Tag: HBO (page 2 of 2)

A Beginner’s Guide to Westeros: Robert’s Rebellion

Courtesy HBO
Much blood was shed to win Robert that crown.

The Game of Thrones is now showing on HBO. The production and promotion of this series has been fantastic, but not everyone tuning in may be familiar with the series of books upon which it is based. A Song of Ice and Fire, currently spanning four expansive novels, introduced us to the world of Westeros and provides a plethora of extensive information. Presented here is a bit of that information to help newcomers to this lush and living world get and keep their bearings. All information is presented free of spoilers and describe the circumstances at the beginning of the series…

It was supposed to be a peaceful time. Brandon & Eddard Stark were young men, as was their friend Robert Baratheon. Robert was madly in love with the Starks’ sister, Lyanna, while Brandon was betrothed to Catelyn Tully. The peace was broken, however, when Lyanna disappeared one night with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. At a tourney, Rhaegar had crowned Lyanna with winter flowers, naming her the Queen of Love and Beauty. Regardless of what their relationship actually was, Robert immediately called it an abduction.

Hoster Tully begged his future son-in-law to be patient, but Brandon rode for King’s Landing with his friends Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce, and Elbert Arryn, Elbert being nephew and heir to Jon Arryn of the Vale. When they arrived at the Red Keep, Brandon demanded the Prince come out and face him. Instead, he faced Aerys, Rhaegar’s father. Imprisoning the four would-be heroes, the Mad King first demanded Rickard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and father of Brandon, report to King’s Landing to represent his son in a trial by combat. When Rickard arrived, he and 200 of his best men were all killed, as was Brandon. Similar edicts were issued to the fathers of the other party members, they too were slain in turn. Aerys demanded that Robert and Eddard also be turned over for execution. In response, Jon Arryn raised his banners in revolt against the Iron Throne. Eddard and Jon married Catelyn and Lyssa Tully, respectively, to secure that House to their cause. Robert’s Rebellion had begun.

Battle of the Trident

After several battles at Summerhall, an indecisive conflict at Ashford and the rebels’ victory at the Battle of the Bells, it was the Battle of the Trident that proved to be the turning point of the rebellion. As the Targaryen loyalists clashed with the Tullys, Starks, Baratheons and Arryns, Robert and Rhaegar met in single combat. While Rhaegar was a more than capable swordsman and dealt Robert a grievous wound, the famous fury of House Baratheon won out. Robert smashed Rhaegar’s chest in with a blow from his warhammer so fierce it sent the rubies flying from the Crown Prince’s breastplate. Seeing their prince fall, the Targaryens broke and ran. Robert passed leadership of the army to Ned Stark, just in time for Tywin Lannister to side with the rebels.

The Sack of King’s Landing

Tywin did not make his defection known and went to King’s Landing, claiming loyalty to Aerys and asking to be allowed entry into the Red Keep. Aerys complied only to find the Lannisters sacking the city in Robert’s name. Enraged, Aerys commanded his pyromancers to let loose their caches of wildfire, intending to leave Robert a capitol burnt to cinders. He then ordered a member of his Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister, to kill his father. In response, Jaime killed the king. Tywin sent Gregor Clegane to deal with the rest of the royal family, and the Mountain did so with relish, dashing the infant prince Aegon’s brains out before raping his mother, Princess Elia, before murdering her as well. Eddard Stark arrived to find Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne and Tywin presenting the bodies of the children. Furious, Ned left to carry on the battles in the south.

The Siege of Storm’s End

Mace Tyrell spent most of the Rebellion camped outside of Storm’s End, keeping himself and Stannis Baratheon out of the war. He often held feasts within sight of the castle while Stannis and his men starved. The smuggler Davos Seaworth slipped around the back end of the castle, and with shipments of onions kept the Baratheon forces alive. Eddard Stark arrived after the sack of King’s Landing, and Mace Tyrell lowered his banners and retired from the field.

