Despite sharing a continent with several other kingdoms, Gyongyos was unique. While the kingdoms of the continent held a belief in the "powers above" and "powers below," Gyongyos institutionalized star-worship. The Ekrekek of Gyongyos was held to be the only individual capable of communing with the stars, who were venerated as divine by all Gyongyosians. Gyongyosians also believed that eating the meat of a goat made one ritually unclean.
Gyongyos was the only nation "not of eastern Derlavai" to maintain its own traditions and culture through the Thaumaturgical Revolution. In the more rural parts of Gyongyos, many people lived in a tribal society, knowing and caring little for the outside world.
Gyongyos had a long mountainous frontier with Unkerlant which was the scene of wars at some time and peaceful trade at other time. So wide was the area and so far from the centers of both countries that some outlying villages did not even know that their countries were at war. Prior to the wider Derlavaian War, Gyongyos warred with Unkerlant along their shared mountainous frontier, and on the islands of the Bothnian Ocean against Kuusamo. When the wider war did break out, Gyongyos allied itself with Algarve out of convenience, although the two kingdoms were too far apart to offer meaningful support to one another. Gyongyosian troops were slowly overwhelmed by Kuusaman forces in the Bothnian Ocean, and until Algarve surrendered they managed to hold their own against Unkerlant. However, they were forced to surrender by a combination of conventional military collapse and the magical attack unleashed on Gyorvar by Pekka and her fellow theoretical sorcerers in Kuusamo. Gyorvar was destroyed, and the Ekrekek and his entire family killed, and Gyongyos surrendered unconditionally as Algarve had before it.
However, the destruction of Gyorvar - considered the ultimate sacrilage in terms of Gyongyosian culture and religion - left a heritage of bitterness and deep hatred towards Kuusamo, which might bear bitter fruits in later generations.
Gyongyos plays a similar role to both Japan and China in the series, depending on the perspective. It began the series at war with Unkerlant (with which it shares a border) and Kuusamo (an island), paralleling China's part in the real-world Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific Theater of World War II. That Gyongyos was able to maintain its traditions through the Thaumaturgical Revolution parallels Japan attaining technological parity with Western Europe while maintaining its cultural traditions.
The final act - destruction of the Gyongyosian capital, a place which has deep cultural and religious connotations as well as political ones - departs from the WWII scenario. It is in effect the equivalent of the US in 1945 destroying Tokyo, with the entire Japanese Imperial Family in it, rather than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Such an act might have had deep implications for later American-Japanese relations and considerably hindered Japan becoming a stable US ally.
The Gyongyosian languague is based on Hungarian. "Arpad", the name of the Gyongyosian King, was the name of the semi-legandary leader of the migratory ancient Magyars, who led them to present-day Hungary.