S: A Brief History of the Major Houses of Westeros
BC: The Night's Watch | The Night's Watch is a military order dedicated to holding the Wall, the immense fortification on the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, defending the realms of men from what lies beyond. The order's foundation dates back to the Age of Heroes, at the time when the Others were pushed back. The men of Night's Watch wear only black. When the recruits are considered ready to take the black, they say their vows either in a sept or before a heart tree. The vows are as follows: “ Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all nights to come.
1: House Stark | House Stark of Winterfell is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the principal noble house of The North; many lesser houses are sworn to them. In days of old they ruled as Kings of Winter; since the Targaryen Conquest they have been Wardens of the North. Their seat, Winterfell, is an ancient castle renowned for its strength. Their sigil is a grey direwolf racing across a field of white, and their words are "Winter Is Coming," one of only a few house mottoes to be a warning rather than a boast.
2: House Lannister | House Lannister of Casterly Rock is one of the Great Houses of Seven Kingdoms, and the principal house of the Westerlands. Their seat is Casterly Rock, though another branch exists that is based in nearby Lannisport. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson. Their official motto is "Hear me roar!" However their unofficial motto, equally well known, is "A Lannister always pays his debts." The Lannisters reigned as Kings of the Rock until they fell to the Targaryen conquest, but were allowed to remain the paramount lords of the Westerlands. The House had fallen on hard times during the rule of Tytos, but was restored to its former glory by Tywin. The Lannisters are the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms, due in large part to the many gold mines under their control, despite by no means being the largest kingdom and being rather mountainous.
3: House Targaryen | House Targaryen is a noble family of Valyrian descent that escaped the Doom. They lived for centuries on the island of Dragonstone until Aegon Targaryen and his sisters rode their dragons to the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. House Targaryen ruled as the Kings of Westeros for nearly 300 years, until ousted in the War of the Usurper. Their seats were the capitol city of King's Landing and the island castle of Dragonstone.
4: House Tyrell of Highgarden is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, overlords over the Reach. Highgarden is an ancient seat of rule and the heart of chivalry in the Seven Kingdoms; the Tyrells style themselves 'Defenders of the Marches' and 'High Marshals of the Reach', and traditionally, they have been Wardens of the South. Their sigil is a golden rose on a green field, and their words are "Growing Strong." | House Tyrell
5: House Baratheon of Storm's End is one of the Great Houses of Westeros, and is the principal house in the Stormlands. Its seat, Storm's End, is an ancient castle raised by the Storm Kings. The Baratheon sigil is a crowned black stag on a field of gold. Members of the family tend to be tall and powerfully built, with black hair and blue eyes, as well as strong, square jawlines. They are known for their mercurial tempers, and their words are Ours is the Fury. | House Baratheon
6: House Greyjoy | House Greyjoy of Pyke is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules over the Iron Islands, a harsh and bleak collection of forbidding islands off the west coast of Westeros, from the castle and island of Pyke. Their sigil is a golden kraken on a black field, and their house motto is "We Do Not Sow." Members of the family tend to be attractive and well-built, with black hair.
7: House Martell | House Nymeros Martell of Sunspear is one of the Great Houses of Westeros and the ruling house of Dorne. 'Nymeros' indicates "of the line of Nymeria," but generally it is simply called House Martell. The Martells of old used a spear as their emblem, while Nymeria and the Rhoynar used the sun as theirs. These were combined when Nymeria wed King Mors Martell into a gold spear piercing a red sun on an orange field. Their words are, "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken."
8: House Tully | House Tully of Riverrun, is one of the Great Houses of Seven Kingdoms. The Tullys rule over the Riverlands from their seat at Riverrun. Its current head is Lord Edmure Tully. Their sigil is a silver trout leaping on a blue and red striped field, and their words are "Family, Duty, Honor." Members of the family tend to have auburn hair, high cheekbones, and bright blue eyes.
9: House Arryn of the Eyrie is one of Great Houses of Westeros, and is the principal noble house in the Vale. Their main seat is the Eyrie, but they have many other holdings, including their winter castle at the Gates of the Moon. Both of these fortifications sit astride the Giant's Lance, the tallest mountain in the Vale, and the Eyrie is considered impregnable. Their sigil is a white moon-and-falcon on a sky-blue field, and their words are "As High as Honor." | House Arryn