“Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros” – A Review

noble houses

Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros Seasons 1-5 is coming soon, just in time for the holidays. The new book comes from the makers of Game of Thrones: In Memoriam (out earlier this year). The book aims to help viewers stay on top of who is who on Game of Thrones, with complete family trees and more, creating an essential companion guide to the series. Luckily, we’ve got our hands on a review copy, courtesy of publishers Running Press, for an early look.

So how does the newest addition to the official HBO line of products measure up? Let’s break it down.

The Style: The beautifully bound book is stamped with Great House sigils on the front cover, exactly as shown above. (Might I say how nice it is to see both Baratheon branches recognized, with their different sigils?) The back cover holds a map of Westeros, a map which will reappear in closeup throughout the book to guide readers through different Houses and their associated regions. In terms of aesthetics, this is a very attractive coffee table book packed with high-quality color photographs from Game of Thrones. In addition to the functional purpose of The Noble Houses of Westeros, the book has been put together with the eye for elegant detail the show is known for.

The Content: The book is broken down into twelve sections, with areas focusing on Houses Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Greyjoy, Tyrell, Frey, Arryn, Tully, Bolton, Martell and the two branches of Baratheons- the Stannis side and King Tommen’s branch. Each section depicts the House’s sigil, home and family tree, contains historical info and character profiles, and photographs of their weapons, costumes, and more.

Since the book is up to date, some of the info is quite useful. I tweeted about one of the tidbits already and that news made the rounds- the book confirms that Stannis was killed by Brienne in season 5. There’s also a confirmation of Myrcella’s death in her father’s arms, and of Jon’s murder at Castle Black. (Debate amongst yourselves how dead Jon will stay.)

I have a few quibbles, such as why are there no photos of some show characters listed on the family trees when there are character profiles of them in the book, such as Kevan Lannister and Ilyn Payne? It gives the book a bit of an unfinished feel on those pages. There are a couple odd choices as well, like leaving out Hizdahr zo Loraq from Daenerys’s council but still including the briefly seen Mossador. These are minor criticisms, however.

Fans hoping for more details about minor houses will have to look elsewhere, as this book is focused on the Great Houses of Westeros, and is more aimed at show viewers.

On the whole, Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros is a lovely book to pore over at leisure and refresh your memory as needed.

Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros arrives in stores and is available online on December 8th. The book retails for $16.00 US/ $19.99 CAN. 

64 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Just the mention of Ilyn Payne makes me wish they’d bring back Wilko Johnson. It sounds like he’s cancer-free now, which is awesome!

        Quote  Reply

    2. So it covers all eleven of the Great Houses, that’s good (including the recently promoted Boltons and Freys)

      Do the individual subsections contain any info on their bannermen, like in sideboxes? You know, Umber, Clegane, etc. You mention Ilyn Payne.

      How substantive is the new info about costumes? I’m hoping to make updates:

      http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Costumes

      Again, thanks!

        Quote  Reply

    3. HODOR!

      Don’t know if I’ll bother with this one seeing as it’s mostly show based and only about the main families. We get a lot of that info in the books anyway.

      Gutted about the Stannis and Jon news, I guess Mel is going to bring Jon back then (at least in the show anyway).

        Quote  Reply

    4. umuckurlife:
      Just the mention of Ilyn Payne makes me wish they’d bring back Wilko Johnson.It sounds like he’s cancer-free now, which is awesome!

      He’s also kind of “pancreas free” now, though, I don’t know if he’s well enough.

        Quote  Reply

    5. Does it mention who Robert and Stannis’ mom was? I remember a “Histories & Lore” video saying Robert had Targaryen blood “through his mother”.

        Quote  Reply

    6. This is a great chance to delve a little bit more into what´s become quite a point of interest of mine: which houses,major and minor, will prevail at the end of all things 😉

        Quote  Reply

    7. Tywin of the Hill,

      No, I think the Targaryen blood comes from his father’s side. If I’m not mistaken, Robert’s father was Steffon Baratheon who was the only son of Ormund Baratheon and Rhaelle Targaryen who was the youngest daughter of King Aegon V (the famous Egg) and a niece to Maester Aemon.

        Quote  Reply

    8. I know they r not everyone’s cup of tea but the book from westoros. Org is in my opinion the best source of GOT info aside from GRRMs books ( by no way am I a fan of there website or podcasts).bought the first couple of TV show related books and they are not great.