The Flight from Dragonstone

Now freed from the siege, Stannis commanded his fleets towards the final Targaryen stronghold of Dragonstone. Unfortunately, while they were able to take the castle, the prize had already fled. Queen Rhaella and Prince Viserys had retreated to Dragonstone when the war began, but Rhaella died there giving birth to Danaerys. Before Stannis could arrive, the Targaryen children were smuggled across the Narrow Sea, to Braavos and then to Pentos, beginning their life in exile.

Battle at the Tower of Joy

Absent from the battles and sieges of the war, three members of the Kingsguard were tasked with the protection of a tower in Dorne, southernmost of the Kingdoms. Eddard Stark learned his sister was being held there, and rode out to free her. Among Ned’s party was Howland Reed, Lord of Greywater Watch, and five others. Together they fought against Ser Oswell Whent, Lord Commander Gerold Hightower and Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Only Ned and Howland survived, and when they entered the Tower, they found Lyanna dying. Ned would return Arthur’s sword Dawn to his family in Dorne to help secure peace for his friend Robert, but before he left, Lyanna said something that haunted him long after Robert took the Iron Throne.

“Promise me, Ned.”

If you would like to know more, please consult the official HBO viewer’s guide or the Wiki of Ice and Fire (beware of spoilers). Also, if you find anything amiss or incorrect in these guides, please inform me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Westeros: Noble Houses, Part 1

Courtesy HBO

The Game of Thrones is now showing on HBO. The production and promotion of this series has been fantastic, but not everyone tuning in may be familiar with the series of books upon which it is based. A Song of Ice and Fire, currently spanning four expansive novels, introduced us to the world of Westeros and provides a plethora of extensive information. Presented here is a bit of that information to help newcomers to this lush and living world get and keep their bearings. All information is presented free of spoilers and describe the circumstances at the beginning of the series…

Westeros is a large expanse of land. Houses large and small make up the population of the Seven Kingdoms. There are a few that distinguish themselves amongst the nobility, and some even play major roles in the politics of King’s Landing or the goings-on across the Narrow Sea. Here, in brief, we shall discuss a few of them and their prominent members.

House Arryn

Sigil: Moon & Falcon
Words: As High As Honor

While they have many holdings in the area of Westeros known as the Vale, House Arryn’s seat & principle holdfast is the Eyrie. A unique castle perched on top of a mountain, it is very difficult to access and even moreso to assault. Many of its rooms are open to the vastness of the Vale’s mountain range, and the foundations are honeycombed with the cells of the castle, their ‘sky doors’ a constant reminder to the occupants of the fate that awaits them. It was the seat of the King of the Mountains and Vale before Aegon the Conquerer rode his dragons right into the Eyrie and caused the Arryns to take the knee, swearing their fealty to the Iron Throne.

During Robert’s Rebellion, Jon Arryn supported Robert and served as Hand of the King after Robert took the throne. He was married to Lyssa Tully, Catelyn’s sister.

House Mormont

Sigil: Bear
Words: Here We Stand

Situated upon Bear Island in the North, House Mormont has long stood against the Ironmen and Wildlings alike. Bannermen of House Stark, they were awarded the island for their loyal and honorable service, supposedly after Rodrik Stark won it in a wrestling match. While not a wealthy house, Mormont maintains their old ties to the Starks, standing with them as wardens of the North. Like the Starks, they are somewhat taciturn and they also share something of a rarity amongt the houses of Westeros: an ancestral weapon of Valyrian steel.

Jeor Mormont was Lord of Bear Island until he took the black, becoming Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. The son of the Old Bear, Jorah, was caught by Eddard Stark selling poachers into slavery and fled Westeros rather than face execution. He made it as far as Pentos, where he was introduced to Viserys and Danaerys Targaryen.

House Tully

Sigil: Trout
Words: Family, Duty, Honor

While they have never ruled as kings, House Tully has always played a part in the changing landscape of the Seven Kingdoms. Supporting the Targaryen armies of Aegon the Conqueror, they were named Lords Paramount of the Trident. Their traditions of honor and duty seem to clash with the ever-expanding family of the nearby House Frey.

