This is going a tiny bit outside the purpose of this blog, but I have no regrets. Allow me to tell you the story of the Quizzle House. Its sigil displays an orange cat sinister, sejant erect, holding a black staff, upon a field of green. More elaborate versions are adorned with a black-and-gold helmet and a flower. The Quizzle words are: “In soil we trust.”
The Quizzles of Greenfield trace their roots a thousand years back to Kvisle, founder of the House. He came from the far East, though no one knows exactly where. He was apparently fair of skin and hair. His transportation of choice was walking – and so he walked, walked and walked, the thousands of miles from the East to Westeros, where he found his home to the north of White Harbor. According to legend Kvisle also walked across the Narrow Sea – or rather, under it. He was a short man, and for a walking stick he used a staff meant for the old Eastern measuring unit alen – around 24 inches. Our blessed father used to joke that he must have gone mighty wet.
The Quizzles are bannermen to House Manderly of White Harbor, who are in turn sworn to the Starks. Quizzle family traits are said to be a certain strategic cunning and calm sarcasm. Rather than choosing conventional ideas of honor over wealth, the House has upheld a tradition of marrying rich merchants and merchants’ daughters every now and then, thereby acquiring substantial amounts of gold as dowry – but also contributing to the somewhat lesser awareness of House Quizzle in the Seven Kingdoms. Ofttimes called the “Highgarden of the North”, Greenfield is seated in a fertile and prosperous land on the banks of the White Knife; its proximity to White Harbor enabling the maintenance a network of trading contacts throughout Essos, regularly bringing exotic fruit, spices, nuts, fabric, olive oil, weapons, armor and other Eastern novelties up the White Knife. Greenfield, in turn; exports vegetables to Essos (mainly Braavos).
Despite their occasional deviations from the customs of Westeros, the Quizzles keep a good relationship with the Manderlys (mainly because, according to rumour; the Manderlys enjoy generous loans with favorable interests from the Quizzles). The current Lady Quizzle is married to a younger son of Lord Wyman Manderly.
The cat is there because Greenfield is, well; full of cats. Cats everywhere. Cats of every color, shape and size – though a line of distinctly orange cats has been preserved for a long time. It is said that when the cats are gone from Greenfield, or when they are treated badly, all our luck in trade will turn, and bring about the ruin of our House. Few of the Quizzle family admit to adhere to this superstition, but nevertheless, whenever he was travelling Westeros, a member of the House would bring back a cat with him – from Winterfell, Oldtown, King’s Landing or Lannisport, some from across the Narrow Sea, and even from beyond the Wall. There must always be a cat in Greenfield.
The most prized artifact contained in Greenfield is a black-and-gold helmet that once belonged to Ser Lyonel Baratheon, the Laughing Storm. Although our family could never really boast great jousters, some hundred years ago our great-great grandfather Olaf Quizzle won a tilt against the famous knight as part of a bet, earning him the nickname Olaf Last Laugh (and quite a bit of gold). However he was soon forgotten, as lesser foes of greater knights often are. Despite his alleged prowess with sword, shield and mace, Olaf has been known to sigh with relief at the notion, commenting: “All the better. They bother famous knights with all sorts of important matters, and I have no desire to be involved in important matters.”
Sigil design and artwork: Turi Rust Kvisle.