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The Great Houses of Westeros: A Guide to the important families of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon

One bad wedding can change a lot.

King Robert in season one of Game of Thrones
Image credit: HBO

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The land of Westeros is a land divided. Whether it is during the period covered by the Game of Thrones series or its prequel House of the Dragon, the land is dominated by the Great Houses and other major houses. These powerful families effectively rule their areas of the kingdom, answering only to whoever sits upon the Iron Throne. If you’re struggling to keep track of who is in power and where thanks to the constantly changing world of Game of Thrones, here is what you need to know.

We’ll be discussing some important plot points for both Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon series, so there will be some spoilers ahead.

Who are the Great Houses in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon screenshot
Image credit: HBO

While there are multiple noble families in Westeros, the title of Great House is given specifically to those who have dominion over a portion of the kingdom, ruling over it, collecting taxes, and raising armies in times of war. They enjoy immense power to rule their lands, but technically rule in the name of whoever sits on the Iron Throne which can lead to the kind of precarious political maneuvers that have made Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon unmissable television.

The Great Houses in House of the Dragon’s time period are:

  • House Arryn: Rulers of The Vale of Arryn from the castle of the Eyrie
  • House Baratheon: Rulers of the Stormlands from the castle of Storm's End
  • House Greyjoy: Rulers of the Iron Islands from the castle of Pyke
  • House Lannister: Rulers of the Westerlands from the castle of Casterly Rock
  • House Martell: Rulers of Dorne from the castle of Sunspear
  • House Stark: Rulers of the North from the castle of Winterfell
  • House Targaryen: Rulers of the Seven Kingdoms from King's Landing
  • House Tully: Rulers of the Riverlands from their seat at Riverrun
  • House Tyrell: Rulers of the Reach from the castle of Highgarden

These houses remain the most powerful families in Westeros for several hundred years until Robert’s Rebellion before the events of Game of Thrones. Following Robert Baratheon’s successful ascension to the Iron Throne, the Targaryens were exiled and no longer considered one of the Great Houses. The biggest shakeup in these took place during the Red Wedding of season three of Game of Thrones.

Following the Red Wedding, the Great Houses of Westeros in Game of Thrones were:

  • House Arryn: Rulers of the Vale of Arryn from the castle of the Eyrie
  • House Baratheon of King’s Landing: Rulers of the Crownlands from the Castle of Red Keep
  • House Baratheon of Storm’s End and Dragonstone: Rulers of the Stormlands from the castle of Dragonstone
  • House Bolton: Rulers of the North from the castle of Winterfell after deposing House Stark
  • House Frey:Rulers of the Riverlands from the castle of Riverrun after deposing the Tullys
  • House Greyjoy: Rulers of the Iron Islands from the castle of Pyke
  • House Lannister: Rulers of the Westerlands from the castle of Casterly Rock
  • House Martell: Rulers of Dorne from the castle of Sunspear
  • House Stark: Rulers of the North from the castle of Winterfell
  • House Tully: Rulers of the Riverlands from the castle of Riverrun
  • House Tyrell: Rulers of the Reach from the castle of Highgarden

At the end of Game of Thrones, there is an even larger shakeup to the Great Houses as Bronn was made the head of his own house and given rulership of Highgarden, the Tyrells, Freys, and Boltons either wiped out or deposed. However, the biggest change is the North breaking away from Westeros completely and forming their own kingdom with House Stark as its ruler. This means that the Starks are no longer one of the Great Houses despite still ruling their lands.

The Great Houses at the end of Game of Thrones are:

  • House Arryn: Rulers of the Vale of Arryn from the castle of the Eyrie
  • House Baratheon: Rulers of the Stormlands from the castle of Storm's End
  • Bronn’s unnamed house: Rulers of the Reach from the castle of Highgarden
  • House Greyjoy: Rulers of the Iron Islands from the castle of Pyke
  • House Lannister: Rulers of the Westerlands from the castle of Casterly Rock
  • House Martell: Rulers of Dorne from the castle of the Sunspear
  • House Tully: Rulers of the Riverlands from the castle of Riverrun

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