1) The War of the Five Kings is based on War of the Roses:
George R.R Martin has based his books that tell the tale of the War of Five Kings trying to ascend the Iron Throne around the civil war that waged in Medieval England between the north House of York and the south representing House of Lancaster, trying to ascend the throne of England. Albeit lacking the fantasy elements of dragons, wights and magic, it was the mostvile and backstabbing driven war Europe had seen at the time. The war is complex and confusing as is its fantasy counterpart. It all had began with the death of king -Edward the III and his counterpart king Robert Baratheon, both had perished in accidents involving fishing and hunting, and both change their will on their deathbed to forbid their sons to claim their heritage that gave way to civil war. House York being the White Rose, represents House Stark, whilst House Lancaster being the Red Rose, represents House Lannister.
2) The wall and Hadrian’s wall:
The Wall is ginormous barricade made of ice and built by magic spanning from sea to sea, defending the realm of man from threats beyond the wall, be they wildlings or nightmares made manifest with the coming of the Long Night. It is mounted and taken care by the famous Nights Watch, a ragtag group of all sorts of criminals from the realm, brought together to be the vanguard against the cold instead of facing punishment for what they have committed at home. The real counterpart of The Wall is Hadrian’s Wall, erected in England after the Romans conquered it and became part of the empire. Its purpose was to keep out the Picts or Caledonians that inhabited present day Scotland, as the Romans would call them that could not be tamed and conquered. It as well span from sea to sea, albeit lacking in fantastical elements made for its construction, it was engineered from stone after order was received by Emperor Hadrian. The remnants of what was once Hadrian’s Wall are to this day a famous tourist sight in England.
3) Red Faith and Zoroastrianism:
Melisandre aptly named the Red Woman, served as a councilor to king Stannis, giving him guidance and insight based on the visions she received by staring at fire, praying to her god of light named R’hllor. In Game of Thrones, the duality of the world is divided between the god of light representing fire and the day, and the god of darkness representing the cold and night. Followers of R’hllor predict that a great warrior given the blessing of the light will be born to duel with the warrior given the blessing of the night deciding the fate of the world and allowing a new cycle to emerge. Zoroastrianism is the real life inspiration for the Red Faith; it is one of the oldest religions in the world emerging in the Middle East dating back to the year 2000 B.C. It depicts a god who possesses both natures, good and evil, representing the duality of things in the cosmos. Followers of Zoroastrianism hold the duality of nature as a way of living one’s life according to what he or she deems himself fit to belong to one of the sides. Although lacking in the capability to give birth to shadows and have visions foretelling the future by staring into the fire, their temples are adorned with fire and its practitioners praise fire much like its fantasy based counterpart.
4) Dothraki and nomadic peoples:
The Dothraki are the wandering nomadic people of Essos, wandering the steppe and plains, never settling in one place, changing the course of history at times, and being the savages as seen by the more civilized peoples, much like how the world viewed the Scythians, Alans, Huns, Cumans, Mongols and other peoples that wandered the steppe. Most known for riding atop their horses, using swift attacks and deception to confuse their enemies, the Dothraki and nomadic peoples of the real world were a force to be reckoned with. Uniting around the strongest, most intelligent and most cunning of Khals or Khans as in the real world, they were the scourge and plundered the kingdoms, empires and city states of Essos and their real life counterparts in Asia and Europe, ushering in eras that decided the fate of some, and gave birth to others. Like their real life counterparts, the Dotraki are seen using molten gold or silver to kill their captured enemy leaders, to send a message that they are not to be trifled with. And like their real world counterparts, these people easily dispersed and scattered once their leaders died.
5) Wildfire and Greek Fire:
Wildfire in Game of Thrones, is a green liquid made for usage in war or to display power that seeps into whatever it is poured on and ignition of said liquid allowed it to burn until it was no more even on water. Made by the Alchemist Guild, who they claim it involves the use of magic, it is a meticulously long and arduous task to make. Allowing Tyrion to break the siege of Kings Landing beset upon by king Stannis’s mighty navy, with the use of a large chain it was very effective in destroying his enemies. In the real world, it is inspired by Greek Fire. Greek Fire was made in Byzantium in the 7th century A.D, its usage made sure the winning of battles was in the empires favor. Burning on top of water, it made quick work of any siege that beset upon Constantinople, and pose a threat to would be invaders to think twice before attacking the empire. Unlike Wildfire, Greek fire was put out by covering it with sand, it was found quite late by the Turks, Seljuks and later Ottomans who inhabited Anatolia.
6) Iron throne and the throne of Britain:
The war in Westeros is started after Robert Baratheon disallows his lineage from inheriting the Iron Throne, thus spiraling to the events in Game of Thrones. The throne itself is made out of the molten together swords that were held by the enemies of the Targaryen family that conquered Westeros. It was forged in fire by his drake Balerion the Black Dread, a horrid monstrosity of jagged metal designed to not allow any king sitting atop it to rest easy. Its real life inspiration is the throne of Britain, although lacking in grotesqueness, it is instead the most fanciful seat in England, clad in gold and jewels it is a sight to behold, yet it too disallowed kings and queens sitting upon it to rest easy, for the enemies were numerous. As the war in Westeros between the five kings is fought for the Iron Throne, so too did the throne of England was fought by five kings as he or she who sat upon it, governed over a mighty kingdom.
7) Unsullied and the Spartans:
Unsullied are slave soldiers forced into military service as a mercenary force of highly trained and disciplined army. Wielding long spears and round shields, they are based upon the Spartans of antiquity. They too were slaves and citizens of Sparta forced into military service from a very young age, yet they were not mercenaries as they operated only for the city State. If the purse is heavily laden with coin, the Unsullied are bought into servitude for any king, queen, khal or whatever title, being the primary force behind successful battles and wars versus empires, kingdoms and city states. The Spartans on the other hand, waged wars primarily with the ancient city states of modern day Greece, most particularly Athens. Yet in modern times they are most well known for the Battle of Thermopylae, where an army of Spartans won a pyrrhic victory against the Persians and stalled their advance deeper into the southern Balkans.
8) Red Wedding and the Black Dinner:
In a turbulent turn of events in the show, yet known by the book readers before, the Red Wedding successfully ended the Stark rebellion by ridding the army of its leader Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn Stark and most of the army generals and officers. Brought into the halls of Walter Frey, the castle resting upon the bridge connecting the north and south kingdoms in the river lands, the guests were assassinated gruesomely by Roose Bolton after he was paid handsomely by the Lannisters. Inspired by a real life event that happened in Medieval Scotland, the Black Dinner is connected with the boy king James the II and his regent ruler William who was the son of the previous regent governing for the young king, his father Earl Archibald of Douglas. The two boys were invited to dine in Edinburgh castle by two nobles named Sir William Crichton and Sir Alexander Livingston who conspired to share the throne themselves. They were treated beyond nobility, and drank themselves into a stupor. The night was long and full of merriment. Suddenly, it came to an abrupt end as bagpipes started playing and knights had blocked the exit doors. A black bulls head was festoon on the table, a sign of death. Caught and after a very short treasonous trial, the boys were hanged and rid of. This was not quite as gruesome, however, as its fantasy counterpart.