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Monday, 24 September 2012

Westeros and it's 7 Kingdoms

The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros
''King Tommen Baratheon, the first of his name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm"

Seven Kingdoms? . . . What exactly are the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros?


Whenever I tried to count up what I thought were the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros I always came up with nine rather than seven. I thought ''You have to be going wrong somewhere''. However what I was counting are 9 distinct regions of Westeros that were formed after the Targaryen Conquest

The title of Seven Kingdoms actually comes from the time before the Conquest when there were seven separate kingdoms. There are now 9 regions ruled under the one King.


The old Kingdoms were:

1. The Kingdom of the North
2. Kingdom of Vale and Sky
3. Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers
4. Kingdom of the Rock
5. Kingdom of the Reach
6. Kingdom of the Stormlands
7. Dorne

The "new" 9 regions 

1. The North
2. The Riverlands
3. The Vale of Arryn
4. The Westerlands
5. The Iron Islands
6. The Crownlands
7. The Stormlands
8. The Reach
9. Dorne

Seven of the above regions were former independent kingdoms before the Targaryen Conquest. Each region, except the Crownlands, is ruled by a Great House, who are commanded by the King on the Iron Throne, currently that is Joffrey Baratheon.


1. The North
Ruled byHouse Stark
Castle: Winterfell
Principal port: White Harbour
The North is the largest of the regions of Westeros, but also the least populated. This is because of the harsh long winters and long distances between holdfasts and towns. The North also includes the Wall and the lands administrated by the Nights Watch, which are technically speaking independent,but are almost always thought of in conjunction with the North. Bastards born in the North are given the surname "Snow"

2. The Riverlands

Ruled by: House Tully
Castle: Riverrun
Principle Ports: Seaguard, Saltpans, Maidenpool
The Riverlands are dominated by the mighty River Trident and it's many tributaries. The Riverlands, lying close to the centre of the continent have been the site for battles and conflicts throughout the history of Westeros. The Riverlands is one of the most fertile and most populated region in Westeros, which is one of the main reasons they are able to recover consistently from so many battles. Bastards born in the Riverlands are given the surname "Rivers"

3. The Vale of Arryn

Ruled by: House Arryn
Castle: The Eyrie
Principle Port: Gulltown
The Vale is dominated and mostly covered by the Mountains of the Moon and its its foothills. It's borders are prowled by hostile hill tribes.  Bastards born in  the Vale are given the surname "Stone".

4. The Westerlands

Ruled by: House Lannister
Castle: Casterly Rock
Principle Port: Lannisport
The Westerlands are famous for their hills and low mountains which are rich in silver and gold. They provide House Lannister and their vassals with immense wealth. Bastards born in the Westerlands are given the surname "Hill".

5. The Iron Islands

Ruled by: House Greyjoy
Castle: Pyke (located on the island of the same name)
Major Islands: Great Wyk, Little Wyk, Harlaw, Blacktyde, Orkmont, Saltcliffe, and Pyke itself.
The Iron Islands are rain lashed and cold. They are home to a hardy warrior race known as the Ironborn. The live for warfare and reaving and are the most troublesome and rebellious of the Iron Throne subjects. Bastards born on the islands are given the surname "Pyke". 
Pyke, located on the Island of Pyke
6. The Crownlands
Ruled by: Ruled directly by the King on the Iron Throne
Castle: The Red Keep
The capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, Kings Landing, is located in the Crownlands. The Crownlands stretch along the shores of Blackwater Bay and also across several islands in the Narrow Sea, most notably Dragonstone. The islands are separately administered from Dragonstone. Bastards born in the Crownlands are given the surname "Waters".

7. The Stormlands

Ruled by: House Baratheon
Castle: Storm's End
Important Islands: Estermont and Tarth
As the name suggests the Stormlands are subject to frequent storms off the Narrow Sea and experience significant rainfall. They are one of the most densely wooded regions of Westeros, particularly south of the Neck. As a result of this its climate is similar to that of a temperate rainforest. Bastards born in the Stormlands are given the surname "Storm".

8. The Reach

Ruled By: House Tyrell
Castle: Highgarden
Principle Port: Oldtown (Also a principle city)
Oldtown is the second largest city in Westeros. The Reach is the second largest region of Westeros. It is by far the most fertile and populated region. This allows the Tyrells to field vast armies and also results in them being wealthier than any other family, bar the Lannisters. The Reach also includes some offshore islands such as the Shield Islands and the Arbor. Bastards born in the Reach are given the surname"Flowers".

