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.)