TIME georgia

Last Crew Member of Enola Gay Dies in Georgia

Obit Enola Gay Survivor
Theodore "Dutch" VanKirk, in Stone Mountain, Ga., Aug. 25, 2010. Bita Honarvar—AP

He was 93

(ATLANTA) — The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, hastening the end of World War II and forcing the world into the atomic age, has died in Georgia.

Theodore VanKirk, also known as “Dutch,” died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

VanKirk flew nearly 60 bombing missions, but it was a single mission in the Pacific that secured him a place in history. He was 24 years old when he served as navigator on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb deployed in wartime over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

He was teamed with pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee in Tibbets’ fledgling 509th Composite Bomb Group for Special Mission No. 13.

The mission went perfectly, VanKirk told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. He guided the bomber through the night sky, just 15 seconds behind schedule, he said. As the 9,000-pound bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” fell toward the sleeping city, he and his crewmates hoped to escape with their lives.

They didn’t know whether the bomb would actually work and, if it did, whether its shockwaves would rip their plane to shreds. They counted — one thousand one, one thousand two — reaching the 43 seconds they’d been told it would take for detonation and heard nothing.

“I think everybody in the plane concluded it was a dud. It seemed a lot longer than 43 seconds,” VanKirk recalled.

Then came a bright flash. Then a shockwave. Then another shockwave.

The blast and its aftereffects killed 140,000 in Hiroshima.

Three days after Hiroshima, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The blast and its aftermath claimed 80,000 lives. Six days after the Nagasaki bombing, Japan surrendered.

Whether the United States should have used the atomic bomb has been debated endlessly. VanKirk told the AP he thought it was necessary because it shortened the war and eliminated the need for an Allied land invasion that could have cost more lives on both sides.

“I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run. There were a lot of lives saved. Most of the lives saved were Japanese,” VanKirk said.

But it also made him wary of war.

“The whole World War II experience shows that wars don’t settle anything. And atomic weapons don’t settle anything,” he said. “I personally think there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world — I’d like to see them all abolished.

“But if anyone has one,” he added, “I want to have one more than my enemy.”

VanKirk stayed on with the military for a year after the war ended. Then he went to school, earned degrees in chemical engineering and signed on with DuPont, where he stayed until he retired in 1985. He later moved from California to the Atlanta area to be near his daughter.

Like many World War II veterans, VanKirk didn’t talk much about his service until much later in his life when he spoke to school groups, his son said.

“I didn’t even find out that he was on that mission until I was 10 years old and read some old news clippings in my grandmother’s attic,” Tom VanKirk told the AP in a phone interview Tuesday.

Instead, he and his three siblings treasured a wonderful father, who was a great mentor and remained active and “sharp as a tack” until the end of his life.

“I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father,” Tom VanKirk said.

VanKirk’s military career was chronicled in a 2012 book, “My True Course,” by Suzanne Dietz. VanKirk was energetic, very bright and had a terrific sense of humor, Dietz recalled Tuesday.

Interviewing VanKirk for the book, she said, “was like sitting with your father at the kitchen table listening to him tell stories.”

A funeral service was scheduled for VanKirk on Aug. 5 in his hometown of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He will be buried in Northumberland next to his wife, who died in 1975. The burial will be private.

TIME History

15 Years Later: Remembering JFK Jr.

JFK Jr. TIME Cover
The cover of TIME's July 26, 1999 issue: "John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. 1960-1999" Ken Regan—TIME

The son of the 35th president was 38-years-old when his plane was lost at sea

Fifteen years ago Wednesday, a shocked nation grieved as the Kennedy family lost another one of their own. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., 38, died in a plane crash with his wife and sister-in-law on July 16, 1999.

“He was lost on that troubled night, but we will always wake for him, so that his time, which was not doubled but cut in half, will live forever in our memory and in our beguiled and broken hearts,” then-Sen. Ted Kennedy said in a eulogy for his nephew, an American icon turned magazine editor. Kennedy outlived his nephew by 10 years, passing away in 2009 after nearly a half-century in the U.S. Senate.

In that same eulogy, Kennedy praised the “lifelong mutual admiration society” shared between JFK Jr. and his sister Caroline, who now serves as the United State ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy was often asked whether he would further the political legacy of his father, who died when his son was only two years old. JFK Jr. once said of his father, “He inspired a lot of hope and created a sense of possibility, and then the possibility was cut short and never realized.”