9. Dorne

Ruled by: House Martell
Castle: Sunspear
Principle Port: Planky Town
The people of Dorne are isolated from the rest of Westeros by the Sea of Dorne and the Red Mountains. This gives them a greater national identity than most of the other people of Westeros, save for the Ironborn and the Northmen. Bastards born in Dorne are given the surname "Sand".

Beyond the Wall

Beyond the Wall is a vast, snow-covered wilderness independent from the Iron Throne and separated from the Seven Kingdoms by the Wall. Inhabited by tribes of people known as wildlings who often attempt raids along the Bay of Seals or the Bay of Ice. Often for the same purposes the climb over the Wall.
The Eyrie, located in The Reach
Cities in Westeros
Cities are very rare in Westeros, because it is mostly rural-based populations. The 5 major cities of the continent are, 

Kings Landing: The capital of the Seven Kingdoms, population of half a million. Largest city of Westeros, founded by Aegon the Conqueror on the site he first set foot on, on the continent.


Oldtown: Oldest major city on the continent, located in the Reach. Almost as large and populated as the capital.


Lannisport: The largest city on the west coast of Westeros. It is about half the size of Kings Landing.


Gulltown: Main city and port of the Vale, has a population in the tens of thousands.


White Harbour: Main city and port of the North. Has a population in the tens of thousands.


Castles of Westeros

Castles are held by the noble houses of Westeros and range in size. Some are vast city-sized structures like Harrenhal or Winterfell and others are small towerhouses or fortified farmsteads run by landed knights. 

The size of a castle and in what state of repair it is kept reflects the wealth and power of its ruling family


Most notable castles of Westeros include;

1. Harrenhal
2. Storm's End
3.The Eyrie
4. Pyke
5.Riverrun
6. Winterfell
7. Sunspear
8. Casterly Rock
9. Highgarden
10. The Twins
11. The Red Keep

Westeros is pronounced as WES-te-ros as opposed to WES-ter-ohs.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Game of Thrones Battle: The War of Conquest

The War of Conquest
The War of Conquest, otherwise known as the Targaryen Conquest, was a major war that resulted in the unification of six of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, under the invading forces of House Targaryen. The War took place approximately 300 years before the start of the series.
Aegon I and his sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya 
History
The Targaryen family moved to Dragonstone from Valyria a number of years before the Doom (The Doom was when Valyria was destroyed by a massive volcanic catastrophe which wiped out almost all the dragons and created the much feared smoking sea). The Targaryen's were the only family with dragons to survive the Doom because they were living on Dragonstone.

About 100 years after the Doom, Aegon Targaryen and his sister-wives, Rhaenys and Visenya led a small army and landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush (also called the River Blackwater). They established a system of forts that eventually became the city of Kings Landing.


Aegon's forces made war against Harren the Black, the ruler of the Islands and the Riverlands. He was aided by a popular uprising against the Ironborn led by House Tully. Aegon eventually cornered Harren in his castle of Harrenhal. Harren refused to surrender so Aegon's dragon, Balerion, burned the castle. It burned with such ferocity that the towers melted like candles and Harren was burned alive. Afterwards Aegon raised the Tully's to become Lords Paramount of the Trident and commanded the Ironborn to elect a new ruling house. They chose House Greyjoy of Pyke, who swore fealty to Aegon.


During this time, Aegon's bastard brother, Orys Baratheon, led an army against the Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant. Orys defeated him in the field of battle and took his castle of Storm's End, his sigil and words, and Argilac's daughter Argalia, as his wife. He was rewarded by Aegon by being named Lord of Storm's End and was allowed to found House Baratheon. 

House Targaryen, beginning with Aegon I, link to larger picture is here
House Lannister and House Gardener combined their forces to march against Aegon. They were met in the field of battle by Aegon and his 3 dragons. The enemy host was decimated by the dragons within minutes in a battle that was known as the Field of Fire. House Gardener were destroyed. Their stewards, the Tyrells, surrendered the Reach to Aegon. The remaining Lannisters also bent the knee.

The Starks and Arryn's prepared for war, but through diplomacy and the demonstration of Aegon's superior forces they both eventually chose the path of peace and surrendered peacefully. The High Septon also declared that the Faith of the Seven would also support Aegon. This ended much of the last resistance to the invaders.


