House Stark is one of the most iconic of the whole series and the first one with whom the reader creates immediate connection. The main characters are from this House and there is an overall sense of honor and doing what’s right associated with it from the first moment. The introduction of the wolves into the story (given that the “wolf” represents this House) was really a touch of genius that delighted audiences around the world. Let’s see what essential oils can and could have come to the rescue of House Stark.
When I started to read the books, I already knew what was coming, because we always know what happens to Sean Bean… I’ve made that joke amongst my friends who were watching the TV series at that time and they later confirmed that fact to be true. I must say it was one of my greatest sorrows to know this as I was reading the first book. But even though, I knew what was about to come, I still couldn’t believe it…
Ned Stark seems to be a man of honor and, in a way, he is! He thrives to do what’s right at all times, but it is exactly that, the thing that ends up blinding him, making him unable to see the strategy of those who are not ruled by his code of honor. He could have easily avoided what happened if only he wouldn’t have underestimated the Lannisters and especially Cersei (but then again: how many characters can say the same thing about Cersei?).
Even though, Ned is a man of honor, it is necessary to say that he might not have had the best attitude when he saw Jaime Lannister sitting in the throne, after all, he never really asked him what had happened there and why did he kill the Mad King, which ended up giving Jaime the reputation of Kingslayer and man without honor. The way Ned handled the whole Jon Snow situation is also somehow questionable. Of course, he didn’t know what was to come and he was acting in good faith, keeping the boy’s safety. However, at some point, he would have realized that living with that lie would be way worse than to give the boy his truthful story (and the Kingdom his right heir). Another thing mentioned in the books is that one of the Mormont girls kills herself after hearing that Ned will take his brother’s place to marry Catelyn Tully honoring the union of those two Houses, which gives the impression that Ned chose duty over love, putting the honor of the House first. This is indeed someone who seems to act with conscious and honor, but at what price? Then, by taking Jon as his own, he protects the kid by creating some unpleasant feelings in his wife, Catelyn, who always had a hard time accepting the boy, as far as the books are concerned.
It is clear that Ned’s life was filled with difficult choices. Eucalyptus is the oil of wellness and its medicinal aroma is powerful both on the physical and on the emotional level. It supports the individual healing, enabling the person to feel well and liberated, something that would come handy to Ned for he was a prisoner of lies all his life.
Catelyn was promised to marry Brandon Stark, Ned’s older brother. However when the Mad King killed him, Ned took the promise to House Tully as his own. In spite of it all, they seem to have had a happy marriage. As the events unfold, the story becomes too big and Catelyn is not able to protect her children from the game of thrones. Even though everybody was surprised with the events of the Red Wedding, I must confess I was kind of expecting it, because in the book, Catelyn keeps referring how proud and difficult Lord Frey is, so going there sounds not only very dangerous as it seems kind of dumb (even though it may appear like they don’t have any other choice).
I believe an oil that could have come handy for Catelyn would have been Lemon, the oil of focus which helps one to have mental clarity, be rational and alert as it keeps energy and joy levels high. Catelyn suffered a lot of hardships and having this oil by her side could have been the ally she needed to thrive.
In the books, we never know much about Robb for he doesn’t have chapters of his own. Given the events it seems that Robb is a romantic who truly believed that love would save him from evil. Once again, going to Walder Frey’s House after such a severe offence is a questionable decision for a leader, even though it may seem like there was no other option.
Patchouli is an oil that assists people in being present and grounded. It gives them balance and stability. It could have been useful to Robb as we was making the choices that he had to do.
This is the prototype of ladylike of the era who seems to be unable to do anything for herself as she was raised to always have someone doing something for her, including telling her how to think. Sansa begins in a fragile position – or she is put in a fragile position – but she is able to acquire strength as the story develops. Sansa has a high by the book education related with the functions she must perform and the role she will acquire which gives her an overall sense of detachment from the family that is expressed during the first part of the story.
Sansa was basically thrown to the wolves and she ends up learning through interaction and observation of people such as Cersei, Little Finger and Ramsay Bolton. She also learns with Lady Olenna, Tyrion and Margaery. All of them have a significant role on her increasing wisdom. Her apparent detachment from her House changes dramatically as she takes Winterfell back and when she reunites with Arya. Sansa finally begins to show the powerful leader she can be and all the lessons she learned after the hardships she had to go through.
