The world of Game of Thrones is relatively tiny, but it’s a diverse one. With many ethnicities living only on the continent of Westeros, amongst the great houses of Game of Thrones, it gives us rich and colorful family trees.
These great houses are the main players in the Game of Thrones, giving us kings, king slayers, and kingmakers galore! Here are the five great houses of Game of Thrones and their family trees. These five can feel pretty much the same but are as different as the five fingers of your hand!
Origins of Game of Thrones family names – the Andals and the First Men
The principal houses play a significant role in Game of Thrones, as they are the leading players in the struggle for dominance and control of Westeros’ Seven Kingdoms, or the “Game of Thrones.” Each house has its history, traditions, and strengths in addition to its own allies, enemies, and objectives.
They are quite old, maybe dating back to the First Men’s time or the Andals’ arrival (in the case of House Stark). These houses were influential even before The Conquest and have vast family trees in each of these homes that go back several centuries to the Age of Heroes.
The Andals and the First Men are two of the main ethnic groups that make up the people of Westeros in the realm of Game of Thrones. The Andals are a later race that migrated from Essos. In contrast, the First Men are believed to be the continent’s original inhabitants.
Coming of the Andals
The Game of Thrones myth states that the Andals arrived in Westeros hundreds of years ago.
The Andals were a warlike species that practiced the Seven religions that had been brought from Essos. Overrunning First Man territories and establishing their kingdoms, the Andals marched across the continent.
Westeros’ culture and politics underwent a profound transformation with the arrival of the Andals. The First Man, who lived in a more decentralized and tribal way, worshiped the Old Gods, a pantheon of natural deities. Along with new ideas about chivalry, knights, and honor, the Andals also brought a more organized and centralized system of government.
Conflicts with the First Men
The Andals and the First Men were frequently at odds as the Andals attempted to impose their culture and religion on the regions they conquered. Nonetheless, the two tribes intermarried and merged their traditions throughout time, resulting in the complex civilization in Westeros during the events of Game of Thrones.
The descendants of the Andals and the First Men are now all over the Seven Kingdoms, with each region having its own distinct culture and customs. The history of these two clans and their relationships with one another continue to define Westeros’ politics and conflicts to this day.
Game of Thrones Family Tree – those that descent from the Andals
The Andals, who invaded Westeros and took control of The Reach’s lush region, are House Tyrell’s ancestors. When House Gardener was destroyed, they gained control of Highgarden, the ancient home of House Gardener, and assumed control over the Reach. The Tyrells have been significant players in Westeros politics throughout the series and are renowned for their wealth and ambition.
House Lannister, descended from the Andal conquerors of the Westernlands, is one of Westeros’ wealthiest and most powerful families. They hold a long-standing grudge against House Stark and are renowned for their wealth, guile, and cruelty. Their motto is “A Lannister always pays his commitments,” yet they are also infamous for their haughtiness and arrogance.
The Vale, an area in Westeros renowned for its natural defenses and seclusion, is ruled by House Arryn. Strong chivalric and honorable traditions and an arrogant and stoic disposition are characteristics of the Arryns. The Vale is known for being impregnable due to its rocky topography.
Those who conquered the Riverlands, a region in the center of Westeros crossed by multiple significant rivers, are the ancestors of House Tully. The Tullys are renowned for their commitment, sense of responsibility, and planned marriages, all of which have helped them forge bonds with other powerful families. They are close allies of House Stark and have participated with them in many of the series’ conflicts.
Game of Thrones Family Tree – those that descent from the First Men
The majority of the major houses in Game of Thrones have Andal ancestry. However, most illustrious families in the North can trace their ancestry to the time of the First Men. Here are a few illustrations:
House Stark is descended from the First Men, who were among the North’s first settlers. They are renowned for having a strong sense of duty and honor and for being closely connected to traditional Northern magic, such as warging. The rulers of Winterfell, the Starks, have participated prominently in many of the series’ conflicts.
The marshes of the Neck, a region in the North that naturally separates the North from the rest of Westeros, are where House Reed is from. They are renowned for their loyalty to House Stark, cunning, and stealth. Howland Reed, the head of House Reed, was at the Tower of Joy and was rumored to have important information about Jon Snow’s true parentage.