The War of Conquest was ended when Aegon made an abortive attempt to conquer Dorne. The Dornish decided to pursue guerrilla tactics rather than give open battle, where they would be vulnerable to dragonfire. Aegon eventually decided to allow Dorne to retain its independence. 


Aegon then triumphantly entered Oldtown and was proclaimed King of Westeros, ending the War of Conquest after two years.


Present Day

The Targaryen's ruled in Westeros for 283 years. During this time they survived civil wars, plague, and an attempted foreign invasion. They were eventually brought down when King Aerys II's, The Mad King, insanity became too dangerous to be ignored. He was replaced by Robert Baratheon. The remaining Targaryen's fled to Dragonstone and then went into exile in the Free Cities of Essos. 

Currently in the Series there are only 2 remaining Targaryen's. Aemon Targaryen is Maester on the Wall and Daenerys is in Qarth trying to gather an army, and along with her dragons, sail to Westeros and take back the Iron Throne. 

Daenerys and her Dragons, Drogon, Rhaegal, Viserion
Dragons were thought to have been extinct for over a century until Daenerys hatches 3 Dragon eggs she received as a wedding gift. Any dragon eggs that remain in the world were thought to be turned to stone or petrified but Daenerys believed she could hatch her's, and did. 

Targaryen is pronounced Tar-gair-ee-in rather than Tar-gar-yen.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: White Walkers & Wights

Who or What are the "White Walkers"
The "White Walkers", known as Others in the books, are a mythological race mentioned in legends and stories from the time of the First Men and the Children of the Forest

White Walkers are humanoid creatures. They are taller than humans, have wispy white hair and pale white skin that is stretched and gaunt. Their skin appears dry and wrinkled which makes them look mummified. They are known for their icy blue eyes.


White Walkers possess the magical power to bring the dead back to life as their servants, known as Wights. Wights gain the icy blue eyes when reanimated by a White Walker. White Walkers have weapons that have thin blades made of extremely sharp crystal.

History
Eight thousand years before Robert Baratheon's rebellion a winter, known as the Long Night, lasted a generation. In the darkness and cold of the Long Night, the White Walkers came down upon Westeros from the farthest north, the polar regions known as the Lands of Always Winter. Why they came is unclear. They killed everything in their path and reanimated the dead as Wights to kill the living at their command.

After a time the people of Westeros joined with the Children of the Forest and began a war against the White Walkers, known as the War for the Dawn. The White Walkers were defeated and driven back to the uttermost North. The wall was then raised to prevent their return.


In the present day, most believe the White Walkers never existed, and those who do believe they did say they went extinct thousands of years ago. While the people south of the Wall see them as the stuff of myth and legend, there is a growing belief amongst the wildlings who live beyond the wall the the White Walkers have returned.


Present Day

The White Walkers are some of the first characters we meet in the very first episode in the series. In season one at the start of the season we see three men from the Nights Watch on a patrol. Will comes across a camp of wildlings that have been murdered. He then returns to his brothers and tells them what he saw. When the three return to the sight of the camp there are no bodies to be found. They are attacked by the corpses and White Walkers who killed them. This is the first time we see the White Walkers and their icy blue eyes.

Later in Season 1 when Jon and Sam and some of the other men are taking their vows in the Godswood, Ghost appears with a human arm. The bodies of two nights watchmen that have been missing for a number of weeks are found. Sam notes that though they have been dead for a number of weeks there is no sign of rot and appear in perfect condition. Later that night the bodies rise as Wights, one try's to kill the Lord Commander and another attacks some of the other men. Jon Snow discovers the creature's weakness is fire and kills it before it can kill the Lord Commander. The bodies of the two Wights are then burned.


In Season 2 while at Craster's keep Jon snow follows Craster into the woods and sees him placing a newborn baby, one of his sons, into the ground and leaves. Moments later a figure with glowing blue eyes appears and takes the baby away. Craster finds Jon spying on him and attacks him. He then orders the Nights Watch to leave. Later the Lord Commander confronts Jon but admits that he was aware that Craster worshipped the White Walkers and sacrificed his sons for the safety of him and his daughter-wives.

