What are the seven houses in Game of Thrones and who rules Westeros?

Lela London
Daenerys now appears to be the current Queen in situ, following her brutal destruction of Kings Landing and Westeros' Queen, Cersei Lannister

In the anarchic world of HBO's Game of Thrones the continent of Westeros is split into several different regions, each of them ruled over by a different family.

While the term "The Seven Kingdoms" is used in both the show and in creator George RR Martin's books, the land in question is actually divided into nine areas at the time the series is set (there were seven separate kingdoms before a unification took place, which explains why the phrase is still used).

Westeros has been controlled by a monarch from the Iron Throne of King's Landing for many years - save for the wild area beyond The Wall in the North.

Since invading the continent with the aid of their dragons, the monarch was always a member of the ruling Targaryen family but a rebellion ousted the last Targaryen king and replaced him with King Robert Baratheon (who died in season one) just before the series began.

Robert's widow - Cersei, a member of the Lannister family - ruled Westeros from King's Landing following the suicide of her last surviving child, Tommen.

The continent, as you've undoubtedly figured out, is no longer unified. The Reach and Dorne pledged allegiance with would-be conquerer turned Mad Queen Daenerys Targaryen, while Jon Snow was declared King in The North. At the same time, Euron Greyjoy - King of the Iron Islands - was seeking power for himself.

Following her dragon-fired tantrum in King's Landing, Daenerys now appears to be the current Queen in situ. Though we can't imagine that will last for long.

To help you get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the main houses of Westeros — now that the final episode of season 8 approaches — here is your guide to their mottos, key members (deceased and otherwise), family seats and more.

House Targaryen

The former royal house and ruler of the Crownlands is currently the claimant royal house of the Seven Kingdoms. Once based in the castle of the Red Keep, house members moved to Dragonstone to prepare for the 'Great' war against the Night King. Queen Daenerys Targaryen rules (terrifyingly) but Jon Snow is its rightful ruler as the last living son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.

House Stark

The story-centric rulers of the North recently reclaimed their castle from House Bolton at Winterfell. Led by Lady Sansa Stark, in theory, they have just defeated the Night King and his undead army in the Battle of Winterfell. Before handing Winterfell to Daenerys, Sansa ruled the North with Warden - and secret Targaryen - Jon Snow. Benjen is neither confirmed to be dead or live.

House Greyjoy

House Greyjoy are the rulers of the Iron Islands from the castle of Pyke. They became a wholly divided house of leadership disputes (between King Euron Greyjoy and imprisonment escapist Lady Yara Greyjoy) and split support of members (between Lannister and Stark/Targaryen causes). Thankfully, Euron was killed by Jaime in The Last War.

House Baratheon

Though the house is extinct in actuality, the Baratheon bloodline is alive through Robert the Usurper's seemingly endless bastard children. The rulers of the Crownlands and Stormlands from the Red Keep and Storm's End, respectively, have lost all mainline members and the line legally ended with the death of King Tommen Baratheon (the bastard son of twins Queen Cersei Lannister and Ser Jaime Lannister).

House Tyrell

"Growing strong" is a rather ironic motto for House Tyrell as the entire bloodline died during the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor and the Sack of Highgarden. Prior to this, they ruled the Reach from the castle of Highgarden following the extinction of House Gardener.

House Martell

House Martell ruled Dorne from the castle of Sunspear. In a coup, the line was seemingly wiped out by Ellaria Sand and three of the Sand Snakes. However, the five remaining Sand Snakes are bastard children to Prince Oberyn Martell, meaning the bloodline is technically still alive.

House Lannister

As well as being rulers of the Westerlands from the castle of Casterly Rock, the Lannisters went on to become the royal house of the Seven Kingdoms (from the Red Keep of King's Landing in the Crownlands). Queen Cersei Lannister was killed with her brother Jaime in The Last War, meaning Lord Tyrion Lannister is the family's sole survivor.

House Tully

The Red Wedding marked the end of House Tully’s rule of the Riverlands. Its current head is Edmure Tully, who has lost control of Riverrun to his Lannister captors.

House Arryn

The single surviving member of House Arryn - rulers of the Vale of Arryn from the castle of the Eyrie - is Lord Robin Arryn. The House integrated with the Kingdom of the North until King Jon Snow abdicated, though Lord Robin still technically holds allegiance.

Who rules the houses in Game of Thrones?

At the series' inception, the houses were ruled by King Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, Tywin Lannister, Jon Arryn, Mace Tyrell (in theory - his mother Olenna Tyrell did the heavy lifting), Hoster Tully, Balon Greyjoy, Doran Martell and rival throne claimant King Viserys III Targaryen.

By season six, none of the nine characters were still alive.

In season eight, the house rulers are Queen Cersei Lannister (Queen of the Andals and the First Men), Daenerys I Targaryen (same claims, plus the Rhoynar), King Euron Greyjoy (King of the Iron Islands),  Robin Arryn, Edmure Tully (stripped of titles after he was captured and imprisoned), and Jon Snow of House Stark (Warden of the North) alongside "half sister" Sansa Stark.

Seasons 1 - 8 are available to watch on NOW TV  (with a 7 day free trial)