You might think that Game of Thrones is all just dragons and tits, but with the third season about to darken our screens on April 1st, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the fantastical stories of lust, betrayal, murder and lunacy are not so far removed from actual history. If it’s blood and jizz you’re after, look no further than England’s past.
The Dangerous Woman
Sure, she was a total babe, but Queen Isabella was actually a bit of a drag.
In 1326 she brought an army from France to overthrow her husband Edward II – who had spent their entire marriage having sex with other men.
After seizing power she locked him up and, as the story goes, had him murdered by way of a red hot poker thrust up his bum.
Ever since we found him under a car park, Britain has gone mad for King Richard III.
But sadly his reputation is more bent than his curved spine.
When his nephew Edward was crowned king at just 12 years old, Richard sent him and his brother to the Tower of London for “protection”. They were never seen again, presumably murdered by their uncle who declared them illegitimate and took the throne for himself.
The sex and incest
Nowadays, all we get is a few fuzzy snaps of Kate Middleton’s knockers, but back in the days of King Henry VIII, the royals really flung it about. His second wife Anne Boleyn was a long-haired beauty with dark eyes, a smashing figure and the latest in French fashion. But she was also beheaded for adultery, treason and incest. Five men were arrested for “dipping into the royal purse”, including a Flemish musician (making Anne the very first groupie) and her brother George. Although he denied it, he met the same fate as his sister.
The Child King
King Henry III was crowned at age 9 and allegedly fell asleep at his own coronation. In a nod to Thom Yorke, he had a sinister dropping eyelid and is described as being plump, petulant and ineffectual. He made Jews wear a badge of shame and when his own son was born, he demanded that all Londoners bring expensive gifts. He also kept a lion, an elephant and a polar bear chained up at the Tower of London. Bastard. No wonder his 56 year reign was besieged by war and rebellion.
The Gruesome Deaths
Every year on the 5th of November, we waggle a sparkler, set off a few rockets and send our pets into meltdown – all in remembrance of Guy Fawkes failed plot to blow up parliament. Unfortunately for his co-conspirators, the courts didn’t have the same celebratory outlook. Fawkes was severely tortured while the other men were drawn backwards out of prison by a horse’s tail, then hanged, then cut down while still alive, had their penises cut off and burned in front of their faces, then had their bowels taken out and burned, and were then beheaded before being cut into quarters.
For more of the same, catch the new season of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic, starting Easter Monday.