"Game of Thrones" is one of the most popular shows of all time, and although we can agree to disagree on the ending (Team Sansa on the Iron Throne 4EVER), we can all admit that it was full of some of the most epic battles and throwdowns that were ever seen on television. The backbiting, cruel twists and unbelievable carnage could only be the brainchild of some clever Hollywood producer, right? This sort of thing could NEVER happen in real life, right?
Amazingly enough, we had our very own "Game of Thrones"-style conflict not too long ago. The second world war sucked most of the countries of Europe and several in Southeast Asia into a battle of good and evil that makes the ravages of the White Walkers look tame. What's more, this all happened in real life and is fully documented. While some of the more grisly scenes in "Game of Thrones" might be difficult to watch (we love you Ros!) at least they were completely made up. What happened in WWII was real, and it makes you totally understand why the people who lived through it are called "The Greatest Generation".
Can you tell fact from fiction? How well do you know your history and your "Game of Thrones" plotlines? It's time to show your stuff, superstar!
In war, innocents are often exploited. Did the villains of GoT, or real-life monsters force their prisoners to construct a railway for enemy troops to use?
The Thai town of Kanchanaburi is home to "Death Railway," a failed attempt by the Japanese to build a railroad to Burma. Conditions on the railway were notoriously horrible, and POWs who were forced to build it died of terrible tropical diseases.
In an act of poetic justice, this epic evil force was done in by massive brain drain as a result of its own racism. Did it happen in real life?
Germany's antisemitism might just have lost them the second world war. With brilliant Jewish minds fleeing Nazi control, Germany didn't have the brainpower to realize some of their technological pipe dreams.
An ill-fated ship met a gristly fate during a sea battle and her occupants were consumed by sharks. Was this made for HBO, or did it happen in real life?
July 30 was one of the most ghastly days in WWII's Pacific Theater. After the U.S.S. Indianapolis sank, its crew was left floating in shark-infested waters, and very few survived the carnage.
Did the warring families of "Game of Thrones" or the Allies and Axis forces in WWII test toxins on their own people to see if they were effective?
It's an unfortunate reality that chemical weapons were often tested on the troops before it was brought out into the battlefield in WWII. To make matters worse, they were often tested on minorities exclusively.
Several shops of horrors conducted cruel experiments on human subjects. Did these atrocities happen in WWII or GoT?
Human medical experimentation was a common and horrific occurrence during the second world war. These experiments often occurred at many of the concentration camps, specifically Dachau.
The soul-obliterating moment when a man burnt his own daughter alive to have a battlefield advantage is the stuff of nightmares. Is it also the stuff of fiction?
"Game of Thrones" is no stranger to grisly deaths, but the burning of innocent Shireen was brutal even by GoT standards. Seeing poor Shireen tied to the stake is one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the show.
Sibling rivalry comes to a fiery end, literally, as one sib is given a molten gold crown. Was this WWII or GoT?
Nobody really liked Viserys Targaryen, but it was hard not to wince when he was "crowned" by Khal Drogo with a molten gold headpiece that immediately ended his bid for the Iron Throne.
Kids lied about their age to get into battle and were stripped of their honors when they were found out. Fact or fiction?
This really happened! These "Baby Vets" often fought for the Allies and simply lied their way onto ships, planes and even the front lines. They were often stripped of their medals when their true age was discovered.
Grotesque vivisections were inflicted on enemies in the name of science. Is this a horrific real-life fact from the second world war?
We wish that vivisections were the demented brainchild of fictional Ramsey Bolton, but sadly they really happened during the second world war and were practiced on prisoners of war in the name of "science".
A major villain gets eaten alive by his own dogs. Was this television fantasy or actual history?
Nobody shed a tear when Ramsey Bolton was given a taste of his own medicine. "Game of Thrones'" most despised villain was ripped to shreds by his own dogs- dogs he'd often used against his enemies.
An underdog makes good with their hit list. It's a great story, but did it really happen?
Arya Stark quickly rose to fan-favorite status thanks to her diligence and bravery with the Faceless Men in Braavos. Her hit list detailed sweet revenge on all those who had wronged her.
Was a cruel monarch poisoned at his own wedding in "Game of Thrones" or in WWII?
Before Ramsey Bolton came along, King Joffrey was the big bad villain of "Game of Thrones." In a disgusting but satisfying scene, he is poisoned by Lady Olenna at his very own wedding!
The mighty fall in both WWII and "Game of Thrones," but which one subjected a major player to a humiliating walk of shame?
Cersei's walk of shame made us almost feel bad for the most manipulative of the Lannister clan, at least until she destroyed half of the city and her enemies with tons of wildfire.
Both "Game of Thrones" and WWII had shadowy compounds where they kept enemies, but only one had a mysterious numbered unit. Which was it?
Japan's Unit 731 was an area used to experiment on, and torture prisoners. The scope of the atrocities that happened there aren't fully recognized to this day, although in 2010 Tokyo said it was investigating the site.
A ruling family is lured to a wedding celebration only to be slaughtered by the hosts. Did this happen in WWII or "Game of Thrones?"
The Red Wedding is one of the pivotal moments in "Game of Thrones," and it sets a lot of other storylines in motion, like Arya's revenge and the sad fall of Winterfell to the Boltons.
Both WWII and "Game of Thrones" had their fair share of ghastly punishments, but only one tossed a major player into a bear pit. Which was it?
Brienne of Tarth is forced into the bear pit with only a wooden sword during one of the most heart-pounding scenes in "Game of Thrones." It also sets the stage for Jamie Lannister's partial redemption.
