Monday, 24 March 2014

How Kingdoms Were Won: Women of History and Fiction

Anne Neville and Margery Tyrell
Behind every great king is his queen. This was a very important element during both the War of the Roses, and also surprisingly the novels of Songs of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones Saga), by George R. R. Martin. Also many of the characters in contrast to their historical counterparts, all had surprisingly short life spans. Whether Martin, planned his characters to be similar to those who were the real players of the War of the Roses, they defiantly were an influence in his writings. We see this when we look at Margery Tyrell.  Surprisingly, some of the events of her character’s past, as well as events that she goes through throughout the stories are quite similar to Richard III’s queen, Anne Neville. 

Anne’s early life is one not known to many. She surprisingly escaped most of the paper trails of the Middle Ages, as we are left with barely a footprint of her existence. But we know she did have quite a role to play in the orchestrating of power moves to help her family gain power and finally access to the throne. Whether she was secretly coveting the throne and the power behind it, we really do not know. But we know about her family the most, especially through her father Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville. Anne more than likely learned quiet a bit even though one may think she was just a pawn to her father’s power moves, but she was gaining power and lands for her family. Thus leading them to become one of the most powerful families in England during the 15th century and the War of the Roses.
If we take a look at Margery Tyrell, she doesn’t have a powerful father but a very powerful, and sharp grandmother who helps her achieve her moves to power.  A similarity to take note.  We also do not really know much about her once she is introduced in to the story line, but her ambitions are very clear.  Margery knows, even after Renly dies, she wants to be the queen of the seven kingdoms and to sit on the iron throne. We see her impressing the people of Kings Landing, we also see her befriending people who can help her achieve her desires i.e. Sansa.  In an almost charming way, she goes to the poor people of King’s Landing to give and pass out food, earning their trust in return, and earning the trust of the Lannisters.  Anne did this with her husband with gifts to the church and by supporting her husband during his affairs in the city York.  It was noted by the recorders that they were well loved in the city because of this.
Another similarity between the two, both had husbands die early in their lives.  Their first husbands to be spot on.  Noted, Margery Tyrell in the HBO series "Game of Thrones" is portrayed a bit older than what she is in the books, but both queens where quite young when they lost their significant other, and both being in battle. 

Because we really do not have much to go off of as far as character for Anne, one can only suspect that she was very knowledgeable of affiars of state, to be in the station she was in. Margery, as well shows the tenacity and intelligence even at times more sinister than her future husband, Joffrey Baratheon, with her power moves and plays to get what she wants.  Perhaps Anne also had motives as well.  As far as who was devoted to their kings, Anne would win this card. She was loved and renowned to many, even when she died. For her husband it was noted, grieved this loss. Margery is a bit more spiteful and eager and honestly is like a roster in a hen house to get to the iron throne.  In the end, both were players of the game of power that in the end cause many a demise that we wish didn’t always have the outcome that it did.  

Like I have stated before, “Game of Thrones” is like the “War of Roses,” everybody you end up loving, dies.  The York and Lannister houses, knew this all too well, especially during the year 1485.


  1. Great post - really enjoyed reading this! Considering Margaery Though, it reply depends on what views you see, because in the books like you said she is protrayed younger. But I think that she acts (and dresses) the way she does in the TV series is because she basically has to fight and survive the Game and this is probably why she comes across as too ambitious.

  2. Really enjoyable post- very illuminating to see how history and fiction can intertwine, I suppose it's all storytelling after all.

    Great blog as well!

  3. I adore this post! I'm fascinated by Margaret Beaufort, Anne Boleyn - and Margery Tyrell, and can I just say what a wonderful job Natalie Dormer did of playing the last two???