The daughters of the aging Hoster Tully have helped secured his House’s place in court of King Robert Baratheon. Lyssa was married to Jon Arryn, Robert’s first Hand. Her big sister, Catelyn, is married to Eddard Stark.

House Greyjoy

Sigil: Kraken
Words: We Do Not Sow.
The harsh, unforgiving islands of Pyke have bred a line of pirates, reavers and savage warriors known colloquially as the Ironmen. The King of the Isles sat the Seastone Chair, but it has been unoccupied since the Targaryen conquest. When given the choice by Aegon, the Ironmen took Vickon Greyjoy and his line as their overlord. Over the years, many of them have adopted the faith of the Drowned God, and while no godless man may sit the Seastone Chair, many a Greyjoy has looked upon it with longing, to become their own kings again.

Balon Greyjoy lead a failed rebellion against King Robert Baratheon, and his two eldest sons were slain during the siege of Pyke. Jorah Mormont and the red priest Thoros of Myr won reknown during the battle, while Eddard Stark took the youngest son of Balon, Theon Greyjoy, as his ward and hostage to be raised at Winterfell.

If you would like to know more, please consult the official HBO viewer’s guide or the Wiki of Ice and Fire (beware of spoilers). Also, if you find anything amiss or incorrect in these guides, please inform me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Westeros: The Small Council

Courtesy HBO

The Game of Thrones is now showing on HBO. The production and promotion of this series has been fantastic, but not everyone tuning in may be familiar with the series of books upon which it is based. A Song of Ice and Fire, currently spanning four expansive novels, introduced us to the world of Westros and provides a plethora of extensive information. Presented here is a bit of that information to help newcomers to this lush and living world get and keep their bearings. All information is presented free of spoilers and describe the circumstances at the beginning of the series…

The man seated upon the Iron Throne cannot be everywhere at once. Even for a responsible monarch, administrating the Seven Kingdoms is a monumental task. And a man like Robert Baratheon simply cannot be bothered, most days, with things like “counting coppers” and other tedious (but necessary) affairs of state. Thus it falls to the small council to deal with such tasks. These are the men and women who truly rule Westeros.

The Hand of the King

For all intents and purposes, while the king is absent from the council, the Hand is the king. He is meant to be the strongest voice of advice to the royal ear, and firm in his decisions when the king is not present. The Hand is even known to sit upon the Iron Throne during such times. The Hand is commander of the royal armies, executor of the king’s will and dispenser of justice. It is a position of high prestige and higher pressures, and few men have been up to the task.

Jon Arryn was named Hand of the King by Robert Baratheon when he took the throne. Robert knew he would need a strong Hand while he was amusing himself, someone who could manage the kingdom he now ruled. Jon Arryn was a mentor to Robert, even after his bloody ascension. When he died, Robert sought his best friend and most noble peer, Eddard Stark.

Grand Maester

From the Citadel of Oldtown, the maesters travel to many noble houses and castles to serve as advisors and healers. They are the scientists and scholars of Westeros, and while some occasionally dabble in occult studies, most keep their concerns in the realms of the tangible, to better serve their chosen lords in the here and now. Each maester is known only by title and first name, as earning a maester’s chain takes one away from family and holdings. The links of a maester’s chain are different metals, each representing an area of study mastered after long years of study.

Grand Maester Pycelle was chosen by the Citadel to serve on the small council of King Aegon Targaryen, Fifth of his name. He has served every king since, a station of almost forty years by the time Eddard Stark arrives at King’s Landing to begin his duties as Hand.

Lord Commander of the Kingsguard

The king is never far from at least one member of the Kingsguard. An elite, hand-picked force of the bravest and most capable knights in the Seven Kingdoms, the White Cloaks are traditionally seen but not heard. They are unmistakable in their white cloaks and plain white shields, acting as bodyguards to the king. A sworn knight invited to the Kingsguard must swear an additional oath to never hold lands, sire children or have any allegiance save to the monarch on the Iron Throne. They serve until death.