Read TIME’s special 1999 cover story marking JFK Jr.’s death here.

TIME World Cup

Germany Crushes Catastrophic Brazil 7-1

APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Brazil Germany
A Brazil soccer fan cries as Germany scores against her team at a semifinal World Cup match as she watches the game on a live telecast in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 8, 2014. Bruno Magalhaes—AP

The host country's fans went from stunned to comatose, like they were stuck in a bad dream

Brazil’s World Cup dream didn’t just end in the semifinal; it was shattered spectacularly into tiny yellow pieces. A fast and tactical German team shredded Brazil’s largely absent defense five times in 18 amazing first-half minutes to walk into the finals.

Brazil entered the game without its leading scorer, Neymar, and its defensive captain Thiago Silva but with the backing of its passionate crowd. But the Seleção went out of the game with its reputation as soccer’s most creative force in tatters. A team that hadn’t lost at home since 1975 suffered a defeat that was almost unthinkable.

The hammering began 11 minutes into the game when Brazil failed to mark Thomas Mueller on a corner kick—a criminal lapse against any German team— and Mueller took his time to sweep the ball past goalie Julio Cesar. The goal silenced the roaring home crowd but it was hardly a disaster. Croatia had scored first against Brazil in the opening game. Until that time, Brazil had held its own, even starting by brightly bringing its attack into Germany’s end.

But the Seleção was also ceding massive amounts of space on the field, as it had done against Colombia. But Germany is certainly not Colombia and soon began running into gaps in the Brazilian lines with menace. That menace turned to 2-0 when Miroslav Klose collected Mueller’s pass deep in the Brazil box and after Cesar blocked his initial shot he had an easy time pushing the rebound past the hapless keeper. The goal made Klose the all time leading World Cup scorer with 16.

The crowd went from stunned to comatose but they were soon to be shaken out of this bad dream by something even worse. Hardly a minute later, Dante, in for Silva, fed a hospital ball to Fernandinho 40 yards in front of his own goal. Fernandinho was dispossessed and Germany was down Brazil’s throat again. Kroos easily slotted home a couple of passes later. Barely two minutes after that, Brazil failed to clear a rolling ball delivered across its own 18 yard box and Toni Kroos smacked a left footer past Cesar. By the time that Sami Khedira collected Germany’s fifth goal in the 29th minute after exchanging passes with Mesut Oezil, Brazil’s defense had been reduced to numb spectators who looked as if they had just watched a horrific car crash.

The Brazilians were whistled off the pitch by the crowd that loved them at the start of the game. “It looks as if it’s 11 against 9,” noted television commentator Steve McManaman. It looked worse than that.

At the half, Brazil benched the execrable Hulk and replaced him with Ramires and took Fernandinho out for Paulinho. The changes, if way too late, injected some life into Brazil, and within the first 10 minutes of the second half produced three great goal scoring chances. But Manuel Nueur’s twin, point-blank saves against Paulinho signaled that there would be no miracle comeback. Instead, with Brazil taking increasing risks, Germany piled on more goals. Substitute Andre

Schuerrle added two well-taken goals before Oscar managed a hardly-a-consolation goal in the 90th minute. The Brazilians walked off the field in tears; history will not be kind to them.

TIME History

Now Even Grown-Ups Can Have a Night at the Museum

American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History Bruce Yuanyue—Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The American Museum of Natural History just opened sleepovers to adults

You might be getting older but that no longer means you have to grow up.

The American Museum of Natural History announced Tuesday it will soon host its first sleepover for grown-ups.

The museum has been hosting a “night at the museum” event for kids for several years, but on Aug. 1 it will hold its first event for people aged 21 and up, complete with a champagne reception and a jazz trio.

For $375—or $325 if you’re a member—a person can spend the evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. roaming “through the nearly empty halls of the museum, where they might run into a herd of elephants in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals or come face to face with looming dinosaur skeletons, including a 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex,” the museum said in an announcement.

The event will also include a midnight viewing of the museum’s Dark Universe Space Show, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“As the evening winds down,” the museum says in its announcement, “guests will be able to unroll their sleeping bags and curl up under the beloved 94-foot-long blue whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.”

