mare tudor

ASOIAF/War of the Roses: Dany as Henry Tudor...or Margaret Beaufort?

I love that although Margaret Beaufort was all but sold into marriage at 12 years old with the intent of being a pliant breed mare for Lancastrian/Tudor agendas, it is her name not her husband or either of her brothers-in-law that is most remembered in history as a shrewd political tour de force.

The popular reading of Daenerys Targaryen as a Henry VII analog is truly apt; both are exiled royals, having spent most of their lives across the sea from the continent of their “birth right”, and the dragon (part lion part bird part wolf part stag) is a amalgamation other sigils as much as the Tudor Rose was a hybrid of the Lancastrian red and Yorkist white roses. 

However, there’s also so much of Margaret Beaufort in her backstory. Both Margaret and Dany almost died from their first pregnancies, which prevented them from conceiving again after (although in the case of Dany, I think Miri’s curse is probably bull). Both made marriages of convenience after. Both have a fervent devotion to the idea of their houses and were ambitious from a young age, rising above those who used them as pawns. On a superficial level, both are/were notoriously petite women.  

Both are culturally monolithic “mothers”; the Mother of Dragons and the Mother of Tudors. Perhaps most troubling is that Margaret Beaufort outlived her son for a very short period, long enough to see her grandson, Henry VIII, married and thus (apparently)  secure the dynasty she spent her life cementing. If we follow this parallel, this might confirm that by series end, Dany will die but live just long enough to see her kingdom safe with a glimmer of hope. But then again this is speculation and GRRM definitely hybrids his War of Roses influences. 

It just never sat well with me that Dany’s primary inspiration should be a male historical figure when so much of her arc around her status as a women working against and for her.