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"House Tarly" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature from Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season. It is narrated by James Faulkner as Lord Randyll Tarly.

Synopsis

Randyll Tarly explain the history of House Tarly, one of the noble houses of the Reach.

Narration

Randyll Tarly: Most houses take wild beasts for their sigils, calling themselves bears, lions or stags, as if a cloth banner could make them so. That isn't the way of House Tarly. Our sigil is the huntsman pulling his bow, and it isn't some idle fancy. As soon as a son of House Tarly can hold a spoon, he gets a bow. As soon as the boy can sit a horse, his father takes him on a hunt. They return with a stag, a buck, a boar, a brace of pheasant, even if it takes days. Even if it takes a week. Even if it takes the boy's whole life.

Horn Hill is ours. A fitting home for one of the oldest and most honorable families of the Reach. Legend has it that Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, two sons of Garth the Greenhand, raised the castle in the Age of Heroes, and shared a home and wife for a hundred years. Most of the great houses spout such nonsense about their origins. At least my family doesn't claim some long-lost ancient crown, like the rest of them. House Tarly breeds soldiers, not kings. When House Gardener ruled the Reach, we served them well and loyally. When House Gardener died and Aegon gave the Reach to their stewards, House Tyrell, we served them well and loyally. We know our place, even if the Tyrell women don't. When Aegon's son faced rebellion from the Vulture King of Dorne, my ancestor, Savage Sam Tarly, led the royal forces on a Vulture Hunt. Heartsbane, our ancestral Valyrian sword, and the pride of our house, soon ran red from point to hilt with rebel blood. When Robert Baratheon rebelled against Aerys, I led the Tyrell van, and handed him his only defeat in the war at Ashford.

But a hunter knows that a moment's slip can cost him the game. Great houses have fallen from a single, weak heir. Samwell looked like a son when he was born, but he grew up plump and soft as a daughter. I'd catch him in the kitchen shoving cakes into his ever-growing mouth, or reading in the garden when he was supposed to be training. I brought masters-at-arms from all over Westeros to make a man of him. He slept in chainmail, bathed in bull's blood, was dressed in his mother's clothes and paraded through the castle to shame him into valor. He only grew fatter and more craven.

I despaired of the future of our house until my wife gave me another boy, Dickon. A real son and worthy heir. Or he would have been, if Sam wasn't squatting in his way. One morning, I had Sam brought into the woods outside the castle. I told him he'd given me no cause to disown him, but Heartsbane should go to a man strong enough to wield her. And Sam wasn't worthy to touch her hilt. Either he would take the black and renounce all future claim to his brother's sword and title, or I would hunt him down like the pig he was. Of course, faced with danger and exertion, he chose the coward's path, and waddled north to the Wall. Some may call me cruel for what I did, but I don't care. I am responsible for House Tarly, as my father was before me and his father before him. If the hunter returns with empty hands, his family starves. If the warrior carries an empty scabbard, his home burns. House Tarly has stood for thousands of years. It will not fall on my watch. No matter how many tears my family sheds.

Notes

  • In the video, Randyll Tarly scoffs that unlike some Houses who claim to have legendary (and probably fictional) kings as their ancestors who interacted with gods and monsters (i.e. Garth Greenhand and the Tyrells, Durran Godsgrief and the Baratheons), House Tarly does not - they produce soldiers, not kings. This contradicts the books, in which it is clearly stated that the Tarlys actually were petty kings in the not-to-distant past. Each of the Seven Kingdoms was originally divided between a dozen or so petty kingdoms each, gradually coalescing as the bigger ones absorbed the smaller ones through war or marriage alliance. These bigger proto-kingdoms persisted for many centuries, before finally uniting to form the seven big kingdoms. For many centuries, the area that later became the Kingdom of the Reach was actually divided up into four smaller proto-kingdoms: by far the largest two were the half north of the Mander River, ruled by the Gardeners from Highgarden, and the southern half ruled by House Hightower from Oldtown. Another smaller kingdom was formed on the off-shore island the Arbor by House Redwyne. The fourth and final petty kingdom was fairly small, located in the eastern marches along the border with Dorne in the rough foothills of the Red Mountains; it was ruled by House Tarly from their castle-seat at Horn Hill itself.
    • It is possible to reconcile Randyll's comments as scoffing that his family claims no descent from famous half-legendary kings who had all sorts of fanciful magic adventures with gods and mermaids - even though it is known with more certainty that one or two thousand years ago his family ruled as kings over a relatively tiny mountain kingdom.
  • For that matter, Randyll's dismissing remark is contradictory within the video itself: he goes on to say that according to legend, House Tarly was founded by two sons of Garth Greenhand, legendary ancestor of House Gardener and House Tyrell - almost every major House in the Reach claims to be descended from a younger son of Garth Greenhand, either directly or through intermarriage. It's possible he just means he doesn't believe the legends, and that his House is strong because real men defended it.
  • This video builds on past videos in the Histories & Lore series: in the books, Mace Tyrell likes to brag that his Tyrell forces inflicted the only defeat that Robert Baratheon ever suffered during the rebellion (while it was a tactical victory, Robert withdrew in good order and it was indecisive). In reality, the Tyrell vanguard led by Randyll and his Tarly forces drove back Robert, who decided to retreat before the main Tyrell army could arrive along with Mace. Back in the Season 3 Histories & Lore featurettes, Margaery Tyrell recounts what is apparently her father's favored version of events, that Mace gloriously led his army to defeat Robert...but then in the Season 4 Histories & Lore set, in another video Margaery grudgingly admits in passing that her father's vanguard defeated Robert before he actually arrived. This video puts the entire matter straight, that Randyll achieved the victory before Mace himself actually arrived.

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