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"Histories & Lore" is a series of short animated videos included in Blu-ray release of each TV season of Game of Thrones.
In Season 1, the animated featurettes were titled the "Complete Guide to Westeros", but from Season 2 onwards they were titled the "Histories & Lore" videos. For the sake of simplicity and ease of access, the Season 1 videos are listed here on Game of Thrones Wiki alongside the others, retroactively including them as "Histories & Lore" videos.
Actual cast members, in-character, narrate the major events of the 12,000 year long history of Westeros. Each video lasts for about one to three minutes (sometimes slightly more), and the videos included in each season's Blu-ray set have a combined running time of 60 minutes: thus each functionally constitutes a full-length "bonus episode" of sorts. The Season 1 featurettes were written by staff "lore master" Bryan Cogman. After he was promoted to full staff writer, from Season 2 onwards they were written by his assistant Dave Hill (who was also later promoted to a full episode writer in Season 5), though Cogman still oversaw the scripts for them.
The goal is that viewers new to the TV series that are not familiar with author George R.R. Martin's books are given within the space of an hour a thorough crash-course on all of the vital things one needs to know about the backstory of the world of Westeros.
Similar to the theme of the books, each of the characters gives their own perspective on historical events. For example, Robert Baratheon is filled with self-righteous fury when he describes the Sack of King's Landing, while Viserys Targaryen stresses what a betrayal it was and how the Targaryen children were butchered. The House Stark characters are horrified by the bloodshed in the Sack of King's Landing, while Tywin Lannister, considers it to have been a necessary evil.
The featurettes are not fully animated, but rather the "camera" pans over detailed still-frame artwork as characters narrate their contents. The drawings were produced by the TV series's storyboard artist William Simpson, among others such as Elia Mervi.
In Season 1 the artwork was in the form of charcoal drawings, but as they were well-received, more time and resources were put into those produced in subsequent seasons, including full color and more detailed artwork. From Season 2 onwards the videos also include much more zooming in and out by the camera, and sometimes even shifting between two frames to show action (a raised axe in one shot will be lowered while the rest of the frame remains still). As a result they became more of a motion comic.
(Called the "Complete Guide to Westeros" in the Season 1 Blu-ray)
- "The Children of the Forest, the First Men, and the Andals": Bran Stark speaks of the original inhabitants of Westeros, their conflict with the First Men and the later invasion of the Andals.
- "The Age of Heroes": Bran Stark briefly narrates the stories of legendary figures of several of the seven independent kingdoms that existed prior to the War of Conquest
- "The Old Gods and the New": Bran Stark and Catelyn Stark explain the nature of the two largest religions in Westeros: the Old Gods of the Forest and the Faith of the Seven.
- "The History of the Night's Watch": Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, Maester Luwin, and Lord Tywin Lannister separately narrate the origins and purpose of the Night's Watch and describe its current status from their own perspective.
- "The Order of Maesters": Maester Luwin explains the role and function of the Order of Maesters in the Seven Kingdoms as well as studies aspiring Maesters undergo.
- "Valyria and the Dragons": Viserys Targaryen narrates the origins of the Valyrian Freehold, the role of dragons in Valyrian supremacy and the consequences of the Doom.
- "The Field of Fire": Viserys Targaryen and Robb Stark give separate accounts of the War of Conquest and the consequences of the Field of Fire.
- "Mad King Aerys": King Robert Baratheon, Maester Luwin and Lord Tywin Lannister speak their own accounts of the actions of King Aerys II Targaryen that led to Robert's Rebellion.
- "Robert's Rebellion": King Robert Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen give their own perspectives on the events of Robert's Rebellion up from its beginnings to the Battle of the Trident.
- "The Sack of King's Landing": Viserys Targaryen, King Robert Baratheon, Maester Luwin, and Lord Tywin Lannister describe the Sack of King's Landing and offer their own conflicting opinions on the event.
- "House Stark": Bran and Robb Stark narrate the ancient origins, history and particularities of House Stark.
- "House Lannister": Lord Tywin Lannister speaks of the origins, status, and power of House Lannister and his role in the Reyne Rebellion.
