The sigil of House Reed 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” first 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 primary continents, known as Westeros and Essos, make up the bulk 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, in the long run these generally take a backseat to the military conflicts, political machinations and family dynamics that are the principle focus of the story.
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 the monarch holds 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 sovereign. Each region also possesses any number of “Vassal Houses” who owe their loyalty to the governing Great House in one capacity or another. House Reed is one of the Vassal Houses in The North. Their ancestral keep is known as Greywater Watch, a castle located in a region of The North commonly known as “the Neck”. The sigil of House Reed is a black lizard-lion (a creature seemingly analogous to an alligator or crocodile) on a grey-green field. Their motto, if they have one, has thus far not been revealed.
The symbolic meaning behind House Reed’s sigil is explained in the history that George R.R. Martin developed for his world. Rather than denoting a political territory, “the Neck” is essentially a geographic term, referring to a narrow bottleneck of land separating The North from all the other regions of Westeros. Ever since it was flooded thousands of years ago, the Neck has primarily consisted of swamp and marshland, making it very difficult for outsiders to navigate successfully. If someone were unlucky enough to get stuck in the quagmire, the lizard-lions living beneath the surface would devour them in a flash, and even if they avoided this pitfall, the natives could pick them off using darts and other weapons suitable for guerilla tactics. For these reasons, members of House Reed are sometimes called the “gatekeepers of The North”.
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