When it comes to the fierce Houses of Westeros, House Mormont of Bear Island definitely lands among the top contenders. Although they are one of the smallest houses, they are a proud one.
The residents of Bear Island are some of the toughest and most unwavering people in the Seven Kingdoms of Game of Thrones. Not only have they had to deal with constant Ironborn and Wildling attacks, but they have had to deal with the harsh climate of the North. The most recent ruler of Bear Island is Lady Lyanna Mormont, who is also famously known as “The Young She-Bear”. Lyanna is the only Mormont left on Bear Island to hold regency of the land, and the young Lady carries herself with a rigid composure and ferocity worthy of the Mormont name.
Although viewers have become familiar with Lord Commander Jeor Mormont and Ser Jorah, not a whole lot else has been revealed about the small house in the show, leaving a shroud of mystery surrounding them. So take a deeper dive into Westeros with these 16 Things You Never Knew About House Mormont.
16. It’s one of a handful of houses that has a ancestral Valyrian steel sword – and they gave it away
The Valyrian steel sword that House Mormont had carried for over five centuries had previously belonged to Ser Jorah, who had left it behind on Bear Island when he had fled from Westeros into exile. Not long after, Jeor’s sister Maege brought the sword to the Lord Commander at Castle Black, where it remained until he gifted it to his steward, Jon Snow.
We don’t know very much about the history of the sword other than that Jorah (honorably) left it behind for his father to find a worthier heir to pass it on to. The ancestral blade originally had a pommel that was carved into the shape of a bear, but Jeor had it reconstructed into a direwolf to better fit its new owner. It’s widely believed that now that Jon Snow is King in The North, he will make Longclaw the new ancestral heirloom of House Stark – assuming he makes it through the next season or so alive, anyway.
15. How the Mormonts acquired Bear Island
Bear Island is the home to one of the strongest warrior cultures throughout all of the Seven Kingdoms. Legend has it that the last acquisition of Bear Island occurred when King Rodrik Stark won the island from a lesser Ironborn king in a wrestling match. King Rodrik has been said to have immediately gifted it to their loyal bannermen from House Mormont, which has kept it ever since. (Not that any other house would ever really want Bear Island, with its harsh climate and lack of resources). This gift from the Starks had earned the eternal loyalty from the Mormonts, which has lasted up to the rule of Jon Snow.
14. Jorah fought the Targaryens at the most important battle in recent memory
Fans have long known that Ser Jorah Mormont was a seasoned war veteran. Years before meeting and falling in love with the Mother of Dragons, Jorah became the official Lord of Bear Island sometime around the time of Robert’s Rebellion. It was a tumultuous time for Jorah to step into this new role, as the great northern houses all rallied around Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon in their rebellion against the Mad King.
Jorah loyally answered the call to his Lord and went to war, and after a string of victorious battles, the war came to a head at the Trident, one of the largest rivers in all of Westeros. This is where the famous battle between Rhaegar Targaryen and Robert Baratheon took place, as well as where Rhaegar, the beloved heir to the Iron Throne, was killed. Jorah Mormont was present for it all, as he used his skills in combat to help the rebels turn the tide of the war in their favor.
13. The women of House Mormont are trained warriors
There are many groups of fighters throughout the world of Westeros that would not be smart to mess with, from the cannibalistic Thenns to the wild Dothraki – and the women of House Mormont undoubtedly make the list. The culture of the women on Bear Island is one facaspector of this small house that sets them apart from the others. Due to the consistent attacks from the Ironborn and Wildlings, as well as the great losses they’ve suffered to the men on the island, Bear Island began teaching their women how to use weapons and armor early on in their rule.
In fact, they became so well known for their fierce women and general warrior culture that on their gate to Mormont Keep, they had a carving of a woman in a bearskin with a child in one arm, suckling at her breast, and a battle ax in the other. The show also makes it obvious that these women are not to be trifled with.
12. Their house sigil and motto
House Mormont has a sigil that is more fitting towards their culture than most houses in Westeros: the bear. It is officially described as “a rampant black bear on a white field, surrounded by a green escutcheon“. To make that easier to visualize, remember the shield that Jon Snow uses to defend himself from Ramsay Bolton’s arrows? That had House Mormont’s sigil on it. Once again, the Mormonts had House Stark’s back in their hour of need.
Their house motto is simple and to the point – “Here We Stand” – perfectly describing their stubborn, unwavering nature. They donned this short but sweet motto after being gifted Bear Island from House Stark.
Suddenly, Jorah’s fearless takedown of that ice zombie bear in “Beyond the Wall” makes a lot more sense.
11. Bear Island’s stronghold is…unimpressive
A dreary stronghold on an even more dreary island, Mormont Keep is definitely not the crown jewel of House Mormont. It’s probably not a popular vacation getaway for any Lord in Westeros, either; Mormont Keep on Bear Island is the perfect visual representation of the struggle of living so isolated from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Built mostly out of wood as well as cut into a hill, their stronghold is very primitive compared to other keeps, mostly because of the lack of resources on the island.
Aside from Ironborn reavers and Wildling raiders, Bear Island has never had any other real threats or invasions, so making a full stone keep probably wasn’t a priority. Viewers learn from season 6 of the show that the number of inhabitants of the small island is dwindling, making it very unlikely that they have the numbers to venture into other lands for more resources even if they wanted to fortify their HQ.
10. Jorah really defied the odds with that whole Greyscale thing
We were all surprised to see that Ser Jorah Mormont had already made his way to the Citadel by the beginning of season 7. Even more surprising was the state that Ser Jorah was in since his trip from Essos, as his entire upper body was now fully encased by the infectious disease. As the season starts, we see he’s given notice by the Archmaester that his final days are closing in. It seemed the end of Ser Jorah.
However, after hours in the Citadel came a knock on his door. Sam Tarly had gone to Jorah’s cell with the intent to try an unpracticed procedure that could potentially heal him (it could also have led to a devastating outbreak of the affliction, but we’ll let that slide). In one of the most excruciatingly brutal scenes in the entire series, we see Sam begin the experimental process. Against all odds (Greyscale is widely considered a death sentence), the noob surgeon successfully cured Jorah of his debilitating disease.
9. Could Tormund be Lyanna’s father?
One of the more popular fan theories out there involves two of our most beloved characters, Lyanna Mormont and Tormund Giantsbane. The theory goes that Tormund, a known legend among the free folk for the tale of the time that he drunkenly mated with a bear, may actually be Lady Lyanna’s father.
The idea is that perhaps Tormund made his way to the island and somehow drunkenly mated with Lyanna’s mother and impregnated her. The theory continues, stating he took the fact that he mated with a Mormont of Bear Island and exaggerated it, making it an actual wild bear in his story. Lyanna’s father is not known in the story, making this theory even more believable. In the books, Alysane Mormont claims that House Mormont are a band of skin-changers, being able to transform into bears who then go into the woods to find mates. We’re…definitely rooting for this one.
8. Jeor’s Dying Wish
Jeor Mormont’s death had only one notable difference from the TV series to the books: his dying words. Chaos erupts in Craster’s Keep when some of the Night’s Watch brothers begin to antagonize Craster for not giving them more food, and Craster is subsequently killed in the scuffle.
During the chaos, Jeor Mormont is betrayed by the same brothers and is stabbed to death, choking on his own blood in an entirely undeserved double cross. He doesn’t have much to say while this happens on screen, but in the book version, Samwell Tarly is there to hear his dying words. Jeor tells Sam to send word to his son Jorah that he forgives him of his crimes and wants him to go to Castle Black and become a brother of the Night’s Watch, relieving him of his life in exile.
7. Jorah is horrendously unlucky when it comes to love
Daenerys Targaryen was not the first love of Ser Jorah Mormont. His first marriage was set up by his father to a young Lady from House Glover. While they were married for over ten years, they were never able to have children, and she died from a miscarriage during their third attempt at conceiving.
Soon after, Jorah met his second wife, Lynesse Hightower, but their happiness didn’t last long. Jorah drove himself and his house into financial ruin trying to provide her the lavish lifestyle she had lived before marrying. This led to his decision to sell poachers to a group of Tyroshi slavers, forcing Jorah and his beloved into exile (Ned Stark would have taken their head, otherwise). Not long after moving to Lys, Lynesse met a merchant prince and became his lover. The prince told Jorah he would be enslaved unless he left the country and his wife, thus ending his second marriage.
