Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Game of Thrones: House Stark

Obsessed, I am. Absolutely obsessed over this business. Maybe it's because I'm secretly power hungry and virtually every character in the story comes with his or her own variety of power and ability. Or that everyone is amazingly attractive and clever. Or that there are so many scowling, impatient fathers all around that remind me of my own . . . regardless, this story is one of my very, very favorite things, ever.
You should watch or read these (or watch and read them). I give them my highest recommendation.

The book (A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin) comes equipped with an appendix at the end which explains the various houses and families, who inhabits which, and the histories of each---this is invaluable. The show's episodes do a great job explaining as much as they can without seeming overly expository, but the opening credits almost do it better with a map of the realm, emerging buildings sprouting up within it, and labels of the most important points of interest (but no family names). If you watch closely though, the first images shown on the golden sword-like metal surround that continually orbits what is presumably the sun inside it are those of the stag, the lion, the wolf, and the dragon (Houses Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen). Pretty sweet.



My favorite house is Stark of Winterfell.

Blazon: Direwolf
Words: Winter is Coming.
Family: Lord Eddard (Ned), Lady Catelyn, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Brandon, Rickon, and Jon Snow (Ned's bastard son).



1. Ned Stark. HOT. Respected. Friend of King Robert. Receives a promotion he doesn't want; things don't go well. Best moment: refusing to acknowledge the insolent Joffrey as King. That and just being generally kick-ass. I won't spoil anything if you haven't seen or read yet, but his story is one that made me gasp and cry, many times.





2. Catelyn Stark. Mother of five, tolerator of bastard son living among her own children. Must take things into her own hands once the shit starts hitting the proverbial fan, though her children are scattered throughout the realm. Best moment: "In the name of King Robert, I call upon you to seize him . . . " (taking Tyrion the Imp by surprise at the inn).



3. Robb Stark. Oldest child, rather ordinary and uninteresting until those last, "KING OF THE NORTH," exclamations. Best moment: kidnapping (the exceedingly gorgeous) Jaime Lannister.




4. Sansa Stark. Unfortunate betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon (later King Joffrey). Unfortunate situation with her wolf, "Lady." Unfortunate dealings involving her father's mercy before the new king. Best moment: fainting when she realizes what she's done?



5. Arya Stark. Poor at needlepoint, boyish, skilled at swordplay. Seems to have the best relationship with her father, Ned, but is impulsive and defiant to many of her elders. Best moment: thwacking Joffrey with a stick, throwing his sword into the river, and encouraging her direwolf, "Nymeria," to attack him.



6. Brandon Stark. Wall climber, seer of things both in life and in dreams. Unfortunate events befall him after failing to heed his mother's command "no more climbing." Best moment: Bran's direwolf, "Summer," is clearly the most awesome.

7. Rickon Stark. Unimportant thus far, but like Bran, seems to see things others do not. Direwolf named "Shaggydog."

8. Jon Snow. The Hot Bastard, finder of the pack of newborn direwolves later adopted by the family (his is "Ghost,"). Leaves Winterfell to become a protector of The Wall in the far north. Best moment: protecting the overweight cowardly Sam as he attempts to join the brotherhood; "I've never had a friend before." "We're not friends," Jon said. He put a hand on Sam's broad shoulder. "We're brothers."



Pay attention to the wolves, many of the events that come to pass seem to correlate with them.
(I want you and your wolf with us when we ride out beyond that wall tomorrow.)



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