|Elizabeth of York, "The White Queen"|
|Cersei Lannister, "Game of Thrones"|
As the fourth season of the series “Game of Thrones” approaches, I’m always excited to see the better-than-average translation from book to film of the epic by George R. R. Martin “A Song of Ice and Fire.” As a reader, while I love watching the characters come alive by a talented cast, I still await “The Winds of Winter” like a T-Rex skeleton in the meme.
My other favorite series “The White Queen” aired last fall on Starz, and that’s when I found out Martin took inspiration from the history during the time of the War of the Roses. In my “Game of Queens” article, I do an analysis on the known inspirations, and also did my own analysis comparing Richard III to Stannis Baratheon as the loyal brother in the background, until the time arrived to take the throne, Richard took it from the heir boy Prince Edward, who went missing in the Tower of London and Stannis, who went to war and burned people for his gain, and almost burned his bastard nephew Edric Storm.
But a pair of women had me thinking more about this analysis. Generally the relationship between Cersei and Sansa is Margaret of Anjou and Anne Neville. But a young Cersei reminds me of Elizabeth York as written in Phillipa Gregory’s “The White Princess.”
Elizabeth of York, raised as a Princess of Edward IV of England, had the training and luxury expected of such a status. Unlike her controversial mother, her marriage would be to a very high noble by arrangement. In the book (I’m setting history aside for a moment) she fell in love with her Uncle King Richard III. He promised her he would make her his queen and she was very happy, because otherwise she was betrothed to Henry Tudor, whom she never met. But at Bosworth it didn’t happen that way. Richard didn’t win and was killed. Henry won. Elizabeth married him, and gave birth to the children of the wrong man that returned from Bosworth.
Cersei in ASOIAF was raised like a Princess, though she was not. Her powerful father Tywin Lannister promised her in when she was a little girl, that she would marry the kind, honorable, and handsome Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Before the tournament when the betrothal was to be announced, Cersei and two friends saw a maegi to have their fortunes told. Cersei’s fortune was “You will marry the King.” She thought that meant she would marry Rhaegar after he became King, so good enough. (I’m leaving the rest of Cersei’s future out..spoiler) But when the time came, the King and his Prince left the area and no betrothal was announced. The Prince married another. Her heartbreak affected her deeply but she hid it from her brother Jaime, whom she eventually developed an incestuous relationship with. When Robert’s Rebellion happened, he killed Prince Rhaegar on the Trident because Rhaegar ran away with his betrothed, Lyanna Stark. After Robert was crowned, with a lost love, Cersei did as expected and married him. For her the wrong man returned from the Trident.
Fantasy and history sometimes intertwine and to me bring light to both. Since I’m not educated in history, I like to read about the background of stories. For fiction, the real live people breathe real life into our fantasies, making us feel their regrets, their hopes, and their pain of lost love.