The American Revolution was the war that birthed a nation, as well its fair share of heros and dastardly villains. It was the battle of an utterly human but pure-hearted upstart against the crushing might of a Big Bad, all in the pursuit of freedom. It was played out over a series of dramatic battles and rivaling power players fighting to save or destroy each other. There was even a mad king thrown in for good measure. It’s the stuff that writer’s rooms dream of–and that got us thinking, which of our favorite TV characters match up to which Revolutionary War figures? Here are our picks.
Bill Compton is Benedict Arnold
True Blood's Bill Compton has flip-flopped his allegiances more times than we can count–sometimes fighting for and sometimes against "the authority," depending on which cause suits his needs at the moment. Compton is a natural fit as Benedict Arnold, the American soldier who defected from the Continental army in favor of the British in return for a hefty salary.
Joffrey Baratheon is King George III
The link here is painfully clear. King George III of Great Britain and Ireland was so off his rocker that he used to plant cuts of meat in the hopes of growing a beef tree. One of the causes of the king's mental afflictions is thought to be a hereditary condition, no doubt made worse by the inbreeding needed to cultivate a royal pedigree of political alliances between the European states. Does any of this sound familiar? Game of Thrones' King Joffrey is the offspring of a romance between his mother and her twin brother–his parents are both mother and father and aunt and uncle. Awkward. But Joffrey is also possibly the series' most unhinged character, which is saying a lot.
Clay Morrow is George Washington
George Washington, immortalized on the one dollar bill, first president and founder of the United States, and commander-in-chief of the revolutionary armies. He's a tough act to follow and it's pretty hard to fill those wooden dentures. No one on TV can boast of founding anything near as prosperous and beautiful as the United States of America. Our pick, Clay Morrow of Sons of Anarchy has quite a founder's backstory himself, having managed to create the show's eponymous motorcycle club under extenuating and similarly violent circumstances.
Walter White is Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin, famous for strapping a key and chain to a kite and flying it in stormy weather to subsequently discover that lightning is electricity. Walter White, or Heisenberg as he's known in certain circles of Albuquerque on Breaking Bad, is famous for using similarly novel techniques to discover how to make the best damn blue meth the world has ever seen.
John Adams is...John Adams
OK, we're cheating a bit here, but the miniseries John Adams expertly chronicled the life and times of the first vice president and second president of the United States with all the finesse you'd expect from the good people at HBO. We just couldn't not make John Adams into John Adams.
Peggy Olson is the Marquis de Lafayette
The French nobleman, Marquis de Lafayette, moved stateside (well, colony-side) at the tender age of 19 to fight for the American cause. Despite his age, he rose to become the youngest general in U.S. history. That got us thinking about characters who rise to achieve success in the face of adversity–much like Peggy's assent into the executive ranks in the face of the 1960s' prolific sexism on Mad Men.
Lady Cora is Martha Washington
Martha Washington provided the financial means for her second husband, George Washington, to achieve greatness. She is also said to have played an important role in supporting her husband in ways not disimilar from Downton Abbey's Lady Cora. The American heiress's fortune saved the aristocratic Crawley family from ruin the first time round, and her support for her husband despite his financial ineptitude helped save the estate once again.
Daenerys Targaryen is Molly Pitcher
When Molly Pitcher's husband perished in battle, she took up his cannon. In much the same way, Daenerys Targaryen took charge of a contingent of the Dothraki horde when her husband Khal Drogo died. While Molly Pitcher wasn't necessarily a real person, her story represents women's efforts in the revolution, much in the same way the Khaleesi is an actualized strong female role model in a world where women often get short shrift.
Will McAvoy is Thomas Paine
John Adams once said that without the pen of Thomas Paine, the sword of George Washington would have been raised in vain. Paine was a British-born journalist who emigrated to the colonies just in time to become part of the revolution. He wrote the hugely influential pamphlet, Common Sense. Our pick for Thomas Paine is News Room's Will McAvoy–whose spirited eloquence builds a pedestal for all journalists to aspire to–though we imagine Thomas Paine thought a bit less highly of himself.
Carrie Mathison is Paul Revere
Paul Revere is famed for warning the continental army that the British forces were approaching before the battles of Lexington and Concord. He set up a network of intelligence to effectively get word out in time. Who else but Carrie Mathison, Homeland's resident over-enthusiastic warner?