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Corvo the Crow

Hidden Houses of Westeros

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Catelyn recognized Bryce Caron's nightingales, the Penrose quills, and Lord Estermont's sea turtle, green on green. Yet for every shield she knew, there were a dozen strange to her, borne by the small lords sworn to the bannermen, and by hedge knights and freeriders who had come swarming to make Renly Baratheon a king in fact as well as name.

As Catelyn mentions, throughout the series there are houses we get see but don’t get to learn the names of.

Below are some of these hidden houses, what are some others you’ve noticed?

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She saw a half-dressed girl burst from a tent laughing, but the tent was pale blue, not grey like she'd thought at first, and the man who went running after her wore a treecat on his doublet, not a wolf. 

 

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Next came Ser Horas Redwyne's turn. He fared better than his twin, vanquishing an elderly knight whose mount was bedecked with silver griffins against a striped blue-and-white field. Splendid as he looked, the old man made a poor contest of it. Joffrey curled his lip. "This is a feeble show."

Ran mentioned once that this guy was supposed to be from House Staunton or a cadet of it.

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On 3/27/2019 at 1:43 PM, Corvo the Crow said:

As Catelyn mentions, throughout the series there are houses we get see but don’t get to learn the names of.

Below are some of these hidden houses, what are some others you’ve noticed?

 

Ran mentioned once that this guy was supposed to be from House Staunton or a cadet of it.

Treecat on doublet is House Myatt of the Westerlands, I believe.

 

But the second, no clue.

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1 hour ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

Treecat on doublet is House Myatt of the Westerlands, I believe.

 

But the second, no clue.

No, this house must be from RL or North since it’s seen near Twins shortly before RW  and likely with a blue background. It’s a house with no name given.

Same for the second one, it’s during Joffrey’s nameday, so likely from Crownlands, or some “guest” like the Redwynes.

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18 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

No, this house must be from RL or North since it’s seen near Twins shortly before RW  and likely with a blue background. It’s a house with no name given.

Same for the second one, it’s during Joffrey’s nameday, so likely from Crownlands, or some “guest” like the Redwynes.

Yeah no way to tell 100% I guess, even the Wiki says so.

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A Storm of Swords

Arya sports a man with a treecat on his doublet in the camps around the Twins during the Red Wedding.[3] It is unknown if he is a Myatt or from an unrelated house with a similar sigil.

I'll keep my eye out for more.

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2 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

No, this house must be from RL or North since it’s seen near Twins shortly before RW  and likely with a blue background. It’s a house with no name given.

Same for the second one, it’s during Joffrey’s nameday, so likely from Crownlands, or some “guest” like the Redwynes.

It's possible it's a Myatt sworn to the Frey's or Tully's I guess. We have seen this before with younger sons leaving their families liege to go swear to someone else; Raymond Nayland is sworn to Renly but is from the Riverlands and the same for Robar Royce, Aron Santagar sworn to Baratheon rather than Martell, Brynden Tully going to the Vale. Maybe the blue background was his own personal adjustment to the sigil?

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Four White Harbor knights had formed a ring around Lord Wyman, as Maester Medrick labored over him to staunch his bleeding. "First you must needs come through us, ser," said the eldest of them, a hard-faced greybeard whose bloodstained surcoat showed three silvery mermaids upon a violet field. (ADWD Theon I)

 

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"The dray was stabled here when the wife and me come on the inn," the man said, "along with the one you just ate. The gelding come wandering up one night, and the boy caught the palfrey running free, still saddled and bridled. Here, I'll show you."

The saddle he showed them was decorated with silver inlay. The saddlecloth had originally been checkered pink and black, but now it was mostly brown. Jaime did not recognize the original colors, but he recognized bloodstains easily enough. "Well, her owner won't be coming to claim her anytime soon." (ASOS Jaime II)

 

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On 3/29/2019 at 12:17 AM, Legitimate_Bastard said:

Yeah no way to tell 100% I guess, even the Wiki says so.

I'll keep my eye out for more.

 

On 3/29/2019 at 2:45 AM, Adam Yozza said:

It's possible it's a Myatt sworn to the Frey's or Tully's I guess. We have seen this before with younger sons leaving their families liege to go swear to someone else; Raymond Nayland is sworn to Renly but is from the Riverlands and the same for Robar Royce, Aron Santagar sworn to Baratheon rather than Martell, Brynden Tully going to the Vale. Maybe the blue background was his own personal adjustment to the sigil?

Well, now that you guys mention, it could be some Myatt seeking his fortunes, we even have a Clifton(vassals to Farmans) member serving loyally to Stannis and they are from Westerlands. 

