Monday, 3 June 2013

The Starks are always right, eventually. Winter is Coming

So it may have, by some curious means of me babbling about it in several posts, come to light that I am something of a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin. Known in the more common vernacular as Game of Thrones, after the first book in the series. This is largely because the TV series is named such. Thus far, I have only watched two seasons of the series, though I have been told that the impending British broadcast of the third season finale depicts quite a momentous event. I will not speak of such things, of course, but in honour of this series finale, I'm going to be babbling on Song of Ice and Fire lines today.

As a fan of the books, I have, somewhat naturally, developed an affinity for a particular noble house. My allegiance is owed to House Stark and my words are simple. Winter is Coming. And it is for these words that I am writing a whole frak ton of my own today. Many a day I have spent "meditating" of a sort on the deeper meanings of the words of the major noble house of Westeros. For the purposes of this post, I have chosen six of the houses. So, without further ado...

House Stark - "Winter is Coming"

The words of the Starks of Winterfell are quite interesting - it is noted in other sources that their words aren't a threat or a boast...they're an ominous warning. On the surface, it's the ominous warning of the inevitability of winter's arrival. A simple statement of fact, really. But to me, it feels like so much more than that. Winter is Coming is a promise, a declaration of intent. It is the nature of the Starks - no matter what happens, if you mess with the Starks, their friends, their loved ones...they will come for you. Today, tomorrow. Time is of no consequence. Winter is a fact. It is coming and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

House Baratheon - "Ours is the Fury"

This one is an obvious threat. Rage. Fury. Vengeance. The Baratheons are a mighty house, historically not ones to be frakked with or take anything lying down. They're warriors, but they're immediate warriors. Their nature is not like the Starks, they're not patient. They don't do sitting around waiting for this to happen. They're energetic, vigorous, they swing their swords and warhammers at anyone or anything that looks at them cross-eyed. The Baratheons do not wait. Cross them and they'll come for you. No grace period, no thinking. Pure, animal fury.

House Lannister - "Hear Me Roar"

On the surface, it's an obvious reference to their sigil, the golden lion. But when you look into the depths of the Lannister soul...well, it's a boast. It's their pride and their vanity. Epitomised, I feel, by the patriarch of their house, Lord Tywin Lannister. Not content to sit on all the gold in Casterly Rock and be the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, Tywin Lannister needs attention, validation. For a time, he had the power. Hand of the King for twenty years, the balance to Aerys II's considerable madness. The craving for power and recognition is continued with Cersei, highlighted by her relentless scheming and behind-the-scenes backstabbing she perpetrates in King's Landing. Hear Me Roar is not merely a boast. It's a cry for attention.

House Targaryen - "Fire and Blood"

Not a boast, nor a warning or a threat. Fire and Blood are the values of House Targaryen - the blood of the dragon, the blood Old Valyria. Fire is radiant, beautiful. Dangerous if mishandled. Fire burns and yes, it's dangerous. But if you know how to handle it, you meet the other half, Blood. Family is everything to those of House Targaryen. Hurt their Blood, they will spills yours. Fire and Blood is a double-edged sword. They are the dragon blood, Fire runs in their veins and they treasure their kin, their Blood. If you hurt their Blood, they will rain Fire upon you. On the surface it may not sound like a threat...well, Fire does suggest being threatening, but Fire is also a comfort in times of cold, in places of darkness.

House Greyjoy - "We Do Not Sow"

A matter-of-fact statement. House Greyjoy do not ask for things, they do not compromise. They take what they want, what is theirs. There is an edge of warning to their words. Do not expect anything from them, they do not play by your rules. The Greyjoys may be part of the Seven Kingdoms, but they do not play the laws of the rest of Westeros. They continue to be pirates and raiders, only just about keeping the King's Peace. We Do Not Sow. Our ways are our own. We will fight, raid and pillage anyone who means to stamp us under their heel. Like the direwolves of House Stark, the krakens of House Greyjoy are patient. Water connects everything. The kraken moves fast, but it can also move slow. When it strikes...there is no mercy. The kraken takes what it wants, leaves the rest to the sea.

House Martell - "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"

To wrap my meditations, I present what I consider one of the most intriguing noble houses in Westeros - House Martell, the ruling house of Dorne. In the Seven Kingdoms, Dorne is a curiosity. Ruled not by lords, but princes. Their words, on the surface, may be seen to reflect their history - the only part of the Seven Kingdoms that successfully stood against Aegon the Conqueror's dragons, as well as the retention of the royal style for their rulers. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken speaks of proud resilience, an unyielding defiance, but the actions of their house speak other words. Some can be shrewd, patient, biding their time. Others, while just as canny thinkers, are hot-tempered, quicker in their need for vengeance. The Martells are unpredictable in terms of when they will strike and how. In a way, it seems that the Martells very easily live up to the surface of their words. But only insofar as they are one of the more...shy? Reserved. They're more reserved. But that does not mean they have yielded. They're just waiting for the right moment to strike.

I suspect my babbling has made...well, not a huge amount of sense. It never really does. Regardless, these have been my meditations on the house words of some of my favourite houses (/those houses that friends of mine hold dear to as well). They make sense to me at least.

And for those of you about to watch Game of Thrones this evening who have not yet read A Storm of Swords...

Enjoy :D

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