Great houses

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Great houses,[1][2][3][4][5][6] Great Houses,[7][8] or great Houses[9][10][11][12] are the most powerful nobility in different places of the known world.

Great houses often refers to the most powerful nobility in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros,[13] with some being former royalty now sworn to the Iron Throne.[14] They can refer to seven prestigious families of the realm,[13][6] liege lords of their provinces, but can also include powerful houses such as the Hightowers.[8][15] The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms describes the great families and high lords of Westeros.[16]

Great houses can also refer to the most powerful houses within smaller regions of the known world. Within Westeros, for example, Maester Luwin explains that only a few great houses of the north follow the Faith of the Seven,[17] and Theon Greyjoy thinks of the great Houses of the Iron Islands.[11] Concerning Essos, Maester Yandel writes that the Valyrian great houses were rife with deception and conflict,[18] and Skahaz mo Kandaq speaks of the great Houses of Meereen.[12]

History

Uniting the Seven Kingdoms, by David Griffith © Fantasy Flight Games

House Targaryen conquered most of Westeros during Aegon's Conquest. House Stark of Winterfell, the former Kings in the North, became Wardens of the North for the new king, Aegon I Targaryen. House Arryn of the Eyrie, the former Kings of Mountain and Vale, became the Wardens of the East, while House Lannister of Casterly Rock, the Kings of the Rock, became the Wardens of the West.[7] The Lannisters are the wealthiest of the Great Houses.[19]

House Gardener of Highgarden, the Kings of the Reach, were extinguished at the Field of Fire by Aegon's dragons. Aegon granted Highgarden to House Tyrell, his new Wardens of the South. Despite being sworn to the Tyrells, the Hightowers of Oldtown are among the oldest and proudest of the Great Houses of Westeros.[8]

House Hoare of Harrenhal, the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers, were extinguished in the burning of Harrenhal. Aegon granted dominion over the riverlands to House Tully of Riverrun, the new Lords Paramount of the Trident. After his invasion of the Iron Islands, Aegon allowed the Iron Islands to choose House Greyjoy of Pyke as the new Lords of the Iron Islands.[7][20]

Aegon's half-brother, Orys Baratheon, slew Argilac the Arrogant, the last Storm King from House Durrandon. Orys married Argilac's daughter, Argella Durrandon, forming House Baratheon of Storm's End, the youngest of the Great Houses of Westeros.[7]

The principality of Dorne, ruled by House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear, resisted Aegon in the First Dornish War.[20] The Martells later peacefully joined the Seven Kingdoms during the reign of King Daeron II Targaryen.[21]

Aegon created the crownlands around Blackwater Bay, with House Targaryen ruling as a great house from the Iron Throne.[22] The Targaryens were eventually deposed during Robert's Rebellion, however, and the crownlands have since been ruled by House Baratheon of King's Landing and House Baratheon of Dragonstone.[23]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

When discussing the claimants after the death of King Robert I Baratheon, Marq Piper indicates that if Renly Baratheon gains the support of the Tyrells of Highgarden, the Baratheons of Storm's End, the Martells of Sunspear, the Starks of Winterfell, the Tullys of Riverrun, and the Arryns of the Eyrie, Renly would have six of the seven great houses aligned against the Lannisters of Casterly Rock.[13]

A Clash of Kings

Following the Battle of the Blackwater, the Iron Throne decrees that House Baelish of Harrenhal are the new Lords Paramount of the Trident with dominion over the riverlands, displacing the Tullys of Riverrun.[24]

A Storm of Swords

Prior to the royal wedding, Lord Mace Tyrell gives King Joffrey I Baratheon a seven-sided chalice decorated with great houses: ruby lion, emerald rose, onyx stag, silver trout, blue jade falcon, opal sun, and pearl direwolf. With ironborn victories during the War of the Five Kings in mind, Joffrey suggests replacing the direwolf with a squid.[6]

In the aftermath of the Red Wedding and the death of Robb Stark, King in the North, the Iron Throne names Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, as the new Warden of the North.[25]

A Dance with Dragons

Seeking to solidify House Bolton's control of the north, Roose's legitimized son Ramsay marries "Arya Stark" (actually Jeyne Poole) and claims the title Lord of Winterfell.[26]

Great Houses by region

Region House Mode of accession Status
Crownlands House Targaryen.svg House Targaryen Conquest Exiled
House Baratheon.svg House Baratheon of King's Landing.svg House Baratheon of King's Landing Rebellion Ruling
North House Stark.svg House Stark Unification Deposed
House Bolton.svg House Bolton Appointment Ruling
Vale of Arryn House Royce.svg House Royce Unification Deposed
House Arryn.svg House Arryn Conquest Ruling
Westerlands House Lannister.svg House Lannister Trickery Ruling
Reach House Gardener.svg House Gardener Unknown Extinct
House Tyrell.svg House Tyrell Appointment Ruling
Iron Islands House Greyiron.svg House Greyiron Coup Extinct
House Hoare 2.svg House Hoare Unknown Extinct
House Greyjoy.svg House Greyjoy Election Ruling
Riverlands House Fisher.svg House Fisher Unknown Extinct
House Blackwood.svg House Blackwood Unknown Deposed
House Bracken.svg House Bracken Unknown Deposed
House Mudd.svg House Mudd Unknown Extinct or exiled
House Justman.svg House Justman Conquest Extinct
House Teague.svg House Teague Conquest Extinct
House Baratheon.svg House Durrandon Conquest Extinct
House Vance.svg House Vance Unknown Deposed
House Mallister.svg House Mallister Unknown Deposed
None.svg House Hook Unknown Deposed
House Charlton.svg House Charlton Unknown Deposed
None.svg House Nutt Rebellion Deposed
House Hoare 2.svg House Hoare Conquest Extinct
House Tully.svg House Tully Appointment Deposed
House Stark.svg House Stark Choosing Deposed
House Baelish.svg House Baelish Appointment Ruling
Stormlands House Baratheon.svg House Durrandon Unknown Extinct
House Baratheon.svg House Baratheon Appointment Ruling
Dorne House Yronwood.svg House Yronwood Conquest Deposed
House Martell.svg House Nymeros Martell Conquest Ruling

Quotes

Marriages had long been the means by which the great houses of Westeros bound themselves together, a reliable method of forging alliances and ending disputes.[27]

—writings of Gyldayn

References and Notes

  1. Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  3. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
  5. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 31, Tyrion IV.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  9. The Sworn Sword.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  14. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  15. Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  18. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragons - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  21. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  22. The Hedge Knight.
  23. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  26. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  27. Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.