- "House Targaryen": Viserys Targaryen narrates the origins of the Targaryen dynasty, the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms and the exile of himself and Princess Daenerys Targaryen.
- "House Baratheon": King Robert I explains the origins of House Baratheon in the War of Conquest and its rise to royalty after Robert's Rebellion.
- "House Arryn": Catelyn Stark speaks of the origins of House Arryn and the conquest of the Vale during the Andal invasion and its role in Robert's Rebellion.
- "Greyjoy Rebellion": Robb Stark tells the story of his father leading the final assault on Pyke that brought an end to Balon Greyjoy’s insurrection. Theon Greyjoy tells a conflicted tale of the Ironmen’s desire to be free, recounting his father’s reasons for rising up against the forces of King’s Landing, and the price he paid for failure. Stannis Baratheon details his victory over the Greyjoy Iron Fleet, which opened the Iron Islands to a land assault by Robert Baratheon’s forces.
- "Robert's Rebellion": Stannis Baratheon explains how he was sent to capture the old Targaryen stronghold of Dragonstone, where the heirs to the Mad King slipped through his fingers. Davos Seaworth tells the story of how he saved the forces of Storm’s End from almost certain starvation, an act that would eventually give him the nickname “the Onion Knight." Margaery Tyrell recounts her house’s historic loyalty to the Targaryen dynasty, her father’s past victories, and her family’s animosity toward Stannis Baratheon. Catelyn Stark reflects upon Brandon Stark’s death, her sudden betrothal to Eddard, and the war that swept across Westeros. She also reveals her reaction to Eddard returning to Winterfell with a bastard son.
- "House Tyrell": Margaery Tyrell describes the rise of her family before and after the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror, their subsequent loyalty to the Targaryens, and the power of the fertile lands of the Reach.
- "House Greyjoy": Theon and Yara Greyjoy detail the legacy of House Greyjoy, their dominion over the Iron Islands, and the history of the Ironmen themselves.
- "House Clegane": Sandor Clegane explains how his family was raised out of the servant class through its relationship with the Lannisters, and details the story behind his House sigil.
- "The Free Folk": Even for those in the far north, little is known about the people who live beyond the wall. Ygritte explains what survival is like on the other side of the wall, and why most Free Folk wouldn’t have it any other way.
- "The Night's Watch": Ygritte offers her view of the Crows in the Night’s Watch, providing a perspective that is markedly different from the southerners on the other side of the Wall.
- "Dragonstone": Stannis Baratheon explains Dragonstone’s importance as the home of the Targaryens before Aegon’s conquest of Westeros, and details its current role as the seat of his royal power.
- "Harrenhal": Catelyn Stark gives the haunted history of Harrenhal, from its construction under Harren the Black and his subsequent demise within its walls, to the fates of the other lords who lived, for a time, under its roof.
- "The Free Cities": Jorah Mormont explains the rise of the “Free Cities” of Essos in the wake of Valyria’s Doom, detailing how the cities differ and what one can expect to find in each one.
- "Qarth": Xaro Xhoan Daxos explains Qarth’s role in Essos’ commerce, and how the merchant council known as the Thirteen rules the city to ensure it remains the greatest city that was or ever will be.
- "The Drowned God": Yara Greyjoy explains the worship of the Drowned God, His importance in the Iron Islands, and the legends of His halls beneath the waves.
- "The Alchemists' Guild": Wisdom Hallyne provides an account of the Alchemist Guild (or Pyromancers), detailing their knowledge of wildfire and how their once great influence in Westeros has faded over the years.
- "The Warlocks": Xaro Xhoan Daxos explains the mysterious order of the warlocks and their relationship with the House of the Undying, their center of power.
- "Old Ghis & Slaver's Bay": Jorah Mormont charts the rise and fall of the Ghiscari Empire, including its battles with the Valyrian Freehold and the slaver cities that carry on in the wake of its destruction.
- "The Unsullied": Jorah Mormont recounts the legendary Battle of Qohor, in which three thousand Unsullied slave-warriors held off an entire Dothraki horde outside the gates of Qohor.
- "House Reed": Meera Reed discusses the history and modern perceptions of House Reed, leaders of the crannogmen, the mysterious swamp-dwelling gatekeepers of the North.
