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Lord of Brewtown

What's Up with House Melcolm?

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So, as GRRM has written more and more, we' had at least some scraps of information about almost all of the great lords and many minor houses.  

Is House Melcolm now the most mysterious house in Westeros?  They seem to be the only house mentioned left that has a chance at being somewhat powerful that hasn't been mentioned yet (other than Game of Thrones appendix).  On published maps, about the only other strongholds shown with as little info is maybe Dyre Den.  Almost every other major house or principal bannerman has either had their arms spotted in battle or in scenes, or we know of 1-2 historical family members/knights/lords.  The Vale and Dorne probably get less coverage than the other regions; but, we know more of the Dornish houses and even the sigil of Hersy is spotted by Tyrion before his Trial by combat in the Eyrie.  

So, are they just petty lords?  If so, why do they make maps, while some great Lords keeps don't (Stone Hedge, Raventree Hall, or even Ninestars or Newkeep in the Vale)?  

Are they still around?  Are they perhaps fairly new ('Old' Anchor seems to imply a fairly old holdfast...)?  That could explain why no mention of them in the Dance or Blackfyre rebellions, or Andal invasion.  Are they maybe somewhat of a thorn in the side of the Arryns  - like the Boltons, Freys, Reyne's, Florents, Tarbecks?  That could explain why they don't send a suitor after Lysa.   

 

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I believe they were retconned into being a minor house. A Game of Thrones defined the major bannermen of each great house, but in some cases, these major bannermen have since changed. In The World of Ice and Fire, we are also provided a list with all the major bannermen for each great house, with some houses included in AGOT dropped, with others added.

For example, for the Vale, TWOIAF lists the Royces, Waynwoods, Corbrays, Belmores, Graftons, Hunters, Redforts, and Templetons (as well as House Baelish, though this is due to Littlefinger's importance in the story). This list drops the Egens, Herseys, and Melcolms listed in AGOT, while adding the Graftons. Overtime, I believe GRRM intended for the Melcolms to be major bannermen to the Eyrie, but they eventually became forgotten and are no longer considered important. All the houses listed in TWOIAF have proven to have some importance or relevance in the Vale, while the forgotten three have not.

The same thing happens with other regions as well. AGOT includes the Trants for House Baratheon, who have never been mentioned outside Meryn Trant. TWOIAF adds the Ryswells and Dustins to the Starks, as they were only previously given offhand mentions before they became major players following the Red Wedding. AGOT lists the Brooms (Broomes?) which are not included in TWOIAF, nor are they important in the novels. AGOT lists House Vyrwel for the Tyrells, which have only a single mention in The Mystery Knight and are not included in TWOIAF.

The major bannermen of the Tullys, Martells, and Greyjoys has proven more accurate, with some additions.

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While I agree that they were likely retconned/GRRM forgot or changed his mind - that's not entirely what I'm getting at (nor is it as fun).  Even in all the other examples that you cite, there is at least 1 minor mention of a character (past or present) or visual of the house's arms (e.g. Igon Vyrwel is the Captain of Guards at Highgarden, Benedict Broom MAA at Casterly Rock, House Serret colors seen at Battle of the Green Fork and Maidenpool, Hersy at Tyrions trial at the Eyrie).  

So really, even with changes or oversights by GRRM, the Melcolm's seem to be somewhat unique in their complete lack of any mention, yet still having their House Seat appear on sanctioned maps.  They are a 'blank slate' to write about for GRRM/and us to speculate on.  

And of course, GRRM can always write them back in (though maybe he won't).  So, when (or if) he does, what do you think their role would be?  

I'd rule out being a newer house, based on the arms matching the name of their seat, and I'm guessing it's been there a while based on the name.  

At this point, a role of lesser lord or landed Knight might be more probable since the other major houses have all been mentioned.  In that case, being sworn to Runestone seems unlikely, as the houses sworn to them have been frequently mentioned.  Vassals of House Waynwood or Hunter could make sense based on the map, or they could be lesser lords sworn to the Arryn's (similar in stature to a House Locke).  

Or Maybe they were demoted at some point similar to House Swyft.  

If you were writing for GRRM, or had to guess their ultimate role - what would it be?  

 

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25 minutes ago, Lord of Brewtown said:

While I agree that they were likely retconned/GRRM forgot or changed his mind - that's not entirely what I'm getting at (nor is it as fun).  Even in all the other examples that you cite, there is at least 1 minor mention of a character (past or present) or visual of the house's arms (e.g. Igon Vyrwel is the Captain of Guards at Highgarden, Benedict Broom MAA at Casterly Rock, House Serret colors seen at Battle of the Green Fork and Maidenpool, Hersy at Tyrions trial at the Eyrie).  

So really, even with changes or oversights by GRRM, the Melcolm's seem to be somewhat unique in their complete lack of any mention, yet still having their House Seat appear on sanctioned maps.  They are a 'blank slate' to write about for GRRM/and us to speculate on.  

And of course, GRRM can always write them back in (though maybe he won't).  So, when (or if) he does, what do you think their role would be?  

I'd rule out being a newer house, based on the arms matching the name of their seat, and I'm guessing it's been there a while based on the name.  

At this point, a role of lesser lord or landed Knight might be more probable since the other major houses have all been mentioned.  In that case, being sworn to Runestone seems unlikely, as the houses sworn to them have been frequently mentioned.  Vassals of House Waynwood or Hunter could make sense based on the map, or they could be lesser lords sworn to the Arryn's (similar in stature to a House Locke).  

Or Maybe they were demoted at some point similar to House Swyft.  

If you were writing for GRRM, or had to guess their ultimate role - what would it be?  

 

Based on location, they could be bannermen of the Waynwoods. It's probable that the head of House Melcolm is aged or a young lord, explaining why the house is absent from the events in the Vale. It is probable that if House Melcolm is to appear in the series, it will be in The Winds of Winter, especially with the knights of the Vale gathering for a tourney for Sweetrobin.

Perhaps we will finally see a knight of House Melcolm compete in the tourney in an effort to win himself a spot on the Brotherhood of the Winged Knights.

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That the Melcolms never are mentioned at all is somewhat odd, especially since FaB introduced two never before mentioned Vale houses, House Crayne and House Dutton, both of which were significant enough - at this time at least - to involve themselves in a noteworthy fashion in the succession war in the Vale.

I'm reasonably confident that we may meet Craynes and Duttons in the coming tourney at the Gates of the Moon in TWoW (since that may have triggered George's decision to include those houses in FaB) but those Melcolms are nowhere to be found.

The Hersys are nearly equally elusive.

But if one checks the appendices of AGoT many of the houses mentioned there really *are not* the principal houses sworn to the respective houses.

House Seaworth is not even sworn to Dragonstone (Cape Wrath belongs to the Stormlands, and thus to Renly at that point; Davos is just personally in service to Lord Stannis of Dragonstone), and certainly not a lordly or knightly house powerful enough to be numbered among principal houses. The mentioning of the Sunglasses there and the absence of the Masseys is also quite telling.

The same goes for House Baelish as a principal house sworn to the Eyrie. They are not even directly sworn to the Arryns but rather to the Corbrays.

The Santagars don't seem to warrant such a prominent mentioning, either, nor do the Vyrwels (as far as we can tell at that point) and the Swyfts.

House Egen also seems to be somewhat misplaced in the appendix, considering we have, at this point, no reason to believe there is a (powerful) Lord Egen nor a particularly powerful landed knight of that family. 

In the North the Mormonts clearly are not important enough to be a principal house, especially since the Dustins and Ryswell are absent.

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