Watching Game of Thrones and don’t know your Starks from your Greyjoys? Well we’re here to help with a little guide to the families of Game of Thrones, a who’s who of Westeros. Enjoy Part 1 of our guide and you can find Part 2 here. Beware, there will be SPOILERS…
“The youngest of the Great Houses, born during the Wars of Conquest. Its founder, Orys Baratheon, was rumoured to be Aegon the Dragon’s bastard brother. Orys rose through the ranks to become one of Aegon’s fiercest commanders. When he defeated and slew Argilac the Arrogant, the last Storm King, Aegon rewarded him with Argilac’s castle, lands, and daughter. Orys took the girl to bride, and adopted the banner, honors and words of her line. The Baratheon sigil is a crowned stag, black, on a golden field. Their words are ‘Ours Is The Fury’.”
King Robert Baratheon
You might remember the biggest and loudest Baratheon from season 1 of Game of Thrones. King Robert was never one to shy from a good drink and a party. He came to the throne after overthrowing the previous Targaryen king and storming the castle with his partners in crime Ned Stark and Tywin Lannister. He took Cersei Lannister as his wife to strengthen the relationship between the two families, but it’s something that Cersei has never really looked happy about. Robert had always loved another though, but he and Lyanna Stark never got the chance to be together.
Renly also liked to party, and although the books never paint him as a homosexual directly, it’s implied that he rather likes to enjoy himself. Things haven’t looked good for the Baratheons since two of them passed away, and now all hopes of regaining the crown rest on Stannis’ shoulders. Stannis, unlike his brothers, is a stone cold man looking out to regain the throne for the good of the realm. However, it seems unlikely that he will win “father of the year” award…
“The Starks trace their descent from Brandon the Builder and the ancient Kings of Winter. For thousands of years, they ruled from Winterfell as Kings in the North, until Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt, chose to swear fealty to Aegon the Dragon rather than give battle. Their blazon is a grey direwolf on an ice-white field. The Stark words are ‘Winter Is Coming’.”
Eddard “Ned” Stark
The Starks are an old family and have always been hidden away from the rest of the world, nestled in the cold, dark north. Because of this, they are no strangers to winter and will tell everyone “Winter is coming”. Ned Stark was a stern, yet loving father whose nobility and honest nature led to his doom. Without a father, the future of the house now lies with the Stark children who have been scattered across Westeros after their father’s untimely death.
Robb took up his father’s mantle as the head of the house, and swiftly tried to retake the crown for the north. The “King of the North” gathered his bannermen, other families willing to fight for the cause. This included House Umber, House Karstark, House Mormont and House Reed. The Karstark family descended from the same branch as the Starks. A well-known Jorah Mormont hides across the narrow sea, defending another house, whilst the Reed children Jojen and Meera are wandering about the north with Bran Stark.
Ned’s daughters are stuck at opposite ends of the map, with plucky Arya fancying her chances where her beloved dance master once lived, and Sansa being handed between powerful men and never catching a break.
Jon Snow does not share his siblings name, as he was born out of wedlock and is therefore a bastard. In Game of Thrones, bastards are given different names to single them out among their peers. Each area has a different way of naming bastards; Snow happens to be the north’s way. Other bastard names include Flowers, Pyke, Rivers and Sand.
Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark is now starting to come back into the story. Her kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen contributed to the outbreak of Robert’s Rebellion. She died near the very end of the Rebellion, but the exact circumstances surrounding her death are shrouded in mystery.
“Fair-haired, tall and handsome, the Lannisters are the blood of Andal adventurers who carved out a mighty kingdom in the western hills and valleys. Through the female line they boast of descent from Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes. The gold of Casterly Rock and the Golden Tooth has made them the wealthiest of the Great Houses. Their sigil is a golden lion upon a crimson field. The Lannister words are ‘Hear Me Roar!'”
It is said that the Lannisters are so wealthy, they shit gold. That’s not such an inconsiderate statement to make considering they live atop a gold mine. Tywin Lannister is the only living parent to three golden haired children, Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion. Back in the day, he assisted Robert Baratheon in overthrowing the Mad King, but is now more content with being dead, shot in the stomach by his own dwarf son.
His other son, Jaime, was also involved in the Mad King’s demise as he was actually the one to take him down, earning him the nickname “Kingslayer”. Despite committing a major act of treason, Jamie was still allowed to keep his gold cloak and remain a part of King Robert’s royal guard. He also has an unhealthy fixation with his twin sister, Cersei. A certain Ned Stark came to the possible conclusion that Jaime might have had too much fun with Cersei, resulting in the birth of three very blonde children… Suspicious much?
Tyrion on the other hand is hated by the world, just for being a bit small. His father hates him because he thinks Tyrion killed his mother. His sister hates him because… well, she just hates everyone. Luckily his brother thinks he’s alright because he broke him out of prison to run wild and free with dragons. Just don’t ask him where the whores go…
“The Tullys never reigned as kings, though they held rich lands and the great castle at Riverrun for a thousand years. During the Wars of Conquest, the riverlands belonged to Harren the Black, King of the Isles. Harren’s grandfather, King Harwyn Hardhand, had taken the Trident from Arrec the Storm King, whose ancestors had conquered all the way to the Neck three hundred years earlier, slaying the last of the old River Kings. A vain and bloody tyrant, Harren the Black, was little loved by those he ruled, and many of the river lords deserted him to join Aegon’s host. First among them was Edmyn Tully of Riverrun. When Harren and his line perished in the burning of Harrenhal, Aegon rewarded House Tully by raising Lord Edmyn to dominion over the lands of the Trident and requiring the other river lords to swear him fealty. The Tully sigil is a leaping trout, silver, on a field of rippling blue and red. The Tully words are ‘Family, Duty, Honor’.”
The notable Tullys of the Game of Thrones series are all married/widowed women. Catelyn wed Ned, and Lysa married the late John Arryn, who we saw dead at the very beginning of the series. Their father, Lord Hoster, was sent down the river not so long ago and unfortunately joined by his two daughters not too long after. The Tully family is going through some tough times.
A certain “Littlefinger” has always taken a keen interest in at least one of the Tully girls. When they were younger, and some would say even now, he had a thing for Catelyn. But then Lysa had a thing for him. And Catelyn wasn’t really interested. This story ended rather badly for Lysa.
Their uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, narrowly escaped the Red Wedding massacre, and is likely to return to take revenge on some Freys. Maybe alongside another member of his family, yet that remains to be seen in the series…
The Arryns are descended from the Kings of Mountain and Vale, one of the oldest and purest lines of Andal nobility. Their sigil is the moon-and-falcon, white, upon a sky blue field. The Arryn words are ‘As High As Honor’.
House Arryn is the reason this whole mess started in the first place. Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie and Hand of the King, starts off the Game of Thrones death counter under “mysterious circumstances”. We later learn that these circumstances might have had something to do with his wife Lysa and a slippery man called Littlefinger. Still, if Jon had not died, Ned would have never moved to Kings Landing to become the Hand of the King and we might not be so knee deep in Westerosi corpses right now.
The Arryns come from the Vale and live high up in the Eyrie, a fort considered impregnable due to the narrow climb to reach its peak. We have seen a few people “fly” down the infamous Moon door, a giant hole in the fort that makes for a quick yet deadly escape to the mountain’s base. Disturbed little shit Robin Arryn is now the puppet Lord of the Eyrie and Defender of the Vale, with Littlefinger sat behind him pulling the strings.
That’s all for now. Check out Part 2; for a little bit of history on the Targaryens, Tyrells, Greyjoys and Martells!