The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Blackwood-Bracken Feud and Coinage

[Note: Edited for brevity. The beginning relates to the heraldry fiddlings mentioned in the previous mail, when it was decided to modify Bracken somewhat.]

Ancient enemies?

The feud between the Brackens and the Blackwoods goes back to the Age of Heroes. Both Houses ruled the riverlands as kings at various times. They were also divided by religion; the Brackens went over to the new gods, while the Blackwoods remained with the old.

We saw the update on your site about the coins. Do hope those are successful. The "sepp" looks quite interesting, although we contacted the fellow at and he said that that was his own invention as you haven't really settled on anything in that regards.

He coined the term "sepp," which I didn't really like. We've agreed in future to call it a "star." Since the stag and dragon are known for the symbols on the obverse, this one should be as well.

Initially he set out to make a copper penny, but the coin he ended up with wound up being too large and heavy for a penny, in my estimation. Also, once I paused to consider, it struck me that the coinage was just too simple if it was copper/silver/gold and only one coin of each metal. I mean, for comparison, look at the real British system, of old:

An odd-numbered coin denomination is rather strange, but you're right about the craziness of the (old) British system. Much livelier than a simple decimal system.

Yes indeed. And much more medieval. It occurs to me too that Westerosi coinage is probably more complex than actual British medieval coinage, since the Seven Kingdoms were actually seven kingdoms once... and presumably each king minted his own coins. So expect to see references to halfpennies, threepennies, stars, and groats popping up in future books.