Can history predict the ending of Game of Thrones?
It’s common knowledge that the novels that were the basis for HBO’s hit Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, were based upon three decades of English history known as the Wars of the Roses.
In the period between 1455 and 1487, a number of conflicts took place between the York family and the Lancaster family (names sound familiar?) over who should rule England. It’s a tale that includes one king (Henry VI), his influential and beautiful wife (Margaret of Anjou) and a Protector of the Realm (Richard of York) determined to seize power in his own name. There’s also the eldest son of Richard of York, who failed to make good on a betrothal and suffered the consequences as a key ally turned to the Lancasters.
If history could have predicted Game of Thrones‘ most infamous shocker, could it also predict the resolution of the monarchy in Westeros?
At the end of the period named The Wars of the Roses, the constant fighting was settled with the arrival of the previously exiled Lancastrian heir Henry Tudor taking the throne. He was crowned Henry VII and married the daughter of Edward IV, Elizabeth of York, to placate the House of York.
However, Game of Thrones differs from history by adding a third family to the mix – The Targaryens. The obvious conclusion to leap to is that Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled Queen, will return to rouse the people of Westeros into supporting her claim and marry a member of the Stark or Lannister families to solidify support. However, Dany can only marry a Stark or a Lannister, not both. It is unlikely either option would placate both houses.
Or is this where Jon Snow’s undetermined heritage will play into the story? Should he be alive, and the R+L=J theory true (George R.R. Martin has all but specified outright that the latter is the case), then Jon could marry a Lannister and unite the Starks, Targaryens and Lannisters all in one swoop. You could even say he’s also been exiled, after committing to a life with the Night’s Watch (a commitment we are sure will go the same way as his pledge of chastity).
As Daenerys’ storylines become more about being a modern and compassionate ruler and less about seizing power with her minions in a bloodbath of glory, perhaps her role is not that of future Queen but political revolutionary. Unfortunately history doesn’t move at the speed I’m proposing, so it is probably too outlandish to suggest a future where Jon and a Lannister female (could still be Myrcella in the books) are married and Daenerys becomes Prime Minister of a democratic Westeros.
The central focus of Game of Thrones is on its political entanglements, which are often based on real historical characters and events. It makes sense to think then that we could predict the outcome of the Westeros monarchy struggle by simply observing its similarity to real life history, specifically the Wars of the Roses. Perhaps Jon will become King, or perhaps it will be Daenerys, or perhaps some as yet unknown descendant of any family. One of the things we love most about the show are the opportunities for food for thought.
Of course, none of this will matter when the ice zombies take over.
Game of Thrones will return to Sky Atlantic in April.