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  1. The Westerlands are in some ways the most mysterious of the Seven Kingdoms to we readers/watchers, because it is the only place we have never been with a POV character. Apart from a few stories and a flashback/dream swequence, we’ve never seen Casterly Rock, Lannisport, or even any of the Westerlands countryside. Known for their vast mineral wealth and fertile, hilly countryside, the Lords of the West have always been important, and none more so than House Lannister of Casterly Rock. Serving mostly as antagonists (except for Tyrion) through the first book, we started getting POV chapters from Cersei and Jaime soon after. More so than even the Dornish schemes, more so than the proposed Grand Northern Conspiracy, the Lannisters are involved deeply in the game of thrones, on several fronts of the war(s). The Lannisters have also always been a fertile house, with many cadet branches in Lannisport and throughout the Westerlands, and until this generation, usually a vast network of close, in-House relations. I’ll be basing my goals on the forward planning of House Lannister, which means potential spoilers for all books and the show. I’ll white out what I can, but assume spoilers for Book 1/Season 1 here, and white out could be spoilers for anything through Dance with Dragons. Sorry Kevan and Gerion fans – they’re relegated to a potential stretch goal/mini-game I’m thinking about. Going in Order of our introduction to each character, we start with fan-favorite Tyrion “the Imp” Lannister, dwarf son of the late great Tywin Lannister. He's currently serving with the Essosi sellswrod Company the Second Sons, attempting to get in with Danerys Targaryen in hopes of returning to Westeros Lord of Casterly Rock and getting revenge on his sister . . . Tyrion is the most-travelled Lannister, (except maybe for Uncle Gerion?), so I will also move about, walking 60,000 steps per week. This adds up to a little more than 8,000 per day, so it should be doable. Jaime "the Kingslayer" Lannister is everything a knight should look like, if not everything a knight should be. A member of the Kingsguard and probable best swordsman in the Realm, After his brutal maiming by Vargo Hoat, Jaime is currently on a redemption quest, to reconnect to what being a knight means. Less than two years ago, I worked out three times a week with a bodyweight progressing that gave me room to keep improving. I too, have a quest to redeem myself from my slack ambitions. I will train (luckily, not with Ser Ilyn Payne or Bronn) 3 times a week with some sort of weight, body or otherwise. My prenatal yoga will do. Queen Cersei Lannister is at the center of political life in southern Westeros. Attempting to maintain rule through Tommen, Cersei is also attempting to wrest power from her rival Queen Margaery and the regent Kevan Lannister. She also needs to regain her queenliness after her walk of atonement and extricate herself from the noose the Faith got around her neck due to her ill-thought-out machinations, at least until her champion can stand for her in trial by combat. In the interests of appearing pious and atoned, I imagine Cersei is eating somewhat abstemiously, avoiding large servings of meat and sweets in favor of simple meals to appease the septas who are always watching her. Then again, her drinking habits appear unchanged. I mean to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, with at least one being a leafy green in order to count the day as a success. Fermented grapes don't count. Fermented cabbage does! Lancel Lannister, after his treason, murder, and adultery of book one, is currently on a redemptive arc toward the Faith Militant. Setting aside his marriage to Amerei "Gatehouse Ami" Frey and the attendant rights to Darry, he has chosen to join the Warrior's Sons as a result of guilt-driven dreams and visions. . . Lancel is spending his time (when not training) praying, meditating, and visualizing his life as he wishes it, free of Lannisters, Freys, and distractions from his goal. I intend to do likewise (without giving up my family, marriage, or worldly possessions, but making time 3 times a week to practice self-care in pursuit of my goal, which is a healthy pregnancy and labor. Genna Lannister Frey is the best Lannister. No-nonsense sister to Tywin Lannister, and aunt to the above listed, Genna is hilarious, schrewd, and sees through her family's dysfunction and schemes. Married to Emmon Frey, she is currently guiding him trough the political minefield of being proclaimed Lord of Riverrun by the crown while Edmure Tully (and his child in Roslyn Frey Tully) yet live. . . . I love this lady's cosplay! Genna holds the purse strings, and so marshals the resources to maintain herself, her husband, and their descendants as best she can, while also stabilizing the area for other Lannister interests, after the war between Riverlanders and Westerlanders that has ravaged the region. I need to marshal my resources as well, and I intend to do that by meeting my protein goals during this challenge. 3-4 servings of #grams/day.
