19

In Season 1 Episode 7 of Game of Thrones, Ned Stark writes a letter bound for Stannis Baratheon and seals it with the following wax seal.

wax seal used by Ned Stark

What, if anything, does this wax seal represent?

I assume it must have some significance, otherwise it would not be given this close-up shot.

31

It's a direwolf and just another representation of House Stark.

It's obviously not the official Stark sigil as mentioned by rand al-thor.

Stark sigil

The official Stark sigil: A grey direwolf on a white field

However the Starks do use other imagery:

Another Stark sigil

Another Stark sigil

In the episode Mockingbird, Hot Pie creates a loaf of bread in the shape of a direwolf to represent House Stark. The bread is actually very similar to the one in the wax.

A loaf of bread in the shape of a direwolf

Therefore I think that the Starks use many direwolf shapes as their official mascot. This stamp is no different.

  • 1
    Good find! I did not realize they used other imagery besides the house sigil in official capacity (e.g. banners or shield crests). – L'aube argenture Apr 26 '16 at 4:14
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    @Argenture Keep in mind that a house sigil is not as strictly defined as a modern-day corporate logo. Anything resembling a direwolf fits the bill; there's no specific rendering that's considered "official". – duskwuff Apr 26 '16 at 5:11
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    Also I would imagine that seals would often be specific to an individual. eg two people in house stark may need to identify themselves. They might both have the wolf imagery but they'd need to be different to differentiate the two people. – Chris Apr 26 '16 at 10:12
  • I think @Chris has got it. Seals were used like signatures, since writing was usually delegated to scribes (real life) or maesters (TV show). If every Stark had an identical seal, there'd be nothing stopping, say, Sansa sending a letter saying "Please deliver 200 lemon cakes urgently, by order of the Hand of the King". Nice attention to detal by the production team there... – user568458 Apr 26 '16 at 17:53
  • Why haven't we seen a shadow cat? – Chloe Apr 26 '16 at 19:10
11

To be honest it looks a bit like a stylized map of Blackwater Bay (rotated), with Dragonstone and Driftmark being the main islands in the bay.

Some of the details are definitely off, but that could be consistent with imperfect maps and perhaps some distortion in the making of the seal and then some more in the way the seal came out this time, the angle we're looking at it being shot from, and so on.

It might well be a wolf as the first answer indicated (I finally figured out the intent would be a wolf facing left in the picture), but the first impression I had was of islands in a bay.


Edit: after playing about with the images for a bit, I've come to the conclusion that it is just as Rowan Freeman suggested:

enter image description here

So while I now think Rowan's answer is likely correct and my suggestion here is likely wrong, I'll leave this here, at least for now.

  • Nice comparison. The two are very close except for the tail. – Rowan Freeman Apr 26 '16 at 5:52
  • @Rowan Even the tail is pretty close, really. If you take the top image and curl the tail up a little tighter so it almost touches and then "thicken"/blur the whole outline of the wolf a bit so the space in the loop made by the tail shrinks some -- it's not that much of a distortion -- then they would look quite close. Similarly you need to blur/thicken the legs, which would make the raised spaces between them smaller, and move the frontmost hind leg just a little forward. It's weird, at first I couldn't see a wolf at all, but once I played with it a little and saw it, now I can't unsee it. – Glen_b Apr 26 '16 at 5:59
  • The seal marker, in wood, wouldn't leave a perfect impression, in soft wax. Pressure applied, any sideways movement, how flow-y the wax is, etc. That explains the differences. That image is why I'm voting this up. – cde Apr 26 '16 at 8:12
  • @cde indeed, just such a "blurring" of the impression would be expected. Allowing for that the differences are small. – Glen_b Apr 26 '16 at 8:52

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