The sigil of House Lannister from Game of Thrones.
DISCLAIMER: THE SYMBOLS IN THIS SET ARE FROM THE HBO TV SERIES, NOT THE ORIGINAL NOVELS.
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 Lannister is one of these Great Houses. Their ancestral land is known as the Westerlands, a region of mountains and hills on the western coast, governed from the stronghold of Casterly Rock. Due to the numerous gold and silver mines found in the Westerlands, the Lannisters are the richest family in Westeros, able to finance any number of ventures and even lend substantial sums to the ruling monarch. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of red, and their motto is “Hear Me Roar”. The great wealth of the Lannisters and the influence it has brought them has inspired a second, unofficial motto; “A Lannister Always Pays His/Her Debts”.
The history of House Lannister is explained in the backstory that Martin developed for his world. Thousands of years ago, a mysterious trickster named Lann the Clever managed to swindle House Casterly, an ancient noble family, out of Casterly Rock, and Lann’s descendants, House Lannister, have inhabited the stronghold ever since. The exact meaning behind House Lannister’s sigil has never been fully explained, but the symbolism is clear: the lion is widely considered the “king of beasts”, and gold is commonly associated with wealth, only appropriate for the powerful and wealthy Lannisters. Also, members of House Lannister tend to be tall and attractive with blonde hair, and have been compared to lions on many occasions.