A White Walker from the first Episode of the Series
At the end of Season 2 we see Samwell Tarly, Eddison Tollett and Grenn gathering dung around the Fist of the First Men when they hear a horn being blown. At first they believe it is Jon Snow and Qhorin Halfhand returning, they then hear a second blow meaning Wildlings and draw their sword for battle. They then hear a third blow, signalling White Walkers. They run for the Nights Watch camp but Samwell gets left behind. Within seconds a blizzard envelopes the entire plateau. Sam hides behind a rock while a White Walker, riding a dead horse, leads a vast horde of Wights. The White Walker ignores Sam and rides past him leading the horde for an invasion.

White Walkers are always accompanied by cold temperatures, and coming from the Lands of Always Winter, it appears that the prefer cold climates. It is debated whether this is because White Walkers actually generate the cold and might even cause winters (such as the Long Night) or because they simply wait for the next winter cycle and move south when the temperature drops.


The difference between White Walkers and Wights

There is a difference, though sometimes hard to tell, between White Walkers and Wights. 

White Walkers are not dead humans, just an inhuman kind of form of life.


Wights are dead humans, reanimated by White Walkers. A Wight will roughly resemble the way the body was when it died. For example a body that was relatively unharmed when it died will still look somewhat like a live person. However a body that has been dead a while or died violently will look like a maimed rotting corpse. Reanimation stops the rotting process but it does not bring the body back to it's pre-death appearance. 


Wights are difficult to kill. Chopping off libs and heads is effective but the limbs and body will still move around afterwards. However they are extremely flammable and fire is one sure way of getting rid of them for good. 

A wildling child that was reanimated into a Wight
Wights are not particularly smart creatures and can't talk. They only grunt and hiss. It is unclear if they remember much or anything from their previous lives, although one the wights in Season 1 did remember it's way to the Lord Commanders quarters on the Wall.

A Wight cannot create another Wight in anyway whether by biting or killing it. Only the White Walkers can reanimate corpses into Wights.

Monday, 17 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: The First Men

Who were The First Men
The First Men were the original human inhabitants of Westeros. They ruled in Westeros for millennia before the Andals invaded from Essos. The Andals overran most of southern Westeros, but did not take the North. While the blood of the Andals and the First Men has intermingled over thousands of years through marriages, the people in the North have the greatest amount of First Men blood in their veins.


Eddard Stark and Jon Snow are Northerners descended from The First Men 
The Invasion
The First Men invaded Westeros approximately 12000 years before the events of the series. They crossed via a land-bridge from Essos into the area of modern Dorne. The Children of the Forest resisted the invasion and using magic destroyed the land-bridge (which formed the modern peninsula of Dorne and the islands known as the Stepstones), however they were pushed back over the course of many years of war.

Eventually the First Men and the Children of the Forest stopped fighting and forged the Pact, signed on the Isle of Faces at the centre of the Gods Eye. The First Men were given the open lands and the Children of the Forest were given the woods and forests. The First Men then began to forge numerous kingdoms across Westeros.


The two races coexisted peacefully for four thousand years before they came under attack from the White Walkers. In the "War for the Dawn", the First Men and the Children came together to throw back the invasion. With the help of giants and the Children, Bran the Builder built the Wall to protect from anymore invasions. He then built Winterfell and ruled as the first King in the North.


The Andal Invasion of Westeros

About 2000 years after the "War for the Dawn" the Andals began to invade Westeros. The invasion spanned over a period of more than a thousand years. Their attempts to conquer the North were always defeated and eventually the Andals and the First Men made peace. 

The results of the Invasion varied from place to place. In some places the First Men were all but wiped out and in others some of the noble houses of the First Men intermarried with the Andals. In the Vale of Arryn the First Men were wiped out and today the nobility of the Vale are considered to have the purest Andal bloodlines in all of Westeros.


Descendants of the First Men

Many of the people living in Westeros have at least some blood of the First Men in their ethnic make-up, however the southern kingdoms of Westeros became so dominated by the Andals and their culture that Westeros is often referred to as "the Land of the Andals" by those living in Essos.

However there are two groups in Westeros that still claim majority descent from the First Men, and they still actively embrace the old ways and religion of their ancestors: the Northerners and the Wildlings.

Wildlings from North of the Wall of the purest First Men blood
Ties of dynastic marriage were made between the North and the southern kingdoms over the next 6000 years, so that the blood of both peoples mingled together. This process continued under the rule of the Targaryen kings. For example Ned Stark, of the ruling dynasty of the First Men of the North, married Catelyn Tully, of the predominantly Andal ruling dynasty of the Riverlands, resulting in all of their children having mixed blood. Still though the North is predominantly First Men and the South a heavily mixed ethnicity of Andal and First Men.

