The Shakespeare in Action office is currently in a state of excitement over season three of Game of Thrones (starting on March 31st)! I saw this gem today and couldn’t resist posting… Then it got me thinking, if the above were Shakespeare characters – who would they be?? There have been many parallels drawn between Shakespeare’s plays and George R.R. Martin’s epic series – A Song of Ice and Fire. So just based on the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, here are a few musings…
(Based on the show – No spoilers if you haven’t read past the second book!)
Melisandre ~ Lady Macbeth
The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!
Macbeth [I. v. 388-97]
Tyrion Lannister ~ There really are a multitude of choices for Tyrion as he is such a multifaceted character. Maybe the carefree and boisterous Mercutio from Romeo & Juliet, who couples his bawdy sense of humour with a keen intelligence and an impressive way with words, might be a good match.
Daenerys Targaryen ~ Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc from Henry VI PI). This beautiful female warrior is also thrust into a man’s world of warfare, and just like Daenery’s blood riders knelt before her and swore to follow her as part of the ‘Queensguard’, the French soldiers followed Joan la Pucelle into battle.
My courage try by combat, if thou darest,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this, thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.
Henry VI P I [I. ii. 286-89]
Sansa Stark ~ Blanch from King John. As John’s niece, Blanch is also used as a bargaining tool to help the King gain further political power with an alliance with the French. She is married to the Dauphin, although when war breaks out between King John and France, Blanch is stuck in the middle and completely torn as to where her allegiance should lie. Sansa is propelled into a bitter battle and power struggle she does not understand between her father Eddard Stark and the mother of her betrothed – Cersei Lannister. Just as Blanch kneels before her husband begging him not to go to war with her uncle, Sansa kneels before Joffrey and pleads for her father’s life.
Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.
King John [III. i. 1227-1236]
Margaery Tyrell ~ Katherine of Aragon. Katherine of Spain was first married to Prince Arthur, the heir to the English throne in order to form an alliance between Spain and England. After Arthur’s death, Katherine was then later married to Arthur’s brother when he became Henry VIII. Katherine was a valuable commodity and was bargained as such, just like through Margaery the House of Tyrell transferred their political allegiance from Renly to House of Lannister through her betrothal to King Joffrey. Also as with Katherine in Henry VIII, there appears to be more to Margaery than a mere token bride.
Sam Tarley ~ Snug the Joiner from the Rude Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Again, there is a lot more to Sam than meets the eye, but I thought Snug’s endearing shyness and inherent lack of confidence in himself parallel that aspects of Sam’s character.
Joffrey Baratheon ~ Emperor Saturninus. Joffrey is also a hard one, as he really doesn’t have any endearing qualities, nor does he possess the scheming intellect of a master Shakespearean villain such as Richard III. Even though he is controlled by a stronger and more cunning woman in his mother who orchestrates his path to the throne, I would still not equate him to Macbeth. Another Shakespearean villain and ruler with a stronger, more vicious and astute woman by his side is Saturninus from Titus Andronicus who marries Tamora – Queen of the Goths. His childish petulance and sadistic nature is more akin to that of Joffrey Baratheon.
Jorah Mormont ~ The Earl of Suffolk. In the Henry VI plays, Suffolk orchestrates Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI and remains by the warrior Queen’s side. They are both in love with the Queen they serve and are men with dubious pasts and ulterior motives.
These are only a few loosely drawn musings. If you can think of better matches based on the show so far, please let us know and comment below.
By Linda Nicoll
Dorkly,’ Games of Thrones characters as cats’, Connected Ventures 2013: http://www.dorkly.com/picture/50988/game-of-thrones-characters-as-cats [Accessed 20 March 2013]