Bear Island’s northern island is home to House Mormont. They are renowned for their bravery, persistence, and adoration for powerful women. The current head of House Mormont is Lady Lyanna Mormont, a young woman who develops into a key player in Northern politics during the series.
House Royce is from the Vale and one of the most powerful allies of House Arryn. They are well-known for their martial prowess and devotion to House Arryn. Bronze Yohn Royce, the current leader of House Royce, becomes a significant participant in Vale politics during the series.
House Blackwood hails from the Riverlands. They are well-known for being expert archers and bowmen and for having a tight bond with the Ancient Gods. Tytos Blackwood, the head of House Blackwood at the moment, rises to prominence in Riverlands politics during the course of the series.
An aristocratic house named House Strong appeared in the HBO series House of the Dragon, which is based on the novel Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin. The Strongs are a more recent family in Westeros; they became the most powerful during the Targaryen era. They are descended from the legendary fighter Ser Corlos Strong, who was reputed to be half-giant and known for his extraordinary strength.
The Great Houses in Season 1 of Game of Thrones
At the beginning of Season 1, Ned Stark is appointed to serve as King Robert Baratheon’s Hand of the King. Due to this, he has to leave his home and head to King’s Landing, where he gets caught up in a dangerous game of political intrigue and betrayal. His family is left behind in Winterfell, where they must deal with a unique set of challenges and dangers.
At the beginning of Season 1 of Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister, a cunning and ruthless lord with three children—Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion—is in charge of House Lannister.
Jaime Lannister, the eldest son, is a skilled swordsman and a guardian of the king, serving in the Kingsguard. His twin sister Cersei is married to King Robert Baratheon, but they secretly maintain an incestuous connection. Their younger brother, Tyrion, is a dwarf who is usually mocked and undervalued by others despite his rapid brain and clever intelligence.
King Robert Baratheon, who is married to Cersei Lannister, is the head of House Baratheon at the beginning of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Robert is a strong and endearing warrior, but he also tends toward excess and has lost interest in his duties as king, allowing corruption and degeneration to flourish in his court.
The emblem of House Baratheon is a crowned stag, symbolizing their strength and might. Brothers to Robert are Stannis and Renly. Stannis is a hard-charging warrior who has no patience for foolishness or incompetence. On the other hand, many people adore Renly, a bright and endearing young man.
As the season progresses, House Baratheon becomes more and more embroiled in Westeros’ power struggles, particularly as hostilities between the Baratheon and Lannister families rise. Following Robert’s passing, a series of things happen that cause a sizable power vacuum and the division of the kingdom as many factions and claimants compete for control of the Iron Throne.
Before his death, Jon Arryn served as the Hand of the King and is the leader of House Arryn. His only child, Robin Arryn, is renowned for his frail and ill-tempered nature. One of Westeros’s oldest and most illustrious families, the Arryns are at a crossroad and would be a secondary player in the troubles to come.
Mace Tyrell, the leader of House Tyrell, is the father of Willas, Margaery, and Loras. The Tyrells are a wealthy and prosperous family who reside in the Reach with ambitions at court. With aspirations to broaden their dominance through clever unions and allies, they are regarded as one of Westeros’ most potent and significant families.
Balon Greyjoy is the head of House Greyjoy. He is the father of Yara (also known as Asha in the books) and Theon, who serves as a steward at Winterfell. The Iron Islands are home to the Greyjoys, who are renowned for their maritime prowess and piracy. They are seen as a strong, independent house with aspirations to establish a separate kingdom from the rest of Westeros.
House Tully Hoster Tully, who has two surviving children named Catelyn and Edmure, is the leader of House Tully at the beginning of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Despite being polar opposites, his children would make significant appearances during both books and shows. The Tullies would be at the center of the fight for much of the show.
Jon Snow is presented as a capable warrior and leader with a strong sense of honor and duty throughout the entire series. He gains notoriety for his valor in combat and readiness to jeopardize his own safety to defend others. Throughout the course of the series, he also engages in a number of love liaisons, notably with the wildling woman Ygritte and later with Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons.
The threat posed by the White Walkers, an army of living dead who are determined to exterminate all life in Westeros, is strongly related to Jon’s narrative arc. Jon plays a crucial role in the battle against the White Walkers because he is the only significant figure to have faced the creatures head-on and survived. Late in life, he also learns who his real parents are.
