George RR Martin’s world of Westeros is made up of many story-rich characters and houses. They all have an impact on the overall story progressing. Each of these Houses has its well-defined traits. The current HBO show House of the Dragon (HOTD), the series based on the book fire and blood, recently introduced three new homes – House Royce, House Dandarrion and House Strong. In this article, we will look at the history and details of these houses as mentioned in the books. So let’s get started.
One of the oldest and most powerful Houses in Vale, House Royce of Runestone swore to House Arryn. Their seat is Runestone Castle, located on the Narrow Sea Coast north of Gulltown. Their seal consists of black iron nails on a field of bronze, bordered with runes. They believe that these ruins immunize their wearers against injury. They also have a cadet branch occupying the non-hereditary seat of Moon Gates, located on the way to the Eyrie. Their watchwords are – “We remember”.
The Royces of Runestone are truly proud of their heritage and consider themselves descendants of the First Men. As is commonly believed during the invasion of the Andals, 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 many battles before forcing them to retreat to the Straits. House Royce considers the Starks (of House Stark) to be their kin, due to their shared heritage as descendants of the First Men. Early Royces worked extensively with bronze. Members of House Royce stand out on the battlefield in their all-bronze drip. Their bronze armor and robes are usually accompanied by many impenetrable runes.
Lady Rhea and House Royce in HOTD
At the start of HOTD Episode 5 titled “We light the way,” audiences are first introduced to the character of Lady Rhea. However, this introduction is short-lived, as Daemon Targaryen, her husband, apparently kills her. However, their history goes back a long way in the books.
In the book, it is mentioned that Rhea Royce is one of the rare examples of a woman who is the ruling “Lady” of her family and their properties – the Runestone ancestral property in The Vale. Since Rhea’s father, Lord Yorbert Royce, apparently had no natural sons, Rhea is thus his only heir. Therefore, in 97 AC, Queen Alysanne (sister-wife of King Jaehaerys I) arranged for Rhea to marry her grandson Daemon Targaryen.
A house ship, House Dandarrion of Blackhaven, swears fealty to House Baratheon of Storm’s End. They are headquartered at Castle Blackhaven located in the Dornish Steps 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, House Dondarrion was founded by a messenger who announced an impending attack from Dorne to the Storm King. The messenger was attacked by two Dornishmen, but a sudden purple lightning killed them both. This allowed the messenger to complete his task, hence the lock in the seal. 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 in Harrenhal. Their seal is a pale tripartite, blue, red and green, on a white background. The three colors are sometimes depicted as surmounting a fist in a black crest. The three colors represent the three forks of the Trident. They too boast of being descended from the First Men. They got the seat of Harrenhal after House Towers went out. Their first mention is with the name of Osmund Fort 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.
On the current HBO show House of the Dragon, Lord Lyonel Strong, the current Head of Household and Lord of Harrenhal, served King Viserys I Targaryen as Master of Laws from 105 AC (105 years after Aegon’s conquest). However, after the dismissal of the king Otto High Tower of office, Lord Lyonel Strong succeeded him as Hand of the King. he has two sons – Ser Harwin Strong aka “Breakbones”, the eldest, currently captain of the Gold Cloaks; and Loud Larys aka “Clubfoot” as the youngest son. The books further claim that Lyonel and Harwin died in a fire at Harrenhal, and that Lyonel’s younger son, Larys, succeeded as lord. Larys eventually became Master Whisperer for Viserys, as well as Lord Confessor. He also served on the Green Council of King Aegon II Targaryen.