The land of Westeros. The Seven Kingdoms. Houses. The Game of Thrones (HBO.com) buzz has been heating up and everywhere you look, whether you’ve heard of the books or not, you’ve become bombarded with advertisements, previews/trailers and anything else that has the name associated with this project.
But what is all the buzz you say? For the uninitiated this may seem like overload, but for the serious fan of this book series, this is a dream fulfilled, to finally see a work move to the screen.
In a previous article, it stated how to prepare yourself for the show. If you’ve read that article and still want more insight into Game of Thrones, here is a quick and dirty primer to get you prepared, at least for the first episode.
Most of the story takes place on the continent Westeros, which consists of Seven Kingdoms and an unmapped area to the north, separated by a massive wall of ice.
Westeros is also at the mercy of erratic seasons that may last for many years, but whose duration is unpredictable.
Each region within the Seven Kingdoms has many borders. One family holds the main House in each of these areas. And there are many, many Houses. Instead of boring you with the x-amount of Houses, the four main houses should be the ones you concern yourself with until you decide to delve further into the series.
This is the principal house of the Stormlands, and this house holds the Iron Throne of Westeros. Its sigil is a crowned black stag on a field of gold, and its words are “Ours is the Fury.” This is their house motto. King Robert Baratheon won the seat from the Mad King Aerys Targaryen years ago. He is known for his stubbornness and quick temper. He is wed to Cersei Lannister, which turned them into the new royal family.
House Stark is the principal noble house in the North. Their seat is Winterfell. Their sigil is a grey direwolf on a field of white, and their house motto, referred to in-universe as their words, is “Winter Is Coming.” Much of the story is told from the point of view of the Stark family. They are referred to as the Lords of Winterfell and Wardens of the North and are the first defense for an invasion from the lands beyond the borders.
House Lannister is the principal house of the Westerlands. Their principal seat is Casterly Rock. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson and their house motto is “Hear me roar!” The lord of the House, Tywin Lannister, wed his daughter Cersei to Robert to gain power for the house. They are also a treacherous lot, because they long for power. They have the riches (they own profitable gold mines) but they also want the political power as well.
House Targaryen was deposed by Robert Baratheon in the War of the Usurper, fifteen years before the events of A Game of Thrones, killing most of the family in the process. Surviving heirs Viserys and Daenerys fled into exile across the narrow sea, residing in the Free City of Pentos. They are also a unique family. In order to keep their bloodline pure, the Targaryens follow the Valyrian practice of line marriage, wedding brother to sisters. They also have unique features: platinum hair and violet eyes. Viserys, the brother, plots revenge to take control of the Iron Throne again.
And there you have it. A brief background into the world of the Seven Kingdoms and the Houses that reside in the kingdoms.
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