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The Pale Griffin

Houses, Heraldry and their organization

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I'd like to see some light info on larger houses, maybe a collection of all that we already know about the Houses, with a little bit of new stuff thrown in. On top of that, instead of scouring the internet/ or the boards on how this works, it could also explain how one lord owes fealty to another, the differences between landed knights and lords, hedge knights, the rules of heraldry, so one can figure out just by looking at his blazon that Aemon Rivers is a bastard of House Frey.

On top of that a little on the organisation of Houses. For example, House Tully has a master at arms, a captain of the guards and a steward. When my brother first read it, he didnt know exactly the breakdown of command there, so he was confused as to who did what, and who went to who for orders when the Lord was out on business.

And if possible, but I doubt GRRM would want to stick to this, who's sworn to who and how powerful a house (in means of swords) are they.

I know most of this stuff is covered on the boards and elsewhere on the internet, but it would be nice to have in a concrete form, with some personal touches from the people who gave us the heraldry and the Houses.

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Guest Other-in-law
And if possible, but I doubt GRRM would want to stick to this, who's sworn to who and how powerful a house (in means of swords) are they.

I wholeheartedly second that. We do have some very scant info on a few cases of subinfeudation; Houses Hightower, Royce, Frey, and one of the Houses Vance, but it seems very probable that there are a great many more.

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There'll definitely be a good bit of heraldry, and there may well be some more information about the chain of vassalage -- not sure. :)

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I'd like to see some light info on larger houses, maybe a collection of all that we already know about the Houses, with a little bit of new stuff thrown in. On top of that, instead of scouring the internet/ or the boards on how this works, it could also explain how one lord owes fealty to another, the differences between landed knights and lords, hedge knights, the rules of heraldry, so one can figure out just by looking at his blazon that Aemon Rivers is a bastard of House Frey.

There are no rules of heraldry in AGOT, as far as we know. There certainly doesn't seem to be any kind of enforcing body to them.

On top of that a little on the organisation of Houses. For example, House Tully has a master at arms, a captain of the guards and a steward. When my brother first read it, he didnt know exactly the breakdown of command there, so he was confused as to who did what, and who went to who for orders when the Lord was out on business.

Well, I would doubt there's anything like a chain of command, or a delegation of responsibilities that applies to more than one family/household. In other words, there wouldn't be any formal system.

I know most of this stuff is covered on the boards and elsewhere on the internet, but it would be nice to have in a concrete form, with some personal touches from the people who gave us the heraldry and the Houses.

The thing is, there isn't that much that is all that concrete. Perhaps that is more natural to history, but more difficult to those of us used to a modern world where everybody fits in their place.

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For what little it may be worth, I second the probably futile request asking for information about who is sworn to whom and how powerful a House may be.

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Actually, that should be fairly easy to do. All you need is to list all the major houses, with all of their bannermen. It would take, what, 2 pages of text max? (I'm thinking about how much we're trying to cram into one finite book)

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That's not really difficult at all, true. :)

The difficult bit is getting the info of who is sworn to who down through the various chains of vassalage. George has probably not decided all this, which means that it will be extra work for him to decide it for this book, and he may not have time for it (or even the will -- he wants to keep his options open in some areas, and this might be one of them).

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That's not really difficult at all, true. :)

The difficult bit is getting the info of who is sworn to who down through the various chains of vassalage. George has probably not decided all this, which means that it will be extra work for him to decide it for this book, and he may not have time for it (or even the will -- he wants to keep his options open in some areas, and this might be one of them).

Yeah, I can totally dig this explanation. In any case, I am so freakin' excited by this book!

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I have to agree with the original post. It would be nice to see how things work within the great houses. We've seen a little (especially some of the Stark's people who work in Winterfell, and also when Arya was at Harranhall), but it would be nice to learn more about this subject.

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Guest Other-in-law

Xray,

I don't think you understood what PG and I meant. Not all of the lesser houses of the Great Lords are tenants in chief sworn directly to them; for example Houses Costayne, Bulwer, Mullendore, Beesbury, and Cuy are all vassals of Lord Hightower, not of the Tyrells directly. Presumably there is quite a bit more of this elsewhere that has not yet been elaborated yet.

Another thing that I would enjoy would be maps that give an idea of the territorial extent of the lesser houses' holdings. Of course, GRRM has not doubt exhaustively worked all of that out, but even some samples would be nice...say a map of the Connington or Darry lands before and after their respective falls from grace after Robert's Rebellion.

