I don’t know if you know this, but there’s this little known show that’s not really popular.
You’ve probably never heard of it.
It’s called Game of Thrones.
I know. Sounds obscure, right?
I know all of ya are more excited about the next GoT episode than you are about Easter (or at least I am, I can’t fucking wait for the game to end).
If you’re even vaguely familiar with the show, with unless you’ve lived under a rock, the answer is probably a yes, because otherwise, I don’t believe you.
I have never, ever seen an episode of The Bachelor.
I don’t know what happens, or why, or the rules, or how you get dates, or anything. The closest to knowing is watching UnREAL, which I love. The rest I know is from trailers and people talking about it.
So while I believe you when you’re saying you’ve never watched Game of Thrones, I’d be a touch more skeptical about you saying that you don’t know that Jamie Lannister is also referred to as the Kingslayer, and as people’s memories are better jogged by images, that would be this guy:
Anyway, the basic backstory (the no-spoilers edition) is that Jamie stabs the Mad King in the back. While Jamie is wildly despised for his treachery, everyone in the entire Game of Thrones universe thinks the Mad King, was, well, mad.
While Jamie does indeed explain his slaying of the Mad King in incredible depth in detail to Brienne of Tarth, if you’d like to know more, this little thing is actually somewhat based on a real history.
And a real man.
His name wasn’t as catchy as Jamie Lannister’s, but he was named The Kingmaker.
Well, because he fucking made kings, Karen. Duh.
There really was a ‘mad’ king.
Henry VI entered his reign during the War of the Roses, or the 100 Years War. In a desperate attempt to make peace, he married Margaret of Anjou, which may have worked if King Henry VI hadn’t been mentally unwell.
It is possible that, due to Henry’s incredibly young age of ascending to the throne, he never properly matured; but Henry was easily influenced. He’d agree to whatever the last person had advised him to do, regardless of what he had already previously promised.
Sometimes this would result in pardons being reversed, where prisoners would think they were safe, only to be quickly reminded that they were still about to die.
However, while Henry’s inability to be decisive and fair were definitely problematic, and while innocent people definitely were killed under Henry’s reign (though nothing compared to Henry VIII’s reign), that wasn’t his biggest problem.
King Henry suffered, what is described as by not confirmed as (probably due to the lack of understanding and knowledge of mental illness), a major depressive episode.
For an entire year, Henry remained in a catatonic state, even missing his son’s birth.
Eventually, due to the king’s mental illness and general instability, the Kingmaker, Richard Neville (16th Earl of Warwick), decided that Henry VI was no longer fit for reign.
Anyway, the Kingmaker figured he’d solve the problem of having a ‘mad’, incompetent king:
He replaced him with Edward, who became King Edward IV.
Except, King Edward IV didn’t marry a French princess like he was supposed to; he did something incredibly rare for the 1400s, especially amongst royalty: He married for love.
He married a beautiful young widow, who already had two sons, named Elizabeth Woodville.
Apparently the problem with making a king, however, is that you can realise that you can unmake a king.
And as Richard Neville was furious with Edward’s decision, he tried to dethrone him so that his middle brother, George, who Richard Neville married to his daughter, Isabel, could seize the throne. However, while the people had accepted Edward, the eldest son, they didn’t and refused to accept George, who was never made king (though the Kingmaker, to be fair, did try).
After the Kingmaker’s failed attempt to crown George, he reverted back to the original king, Henry, who he’d dethroned due to his mental illness.
(Hey, they called it the 100 Year War for a reason. It’s because it went on for a real long fucking time.)
Henry, for a brief period, was re-crowned, but Edward, who was young, brave, and quick on the battlefield, managed to quickly surround, capture and kill Richard Neville and Neville’s army.
After the Kingmaker’s defeat, Edward returned and resumed his reign in relative peace – especially after the previous king, Henry, had mysteriously and accidentally and definitely had not been murdered in his sleep, died – despite having to execute his brother, George, in later years for treason.
Long after Richard Neville’s death, King Edward would die peacefully in bed, leaving behind his two young sons, Edward V and Richard. (Well, he left behind a whole fucking family, actually, but I’m focusing on the two boys for a reason, Karen.)
Those names might sound familiar because they’re the princes in the tower who mysteriously vanished after their father’s untimely death, but it won’t sound as familiar to you as King Edward’s youngest brother, who wasn’t executed for treason:
Who married Richard Neville’s other daughter, Anne, and eventually became queen alongside her husband, Richard.