Jasmine is a delicate oil representing purity and balance, it supports the resolution of trauma, especially sexual trauma, and it encourages trust and safety. Therefore, Jasmine would fit Sansa like a glove.
Arya is the opposite of Sansa, in the sense that since she had never had a formal education, she feels much more connected to the Stark Legacy and she faced a great challenge by being completely alone and believing she was the last of the Starks. She makes her mission to restore the House and revenge lead her to become an assassin and a powerful warrior, after she has been submitted to a brutal training, where she shows that other than being very smart, she also learns fast (I must confess that one of my greatest compliments came unexpectedly from my Mother when she said I reminded her of Arya during my Kung Fu Training). Her endless list of names was repeated over and over again amongst the chapters of the book and in the TV series she served one of the best revenges ever (hello Walder Frey!) only comparable to Cersei’s High Septor destruction. Let’s see if Arya joins the The Hound and together they ride South to fulfil what is still left.
Lavender is the most versatile of essential oils, known as the oil of communication, it assists in all kinds of expression and it releases all sort of tension and constriction. Lavender also represents emotional honesty and openness and it encourages the individual to be liberated from the self-inflicted prison created by any kind of dense feelings, thoughts, beliefs or emotions. Lavender would invite Arya to relax and to be more verbally expressive, giving her, therefore, some deserved serenity after all she has experienced.
Bran is just a kid when everything begins and it is with great shock that the reader is confronted with his fall (one would even think one could never forgive or understand what Jaime Lannister did in a moment when his mind seemed to go blank). Bran becomes less and less emotional throughout the history and he is now detached, becoming a source of knowledge and information which means he has an overall timeless view of the world. One could say Bran is no longer Bran, he has become an entity who inhabits Bran’s body.
Juniper Berry is the oil of the night, assisting those who fear the dark or hidden aspects of themselves, helping the person to understand that those things we fear are our greatest teachers. Juniper Berry would be therefore the essential oil that would fit Bran par excellence and I would even say that this is the aroma he exhales as he is now!
This is the typical hero of the story. He begins as an underdog, but quickly becomes someone very central to the whole plot. And just like Daenerys, so does Jon has a massive evolution throughout the books.
Jon has always been an honorable human being and that is clear as we get to know him throughout his actions both in the book and in the series. He ends up in the wall, without understanding why, but somehow trying to own that and live up to what is expected from him, while looking up to his Father Ned and his Uncle Benjen (who he thinks will be around, since he is also one of the “crows”). He becomes friends with some of his colleagues, especially with Sam. I found it extremely touching when they all take the oath:
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all nights to come.”
As I deeply enjoyed the connection he developed with Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, especially when he is given House Mormont’s Valyrian steel sword: Longclaw! At this point, it seemed clear that the life Jon was surrendering to live, would have a lot more to it than endless watches at the wall.
The red haired “kissed by the fire” Ygritte was Jon’s first love, but more than that, Ygritte was a brave wildling living in strength and honor. Ygritte died in what is possibly the best way for people who are in love to die. The events with her would shape Jon’s views of the world and it pushed him into understanding that the divisions we create are mostly in our own heads or to quote my favorite Norwegian “Borders? I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.”
From then on, a wide series of events took place and Jon evolved a lot as a human being and as a leader, becoming the most fitted human being to lead not only the men of the Night’s Watch, but also entire armies and maybe even a Kingdom. He was declared King in the North without asking for such title, because people understood he was the rightful heir and trusted him as a leader. Jon wasn’t raised to lead (even though he followed both his Father Ned Stark and the heir of House Stark Robb quite closely) which explains why he doesn’t seem to care for such deities, merely for restoring the safety in the realm.
When he finds out his true origin he seems simultaneously shocked and incredulous, not only for what that represents (which I think he hasn’t fully understood yet), but for what he has believed his whole life, including his relationship with the one he thought was his father. He’s also concerned for Daenerys, not only for the relationship they have and true affection they seem to nurture towards each other, but – above all – because he knows that her whole path, hardships, bravery and determination are leading her into the Iron Throne. Let’s see how this is going to develop, at least, as far as the TV Series is concerned, because when it comes to the books, for all we know, Jon Snow may still be dead…
Ginger is the oil of empowerment, it invites one to be fully present and to actively participate in life. Ginger also addresses patterns of victim mentality, unblocking the sensation of being stuck. This essential oil empowers individuals to own responsibility and accountability for the consequences of both their actions and their inactions. For all these reasons, Jon Snow – or Aegon Targaryen – would great benefit with Ginger imbuing him with purpose.