An assassin poisons nearly an entire family in an act of sweet revenge. Can you find this one in the history books?
The Freys massacred the Starks at the Red Wedding, but Arya Stark got her revenge by poisoning the men of the Frey clan after feeding Walder Frey bits of his own boiled sons. So savage!
Punishments were severe and creative in both WWII and GoT. Which one saw adversaries dropped to their deaths through a hole in the floor?
While she wasn't winning any "Aunt of the Year" awards, we still flinched a little when Lysa Arryn was thrown through her very own moon door and fell thousands of feet to her death.
Did a serial killer masquerading as a good doctor prey on the innocent in WWII or "Game of Thrones?"
Marcel Petiot preyed on the absolute most tragic victims; those who had escaped from Nazi terror. Instead of seeing them safely to Argentina, as promised, he injected them with a "vaccine" that turned out to be cyanide.
Atrocities were committed both in WWII and in HBO's popular series. Was it brutal real life or fantasy that a major villain flayed his enemies?
"Game of Thrones'" Bolton family was not known for being kind to their enemies, and their favorite method of punishment, and invoking fear in those who crossed them, was by flaying.
War can be a hungry enterprise. When an epic sea battle didn't go their way, the defeated stormed the kitchen and ate tons of ice cream. Is this story movie magic or real history?
Ice cream was a popular treat during WWII, but the sailors on the Lexington took it to the next level. Before the "Lady Lex" was lost to the waves, they plundered the kitchen and ate it all as the ship sank. Talk about stress eating!
An army is poorly fitted for the elements and freezes to death on the battlefield. Did this happen beyond the wall or in real life?
During the Battle of Stalingrad, German soldiers found themselves woefully underdressed for the harsh Russian winter. Many succumbed to hypothermia and perished, turning the tide of the war.
A failed artist and outsider uses economic instability and resentment to rise to power- with horrific consequences. WWII or GoT?
Adolf Hitler's failed art career is fairly well-known, as is the fact that he was Austrian, not German. He exploited the fragile economic climate and instability of post-WWI Germany to his advantage.
War can be cruel, especially when a small child gets in the way and is hurtled out the window by opposing forces. Did this really happen?
In the first season of "Game of Thrones," Jamie Lannister catches poor Bran Stark peeping on he and Cersei's "tender" moment and tosses him out the window; inadvertently setting the stage for him to become the Three-Eyed Raven.
Did unlikely frenemies from the mountains show up in the nick of time in "Game of Thrones" or an epic WWII battle?
All looked lost for Jon Snow and his army during the Battle of the Bastards until the Knights of the Vale showed up and gave Ramsey Bolton's army the thrashing it deserved. It was one of the brightest points of the season.
This rotten sadist squishes out the eyeballs of the enemies of his side. Fiction or real-life horror?
The Mountain is one of the most fearsome characters on "Game of Thrones." We got a taste of his callousness in earlier seasons, but the scene where he puts his thumbs through Oberyn Martell's eyes is excruciating.
A country constructed a huge fortified ditch to keep its enemies out. It didn't work. Was this failed project TV fantasy or history?
France built the massively fortified Maginot Line when it saw the Germans gearing up for war. Having lost a generation in the first world war, they wanted to avoid invasion. It didn't work.
A leader is betrayed by his entire command, and stabbed through the heart. Did it really happen?
Labeled a "traitor" because of his kindness to the Wildlings, Jon Snow is murdered by his own Night's Watch in a heart-wrenching scene where each former friend took a stab at their leader.
Did a malfunctioning commode change the course of a battle in "Game of Thrones" or WWII?
German U-boats were especially dangerous during the second world war, so when one had a bathroom-related incident that caused the doomed sub to fill with chlorine gas and then sink, it was like Christmas for the Allies.
Two siblings go off into war, one jumps ship and leaves his sibling to be captured. Is this tale true life or HBO fiction?
When Euron Greyjoy attacks Yara and Theon's ship, Theon jumps overboard and leaves Yara to the mercy of her uncle. Cowardly? Maybe, but he had just recently escaped the grasp of Ramsey Bolton.
Was it the second world war or "Game of Thrones" when two unlikely forces paired up in the final showdown of the Battle of Castle Itter?
On May 5, 1945, two unlikely allies teamed up to defeat the SS forces at the Battle for Castle Itter. The Germans and Americans defeated the SS in this Austrian town, ending the conflict in that region.
In both war and addictive television, revenge is best served ice-cold. Was it "Game of Thrones" of WWII where a daughter is poisoned and a mother is forced to watch?
Cersei certainly could not let Myrcella's poisoning go unanswered, so in one of the most epic episodes of the show, she poisons Tyene in the same way and makes her mother Ellaria Sand watch.
Did a dutiful warrior continue to fight a battle long after it ended in "Game of Thrones" or WWII?
Hiro Onoda's story proves that truth is stranger than fiction. This stalwart Japanese soldier fought WWII by himself on a remote island until the mid-1970s when he was found and convinced that it had ended.
When the going gets tough, call in the cavalry! Were these fearsome warriors real-life or made for TV?
The Dothraki were fearsome warriors who also happened to be skilled horse people. Throughout the final "Game of Thrones" seasons, they were under the control of Daenerys Targaryen.
A villainous monster is fueled by mind-altering substances and consuming paranoia. "Game of Thrones" ... or is truth stranger than fiction?
Nope, we're not talking about the Targaryens. Adolf Hitler is arguably the worst human being who ever existed, and he was also a huge meth-head. In fact, many top-tier Nazis abused hard drugs.
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