- "House Bolton": Roose Bolton discusses the history of House Bolton, one of the great houses of the North, despite their often unsavory reputation.
- "House Frey": Catelyn Stark tracks the House Frey’s quick rise to wealth and power through control of the Crossing, as well as their current reputation under the prickly and resentful Lord Walder Frey.
- "House Tully": Brynden Tully details the history of House Tully, the noble and diplomatic Lords Paramount of the Riverlands.
- "The Lord of Light": Thoros of Myr details his personal history as a follower of the Lord of Light, from his skeptical youth in Myr, to his visions in the flames that have made him a believer.
- "Wargs and the Sight": Bran Stark explains the legendary abilities of warging and the Sight, skills that, although innate to the mythical Children of the Forest, only present themselves in modern men on rare occasion.
- "Robert's Rebellion": Petyr Baelish and Varys debate the ramifications of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen, and its impact on the realm.
- "The Red Keep": Joffrey Baratheon reveals the history and structure of the Red Keep, the main fortress of King’s Landing, from its construction by the Targaryens, to its hidden lower dungeons.
- "The North": Jon Snow describes the vast, cold and unforgiving North, which stretches from the Neck to the Wall, and has served as the barrier between the Seven Kingdoms and the horrors beyond the Wall for thousands of years.
- "The Reach": Margaery Tyrell discusses the history, customs, and noble houses of the Reach, the fertile region known for chivalry, knightly tournaments, farms, and vineyards.
- "The Riverlands: Brynden Tully recounts the history of the Riverlands, one of the most desirable-and most fought over-regions in the Seven Kingdoms.
- "The Stormlands": Brienne of Tarth recounts the tumultuous history of the Stormlands, from the constant battles waged by the Storm Kings, to the relative peace under Targaryen rule, to Robert’s Rebellion.
- "The Westerlands": Tywin Lannister reveals the history of the Westerlands, and the true strength behind the richest region of the Seven Kingdoms; House Lannister.
- "The Vale": Petyr Baelish delves into the history of the Vale, from its mythical beginnings to the impregnable Eyrie, the noble House Arryn, and the unpredictable Hill Tribes.
- "House Martell": Oberyn Martell discusses the history and reputation of House Martell, the strong-willed ruling family of Dorne that refused to join the Seven Kingdoms for centuries.
- "House Baelish": Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) explains how, despite humble beginnings, House Baelish has rapidly risen to power, thanks mostly to his own wit and ambition.
- "Dragons": Grand Maester Pycelle recounts the mysterious origins, magical powers, and inexplicable downfall of history's last generation of dragons.
- "Poisons": Oberyn Martell explains the sources, surreptitious uses, and lethal effects of the many poisons circulating throughout Westeros and Essos.
- "The Bastards of Westeros": Ellaria Sand explains the shame cast upon bastards throughout much of Westeros, and how these unwanted children can tear families and kingdoms apart.
- "The Iron Bank of Braavos": Tycho Nestoris reveals the history behind the legendary Iron Bank of Braavos, an institution renowned for its economic power and formidable reputation.
- "Sellswords & Hedge Knights": Bronn describes the unique profession and skill of the sellsword, as well as the debatable merits of the hedge knight.
- "Robert's Rebellion": Oberyn Martell reveals the Dornish perspective of Robert's Rebellion - or the War of the Usurper as they call it - including the murder of his sister, Elia Martell, during the sack of King's Landing.
- "The Wall": Samwell Tarly explains the impressive construction and function of the Wall, including its natural defenses against wildling attempts to scale, breach, and circumnavigate it.
- "The Nations of the North": Tormund Giantsbane describes the varied clans of Free Folk living beyond the Wall, from Thenns to the Hornfoots to the Giants, all of whom Mance Rayder has rallied to his cause.
- "The Kingsguard", by Jaime Lannister details the heroes and storied triumphs of the Kingsguard believed to be the most honorable knights in the realm. Bronn sheds some light on the unfavorable moments from the Kingsguard's history, including their blind loyalty for less-than-honorable kings.
- "The Maester's Chain": Qyburn explains the significance of the Maester's Chain, a symbolic ornament earned by students of The Citadel, with each link representing the mastery of a different subject.
