Sure, I can try. I do agree w/ some of the ones from the Huff Post, though not all of them.
The North = Scotland
This one is the most obvious to me when one considers Scotland’s history with the English; going from being an independent nation to being unified with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, just as Scotland did with England, and then later the Jacobite cause in trying to reclaim independence to me seems very similar to Robb’s attempts to make the North an independent nation again. There’s also some mountain clans in the North similar to Scottish highland clans. Overall, I think Scotland and the North draw the most similar parallels.
The Westerlands = England
I agree with Huff Post on this one too; strong economy, a myriad of interesting and not-always-efficient leaders, very traditionalist, powerful aristocracy, (formerly) powerful navy, lion on their crests, etc etc. It also works in the sense that if you view Scotland and England as historical rivals, considering there is very little love between House Lannister and House Stark.
The Reach = France
Because COME ON. It’s flowery, wealthy, frivolous, vain, proud, pretty, open-minded yet economically sound and very influential. It’s hard for me to see them any other way.
Iron Islands = Norway
As in the Vikings, which they totally are, considering their traditions of raiding and pillaging, as well as having their own religion. Ruthless and bloody, ambitious to a fault– they fall in pretty well together.
This is where I stop agreeing with that Huff Post article:
Riverlands = Belgium (or any of the other Low Countries)
Here we have a newer nation, and in addition to that I think the Riverlands being conquered by Aegon is similar to the French annexation of Belgium in the early 19th century, and House Tully’s installation can be loosely compared to to Leopold I’s installation as king in Belgium after the Belgian Revolution. Belgium was also hit pretty hard during WWI and II (specifically by Germany, who invaded the country in WWI), which is similar to the Riverlands being ravaged by the War of the Five Kings. The Huff Post compared the Riverlands to Germany which is so ? because they don’t have nearly as much power or security or wealth imo.
Middle East West Asia* (with a hint of N. Africa)
Maybe I’m just biased (though I am partial to Dorne as India, I think West Asia is more accurate), but I have trouble seeing them any other way. I think it does the Arab world a disservice to compare Dorne to Spain when one considers that Spain was conquered by the Muslims in the 700s and the Arab Umayyad Caliphate ruled Spain for hundreds of years afterward, followed by other Arab/Muslim powers until Isabela and Ferdinand took Spain back. Spain’s history is heavily influenced by Arabs, Muslims, and their culture– one only has to glance at some of Cordoba’s historical buildings to see the influence. Not to mention that the country itself had thrived due to religious freedom and a great amount of exchange of knowledge. Dorne was also unconquered for many years, and if we want to consider Aegon as a “western power”, the Arabs too were ruled by other Arabs for a long time (the Ottomans) until WWII when their empire fell apart.
With that in mind, and when one considers that Dorne is the most “liberal” nation in the Seven Kingdoms (and liberal is definitely NOT how I would describe Spain under Ferdinand and Isabela), and also perhaps the darkest-skinned out of all of them, Dorne is most clearly to me West Asia.
Geographically speaking it is rather similar to the Arabian Peninsula. But my personal favorite headcanon is that GRRM modeled Oberyn after Hassan-i Sabbah, the founder of the Order of Assassins in West Asia. He was said to be very intelligent and very powerful and he founded an order of assassins, like let’s just pretend that’s the same thing as fathering really dangerous daughters.
Also the show shot the Water Gardens in the Alcazar of Seville, a castle built by Moorish Muslims and is built in Arabesque style, so clearly I’m not the only one who sees the comparison to West Asia.
(*The term the “Middle East” is imperialist and Euro-centric in nature and it doesn’t hurt to unlearn the term. Same thing goes for a term like “Far East” to describe China and Japan)
The Vale = Sweden
Idk I just don’t see them as Switzerland so much? I understand the whole neutrality thing (which Sweden shares btw and for about 100 yrs longer), and they’re both really old nations, but whereas Switzerland is known for its banking, the Vale really isn’t. The Vale is just… there. Moreover Sweden, while officially neutral for WWI and II, was under much German pressure and often conceded to their demands– not too dissimilar to how the Vale is currently falling under pressures that are not its own and their participation in Robert’s Rebellion. And while I totally get that Switzerland has the Swiss Alps and all, Sweden has mountains too! DON’T SLEEP ON SWEDEN’S MOUNTAINS!
The Stormlands = Germany
This land is considered to be unyielding with a strong military, as well as proud, starting from House Durrandon onwards. Storm’s End from what I could gather from the books is rather wealthy. There’s probably something to be said about the Holy Roman Empire’s relationship with Germany here too, but I’m a little too tired to be drawing any connections right now (probably something to do with Robert/Stannis/Renly?). The Stormlands just seems to have a “won’t back down” attitude similar to Germany.
The Crownlands/King’s Landing = An (Italian?) City State
Because King’s Landing is dependent on the territories it holds outside of the Crownlands, I hesitate to draw a comparison to a real life country, especially when one considers that the Crownlands were never an independent nation to begin with as the others were. I can see KL as one of the bigger Italian city-states such as Milan, Venice, or Florence, or even as the Vatican City. It is after all the “center” of religion, where the High Septon lives, and on a meta level is dependent on the world’s belief in its power. And the fact that it’s leadership had changed from Targaryen to Baratheon doesn’t affect this comparison, imo. A city-state is still a city state, and it’s up to the leader of it to convince the rest of the world that they’re worthy of tribute.
Beyond the Wall = Celtic/Germanic/Hunnic tribes
Beyond the Wall really can’t be compared to a single country (not even Greenland, Huff Post, you do realize it’s cold in other places too?) seeing as it’s just a vast, largely empty land full of tribes and ice zombies. I think it’s possible to imagine the Wildlings as all three variations of the tribes that I named, since they’re not unified to begin with. Maybe someone else can narrow it down, though?
I think I got everybody; sorry for the walls of text!