Ser Barristan Selmy was elevated to the position of Lord Commander following the death of Mad King Aerys during Robert’s Rebellion. He served Aerys as he does Robert, along with fellow Kingsguard member Ser Jaime Lannister. Jaime bears a different honor. Instead of holding a position of high honor, he is regarded with a mix of fear and revulsion for stabbing Aerys in the back during the sack of King’s Landing that was the culmination of the rebellion. Instead of ‘Lord Commander’ or even calling him by name, the Seven Kingdoms know Jaime Lannister as the Kingslayer.

Master of Coin

Troops, equipment, tournaments, feasts, ships and keeps – running a kingdom costs money. It is the job of the Master of Coin to find this money and spend it on behalf of the crown. Most of the royal revenue comes from the taxes levied on the Seven Kingdoms, but sometimes the coffers come up short. In those cases, the Master of Coin arranges loans with wealthy great houses, such as the Lannisters, and Free Cities such as Braavos or Pentos.

Petyr Baelish holds the strings of the royal purse on Robert’s small council. A former ward of House Tully and nicknamed ‘Littlefinger’ by Edmure Tully for the size of his holdings, Petyr is not only an intelligent accountant but a charming courtier and a cunning political figure. His shifting allegiances and secretive nature cause Eddard Stark to mistrust him – that, and the fact that Littlefinger is still in love with his wife, Catelyn.

Master of Ships

Threats come from within and without the Seven Kingdoms, from the Iron Islands of the tempestuous House Greyjoy to the distant Free Cities across the Narrow Sea. It is vital for the king to maintain both merchant vessels and ships of war. The responsibility for the construction of these naval vessels and the dispensation of their crews falls to the Master of Ships.

Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s older brother, holds the castle of Dragonstone off the eastern coast of the Storm Lands in Blackwater Bay. It was ceded to him following the Rebellion while the Baratheon seat of Storm’s End passed to the younger brother, Renly. Stannis knows quite well the value of sea power, as it was a smuggler-turned-knight under his employ who allowed him to survive the siege of Storm’s End until it was broken by Eddard Stark. Stannis is a rather dour, honor-bound individual, and has little patience for his brothers’ antics.

Master of Whisperers

In both war and peace, accurate and timely intelligence is crucial. Spies must be everywhere to be effective, and the reports of these operatives must be collected and prioritized when presented to those in power. This monumental task of gathering intelligence is the bastion of the Master of Whisperers.

Varys serves as Robert’s spymaster. A eunuch with a mysterious past, he dresses in fashionable gowns and acts with an effeminate, mewling manner. He likes to remind the small council – and anyone who will listen, really – that he and his ‘little birds’ are invaluable to the Seven Kingdoms. As despicable as many find him, he is seen as a necessary evil. His allegiance is to the Seven Kingdoms first, the Iron Throne second.

Master of Laws

Rounding out the small council is the position responsible for interpretation of laws and the writing of new ones. As the Seven Kingdoms incorporate people from disparate climates, histories and perspectives, the Master of Laws must seek the path of compromise to ensure justice is done while not being unfair to either side of an argument. It may not be the most prestigious position on the small council, but it’s just as vital to the administration to the kingdom as any of the others.

Renly Baratheon is younger brother of both Stannis and Robert, and of the three his is arguably the most charming and adventurous. While Stannis is stoic and brooding, and Robert a bit of a fat lout, Renly tends to win friends easily with both his words and his swordplay, but there are those who would call him frivolous. Still, he is now the Lord of Storm’s End, the seat of House Baratheon, while his older brothers hold Dragonstone and the Red Keep of King’s Landing, respectively. His new lordship is a gift from Robert, while Stannis glowers at the richer lands and larger holding of Storm’s End from the rocky shores of Dragonstone. It is not a slight the elder Baratheon is likely to forget.

