As fans of Game of Thrones know the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are ruled by the great Houses, with the lesser noble houses swearing loyalty to them. One of the greatest aspects of the show (and especially the books) is the detail we are given on the great Houses- their heraldry, their words, their relationships and histories. There's a lot there to like and I got to thinking- which Houses are my favorite? So I thought I would take a look and explore that a bit.
Alliances shift and betrayals happen with rather alarming frequency in this world, and lesser houses who are not players in the game of thrones sometimes become prominent through their actions. For that reason I'm going to explore the lesser houses as well as the great Houses, since some of the lesser ones are the most fascinating!
So... here are my picks.
House Stark- the rulers of the North. The books start with and will probably end with the Starks, although they go through a lot of heartache. The House is split up and scattered to the four winds, but I think there's a good chance their fortunes will rebound and they'll be standing, in some form, at the end.
House Baratheon. Robert wasn't a very good king but he was best friend to Ned Stark. The two of them reshaped the Seven Kingdoms and for that alone they deserve a mention. There's a pivotal moment where Renly, the younger brother of Robert, offers to help Stark and essentially take over the kingdom. Stark refuses and pays with his life. Many a fan has wondered how different things could have been if Renly and Stark had worked out a deal.
House Greyjoy is a wild card in this story and Pyke is their ancestral home.
House Manderly is an important Stark supporter and there is a debt of gratitude that binds the families together.
House Blackwood is interesting for the enormous weirwood tree that attracts a huge flock of crows every night. Since we know that the greenseers can see and hear through both weirwoods and crows it stands to reason that a greenseer could be well aware of events of interest at Raventee. We also get a glimpse when Jaime stops there to parley with Lord Blackwood. They come to terms and it's interesting to me that Blackwood was one of the last holdouts for the Starks.
House Connington comes to prominence when exiled Jon Connington returns to Westeros at the head of the Golden Company, the finest mercenary group in the world and a brotherhood of former Westerosi exiles.
House Dayne is noteworthy mainly due to Ser Arthur Dayne, the so- called Sword of the Morning who was a member of the Kingsguard and considered the greatest knight in Westeros. He was killed at the Tower of Joy when Ned Stark and his companions came there to find Lyanna Stark. Ned told Bran that Dayne would have killed him if not for Howland Reed, who intervened in some way. Afterwards Ned took Dayne's greatsword Dawn back to Starfall, the seat of House Dayne, to show his respect.
An interesting thing about all this is that some believe Ned was in love with Ashara Dayne, the sister of Ser Arthur. It is said that Ashara killed herself by jumping from a tower into the sea when she received the news of Arthur's death.
House Karstark is interesting for several reasons. An offshoot of House Stark, they are one of the far northern Houses and the men are described as bearded and long haired, with cloaks made of pelts. Sounds like a wild bunch. They split from House Stark and their loyalty is now questionable, although Alys Karstark fled to Castle Black to escape being married to her cousin and Jon Snow helps her. She ends up marrying a wildling and will inherit Karhold if Harrion Karstark were to die. We don't know much of Harrion but Alys is fiery and determined, and could be a valuable ally of the Starks in the future.