I did not get far into the Game of Thrones book before I recognized the parallels to the Wars of the Roses. This video, which features author George RR Martin, discusses the historical parallels behind Game of Thrones. Martin said that his strategy was to take historical events and “dial them up to 11.”
Robert Baratheon, for example, parallels Edward IV. Tyrion Lannister as Richard III. Sansa Stark as Elizabeth of York. Ned Stark as Richard, Duke of York. And so on.
The video above does a pretty good job of illuminating the real history behind Game of Thrones.