TIME Gadgets

As Sony’s Walkman Turns 35, a Look Back at Its Inception

Sony Walkman with headphones, c 1980.
The original 'Walkman', model TCS 300, made by Sony of Japan. The TCS 300 was the first personal stereo cassette recorder manufactured by Sony. Science & Society Picture Library / Getty Images

Sony's iconic personal stereo music player, the Walkman, turns 35 on July 1, 2014.

Imagine you’re the co-founder of a global corporation, a Japanese electronics industry behemoth with virtually limitless resources at your disposal. But you live on planes, you like to listen to classical music during lengthy trans-Pacific trips, and you’re tired of schlepping your company’s bleeding edge bulky monaural-only player around.

So, because you can, you instruct your research and development wing to build a smaller, more portable version for your personal use. The year is 1978.

From that self-serving request — made over three decades ago by frustrated Sony co-chairman Masaru Ibuka and serviced by Sony’s tape recorder division with a device Ibuka liked so much he pushed to bring it to market — poured the world’s first portable audio empire. Sony’s Walkman, which turns 35 years old on July 1, 2014, went on to sell hundreds of millions of magnetic tape-reeling units, decades before Apple’s iPod ushered in the digital, solid state audio playback revolution.

Portable audio devices weren’t new when Sony’s first Walkman, the unsexy-sounding model “TPS-L2,” arrived on July 1, 1979. The world’s first portable audio player appeared two-and-a-half decades earlier in 1954: the Regency TR-1 — it had a more logical-looking model number, the TR being short for “transistor,” itself technology that was turning heads in the mid-1950s. It cost $49.95 when it launched, or $442 in today’s dollars. It played back radio audio, of course, weighed 12 ounces (with its 22.5-volt battery, which lasted 20 hours), was about the size of an inch-thick stack of index cards and didn’t fit in your pocket. But though Regency only sold about 150,000 TR-1 units, it’s recognized as the first device that got people out and listening to music on the go.

Magnetic tape appeared earlier still, back in 1930, courtesy German chemical engineering company BASF, though at this point the tape was wrapped around giant reels and hung on machines that were anything but portable (AEG showed off the first reel-to-reel commercial recorder in 1935, dubbed the “Magnetophon”). It took half a century — a period that witnessed the emergence of everything from 8-track players in the 1960s to semi-portable cassette-wielding “boombox” stereos in the 1970s — before Sony began toying with the notion of music-focused tape players small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Even then, one of Sony’s first attempts at a high-end “portable” stereo music player was hardly mainstream: the TC-D5, released in 1978, was heavy and cost a fortune. It was the bulky TC-D5 that Sony’s Ibuka was hauling back and forth on all those lengthy business flights, and which prompted him in 1978 to ask Norio Ohga, Sony’s section manager of its tape recorder division, to have a go at creating a stereo version of Sony’s Pressman — a relatively small, monaural tape recorder Sony had begun selling in 1977 and targeted at members of the press.

Ohga took Ibuka’s request to Kozo Ohsone, the tape recorder business division’s general manager, who immediately began fiddling with a modified Pressman that wouldn’t record audio but instead offered stereo playback. The resulting device so pleased Ibuka after he tried it on a business trip that he went to then-Sony chairman Akio Morita, saying “Try this. Don’t you think a stereo cassette player that you can listen to while walking around is a good idea?”

Morita did, and he thought the world would, too, immediately instructing his engineering team to begin work on a product “that will satisfy those young people who want to listen to music all day.” The device had to be ready by summer (to appeal to students on vacation) and ship at a price comparable to the Pressman’s.

After just four months in development, the device was ready. But what to call it? Sony’s Ibuka wanted “Walkman,” in accord with the company’s Pressman, but the company wasn’t so sure the name was right, at first marketing the device as the “Soundabout” in the U.S. (where it debuted slightly later in June of 1980) and with completely different names in other countries. Sony eventually settled on Ibuka’s function-angled moniker — the underlying principle was musical ambulation, after all — and so the Walkman was born, though it wasn’t an instant hit.