The wildlings that live north of the Wall are descended from those First men who were living north of the Wall when it was constructed, and have an even purer bloodline than the North. There is little if indeed any Andal blood north of the Wall.


To make it clear: the First Men were not the first humans who lived in the entire world. Humans were already living on the eastern continent of Essos and probably Sothoryos for untold millennia. "The First Men" were just the first humans to live in Westeros.


The Fist of the First Men

"The Fist" of the First men is a ring fort that was built by the First Men well over 6000 years ago, centuries before the Andals invaded Westeros. It is called "The Fist" because the hill looks like a fist thrust into the sky from the flat landscape surrounding it, and the jagged remaining stones around the top look like knuckles on a fist.
Rangers from the Wall camping on the Fist

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: The Children of The Forest

Who were the Children of the Forest?
They were a mysterious non-human race that were thought to be the original inhabitants of the continent of Westeros. They were already living in Westeros when the First Men migrated to the continent. They were last seen during the Andal Invasion, many believe that they did not exist and those that do believe in them say they are long gone and extinct.

The Children of the Forest were said to be human like creature's, but when they were grown to manhood they were no taller than human children. They preferred living in the depths of the forest in hidden villages, in crannogs in the swamps or in caves, keeping themselves hidden. As a result they became known as ''The Children of the Forest''


Culture

The Children of the Forest worshipped nature gods, the spirits of every tree, rock and stream. According to stories and legend it was the Children of the Forest that carved the faces into the sacred Weirwood trees. These trees were the closest things to shrines in their religion.
A Weirwood Tree
The Children of the Forest were very skilled in the crafts with wood and had great knowledge of the plants and animals of the forest. They hunted using bows made of weirwood and used blades of Dragonglass (also known as obsidian).

There were also Children of the Forest who were said to have wielded powerful magic, these wise men were known as ''Greenseers''.


History

It is believed that before the First Men arrived in Westeros that the Children of the Forest Ruled Westeros for thousands of years. It is thought that Giants also inhabited Westeros at the same time and they often clashed with the Children of the Forest. However whatever events did take place were not recorded and have long since been forgotten.

Approximately 12,000 years ago the First Men from Essos migrated to Westeros by crossing a land bridge known as the Arm of Dorne. They began cutting down the Children's forests including the sacred weirwood trees. This led them into conflict and war with the Children. For the next 2000 years frequent wars and battles ensued between the two races. During this time the Children destroyed the Arm of Dorne and flooded the Neck with the sorcery of the Greenseers.

A Greenseer of the Children of the Forest
After two thousand years of near constant fighting and violence the war came to a standstill. The Children of the Forest and the First Men came to an agreement to coexist peacefully. The Pact was signed on the Isle of faces in Gods Eye lake (An Island on a large lake in the Riverlands),it granted the open lands to the First Men and the Forests to the Children.

The Pact lasted for about 2000 years until the Long Night and the invasion of the White Walkers. The Children of the Forest and the First Men rallied together to drive back the White Walkers in the ''War for the Dawn''. Both the First Men and the Children of the Forest suffered huge losses. After the battle, the Children were said to have helped Bran the Builder raise the Wall to protect from another invasion.


The Children of the Forest never had a huge population to begin with, and suffered huge losses in the war against the White Walkers, from which they never really recovered. Over the centuries the numbers gradually declined until they had all but disappeared. By the time the Andals invaded Westeros there was only a handful left. Those that remained were driven off or slaughtered by the Andals. Those that survived are said to have fled beyond the Wall to the far North. By the time Aegon Targaryen conquered the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros there had been no contact with the Children of the Forest for thousands of years.


The maesters in today's Westeros believe that either the Children are extinct or never existed at all. This is disputed by the people in the North who say that they inherited their worship of the Old Gods1 from the Children of the Forest.

Eddard Stark and Catelyn in the Godswood in Winterfell
Physical Appearance 
It is important to note that the Author of the books, A song of Ice and Fire, on which Game of Thrones is based, George R.R Martin, insists that the Children of the Forest are not simply his version of Elves. In the books the Children are described as dark and beautiful. They are smaller than humans with nut-brown skin, large ears, and glowing gold eyes, slitted like a cats. They also have 4 digit hands (3 fingers and a thumb) that in in small claws instead of primate fingernails. They interwove vines and flowers into their hair and clothing.

