AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've been wanting to read a good HP/GoT fanfic in a while now, but this crossover pairing is really just starting to be more popular recently, and there isn't much yet. Eventually, I got tired of waiting and decided to write one myself. I base this both on the books and the tv series, and even though, of course, many things will be different, I always do my best to stay loyal to the canon as much as I can, apart from minor details that I change for my own enjoyment. I did keep the ages of the characters from the show, because they are a bit older than in the books, and I thought it would be easier for me to write them this way.
Also, I did not just want to write a fic where Harry finds himself in the GoT universe by whatever means, ends up with the Starks and changes the whole story by his mere presence. I wanted this to be more than that. I will try to mix the two worlds in a believable way and include elements from both in entwining storylines. Of course, Harry's presence is going to change some things in the GoT universe, but he will have his own storyline, his own background, and his own mission to accomplish along with the story we know.
I rated this M because it's GoT, so it has violence and mature subject matter. I am not sure yet who Harry will end up with, although I am inclined towards Sansa or Daenerys. This chapter is a little short, I know, but I thought a short Prelude would put things in perspective first. The next chapter will be much longer. So, there you go. Sorry for the long note. I hope you will like the story, and don't be afraid to review and let me know what you think!
SUMMARY: Sole survivor of the mysterious fire that destroyed Godric's Hollow, young Harry Potter is taken in by Lord and Lady Stark and raised with their own children. The last heir to a strange and seemingly doomed House, Harry is determined to uncover the truth behind his parents' deaths, however ominous, despite numerous warnings that some things are better left unknown. Could the dark secrets of the Potters help him win the game of thrones?
HEART OF WINTER
"Like an iceberg in the ocean, we have hidden strengths below,
That are formed in life's cold waters from our tears of melting snow.
So the heart that beats within you, as it pulses, like a star
Must not forget those winters... for they made you what you are."
- Rod Walford, Heart of Winter
In the far north of Westeros, farther even than the old walls of Winterfell, miles into the Wolfswood, on the northern bank of Long Lake, once stood the castle of Godric's Hollow, ancestral seat of House Potter. Its walls and high towers had been built centuries before from the pale grey stones of the great mountains to the west, and although Godric's Hollow was not the oldest, the biggest, nor the highest castle in the Seven Kingdoms, or even in the North, its beauty was undeniable – its construction an assemblage of harmonious angles and symmetry, its towers and turrets tall and lean with perfect curves of polished stone. In the summer, its proud shape reflected in the lake, still like a mirror, and trees surrounded it so closely that they almost seemed part of the architecture itself. When the branches bent under heavy snows and the lake froze over, Godric's Hollow took an air of peaceful majesty, of sleepiness, as if suspended in time. The black banners with the white phoenix of House Potter floated from its towers all year long, and hung proudly on its walls during the warmer season. But the cold, northern beauty of Godric's Hollow gave no indication to the tragic fate of the House that inhabited it.
House Potter was one of the oldest families in the realm. Legend said that long ago, in the Age of Heroes, they had been sorcerers, powerful warriors with magic coursing through their veins. The first Potter, a certain Godric – the same one who had later built the beautiful castle of Godric's Hollow – was said to have been an ally of Bran the Builder, although not an ordinary man, but one born from the union of a First Man and one of the Children of the Forest. Old tales told of how Godric Potter had helped build the Wall with spells and sorcery, of how he had taught witchcraft to the people of the North and performed unspeakable acts in the name of strange gods and mysterious forces, spraying the blood of innocents on the frozen northern lands. And this magic had been passed down through his bloodline, legend said. The Potters were seemingly almost impossible to kill and lived to be very old, which had earned them their sigil, the phoenix.
But those were nothing but legends, and Westeros is rich in legends, some of them a thousand times more violent and outrageous than the story of Godric Potter and his unholy powers. Yet, it was still firmly believed among the people of the realm that the Potters were descendants from ancient sorcerers, and that some members of the family possessed great powers, if only one every few generations. But the Potters would only smile when you mentioned this at their table and pour you another cup, for House Potter was one of modesty and integrity, the values of the North. If they did have otherworldly powers, they never used them in obvious ways, and they never sought to rule any kingdom, remaining faithful bannermen to the Starks, to whom they had been sworn for centuries. They usually wed other northerners, mostly among the Starks, the Umbers, and the Blacks, and often greeted the Black Brothers of the Night's Watch on their journeys to and from the Wall with grace, hospitality, a good bed and a warm meal. They mostly kept away from matters of the court, but would take arms if necessary to defend the North.
