It should come as no surprise that a show as epic as "Game of Thrones" had some epic inspiration. George R.R. Martin has named several awe-inspiring sources as his inspiration for the award-winning "Game of Thrones".
Martin was able to see Hadrian’s Wall during a visit to Scotland. It was the inspiration for the Wall fans see in the show.
Other inspiration was taken from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien in the "Lord of the Rings". Martin credits for the show’s model to Tolkien and the way the characters were together in the beginning of the Rings trilogy. Martin said that just as the characters branched out to have their own adventures, characters from the "Game of Thrones" also branch out.
Inspiration also came from his work on television. He learned the benefit of an act break, which he has used to keep the audience interested at points where he was concerned with them getting bored. An act break is a cliffhanger at a pivotal moment.
Martin also admits to being inspired by "Wars of the Roses", revealing that he uses past events to help add flavor to characters. He added that he likes to imagine history with different outcomes and to write about it.
Another epic inspiration came from "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" by Tad Williams. Martin actually credits this as the source of inspiration for writing his book "A Game of Thrones". He admitted it was one of his favorite fantasy series.
Martin also named Frank Yerby, Thomas B. Costain, Bernard Cornwell, Phillipa Gregory and Sharon Kay Penman as other sources. He said there was a type of writing that made the Middle Ages seem more like a Disney park and that he wanted to bring back the realism and the grit apparent in the writings of these authors.