Hardcore "Game of Thrones" fans are immersed in a world of political intrigue, war and desperate grabs for power. It's what has made the blood-and-sex-filled HBO series the massive hit it's become. But truth, as always, is stranger than fiction. The struggle between the Starks and Lannisters closely mirrors the real world struggle between the medieval English families, the Yorks and the Lancasters. This struggle lasted nearly a century, plunging England into a series of conflicts known as the Wars of the Roses as the two powerful families fought for the crown. This TED Ed video highlights the real-life political struggle that threw an island into turmoil... until a would-be ruler from across the sea showed up to end things once and for all.
"Game of Thrones" fans should know that George R.R. Martin was greatly influenced by this historical tale. Indeed, the obvious similarities between characters and families make it clear that Martin is a fan of history. Or at least the bloody, desperate, winner-takes-all history that he has channeled into a fantasy empire.