If you would like to know more, please consult the official HBO viewer’s guide or the Wiki of Ice and Fire (beware of spoilers). Also, if you find anything amiss or incorrect in these guides, please inform me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Westros: Gods Old and New

Heart Tree

The Game of Thrones is now showing on HBO. The production and promotion of this series has been fantastic, but not everyone tuning in may be familiar with the series of books upon which it is based. A Song of Ice and Fire, currently spanning four expansive novels, introduced us to the world of Westros and provides a plethora of extensive information. Presented here is a bit of that information to help newcomers to this lush and living world get and keep their bearings. All information is presented free of spoilers and describe the circumstances at the beginning of the series…

The Seven Kingdoms of the Andals have endured for thousands of years. Their peoples have often turned to forces of creation and destruction for guidance and inspiration. Faiths old and new mix throughout the Seven Kingdoms and the gods of foreign lands also linger on the fringes of the world, not as well-known but just as powerful. What follows is a brief look at the principle faiths of the Kingdoms and one or two gods of note whose power resides across the Narrow Sea.

The Old Gods

When the First Men came to the Westeros, they tried to drive out the spirits of the forest worshiped by the natives. They failed, and as part of the peace they sought with the children of the forest, they pledged to cut down no more weirwoods, large trees bearing the faces of those same spirits. When the Andals came, they called these spirits the Old Gods. As kings came and went and long after Aegon the Conqueror brought the Seven Kingdoms to heel under his rule, the godswoods remained, an indelible reminder of the roots of many noble Houses. Faith in the Seven has replaced the respect and worship given to the Old Gods, but in the North, the House of Stark, many of its sworn bannermen and the men of the Night’s Watch hold their prayers and swear their oaths in the godswood among the roots of the heart tree.

The Seven

Quickly becoming the largest faith in the Seven Kingdoms, the Seven are worshiped in buildings called septs, ranging in size from small houses to lavish structures rivaling the halls of great keeps like Casterly Rock and the Red Keep of King’s Landing. Septons guide the faithful’s prayers and take their donations. Each sept includes a representation of each god making up the Seven: the Maiden, the Father, the Mother, the Warrior, the Smith, the Crone and the Stranger. The septons tend to act as advisers to lords and knights in the manner of maesters, and while militant branches of the faith have existed in the past, the edicts of previous kings have kept these branches confined to the pages of history and the stories told by the faithful who feel powerless before the changes that sweep through the Kingdoms.

The Drowned God

Worshiped exclusively on the Iron Islands, the Drowned God is said to lurk in the darkest depths of the sea. While not as well-known as the Seven, the Drowned God has no less influence given the part it plays in the ways and means of House Greyjoy. It is said that only one whose faith in the Drowned God is unquestionable may sit the Seastone Chair that is occupied by the leader of the Iron Men. While the pirates and reavers of the Isles would not admit it, the Drowned God and its drowned faithful are something of a frightening presence. Fearless and wild, they go into the sea normal men and come out quite different. They drink seawater, eschew ostentatious trappings and murmur the words of their faith: What is dead can never die but rises again, harder and stronger.

Lord of Fire

From across the Narrow Sea come the red priests and priestesses of R’hllor. They call him Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, and the God of Flame and Shadow. His is a faith that has not taken much hold in Westeros, but with darkness seeping into the world with the coming of winter, his time may soon be approaching.

