House Words Wednesdays: House Corbray

Hello, everyone!

So as you may have seen, I have started a feature on the Tumblr called House Words Wednesdays. Each week, I’ll take a House without known canon/semi-canon words and present what I think could make sense as that House’s motto. You’re free to suggest more as well; take a look at this link to see what has already been suggested, and shoot me a tweet or ask through Tumblr if you have another House you’d like to see.

House Corbray of Heart’s Home is one of the most prominent secondary Houses of the Vale, so I’m not surprised people wanted to know their words. The dangerous Ser Lyn has already established himself as a major character in Sansa’s Vale journey, and with him showing up in her sample chapter from TWOW, I expect he’ll continue to play a big role. With the Corbrays, though, I’m not focusing on their sigil to come up with a motto, mainly because I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Three black ravens in flight, holding three red hearts, all on white? What - what even is that? Maybe it’s an as-yet-unrevealed story, the way the Dondarrion sigil reflects that House’s story, but I don’t get it.

Instead I looked at Corbray history. You know what the Corbrays really seem to like? Killing. They really like wielding steel - particularly their beloved Lady Forlorn - to make names for themselves. Indeed, it’s how the House started. At the beginning of the Andal Invasion, some petty First Men kings hired Andal warlords to fight their enemies for them. Corwyn Corbray was one of those, hired by rival Kings of the Fingers Dywen Shell and Jon Brightstone; instead, both were killed, and Corwyn married the daughter of the former and took as his concubine the widow of the latter. King Robar II Royce, first and last High King of the Vale, slew King Qyle Corbray and took Lady Forlorn from him, but the Corbrays got it back when Ser Jaime Corbray arguably slew the young Royce king himself at the Battle of the Seven Stars. Many centuries later, Ser Gwayne Corbray distinguished himself in his swordsmanship, dueling the massively talented Daemon Blackfyre for an hour (or so it was reported) on the Redgrass Field (BTW, if you haven’t watched @historyofwesteros Redgrass Field ep, featuring @racefortheironthrone and the supremely smart SomethingLikeaLawyer, DO IT NOW). Ser Lyn won his knighthood fighting Lord Arryn at Gulltown, and later on won fame fighting on the rebel side at the Trident (picking up Lady Forlorn after Lord Corbray fell and killing the wounded Prince Lewyn Martell); so great was his prowess, in fact, that Papa Corbray gave Lyn the family sword, over elder brother Lyonel.

So my words for House Corbray are Our Steel Is True. The Corbrays were sometime kings and longtime lords on the Fingers, but they didn’t have some mythical ancestor or exalted origin story. They won what they have through their steel, and they distinguish themselves through use of their blades. House Corbray puts its faith in its steel, and will match words with steel, as we see with Lyn at the meeting of the Lords Declarant (even though he was an agent of Littlefinger’s the whole time).  This motto is also a nice pun, in my opinion, given that the Corbrays had no real right to the Lordship of the Fingers: they effectively stole it from the Shells and Brightstones, but over time their “steal” has become a true ancestral holding.

Do you have better words for the Corbrays? Let me know. We move on to another Vale House next week - though one quite a bit more decorous than the current Corbrays.

The Queen Regent (NFriel)

❧ House Reed of Greywater Watch

“To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater,” they said together. “Hearth and heart and harvest we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.”

I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.

I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.

We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together. ― Bran III, A Clash of Kings.