If there’s one thing that Game of Thrones is great at doing, it’s making us hate someone, then love them, then hate them again. We’ve had our emotions toyed with repeatedly. If George RR Martin is a sadistic cat, we are the proverbial mouse, scrabbling for freedom, just to get a swift claw to the face (and heart). I refuse to rewatch the last two episodes of Season 3 simply because I can’t bear to see Rob’s crusade come to an end, again. Yeah, yeah, I know everyone got their comeuppance in the end, but I’ll always be in favour of the King of the North. Jon’s alright, but in my eyes, he’s no Robb.
And in that mode, I know that some prefer Jon. Others are firm believers in the true queen of Westeros. Others want to see Cersei succeed – ok, that’s a lie. And yet, it goes round and round. Were you rooting for Stannis? Did you want Ramsay to keep his wardenship? Did you want Mance Rayder to assume the iron throne? Or maybe you cling to a sliver a hope that little Lyanna Mormont might scramble through the ranks and lead us toward a better future.
Wherever your allegiances lie, you can be happy in the knowledge that there’s a tee for you to show it. So, without further adieu, feast your Westerosean eyes on these glorious tops.
Winter is coming. Sean Bean wouldn’t be Sean Bean without kicking the proverbial bucket. When he appeared back in the early 2000s as Boromir, we all fell in love with him a little – the long hair, the flowing cape, the sword. So, it was a case for celebration then, when it was announced he’d be heading up the cast for Game of Thrones. And yet, amongst that joy, there was a nagging sense of dread – a deep-seated angst that somehow, some way, it was all going to be too short lived. And boy were we right.
Richard Madden took the mantle, and boy did he shoulder it. I was always a Northman, and Robb Stark was my true King in the North. That’s why I’ll always rep the Stark colours. What about you?
Fire and Blood. For a while, we were all worried that Viserys would take the iron crown. Basically just a taller Joffrey, he likely would have been just as bad. But, where King’s Landing lacked a Dothraki horde, Essos did not. Viserys got his crown forthwith, and probably a little sooner than expected too. But, here we are, seven seasons later, and little Dany has grown up strong. She’s fireproof, got an entourage like Floyd Mayweather, commands a legion of dragons (ok, two, but still), and now she’s shacked up with her nephew. If that isn’t the epitome of a woman outside of patriarchal rule, I don’t know what is. But hey, all hail the queen, right? Let your dragons soar and fly the Targaryen flag!
Hear me roar. The Lannisters are a funny bunch. Brothers and sisters doing… yeah, bastard children, throne stealing, necromancy, child murdering, betrayal, weird haircuts, losing hands, crossbows and whores, getting shot on the toilet, and further to that patricide… And yet, we can’t help but love them. Cersei remains the constant thorn in our sides, but Jaime, once separated from her, became a beacon of hope for us. After he lost his hand, he became a lot more likeable, and after forming a bond with Brienne of Tarth, became almost human. I think we all even managed to repress the memory of him pushing Bran out of the tower window. And yet, I think the hand thing was penance enough. Jaime, we forgive you, just don’t arrange to have us killed, mmkay?
Ours is the fury. Robert Baratheon, first of his name, king of the Andals, yada yada, had a big heart, and belly, and ego, and penchant for women of the night. He also liked to drink, and hunt, and he grew a helluva beard. It’s a shame we never got to see him in his prime (not truly) as I’m sure everyone’s in agreement that that is the story we’d all love to see. Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon, side by side, rushing into battle. But no, we got stuck with fat Robert, grumpy old Stannis, and Renly who was promptly murdered by a smoke monster. What started out with so much promise, ended miserably for the Baratheons. And, not only did they die, but they also let the iron throne fall into the hands of the Lannisters. Talk about a clusterfudge. Still, Robert was the true king, even if he wasn’t very good, and if you’re a man of honor, then you’re still holding your Baratheon banners aloft.
Our blades are sharp… enough to stab a pregnant lady. I’ve seen the Red Wedding twice. The first time, I was horrified. The second time, I kept asking myself ‘Why the hell are you watching this again!?’ It’s a sad day, and whether you believe that it was Robb’s fault or not (I don’t, I just think Walder Frey is a jerk), you can’t argue with the fact that it was definitely overkill on the part of the Boltons. Under orders, yes, and with the title of Warden of the North hanging in the balance, I can almost understand Roose Bolton’s thinking. But still, come on – at a wedding? And yet, from the flames and the ashes was born Ramsay, the bastard son. Whether you think he was a good person or not, the sadistic glee that swept over us every time he came on screen was inescapable. And, what he did to Theon was justified too… Sort of. But, honor is honor. If I see you wearing one of these shirts, we’ll do battle. But, I probably won’t ever see you, so don’t let that stop you from buying it.
Growing strong. Oh jeez, where to begin? The first time we ever saw Margaery Tyrell, we all fell in love. Natalie Dormer, whether you’re a man or woman, straight or otherwise, is a smokeshow. She’s a strong, smart, beautiful woman, and she made absolute mincemeat of Tommen Baratheon, something for which we’ll forever be indebted. It took her three attempts to get her hands on the title of Queen, first with Renly, then with Joffrey, and finally with Tommen, but she got there, and while she reigned, life was good. But, as with all good things, they must come to an end. And, despite Olenna’s best efforts, valiant as they were, things did eventually go belly up, and everyone died. Olenna took her own life, and Loras, Margaery, and Mace all got obliterated during the Destruction of the Great Sept of Balor. It was a sad day for the Tyrells, but, no matter how strong their vines grew, they were not strong enough with withstand wildfire.
We do not sow. Perhaps the most hated family in all of Westeros, the Greyjoys are a bunch of seafaring morons. Instead of pledging themselves to one of the great houses in Westeros, they decided to pillage and raid instead. When Theon travelled back to see the help of his family on Robb’s behalf, the coward instead succumbed to his father’s argument, and decided to turn on the Starks and take Winterfell. Thankfully, neither Bran nor Rickon were killed during the raid, and their possession of the castle was short lived. Theon was captured, and subsequently lost his favourite appendage, and since then, things only got worse. It just goes to show that being a damn fool and a traitor doesn’t pay. And yet, they have the most awesome Sigil, and if you’re a pirate at heart, then pledge your allegiance to the Drowned God and set sail for new lands.
Unbowed, unbent, unbroken. The Red Viper of Dorne. Oberyn Martell. A glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark world. When we saw him face off on Tyrion’s behalf against The Mountain, one Ser Gregor Clegane, who, if you remember rightly beheaded his own horse in season one, we did not have high hopes. And yet, things seemed to look up. He’d all but bested the beast when he had his teeth punched out and his head exploded. Still – up until that point he was doing pretty well. What followed was an odd storyline that culminated with the death of Myrcella. Dorne was a beautiful place, and it’s just a shame that all it bore was death and pain. We wanted to champion them. We wanted to rally behind House Martell as they brought the Lannisters to their knees! But, foolish pride got in the way, and now, like all others who stood against the Lannisters, they lie battered and bruised. Unbowed, yes, unbent and unbroken – not so much. It was a good fight scene, though, right?
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It doesn’t matter whose banners you’re flying, so long as you’re prepared to fight for them. We all look forward to the next season, even if it isn’t landing until 2019. Damn you HBO!