Sony produced 30,000 units at the device’s Japanese launch in 1979 — the TPS-L2 ran on two AA batteries and required headphones, since it had no speaker — and priced it at $150 (just under $500 in today’s dollars), but only sold a few thousand by the close of July. It took Sony representatives walking the streets of Tokyo with test units in hand, working the crowds and letting them try the Walkman for themselves, to generate interest that devoured all of Sony’s product stock by August’s close. And to address critics of the TPS-L2, who balked at the notion of its playback-only limitation, Sony quickly followed with a version of the Walkman it dubbed the TCS-300 that added the option to record as well.

The rest of the story you know: While cassette and later disc-based mobile media players have long since been supplanted by Apple’s iPod and the MP3-focused post-iPod listening era, the Walkman, through all its many feature iterations and media shifts to alternative formats like the MiniDisc (sold under the Walkman brand), has gone on to sell nearly 400 million units. By contrast, you have to add up all of Sony’s PlayStation game consoles and handhelds sold to date (the first PlayStation went on sale in late 1994) to slide past that figure.

This is somewhat less well-known — you’ll find this nowhere in Sony’s elaborate corporate self-history — but Sony got into a bit of legal trouble with the Walkman that it didn’t fully get out of until roughly a decade ago. That’s because of one Andreas Pavel, a German-Brazilian inventor who created a device way back in 1972 that he dubbed the “Stereobelt” (because you wore it like a belt). Pavel’s device was enough like the Walkman, and his patents filed well enough in advance, that Sony eventually had to pay him royalties on the Walkman’s sales, but then it only did so in certain countries and for select models.

But Pavel, described in this 2005 New York Times piece as “more interested in ideas and the arts than in commerce, cosmopolitan by nature and upbringing,” also wanted recognition for being the inventor of the “portable stereo,” so he pursued Sony, culminating in threats in the early 2000s to sue the company in every country Pavel had filed a patent. In 2003, Sony finally relented, settling out of court for an undisclosed amount, and Pavel won the right, once and for all, to call himself the inventor of the personal portable stereo player.

My own memories of the Walkman’s arrival are filtered through the haze of a pre-Internet-chronicled childhood. I was nine-going-on-10 when the Walkman debuted stateside, living in a remote Nebraska town with a population in the low thousands. (Alexander Payne exaggerates the details of small-town Nebraska life in his eponymous film, but gets the sedate pace and disconnected tone precisely right.) In 1980, my parents had a combo 8-track stereo and record player that looked like a sofa table and took at least two people to move. It had a giant lid to hide all its knobs and levers — a monument to technological unsightliness encapsulated by elegant woodwork. It was state-of-the-art where I lived, and my interface to music as the world was transitioning to mobile.

When I got my first Walkman — I don’t recall the exact year, though I’m sure it wasn’t the first model — it was a revelation, a means of listening to music when and where I wanted to, of breaking up weekend family car trips (every car trip’s forever when you’re a kid and an hour in any direction from a major city), of liberating the music I was listening to at the time (a great many John Williams film soundtracks courtesy my uncle, who’d make me cassette copies of his own recordings) from the confines of living rooms, or the aural and control compromises of automobile stereos.

I’m not sure I cared about or even fully understood Sony’s role in portable stereo-dom growing up in the 1980s, and Sony or no, a device like the Walkman (just as the iPod after it) was probably inevitable. But credit where credit’s due: Sony’s Walkman is emblematic of what it meant to be a music connoisseur during the cassette tape’s glory days, where keeping the music in transition from your living room to your car stereo to on your person after driving to a park for a stroll or jog was as simple as hitting a button (EJECT), slipping the tiny tape-spooled piece of plastic from one magnetic door to another, and pushing PLAY.

TIME Theater

The Night the Lights Went Out on Broadway: Eli Wallach and A Short History of the Ultimate Actor’s Honor

Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach rehearsing on May 17,1971, in New York, New York. Santi Visalli—Getty Images

The actor will receive the Great White Way remembrance on June 27

Tonight, June 27, in honor of his long career in film and theater, Eli Wallach will receive Broadway’s equivalent of a flag at half mast. At a quarter to eight, for one minute, the marquee lights of New York’s Broadway theaters will dim to acknowledge his death earlier in the week. As noted by the Broadway League, the theater-industry organization that makes these decisions, Wallach was in more than two dozen Broadway shows, beginning with a 1940s production of Skydrift and including such notable titles as Major Barbara and Rhinoceros.