In anticipation of anyone objecting that "they didn't have borders in medieval times!", I preemptively answer: poppycock! They didn't have detailed maps delineating boundaries, true, but cartulary evidence is full of perambulation landmarks that enable us to reconstruct the extent of many lordships today. Indeed, we get a brief taste of that in tSS, when Egg reads the charter revealing that the Osgreys no longer hold their Chequy Water. That would be a nice touch, too ...a fascimile of a Westerosi Charter, with the flourishes and stylings of courtly language, eventually getting down to the nitty gritty of just how far some lords property extends to. :)

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I don't know how probable any of that stuff is, Other-in-law. This work is as much for general fans of the series as for the hardcore fans, and we have to keep that in mind when deciding what to put effort into.

However, we will keep it in mind. Perhaps GRRM is already thinking of doing something of the sort.

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Guest Other-in-law

I'll be happy with whatever ends up in it, I'm sure, but for the moment I like to fantasize!

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Regarding maps showing the extend of the lands controlled by different families it is very dynamic and you would have to choose some very specific moments in time, as this seem to change a lot.

Like just before some mayor shift of power, like the andal invasion, just before roberts rebellion, or just before the war of the war of the five kings.

And to keep it of general interest and not just for hardcore fans, it could only be the very biggest houses.

I guess the Darrys and the Conningtons could fall into this category of mayor houses just before Roberts rebellion.

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the maps of the Great Houses can be figured out by which heraldry falls beneath a certain Great House. Drawing borders is not entirely useful when they change during each war, therefore I'd prefer just the heraldry of the Houses, in a format similiar to the Order of the Garter, were they have their heraldry laid out beneath their names, all laid out beneath their Great House.

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On top of that a little on the organisation of Houses. For example, House Tully has a master at arms, a captain of the guards and a steward. When my brother first read it, he didnt know exactly the breakdown of command there, so he was confused as to who did what, and who went to who for orders when the Lord was out on business.

Is that really that hard to figure out i always thought they were quite well established?? The Steward is in charge of governance and other such tasks, the Captain of the Guards is just that he's in charge of the castle defenses, and the Master-at-Arms is in charge of training the troops/lordlings, and in the event the Lord is out he names a Castellan who is in command durring his absence or if he's not of an age to rule.

Anyways, on this subject of heraldry I' like to see if we could get the hiarchy of the Lords a little better established and locations of know houses such as Payne, Moore and Paege. And possibly some more house words. I know this is probably too much to hope for since i doubt GRRMs worked out alot of this yet

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Ran, if there is a chance of finding out the story behind the inclusion of "Ser Alyn Garner"'s shield in the Hedge Knight comic, I'd be thrilled if it could show up in the book. (If ever I meet GRRM in person, I'll ask him myself why Alan Garner's "Owl Service" is so honoured; as that is unlikely to happen, I have to count on you instead.) Thanks!

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Ran, if there is a chance of finding out the story behind the inclusion of "Ser Alyn Garner"'s shield in the Hedge Knight comic, I'd be thrilled if it could show up in the book. (If ever I meet GRRM in person, I'll ask him myself why Alan Garner's "Owl Service" is so honoured; as that is unlikely to happen, I have to count on you instead.) Thanks!

This could be yet another of the "References and homages" that have been found in the books. Can you tell me where it is in the comic? I quickly flicked through the short story but could not find it.

Aratan

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Aratan, I mentioned the Garner heraldry way back in the R&H thread... so far back that I am too lazy to look it up (sorry). I don't remember Ser Alyn Garner being mentioned in the short story, but at the back of the HK graphic novel there are several pages of shields to show who participated in the tournament. Among them is Ser Alyn's, showing owls and plates - which can only mean "The Owl Service".

Hmm, didn't Mike Miller do those? Maybe he knows the story behind it.

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Aratan, I mentioned the Garner heraldry way back in the R&H thread... so far back that I am too lazy to look it up (sorry). I don't remember Ser Alyn Garner being mentioned in the short story, but at the back of the HK graphic novel there are several pages of shields to show who participated in the tournament. Among them is Ser Alyn's, showing owls and plates - which can only mean "The Owl Service".

Hmm, didn't Mike Miller do those? Maybe he knows the story behind it.

OK, I'll dig out my copies of the comic and have a look - I think my edition did not have that min-heraldry section, but I may be wrong.

Aratan

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