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What Country Does Each Kingdom Represent Historically?

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#141 Khal BlackfyreO

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:06 PM

I strongly disagree with this multiple parts of Martin's world have fairly obvious connections to ours, however loose. And I think he's said that most of the foundation story was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, which, as a pretty voracious reader of European history, I can plainly see. I don't think this makes him a weak or lazy or bad writer. I just disagree with you that none of the places in the novels seem to have historical equivalents.

For me it's a yes and no. I can see clear parallels where ideas could have begun, but I think GRRM mixed and matched to create new places as well. For example I can see a lot of Spain in Dorne, but I live here and there are many things that are blatantly NOT Spanish.
There is only a very small area of Spain that can be considered desert and its not even very sandy.
Though a lot of people share this misconception, they have virtually no spicy foods here.
Some people have mentioned a time period when women had more rights in Spain and that may be true, but Dorne has been carrying that torch for a lot longer.

I think the idea is that there was a lot of inspiration from real places and peoples, but also a lot of play was allowed to make them unique.
To resume, its not as simple as just saying the Reach is France, or Dorne is Spain, but you can outline the parallels that they do share. The Iron Islanders share a seafaring and sea conquering nature with the Vikings, but I don't see many cultural parallels beyond that. They have different religions, different traditions, different societal hierarchies, that stop me from making simple comparisons that equate the two.

#142 sleath56



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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:09 PM

Westeros is generally hard to tell because it is the most developed place in the series.

Essos is the one that has those stark country contrasts that most other fantasy books have.

#143 Darkbringer


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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:37 PM

Reach - France, High medieval period.

Andals- Saxons, so the pre Aegon kingdoms are like the Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria, Essex etc.

Iron Islands- Vikings.

Braavos- Venice. Mirrored by the fact that Venice was always independent, like Braavos.

Free Cities- In general represent the City states of Italy. But there are some Persian influences in the Red God.

Quarth- Constantinople.

Valyria- Rome, Atlantis, Pompeii.

Old Ghis- Carthage (a bit).

The North- Lowland Scots.

Wildlings- Highland Scots.

The Wall- Hadrians Wall, which is hilarious.

The Watch- French Foreign Legion

Dorne is the trickiest, but definitely some Spanish/Andalusian flavours, but the Rhoynar aspect I have no idea.

Dothraki- Steppe nomads Huns, Avars, Mongols etc.

#144 Rockroi


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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:40 PM

Martin has stated a few times that while certain similarities exist within the Westeroes Nations and historical models (some more obvious than others), straight-line connections are not really tenable.  


I think the most obvious is the Iron Isles as a surrogate for the Viking/Norse cultures of 1st Millennia Europe.  The ships, the lack of permanency (though the Vikings actually did have some far-flung holdings), the culture, the "reaver" culture.... the raping and pillaging.  Its fairly solid.  


A far less tenable connection would have been the Royal Targaryen holdings which seem hardly analogous to any full-fledged Earth-state I can imagine (the closest I can fathom would have been the smaller tribes of MExico conquered by the Aztecs, but that's a HUGE stretch).  


Some other connections, some great; some not-so-great:


Westerlands- England.  THe Lannister name sounds eerily similar to "Lancaster"; the royal Lion for its arms, its well-regarded Navy (now destroyed) and its penchant for powerful, money-backed schemes instead of amassing gigantic armies.  


Vale- Switzerland

Dorne- Spain.  Much like Spain became Napoleon's "Bleeding Ulcer", Dorne became an untenable conquest for the "Young Dragon."  Culturally, much like Spain, Dorne has varying climates that have created a vast separation of miniature cultures within Spain.  Maybe some more ethnocentric (read: racist) stereotypes fit as well, including fiery tempers of both nations and their leaderships.  

Reach- France: Much like Highgarden's showing of food and flowers, France was- for Centuries - the breadbasket of Europe with fields that could power its dynastic aspirations from Louis XIV through Napoleon III.  They also never seemed to get along with, well, anyone.  


Stormlands- Germany: Start with their constant warring with Dorne and the REach and combine it with their battle-like history and top it off with it being the "newest" of the Seven Kingdoms and you can see how the relationship works.  

North- Russia: Absurd isolationism? Check. Largest Nation in the area? Check? Frozen climate? Check. A hill-people class that kep separate from the body-politick? Check (hill clans v. Cossacks).  Incredible mismanagement by its political leaders leading to absolute ruin? Double-check.  