Though the dimming of the lights sounds like one of those things that must be as old as theater itself — or at least as old as light bulbs — it’s actually a tradition that began during Wallach’s lifetime.

Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the Broadway League, told Playbill in 2010 that nobody knows how the tradition got started, but it’s pretty easy to guess. After all, the first person to be honored in that way was in a show when she died, so the people running the lights were her current co-workers, not her distant admirers. The first person to receive the honor, according to the New York Post, was Gertrude Lawrence, an actress who was killed by viral hepatitis while starring in The King and I. The New York Times reported that she went into the hospital right after a matinee in August; by the first week of September, she had fallen into a coma. She died on a Saturday and the Tuesday performance of The King and I was cancelled in her honor; as the Times described it, “house lights in all Broadway legitimate theaters giving performances tonight will be dimmed for one minute at 8:30 P.M.” In addition, London theaters would dim their house lights — that’s inside the theater, not outside — at 7:30, which was their curtain time.

As Playbill confirms, the tradition, which started in the early 1950s, got off to a slow start, with only three such ceremonies in the first 25 years. The second on their list was the one to take it from inside the house to outside on the marquee. When Oscar Hammerstein II died in 1960, Broadway went all out: the Times reported that “miles of neon lights and thousands of bulbs from Forty-second to Fifty-third Street and in the side streets between Eighth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas were turned off”; street lamps were dark too and thousands of people gathered to hear two musicians play taps. But, though that ceremony was elaborate, it’s not quite so clear-cut as to say it was the second-ever dimming, period. It was the first time since World War II that all of the outside Broadway lights were dimmed — in 1942, the Army tested whether the city could go dark in the case of air raid — but it was neither the first time that inside lights were dimmed (that was Lawrence) or that just a few marquees were dimmed.

These days, dimming happens much more frequently. This year, so far, the Broadway League has announced dimming of the lights in honor of Ruby Dee, Nicholas Martin, Mitch Leigh and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

But quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. As the tributes get more frequent, they seem to have gotten less precise; the light-dimmers have recently been criticized for failing to mark the minute named by the Broadway League. When James Gandolfini received the honor in 2013, the New York Post noted that not every theater participated or participated at the right time. Without that coordination, the gesture doesn’t have much of a visual effect. You can see for yourself, around 0:33 in the below video:

Still, the difficulty of coordinating such a tribute is nothing new. When Eli Wallach was a teenager growing up in New York City, for example, long before Broadway stars could hope to be honored with dim marquees, he might have even seen an example first hand: in 1931, to mark the memory of Thomas Edison, the entire nation participated in a ritual dimming of the lights, to celebrate his contribution to electricity. Broadway was joined by the Statue of Liberty and the White House in turning off the lights during a special radio broadcast at 9:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. But, despite the grand gesture, not everything went off without a hitch. “In New York,” the New York Times wrote on Oct. 22, 1931, “the tribute, though spontaneous, was intermittent despite the city’s efforts to synchronize the tribute.”

TIME Congress

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring House in Tallahassee, Fla. Alan C. Spector

Since its inception 27 years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places has saved more than 250 places.

This year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places spans locations from New Jersey to Hawaii and includes everything from a medical care home for veterans to a Frank Lloyd Wright creation.

The list, released annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, features an array of places of cultural or architectural importance that are deteriorating or are at risk of destruction. Since its inception 27 years ago, the list and the awareness it generates have helped to save more than 250 endangered places.

But this year, the list has made an addition that’s not a place – the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which has been placed on ‘watch status.’ Some members of Congress are calling for the elimination of the Federal Historic Tax Credit as part of recent tax reform efforts, estimating that the provision could increase federal revenues by $10.5 billion between 2014 and 2023. The National Trust reports that the tax credit has created more than 2.4 million local jobs, leveraged nearly $109 billion in private investment for communities, and preserved more than 39,600 buildings, since it was signed into law in 1986.

Here are the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s selections for 2014.


1. Battle Mountain Sanitarium –Hot Springs, S.D.

Battle Mountain Sanitarium VA Medical Center Campus, Hot Springs, SD, Buddenborg 6.110104_mr

For over a century, the sanitarium offered medical care to the region’s veterans. It has been claimed as one of the few National Historic Landmarks owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but they are currently moving forward with plans to abandon the building.



