The much-anticipated premiere of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night on HBO (read our official review of the pilot HERE). The series follows George R. R. Martin’s dense fantasy novel series very closely, meaning that it can be a real headache sorting through all the characters’ relations and allegiances.
To that end, Screen Rant has compiled a family tree for the main Houses of Westeros to help viewers get their bearings. The infographic, which we’re calling “Westeros 101″, covers the five houses introduced in the pilot, wherein most of the events in Game of Thrones‘ freshman season will take place.
PLEASE NOTE: This isn’t a complete listing of the houses and characters in Game of Thrones - there simply isn’t any practical way to display all that information at once. The families of Baratheon, Lannister, Targaryen, Stark and Arryn are represented. On the plus side, the image is SPOILER-FREE.
The information in the graphic was current and correct at of the time of the Game of Thrones premiere, however that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. You can bet that people will start dying quickly, and without spoiling any of the upcoming episodes, not all of the information shown may be technically accurate.
Here’s the graphic for your viewing pleasure. Click for a high-resolution version:
A note to those who’ve read the Song of Ice and Fire novels: a few details have been changed. So far, most of the children are slightly older, and a few names have been tweaked (like Robert/Robin Arryn) to help viewers distinguish between characters.
HBO has compiled a short history of each House:
The Stark family traces its lineage back to the First Men, who landed in Westeros more than 10,000 years ago and eventually forged a lasting peace with the continent’s druidic natives, the Children of the Forest. The Starks still worship the Old Gods of their forbears at the heart tree in Winterfell, one of the last vestiges of their faith on Westeros. The Starks ruled as kings in the north (beginning with Bran the Builder, who erected the Wall) until the Targaryen conquest.
Their Words: “Winter Is Coming”
The House of Baratheon was founded after the conquest of Aegon Targaryen, by the conqueror’s general (and rumored bastard brother) Orys Baratheon. The blood of the Storm Kings – a line of royals dating back to the Age of Heroes – has run through the Baratheon line ever since Orys killed the final Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant, and took his daughter as a wife. Recently, following Robert’s Rebellion, the Baratheons seized the Iron Throne from the Mad King Aerys Targaryen and have ruled the Seven Kingdoms since.
Their Words: “Ours Is the Fury”
The Lannisters descend in part from a group of Andal adventurers who invaded Westeros more than 6,000 years ago and settled at Casterly Rock. The Andals married the daughters of the King of the Rock (an ancestor of Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster who acquired the Rock through his wiles during the Age of Heroes). The Lannisters ruled as kings in their realm until the Targaryens brought dragons to conquer the continent, placing all the lords of Westeros under control of the Iron Throne.
Their Words: “Hear Me Roar”
The Targaryens came to Westeros from the ancient civilization of Valyria, bringing dragons from the eastern continent and settling on the island of Dragonstone in the Narrow Sea. After an unknown disaster known as the Doom of Valyria wiped out their ancestral homeland and killed most of the world’s dragons, the Targaryens invaded the mainland of Westeros. Aegon the Conqueror ruled from King’s Landing, where his family lived on for generations, marrying brother to sister to preserve “the blood of the dragon.”
Their Words: “Fire and Blood”
Located in the Vale, the Arryns serve as wardens of the East. The Arryns’ ancestry lies in the first Andals to arrive in Westeros. According to lore, the knight Ser Artys Arryn took the Vale from the First Men, fighting from the back of a giant falcon.
Their Words: “As High As Honor”
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9PM on HBO.
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