Sam is a human being with a gentle nature who grows in the reader. The first time we see him is at the wall unable and unwilling to do anything for himself, especially the main tasks that are expected in such place. That weakness is immediately protected by Jon and both of them develop a deep friendship, especially when Jon is not placed in the division he was expecting to and it is then Sam who assists him and helps him shift his perception on those events. Sam is very intelligent and he gains self confidence throughout the series. It is easy to see, even before he visits the Citadel that Sam would be a wonderful Maester, simultaneously powerful and kind. I found it especially touching the connection he developed both with Lord Commander Jeor Mormont (character that I much appreciated myself) and with Maester Aemon, then the way he saved Jorah Mormont and, lastly, the moment when Sam gave Jorah the Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane, just before the war with the darkness.
Fennel is known as the oil of responsibility and it supports the individual who has a weak sense of Self. Even though those days are long gone for Sam and he has come a long way when it comes to self-worth and self-love, this oil would have instilled that passion in him assuring Sam that life is not too much or too big to handle. Fennel also encourages individuals to live in integrity with themselves, despite the judgments of others, which is exactly what Sam currently does. It serves especially those who have been paralyzed by fear or shame, making therefore the perfect companion for Sam to have with him throughout the whole series.
One of the most hateful characters of the whole story, because he can be cruel, stupid and a coward. However, deep down it all goes back to his childhood and the way he was “abandoned” by his family, so the reader is forced to feel a deep compassion towards Theon and his pain. At first, he is not loyal or trustworthy and uses the fact that he himself was a victim to justify changes of sides when it comes to the game of thrones. Then, he is severely tortured and seems to suffer Stockholm’s Syndrome, forcing the reader to once again feel a deep compassion towards his character. At this point, it seems like he will be unable to do anything, as if he was deprived of all his humanity and somehow turned into a pet. However, as the TV series evolved, Theon decided to do what seemed right and honorable to him, helping Sansa escape. After that – and even though he still has some episodes of cowardice – he ends up releasing Yara and fights for the Starks. The scene when Bran says “everything you did brought you to where you are now” directed to Theon is iconic!
Oregano is the oil of humility and non-attachment, clearing negativity and removing blockages. It is deeply powerful and it could have been a fantastic assistent for Theon throughout the entire series. It could have helped him stay humble, it could have assisted him letting go of the negativity that his past wounds were causing him, it could have assisted him in releasing the toxic attachments that were preventing him to develop a healthy relationship to the Divine (which is basically what Bran’s quote is all about). Oregano would have come to rescue Theon in all his hours of need.
Rickon Stark – Jojen Reed – Osha – Meera Reed
Even though these are four different characters and each one has their own particularities, we never really know them that deep and their main role is as regards to Bran’s life mission. Therefore, the one oil that could assist the four of them would be Arbovitae! Known as the oil of Divine Grace, it assists individuals to trust the divine allowing the soul to live effortlessly even amongst many tasks and/or hardships. Arbovitae could assist this group (and it was probably one of the aromas they felt while walking amongst the forest up north).
Of all the Bran’s rescue group, the one who ends up doing the greatest sacrifice is Hodor whose tragic story we find out during the darkest hour. Even though Hodor has a deep responsibility and is unable to say more than “Hodor”, he is generally joyful and he has a kind heart.
Basil is the oil of renewal, treating exhaustion, bringing strength to the heart and relaxation to the mind. It addresses nervousness and anxiety, supporting people under great mental strain, which is the case of Hodor. One only realizes later in the series what has made Hodor as he is – and it is then even more obvious that Basil would be of true service to this character by bringing rejuvenation to the vital forces.
This is a brave girl representing her clan, a House filled with courageous powerful women and a house of honor despite the story they have lived. I appreciate House Mormont, as I have always liked both Jorah and Jeor and all the stories I’ve heard from this House (which could fill a whole book). Unfortunately, most of House Mormont is gone now…
But this striking young woman seemed to have the power of Roses by her side, the gentleness of that aroma combined with the thorns ready to attack at once (including to say what needs to be said and that no one dares to say) reveal her as a restless leader who totally embodies the words of her House: “here we stand”.