      Off topic I’m reading the count of monte cristo for the first time can’t believe how good it is

        Quote  Reply

    9. The family trees are just with characters of the books or they add show characters? (Like cousin Orson Lannister, for example)

        Quote  Reply

    10. SlayerNina,

      It doesn’t get into minor branches or anything. Think major houses, and their households or councils in some instances. Orson was never seen on the show and doesn’t affect the plot. This only goes through Season 5 as well, so the Greyjoy tree is very limited- no mention of Euron yet.

      They did the include the dead Targaryens like Rhaegar, Aerys, etc. That recent generation. Understand, I can’t exactly unload all the book info here. That wouldn’t be kosher.

        Quote  Reply

    11. So it does say both Stannis and Myrcella are dead. I like it that way, I don’t wan them to keep bringing people back. they should be able to bust this notion of people not beign dead if they don’t die on screen.

        Quote  Reply

    12. NedDeadHead:
      Tywin of the Hill,

      Yes, the Baratheon’s have Targaryen blood. His grandmother was a daughter ofAegon V, aka “Egg”.Robert and Rhaegar were first cousins, once removed.

      Great point to bring up; one of our biggest continuity questions; the TV show officially changed this when they removed Jaehaerys II, but didn’t say what they changed it TO.

        Quote  Reply

    13. It’s interesting how they filmed the scenes of all the important deaths in that final episode of season 5.
      They never showed Stannis and Myrcella actually dying/dead with much focus on their body after they started to bleed or whatever but they focused on Jon for a looong while to make sure audience see how much blood he has lost and he is surely dead.

        Quote  Reply

    14. It doesn’t matter what the book says, until we have on screen confirmation of death we have no idea where the story is going.

      Do you really think HBO would spoil the next season of their cash cow for the few shekels this book will generate?

        Quote  Reply

    15. Laura: Stannis is dead. And not “Melisandre’s going to save him too dead” I mean really and most sincerely dead. I loved him too (prior to 5-9) and he had the rightful claim to the throne but he gone gurl.

      He may well be and Myrcella may have died in Jaime’s arms (though that one I doubt most of all, Cersei keeping vigil at her childs bedside would be just rewards for her actions towards Bran) but the book is based on the story to the end of last season and as such can only be trusted so far.

      There are layers of truth, just imagine the revisions required after we see the tower of joy.

        Quote  Reply

    16. Are people really saying that HBO is releasing a book with fake information? ha ha. Come on, we all want certain things to happen in the Game of Thrones but sometimes reality is reality.

        Quote  Reply

    17. The Night’s Jester: Do you really think HBO would spoil the next season of their cash cow for the few shekels this book will generate?

      This book wouldn’t be spoling anything because the show clearly showed us Jon’s, Myrcella’s and Stannis’ deaths; they are all dead (though one of those won’t stick, of course). Anything else is wishful thinking. In the aftermath of the episode, these deaths weren’t treated as mysterious cliffhangers by official sources (including those recorded prior to any audience reaction), but as definitive deaths that we saw on-screen… Because we saw them.

      They could’ve given us a few more seconds in Stannis’ death scene, I’ll grant you; but no one, not even Brienne herself, could’ve stopped that sword, as it was falling at full force, inches away from the camera/Stannis’ head when the scene transitioned. I just wish they had bothered with something like a distant shot of the forest and Stannis’ tree from behind, so we could still experience Stannis’ death tastefully without suffering through these stupid theories for a year. Most of them don’t even make any sense, anyway. What is the narrative purpose of Stannis without an army or the support of Melisandre and Davos, characters whose development we actually follow? Why would Brienne stop herself? It was a beautiful moment in which she chose her oath to herself in Renly’s name to kill Stannis before her oath to Catelyn and Jaime to protect Sansa. But, crucially, killing him was still an oath; it wasn’t wrong, in her worldview. Even if she changed her mind and decided she should’ve stayed in her watchsite to protect Sansa, she would still kill Stannis.

        Quote  Reply

    18. The Night’s Jester,

      Myrcella is dead. As Maggy said to Cersei. She will outlive her children. Stannis is dead too. His death cause that some theories were made by fans after this episode. It was confirmed by virtually everyone Liam, Gwendoline, director of that episode David Nutter, GRRM thanked Stephane for his work on GOT after their huge Emmy success. He mentioned Stephane along with Sean Bean and other actors which characters were killed for good. GRRM warned us that some characters that are still alive in the books will be killed on the show.