1. The Old Gods: The Gods that the Children of the Forest worshipped became known as the Old Gods when the Andals invaded and introduced their ''New'' Gods.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: Invasion of the Andals

Who were the Andals?
The Andals were tall, fair-haired people from Andalos, a city between Braavos and Pentos, in Essos across the Narrow Sea. It is said that the God of Seven revealed itself to the Andals in the Hills of Andalos and from this they developed a new religion known as the Faith of the Seven. The symbol of this faith was a Seven Pointed Star.




The Invasion

Not long after this the Andals set sail across the Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros. They came ashore in the Fingers (what is now known as the Vale of Arryn). According to stories, Ser Artys Arryn (an Andal), who was known as "the Winged Knight" flew to the topmost mountain of the vale, on a giant falcon, and defeated the Griffin King, the last member of the First Men dynasty of the Mountain Kings.
From their initial landing the Andal's spread out in waves across Westeros. This process lasted centuries. During the time of the Invasion, Westeros was a mixture of hundreds of kingdoms of the First Men. As a result the First Men did not come together to resist against the Andals, making their conquest a lot easier. 

The Andals did intermarry with some of the First Men families but the gene pool is still predominantly from the Andals. 


The Andals introduced Iron and steel weapons to Westeros for the first time. Together with knights, who wore full suits of iron armour while riding into battle on a heavy horse, spurred on by the Faith of the Seven they defeated the First Men easily. As the Andals conquered the southern kingdoms of Westeros they stamped out the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest and forced them to convert to their worship of the Seven-faced God.


The Andals didn't conquer the North

The Andals conquered all of Westeros, except for the North. The Kings in the North, from the line of House Stark, were able to resist their advance due to the fact that any approach to the North has to go through the Neck. 

The Neck is a narrow piece of land filled with swamps. The fortress of Moat Cailin commands the only major road coming up from the south, which made it an ideal choke point for the First Men of the North. For centuries the Andals tried to conquer the North but smashed against Moat Cailin like water on rock. The North remained unconquered! 


The children of the Forest

To the Andals the Children of the Forest were an abomination before the God of Seven. Wherever they encountered them they slaughtered them and burned the sacred weirwood trees throughout southern Westeros. In the beginning the Children of the Forest were very numerous, however after the long night fighting against White Walkers, the Andal invasion drove them to extinction. After this the Children dropped out of history to the point that thousands of years later many believed they never existed. According to rumour and legend the remaining few surviving Children of the Forest fled to the Lands beyond the wall where they knew the Andals would not follow.

The Nights Watch

Due to a number of reasons the Night's Watch and the Wall never became involved in the Andal invasion. Partly due to the fact the Andals never reached that far north and the Night's Watch never marched south to fight against them and partly because the Andals saw value in supporting the Night's Watch, and also because the Night's Watch do not involve themselves in the wars and battle's of others. The Andals saw the use in the Night's Watch to defend against occasional wildling attacks but also as an outlet for their younger sons,criminals or the defeated soldiers in their own wars. The Night's Watch welcomed and Andals who volunteered to join the order. Overall they were not affected by the invasion and were probably the only one's who benefited from the Invasion as they gained new recruits.

The word Andal is pronounced AN-dal with the emphasis on the first syllable. 


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Families of Westeros: The Night's Watch

Sigil
The men of the Night's Watch are identified by their black cloaks. When the knights from Kings Landing came upon Yoren and his group Yoren waved a plain black flag to let them know they were men of the Night's Watch. This is their banner. They are also known as crows, particularly to the wildlings. So for the blog I chose a banner with a crow on it, just to jazz it up a bit! Otherwise it would just be a plain black square :P
Oath
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
(The line in bold is a line that was left out in the T.V series, this is the full Oath taken from the book)

Members of The Night's Watch

- Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Lord of Castle Black- Jon Snow, the Bastard of Winterfell, called 'Lord Snow', personal steward to Mormont. 
- Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch.
- Benjen Stark, First Ranger, situated in Castle Black

- Ser Jaremy Rykker, acting first ranger. 
- Ser Waymar Royce, the youngest son of House Royce. A ranger 
- Gared, a ranger 
- Will, a ranger from Castle Black
- Othor, a ranger killed under unknown circumstances 
- Jafer Flowers, a ranger killed under unknown circumstances
- Rast, a ranger last seen at Castle Black.
- Grenn, a ranger from Castle Black.
- Qhorin Halfhand, a ranger from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
- Harker, a ranger killed by Rattleshirt's warband.
- Borba, a ranger killed by Rattleshirt's warband.
- Stonesnake, a ranger killed by Rattleshirt's warband.
- Bowen Marsh, the First Steward, currently at Castle Black.

