Heraldry is a source of pride and identity that can create a strong family bond. Nowhere will you find a more vibrant example of those heraldic family bonds in action than on HBO’s television series, Game of Thrones.
The show and its characters are fantasy (the presence of dragons should give that away). But the novels on which they are based, written by George R. R. Martin, were inspired in many ways by life in medieval Europe. The plot lines echo historical conflicts of that era, with powerful kings and their armies battling to preserve dynasties and extend bloodlines, and to etch their names into history.
A gold lion on a crimson field, with lions being a symbol of both pride and power, and gold representing wealth and high status.
Blazon: Gules, a lion or
Thanks to Martin’s rich writing and HBO’s high production quality, the depictions of the families that comprise Game of Thrones are accurately detailed even down to the heraldry. While the families are fictional, the family crests used in the series are a simplified version of actual historical heraldry. And the honor and pride with which the family banners are carried resonates with historical accuracy as well.
In the Game of Thrones realm, each of the seven royal kingdoms and the noble houses within them identify themselves through distinct heraldic colors, symbols and mottos. The colors and element chosen to be used in those coats of arms are bound by strict heraldic rules. Just as it was in history, these symbols served as a sort of “logo” by which a family was identified. Not unlike corporate branding today, these heraldic symbols were a mark of endorsement of the family’s value and nobility. The soldiers in their armies identify each other through the heraldic symbols and use them to declare allegiance to the families they serve.
House Baratheon of Dragonstone
A stag placed in a crimson flaming heart on a field of gold.
Blazon: Or, a heart gules inflamed proper charged with a stag’s head sable crowned of the field.
A red dragon on a black field, taking artistic liberty in this fictional universe, representing the elemental fury of a dragon’s fire.
Blazon: Sable, a dragon thrice-headed gules.
Other examples of Heraldry in Game of Thrones
- House Tully: A silver fish with a red and blue background
- House Baelish: A mockingbird on a yellow field, for the character Petyr Baelish who relies on trading secrets and information in the way a mockingbird imitates the songs of other birds
- House Baratheon: A stag on a yellow field, perhaps representing the love of hunting.
It is traditional for a coat of arms is accompanied by a family motto. This holds true for the heraldry of Game of Thrones as well. Some examples from the series include:
- House Arryn: “As High As Honor”
- House Baratheon: “Ours is the fury!”
- House Greyjoy: “We Do Not Sow”
- House Lannister: “Hear Me Roar!” – although their unofficial motto (“A Lannister always pays his debts”) is much more popular with fans
- House Targaryn: “Fire and Blood”
- House Tully: “Family, Duty, Honor”
- House Stark, a little detached from reality but ominously infused with Hollywood drama: “Winter is Coming”
A grey direwolf on a white field, representing passion and fierce loyalty. The white background represent the snow of their northern domain.
Blazon: A running grey direwolf, on an ice-white field.
Rose of gold on a field of green.
Blazon: Vert, a rose or.
A white falcon and moon on a blue field, perhaps representing wisdom and honor.
Blazon: Azure, upon a bezant argent a falcon volant of the field, moon in sinister base point.
In the end, Game of Thrones heraldry is a bit exaggerated and oversimplified for the purposes of fiction. But the spirit, significance and sense of identity associated with heraldry is as real on Game of Thrones as it was in history and still is today.
To what family can you trace your roots? What true stories have been etched in your bloodlines? And how would you like your legacy to preserved moving forward?
We are here to guide you through the establishment of your own Family Crest adhering to the same rules going back over 900-years to the Crusades. Please Contact us today!
All of the amazing renditions of the Family Crests are the creation of Nataly Rekuz(varvara64).