  2. Celebrating the good weather, and eager for a more hospitable terrain than the Vale of Arryn, we journey South and West to the Reach. Home of chivalry in Westeros, and of the most fertile and green lands in all Seven Kingdoms, the Reach is a center of culture, whether agri-, vini-, or high. When we toured Dorne, we concentrated on important moments of Dornish history. In the Stormlands, we noted several important people who hail from that area. In the Vale, we celebrated a particular Spring tradition. However, with the history and important players in the Game of Thrones that hail from the Reach, this time we’ll focus on Geography, looking at some of the most important places in the what the maesters call “the most beautiful of the Seven Kingdoms”. Highgarden rules the Reach. The Tyrell lords, and the Gardener kings before them, hold uncontested sway over the Reach. The Tyrell armies are large and well-fed, with many notable cavalrymen, due to the popularity of jousting and other knightly pursuits. Highgarden deserves its name, as the tiered-walled castle has gardens and fountains, groves and small vineyards located inside and on its walls, and is surrounded by a briar labyrinth. It lies amidst the breadbasket of Westeros, which enabled Margaery Tyrell to feed the populace of King’s Landing upon her betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon, gaining immense political capital with the starving smallfolk. Robert Baratheon himself said of Highgarden “there are fields of golden roses that stretch away as far as the eye can see. The fruits are so ripe they explode in your mouth-melons, peaches, fireplums, you've never tasted such sweetness” For Highgarden, I will eat four servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with one being a leafy green in order to count the day as a success. We move from Highgarden to the seat of the Tyrell’s most loyal bannerman, Randyll Tarly. Horn Hill is a Marcher castle, set near the borders with Dorne. The Marcher Lords tend to be proud and fierce, from centuries of constant warfare across the borders. The Tarlys wield a Valyrian steel sword known as Heartsbane, and are counted as the strongest and most loyal of the Tyrell bannermen to join the war of the Five Kings. (I’m not using the show version, because it doesn’t look very defensible, and what kind of Marcher lord keeps an indefensible palace? ) Withstanding (and carrying out) near-constant raids across the Dornish Marches breeds strong men and women, and creates the need for strong castles. To build and maintain defenses is the work of strong backs and muscles. For Horn Hill, I will work out with weight of some sort (active yoga, bodyweight, shovelglove) 3 times per week. Our travels now take us to Oldtown, the inarguable center of culture, learning, and piety in the Seven Kingdoms. Home to three major institutions and their three famous edifices, Oldtown has been a temporary home to scholars, septons, and seekers of mysteries from before the time of the Andals, and perhaps before the coming of the First Men to Westeros. Oldtown is the home of the Citadel, where the Maesters train and study, before being sent off to serve lords across Westeros as scribes, advisors, and healers. Allegedly built during the Age of Heroes, the Citadel holds secrets untold to the rank and file of Westeros, even those who can claim some education. The Citadel has been a depository of wisdom for centuries, perhaps millennia. However, little of it escapes the confines to be of help to Westerosi across the Kingdoms. Also, the studies of the Maesters can breed narrow-minded pedants. For the Citadel, I will search and rearrange the archives. This will take the form of going through and either repacking, discarding, donating, or reassigning the contents of 4 drawers of boxes per week. If the Citadel is the mind of Oldtown, the Starry Sept is its heart. Built by the Andals as the center of their Faith of the Seven when they fled Andalos for Westeros. Its black marble walls and stained glass windows awe the Faithful with their crystal insets, casting the refracted light of the Seven down upon them. (no picture available of the Starry Sept) The High Septon makes his residence at King’s Landing, but the Starry Sept remains one of the holiest places in Westeros to those who follow the Seven. In honor of this place of pilgrimage, I vow to rededicate myself to relflection and meditation, to walk with the Justice of the Father, the Wisdom of the Crone, the Bravery of the Warrior, the Beauty of the Maiden, the Tirelessness of the Smith, and the Mercy of the Mother*. I will practice self-care, in the form of meditation, stretching, prayer, or