Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles JON: As a boy looking out from my father's castle, I thought the sun could never set on the North. So vast did it seem. A part of me still does. The North is by far the largest of the Seven Kingdoms and can fit the other six inside it. Not that the others care. Cold and damp, that's how the Southerners see the North. But without the cold, a man can't appreciate the fire in his hearth. Without the rain, a man can't appreciate the roof over his head. Let the South have its sun, flowers and affectations. We Northerners have home. Mine was once Winterfell, the ancient seat of my father's family, House Stark, who have ruled the North since the First Men and were once the Kings of Winter. Growing up, Lady Catelyn made sure I knew I wasn't a Stark, no matter how much blood I shared with her trueborn children. But where their name rules over the North, mine is the North. Snow. Our land stretches from the Wall down to the Neck, a narrow land that divides us from the rest of Westeros. Legend has it that the Children of the Forest flooded it in their war against the First Men. If that's true, every Northman owes them a debt of gratitude. The swamps of the Neck are as good as the Wall for keeping out unwelcome armies. And if the swamps don't deter you, the crannogmen men should. Small, shy people who rarely leave those swamps and who follow House Reed, the gatekeepers of the North and among the most important and loyal bannermen of House Stark. Also a bit strange. I heard their oath of fealty once as a child. It's like no other lords'. Ancient and dark, they swear by earth and water, by bronze and iron, and by ice and fire. Where House Reed holds the gate to the North, House Manderly holds the port, White Harbor, the closest thing to a Southern city we have governed by the closest thing to a Southern family we have. Generations ago, the Manderlys were driven from the Reach, but the Starks gave them their land in return for featly. Now White Harbor is the richest city of the North and the Manderlys the richest family. Not in gold and silver like their Southern counterparts, but in fish, grain and trade. As for the other great Northern Houses, the Starks brought them into the fold during the Age of Heroes. A Stark wrestled an ironborn for Bear Island and gave it to the Mormonts. A Stark granted a keep and land to a younger son, Karlon, in return for putting down a rebellion. His family then grew up into the Karstarks. Starks fought the wildlings and their kings beyond the Wall beside the Umbers of Last Hearth, thus earning their fealty. Boltons, back then they were the bane of the North. A few were even rumored to wear their enemies' flayed skins as cloaks. But after centuries of war, they too bent the knee. And so House Stark became the Kings in the North but never forgot that they weren't the North. When Aegon and his dragons landed on Westeros, the kings of the Rock and the Reach sent all their men to die to defend their grounds. Torrhen Stark knelt to spare his people the same fate. He placed duty above pride. Just as my brothers in the Night's Watch had done for thousands of years at the Wall. Many think of it as the end of the world, but it's not. I've seen other land stretch as much farther than any man knows into the Land of Always Winter where the White Walkers came from during the Long Night. After the First Men and the Children of the Forest beat them back, Brandon the Builder raised the Wall and set up the Night's Watch to guard the realms of men. He gave us our oath, our castles and the Gift, the lands behind the Wall whose farms and crops sustain us. Southerners may now mock my black brothers as thieves, rapers and worse. And not without cause. But the North remembers why we're there. And if we fall, the South will get a very harsh, and very cold reminder. TYWIN: The Westerlands are all bounded by three natural defenses. Mountain, sea and forest. Necessary barriers when the land is as rich as ours. From our mines come the gold and silver that fuel the rest of Westeros. From Lannisport, our largest city, come the most skillful gold and silversmiths in the land. Yet, geography alone is not strength. The Westerlands would've been sacked and pillaged for thousands of years, if it hadn't been for the men who ruled it. My family. House Lannister. According to legend, we trace our descent to Lann the Clever. A trickster of the Dawn Age, who swindled the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock, their ancient castle. A childish story, but not without merit. One, a mind can and should be a weapon in a man's arsenal. Two, Lann must've been clever enough not to rely solely on his wits. After all, where today is House Casterly? Three, by keeping the Casterly name on the castle, Lann reminded the world of the price of getting in his way. The Reynes ignored all these lessons. Not content with being the second richest family, they sought to challenge the first. Mine. My father had put up with their insults and disrespect. When I came of age, I led our army to teach them what they should've known. Some people say I was too harsh. That eradicating every member of their family was not necessary. But now there are no bannermen as loyal to their lord as the Westerlands to us. If any lord bridles at our authority, I have only to send a singer with a harp and he falls back into line. Because I will not have our lords squabble amongst themselves, like the lords of the Riverlands, or hide in their castles like the lords of the Vale, each of our bannermen contributes a unique skill that furthers the whole of the Westerlands. House Clegane, because every lord needs a beast from time to time. So, Gregor strikes terror into the hearts of our enemies and our friends. So too, does his disappointing brother, Sandor, the traitor. House Payne, who provides us loyal servants. Ser llyn Payne was once captain of my household guard, until the Mad King heard him boast that I ran the Seven Kingdoms, which