Game of Thrones historical inspirations: Margaery Tyrell

Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones seems to be loosely based on one of Henry VIII's six wives. We take a look at who it could be.
Game of Thrones -- Courtesy of HBO
Game of Thrones -- Courtesy of HBO /

There are many elements of real history shown in Game of Thrones. It’s clear that this was the inspiration for the series.

In fact, George R.R. Martin has even said that The War of Five Kings was inspired by the Wars of the Roses in English history. We’ve seen how some of the characters are based on real people from this time period.

When it comes to Margaery Tyrell, the inspiration comes from a little later. It seems quite poetic that Game of Thrones got Natalie Dormer, who played Anne Boleyn in The Tudors. It does appear that Margaery is inspired by Anne’s story.

The story of Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife. Henry sought after Anne for seven years, but the only way she would give herself over to him was if he married her. She had seen what being a mistress would look like when her older sister Mary became Henry’s mistress. That was not something that she wanted.

Henry was married, though. Catherine of Aragon was not about to end her marriage to the king. She loved Henry, and she did believe herself to be his legal wife. Henry thought otherwise based on his lack of living heir and the fact that Catherine had been married to Henry’s brother, Arthur, before him.

In the end, Henry broke away from the Catholic Church and created his own so that he could divorce Catherine and marry Anne. His marriage to Anne lasted three and a half years, and they only had one living child: Elizabeth.

Anne was extremely seductive and smart. However, as Henry struggled to gain the heir that he desperately needed, he looked elsewhere.

Things didn’t end well for Anne. She was accused of witchcraft, adultery, and incest. Those accused of adultery with her, including her own brother George, were condemned before Anne, making it clear that she had to be found guilty. They were executed days before her, as well.

The similarities and differences between Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones and Anne Boleyn

Margaery is also a smart woman. She realizes the way the world is, and she works on gaining power and influence for her family. Like Anne Boleyn, she is used a little as a pawn for her family, especially by her grandmother. However, unlike Anne, at least Margaery’s grandmother loves her enough to have Joffrey killed at their wedding.

Then Margaery marries Tommen. In a way, there is some inspiration from Catherine of Aragon’s story in this. Catherine was married to Arthur for six months but he died and Catherine eventually married Henry VIII.

Margaery is able to manipulate Tommen with her seductive nature and charm. It doesn’t work out for her, though, as she crosses Cersei Lannister. Margaery is arrested, calling out to Tommen for help, but he is too weak to do anything.

While Margaery isn’t accused of incest, she is accused of many other sins, including allowing her brother to sleep with men. She is able to find a way out of her situation, though. She pretends to be interested in the High Septon’s religion and pretends to take it seriously. She can then manipulate Tommen from there.

In the end, Cersei has a much bigger plan up her sleeve. She is able to orchestrate the end of Margaery and The Sparrows for good. It brings an end to the Tyrell house in the way that Anne’s fall ended up bringing an end of the Boleyn house in Court.

While Anne and Margaery’s stories don’t go quite the same way, there are a lot of similarities to see where the inspiration initially started for Game of Thrones.

Next. 5 period dramas to watch while waiting for Outlander Season 7B. 5 period dramas to watch while waiting for Outlander Season 7B. dark

Game of Thrones is available to stream on Max.