Like too many stories of sorrow in Westeros, the downfall of House Potter started with a king. It started on the day a messenger came to Godric's Hollow, with a summon from the court, demanding that Lord Harold Potter, his wife Eleanor, their eldest son Charlus, and their only daughter Kimbra head to King's Landing. The message, bearing the unmistakable Targaryen seal, informed Lord Potter that King Aerys wished to promptly discuss the possibility of wedding his eldest son, Prince Rhaegar, to the beautiful Potter girl.
Lord Potter was dubious. King Aerys rarely paid any attention to what happened in the North. He had, until then, seemed content to surround himself with southerners the like of the Lannisters, to which none of the northerners particularly objected. But the Potters had gained unwanted fame of late, or more precisely, Kimbra had gained attention when two of the Blackwood brothers had suddenly become rivals and resorted to fight to the death in an attempt to obtain her favour.
At sixteen, although she had hardly ever left the North but to attend a few tourneys in the Riverlands, young Kimbra's beauty was already well-known in the Seven Kingdoms. She had the slight, slender built and ebony hair of the Potters, and the large, dark eyes of the Blacks inherited from her mother's side. Lord Potter, who was a noble and honest man, often scolded his daughter, warning her that vanity is an ugly trait, but Kimbra was fresh as a rose, charming and naïve. She was full of joy at the idea of becoming Prince Rhaegar's bride. She begged her father to accept the King's invitation, but Harold Potter had no choice. He could not refuse, even though he deeply wanted to, even though he was suspicious. Rumours of King Aerys' descent into madness had reached even the far halls of Godric's Hollow and Lord Harold was not eager to fall into the king's bad graces. The offer of a king is not something one can refuse. One can only accept and be grateful for the honour. And if it meant that his daughter might one day be queen of the Seven Kingdoms, he would take a leap of faith for her sake.
And so the Potters travelled south to King's Landing, unaware of the fate that awaited them there, because unknown to most people outside court, King Aerys was already negotiating to wed his son to Elia Martell of Dorne, and he had no intention of making Kimbra Potter the queen of anything, for he had heard about House Potter, too, and about their history. He had heard the legends and read the terrifying lore of Godric Potter and his strange accomplishments. And for some reason, Aerys Targaryen had it in his mind that young Kimbra Potter was a sorceress who entranced young men with her beauty, forcing them into madness and bloodshed to satisfy her nameless, demonic gods. The king had no intention to let her approach his son lest he suffer the same fate than the two Blackwood boys, and almost as soon as Kimbra Potter set foot inside the Red Keep, he collected her pretty head to adorn the walls of his great castle. When her family protested, he locked them in a dungeon cell and showered them with wildfire until there was nothing left. Death by fire, they say, is the purest. Perhaps in his insanity, King Aerys thought it a kindness.
But the Potter line was not yet destroyed, and King Aerys sometimes, although very rarely, liked to think of himself as merciful. He allowed Lord Harold's last living heir, his youngest son, to live, albeit stripped of all titles. James Potter, then only ten years old, remained safely fostered in Winterfell. Lord Rickard Stark, whose own mother had been a Potter, was full of anger. He raised the boy as his own son, waiting for the day when his people would take their revenge, because the North always remembers.
The story of what had happened to the Potters spread quickly through the continent and terrorised the smallfolk and the noble Houses alike. It all went downhill from there, as King Aerys' madness only increased. The following events, of course, are well-known. Prince Rhaegar wed Elia Martell, and some years later, abducted Lyanna Stark. The Starks confronted the Mad King, leading to Lord Rickard's death, and that of his eldest son, Brandon. It was the last straw. The North rallied its forces, other kingdoms joined, and thus was born the rebellion that would eventually lead to King Aerys' death and to Robert Baratheon taking the Iron Throne.
When the war was over, the new king summoned James Potter to court. Now in his twenties, he had fought bravely against the Targaryen forces to avenge his family. King Robert restored all his titles and had him knighted as repayment for his courage and his family's sufferings. Ser James thanked him, wed a southern lady that he had met in the Vale during the war, and promptly returned home, wanting nothing more than to raise his family in peace and quiet, and to forget the terrible fate of his loved ones.
Never since was James Potter seen south of the Neck again. He remained faithful to the Starks, but refused to take part in any battle that might shatter his already fragile legacy. The other Houses knew, understood, and left him alone until time would eventually heal his wounds. Once again, the black and white banners could be seen hanging from the walls of Godric's Hollow in the long summer, and when Ser James' first son was born, when he looked into the green eyes of little Harry, he finally understood the meaning of House Potter's words: Rising Again. The gods had given him a little phoenix, and for the first time in years, he felt hope.
But the story of House Potter was far from over. Their downfall had started with fire, and it is also how it ends.
TO BE CONTINUED...