Many series fans adore Jon Snow, who is a fascinating and intriguing character. He is renowned for his courage, leadership abilities, and willingness to stand up for what is right, even if it means defying convention or endangering his own life.
The ancestral homes of the Great houses of Game of Thrones
The great houses of Westeros live in appropriately great castles. These imposing structures represent their might and power, serve as defense points, and often are older than the houses that inhabit them.
The ancestral home of House Stark, Winterfell, is situated in North Westeros. It is a massive castle with strong defenses and a rich past. It houses numerous significant institutions, like the Winterfell maester’s tower and the crypts where the Stark family is interred. It serves as the political and cultural hub of the North.
King’s Landing switches several ‘owners.’ House Targaryen built it as its capital, and House Baratheon later claimed it after the rebellion. At the end of the series, it’s ruled by House Lannister. King’s Landing is the administrative center of the Seven Kingdoms. The city is a vibrant, international metropolis on Westeros’ Eastern shore and is well-known for the massive Red Keep, which serves as both the Iron Throne’s seat and the monarchy. It is a hub of power, culture, and trade.
Casterly Rock is the ancestral home of House Lannister. A gigantic stronghold carved out of a mountain, Casterly Rock has multiple floors and an intricate network of tunnels and rooms. It is renowned for its riches, including its enormous gold reserves and other priceless items.
Highgarden is the ancestral home of House Tyrell and is situated in Westeros’s Reach. Highgarden is a stunning castle with vast gardens and numerous secret passageways. It is a significant hub of trade and culture in the Seven Kingdoms. It is renowned for its richness and agriculture.
Sunspear, in Westeros’ Dorne, is the location of House Martell’s headquarters. The castle of Sunspear, is famed for its warm temperature and numerous turrets and courtyards. Viewers have the opportunity to visit Sunspear’s courtyards through the series.
House Greyjoy’s administrative center is situated on the Iron Islands. Pyke is a bleak, forbidding castle full of ferocious soldiers constructed on a string of rocky islands. It is a hub for trade and raiding, and many significant organizations call it home, including the Iron Fleet and the shrine to the Drowned God.
Riverrun is the home of House Tully. Located on a hilltop with a commanding view of the Tumblestone and Red Fork rivers, Riverrun is a castle with a good defensive stance. It is renowned for its strategic value and for serving as the Riverlands’ commercial hub.
The Eyrie, in the Vale, is the home of House Arryn. It is an impregnable castle famous for its chivalric knights and its sky cells. Legend says that Queen Visenya paid the Eyrie a visit after the Conquest began and won the loyalty of the Arryns by giving Ronnel Arryn a ride on Vhagar’s back.
Oldtown is the oldest city among the Seven Kingdoms and a significant Westerosian metropolis. The Citadel, the main institution for maesters’ education in Westeros, is located in Oldtown, a hub of learning and research. It is also the residence of the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven and other strong aristocratic families, including House Hightower, which controls the historic fortress known as the Hightower.
Free Cities of Essos
The Free Cities were established as outposts of the Valyrian Freehold ages ago. The empire disintegrated after the Freehold and its dragonlords were wiped out in the Doom of Valyria four hundred years ago, and a bloody period of conflict known as the Century of Blood followed. When the dust settled, the Free Cities emerged as independent entities, controlling most of the territory between the Rhine River and the continent’s western shore.
The Free Cities are important to both Westeros, as it is the home of House Targaryen at the show’s start, and to the show itself, as Daenerys Targaryen’s story takes place in Essos. Also, both the Andals and house Targaryen can trace their origins back to Old Valyria.
The oldest and most populous of the Free Cities, Volantis attempted to annex and unite the others for a while during the Century of Blood. Still, finally, their competitors forged alliances, and Volantis was conquered. Volantis remained strong but lost ground to Braavos as its might grew.
Braavos wasn’t established as a colony by the Valyrians but rather as a haven for runaway slaves who fled Valyria. Its existence was kept a secret for many years after its founding, as it was also known as the “Hidden City.” Unlike the other eight Free Cities, Braavos was not devastated by the loss of central Valyrian control, and after the dragonlords perished in the Doom, the city was glad to stop hiding its true power from the outside world.
