Thursday, July 4, 2013

Game of Thrones & Heraldry

From A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Permission was granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
If you've read any of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, or been watching Game of Thrones on HBO, you'll know that all the Great Houses of Westeros (the Seven Kingdoms) have their own sigil. Merriam-Webster defines a sigil as a seal, signet, or a sign, word, or device held to have occult power in astrology or magic, and heraldry as the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies, which is close enough for our purposes.

In Game of Thrones, some of the most vivid heraldic examples include House Stark, with their direwolf and family motto "Winter is Coming" on an escutcheon (see above) and the arms of Joffrey Baratheon, which marshal (or combine) the coats of arms of both his parents' houses (the Baratheon stag and Lannister lion) on one shield.  But real world heraldic rules are not strictly followed in the Seven Kingdoms.

With the help of an online generator (see above), you can make your own Game of Thrones inspired sigil in a kind of trading card format. Pretty, but why not use library resources to make your own heraldic device? The study of heraldry is ancient and intricate, and well worth a little extra effort to make yourself a really impressive insignia.  Here are a couple of titles to get you started:

The Complete Book of Heraldry by Stephen Slater

The Heraldic Art Source Book by Peter Spurrier

The Oxford Guide to Heraldry by Thomas Woodcock and John Martin Robinson

Basic Heraldry by Stephen Friar and John Ferguson

Design Your Own Coat of Arms: An Introduction to Heraldry by Rosemary A. Chorzempa

For younger readers interested in heraldry:

Harold the Herald: A Book about Heraldry by Dana Fradon

Knight by Christopher Gravett

Some more specific studies of heraldry are only available to browse at the Genealogy section on the second floor of Main Library.


Join the Realm Sigil Creator

A Wiki of Ice and Fire: Heraldry

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