thewolfofStarfall

Real life Cultural/Geographic parallels to GRRM's world

6 posts in this topic

There's been several threads surrounding this topic but I'm still somewhat indecisive in regards to the theoretical pararells between ASIOAF and real life history. Many claim Westeros is a super sized British Isles, whereas others tend to liken each of the seven kingdoms and different Western European countries I think it it a cross between the two sentiments: Westeros as a whole clearly alludes to Great Britain historically, culturally, and geographically, while the autonomous regions draws inspiration to various  European states and peoples. Although, the second part suggests more vague comparisons, in my mind the parallels can be drawn like this:

The North= Combination of Scotland, Northern England, Scandinavia, and Siberia.

Reasons for Scotland and Northern England-

1.The disctiveness of the regions Great Britan

2.House Stark=House York of Yorkshire in Northen England 

Reasons for Scandinavia- 

1.Similar Climate and geography.

2. Northmen and the real life Norsemen are  reminscinet to me (more so than Ironborn and the Norsemen).

3.Also, the Northern English connection has Norse roots there's an inherent connection there 

Siberia=Beyond The Wall

This is mostly due to the similar geography and biome.  This comparison gets a little fuzzy because this would imply wildings are in essence equivalent to the indigenous people of Siberia, although the wall  is equivalent to Hadrian's Wall, leading others to  believe the wildings are Scots. However, of the wildings are akin to Siberians, that implies the North is  European Russia. This would work  because Russia  have been hard to invade throughout history due to its severe winters, and has a distinct Slavic culture as opposed to Western Europe.

The Riverlands=Low Countries mixed with Central Europe

The Reach= France 

The Vale = Switzerland

Dorne=Spain, Portugal, possibly Turkey 

King's Landing=London+Rome 2.0 (I'll come back to this)

Crowlands=Italy

Iron Islands= Isle of Man

Now, out of all the regions, I am  especially ambiguous on where to place the Stormlands and the Westerlands.

The Westerlands- Reminds me of Germany, but everyone seems to say it is mEngland

The Stormlands- The Balkans being the Stormlands makes sense geographically. And the Baratheon look reminds me of Eastern Europeans, however the  Storm King history is says to parallel that of the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia. Could the kingdom be a cross between the Baltic countries  in the North and Balkan pensiula in the south?

Essos:

Valyrian Freehold= Ancient Rome (Roman Republic specifically)

Ghiscari =Cathragian Empire

Slaver's Bay=Phonecian city states 

Free Cities= Ressiance Italy city-states Bravos=Venice x Amerstdam climate

 People groups:

First Men= Celtic Britons

Anglo-Saxons=Andals

Targaryens= Normans 

King's Landing explanation: The Targs are analogous to the Normans, yet share a secondary analog to the Romans by virtue of being Valyrian. 100 years after the Doom of Valyria, Aegon I conquerored Westeros and united the Seven Kingdoms under the Iron Throne (apart from Dorne who we all now was never conquered). Therefore, King's Landinng is in essence the Valyria of the West, Old Valyria restored, Valyria 2.O etc. Likewise to how after the Fall of Rome, Constinapole aka Byzantium was still strong. Akin to  King's  Landing being Valyria of the West  during the time of Targaryens, Byzantium was the Rome of the East. 

In all respects, I'm aware each people or region does not 100% pure analogs but many are loosely based on certain civilizations and ethic groups in western history. Is there any information that you guys know of that could help support the areas of I'm unclear of? Feel free to share alternative suggestions too.

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I agree that the 7 kingdoms are a mash of Europe and British Isles. I recall I posed this question on another forum and got some good answers as to parallels in the British Isles from Brits. A couple of additional ideas, based on that conversation:

Riverlands = Welsh Marches. Apparently the geography/climate is dead on.

Vale = Ireland + Pyrenees/Alps. 

Reach = Southwest England, Southern France, Italy references (masquerades, fruit, wine...)

Westerlands = Southeast England, with gold mines and lions thrown in.

Iron Islands = Viking lands, some ancient Ireland.

Braavos = Netherlands in the golden age. Bank, climate, shipping, etc. D&D also modeled their Braavos on the Netherlands, apparently. 

Slaver's Bay = mash of Mesopotamian empires with shades of Egypt. Ghiscari pyramids are Mesopotamian.

Agree the Stormlands are a bit ambiguous.

 

Edited by rhoynestar

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  • Dorne = Spain/Northwest Africa
  • Iron Islands = Viking Islands
  • Reach = France
  • Riverlands = Central Europe (especially Germany)
  • Vale = Switzerland/Austria
  • Westerlands = South England
  • North = Scotland
  • Stormlands = Balkan + Netherlands
  • Crownlands = Central Italy
  • King's Landing = Rome + London (London at least in geography)
  • Oldtown = Alexandria (with parts of Ephecus and Jerusalem)
  • Beyond the Wall = Siberia
  • Free Cities = a mixture of Rennaisance Italy cities, ancient greek colonies in South Italy
  • Summer Islands = Carribean
  • Slaver's Bay = ancient Mesopotamia (with some ancient egyptian elements)
  • Valyria = the parallel of the myth of Atlantis along with Rome and Byzantium
  • Dothraki Sea = Central Asia

 

 

Edited by Endymion I Targaryen

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The North: Scotland/Northern England (climate, geography, mindset, accent)

The Vale: Switzerland (mountainous, pretty and neutral)

Riverlands: Germany during the Holy Roman Empire period (flat lands located between important rivers - the Rhein and the Elbe - in the center of the continent, and the stage of numerous wars and invasions, i.e. Thirty Years’ War, Napoleonic Wars)

Iron Islands: Viking age Scandinavia/Iceland (great navigators and fearless warriors/raiders, who carved out domains on the continental mainland)

Westerlands: England (wealthy, cunning, ambitious, ruthless, self centered);

The Reach: France (large and centrally located territory; mild weather; powerful; massive food and wine production, home of chivalry and sophistication; the Mander = the Loire);

Stormlands: Wales (coastal, mountainous and rainy; one of its natives unexpectedly won the throne by force and began their own dynasty (Henry VII/Robert Baratheon); 

Dorne: Medieval Spain/Al Andalus + Medieval Sicily (weather, landscape, architecture; southernmost location in the continent, with its northern regions having a closer resemblance to the rest of Europe/Westeros; spicy foods, lots of citric fruits; the famed Dornish temper, akin to the Spanish “Black Legend”);

King’s Landing: London + Rome

Oldtown: Paris + Oxford/Cambridge

Braavos: Amsterdam + Venice

Lys: Sardinia

Free Cities as a whole: Italian City-Republics with a touch of post-Ottoman Balkans (huge power vacuum and plenty of conflict after the doom of Valyria); 

Valyria: Ancient Rome

Slavers’ Bay cities: ancient Near-eastern and Egyptian kingdoms + Carthage;

Qarth: Byzantium

Dothraki Sea: Central Asian steppes

Yi Ti: China

Leng: Japan

Shadow Lands: India (very ancient, evoking mystery and mysticism; “Saffron Straits”; even the shape of the peninsula itself)

Sothoryos: Africa

Summer Islands: a Medieval version of the Caribbean

 

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