Braavos had extensive control over the sea trade, sizable merchant ships, and war galleys fleets. Unlike Volantis, which has the biggest and most powerful land armies, it is regarded as the most powerful of the Free Cities. The city gradually grew stronger while the others tore themselves apart in civil wars. But the biggest strength of Braavos comes from its Iron Bank, which is known to fund risk enterprises like wars and rebellions, often funding all of the sides in a conflict.
The Free Cities
The Free Cities generally have a far more commercialized culture than Westeros. Each city rules over sizable land areas (typically not much smaller than one of the Seven Kingdoms), with the majority ruling over towns larger than some Westerosi cities. Slavery is also practiced in most of the Free Cities – except for Braavos, which has strict laws banning the practice.
The Sealord is the ruler of Braavos, the largest and most northerly of the Free Cities. The city is dispersed among a number of islands in a protected lagoon and is connected by a vast system of canals and bridges. It is the location of both the powerful Iron Bank of Braavos and the covert Faceless Men assassins’ guild. The city is renowned for its skilled swordsmen, shipbuilding, tolerance of different religions, and opposition to slavery.
On an island Southeast of Braavos in the Shivering Sea is Lorath, the Free City that is thought to be the least powerful and least well-known.
Lys is guarded by a powerful navy situated near the Stepstones on an island in the Summer Sea. Lys is recognized as a city of vice and is home to some of the best-known prostitutes in the world. The majority of its residents have pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes.
Myr is a seaport on the Sea of Myrth arm of the Narrow Sea. Renowned for its delicate lace, optical lenses, and skilled artisans and products. For generations, the Disputed Lands between Lys and Myr have been the source of ferocious rivalry between the two. People there typically have dark hair and dusky skin.
Northeast of Pentos, on the Noyne River, is a significant inland city called Norvos. It is located in the Hills of Norvos, a region of hilly terrain to the North of Essos. The city is governed as a theocracy by the Bearded Priests of Norvos. For its axes, Norvos is renowned.
Pentos, a sizable seaport on the mainland, is exposed to Dothraki assaults from the continent’s interior. It is highly known for its cheese trade, among other things. Officially, the Prince of Pentos is in charge, but a council of merchant magisters holds real power.
The significant inland city of Qohor is located on the Qhoyne River, East of Norvos, in the immense Forest of Qohor, close to the Dothraki Sea. It is recognized for having blacksmiths of extraordinary talent, some of whom can reforge Valyrian steel. Qohor maintains a garrison of Unsullied warrior-eunuchs that it acquires from Slaver’s Bay to defend itself against the Dothraki.
Tyrosh is a significant seaport and commercial hub that the Archon rules over. Tyroshi are renowned for their ostentatious attire, shiny armor, and affluent tastes. The Free City that is closest to Westeros is Tyrosh since it is situated on an island adjacent to the Stepstones. It is sometimes viewed as a major hub for enlisting the services of numerous skilled sellsword companies to serve in the various conflicts of these distinct regions because of its placement between the Stepstones, Disputed Lands, and Westeros.
Volantis, which the Triarchs of Volantis govern, is the largest, most populous, and most corrupt Free City. Southeast is where it is situated. Large slave markets, wine, and Valyrian traditions are all well-known. Volantis used to be the most potent of the Free Cities, but the Century of Blood diminished it to the point where Braavos just managed to defeat it.
A series of Rhoyne tributaries that create a military barrier to the East protect Volantis, situated on the main mouth of the enormous Rhoyne River, from the Dothraki. Volantis serves as the hub for the main commercial routes connecting Westeros and the other Free Cities to regions to the east such Slaver’s Bay, the Jade Sea, Qarth, and Asshai.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Great Houses are there in Westeros?
There are nine Great Houses. They are influential noble families in the Seven Kingdoms. They rule over specific regions of Westeros. Over the course of the series, the power and influence of these houses change due to various conflicts.
What happened to House Baratheon during the series?
House Baratheon experienced significant turmoil and upheaval during the course of the “Game of Thrones” series. They gained strength under King Robert but declined after his death. The house is to be restored by one of his bastard sons.
Which Great House rules the North?
Houses Stark and Bolton exchange rule over the North throughout the series. In the end, House Stark is restored to its rightful place.
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