restorative yoga twice a week. *We don’t mention the Stranger. The political power in Oldtown, and it’s most notable landmark, is the Hightower. The seat of House Hightower, a First Men house and patrons of the faith and the order of the maesters since their introductions to Westeros. The Hightower itself is at the center of Oldtown, the city having grown around it, and it stands taller than any other structure in Westeros. It is said that the Wall is visible from its top. Its base is a labyrinthine fortress of oily black stone that predates the first men and may have been built by ancient peoples only theorized by the maesters. The Maze Makers of Lorath and the legendary Deep Ones are listed as possibilities. The First Men kings raised a tower atop that during the Dawn of Days, and the tower was said to have been erected by Bran the Builder himself. A beacon fire burns from the top day and night, guiding sailors to the mouth of the Honeywine river. In response to the current Ironborn threat, Lord Leyton Hightower is sequestered near the top with his (allegedly) prescient daughter Malora “the Mad Maid.” Whether he will be as successful as Aegon Targaryen, who consulted his maiden daughter Daenys the dreamer to escape the Doom of Valyria is yet to be seen. The common folk of Oldtown whisper that they consult books of spells to raise and army from the sea. If so, one has to wonder whether the Ironborn are threat enough to warrant such measures, or whether the Maid has seen something worse to come. For the Hightower, I’m going to think literally about the leg power it takes to maintain a nearly entirely vertical keep. I will walk or run 3 times a week, for a minimum of 20 minutes each time. It’s nothing compared to the poor stewards who ferry meals to Lord Leyton and his daughter, but I have other stuff to do.
  3. In the words of Maester Yandel, “The People of the Stormlands are like unto their weather. Tumultuous, violent, implacable, unpredictable." They are also some of the strongest, toughest, and most ready for war. I said in my last challenge that Dorne is my favorite of the seven kingdoms, but my favorite houses are all Stormlands, especially the Marcher Lords who guarded the lands of the Storm Kings of old against their enemies to the South (Dorne) and West (the Reach). Rather than doing a history challenge, I'm going to highlight the many amazing characters in show and book who are Stormlanders, and try to emulate them in some small way. (Once again, I’ll try to avoid spoilers, but there may be a few for Season/Book One that I can’t white out without whiting out the whole thing) I must start, of course, with House Baratheon. Storms End Durran’s Point, Shipbreaker Bay– King Robert Baratheon is a once-powerful man, now gone to seed. A man with enormous appetites and enormous temper, as well as a once-enormous strength. It’s folly to look to Robert for an example of wisdom, but for strength, stamina, and natural charisma, he is a paragon. I will honor Robert’s appetites (especially his love of hunting and meat) by ensuring I make my protein goals each day. Straight percentage of protein servings eaten. CON 2 King/Lord Stannis Baratheon embodies the implacable nature of Stormlanders. A grim and determined man, he survived a siege at Storms’ End during Robert’s Rebellion, until Davos Seaworthy smuggled in onions and salt pork. He also tirelessly leads his armies on forced marches during the War of the Five Kings, including through the unforgiving Northern autumn. I will honor Stannis’ endurance by putting one foot in front of another for the entirety of the challenge. 50,000 steps per week. STA 2 DEX 1 King/Lord Renly Baratheon, the youngest child of Lord Steffon Baratheon, is seen by many as Robert come again, in his hale and hearty youth. Like Robert, and unlike Stannis, he has the ability to make friends of his allies, binding men and women to him with love and admiration, not merely grim duty. As lord of Storms End, his support from the Stormlanders in unsurprising, but it is his alliance with Highgarden through Margery and Loras Tyrell which enabled him to boast that “You may have the better claim, but I have the bigger army”. Renly knows well that an army marches on its stomach, and the rich, fertile lands of the Reach are his best allies in face of the coming winter. In honor of Renly’s vigor and appreciation of beauty, as well as his alliance with Highgarden, I will add more produce to my diet. 5 fruits and veg daily – percentage of success. (to succeed, one serving of leafy greens or salad is necessary) CON 2 CHA 1 Moving south into the Red mountains brings us to House Selmy. Harvest Hall, in