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  • As far as we know,

  • Medieval England was never invaded by ice zombies,

  • or terrorized by dragons,

  • but it was shaken by a power struggle between two noble families

  • spanning generations

  • and involving a massive cast of characters

  • with complex motives and shifting loyalties.

  • If that sounds familiar,

  • it's because the historical conflicts known as the Wars of the Roses

  • served as the basis for much of the drama in Game of Thrones.

  • The real-life seeds of war were sewn by the death of King Edward III in 1377.

  • Edward's oldest son had died before his father,

  • but his ten-year-old son, Richard II,

  • succeeded to the throne ahead of Edward's three surviving sons.

  • This skipping of an entire generation

  • left lingering claims to the throne among their various offspring,

  • particularly the Lancasters, descended from Edward's third son,

  • and the Yorks, descended from his fourth son.

  • The name of the ensuing wars

  • comes from the symbols associated with the two families,

  • the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster.

  • The Lancasters first gained the throne

  • when Richard II was deposed by his cousin Henry IV in 1399.

  • Despite sporadic unrest,

  • their reign remained secure until 1422,

  • when Henry V's death in a military campaign

  • left an infant Henry VI as king.

  • Weak-willed and dominated by advisors,

  • Henry was eventually convinced to marry Margaret of Anjou to gain French support.

  • Margaret was beautiful, ambitious,

  • and ruthless in persecuting any threat to her power,

  • and she distrusted Richard of York, most of all.

  • York had been the King's close advisor and loyal General,

  • but was increasingly sidelined by the Queen,

  • who promoted her favorite supporters, like the Earls of Suffolk and Somerset.

  • York's criticism of their inept handling of the war against France

  • led to his exclusion from court and transfer to Ireland.

  • Meanwhile, mounting military failures,

  • and corrupt rule by Margaret and her allies

  • caused widespread discontent,

  • and in the midst of this chaos,

  • Richard of York returned with an army to arrest Somerset and reform the court.

  • Initially unsuccessful, he soon got his chance

  • when he was appointed Protector of the Realm

  • after Henry suffered a mental breakdown.

  • However, less than a year later,

  • Henry suddendly recovered

  • and the Queen convinced him to reverse York's reforms.

  • York fled and raised an army once more.

  • Though he was unable to directly seize the throne,

  • he managed to be reinstated as Protector

  • and have himself and his heirs designated to succeed Henry.

  • But instead of a crown,

  • York's head acquired a pike

  • after he was killed in battle with the Queen's loyalists.

  • His young son took up the claim and was crowned Edward IV.

  • Edward enjoyed great military success against the Lancasters.

  • Henry was captured,

  • while Margaret fled into exile

  • with their reportedly cruel son, Edward of Westminster.

  • But the newly crowned King made a tragic political mistake

  • by backing out of his arranged marriage with a French Princess

  • to secretly marry the widow of a minor Noble.

  • This alienated his most powerful ally, the Earl of Warwick.

  • Warwick allied with the Lancasters,

  • turned Edward's jealous younger brother, George, against him,

  • and even briefly managed to restore Henry as King,

  • but it didn't last.

  • Edward recaptured the throne,

  • the Lancaster Prince was killed in battle,

  • and Henry himself died in captivity not long after.

  • The rest of Edward IV's reign was peaceful,

  • but upon his death in 1483, the bloodshed resumed.

  • Though his twelve-year-old son was due to succeed him,

  • Edward's younger brother Richard III declared his nephews illegitimate

  • due to their father's secret marriage.

  • He assumed the regency himself and threw the boys in prison.

  • Though no one knows what ultimately became of them,

  • after a while, the Princes disappeared

  • and Richard's power seemed secure.

  • But his downfall would come only two years later

  • from across the narrow sea of the English Channel.

  • Henry Tudor was a direct descendant of the first Duke of Lancaster,

  • raised in exile after his father's death in a previous rebellion.

  • With Richard III's power grab causing a split in the York faction,

  • Henry won support for his royal claim.

  • Raising an army in France, he crossed the Channel in 1485

  • and quickly defeated Richard's forces.

  • And by marrying Elizabeth of York, elder sister of the disappeared Princes,

  • the newly crowned Henry VII joined the two roses,

  • finally ending nearly a century of war.

  • We often think of historical wars as decisive conflicts

  • with clearly defined winners and losers.

  • But the Wars of the Roses, like the fiction they inspired,

  • show us that victories can be uncertain,

  • alliances unstable,

  • and even the power of Kings as fleeting as the seasons.

As far as we know,

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B2 H-INT US henry edward richard york son throne

【TED-Ed】The wars that inspired Game of Thrones - Alex Gendler

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    稲葉白兎   posted on 2015/05/22
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