- Pypar, a steward from Castle Black
- Eddison Tollett, a steward from Castle Black
- Dareon, a steward from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
- Othell Yarwyck, the First Builder. Joined the Great Ranging
- Aemon, maester at Castle Black.- Samwell Tarly, personal steward to Aemon. 

- Ser Alliser Thorne, former Master-at-Arms, now looking for new recruits- Lord Janos Slynt, former commander of the King's Landing City Watch and Lord of Harrenhal. Exiled to the Wall by Tyrion Lannister.
- Yoren, a 'wandering crow' in charge of finding new recruits. 


Castles of The Night's Watch

1. Westwatch-by-the-bridge
2. The Shadow Tower
3. Sentinel Stand
4. Greyguard
5. Stonedoor
6. Hoarfrost Hill
7. Icemark
8. The Nightfort
9. Deep Lake
10. Queengate
11. Castle Black
12. Oakenshield
13.Woodswatch-by-the-pool
14. Sable Hall
15. Rimegate
16. The Long Barrow
17. The Torches
18. Greenguard
19. Eastwatch-by-the-Sea
(The castles in bold are the only castles manned at the present time)

The Night's Watch


Where are they now?

- Jeor Mormont,Currently leading the Great Ranging at the Fist of the First Men.- Jon Snow, Currently imprisoned by Rattleshirt.
- Benjen Stark, went on a ranging, is missing, presumed dead.
- Ser Jaremy Rykker, acting first ranger. Last seen at Castle Black.
- Will, a ranger was executed by Eddard Stark for desertion.
- Othor, was killed under unknown circumstances and raised as a Wight. Destroyed by Jon Snow.
- Jafer Flowers, was also ranger killed under unknown circumstances and raised as a Wight. Destroyed by members of the Watch.
- Grenn, a ranger currently at the Fist of the First Men.
- Qhorin Halfhand, was killed in a duel by Jon Snow. He killed him to earn Rattleshirt's trust so Jon could spy on the Wildlings, as per Qhorin's instructions.
- Bowen Marsh, the First Steward, currently at Castle Black.
- Pypar, a steward, currently at Castle Black.
- Eddison Tollett, a steward, currently at the Fist of the First Men.
- Aemon, maester at Castle Black.- Samwell Tarly, personal steward to Aemon. Currently at the Fist of the First Men
- Ser Alliser Thorne, former Master-at-Arms. Returning to the Wall with new recruits.
- Lord Janos Slynt, still at Castle Black
- Yoren, was killed in the Riverlands by Ser Amory Lorch, while bringing recruits back to the Wall. Among them was Arya Stark.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: House Stark and The North

Warning: Contains spoilers if you have not caught up with the t.v series.
The North
Covers the area south of the wall to the hills and bogs of The Neck to the south, along with the sea to the east and to the west.


The area in Red shows the location of the North between the Wall and Southern Westeros
From what is understood, The North was founded 8000 years ago by Brandon the Builder. Brandon the Builder is the man who built the wall as a shield to protect against a possible return of the White Walkers.



The North is the only region in Westeros that resisted the Andal invasion and as a result of this it is the only place where the ethnic make-up of men is predominantly First Men. As a result of this the cultures, customs and traditions of the First Men dominate. 


The Faith of the Seven, brought to southern Westeros by the Andals, has found little foothold in the North. The dominant faith in the North is that of the Old Gods of the Forest. As a result warriors from the North are not known as ''knights'' because Knighthood is associated with The Faith of the Seven. However mounted warriors are still an honoured military in the North.


The North is ruled from the castle of Winterfell by House Stark




Bastards born in the North are given the surname Snow.


The Starks

The Starks trace their decent from Brandon the Builder and the ancient Kings of Winter. Until the Targaryen conquest, when Torrhen Stark swore fealty to Aegon the Dragon, the Starks ruled as Kings in the North. 

During the Targaryen conquest, Torrhen Stark marched his forces North to face them. When he saw their vast numbers and dragons, he decided swearing fealty was better than fighting a losing battle. He was then made Lord Paramount of the North and served as Warden of the North.


