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George R. R. Martin discusses inherent misogyny in House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones

Matt Smith stars as Prince Daemon Targaryen in Season 1 of HBO's House of the Dragon
Matt Smith stars as Prince Daemon Targaryen in Season 1 of House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO

In Game of Thrones, the battle for the Iron Throne was a bloody one. Not only did Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) take the throne forcibly from House Targaryen, but the battle continued throughout eight seasons as various other people vied for their position as the supreme ruler of Westeros.

Most notably, it was men who first laid claim to the Iron Throne. However, there were definitely two strong female contenders.

Cersei (Lena Headey) often ruled in her sons’ steads until she took over properly.

However, it was Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) who really had the legitimate claim as she was the sole surviving Targaryen left in Westeros (excluding Aegon Targaryen, who was still known as the bastard Jon Snow).

However, throughout the entire series, it was made very clear that many expected only a man would rule in Westeros.

With House of the Dragon also centering around a fight for the Iron Throne, it looks like this theme is set to continue. Author George R. R. Martin — who showed up unexpectedly at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend — gives some reasoning behind the inherent misogyny in Westeros.

Game of Thrones author based both shows on real history

During the Q & A panel for House of the Dragon, one moderator asked why both shows appeared to be adverse to female leadership.

“What is it about Westeros that they’re just so anti-a-queen?” the moderator asked, according to Variety.

A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin was quick to answer.

“My books are fantasies, obviously, but I do follow history a lot,” Martin explained.

“I get inspiration from history and I take elements from history and turn it up to 11 — obligatory ‘Spinal Tap’ reference — or to 111. Game of Thrones, as many people observed, was based loosely during the English’s War of the Roses.”

Given that both shows have a medieval feel about them thanks to the fantasy setting, it actually comes as no surprise that that period in time was also followed by the author when writing the Game of Thrones series.

He also looked to history once more regarding the new HBO series.

House of the Dragon will also have a woman attempt to lead Westeros

House of the Dragon is based on a book written by Martin called Fire and Blood. This is a faux history book based on House Targaryen.

In the latest trailer, it has been revealed that King Viserys Targaryen (Paddy Considine) will put his daughter, Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy), in line for the Iron Throne after him.

This will cause considerable ire as it was expected that his younger brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith), would rule after him.

And, once again, this story has been based on historical events, according to Martin.

“This show was based on an earlier period in medieval history called The Anarchy,” Martin said.

“I pilfered freely from real history — Henry I, the king of England, when his only legitimate son drowned while trying to cross the English Channel, was left with only one legitimate child, which was his daughter Matilda. And he named her his heir and he made the lords of the kingdom swear felty to her. And then some years later he died and most of the lords of the kingdom forgot about that oath and said, ‘Oh, it doesn’t apply,’ because here comes her cousin Stephen who crosses the channel quickly and steals the treasury and gets himself crowned king and they entered a period called the anarchy.”

With this in mind, it looks like House of the Dragon will be just as brutal as the original HBO series.

Season 1 of House of the Dragon will premiere on August 21 on HBO Max.

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