2. Bay Harbor’s East Island – Miami-Dade County, Fla.

Dade County Office of Historic Preservation

Development proposals have put a collection of buildings constructed in the unique Modern Miami Architectural style at risk for demolition.



3. Chattanooga State Office Building – Chattanooga, Tenn.

Chattanooga State Office

A change in ownership put this Chattanooga downtown landmark under the threat of demolition.



4. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House – Tallahassee, Fla.

Alan C. Spector

Constructed in 1954, the Spring House is the only built private Frank Lloyd residence in Florida and one of the few of the architect’s houses that remain. However, weather and time have led to severe deterioration.



5. Historic Wintersburg – Huntington Beach, Calif.

HistoricWintersburg_rear of 1910 Mission and 1910 manse_crChrisJepsen_OrangeCountyArchives_mr
Chris Jepsen, Orange County Archives

This property that part of the story of Japanese American immigrants in Southern California and is currently threatened with demolition.



6. Mokuaikaua Church – Kailua Village, Kona, Hawaii

Steve Conger

Earthquake damage and the ravages of time have deteriorated Hawaii’s first Christian Church, built in 1837.



7. Music Hall – Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Since its construction in 1878, the Music Hall has played a key role in Cincinnati culture. Despite its National Historic Landmark status, the music hall has suffered significant deterioration and is in need of repair.



8. The Palisades – Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Paul W. Romaine

Despite the designation of the cliffs along the Hudson River as a National Historic Landmark, the LG Corporation plans to build an office tower in the scenic landscape.



9. Palladium Building – St. Louis, Mo.

ThePalladium_6516788587_c400d44c65_crMichael Allen_mr
Michael Allen

The Palladium Building was once home of a 1940s nightclub that contributed to the development of African American music. However, lack of protection from local and national historic designations has left the building’s future uncertain.



10. Shockoe Bottom – Richmond, Va.

TV News Badge

The potential development of a minor league baseball stadium threatens the home of Solomon Northrup’s jail in 12 Years a Slave. Shockoe Bottom was a center of the American slave trade and still holds many underground artifacts.



11. Union Terminal – Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Museum Center

The Cincinnati icon, built in the Art Deco style, is currently in need of extensive repairs to salvage it from its deteriorated state.




TIME Television

5 Real-Life Women Who Inspired Game of Thrones Characters

And some men, too

The best fantasy has a grain of truth to it, and Game of Thrones is no exception. George R.R. Martin has repeatedly said that parts of the series were loosely inspired by the English War of the Roses in the 15th century, but that’s the farthest he’ll go in linking anything in his imaginary Seven Kingdoms to real-life history.

But we noticed that some of the characters have a lot in common with some actual historical figures, especially the women. Here are 5 Game of Thrones characters that have an uncanny resemblance to women who actually lived.

(Please note that any comparisons here are made with the first four seasons of the HBO show, not the books)

1) Margaret of Anjou / Cersei Lannister

HBO; Getty Images
From left: Cersei and Margaret of Anjou

Cersei Lannister and Margaret of Anjou probably would have been total frenemies. Both were young girls married off to create a political alliance: Cersei’s marriage to Robert Baratheon united House Lannister and House Baratheon, while Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI made peace between England and France. Both ruled when their husbands couldn’t: Cersei ruled behind the scenes in King’s Landing while Robert was out hunting and sleeping with other women, and Margaret ruled England when Henry VI went nuts. Both battled rumors about the legitimacy of their children: many speculated (rightly) that Cersei’s children were Jamie’s, and others spread rumors that Margaret’s son Edward wasn’t her husband’s (because Henry was insane around the time of Edward’s conception.) Both had violent sons (Joffrey is a noted sadist, and Edward was said to “talk of nothing but cutting off heads and making war,”) and both lost their sons in horrible ways: Cersei’s son Joffrey was poisoned at the Purple Wedding, and Margaret’s son was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury (possibly even beheaded.)

The eeriest similarity? Cersei is a Lannister, Margaret was a Lancaster.

2) Anne Boleyn/Talisa Stark

From left: Talisa Stark and Anne Boleyn. Helen Sloan—HBO; Getty Images

Master home-wreckers Talisa Stark and Anne Boleyn broke up marriages that broke up empires. Robb Stark was supposed to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters in exchange for his loyalty, but broke his promise to marry Talisa for love, which led to the murders of Robb, Talisa, and Lady Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. Anne Boleyn seduced Henry VIII while he was still married to Catherine of Aragon, so he declared England independent from the Catholic Church in order to get his marriage annulled. The fights over whether England was Catholic or Protestant led to centuries of bloodshed.

