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The Symbolism of House Gardener in the Lore of ASOIAF

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I’ve been reading up on House Gardener a bit, and I can’t really find anything that bad in the history we know of. Aside from a few Kings being killed by Ironborn. For the most part they seem like good rulers ruling a land full of meadows, farmland, and prosperous ports. They seem like the ideal fantasy rulers. And they are brought to a fiery end by the dragonspawn.

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They enabled House Peake and even had the Peakes push House Manderly out of the Reach. 

Also everyone went to war a lot back then, Gardener Kings more than likely declared wars of aggression on Dorne, The Westerlands, the Stormlands, and whoever was ruling at the time around the God's Eye and Blackwater Rush.

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Well, I actually agree and I personally see the Gardeners as the prototype fabled rulers. The House is founded by the mythical figure supposed to be the High King of the First Men, who in turn had so many heirs that half of the houses descend by his children and grandchildren. Many of them are competent rulers as far as we know, and live in the Reach, surely the most typical fantasy setting, a green land with prosper fields and harbors, knights, tourneys, the home of Westerosi chivalry, Highgarden itself resembling a typical fantasy castle.

The House counts lots of great warriors, like Garth V and Gyles I, as well as great leaders and rulers, like Garth VII, who defeated the Dornishmen, the Ironborn and Durrandon-Lannister alliance, thus creating the Shield Island and 75 years of peace for the Reach people.

Then the Three Sage Kings, who decided not to fight but to assimilate, a wise tactic which enabled the Gardeners and the Reach to become the centre of the Faith and knigthood in Westeros, with the foundation of the Order of the Green Hand.

After Garth X and the civil war between Peakes and Manderlys, the power started to crumble. Mern VI was probably one of the last, if not the last, capable kings, but all his descendant, cousins of the main branch, weren't as good. The two worst things were Perceon III ruling in favour of the Peakes and banishing the Manderlys away from the Reach, and Mern IX, who was so stupid to face a dragon assault on open field.

Their major flaws were, apart for the two aforementionoed, similar to any other lords, so just constant warring, with some ample peace time in the middle though.

Considering they still have a strong legacy in Westeros (some coins from the Gardeners, the hands, can still be found and used, many houses claim descendant from Garth Greenhand to claim Highgarden, like the Florents, the Peakes, the Hightowers etc, the Manderlys still being members of the OotGH and the Reach still being seen as a peak in Westeros) I'd say their purpose in the story is probably that of picturing the legendary fantasy heroes along with the extensive mythology from the North and the Iron Islands.

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