        Quote  Reply

    19. It’s November. I’m afraid you guys have been spoiled by how unusually leak-heavy it’s been over the last couple months. There are usually news-dry days in the off-season. Get used to it. It’ll be worse in January. 😛

        Quote  Reply

    20. Laura: Stannis is dead. And not “Melisandre’s going to save him too dead” I mean really and most sincerely dead. I loved him too (prior to 5-9) and he had the rightful claim to the throne but he gone gurl.

      Nice “Ghost” reference there, Gurl. 😉

        Quote  Reply

    21. Sue the Fury:
      It’s November. I’m afraid you guys have been spoiled by how unusually leak-heavy it’s been over the last couple months. There are usually news-dry days in the off-season. Get used to it. It’ll be worse in January.

      *whimpers*
      Hey, what you brought to us from the time the show started to film and people arriving at destinations has been nothing short of miraculous. Thank you. Sincerely, thank you for all your diligent and hard work. *bows*

        Quote  Reply

    22. Sue the Fury,

      Sue, thanks for all of the news that you’ve shared with us over the last few months. We, indeed, were spoiled (in more ways than one) by everything that was shared on this website. I will just have to somehow manage the news drying up and the long, hard wait until Season 6.

      *whimpers*

        Quote  Reply

    23. Sue the Fury,

      Can we not play at least some game while we wait??? Favorite Top 20 movies? Favorite Top 20 works of Literature? Favorite artists? Songs? Anything to kill some time 🙂 And my favorite: Which houses will be totally KAPUT at the end!

        Quote  Reply

    24. Sue the Fury: news-dry days

      I think it is time for another “The Importance of Dorne” segment, or maybe we could discuss the peaceful integration of the Dothraki, UnSullied, Wildlings, Thenns, Others, Second Sons, Golden Company, dragons, CotF, Harpy Sons, direwolves and rather large spiders into the Westeros melting pot. Should be a lively discussion.

        Quote  Reply

    25. Sue the Fury: It’s November. I’m afraid you guys have been spoiled by how unusually leak-heavy it’s been over the last couple months. There are usually news-dry days in the off-season. Get used to it. It’ll be worse in January

      The transition from the end of the season until now has been much easier and went much faster than I expected it to because of your diligent work. I thought I would be grinding my teeth and wringing my hands the whole time, lamenting Jon Snow’s death, not knowing for sure what was to be. So far, it’s been … fun. So, thank you Sue and Crew, and all of you loyal posters to this site. My teeth and sanity have been saved, so that they may be properly savaged when next season starts.

        Quote  Reply

    26. Alex G:
      Sue the Fury,

      Can we not play at least some game while we wait??? Favorite Top 20 movies? Favorite Top 20 works of Literature? Favorite artists? Songs? Anything to kill some time And my favorite: Which houses will be totally KAPUT at the end!

      Boltons and Freys please! I’m hoping for by the end of S6, never mind the end of the story, although I’m quite fond of the doubly cursed (show) Walda so if she has to go I hope it’s quick. Thus probably condemning her to a horrifically slow, horrible death at Ramsay’s hands *sigh*. Actually the little I’ve seen of the Frey daughters seems to suggest they are ok, it’s the male members of the House who leave a lot to be desired. Perhaps if I change sides and start rooting for the worstest, horriblest characters they’ll all get it instead of the nice ones? *fingers crossed* 😀

      P.S. In the show, with the exception of Gendry (this week’s #GendryWatch for you Jeff O’C) are there any Baratheons by blood left? Not counting the in-name-only ones like Tommen and er…oh that’s it isn’t it? (and I doubt he’s gonna live for long either.) In which case are they the first House to be officially kaputed?

        Quote  Reply

    27. Lulus Mum: Boltons and Freys please! I’m hoping for by the end of S6, never mind the end of the story, although I’m quite fond of the doubly cursed (show) Walda so if she has to go I hope it’s quick

      Boltons seem most likely and the easiest to wipe out – it always surprised me that an egomaniac like Roose wouldn’t have had more children than Ramsay, and the possible heir from Walda. Was it explained in the books why he wasn’t spreading seed all over the North? It couldn’t have been some passionate love for a barren wife, he’s just not the passionate love type.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Thronetender,
      Oh I know what you mean TT! I’m very anxious about

      Snowbowl because of what we’ve heard about Ramsay’s antics

      and it won’t happen for months yet. Merchandise people are missing a trick not having GoT punchbags, stress balls etc. Mmmm they could have the faces of people you love/hate on them. Hug the ‘love’ ones when something nice happens to them – so practically never – and batter 7 Hells out of the ‘hate’s. I might make myself some once filming finishes and news slows to almost non-existent.