Riverlands- Poland.  Hardly worthwhile, but the Riverlands had better days and by the time we meet up with them they are the "buffer zone" of Westeros seeing war ravage everyone and everything.  

Edited by Rockroi, 29 January 2014 - 07:41 PM.

#145 Lord Thornhart

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:52 PM

North = Germany. Wolf symbolism, honor code, lots of snowy castles.

Westerlands = England. Sigil, wealthy, politically driven, ended up controlling disputed areas.

Stormlands = Italy. Took control of much of the contenient, large coast, known for strength.

Reach = France. Flowers, switches sides often, kind of "to pretty to fight" attitude, boasts of a huge army.

Riverlands = Netherlands. Leader of agriculture despite small size, many rivers, in between England and Germany influences and ravaged in war between both. Also has a holiday for red heads (Tullys).

Vale = Switzerland. Neutrality.

Iron Islands = Scandinavia (specifically Norway). Refuses to sow crops, invades of nations over sea. Right next to real life countries invaded.

Dorne = Armenia (specifically Cilicia). Native regions in Europe, Asia, and Middle East like the three types of Dornishmen, different but similar to other Crusader medieval/Westeros states.

Beyond the Wall = Antarctica. Cold.

Free cities = A combination of ancient Rome, Byzantine, Persia, India, China. I like to think of Essos as a time machine to the ancient world next to the medieval one.

Dothraki = Thraki. Warrior groups, seems obviously named after

Sothoryos = Africa. Dense jungles, burning deserts, full of disease.

Ulthos = Asia. Large and uncharted area, basically. Lot of Asian influence in Essos too though.

Valyria = Atlantis, though the Targaryen's specifically remind me of Greece.

#146 sleath56



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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:53 PM

Carthage - Carthago - Qart-Hadast - Qarth?

#147 JTS



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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:47 PM


Iron Islands-Viking







#148 Ser Arys Redshirt

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:47 PM

Is this even a controversy?  Jeez.  Ok, here's how it works:


Valyria = Rome.  That first.  Then, Free Cities = Medieval Italian city-states, Braavos=Venice.


Westeros = Britain.  The North = Yorkshire.  Beyond the Wall = Scotland.  Dorne = Cornwall.  The Vale = Wales.  The Crownlands = the Home Counties, etc.


Dothraki = Mongols.

#149 Apekis



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Posted 31 January 2014 - 10:07 AM

I find that Dorne has also many similarities with the Minoan/Thiran culture.


1. Maybe only ancient culture with equality of men/women

2. Very similar terrain (partly stony, sandy) and aggriculture

2. Use of spears as main weapon

3. olive skin, similar dressing style

4. Wine as a main trading good

5. Princess Arianne of Dorne -- Princess Ariadne of Knossos !!!

6. After the Mycenean invasion, a mix of the race of the Minoan took place, darkskinned Minoans with whiteskinned Myceneans.


#150 Navarchos



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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:51 AM

A Map of Constantinople:


A Map of Kings Landing


Thinking Constantinople may have served as inspiration for Tyrion's Chain and possibly for King's Landing as well (geographic similarity). And the ERE was definitely its own Game of Thrones as centered around Constantinople as Westeros is around KL.


Lannister, Stark, Tyrell, Baratheon, Martell for KL

Doukas, Komnenos, Skleras, Phokas, Monomachos (the list goes on) for Byz


Valyrian Collapse mirrors the WRE collapse, while the survival of the ruling Valyrians of Westeros mirrors the survival of Rome through the ERE.


Also the relationship of the Iron Bank of Braavos and the Iron Throne mirrors the relationship between the Republic of Venice and the Byzantine Throne.


On another note, Martin was a New Jersey kid of irish heritage, Catholic. American as it gets. He's not going to base so much off of the UK. What history of the UK we are taught starts with King George III. Ask the average American who the last Stewart Monarch was and he wont know. If you ask him who William Wallace was he'll say Mel Gibson in Braveheart, He might know that Brosnan Bond was an Irishman, and Connery was a Scotsman, but he doesn't know wtf Craig is.

Edited by Navarchos, 01 February 2014 - 03:20 AM.