If you would like to know more, please consult the official HBO viewer’s guide or the Wiki of Ice and Fire (beware of spoilers). Also, if you find anything amiss or incorrect in these guides, please inform me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Westeros: Great Houses

Courtesy HBO

The Game of Thrones is now showing on HBO. The production and promotion of this series has been fantastic, but not everyone tuning in may be familiar with the series of books upon which it is based. A Song of Ice and Fire, currently spanning four expansive novels, introduced us to the world of Westros and provides a plethora of extensive information. Presented here is a bit of that information to help newcomers to this lush and living world get and keep their bearings. All information is presented free of spoilers and describe the circumstances at the beginning of the series…

House Baratheon

Sigil: Stag
Words: Ours Is The Fury

After the deposing of long-standing House Targaryen, it could be said that the words of House Baratheon should become ‘To the victor, the spoils.’ It was Robert Baratheon, roused in his anger over the abduction of his beloved Lyanna Stark, who rallied the nobles of the Seven Kingdoms against Mad King Aerys. Boisterous both in battle and out, Robert swept from his ancestral home of Storm’s End to take his vegeance. When it was over, he had won the Iron Throne. He wed Cersei Lannister to ensure that House’s allegiance and named his mentor Jon Arryn the Hand of the King. His elder brother, taciturn Stannis, held the former Targaryen keep of Dragonstone, while his young brother, the dashing Renly, remained at Storm’s End. Baratheon is a popular house, now more than ever, and while King Robert is perhaps not the most subtle when it comes to statecraft, he does his best to be a king of the people.

House Lannister

Sigil: Lion
Words: Hear Me Roar!

When Robert Baratheon rode out to take the Iron Throne, the Lannisters of Casterly Rock answered his call. Tywin Lannister, lord of the House and feared by many, perhaps caught the scent of opportunity in the campaign of man with the appetites and aptitude of Robert. His twins, Cersei and Jaime, indeed played a great part in the fall of House Targaryen and the rise of Robert. Jaime, a member of the elite Kingsguard, was responsible for Aerys himself falling under the sword, an act which earned him the dubious nickname “Kingslayer.” Bearing such a title is something Jaime shares with his younger brother, Tyrion. It is unclear if Tyrion is referred to as “the Imp” due to his dwarfish stature or the keen, conniving nature of his mind. Either way, both he and Jamie came to reside in King’s Landing with their sister, who has become Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.

House Stark

Sigil: Direwolf
Words: Winter Is Coming

The history of House Stark stretches back far beyond the unification of the Seven Kingdoms. It is said that they still bear the blood of the First Men, the mysterious people of the North who have all but vanished from Westros. Starks are known for quiet resolve, unyeilding strength and uncompromising honor, and no Stark better embodies these qualities than Eddard, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. His sister, Lyanna, was taken from both him and her beloved Robert Baratheon long before her time, and when Robert took up arms to right this great wrong, Ned was right beside him. After it was done, however, he returned to Winterfell, dwelling here with his wife, Catelyn of House Tully, and their children – Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. Among his household is also his bastard son Jon Snow and his ward, Theon Greyjoy. Ned feels his duty is to the North, to support the Night’s Watch and maintain the vigil of Winterfell. After all, winter is coming…

House Targaryen

Sigil: Three-headed Dragon
Words: Fire & Blood

For many years, the Targaryen kings ruled from the Red Keep in the capitol of King’s Landing. It was Aegon I, after all, who used his dragons to bring the Seven Kingdoms to heel. Since then, dragons have passed out of common knowledge into myth, and the descendants of Aegon have mostly married within their own House. This had lead to members of the family sometimes displaying rather eccentric personalities. Aerys, the last Targaryen King, was called ‘mad’ for this very reason, and many who knew him, from Jaime Lannister to Eddard Stark, would tell you exactly why. Aerys’ eldest son, however, was apparently free of the taint of madness. Rhaegar was a bookish but valiant and capable knight whom several believe would have made a better king, had he not been born second and had he not absconded with Lyanna. When Aerys fell, his younger children were spirited across the Narrow Sea to Pentos. Viserys is very much Aerys’ son, from his countenance to his mentality, while Danaerys is a young and untested princess who has always been under the unkind hands and darkening shadow of her brother.

If you would like to know more, please consult the official HBO viewer’s guide or the Wiki of Ice and Fire (beware of spoilers). Also, if you find anything amiss or incorrect in these guides, please inform me.

Newer posts

© 2022 Blue Ink Alchemy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