House Baratheon

 Jesse Brauner
House Baratheon

The sigil of House Baratheon from Game of Thrones.


Based on George R.R. Martin’s famous series of novels (collectively known as “A Song of Ice and Fire”), the television series “Game of Thrones” premiered in 2011 on the channel HBO. It is set in a fantasy world heavily based on the society and culture of the European Middle Ages. Two large continents, Westeros and Essos, make up most of the visible landmass in this world, with the former being featured in storylines much more frequently. While typical elements from fantasy stories, such as dragons and various forms of magic, are seen throughout the series, they generally take a backseat to much larger themes, such as military conflicts, political machinations, and family dynamics.

The continent of Westeros is made up of many different regions, each of which has its own culture and history. Most of these regions form constituent parts of a single political realm, which is presided over by a ruling monarch. While they hold ultimate power over the realm, local governance of each region is handled by a “Great House”, a noble family whose members answer directly to the monarch. House Baratheon is one of these Great Houses, and they govern a region known as the Stormlands, in the far southeast of the continent. Due to its long coastline and a large bay to the east, heavy rains and other violent weather patterns are typical in the Stormlands (hence their name), and this has led to the growth of vast forests in the region. House Baratheon’s sigil is a black stag on a field of gold, and their motto is “Ours is the Fury”. The crown around the stag's neck is an indication that, at the beginning of the series, House Baratheon is also the royal house, having seized the throne from Aerys II, the last king of the Targaryen dynasty, seventeen years previously.

The history of House Baratheon is explained in the backstory that Martin developed for his world. Unlike other Great Houses such as the Arryns, Lannisters, or Tyrells, House Baratheon is a relative newcomer to Westeros. Three hundred years before the timeline of the series, a man named Aegon Targaryen invaded Westeros and established his own royal dynasty (for full details, see the symbol for ‘House Targaryen’). One of Aegon’s best commanders (and his rumored half-brother) was named Orys Baratheon. During the invasion, Orys defeated House Durrendon, the rulers of the Stormlands at the time, and claimed their sigil, motto, lands, and ancient castle of Storm’s End for himself. Therefore, the sigil of House Baratheon was not originally their own, but existed in Westeros prior to the House’s founding.