3) Queen Mary / Melisandre

From Left: Melisandre and Bloody Mary Helen Sloan—HBO; Getty Images

Melisandre is super hot and Queen Mary I was super not, but they both love burning people who disagree with their religion. In Season 4, Melisandre burned three members of Stannis’s household for refusing to destroy their idols of gods other than the Lord of Light. In the 1550s, “Bloody Mary” burned hundreds of English Protestants for not converting to Catholicism. They also would have made great birth partners; Melisandre gave birth to a creepy murderous shadow-demon, while Bloody Mary famously had a false pregnancy that one Venetian ambassador said was more likely to “end in wind than anything else.”

4) Queen Elizabeth I / Daenerys Targaryen

From Left: Khaleesi and Queen Elizabeth I. HBO; Getty Images

Daenerys Targaryen and Queen Elizabeth I were both well-armed, power-hungry single ladies. Daenerys was once married to Khal Drogo, but after his death became a decidedly single ruler. Queen Elizabeth was known as the “Virgin Queen,” but was almost certainly not a virgin. Both were extremely well-armed (with dragons and a Navy, respectively) and both decided not to marry in order to preserve and expand their power: Daenerys wants to re-take the Iron Throne, Elizabeth wanted to expand English influence (and the first English colony in America, Virginia, was named for the Virgin Queen.) And both had to punish a close advisor who betrayed them: Daenerys banished Jorah Mormont after she found he had originally been spying on her, and Elizabeth executed her close advisor Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, after he tried to stage a rebellion.

5) Joan of Arc / Brienne of Tarth

From left: Brienne of Tarth and Joan of Arc. HBO; DeAgostini—Getty Images

Brienne of Tarth and Joan of Arc share substance and style: they’re both obsessively loyal, and they both know how to rock a suit of armor. Brienne swore her sword first to Renly Baratheon, then to Catelyn Stark, and finally to Jamie Lannister– she’s so devoted, she even named her sword “Oathkeeper.” Joan of Arc was “called by angels” to dedicate her life to the Dauphin, the uncrowned Charles VII of France, and eventually helped him win the Siege of Orleans before the British burned her at the stake for heresy. Both wore armor, and both had bad tempers.

But it’s not just the Game of Thrones women who might have been inspired by real historical figures.

1) Joffrey / Caligula

From left: Joffrey and Caligula. HBO; De Agostini—Getty Images

King Joffrey resembles Roman Emperor Caligula so much, they even have the same haircut. Both boy-kings loved watching pain and torture, and both staged elaborate spectacles while their people starved. Both had unusually ambitious mothers: Cersei understands the “game of thrones” better than most, while Caligula’s mother Agrippa the Elder fought to have him inherit the throne. And both were assassinated young for being such evil brats.

2) Robert Baratheon / Henry VIII

Portrait of Henry VIII. By Hans Holbein Date c. 1540. Henry VIII (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was also Lord of Ireland (later King of Ireland) and claimant to the Kingdom of France.
From left: Henry VIII and Robert Baratheon. HBO; Getty Images

Both Robert Baratheon and Henry VIII both loved hunting and cheating on their wives (see: Anne Boleyn.) But isn’t the physical resemblance enough on this one?




TIME 2014 World Cup

When Underdogs Made World Cup History

Never underestimate the possibility of the impossible


With the 2014 FIFA World Cup underway in Brazil, fans worldwide are cheering on their favorite teams, regardless of how likely it is that they will advance to the closing stages. Of the 76 countries that have participated in FIFA’s big event since the first one in 1930, only eight have managed to claim the title of champion. And only two of those were big surprises: Uruguay in 1950 and Italy in 1982.

But as any fan can tell you, the World Cup is about much more than who takes the trophy at the end. This year, several teams that qualified are considered long shots, among them the U.S.

The possibility that an underdog might defy the odds and advance further than expected underlies each World Cup match. Who knows what will happen?

Take a look at a few of World Cup history’s most memorable upsets — games no one could anticipate ending as they did, but ones everyone should remember.


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