- "The Death of Kings": Varys tracks the lives and all too common deaths of the Kings of Westeros over the years, proving that the Iron Throne is truly an uncomfortable seat to hold.
- "Valyrian Steel": Jorah Mormont details the mysterious properties of Valyrian Steel, a metal considered magical that was used to forge the blades of the great Houses of Westeros.
- "Justice of the Seven Kingdoms": Bronn offers his view on the Seven Kingdoms' questionable methods of justice, including the dramatic trial by combat and the rarely invoked trial by Seven.
- "The Seven-Pointed Star": the High Sparrow discussing the Faith of the Seven
- "The Faith Militant": the High Sparrow discusses the Faith Militant
- "Volantis": Varys describes the Free City of Volantis
- "Braavos": Tycho Nestoris gives an in-depth description of Braavos
- "The Faceless Men": Tycho Nestoris discusses the mysterious guild of assassins known as the Faceless Men
- "Winterfell": Roose Bolton gives his views on Winterfell
- "The Lord Commanders": Ser Alliser Thorne discusses past Lord Commanders of the Night's Watch.
- "Robert's Rebellion": Barristan Selmy's perspective. Barristan Selmy recounts how he was named to the Kingsguard, saw King Aerys descend into madness but revered Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Barristan describes the fateful Tourney at Harrenhal, the ensuing War of the Five Kings, and how he fought beside Rhaegar at the Battle of the Trident where he was killed.
- "Dorne": Ellaria Sand narrates a brief history of Dorne from the migration of the First Men to the present day.
- "The Fighting Pits of Meereen": Daario Naharis discusses the fighting pits of Meereen, famous for their gladiatorial games.
- "The River Rhoyne": Varys talks about the Rhoyne.
- "The Many-Faced God": a man known as "Jaqen H'ghar" discusses the Many-Faced God, the syncretic god of death worshiped by the cult of assassins known as the Faceless Men.
- "Greyscale & The Stone Men": Qyburn discusses the dreaded plague known as Greyscale, and its advanced victims known as "Stone Men".
- "The Great Masters of Meereen": Missandei of Naath discusses the self-styled "Great Masters", the powerful aristocratic slaver families that rule over Meereen, largest city in Slaver's Bay.
In addition to the regular Histories & Lore videos (which add up to around 52 minutes, as in past seasons), the Season 5 Blu-ray includes a extra 20 minute long animated Histories & Lore video:
- "The Dance of Dragons": The great Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons is discussed by Shireen Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Oberyn Martell, Robert Baratheon, Catelyn Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon.
- "The Old Way": Euron Greyjoy discusses the Old Way.
- "The Kingsmoot": Euron Greyjoy discusses the tradition of the Kingsmoot.
- "The Summer Sea": Euron Greyjoy discusses the cultures of the Summer Sea.
- "War of the Ninepenny Kings": Brother Ray recounts the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
- "The Great Tourney at Harrenhal": Meera Reed reflects on the infamous tournament at Harrenhal.
- "Robert's Rebellion": Jaime Lannister looks back on Robert's Rebellion.
- "Vaes Dothrak": Jorah Mormont details the history and culture of Vaes Dothrak.
- "The Dothraki": Jorah Mormont discusses the culture and practices of the Dothraki.
- "Northern Allegiances to House Stark": Sansa Stark discusses the noble houses of the North and their loyalty to House Stark.
- "Children of the Forest vs. the First Men": The three-eyed raven recounts the wars between the Children of the Forest and the First Men.
- "Brotherhood Without Banners": Thoros of Myr discusses the mission of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
- "Oldtown": Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn debate Oldtown and the Citadel.
- "House Dayne": Eddard Stark recounts the history of House Dayne.
- "The Little Birds": Varys discusses his little birds.
- "Knights of the Vale": Petyr Baelish highlights the great knights of the Vale of Arryn.
- "House Tarly": Randyll Tarly reflects on the history of House Tarly.
- "Riverrun": Brynden Tully details the history of Riverrun.
- "Great Sept of Baelor": The High Sparrow recounts the history of the Great Sept of Baelor.