Lion

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The sigil of House Lannister depicts a golden lion.

The lion is similar to a real life lion. A hrakkar is a great white lion found in the Dothraki sea of Essos.

Culture

Westerosi sigils depicting lions or lions' heads include those of Houses Casterly,[1] Grandison, Jast, Lannister, Osgrey, Parren, Polander, and Reyne.

The sigil of House Manning includes a sea lion.[2] Ser Leo Costayne was known as the Sea Lion.[3]

Because of the Lannisters' sigil, men of the westerlands can be called lions.[4][5][6] The Lion Gate at King's Landing opens to the Goldroad, which leads to the westerlands.[7] The garrison of the City Watch of King's Landing stationed at the Lion Gate is called the "Lions".[8] At sunset, Casterly Rock is believed to resemble a lion in repose.[9]

The Lion of Night is a deity of Yi Ti,[10][11] also worshipped in other parts of Essos, including Braavos[12] and Asshai.[13] In the House of Black and White in Braavos, there is an ebony statue of the Lion of Night, depicted as a man with a lion's head seated on a throne.[14]

The Prince of Pentos keeps a pride of lions in his menagerie.[15]

History

The kennelmaster, the founder of House Clegane, saves Lord Tytos Lannister from the lioness. Art by tumcolho ©

The wood dancers of the children of the forest are said to have called upon cave lions to fight on their behalf.[16]

Lions inhabited the western hills of Westeros. In antiquity, lions made dens in Casterly Rock itself.[17][18] According to legend, the founder of House Casterly was the huntsman Corlos, son of Caster, who lived in a village near where Lannisport eventually sprang up. When a lion began preying upon the village's sheep, Corlos tracked him back to his den, a cave in the base of the nearby mountain. Armed only with a spear, Corlos slew the lion and his mate, but spared her newborn cubs. This act of mercy pleased the old gods, who took favor on Corlos and sent a shaft of sunlight deep into the cave, which shone upon a huge vein of gold.[17]

Later, lions were owned by the Kings of the Rock. According to a semi-canon source, some of King Loreon I Lannister's lions broke free and slew three of his sons, some say as a curse from Morgon Banefort.[19]

Sandoq the Shadow is said to have slain lions, bears, wolves, and wyverns in the fighting pits of Meereen.[20]

Wild lions were seen during the reign of Lord Tytos Lannister, as the first knight of House Clegane, the kennelmaster at the Rock, saved Tytos from a lioness and lost a leg and three dogs in the effort.[21] Several caged lions were kept in the bowels of Casterly Rock during the childhood of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, a legacy of their grandfather Tytos's time.[22]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen wearing her hrakkar pelt. Art by Pojypojy ©

Khal Drogo hunts and slays a hrakkar of the Dothraki sea.[23]

A Clash of Kings

The handmaids of Daenerys Targaryen make her a cloak from the hrakkar's pelt, to cover her bald head.[24]

Within the House of the Undying in Qarth, Daenerys has a series of visions, one of which features a white lion.[25]

A Dance with Dragons

In Pentos, Tyrion Lannister refers to himself as a lion, which amuses Illyrio Mopatis. He offers to take Tyrion to the Prince of Pentos's menagerie so that he can share a cage with a pride of real lions, but Tyrion demurs.[15]

In 300 AC, Leaf, one of the children of the forest, tells Bran Stark that the great lions of the western hills have all been slain.[26] According to a semi-canon source, a few lions survive in the outlying hills of the westerlands, but they mostly have been hunted to extinction.[18]

Cersei Lannister remembers the restless caged lions of her youth kept in the bowels of Casterly Rock, and how she worked up the courage to touch one, while her brother Jaime pulled her away.[22]

References

  1. Not A Blog: A Couple of Rocks, December 23, 2022
  2. The Citadel: Heraldry
  3. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
  4. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
  5. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  6. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  8. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: Casterly Rock.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow.
  14. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Coming of the First Men.
  17. 17.0 17.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  18. 18.0 18.1 So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (San Francisco, CA) (November 17, 2005).
  19. georgerrmartin.com: WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE SAMPLE
  20. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  25. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  26. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.