the Marches. As a major Marcher house, House Selmy has fielded many mighty warriors and fine knights. In the late second century after Aegon’s Conquest, no living knight is more famous and admied than Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard, called “the Bold”. He entered a joust at age ten as a Mystery Knight, and won renown not only on the Tourney field, but also serving as a member of the Kingsguard under King Jaehaerys II during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, King Aerys II during Robeert’s Rebellion, and King Robert I during Balon’s Rebellion. He is currently serving Daenerys Stormbord as Queensguard, and offering not only a strong sword arm, but also much-needed advice and insight into Westeros. In honor of Ser Barristan’s wisdom, I will keep up with the Omer daily. WIS 1 Continuing into the Marches brings us to another Marcher stronghold, Blackhaven, seat of House Dondarrion, in the Marches. While less famous than Ser Barristan, Lord Berric Dondarrion is nonetheless an honorable and able knight. Founder of the Brotherhood without Banners and walking miracle, Lord Berric is resurrected by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr and becomes more symbol than man, protecting the smallfolk from the ravages of war. However, Lord Berric’s renewal is a double-edged sword, as his memories and self are disappearing under the weight of mission. To honor his sacrifice and attempt to not fall into the trap of losing self in my mission, I will meditate and stretch 5 times per week. Stretch/Meditate 5 per week. A contemplative or restorative yoga session can work. WIS 1 DEX 1 Swinging southwest, we leave the Marches for Tarth, and island in the Narrow Sea, seat of House Tarth of Evenstar Hall. Its best-known scion (apart from Ser Galladon Tarth of legend, wielder of the sword Just Maid) is Brienne of Tarth, former member of Renly’s Rainbow Guard, now in service to the women of House Stark. Despite being no knight, Brienne is a model of knightly behavior and chivalry. She trained her entire life, and became strong and skilled enough to win the great melee of 166 knights at Bitterbridge, besting Loras Tyrell and much of the combined chivalry of the Reach and the Stormlands. She also fought and bested Ser Jaime “the Kingslayer” Lannister (though admittedly not at his best). In honor of her dedication to her cause and hard work, I will train for strength four times a week. Train for strength and health four times week. A video, a bodyweight, or a shovelglove session all count. STR 3 This leaves (among famous Stormlanders of recent history) two other “houses”, scattered and unknown. The first is (so spoilery for the books that [seriously] don’t read this unless you’ve read all the books through Dance or never ever intend to. I was going to leave this out completely, but I couldn’t. This is going to be all whited out, forever, because he doesn’t exist, as far as anyone in the Seven Kingdoms is concerned, and his goals are also hugely spoilery. Fair warning, seriously don’t read this. Also, for those of you who have, I’m going out on a limb and writing my opinion of what’s really going on, going a step beyond what we actually know. So half of this is fan theory/headcanon. Ok? Ok.)**** Ser/Lord Jon “Griff” Connington of Griffon’s Roost, located on Cape Wrath. A close friend of the late Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Connington fled Westeros after the Battle of the Bells. While exiled in Essos, he joined the Golden Company, where he fell in with Blackfyre supporters and eventually was chosen by Illyrio Mopatis and Varys to be protector and guide to Aegon “Young Griff” Targaryen, a pretender to the Iron Throne and probable Blackfyre heir. (The Golden Company is literally led by Bittersteel’s gilded skull. He’s totally a pretender.)**** The second is the lost scions of House Baratheon, true (if not trueborn) heirs to Robert. Scattered throughout Westeros, got on highborn ladies, commoners, and prostitutes, there are Stones, Waterses, and Storms aplenty with the blue eyes and black hair of their father. Relevant to the current tale are Mya Stone (Robert’s probably firstborn) of the Vale, Gendry {Waters} of Kings’ Landing, and Edric Storm. In honor of these other Stormlanders, dispossessed and scattered, I will try one new thing over the next four weeks, once for each. Ideally, something climby for Mya, hammer for Gendry, educated for Edric, and ???? for Connington. This is purposefully vague, but it needs to be something a little big. Cooking a new dish would count, ordering a new thing at a restaurant wouldn’t. CHA 1 (I don't know why no one makes Edric Storm fanart)
