*First of all, I would like to clarify that you will not find spoilers about Game of Thrones in this post, since it is not spoken of the plot of the series or the books.
Indeed, I am also a follower of the literary saga Song of Ice and Fire (just one more), and of the television series Game of Thrones. Although initially reluctant to the latter, I have to admit that the adaptation is quite good, although not accurate, and have managed to capture the essence of books.
What I like most about Game of Thrones is that history relies heavily on its maps, and here Mr. George R.R. Martin has created a really detailed cartography. However, its followers have improved it to the point that it has been inevitable to make a post about it.
The first map that I want to show you is the one of the creation of Westeros. From the beginning I identified the shape of its coasts with the island of Great Britain. Honestly, I thought the author simply reversed the map of the British island and changed some points, but it was something more complicated than that.
The coastline of Westeros fits almost completely with that of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. For this, Britain has had to be inverted, as in a mirror, and the island of Ireland has been rotated 180° and increased in size, to finally be placed to the south.
As a result, we see that the orography coincides in almost all places (the Arryn Valley would be the Munster Valley in Ireland; the mountains between Winterfell and The Wall would be the English Pennine Mountains; the Casterly Rock Mountains would be the Wicklow Mountains placed south of Dublin).
To finish the map was added the peninsula of the Southeast, that corresponds to Dorne, and some islands like Skagos, the Iron Islands, or The Arbor.
Civilizations and kingdoms in Game of Thrones
Once exposed the great similarities of the map of Westeros with the real world, I think I am not mistaken in stating that everyone who has read the books and/or seen the series, have tried to find out who is who among the different Houses of The Seven Kingdoms and the European civilizations throughout history.
I have my personal opinion, but in the following Game of Thrones map created by Huffingtonpost, you can draw your own conclusions:
There are resemblances that fall of their own weight. Let’s look at some of them:
The Stark House is associated with Scotland for many reasons, the most obvious being The Wall. This megastructure raised to separate the savages (and worst things) from the rest of the kingdoms is neither more, no less than the Hadrian’s Wall, which was built in the second century AD. to repel the warlike Picts who inhabited northern Scotland.
Obviously, its geographic location in the northern end of the territories inhabited by the men, its predominantly cold climate, and the religious differences with respect to the lands of the south, make the North in the Scotland of Westeros.
The Domain, home of the Tyrell House, presents itself as a fertile plain, with pleasant temperatures and where the best wines of the world appear. Yes! You are right: it is France. The city of Highgarden would be Paris, a sophisticated and elegant city, the most artistic of the Seven Kingdoms.
Although they do not live on an island, the Lannister House is very well identified with England. Both crowns reached the power thanks to its economic prosperity, with the mining and the maritime commerce. Not in vain, Lannisport is one of the most important commercial ports of Westeros, just as it happened during the Industrial Revolution with Liverpool and London. In addition, its historic rivalry between the Stark (Scotland) and the Tyrell (France) clear all type of doubts up.
House Greyjoy in the Iron Islands is well represented by Norway, although to be more exact would have to say the Vikings. During the Middle Ages, the Vikings harassed the British coasts and were known for their naval dexterity, even colonizing Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland in North America.
From the maps and the images of the series, we can not deduce much about the Baratheon House and the Stormlands. However, several notes in the novel describe it with a “rugged and green land, with a climate that tends to be rainy …”, and these words fit with Wales, which is a country much more rainy than England.
House Martell and Dorne, in case anyone does not already know, represent the Spaniards and Spain. This has already been confirmed by George R.R. Martin, but there are some similarities: the climate is more arid and dry than the rest of Westeros; the Dornish are descendants of different civilizations and cultures; and their food is exotic and spicier than in the other realms (personally I do not agree at this point).
The Arryn House is located in the Arryn Valley, a rugged and mountainous region that remains neutral in disputes that shake the Seven Kingdoms. Following this reasoning, Switzerland would be the inspiration of the author to develop this lineage, although it is true that it can be a mere coincidence.
In the Lands of the Rivers we find the House Tully, which according to this map is identified with Germany. But we must not think of present-day Germany to make this connection, we must think of the Germanic peoples who inhabited the great European plains, and whose lack of unification led to eternal territorial disputes, as in the series and books. Undoubtedly, the presence of the river Elbe, the Danube and the Rhine are convincing arguments for the River Lands.
Finally, North of the Wall we find a vast expanse unknown and sparsely inhabited by the Savages. Associating Greenland with this territory does not seem misleading, although historically Greenland has had little influence on the European continent. In my opinion, it would be more appropriate to compare it with Siberia, which also has a large and icy extension, but which has also been a threat to the Europeans, through the invasions of Huns and Mongols, such as the Savages for the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones.
Regarding King’s Landing … Which other city could be but London? Maybe the sunny weather shown in the series leaves us some doubts.