Me & My Plantagenets


Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

As if another example were needed, the family tree of the progeny of King Edward III of England — you know, the family that brought you The War of the Roses and the Hundred Year War, the many beheadings of the many Henry’s, among other things — pays a subtle but altogether twisted witness to the mad struggle for power and control that seemingly everybody in this family engaged in after Edward’s death in 1377.

And that so many people are now totally hooked into, thanks to that frikken awesome Game of Thrones TV series. Never has history been so popularly presented!

Oh, wait. You’re all like, the show is Middle Earth for Grown-Ups, dude! History, schmistory!

Aye, and there’s the rub.

George R.R. Martin, creator of the Game of Thrones world, story, characters, plot, etc, (an Englishman) has directly related that he took much inspiration from the REAL, LIVE, CRUDE  girls and boys of England’s infamous War of the Roses (ie, the roughly 100 year power stuggle for control of the English throne) for the details of the wacked machinations of his fictional world.
In other words, it all really happened. Except for no dragons, no actual weird-mystical-physics-defying magic, and the names have all been changed to protect the home audience from anything that might smack of an historical dramatization. (Such — as imminently airing in the USA on _____ — and titled, “World Without End” can be learned up on at this website. 🙂

So this family tree — of English King Edward III’s descendants — shows how the children and grandchildren of a king wove (and mated) their way to unity over a handful of generations. Note the cousin relationships amongst…well, them all!
This will be shortly updated with links to the best family trees of the Lannisters, Baratheons, Targaryens and Starks.

And the REAL rub, of course — of this history…of the TV show — is the things that people will do in order to get, hold, and or prevent others from getting and or holding POWER.    I mean, daaaaamn.

The five or so decades following the death of Augustus Caesar [sic] offer a similar microcosm of just what people will get up to if Ultimate Power seems to be … juuuust ….. rightthere…. allllllmost in their grasp.

Btw, the fueds and backstabbings and crazy multi-cousin intermarriages of Edward’s kids and grandkids is infamously messy to fully transcribe in one family tree. I think you’ll find this is as elegant a transcription as can be made. (There’re only two marraige-indicating lines that have to cross other peoples’ descent lines; ie, the marriage lines go left-to-right, and the lines which show parents and their offspring, or descent, are up and down. Most trees showing this wacked bunch either have multiple such criss-crossings or simply leave out most of the relationship-showing connections cuz it’s too messy an info config.)

Colors on the chart above follow this logic:

eldest son colored the same as Edward III

king who finally (re)-united the Yorks and Lancasters (Henry VIII) is also in that color.

York = white   (Stark….)

Lancaster (legitimate) = red    (Lannister….)

Lancaster (illegit & barred from the throne) = orange

youngest son (Woodstock) = green

spouses who were not (as thoroughly) in the Edward III blood-mix = gray

It’s worth noting that what’s estimated by historians to be 10s of millions of people descend from this crazy bunch (yours truly, included: Edward III was my 18th great-grandfather.)


4 thoughts on “Me & My Plantagenets

  1. Hi, there. Thanks for your comment: on 1st reading it, I must have made my neighbors think I’d gone mad with the torrent of explitives I unleashed (not at you, but at the thought that I’d made the error you mentioned). Luckily (for my “cred”, if not my rep w/ my neighbors! ;-), on the chart I think you’re referring to, the line of descent from Edward IV to his *daughter*, Elizabeth of York, whose husband was Henry VII, is definitely not placed well, such that it looks like it might be to Henry instead of Elizabeth. Thank you very much for pointing it out, and I will fix it by this weekend, if not sooner. In the meantime, please try and look at it again; I’m guessing you’ve looked at the nice, large version, if not do so, and the line won’t look *quite* as badly off the mark, but again, it’s off enough to warrant my fixing it.

    I’m very glad that you found it useful beyond that. And details like that are essential, so thanks for mentioning it!



  2. Kylen,
    Why is Edward the Black Prince missing from your Chart of Edward III. King Richard II had half brothers older than him. it seems to me that there is where Plantagenet Y-DNA is to be found. Most likely they would have been well concealed before Henry VII was even a Twinkle in his fathers eye.


    1. I had to look at the chart again (there are several versions of E3 & his kiddiewinx around the site).

      The reason the Black Prince is not there is that he had no lines of descent; Richard II of course was the end-o-that-line. The other thing that I probably didn’t contextualize that particular chart with, is that it wasn’t meant to show the whole gang, all the kings, and certainly not all the interrelations of all those folks. That tree you cited was my best attempt (and the best I’ve found so far online or in books) at showing the primary lines of descent from E3 and interrelations of the parties leading to H8. It already has at least one “jump” line crossing another line….I mean, you clearly know how gnarled the 5 generations from E3 are, it was a challenge. Note also that I made the choice to put Edmund to the left (or “before” John of Gaunt, though he was younger); that was to simplify the criss-crossing lines of descent. Finally, it started life (this chart) as my attempt to show my own lines of descent from E3…and like everyone else descended from him, we’re NOT descended from the Black Prince at all. 🙂

      Thanks for the comments, man!


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