  4. (A lot of this is unnecessary flavor text, and contains spoilers for the books up to and through ADWD. Spoilers will be in white, so just click and drag over them. I'll try to use spoiler-free images, but no guarantees. Follow at your own risk. I may use show images, but going with book continuity. I'm also still figuring out point allocations for these.) House Shoute is a stony Dornish House. Their seat of Falconscry is located between Blackmont and the High Hermitage, along the Torentine River in Northwest Dorne. House Shoute is first recorded among the bannermen of the Kings of Blackmont, and therefore is descended from the First Men, but has intermarried with Salty Dornishmen, who claim descent from the Rhoynar. Falconscry is a small fortress built into the mountainside, overlooking two small valleys to either side. The land is fertile enough to support a few villages, but the Torentine is only navigable to Blackmont upstream and halfway to High Hermitage downstream before rapids and waterfalls render river trade impossible. Falconscry has remained close to House Blackmont, and therefore shares their unwavering loyalty to House Martell in these difficult times. Therefore, border tensions have been quelled for the present, as Sunspear and Highgarden are allies, as goodbrothers to the ruling Baratheon/Lannister king. However, shields taken from Tarly and Mullendore knights in marcher wars past are proudly displayed in the great hall. Prince Doran is keeping his cards close to his chest, as to his plans for Dornish involvement in (and victory of) the great game of thrones. However, we know that he left books with Arianna in the tower on three subjects, including Dornish history and Dornish law. As loyal bannermen to House Martell, we will devote ourselves to study of Dornish history and attempting to emulate our Prince’s careful planning for the future. Dornish History Challenge: Age of Heroes: House Dayne’s retrieving of the fallen star and carrying it back to create the greatsword Dawn. 3x/week weights. Whether gym, bodyweight, aerial class, or a weight-centric Darebee workout. Nymeria’s landing: 10,000 ships of Rhoynish refugees travelled all around the Summer Sea to find a new home (and create a new, fused culture) in Dorne. Run 60 minutes/week. Dornish Toughness and Baelor’s walk: When Daeron I refused Meria Martell’s offer of cooperation, insisting on total submission, Dorne resisted. While they couldn’t stand long against an onslaught by dragons, the Highgarden governor left to rule was plagued by guerilla attacks, and after Daeron’s death, Dorne successfully threw off Targaryen rule entirely. His successor, Baelor the Blessed, walked to Dorne through the Boneway as penance. He survived exposure and snakebite, and married his cousin Daeron to a Mariah Martell, princess of Dorne, uniting the kingdoms. Mediterranean diet. I need to get out of the bad eating habits I’ve gotten into, particularly the heavy, wintry foods I’ve been indulging in. I will carefully log all food and drink for the challenge’s duration, and attempt a Dornish diet, heavy in legumes and fresh vegetables, seasoned with herbs, lemons, and spice rather than salt and creamy sauces. Planning for Dornish future minigame: Prince Doran is diversifying, especially through his and his brother’s children, ensuring that The Martells will survive and thrive whatever happens in the War of the (Five? Four? Five? Three?) Kings. Trystane’s engagement to Myrcella Baratheon: getting cozy with the Lannisters for now is the prudent move, and Prince Doran is nothing if not prudent. Lannister gold is nothing to be sneezed at, plus, free hostage! Save $____/paycheck. Arianne’s change of plans, Viserys to Heiress: I’m very lucky to finally have full-time employment, and we are hoping to get a house soon. There are lots of little tasks to complete, such as applying for loans, looking into grants for first-time homeowners, researching, etc. I'm thinking any two completed per week is a completed point. Quentyn’s Dragon riding aspirations: I’d like a buddy to jog with, but both she and I need to get used to being on a leash. Taking Haruhi out for leash training at least once per week. Travelling with the Sand Snakes: Whether marching off to war with Obara, travelling to fill a Small council seat in King’s Landing with Lady Nym, infiltrating the Faith by posing as a septa to befriend the High Sparrow with Tyene, or Yentl-ing my way into the Maesters’ Academy at Oldtown with Sarella, you need to take food with you. Prepping food for bento lunches, trying at least one new recipe or formula per week.
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