Hardcore Game of Thrones fans know that George R.R. Martin has drawn inspiration for his beloved A Song of Ice and Fire series from actual historical events such as the War of the Roses and the Hundred Years War.
But Martin doesn't rely only on grand-scale events as fodder for his novels, he also pays tribute to more isolated, less-well-known figures and events of the past.
While large portions of Westerosi lore may be based upon British medieval history, It's Martin's ability to draw from different eras and varying parts of the world to select the most fascinating (and horrifying) tidbits that have helped make GoT such a consistently engrossing smash hit.
Some have even gone so far as to suggest that if we pay close enough attention to the history-based clues Martin's sprinkled throughout his epic-length tale, we might be able to figure out which character will eventually triumph in the the battle for the Iron Throne.
Hint: it's not Theon Greyjoy...Sorry, Reek.
Warning: possible spoilers lie ahead, so if you're not caught up on the show and/or don't want to be exposed to speculation on how the series might end, we suggest you stop reading here and refrain from checking out the gallery above. (Even though you know you want to!)
First, a little background on medieval British politics to bring you up to speed. (Don't worry we'll get to the blood and boobs stuff soon enough.)
The War of the Roses refers to a series of battles fought for control of the British crown in the 15th Century. The principal claimants to the throne were the houses of York and Lancaster (Sound familiar?) and combat raged on and off for almost 32 years (about how long it takes to read a George R.R. Martin book).
Martin has stated in interviews that his research on the War of the Roses has profoundly influenced the ASOIAF series and allusions to that bloody period in history make countless appearances in both the books and the television series they inspired.
While the connection may not be as readily apparent as some of the more obvious parallels, some observant GoT fans have noticed a lot of similarities between Daenerys Targaryen and War of the Roses victor Henry VII.
Like the Khaleesi, Henry lived much of his life in exile on the far side of the English Channel (a sort of "narrow sea," if you will), where he used his charisma and claims of being the rightful heir to the throne to help him raise a foreign army, crush his opposition, and declare himself king.
Granted Henry wasn't quite so badass as to ride a dragon into battle, but he did have a fire-breathing beast on his coat of arms:
Some have suggested that all those similarities are Martin's way of hinting that Daenerys will emerge victorious when she eventually swoops into Westeros on the winged back of one of her "children."
Others have astutely pointed out that there are few things GRRM enjoys more than shocking his audience, and it seems unlikely that he would foreshadow an ending so clearly, so early on in the tale.
Either way, since Martin hasn't even started writing the final book in the series, guesses like that may be the closest we'll get to a satisfactory ending this decade.
So check out the gallery above for other similarities between the events in Westeros and actual European history, and see if you can spot more possible clues about what's in store.
Then watch Game of Thrones online at TV Fanatic to forget about the real world for a while and enjoy some good old-fashioned medieval sexy-time.