So this week Snoop Dogg was in the news for two reasons. One reason is that his new album came out today; Bush is excellent, give it a listen. It’s been produced by Pharrel and has his classic phunky touch to it. The more amusing reason is that Snoop believes that Game of Thrones is based on real historical events (there’s some articles at the bottom of this post just to confirm this). On first glance, this is pretty funny. Hilarious in fact. However on further examination, his idea is not completely as ridiculous as it first sounds. Obviously this is a fantasy world and everything has been exaggerated, but clearly this world is based on something.
Firstly, the scenery and props are all based on historical designs, mostly from the various points in the medieval period. I know for many people all swords are the same regardless. However the types of weaponry, equipment and buildings, especially when you examine the different factions and environments, have clearly been based on historical peoples and places. The North is strongly based on the Northern European cultures, mixing Viking and Celtic with Norman and similar warrior styles. The Southern factions are more closely aligned with the Medieval cultures, with the clothing styles closer to those of the later Medieval period. The style of building of fortresses such as the Red Keep has its similarities with later European medieval castles, such as Windsor or the Castel Sant Angelo. Winterfell is similar, though has aspects from the earlier medieval styles. The Dornish culture appears based on the Saracen cultures of the crusader period, shown by the use of the scimitars and lances used. Even the Unsullied (at least in the books) are supposed to fight in the style of Ancient Greek phalanxes with their round shields, spears and short swords.
The religious situations of Westeros and Essos also have their similarities with historical situations. The religions of Westeros are similar to the pagan religions of pre-Christian Europe. There are aspects of Celtic, Norse and Greco-Roman religions found in the Northern Weirwoods and the Southern Seven. The Seven in particular, with the gods being assigned roles and responsibility echoes the gods of the Norse and Greco-Roman religions where the gods and goddesses are given their own aspects such as gods of war or wisdom. Controversial as it may sound, the Red God’s followers have a lot in common with Christianity in the Antique, Medieval and Early Modern Periods. The passion with which they try to eradicate those who do not believe in their religion resembles the purges done by the various different strands of Christianity; the eradication of the military orders such as the Templars, the elimination of the Cathars, the use of the Spanish Inquisition, and the Protestant and Catholic burnings in Tudor England to name a few scenarios. Also the fact that Stannis’ troops attribute their successes to their God is directly reprising the victories of Christian figures such as Constantine.
Then there is of course the political situation. Westeros is in a state of Civil War. There are various civil wars throughout history in Britain alone. And while this is a strenuous link, some of the events of the civil war have historical roots.The roving bands of mercenaries making profit of chaos, and the constant changing allegiances of lords happened across the course of history, particularly in civil wars. Events similar to the Red Wedding have occurred several times between feuding tribes and clans in Scottish and Norse history.
So hopefully this had made sense. All I wanted to really say is that Snoop Dogg’s idea is not as hilariously wrong as it first sounds. Game of Thrones has its historical influences, but please, I beg you, don’t take it literally.