The sigil of House Clegane 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. Each region also contains an extensive network of lesser noble houses called “Vassal Houses”, who owe their loyalty to the governing Great House. House Clegane is one of the Vassal Houses in the Westerlands. Their castle – Clegane’s Keep – is situated southeast of Casterly Rock, the stronghold of their overlords, House Lannister. The sigil of House Clegane consists of three black hounds on a field of gold. Their motto, if they have one, has thus far not been revealed.
The history of House Clegane is explained in the backstory that Martin developed for his world. Two generations before the time of the series, Tytos Lannister - then Lord of Casterly Rock – was out hunting when he crossed paths with a lioness. If not for his kennel master – the unnamed Clegane patriarch – releasing three hounds and driving off the beast, Tytos would have been killed. The hounds died for their efforts, but Tytos rewarded his kennel master with a parcel of land, official status as a Vassal House, and allowed members of the Clegane family to squire for him. The three hounds on House Clegane’s sigil are a tribute to the events that created the house itself.
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