      EDIT: this was reply to your first post about loosing teeth and sanity. Will reply to the other in a sec.

        Quote  Reply

    29. Lulus Mum,

      But unfortunately, I’ve heard it straight from Iwan in an interview that Ramsay is not going anywhere until the END. Because he has put downpayment or something for a house (apartment ?) and they wouldn’t do anything to Ramsay! :p

      Kidding aside, I remember him saying his character is going to be around for a while. His father and stepmom probably are cooked by the end of the 6th season. Because someone needs to pay for everything that’s gone wrong at WF. Someone just needs to.

        Quote  Reply

    30. Thronetender,
      Hello again *waves* this is a reply to your reply to me. I’m a spoiler reader only but I think in the books

      Roose had a son earlier in the story whom he was pretty sure Ramsay had murdered?

      One of our book reading fellow posters will be able to clarify I’m sure.

      Comparing the show to the real middle ages it does strike me how few children everyone has. Westeros certainly seems to have far more effective contraception than their real life historical counterparts did, plus some rather advanced medical knowledge to save anyone who’s seriously injured/ill.

        Quote  Reply

    31. TormundsWoman,
      Helloooooooo T double uuuuuuuuuuuuu *waves lots*. Haven’t been around in the evenings to come and play at Fleabottom lately, missing my fellow fleas 🙁 🙁 Hopefully all will be back to normal soon and I can send you all dancing hedges again 😀 😀

      I saw the interview with Iwan you mean, think he said something like he hoped he’d be around for ages because he’d just bought somewhere, rather than he definitely would. Mind you he can’t reveal what happens to him either way, he can hardly say “don’t worry Ramsay haters he dies 4 episodes from now”. Whatever is coming to Ramsay can’t be slow and painful enough. I’m definitely gonna make myself a Bolton stress doll and take all my frustrations out on it! 😀

      EDIT: And a bigger Wun Wun doll to squish things with 😀

        Quote  Reply

    32. TormundsWoman,

      Weasley is a white walker. I knew it! 🙂

      Lulus Mum,

      Domeric Bolton was kinslayed/poisoned by Ramsay…and it was doubly horrid because Domeric was the trueborn Bolton heir. Given that, it doesn’t look good for Walda’s child.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Laura,

      That would be nifty.

      Maybe Barbrey Dustin could be the midwife or nanny. Truthfully, I was surprised at how GRRM painted Domeric, given the coldness of his father. But then again, he didn’t spend much time at the Dreadfort.

        Quote  Reply

    34. Lulus Mum,

      Hey LuLus Mum! missed you glad to see you back for a bit. I know how pesky it is when life gets in the way of being here! I read all the spoilers, even though I haven’t read all the books. With the info you and others provided regarding another Bolton heir, even more reason to want to beat on Ramsay. Before I read this, I thought maybe he’d leave Walda and her baby alone, now I’m pretty certain Walda’s in danger, unless Roose decides to do something or her Frey brothers do something to protect her. Doesn’t seem likely on either count. Sigh.

      Although I do like Iwan, based on other things I’ve seen him appear in, I can’t wait for Ramsay to be pulverized. At this point, I don’t care who does it, as long as it’s done. Love your idea of a Wun Wun doll.

      Another character who was a shit in GOT but has redeemed himself somewhat is Harry Lloyd, who played Viserys Targaryen. He has a part in the TV show Manhattan, which happens to be must-watch-tv for me. He’s pretty good in that, and only plays a semi-shit. Looks good in black hair, too.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Hodor’s Bastard, Laura
      Thanks for the info guys; even more reason to hate Ramsay (if that’s possible).

      Thronetender
      Thanks, I like you too! Do you know Fleabottom.net? That’s where I meant I haven’t been for a while. It’s nicely complimentary to this site and very friendly and laid back. Not one for proper grown ups, those who disapprove of making fun of GoT or general silliness, or enjoy complaining/arguing. And you can post all kinds of smileys, like dancing hedges 😀

      Haven’t heard of Manhattan but I’ll keep an eye out for it. Here in the UK we have totally different tv channels (no HBO for starters) and people often mention shows that we don’t ever seem to see.

