to have anything to do with real life.

The goal of a good author, after all, is to make a world come to life within his story that somehow parallels the world of his reader. That can be a difficult task, especially when the setting of the a series like A Song of Ice and Fire seems so far removed from our modern day world.

But, fortunately for George RR Martin, it isn’t far removed from the medieval one, and there we can find a lot of parallels.

What We Can Learn from Historical Fantasy

Even though there’s not any specific truth to the Game of Thrones series, for instance, there was no King Stannis harnessing the powers of magic to attempt to overtake the throne, and there was never a mythical ice land where the walking dead resurface and impose a years-long winter on the entire kingdom, the series does actually have a historical base.

The conflict emerges out of Britain’s War of the Roses, which began after the death of King Edward the 3rd, in the 14th century.

When King Edward died, his eldest son had already passed away, and the throne went to Edward’s eldest grandson of his eldest son. But, Edward still had two other direct heirs from two other surviving sons.

This led to an internal family conflict, and sparked a dynastic war that struck England for decades.

This period of medieval history no doubt loosely inspire George Martin in the conception of the Game of Thrones plot.

Learn More

Check out A game of thrones on Amazon, or if you want to listen to the series, you can get A Feast for Crows audiobook free from

Or, check out the latest novel, A Dance with Dragons book to stay current before the release of the 6th installment this spring!

If you’ve already read all of the novels and want to dive deeper into some of the topics mentioned, I suggest this TED-Ed video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *