By Sarah Marshall
One of the most popular television series to ever grace our screens, Game Of Thrones has returned for its final season.
Past episodes have impressed audiences with their dark plots and epic backdrops, spurring some fans to make a pilgrimage to shooting locations.
Iceland and Ireland have experienced a surge of visitors, but few people realise how many storylines were inspired by British landscapes and historical events.
Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland
A physical form of protection for the people of Westeros against The Night King and his army, The Wall has featured in every series. Author George R.R. Martin (who wrote the original series of fantasy novels) says he came up with the idea after visiting Hadrian’s Wall, which was built from AD 122 by the Romans to keep enemies at bay. It was patrolled day and night, and some historians suggest it may even have been white-washed to stand out. It sounds very familiar to the Night’s Watch guarding their own giant white wall of ice…
Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire
A key source of inspiration for the A Song Of Ice And Fire series were the Wars of the Roses – a succession of English civil wars fought between the House of Lancaster and the House of York during the 15th century. Just as the Lannisters have King’s Landing, and the Starks have Winterfell, the Lancasters and the Yorks had their preferred places of residence. For the Yorks, their real-life version of Winterfell was Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire.
The castle is best known as the place where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned and finally beheaded in 1587. The remains of Fotheringhay Castle can be visited along the River Nene, in the Northamptonshire countryside.
Right from the beginning, Tyrion Lannister has been one of the most popular characters in the series, and several parallels can be drawn between the witty dwarf and 15th century king Richard III.
Just like Tyrion, Richard III was ridiculed for his appearance (he had a slight hunchback) and was framed for murdering his nephews (think Tyrion with Joffrey). In 2012, Richard III’s remains were discovered beneath a Leicester city centre car park, although he’s now buried in the much more fitting location of Leicester Cathedral.
Temple Church, London
A military order that guards The Wall, The Night’s Watch is made up of members who swear an oath of duty, prohibiting marriage, family and land ownership until their death. There are very clear similarities with the Knights Templar, a Catholic military order with strict rules defining their way of life. The Temple Church in London was their English headquarters, and is open to visitors today.
Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, Leicestershire
From the Battle of the Blackwater Bay to the Battle of the Bastards, each season has been filled with epic conflicts signalling major turning points. Many of these were based on historical events such as the Wars of the Roses and the Battle of Bosworth, which effectively ended disputes between the Yorks and the Lancasters. An estimated 17,000 men took part in this battle in 1485, and their story is told through exhibits at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.