We have houses with branches in more than one region as well, Parrens who were in both Reach and Westerlands. But treecat is too common an animal for a sigil to say it’s a Myatt for certain. 

 

@Nittanian

Good catches! When I first noticed that Manderly serving knight he immediately struck me; he’s obviously the descendant of a Woolfield man- Manderly woman marriage  that perhaps got landed for some service. Never noticed the second one.

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23 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

We have houses with branches in more than one region as well, Parrens who were in both Reach and Westerlands. But treecat is too common an animal for a sigil to say it’s a Myatt for certain

That was an error that got corrected. Now they are only from the westerlands.

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On 3/31/2019 at 5:25 AM, The Wondering Wolf said:

That was an error that got corrected. Now they are only from the westerlands.

Also not quite accurate I think? There is a Parren and a Perryn, both extinct, one from Riverlands, one from Westerlands. 

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But yea overall, I would say 90% of the sigils we encounter that we do not, as readers, recognize are probably small landed knights/freeriders who have made their own sigils. I am more intrigued by houses whose home region we do not know, or houses we've been introduced to in the past that do not factor into ASOIAF series and we do not know their current status. Those being:

Belgrave, Sweet, Goode, Leek, Blackberry, Cupps, Farrow, Greenhill, Penny, Potter, Rankenfell, Ruskyn, Sawyer, Suggs, Waeatherwax, Mandrake, Strickland, etc., etc. 

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1 minute ago, Hammers1895 said:

But yea overall, I would say 90% of the sigils we encounter that we do not, as readers, recognize are probably small landed knights/freeriders who have made their own sigils. I am more intrigued by houses whose home region we do not know, or houses we've been introduced to in the past that do not factor into ASOIAF series and we do not know their current status. Those being:

Belgrave, Sweet, Goode, Leek, Blackberry, Cupps, Farrow, Greenhill, Penny, Potter, Rankenfell, Ruskyn, Sawyer, Suggs, Waeatherwax, Mandrake, Strickland, etc., etc. 

House Weatherwax is presently ruled by an elderly lady called Esmerelda. It is known. ;)

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49 minutes ago, Hammers1895 said:

Also not quite accurate I think? There is a Parren and a Perryn, both extinct, one from Riverlands, one from Westerlands. 

What exactly do you consider inaccurate there?

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On 4/19/2019 at 3:22 PM, The Wondering Wolf said:

What exactly do you consider inaccurate there?

I misunderstood. Thought previous comments were confusing Parren and Perryn, not the location of Parren.

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On 3/29/2019 at 9:38 AM, Nittanian said:

"The dray was stabled here when the wife and me come on the inn," the man said, "along with the one you just ate. The gelding come wandering up one night, and the boy caught the palfrey running free, still saddled and bridled. Here, I'll show you."

The saddle he showed them was decorated with silver inlay. The saddlecloth had originally been checkered pink and black, but now it was mostly brown. Jaime did not recognize the original colors, but he recognized bloodstains easily enough. "Well, her owner won't be coming to claim her anytime soon." (ASOS Jaime II)

Checkers in sigils are a symbol that can be deciphered, I think. Or, at least, we can make some educated guesses. Matching them to a specific House might be difficult or impossible, but the author has included these kinds of clues for a reason.

Brainstorming ASOIAF checkers, I would suggest the following associations:

  • Checkers as part of the central "Game" of Thrones metaphor. A successful player of checkers moves a piece to the other side of the board and says, "King me." This seems like a good game to include among the many games GRRM has built into the books.
  • In wordplay analysis, I would link checkers to cheeks, especially because of the word "chequy" that GRRM uses in his Westeros stories. This brings in Biter taking a chunk out of Brienne's cheek and Gregor burning Sandor's cheek. In turn, I think cheeks are linked to peaches (through sensory associations, not wordplay, and because GRRM often links body parts to various fruits), so we could take a look at Renly's famous peach-eating scene and Robert's illegitimate daughter, Bella, living and working at a brothel / inn called The Peach. Another kind of cheek is the butt cheek that has recently started to come into focus for me. At this point, my best guess about the symbolism is that checkers are a literal game and can often be played on a symbolic level or, perhaps, through marriage where no one has to die to "win" power. (Except that someone always seems to die at ASOIAF wedding feasts.) By contrast, cheeks and butt cheeks seem to be physically used or sacrificed in the struggle for power: Jon Snow and Ygritte reveal their butt cheeks to each other shortly before the wildlings launch their sneak attack on Castle Black, but Jon Snow betrays the wildlings and warns the Night's Watch which is able to repel the attack. And we know that Brienne and Sandor each lose a cheek in their conflicts with monsters.
  • The fool Patchface has a red and green checkered tattoo on his face. I think this may link back to the marriage-related use of checkers. Steffon Baratheon had been sent to Essos to find a bride for Rhaegar. He does not find a bride but instead finds a delightful fool that he likes so much, he writes home to tell his family that he's bringing home this marvelous entertainer. Of course, we know that Steffon dies before reaching home and Patchface washes up after (apparently) drowning. After this drowning, the cheerful fool described in Steffon's letter turns out to be a creepy, cryptic guy but the Baratheons keep him around anyway. Could the red and green checkers provide a hint about the symbolism of Patchface? My guess would be that he symbolizes Robert's monarchy. The tattoo might represent The Green Lands (identified by Aeron Greyjoy when he accuses Theon of becoming part of that culture) and red blood, foreshadowing the upheaval that will ensue after Robert and others overthrow the Targaryens. Not coincidentally, Renly is associated with green (his armor, his marriage cloak, House Tyrell) and Stannis is associated with red (R'Hllor). (It's possible that Patchface's red checkers also symbolize Robert's eventual alliance with the Lannisters, but the color associated with the Lannisters is almost always described as crimson. I think GRRM is trying to draw distinctions among types of red. If a Lannister association is intended, he will use the word crimson.)

(Dunk & Egg spoilers in the following paragraph.)

  • Our best clue about checkers in a sigil may come from the Dunk & Egg stories, where Ser Eustace Osgrey obsesses over the glorious past of the Chequy Lion (green and gold on white) and the ownership of the chequy water. Ser Eustace ends up with Rohanne Webber, who is collecting sigils and colors through intermarriage. Reading into the symbolism, I would say that Rohanne acquires green (Garth Greenhands symbolism, associated with House Gardner and other house occupying Highgarden, but defended by Osgreys as castellans for The Reach) and gold (associated with the precious metal and with wealth, strongly linked to Casterly Rock) by hooking up with Ser Eustace. The checkered green and gold are the colors Lady Rohanne had most longed for since early days, when she fell in love with the son of Ser Eustace. The son was dead and "berried," but she settled for Ser Eustace when time was running out and he filled a pressing need. (Green and gold are also featured in a famous Robert Frost poem. We know that GRRM draws on Robert Frost for inspiration, as Frost also wrote the poem called Fire and Ice.)
  • Another checkered sigil is House Payne, with white and purple checkers and gold coins. The gold coins really make this sigil look like a checker board. Looking at all of the checkered sigils might help to reveal deeper meaning in the author's use of checkers in the books.

So what could be the meaning behind a riderless horse with a bloody pink and black saddle blanket? The strongest association with pink in a sigil is House Bolton. Black is associated with the Night's Watch. I suspect this saddle blanket is a symbol of Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton coming into conflict. It could be foreshadowing or a follow up to past events, depending whether the conflict is over Winterfell or fArya or revenge for the Red Wedding. It could be all of the above - I think Ramsay and Jon were destined to be rivals when GRRM created only two characters with the surname Snow. But the "bridle" on the horse could emphasize the conflict over Ramsay's bride. In the Game of Thrones, Ramsay and Jon are playing a checkers match with high stakes.

What Jaime discovers is that neither the pink or black is visible, in the end: the dried blood has turned the checkered fabric brown. And no one gets to keep the valuable female horse - the riders both lose; bloodshed wins. (The horse ends up in the stable of an innkeeper because inns are sort of transitional nodes between worlds. But that's a story for another thread.)

tl;dr

I realize the central goal of this thread is to collect references to mysterious minor Houses and their sigils. I guess my larger point is that some of these mysterious sigils or colors are included not because GRRM wanted to randomly populate the story with as many minor lordlings or hedge knights as he could conjure in his imagination: the colors and sigils carry a deeper meaning that has bearing on the storylines. Each time he mentions a bannerman, house or sigil, whether he provides a name and location or not, the author is dropping a clue for us about something to do with the major characters.

The minor sigil I most want to understand is the hedgehog. In their private conversation in the Winterfell crypt, Robert tells Ned that his sigil should be a hedgehog. GRRM has given us House Wode with a hedgehog sigil, so this would not qualify as one of your hidden houses. But it seems significant that Robert would suggest this sigil for Ned, especially during that important early conversation. I have some ideas, but nothing definite about Robert's suggestion.

Edited by Seams

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