The video charts the bloody, complicated feuding between two prominent royal houses — that of York, represented by a white rose, and Lancaster, represented by a red one (to this day, the historic counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire in northern England are associated with those colors). The dramatis personae includes no giant winged dragons or ice zombies but does feature rival claimants to the throne, a succession of weak or villainous monarchs, dashing princes whose lives were cut short before their time, scheming "protectors of the realm" and plotters across the "Narrow Sea."
Beyond the cast of characters, though, "Game of Thrones" draws upon another dominant theme in the War of the Roses: its sheer, inescapable brutality. The Battle of Towton in 1461, for example, is considered the bloodiest single clash to have taken place on British soil, with the hacked and smashed remains of forgotten men-at-arms still being exhumed by archaeologists.
Here's one historian's account of what followed after the Lancastrians — the eventual winners of the war — began to beat a panicked retreat at Towton. The imagery would be familiar to any viewer of "Game of Thrones."
With men dying in their thousands, the Lancastrian line dissolved by midafternoon, and the leaders took flight. Behind them, defeat became a devastating rout. On Edward’s orders, no mercy was shown in victory. Skulls later found on the battlefield showed the most horrific injuries: faces split down the bone, heads cut in half, holes punched straight through foreheads. Some men died with more than 20 wounds to their head: the signs of frenzied slaughter by men whipped into a state of barbaric bloodlust. Some victims were mutilated: their noses and ears ripped off, fingers snipped from hands to remove rings and jewellery in the plunder of the dying. The field of Towton was known as the Bloody Meadow, and with good reason.
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