George R. R. Martin’s world of Westeros consists of many characters and houses that are rich in history. They all have some impact on the overall story that progresses. Each of these Houses has its definite traits. The ongoing HBO show House Of The Dragon (HOTD), the series based on the book Fire And Blood, recently featured three new houses – House Royce, House Dandarrion, and House Strong. In this article, we shall look into the history and details of these houses as mentioned in the books. So, let’s begin.
One of the oldest and most powerful houses of Vale, House Royce of Runestone has sworn to House Arryn. Their seat is the castle Runestone, located on the coast of the narrow sea north of Gulltown. Their sigil consists of Black iron studs on a bronze field, bordered with runes. They have a belief that these ruins make their wearers immune to injury. They also have a cadet branch occupying the non-hereditary seat of the Gates of the Moon, located on the path that leads to the Eyrie. Their house words are – “We Remember”.
The Royces of Runestone are really proud of their heritage and consider themselves to be descent from the First Men. As is popularly believed during the Andal Invasion, the head of House Royce – King Robar II Royce, led and united the First Men of the Vale against the Andals. They then defeated the invaders in numerous battles before forcing them to retreat to the Narrow Sea. House Royce considers the Starks(of House Stark) their kin, due to their shared heritage as descendants of the First Men. The ancient Royces worked extensively with bronze material. The members of House Royce stand out on the battlefield in their all-bronze drip. Their bronze armor and dresses are usually accompanied by numerous inscrutable runes.
At the beginning of episode 5 of HOTD titled “We light the way”, audiences are for the first time introduced to the character of Lady Rhea. However, this introduction is short-lived, as Daemon Targaryen, her husband, seemingly kills her. However, their history goes long back in the books.
In the book, it is mentioned that Rhea Royce is one of the few examples of a woman who serves as the ruling “Lady” of her family and their holdings – the ancestral homestead Runestone in The Vale. Since Rhea’s father Lord Yorbert Royce seemingly had no natural-born sons, so Rhea is her only heir. That is why in 97 AC Queen Alysanne (sister-wife of King Jaehaerys I) arranged for Rhea to marry her grandson Daemon Targaryen.
A vessel house, the House Dandarrion of Blackhaven, swears its fealty to the House Baratheon of Storm’s End. They have their seat at Castle Blackhaven located in the Dornish marches near Boneway, on the passage to Dorne. Their sigil is a forked purple lightning bolt on a black field speckled with four-pointed stars. The head of this house is known as the Lord of Blackhaven.
According to the books, the House Dondarrion was founded by a messenger who brought the word of an impending attack by Dorne to the Storm King. The messenger was attacked by two Dornishmen, but a sudden purple bolt of lightning killed both of them. This allowed the messenger to complete his task, thus the bolt in the sigil. For this, the Storm King raised him to lordship, and he became the first Dondarrion.
One of the noblest houses in the Riverlands, House Strong has its main seat at Harrenhal. Their sigil is a tripartite pale, blue, red, and green, on a white field. The three colors are sometimes shown to be surmounting a fist within a black escutcheon. The three colors represent the three forks of the Trident. They too boast of their descent from the First Men. They were granted the seat of Harrenhal after the extinction of House Towers. Their first mention is with the name of Osmund Strong who served as Hand of the King during the reign of Aegon I Targaryen and oversaw the construction of the wall around King’s Landing.
In the current ongoing HBO show House Of The Dragon, Lord Lyonel Strong, the current head of the family and Lord of Harrenhal, served to King Viserys I Targaryen as Master of Laws from 105 AC (105 years After Aegon’s Conquest). However, after the King dismissed Otto Hightower from his duties, Lord Lyonel Strong succeeded him as the Hand of the King. he has two sons – Ser Harwin Strong aka “Breakbones”, the eldest one, currently serving as captain of the Gold Cloaks; and Larys Strong aka “Clubfoot” as the youngest son. The books further claim that Lyonel and Harwin died in a fire at Harrenhal, and Lyonel’s younger son Larys succeeded as lord. Larys eventually became master of whisperers for Viserys, as well as Lord Confessor. He also eventually sat on the green council of King Aegon II Targaryen.