#151 Tywin Smokin a Blunt

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:04 AM

Ancient Valyria is obviously the Roman Empire
with their "high valyrian" being the base language that was bastardized into languages of the Free Cities (latin to romance languages), and then highborn kids learning that from Maesters (anyone ever suffer thru latin in school?!) the famous stone roads spanning far and being so usable even centuries later and so on

Its Rome, but with a little Atlantis thrown in for good measure.

#152 Castellan


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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:39 AM

I have mentally associated the Westerlands with Cornwall, because of all the worked out and current mines mentioned, and the hilly landscape which goes from moorland to coastal castles, but going by the map of Westeros, the Westerlands are more in the position of Wales, which also had mining and a famous castle on the sea which maybe is like Casterly Rock (Tintagel). GRRM has made the Cornwall-like peninsula in Westeros Dorne, and given it a totally different climate.


I still think of the Westerlands as Cornwall.

#153 Castellan


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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:41 AM

I thought the Ghiscari Empire sounded pretty Roman. I mean I thought the Vayrians were too, but then when the Ghiscari were mentioned I thought they sounded a lot more Roman than the Valyrian empire.



Braavos as Venice is laid on with a trowel. I love it.


What about White Harbour, everybody, any obvious counterpart?

Edited by Castellan, 01 February 2014 - 03:44 AM.

#154 ser piggy of horn hill

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 04:27 AM

thought lhazar might be like early jerusalem.   near mountains , sheep herders , semi arid land ect

#155 Elan Morin Tedronai

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 07:11 AM


Iron Islands-Viking







The Eyrie really doesn't work as the Netherlands. That country is for a major part situated below sea level, and has like 1 'mountain', while the Eyrie is all high up


They fit much better with Bravos, on topics such as tolerant and open minded society, canals, climate and an economy based on trade. Though the name suggests it's more like Venice, and I imagine them speaking with a bit of an Italian accent. Netherlands and Belgium could very well fit the Riverlands as well.


They way I see it:


North of the wall is north of Hadrians wall

Dorne is Spain

Reach is France

Westerlands is Germany

Iron Islands are very viking

Slavers bay has always struck me as North Africa, so Egypt, Carthage (Qarth)

#156 Umberhulk



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Posted 01 February 2014 - 07:54 AM

I always thought the seven Kingdoms are the Holy Roman Empire / Frankish Empire. Slaver's bay and those cities resemble the Barbary States, legacy of an old kingdom broken apart. 

#157 rivergirl


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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:00 AM

Like a few others here, i associate the North more closely with Russia than anywhere in Great Britain. It's cold, it's huge, it's seen as kind of backward, and the other regions basically leave it alone because they don't want to go freeze their asses off and get killed by Umbers/Cossacks. Then again, the Hadrians Wall argument is a strong one, as is the Old Gods being equivalent to Druidism. 


The Neck, to me, is the Orkney Islands. Isolated and the subject of many a myth concerning savages and mystical creatures. The Orkney Islands are also the centre of lots of Druid sects, which corresponds to the Reeds reverence for nature and spiritual connection to the North. 


I think Dorne is an amalgamation of Portugal, Spain and Morocco. 


And i think The Reach = France, the Iron Islands = Scandinavia and the Stormlands = Germany, for reasons that have been stated by almost everyone here.

#158 Neumond


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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:46 AM



Here is a collection I made from similarities btw westerosi/ossosi cities/castles and real-world cities/castles.




I like your collection. :)


On topic:

I wouldnt state that any of the seven Kingdoms resemble one particular country. I would say, that most of it seems to be very british with several influences of other countries. I can see spanish Influences in dorne and I do believe the riverlands have some similarities to the normandie,... To summarize it: most influences seem to be spanish, french or scandinavian.

In Essos I see somewhat global influences.

(And as a german: I don´t see any german influences at all...)

#159 The Fallen

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 09:43 AM

` Old thread resurrected, nice. To me the North is Scotland (albeit a lot bigger). Poorer and less populated than England, just like the North when compared to the South. But tough, hardy; can hold their own against a larger and richer enemy, just like the North when compared to the South. Not to mention proud, did I mention proud?

#160 Stormking Alesander I

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 01:45 PM

I thought Dorne was always Spain after the Moors invaded.

With the Christian kingdoms being the non-Rhoynar dornishmen and the marcher lords