Bear

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The bear is similar to a real life bear.

The sigil of House Mormont depicts a black bear.
The sigil of House Brune of Brownhollow depicts a bear paw.

Breeds and range

The snow bears are native to the region beyond the Wall,[1][2] and the spotted bears to the Forest of Qohor.[3]

Bears can also be found in the caves of Slaver's Bay,[4] in the dark forests surronding Norvos and the caves north of the city,[5] in the forests of Ib,[6] and on Bear Island.[7]

Characteristics

Varamyr Sixskins and his animals, by Elena María Vacas

Bear furs are brown,[5] black,[8] white,[9] or spotted.[3] Bears can form a magical bond with a skinchanger.[10][11]

Culture

The sigils of House Mormont and House Brune depict a black bear and a bear paw, respectively.[12] Some free folk also depict a bear claw on their shields.[13]

Due to their sigil, some Mormonts have earned a bear-based nickname:

Daenerys Targaryen also refers to the late Willem Darry as a "sweet old bear", though that was unrelated to his sigil.[17]

Dancing bears are used as entertainment in Westeros and the Free Cities.[18][19][20] In Norvos, there is a festival that features bears dancing down the Sinner's Steps once a year.[21][5]

Bear-baiting is another form of entertainment in Westeros.[22][23]

"The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is a popular Westerosi song.[24] There is also a silly song about a bear that drank too much.[20]

Free folk make tents of sewn hides with the fur still on, including the hides of snow bears.[9] The gate of Craster's Keep has a bear's skull atop one of its gateposts.[25][26]

Bear-paws is the name for snowshoes used by the members of the northern mountain clans[27] and by the free folk.[28]

History

Tales of the Long Night speak of the Others riding the corpses of dead animals, including bears.[29][30]

In antiquity, bears made their lairs within Casterly Rock.[31]

Harren Hoare built Harrenhal with a lavish bear pit, ten yards across and five yards deep, walled in stone, floored with sand, and encircled by six tiers of marble benches.[23]

To the unaccustomed eyes of the inhabitants of King's Landing, the northmen in their furs led by Lord Cregan Stark, looked like an army of armored bears.[32]

Sandoq the Shadow was a veteran pit fighter in Meereen, who fought against men and animals, including bears.[20]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

The Brave Companions, while foraging in the Riverlands, acquire a black bear and bring it to Harrenhal.[33] After Lord Roose Bolton takes the castle, its castellan Ser Amory Lorch is thrown naked into the bear pit.[33] The black bear tears Amory apart.[34]

Jaime Lannister rescues Brienne of Tarth, by Evolvana ©

A Storm of Swords

Tormund Giantsbane tells Jon Snow the reason for his title "Husband to Bears" - a probably fictional tale about how he drunkenly lay with a female bear while thinking it was a woman in furs, tearing her pelt off while she bit off half his penis. He claims that the next spring the free folk told stories of seeing a bald bear with odd-looking cubs.[35]

Jon Snow encounters Varamyr Sixskins, a wildling skinchanger who rides a snow bear.[35]

A dead bear wight is among the wights and Others that attack the Night's Watch at the Fist of the First Men. It is pale and rotting, with its fur and skin sloughed off and its front right leg burned to bone. Thoren Smallwood nearly beheads the bear with his sword, but then the bear takes his head off.[36]

After Ser Jaime Lannister and Roose Bolton leave Harrenhal, Vargo Hoat throws Brienne of Tarth into the bear pit to amuse his men. While she makes a fight of it, they only give her a blunted tourney sword to defend herself. Jaime, returning to the castle with his Bolton escort, led by Steelshanks Walton, arrives in time to discover this. Jaime jumps into the bear pit to protect Brienne, and Walton orders the bear shot with arrows to defend his hostage, killing it.[23]

A dancing bear performs at the wedding of King Joffrey I Baratheon and Queen Margaery Tyrell.[18]

During the battle beneath the Wall, Varamyr loses control over his beasts while in agony from the death of Orell's eagle.[37] The snow bear turns her claws on those around her, ripping apart four men before falling to a spear. She would have slain Varamyr had he come within her reach.[38]

A Feast for Crows

Returning to Harrenhal, Jaime Lannister sees the carcass of the bear in its pit, half-buried in the sand, only bones and ragged fur remaining. The story of Brienne fighting the bear has spread, though one version of the tale claims she was fighting naked.[39]

Quotes

Do they keep a bear down here? A cave lion? Direwolves? Some bear? Tell me, Jaime. What lives here? What lives in the darkness?[23]

A thousand rats can bring down a bear. I saw it happen once, down there in Flea Bottom.[40]

Someone once told me that the commons love nothing half so much as dancing bears.[20]

References

  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
  2. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
  4. Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Coming of the First Men.
  12. The Citadel: Heraldry
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  15. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  17. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
  22. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
  25. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
  28. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: Casterly Rock.
  32. Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  33. 33.0 33.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  35. 35.0 35.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  38. A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  40. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.