The Real Story Behind The Dragon’s Home

It’s no secret that writer George R.R. Martin draws inspiration from real events for his works. He used the medieval history of Europe as a base, blending it with his own imagination to ultimately create the fantasy universe of A Song of Ice and Fire and its prequel, Fire and Blood, which HBO’s adaptation of Home of the Dragon ” we can already see.

Martin himself spoke about his inspiration during this year’s Comic-Con, saying he “steals” from the true story to create his own.

“I get inspiration from her, then I take some elements and mix them up,” he explains, adding that his preparation includes reading a lot of history books and studying specific events. Specifically for “Home of the Dragon” it explains that the events of the book, which became the basis for the series, are based on a historical moment known as the Anarchy.

You could say that Martin’s fantasy is pieced together from all sorts of different pieces of history mixed in with new characters, quite a few dragons, and a moderate amount of magic and mysticism. Therefore, it is quite difficult to predict all the shocking twists that his stories usually have. Martin is American, but clearly has an affinity for medieval Europe and the British Isles in particular, as the main storylines almost always revolve around their history.

If we go back to the events of “Game of Thrones” (the book series is called “A Song of Fire and Ice”), they were inspired by the series of civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster, which became known as the “War of the Roses”.

Photo: HBO

The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones ends in betrayal and lots of murder.

Another example from the book and series is The Red Wedding. It was inspired by two different events in Scottish history. One was the Glencoe Massacre of 1692, in which members of the MacDonald clan massacred their Campbell guests. The other is the Black Supper of 1440, in which the Earl of Douglas and his brother are invited to dinner at Edinburgh Castle, where they are killed on the orders of King James II.

Other examples of the interweaving of history and fantasy are Hadrian’s Wall, built during the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian on the island of Britain to guard against Pictish raids from the north, and, accordingly, the Rampart invented by Martyn to protect the people of Westeros from the savages of the north .

The Ironborn from the books are like the Vikings, while the Valyrian Empire somehow doesn’t look like the Roman Empire. In fact, Valyria perished in a natural cataclysm that is very reminiscent of the fate of ancient Pompeii or the legend of Atlantis.

In turn, Aegon the Conqueror united the seven kingdoms of Westeros, as William the Conqueror did with the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in 1066. Only the latter succeeded without the help of dragons.

The inspiration for “Fire and Blood”, the book story behind the “Home of the Dragon” series, comes from a little-known but particularly important period of violence and chaos, which science has not accidentally called the Anarchy. It was a war of succession to the English throne that lasted from 1138-1153.

However, its cause can be discovered two decades earlier.

In 1120, King Henry I was on the throne, whose only son and heir, William Adeline, died in a shipwreck in the English Channel. At that time, Western Europe was extremely fragmented politically into thousands of different feudal lordships, with no clearly defined rules of succession.

In some parts, tradition dictated that everything be left to the eldest son, while in other places, lands and titles were shared among the sons. In the English case, the problem was more complex, as much of northern France also came under the king’s dominions during this period, and the previous decades had seen several succession conflicts that never settled.

To make matters worse, Henry I’s wife had already died by this time, he himself was quite advanced in age, and his only living child was Princess Matilda. Placed in such a situation, the king decided to marry a significantly younger wife in the hope that she would bear him a boy, but since the chances were slim, he declared his daughter as the heir to the throne.

As expected, Henry had no more children and began to guarantee Matilda’s claim, having on several occasions nobles from England and Normandy swear allegiance to her and recognize her rights of succession. Something that definitely didn’t sit well in a place that hadn’t had a female ruler in the last 1,000 years.

During this time, Matilda was married to Godfrois Plantagenet of Anjou, who traditionally did not have good relations with the Normans, and so she and her wife pressed the king to speed up the recognition of her claim by the others.

This did not happen, and Henry I died in 1135, his inheritance never secured, and a claimant came to the fore who rejected Matilda’s rights. This is Stephen de Blois – the king’s nephew, his daughter’s cousin and the closest male heir.

Rhaenyra's story is inspired by a real dispute over the British throne.
Photo: HBO Max

Rhaenyra’s story is inspired by a real dispute over the British throne.

A similar case study is created as in “The House of the Dragon”. Who has greater rights of succession to the throne – whether it be the king’s direct heir, even though she is a woman, or whether it be the next closest male relative.

Fans who have seen the first three episodes will notice the similarities here. King Henry I is King Viserys I and his daughter Matilda is Princess Rhaenyra. The deaths of Henry’s wife and son are combined in Queen Emma’s death in childbirth. By the end of the first episode, Viserys had already named Rhaenyra as his heir and had the nobles swear allegiance to her.

Matilda’s rival, Stephen de Blois, is reminiscent of Prince Daemon, although in the series the relationship is slightly different – Daemon is Rhaenyra’s uncle. In episode three, it becomes clearer where the conflict will go, given that the new Queen Alicent already has a son, and her father, Sir Otto Hightower, is encouraging her to seek his rights.

Alicent herself appears to be based on Henry’s second wife, Adeliza of Louvain. It is not known if Matilda and Adeliza were friends in their youth in the way Rhaenyra and Alicent are in the series, but in the real story they were certainly the same age.

What happens in the end? Anarchy to say the least. The conflict between Stephen and Matilda has been going on for years. Most nobles did not approve of Henry I’s daughter as queen until the male challenger was strong enough to control his allies. Even his own brother leaves him and goes to Matilda’s camp.

In the end, Stephen de Blois’ son and heir dies prematurely, Matilda is old, and the country is exhausted by the conflict. The final settlement stated that Stephen would be king and Matilda’s now grown son by Godefroy would succeed him.

This is happening sooner than expected. Stephen died the very next year and King Henry II was crowned to rule for 35 years.

Will House of the Dragon, however many seasons it runs, end similarly with a victory for Rhaenyra’s successor?

This is known only to those who have read the book “Fire and Blood” and the screenwriters, one of whom is Martin himself, of course. Let’s not forget that they didn’t commit to keeping the plot strictly by the book, so the ending could be completely different. However, the writer has proven that he can have a rather unpredictable imagination.


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