February 2, 2018 | Jennifer Crump

23 Facts About The Houses Of Game of Thrones

No man is an island, and the family Houses are the major players in Game of Thrones. Like the individual characters, their power shifts, their allegiances change, and they occasionally die out with stunning violence. It can be hard to keep track of, so we’ve gathered some of the most interesting facts about the noble houses of Game of Thrones.

Houses Of Game of Thrones Facts

23. By the Numbers

The seven kingdoms in Westeros are home to over 300 noble houses, but there are only nine “Great Houses,” which are also referred to as great families. The others are known as “vassal” or “lesser" noble houses, and they serve the Great Houses.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsShutterstock

22. Sometimes Lesser is Greater

Several of the lesser houses are more powerful than some of the smaller great houses. For example, House Hightower controls the second largest city in Westeros, Oldtown, and is able to field enormous armies; the House owns its own fleet of ships.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

21. Men First, Mostly

Male primogeniture dictates inheritance for most of the noble houses, which means that firstborn sons are the heirs. Women mostly act as regents for young sons. In Dorne however, where House Martell and the Sandsnakes live, men and women are given equal status when it comes to inheriting.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

20. Most Fertile

The Freys, a minor family with a huge army, takes its name from the Norse God of fertility, Freya. They are also, fittingly, the most populous house in Westeros. A standing joke in the books says that Walder Frey could field an army just of his own relatives, most of which are his own offspring.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO


19. Bad Luck Starks

The Stark tragedy didn’t start with Eddard’s beheading. The Starks have endured horrific murders throughout time, including the deaths of Ned’s father and brother, and their rivalry with The Boltons.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

18. Undefeated

House Martell is the only house that remained unconquered during Aegon’s conquest of Westeros. They also beat the Targaryens twice.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsShutterstock

17. Wild Card

They might be sworn enemies now, but the members of House Stark are part Wilding. Brandon Stark married his daughter to Bael, the King Beyond the Wall, and when the Stark line was about to disappear, she came home with a newborn infant courtesy of her Wilding husband.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

16. Democratic Election

House Greyjoy is the only house that elects its ruler. Any Ironborn can go before the Kingsmoot (where the King is chosen) and ask to be made King of the Iron Islands.

Theon Greyjoy factsGame of Thrones, HBO

15. Is The Kraken Coming?

Three of the Great Houses chose what we would consider mythical monsters for their family crest. The Starks have direwolves, the Targaryens have dragons, and the Greyjoys have the Kraken. We now know that direwolves and dragons are alive and well in Westeros, so perhaps there is a Kraken off its shores as well.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsWikimedia Commons


Sign up to our newsletter.

History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

14. Extinct Houses

Many former noble houses are now extinct. Houses like House Hoare died out prior to the beginning of the series, but the others such Tyrell, Bolton, Martell, Reyne, Baratheon (two branches), and Baelish were annihilated in the endless battle for control of the Iron Throne.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsShutterstock


13. Secrets of the Red Keep

The Targaryen conqueror Aegon had his son Maegor the Cruel build the Red Keep for House Targaryen. When it was finished, Maegor beheaded everyone who had worked on it so its secrets would never be revealed. C'mon, the guy's name was "the Cruel."

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

12. House Baratheon x 3

There are actually three Houses Baratheon. The original was House Baratheon of Storm’s End, but when Robert I Baratheon took the Iron Throne, both House Baratheon of King’s Landing and House Baratheon of Dragonstone were created.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsShutterstock

11. Popular Name

11 members of the House Targaryen have been named Aegon. Several had interesting nicknames, such as "the Unworthy" and "the Unlikely."

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsShutterstock

10. Dragonriders

The Targaryens are not the only noble family to have the ability to tame and ride dragons. Many Valyrian noble families once held the title “Dragonlord,” but the Targaryens were the only ones to survive the Doom of Valyria.

Daenerys Targaryen factsGame of Thrones, HBO

9. Inverted Colors

Bastards of the noble houses wear house colors reversed. For example, Jon Snow wears a white wolf on a grey background, while the rest of the Starks wear a grey wolf on a white background.

Kit Harington factsGame of Thrones, HBO

8. The History Book

Grand Maester Malleon wrote a book detailing the histories of all of the great houses called The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. Eddard Stark finds out the truth about Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen's parentage by examining the genetic clues this book.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO


7. Child Leaders

At least four of the noble houses have been led by children during the series. Joffrey and his brother Tommen are both teenagers when they take the throne, Lyanna Mormont is one of the most formidable leaders in the North and she is only 10 or 11, and Robert Arryn is, uh, still breastfed when he becomes ruler.

Robert Baratheon factsGame of Thrones, HBO

6. From Just Noble to Great

House Bolton and House Frey were both elevated to Great House status after the massacre known as the Red Wedding. In return for their betrayal of the Starks, House Bolton became the Lords of the North (replacing the Starks) and the Freys took over the Riverlands (replacing the Tullys).

House Mormont factsGame of Thrones, HBO

5. Family Treasures

House Lanninster once laid claim to one of the most expensive swords in the history of Westeros. The sword, known as Brightroar, was made of Valyrian steel and it was worth as much as the gold needed to raise an entire army. It has since been lost to the family.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

4. The Iron Throne

The Iron Throne is made of the swords of the vanquished houses who were defeated by Aegon Targaryen, the Conqueror. Fun fact: there are no swords from House Stark, House Martell, or House Arryn on the throne. Houses Arryn and Stark submitted, and Aegon was never able to conquer the Martells.

Aerys II Targaryen, The Mad King factsGame of thrones, HBO

3. The House of Learning

The Citadel, a combination of library, hospital, and university, and home to the wise Maesters, was likely created by House Hightower.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

2. Movin' on up

The Tyrells were originally the vassals of House Gardener, who ruled the Reach. When House Gardener fought against Aegon the Conqueror, House Tyrell quietly cooperated and was rewarded with the Reach and the status of a Great House.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO


1. Red Kings

House Bolton were once known as the Red Kings of the Dreadfort. For many years, they were the bitter rivals of House Stark, and wore cloaks made from the flayed skin of Ned's ancestors.

The Houses Of Game of Thrones factsGame of Thrones, HBO

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.