6. House Mormont is ruled by women
Ever since Ser Jorah Mormont entered his life of exile, House Mormont has been ruled by the only family members he has left, which consists of all women. Regency of the land was initially taken over by Maege Mormont, the youngest sister of Jeor Mormont. She worked hard to regain her house’s honor as well as restore it from near poverty after Jorah left, before answering Robb Stark’s call to war.
Maege disregarded the tradition of bastard children, as no one ever knew who the father of her daughters was, or if she ever got married at all. She made it clear that her daughters were to take the Mormont surname and follow in her footsteps of being strong, independent women – all of which were more than capable of leading this great house.
5. A Mormont was at the Red Wedding
One of the most memorable and heartbreaking events to occur during the series was, of course, the Red Wedding. Robb Stark had brought his army and bannermen to The Twins, where he attempted to salvage a broken promise he had made to Walder Frey, but the Northmen were betrayed and slaughtered by their supposed allies.
Dacey Mormont, the eldest daughter of Maege Mormont, was also present at the Red Wedding. She was a member of Robb’s Kingsguard and actually shares in Robb’s last dance. When the chaos ensues, she manages to fend off Ser Benfrey Frey by crushing a mug of ale in his face before being gutted by an axe.
4. Two key Mormonts are still alive…in the books
Although they have very small roles in the TV series, Maege and Alysane Mormont are still very much alive in the books.
The last time we see Maege is in A Storm of Swords, when both Galbart Glover and Maege are given orders by Robb Stark to take ships to Seagard. Fast forward to A Dance With Dragons, and we see Alysane Mormont (Maege’s second daughter), who is with Asha Greyjoy – (Yara’s book counterpart). Making an uneasy alliance with Stannis Baratheon, Alysane decides to march on Winterfell with his army and is appointed as one of Asha Greyjoy’s guards.
3. Why Jeor Mormont gave up his claim of Bear Island
The Lords of Westeros were surprised to learn that Lord Jeor Mormont had given up his claim to Lordship of House Mormont to ride north to The Wall and take the Black. More often than not, in the modern era, this life of servitude was reserved for thieves or murderers, as it was usually deemed a punishment to most people. For a nobleman of a great house to willingly give up his Lordship for such a thing was unheard of.
Jeor Mormont was not like any other Lord in Westeros, of course. The reasoning for his self-imposed exile to The Wall was that he understood that The Night’s Watch had diminished greatly over the centuries, in men and reputation, and was set on restoring that. He also understood better than anybody the rising threat of the Wildling Army.
2. Jorah was knighted by King Robert after the Siege of Pyke
One of the first Lords to answer the call to war during the Greyjoy Rebellion was Lord Jorah Mormont of Bear Island.
With the culmination of Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, and Mormont forces (as well as others), it did not take long for the castle of Pyke to be overrun. When part of the southern wall was destroyed, Ser Jorah Mormont and Thoros of Myr were the first two men to advance through the breach. Before long, the Ironborn were completely defeated and Balon Greyjoy was forced to surrender.
He was given the choice to swear eternal loyalty to House Baratheon or die. To ensure his continued loyalty, King Robert took his son, Theon, and gave him to Lord Eddard Stark to be held as a hostage/ward. For their bravery during the battle, both Thoros (who was blackout drunk during the siege, apparently) and Jorah were knighted by King Robert.
1. Lyanna Mormont was named after Lyanna Stark
House Mormont’s loyalty to House Stark in Game of Thrones is one of the most unwavering loyalties we have seen throughout the series. It’s so embedded, in fact, that Maege Mormont named her youngest daughter after Lyanna Stark.
Described by many as “the wolf blood” and beautiful “with iron underneath“, anyone could recognize the reason why Maege Mormont decided to name her youngest after the famous Lady Lyanna. Even though Lady Stark was never allowed to wield a sword, she was very much a warrior. While young Lyanna Mormont may not be of the same caliber of beauty as her, she definitely carries the same resilience and fire as she did, and the young Lady of Bear Island would be the first to point it out.
There is also a small irony in the fact that we now know that a Lyanna gave life to Jon Snow, and a Lyanna made him King.
What else should fans know about House Mormont? Let us know in the comments.
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