Robb Stark became Lord after his father Eddard Stark was beheaded for treason. Robb was declared King in the North by his bannermen and was fighting to secede from the Seven Kingdoms in what is known as The War of the Five Kings. However he was murdered at his uncles wedding for breaking a promise to Lord Walder Frey. His mother Catelyn was also murdered at the wedding.




Bran and Rickon are on their way North having escaped from Theon Greyjoy after he invaded Winterfell. 

Sansa Stark has returned to Winterfell and is betroth to Ramsay Snow/Bolton. We last see her jumping from a castle wall with Theon Greyjoy.

Arya Stark has found her way to the free city of Braavos and is on a journey to become a faceless man. Her latest lesson has seen her become blind for disobeying orders. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Game of Thrones: A Westeros Family Tree

So after going into a little detail on most of the prominent families from Season 1 and 2 here is a picture that shows all the families. It's a pretty cool picture, and I was unsure of what post to put it in, so decided to give it its own one.

It is quiet small here, so to see a better version where you can zoom in click here!


This picture was actually sent to me by a friend, she has a blog too so you guys should check her out here!




Unfortunately the Arryn's, the Greyjoy's and the Tyrell's were not included in this one. But if I track one down with them in it I'll be sure to post it.


Soon to follow these posts will be a history of the major and important Houses in the series :)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Families of Westeros: House Tyrell

Sigil
House Tyrell sigil is a golden rose on a green field.
Motto
Growing Strong

Members of House Tyrell
Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden, Warden of the South, Defender of the Marches, High Marshal of the Reach.
 -his wife Lady Alerie, of House Hightower of Oldtown
 -their children:
   -Willas, their eldest son, heir to Highgarden
   -Ser Garlan, called the Gallant, their second son
   -Ser Loras, the Knight of Flowers, their youngest son
   -Margaery, their daughter
 -his widowed mother, Lady Olenna of House Redwyne, Queen of Thorns
 -his sisters:
   -Mina, wed to Lord Paxter Redwyne
   -Janna, wed to Ser Jon Fossoway
 -his uncles:
   -Garth, called the Gross, Lord Seneschal of Highgarden
     -his bastard sons, Garse and Garrett Flowers
   -Ser Moryn, Lord Commander of the City Watch of Oldtown
   -Maester Gormon, a scholar of the Citadel
 -his household:
   -Maester Lomys, counselor, healer, and tutor
   -Igon Vyrwel, captain of the guard
   -Ser Vortimer Crane, master-at-arms
 -his knights and lord bannermen:
   -Paxter Redwyne, Lord of the Arbor
     -his wife, Lady Mina of house Tyrell
     -their children:
       -Ser Horas, mocked as Horror, twin to Hobber
       -Ser Hobber, mocked as Slobber, twin to Horas
       -Desmera, their daughter
   -Randyll Tarly, Lord of Horn Hill
     -Samwell, his elder son, of the Night's Watch
     -Dickon, his younger son heir to Horn Hill
   -Arwyn Oakheart, Lady of Old Oak
   -Mathis Rowan, Lord of Goldengrove
   -Leyton Hightower, Voice of Oldtown, Lord of the Port
   -Ser Jon Fossoway
  
Principle Houses sworn to Highgarden
-Vyrwel
-Florent
-Oakheart
-Hightower
-Crane
-Tarly
-Redwyne
-Rowan
-Fossoway
-Mullendore

House Tyrell

Where are they now?
-Loras, believes that it was Stannis who killed Renly and not Brienne. He promises to avenge Renly by killing Stannis. With the help of Petyr Baelish Tywin Lannister forms an alliance with House Tyrell. Loras wears Renly's armour during the battle of the Blackwater, where he fights with the Lannisters. And is one of the men that enters the Throne room with Tywin Lannister. Those who played a role in securing King Joffreys victory are summoned to the Throne room for thanks and a reward of their choosing. Loras requests that House Baratheon and House Tyrell be joined by marriage and that Joffrey wed his sister Margaery. Joffrey accepts this after his council tell him he no longer has to marry Sansa Stark. Loras was later arrested for sleeping with men.
-Margaery, was betrothed to Joffrey, however he died on their wedding day. She was then intended to marry King Tommen however she was arrested and throne in a cell for lying for her brother Loras and their are doubts to whether or not she is a virgin.