I did. The Mad King tore out Ser llyn's tongue. Making him especially well-suited to later become the King's Justice. Apparently, these days, a younger Payne also serves my degenerate son, Tyrion. House Lefford, who guards the Golden Tooth, the eastern pass through the mountains, and the all too frequent chaos of the Seven Kingdoms. Though after Robb Stark's recent incursions, perhaps we need a new gatekeeper. Fools look at the Westerlands and see gold. Fools see our wealth and call it strength. Gold is just another rock. The Westerlands are strong because of House Lannister. From strong leadership comes unity. From unity comes power. BLACKFISH: Men have fought over the Riverlands since the Dawn Age. But that's to be expected of things that rest below the Neck. It doesn't help that the Riverlands are between everything and everything else. The Westerlands' gold, the Reach's grain, the Vale's rock and the North's snow. House Mudd once ruled as the kings of the rivers and hills. But after a thousand years, their line was exhausted and fell to the Storm Kings who fell to the ironborn. I suppose after years of drowning at sea, our rivers looked pretty attractive to that race of pirates and rapers. Never mind that their monstrous castle, Harrenhal, was too large to staff and garrison. It turned out the ironborn wouldn't be there long enough to bother. Aegon Targaryen landed to our south, and as had many before him, liked the look of the Riverlands. My ancestor, Edmyn Tully, led the desertion of riverlords to his cause. And was rewarded by getting to watch King Harren burn in his own tower. Unfortunately, that's not all Edmyn got. House Tully was named the Lords Paramount of the Trident, which means we had to keep in line all those lords who hadn't governed themselves for thousands of years. We were now responsible for aiding the Mallisters at Seagard against the pouting ironborn whenever they got cheeky. For settling Harrenhal on a family stupid enough to think its curse would skip them after devouring all previous families. For keeping the Blackwoods and Brackens from wiping each other out. And giving us two more castles to deal with. For keeping the Freys in their place and out of others' pockets. For marrying off our sons and daughters wisely enough so we didn't follow House Mudd into... Well, the mud. Yet under the Targaryens, the Riverlands knew a peace we hadn't had for centuries, if even But like all good things, sooner or later, it all goes to shit. And our shit had a name. Aerys Targaryen. Westerns has had 'ms share oi mad Hugs, but usually they had the sense not to bully more than one powerful house at a time. Aerys soon blundered into a triple alliance. The North, Stormlands, and Vale rose against him. But, of course, where do you think most of the blood was spilled? My brother, Hoster, guaranteed the answer to that with the marriage of my niece to Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North. At least Hoster didn't send her to Robert. So the Riverlands joined the war against the Mad King. And it was on one of our rivers that Prince Rhaegar died, sealing the fate of his dynasty. Robert was a great soldier and a horrible king. Drinking and whoring are their own brand of madness when you sit on a throne that everybody wants. He died and another war started. Again the armies marched, again the Riverlands burned. If Westeros isn't careful, pretty soon our people will grow some sense and abandon this place for a safer realm. Like the Dothraki Sea. I joke, of course. The Riverlands are our home and Gods help us, we love it. Still, as they say, the king eats and the hand takes the shit. The same is true of the Riverlands. The Seven Kingdoms piss, and the Riverlands change clothes. BRIENNE: Tarth has lulled many a novice sailor into complacency. Our lush island sits on calm, blue water like an emerald set into a sapphire. You would never guess that such a vision is only the sheath hiding the blade of Shipbreaker Bay, with its treacherous tides, unpredictable gales, and sharp rocks lurking just below the water's surface. The storms that blow through the bay water the Kingswood and Rainwood, two of the great forests of Westeros. And they give the Stormlands their name. Even without our weather, we have more than earned our name in strife. The first Storm King, Durran, started his reign by declaring war on the Gods themselves. He loved the daughter of the sea god and the wind goddess, but they forbade the union. At their wedding, the Gods unleashed their might, pulling down his hold and killing all of Durran's family and guests, though his wife shielded him. Durran vowed to rebuild. And when he did, the Gods again destroyed his home. His councilors begged him to retreat inland, but he would not abandon his wall. Finally, with the counsel of the Children of the Forest, or perhaps a young Bran the Builder, Durran raised a seventh castle that, try as they might, and still do, the wind and sea gods could not tear asunder. Durran took the name Godsgrief, and called his new home Storm's End. Having beaten the waters to the east, the Storm Kings turned their gaze to more practical enemies, the Reach, Riverlands and Dome. For thousands of years, the Storm Kings fought the Gardener kings of the Reach, and various families of Dorne for control of the Dornish Marches, just below the Red Mountains. The fighting didn't stop until Dorne married into the Seven Kingdoms, a mere 100 years ago. But still the houses of the Stormlands, such as the Dondarrions, guard the Boneway, the mountain pass into the Marches, against any Dornish incursion. The Storm Kings had greater luck to their north, at first. They took the Trident from the River Kings and built an empire that stretched as far as the Neck. But then the ironborn swarmed out of their islands and pushed the Storm Kings out of the Riverlands. No doubt, the ironborn intended to expand their empire into the Stormlands. Before they had a chance, Aegon Targaryen landed with his dragons.