IntroductionHouse Peake is of the most loathed houses in Westeros, and not without reason. Its history seems to relate endless examples of treachery, deceit, and naked, clawing, even murderous ambition, without the veneer of likable characters or sympathetic circumstances to win readers’ hearts. Worse, its traditional rival family – House Manderly, now of White Harbor – is one of the most beloved secondary houses in Westeros, seemingly stocked with, if no better-hearted people, individuals of far nobler intentions.
Yet is that really all there is to say about the Lords of Starpike? It seems unfair – and uncharacteristic of George RR Martin – to create a simple villainous house, an eternal mummer’s dragon given for the chosen heroes to fight. Rather, in their historical conflicts, the Manderlys and Peakes were not clearly heroic or clearly villainous actors – simply two families, both eager for political placement and advancement in the cutthroat world of Westerosi politics. An examination of these conflicts, and others in which House Peake was involved, may serve to broaden understanding of House Peake – not, perhaps, to raise it to a level of belovedness enjoyed by its rivals, but instead remove its one-dimensional villainous aspects. Continue reading