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How Wealthy Are the 'Game of Thrones' Families?

Who's got the most bling?
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The hit TV show may have been successful in showcasing the grandeur of its fantasy world, but it still hasn't truly explored the wealth and influence of its power players. Like in any conflict or political intrigue, money plays a key role, and it is no different in Game of Thrones. Here, a list of the series' wealthiest families and how they can use their wealth to play the game.

 

House Stark


Although the Starks are not cash rich, they make up for it with treasured assets such as having the most land (the North is the largest in the seven kingdoms), unwavering loyalty from the Northern lords (except the Boltons), and arguably the most formidable (read: biggest) army in all of Westeros. In the book The World of Ice and Fire, it was described there that the North is home to a number of lumber sites, which we're guessing is a huge trade commodity given the North's woody landscape.

 

House Baelish


Petyr Baelish is the only representative of his House, but despite his humble beginnings (he was not born to any of the great families in Westeros), he has become one of the most influential and wealthiest figures in the Seven Kingdoms. During his stint as Master of Coin under then-king Robert Baratheon, he was able to line his pockets with gold while running his very profitable brothels in King's Landing. He is the ultimate self-made character, but not through the very best practices.

 

House Martell


Although House Martell is now considered extinct—no thanks to Ellaria Sand and her Sandsnakes—the longtime rulers of Dorne were once considered to be one of the wealthiest families in Westeros. Thanks to the Dornish peninsula's geographical location, it is the only region in Westeros that can grow citrus fruit and produce spices. Dornish wine is also said to be the best in the land, and in Game of Thrones, wine is a staple. 

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House Hightower


If you haven't heard of House Hightower yet, it's because it hasn't seen any significant screen time on the show so far. But it will have some sort of key part to play in the remaining seasons of Game of Thrones. For those who haven't read the books, the Hightower is a vassal House loyal to the Tyrells, and is one of the oldest and richest in Westeros. Its seat of power is in the Citadel in Oldtown, which also happens to be the headquarters of the Order of Maesters. In the books, it is said that it has often preferred trade and commerce instead of war.

 

House Targaryen


Daenerys Targaryen may be the only member left of her family—or two if you count that 'other' character—but that didn't stop her from amassing wealth, fortune, and key assets during her campaign to free the slaves of Essos. The worth of having three combat-ready dragons, 8,000 Unsullied soldiers, and the Dothraki horde is already priceless in its own right. Although it wasn't discussed in the books, we're guessing that Daenerys gets some sort of funding or supplies from the wealthy cities she has conquered in Essos for the upkeep of her army. After all, an Unsullied soldier needs to eat, too. 

House Lannister


If your castle literally sits on top of a gold mine, you will obviously end up filthy rich. Aside from gold mining, the Lannisters also run Lannisport, a large and bustling seaport city just south of their stronghold of Casterly Rock. But the true measure of their wealth is questionable since it was revealed on the show that their last gold mine has already run dry, whereas, in the books, their gold mines are still thriving. They also owe the Iron Bank of Braavos millions, a debt they inherited after Robert Baratheon's death, thanks to his outrageous spending and borrowing during his reign.

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Iron Bank of Braavos


Although it's not one of the great Houses, the Iron Bank of Braavos deserves to be on this list because it's the most powerful and the only financial institution in the world of Game of Thrones. The bank combines the influence and reach of the International Monetary Fund, the ruthless cunning of the Medicis, and the business ethics of some investment banks we know. House Lannister owes it a lot of money, and if history is anything to go by, defaulting on debts or not honoring agreements with the Iron Bank is the last thing you want to do. As of the current season of Game of Thrones, the Lannisters haven't paid their dues and we have yet to see the role the Iron Bank will play in seasons 7 and 8.

 

House Tyrell

House Tyrell, and the region it oversees, The Reach, is an agricultural and military powerhouse. Aside from being the most populous region, The Reach also generates the biggest share of crops and livestock in all of the Seven Kingdoms. To make a long story short, The Tyrells control most of the food in Westeros. Given the Lannisters' current financial situation, we can now say that the Tyrells have overtaken them as the richest family in Westeros. The Lannisters' gold may be of higher value and a more convenient form of currency, but it's finite. And in the long term, a sustainable source of income from real resources is the real symbol of wealth and power.

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John Patrick Meneses
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