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History Of House Blackwood, House Bracken, And House Caswell

By Mohit Srivastava
September 28,2022

The world of A song of Ice and Fire, so expertly crafted by George R. R. Martin, consists of many characters and houses rich in their history. Each of these Houses is defined by its specific traits and rules that it abides by. The ongoing HBO show House Of The Dragon (HOTD), has recently mentioned three houses – House Blackwood, House Bracken, and House Caswell. In this article, we shall examine the history and details of these houses as mentioned in the books. So, let’s begin.

House Blackwood

House Blackwood sigil

It is Lord Blackwood’s contention, therefore, that the Brackens moved the boundary stones in the dead of the night and put their horses to graze in his field. – Lyonel Strong (HOTD S1E6)

Once the ruler of Riverlands during the Age of Heroes, House Blackwood of Raventree Hall is sworn to House Tully of Riverrun. They have their seat located in Blackwood vale north of Riverrun and the Red Fork. Their sigil consists of a flock of ravens in a scarlet background surrounding a dead weirwood upon a black escutcheon.  However, in the TV series, the black shield background has been removed for some reason, so the white weirwood tree is directly against the scarlet background.

Claiming to be descended from the First Men, the Blackwoods have an old and bitter rivalry with Brackens of Stone Hedge, their neighbor in Riverlands. During the Age of Heroes, both these houses ruled as Kings. Blackwoods consider Brackens to be petty lords and horse breeders. According to the books, this rivalry further was further sparked when House Bracken converted to the Faith of the Seven. Blackwoods, however, is one of the few major noble Houses outside of the North which continues to worship the Old Gods of the Forest, and never converted to the Faith of The Seven.

House Bracken

House Bracken sigil

Another old house in the Riverlands is the House Bracken of Stone Hedge. They too, like House Blackwoods, are sworn to House Tully of Riverrun. Their sigil is a red stallion upon a golden escutcheon on a brown background. The Bracken lands also lie along the Red Fork of the Trident. They also consider the Blackwoods as their biggest rival. They think that Brackens were the Kings who once ruled Red Fork, but were later usurped by their vassals – the Blackwoods.

Brackens follow the Faith of the Seven, further fueling the enmosity. The books mention a lot of incidents when people tried to settle the dispute between House Brackens and House Blackwood, sealed by marriage. But the feud always managed to restart. However, it is worth noting that, both the houses – Blackwoods and Brackens, fought side-by-side during the War of the Five Kings.

House Caswell

House Caswell sigil

Having their seat at Bitterbridge, House Caswell is another of the many noble houses of Westeros. Their sigil is a yellow centaur with a white backdrop. they are also called the Defender of the Fords. There is another house bearing the same name, but they rule in Pale Pass and hold their fealty to House Grayburn of Brightbank.

In the latest sixth episode of the House of the Dragons, one of the lords of House Caswell asks Rhaenyra if he could be of any service to her. To this, Rhaenyra Targaryen replies that she will let him know of it when the time was right. Those who have read Martin’s work know that at the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, Lord Caswell was among the nobles at court loyal to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. He was even imprisoned for his loyalties. They even fought alongside Rhaenyra in the Battle of the Honeywine. In the battle, their military commander, the bastard Tom Flowers, was killed by Daeron Targaryen’s (the youngest son of Alicent Hightower and Viserys Targaryen) dragon Tessarion.