As Season 6 drew to a close Sunday evening with Cersei Lannister settling into the Iron Throne, I thought, I'm sure the Starks will be stoked about this! The virtuous Starks and the power-hungry Lannisters have never exactly been on the same page, and I don't believe that it’s too bold an assumption to think former won’t be happy when they find out that the ruthless Queen Cersei is back in control of the Seven Kingdoms. Granted, the two families weren't always always at odds; once upon a time, House Lannister and House Stark got along... sort of.
The two Great Houses were never golfing buddies by any means, but there was a time when they more or less coexisted peacefully. And by “coexisted peacefully,” I mean there was a time when they weren’t putting each others’ heads on spits. So, you know, take it with a grain of Westerosian salt.
You want more details? *Dusts away the cobwebs that’ve collected in the corner of memory bank dedicated to GoT history.* Alright, let's do this (h/t gameofthrones.wikia and awoiaf.westeros.org. Without you, I am as helpless as a lost rabbit hopping through the Haunted Forest).
- During Robert’s Rebellion (the civil war that took place nearly two decades before GoT begins), House Stark and House Lannister were two of the families that fought against House Targaryen. I don’t think they were high-fiving on the battle fields or anything, but they shared a common adversary.
- After Tywin Lannister had Rhaegar Targaryen’s family brutally murdered during Robert’s Rebellion, Ned Stark was like, “Hey, Lannister? You’re a monster. I'm not going to kill you or anything, but you're a monster."
- However, Ned’s pal, Robert Baratheon, was like, “He's not a monster because DRAGONSPAAAWN.” That didn’t sit right with Ned.
- Robert married Cersei Lannister. Ned rolled with it as best he could.
- After Hand of the King Jon Arryn died, Robert asked Ned Stark to take the job. Ned Stark agreed to be King Robert's adviser.
- Robert arranged a marriage between his "son" Joffrey "Actually a Lannister" Baratheon and Sansa Stark in order to unite the Baratheon-Lannisters and the Starks. Ned rolled with it as best he could.
But whatever semblance of an alliance existed between the Starks and Lannisters was dunzo once Cersei and Jaime Lannister pushed Bran Stark out a window. Oh, and when someone hired an assassin who tried (and failed) to kill Bran. Oh, and when Joffrey had Ned executed. Oh, and when Catelyn Stark kidnapped Tyrion Lannister because she thought he had something to do with the assassination attempt on her son Bran. Oh, and when Ned only agreed to be the Hand because Lysa Arryn told him and Catelyn that she suspected the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn. Oh, and when Cersei ordered that Sansa's direwolf be put to death. Oh, and WHEN THE RED FLIPPIN' WEDDING HAPPENED. Oh, and — the list goes on.
The short answer: The families tolerated each other for a while, but that all changed once the Lannisters started murdering Starks. Will they ever (barely) get along again? Hey, this is GoT— anything is possible. For all we know, Tyrion Lannister could have an absolutely irresistible peace treaty up his sleeve.