The sigil of House Dondarrion 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 Dondarrion is one of the Vassal Houses in the Stormlands. Their ancestral castle, Blackhaven, is located in the southeastern part of the Stormlands, in an area commonly known as the Dornish Marches. The sigil of House Dondarrion is a forked purple lightning bolt and purple stars on a black field. Their motto, if they have one, has thus far not been revealed.
The meaning of House Dondarrion’s sigil is explained in the backstory that Martin developed for his world. The term “Dornish Marches” refers to a long, narrow borderland in the south of Westeros. Over the millennia, this area has constantly changed hands between three regions; the Reach (to the north and west), the Stormlands (to the East) and Dorne (to the south, which gives the Marches their name). During one of these conflicts, a messenger was bringing word of an impending Dornish attack on the Stormlands, but was intercepted by two Dornish soldiers. As the story goes, a single bolt of lightning killed both soldiers, allowing the message to be delivered. This messenger became the founder of House Dondarrion and took the lightning bolt that had been his salvation as his sigil.
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