        Quote  Reply

    36. Thronetender: Before I read this, I thought maybe he’d leave Walda and her baby alone,

      Now that you’ve read it, go back and rewatch the Bolton-family dinner scene where Roose tells Ramsay Walda’s pregnant, but only if you want to be fairly certain poor Walda is not long for this world, at least if Ramsay has anything to say about it. 🙁

        Quote  Reply

    37. Lulus Mum:
      Hodor’s Bastard, Laura
      Thanks for the info guys; even more reason to hate Ramsay (if that’s possible).

      Thronetender
      Thanks, I like you too! Do you know Fleabottom.net? That’s where I meant I haven’t been for a while. It’s nicely complimentary to this site and very friendly and laid back. Not one for proper grown ups, those who disapprove of making fun of GoT or general silliness, or enjoy complaining/arguing. And you can post all kinds of smileys, like dancing hedges

      Haven’t heard of Manhattan but I’ll keep an eye out for it. Here in the UK we have totally different tv channels (no HBO for starters) and people often mention shows that we don’t ever seem to see.

      What about Sky Atlantic or other Sky channels?
      SA carries GOT.

        Quote  Reply

    38. Lulus Mum: Haven’t heard of Manhattan but I’ll keep an eye out

      It’s comes from WGN and is original to that station. It astounds me they have an original show this good, since most of their other offerings are repeats of syndicated shows. Manhattan is about the creation of the atomic bomb in New Mexico in 1944-45. This is the second season. It is fiction but portrays some real-life characters like Robert Oppenheimer. You would probably enjoy it, there are some British characters in it, of which Lloyd is one.

      It’s a fascinating study of just how thin the line is between genius and madness, and how some of the greatest geniuses spent their lives dancing back and forth on that line. Also, how the balance of pride vs duty vs ambition vs theology plays out when a large number of enormously talented, educated people are “trapped” together, as they basically were in this situation. As in GoT, few are thoroughly good or thoroughly bad.

      Anyway, it’s something worthwhile to watch while we await Season 6.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Nymeria Warrior Queen: Now that you’ve read it, go back and rewatch the Bolton-family dinner scene

      Oh, I remember that scene. Ramsay took great joy in torturing both Reek and Sansa with his antics, to the point where Roose could take it no more. I especially remember Walda’s face when Roose told of her pregnancy; she had a “but I thought we agreed not to say anything yet,” look on her face. Sansa got a brief smile of happiness out of seeing Ramsay’s dismay.

      Yet, later, when Roose told Ramsay how Ramsay was conceived, then asked for Ramsay’s help in defeating Stannis, I kind of thought the baby would be ok. After what all of you have said though, accck, Ramsay’s gonna try some shit for sure.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Alex G,
      I’m not a good person to ask – I always take the view that just about anything is possible, although obviously some things are far more likely than others. I only attempt to make guesses about things which are going to happen in the very near future in the story and only then if we have lots of info to go on. I’m basically going for Boltons and Freys because, apart from the fact I hate them, they have a lot of enemies in the show and are top of many characters’ hit lists. As for everyone else, I suppose the fewer of them there are the easier it would be to wipe them out, but doubt it’ll work out like that.

        Quote  Reply

    41. Alex G: I bet Boltons,Freys and Baratheons will be gone at the end…can you think of other houses,big and small that will most likely follow and why??

      Here’s a thought, just to toss around – When Craster and Mormont were talking at Craster’s Keep, Craster mentioned that he had 99 sons. (Gilly’s made 100) Since we know they were all turned into White Walkers, there’s a possibility that all sons from his house, except one, will be wiped out. I know that isn’t the same as wiping out a whole house, because all the females are still alive, but maybe, like Robert Baratheon, Craster’s line gets reduced to one (blood) son.

      Don’t mind me, it’s after 2am where I am, and I need to go to sleep. It just always weirded me out that so many of the White Walkers are really Craster brothers. Let’s see, technically Balon Grayjoy is down to one son. Have no idea what point I’m trying to make, just rambling. .. I think there are too many Freys around to totally wipe him out

        Quote  Reply

    42. I fear that Ramsay is going to put the finishing touch on his resemblance to Caligula by reprising with Walda the scene in I, Claudius in which Caligula ties up his sister and gives her a fatal C-section because he has become convinced that the child (which is his) could grow up to be even more of a god than he imagines himself to be. (Aspects of GoT and ASoIaF remind me so often of I, Claudius that I have become convinced that it was one of GRRM’s important influences.)

        Quote  Reply

    Jump to the Top

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *