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A song of ice and Flyers

i’m sorry, george. u didnt deserve this, and neither did the philadelphia flyers.

Hockey is pointless, television is ridiculous, and life is an increasingly terrifying hellscape of fire and blood.

You understand what I mean, of course. Game of Thrones has been gone for months, and it’ll be gone for months more. (At least we have a date?) It is, at once, the single most captivating and infuriating television show right now. In my opinion. In my professional television opinion.

I miss Game of Thrones, so here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna think about what house I think the Flyers would belong to, based mostly on how they act, but perhaps a little influenced on their physical appearance. That seems like a pretty simple way to go. However, I’m also going to write house words for the actual players themselves, in, like, real life. I have nothing better to do, so please stop preparing your comments.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: House Arryn

I don’t have a basis for this other than Pierre-Edouard Bellemare being regal as fuck. Maybe it’s his beautiful face or his very fancy French accent. He’s also very proud, displaying the French flag anytime he smiles on ice. God, that isn’t talked about enough. How cool is that? He’s swell. Anyway, Bellemare would fit right in as a Knight of the Vale, and what makes more sense than being from one of the Great Houses of Westeros? Historic. Powerful. Occasionally threatened by otherworldly strength like dragons. Or Connor McDavid. Just as a for instance. Arryn makes sense.

House Bellemare words: For country, for family, for honor
Rejected words: Viva la France, baby

Sean Couturier: House Tully

Okay, it’s not the traditional auburn, but Sean Couturier has some delightful strawberry blond locks that are simply to die for. For me, though, this link lies one hundred percent in the Tully words: Family, duty, honor. (In that order.) The single most honorable, dutiful thing that any human has ever done in the name of family was when Sean Couturier adopted a second kitten because his first kitten needed a friend. I can hardly believe that’s a real thing that a human being and not a cartoon character did. I think his values align with the Tullys, so here we are.

House Couturier words: A sharp pair of claws
Rejected words: Die by the third line

Michael Del Zotto: House Greyjoy

Oh god, don’t you just love this one? I love it. I’m obsessed with it. No one has ever been more Theon Greyjoy than Michael Del Zotto. And I’m talking prime Theon, puffing out his chest and giving Robb dumbass advice, all the while believing wholeheartedly that he, himself, was The Shit. Theon Greyjoy is trash, and he would absolutely throw you under the bus in order to get laid. I would feel guilty about writing this, but Michael Del Zotto blocked me on Twitter for making one joke, so I feel like I’ve paid with blood, sweat, and tears for the chance to write these words. Unblock me on twitter, DJ MDZ. I wanna offer you a gig.

House Del Zotto words: We block, we mute
Rejected words: Swipe right

Valtteri Filppula: House Lannister

New boy! Welcome to the family, Val, honey. Here’s your annual disappointment allowance and me making jokes about you for the next however long you’re an orange. So, um, pleasantries out of the way, you’re a Lannister! I’m sorry. It’s just that, well, you’re blond! No one else on this team is truly blond! And then you came along out of the blue and were blond? I had to! You forced my hand!

Also, there’s something about the quiet severity, the storminess in his eyes...he wants to own the world. Or at the very least destroy it so no one else can.

House Filppula words: On the flip side
Rejected words: It actually was always sunny in Tampa

Claude Giroux: House Tyrell

Oh boy, this is one of my favorites. Do you remember the picture of Claude Giroux’s flower tie? No? I HAVE YOU COVERED. Boy, what a moment that was. Ryanne changed my life with that picture. I mention this picture specifically because he was wearing a goddamn flower tie. A tie with flowers on it. It ain’t roses, but it’s close enough for me. Couldn’t you imagine Clope fitting in with the Highgarden lords and ladies so easily? I could. His style has dramatically, almost alarmingly improved in the past several years. Similarly, Giroux’s hair has gone through some drastic changes over time, but he has finally got the mane coiffed and controlled. Has there been a more major transformation? There hasn’t. House Tyrell were just the friggin’ stewards to the Great House of Highgarden before their transformation, which came in the form of surrendering to the Targaryens after literally every Gardener burned to death. You gotta take the chances when they come, I guess.

House Giroux words: Move gingerly
Rejected words: Hold my beer

Boyd Gordon: House Baratheon

Boyd Gordon scored the first goal of the season for the Flyers, and those that witnessed it knew immediately what that meant: we were in for some fuckery this year. Boyd Gordon currently lives somewhere up north, where there are big fields and there's lots of room to run and play with his friends, but that won't stop me from giving him a house! Because I make up the rules! And you don’t!

Something about Gordon reminds me of Robert Baratheon and, yeah, now that I'm thinking of it, he kinda just looks like an older, grizzled version of Gendry who hasn't drank centuple his weight in wine yet.

House Gordon words: Bearded and bold
Rejected words: I’m still here

Shayne Gostisbehere: Braavosi, First Sword to the Sea Lord of Braavos

Nobody moves as swiftly as Braavosi water dancers, or so Syrio Forel says. The same is absolutely true about Shayne Gostisbehere, probably my favorite boy in the entire universe. I could watch him skate for my whole stupid life and still want to watch more of it. His hip surgery in the offseason has hampered him this season, but don’t let that fool you. He is still the water dancer we all know and love, and just you wait. Next year he’s gonna be tearin’ it up again with nothin’ but a wooden (perhaps composite) stick.

House Gostisbehere words: Skating ever forward
Rejected words: Who the fuck are you?

Radko Gudas: House Clegane

I always think Radko Gudas is bigger than he is. I mean, go ahead. Guess. How tall do you think he is? Think about it for a minute. I thought he was at least 6’3”, maybe even 6’4”. Apparently he’s only six foot even? What the hell. I’ve either been fed significant lies, or Radko Gudas plays much bigger than he is. I can’t lie. I am so biased in Radko Gudas’s favor. I love him so much. I’d die for him. Is that too much? I’m sorry. I am a proud member of the Radko Gudas Apologist Squad, and I will be until my pitiful life ends.

Radko Gudas is the immovable object that people are always talking about. He is so solid. Oh my god. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Right, the Cleganes. I think it’s such a good fit. He is the equivalent of the Hound. Questionable choices. Lots of people don’t like him. Ultimately A Good.

House Gudas words: Hold the line
Rejected words: Love isn’t always on time

Travis Konecny: House Reed

Okay, could anything be more perfect? The Reeds are a noble house that rules over the crannogmen, those who live in the marshes and swamps of the north. Historically known as a small and slender people, the crannogmen are surprisingly talented hunters and warriors. They’re also disparaged for the way they utilize the watery terrain to their advantage and their use of guerilla war-style ambush tactics. Ringing any bells? Friggin’ Travis Konecny! Duh doy! A kid who everyone thought would get eaten alive by a league of giants, who strikes silently and methodically, whose skating is slippery smooth, who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Besides, what’s not to love about an underdog?

House Konecny words: Slight with might
Rejected house words: Try it, dickhead

Roman Lyubimov: House Hightower

An underhouse of the Tyrells of the Reach, the Hightowers are just chillin’ at the moment. They’ve been involved in some big moments in ASoIaF (re: Dance of the Dragons, Tower of Joy, etc.) but have been in the shadows, in the background for a while. They’ve got good connections, especially with the Tyrells, and they’re rich as fuck.

It’s kinda like whenever you watch Lyubimov play, you’re thinking “Man, I wish he got a chance to play more!” Same with the Hightowers. They’re interesting! Just not very important at the moment.

House Lyubimov words: A quiet scratch
Rejected words: Overlooked, underutilized

Andrew MacDonald: House Casterly

History looks back on House Casterly as the dummies who got swindled out of their lands and fortunes by some jackass named Lan. Ever watch Andrew MacDonald get absolutely turnstiled and wonder how he’s made it this far in his career? Hah, anyway.

House MacDonald words: Never forgive, nor forget
Rejected words: Six years, thirty million

Brandon Manning: House Baelish

This seems rude when you first read it, but hopefully it’s not going to go in the direction you think it’s going to go. Your guess is as good as mine. Brandon Manning has really embodied the Baelish tradition of taking advantage of chaos. Manning has worked his way up the system, mirroring Petyr Baelish’s humble beginnings as lord of the Fingers. When the Flyers presented Manning with a top-six role, he seized the opportunity, and despite some (sometimes major) growing pains along the way, Manning has taken advantage of his chance. I’m not saying Manning is gonna go Full Baelish and become protector of the Vale or anything, but I’m impressed by his station. Also, lmao Connor McDavid.

House Manning words: For the bellicose few
Rejected words: 97 Minutes of Fame

Steve Mason: House Tarth

I can’t lie. I’m very proud of this connection. Steve Mason is essentially the male version of Brienne of Tarth. They’re both tall, fair, unfailingly loyal, and totally rad. Steve Mason is obviously more handsome than the books describe Brienne the Beauty, what with her dusted front teeth and generally gnarly face. Meanwhile, Steve Mason has the smile of a dentist and the overall appearance and demeanor of a very sweet neighbor. However, the comparison is still plain to see. Like Brienne struggling to understand where she fit in the rigid world of Westeros, Mason struggled through tough years in Columbus despite considerable talent, only seeking acceptance and love from someone. Anyone. He’s found a home here in Philadelphia, and he’s been open about how coming to the Flyers reinvigorated his love of hockey. For some reason, we still haven’t totally accepted him and it is, as anyone would tell you, complete garbage. I hope he’s back next year, but if he isn’t, I hope he finds his Jaime.

House Mason words: Flashes of leather
Rejected words: Our teeth are bright

Sam Morin: Dothraki

Sam Morin has officially played his first NHL game! And there was much rejoicing! Anyway, onto business. Sam Morin scares the shit out of me. I mean, he kind of reminds me of Khal Drogo...but with a kinder face? If you isolate his face, he looks like a marshmallow boy, but altogether...I honestly think that he could kill a person. Pretty easily. Uh. Don’t cross Sam Morin. He is a scary dude.

House Morin: Seize opportunity and adversary
Rejected words: Holy shit, he’s huge

Michal Neuvirth: Maester

Michael Neuvirth has the quiet wisdom and grace of a maester. Maesters forgo their family names, sacrifice lands and titles, and serve the realm dutifully. Even when people are very mean to him on the internet, he’s just out here living his goalie life. And, listen, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but I will say that maesters have been known to possess a lot of influence over the lords they serve. Food for friggin’ thought!

House Neuvirth words: We guard the goal
Rejected words: Eh, might as well

Ivan Provorov: House Payne

Podrick Payne is such a sweet character. He’s quiet, humble, and sane, which is saying a lot when you consider the types of people he’s constantly surrounded by. Unlike distant cousin Ser Ilyn, who sucks, Pod is a good boy. A nice boy. A boy you want on your team. Pod saved Tyrion’s life during the Battle on the Blackwater. Tyrion is widely recognized as one of the most important characters in the story arc. Without Pod, Tyrion would be dead, much like the Flyers would be dead without Ivan Provorov. He is so good and so unassuming, his talent and prowess so subtle that people might overlook him. Don’t overlook him. Or Podrick. He’s the man.

House Provorov words: No entry unchallenged
Rejected words: Greet him as savior

Michael Raffl: Wildling

For the last time, please stop engaging with me on twitter about how Michael Raffl looks like Theon Greyjoy. I get it, okay? I know you wanted me to put him in House Greyjoy, but I’m not going to. I refuse to bow to the pressure of internet nerds. Michael Raffl is a wildling because he cannot be tied down by the bounds of men. He’s so...weird. Just the strangest man. Remember that video a couple years ago when him and Jake were trying to wrap Christmas presents and his ended up looking like a ball of trash? Remember when he was convinced that mermaids were real because of that fake documentary? Wanna know a selection of the bands and artists he follows on Spotify? Akon. R. Kelly. Creed. Toto. That isn’t even the strangest part. He has a playlist called “Volbeat”. Predictably, it has seven songs from popular Danish metal band Volbeat. And then, then, right at the very end, it has one single solitary Florida Georgia Line song. I can’t even believe this isn’t something I made up. That’s real! He exists outside normalcy. Beyond the wall? He doesn’t even give a care.

House Raffl words: Strange and stranger still
Rejected words: Weird motherfuckers stick together

Matt Read: House Tarly

Matt Read is one of those guys that you look at and you think “Man, he has just never done anything wrong in his entire life.” I sincerely doubt he has ever even left hair in the drain after a shower or left the toilet seat up. He’s just so considerate! You can tell! He’s such a dad. God bless Matt Read. Reminds me a lot of Samwell because he’s smart and nice and that’s the important stuff.

House Read words: So that the sun shines
Rejected words: We have the meat

Brayden Schenn: House Manderly

This is not a fat joke. It absolutely isn’t. Brayden Schenn is famed for his love of dessy and, of course, the dessy platter. All kinds of dessy, I’m told. You know what that includes? Pie. Watch out, miscreants. Schenner’s got his apron on, and he’s comin’ for ya. He saw those tweets about 5-on-5.

House Schenn words: In feast or famine
Rejected words: Strength isn’t even

Nick Schultz: House Selmy

This is gonna be, uh, controversial. I’m really thinking about Nick Schultz and Barristan Selmy as comparable here, though. Barristan Selmy? He’s been around the block. Nick Schultz? He’s been around the block too. And he’s made his career through blocks! Wow. Nailed that. Hear that Nick? You’ve been nailed.

House Schultz words: Pride in hindrance
Rejected words: Who?

Wayne Simmonds: House Targaryen

Wayne Simmonds is the hero. Everyone in Philadelphia loves him, everyone outside of Philadelphia wants him. He is so strong, so talented, and so nice! He’s the guy everyone is rooting for! Wow, we have Wayne Simmonds. I think about that and it’s like, depression who? I’ve never met a mental illness in my life. Long story short, Wayne Simmonds is OP and so is Dany, so, I mean, the connection is real. Also, have you ever seen Wayne Simmonds skate away from a fight? Ahem.

House Simmonds words: Obstruct, obscure, obtain
Rejected words: You cannot fight Wayne Simmonds

Chris VandeVelde: House Stark

Wow, I know this is going to make everyone angry, but I simply do not care. Chris VandeVelde has the Stark look. Dark hair, dark eyes, very serious face. I mean, come on. That’s the way they make ‘em in Minnesota. And Minnesota is practically Winterfell. Before you come after me all there’s no way Minnesota would be Winterfell. Winterfell would obviously be somewhere in Canada, let me counter with this: where the fuck would north of the wall be? Get your shit together. Also, Chris VandeVelde inspires in me the same kind of confidence Ned Stark inspires in me. He’s got Dad mojo. I don’t know what to tell you. Please send all hate mail straight to my P.O. Box as my DMs will be closed by the time this publishes.

House Vandevelde words: Free agency is coming
Rejected words: Resisting the scratch

Mike Vecchione: House Dustin

Another new boy! What a blessed time we’re living in! I don’t know a whole lot about Newest Orange Lad Mike Vecchione besides the fact that he is 1) cool for coming here and 2) influenced by his friends, since he basically came here because he loves Shayne. Thus, I’ve slotted him into a loyal noble house from the North (he’s got that look about him).

House Vecchione words: Protect our union
Rejected words: Ghost paid him

Jakub Voracek: House Martell

Sometimes I just get lost in the way Jake can skate with the puck. He carries so well, eluding and evading defenders. When I sleep at night, I dream of his overtime winner against the Rangers to open up the season. Much like the Martells, Voracek knows when to hold back and when to strike with fury. Plus, his nickname is Jake the Snake. Ever heard of the friggin’ Sand Snakes? Can’t get any more on the nose than that. Venmo me five dollars.

House Voracek words: Roast thy enemies
Rejected words: Pancetta or pantene

Jordan Weal: House Mormont

House Mormont is an underrated favorite of many viewers and readers, I think. Jeor, Jorah, and Noted Little Lady Lyanna have really captured hearts. Weal is slowly but surely doing the same!

Honestly, Jordan Weal is pretty tiny and imagining him doing the patented Lyanna Mormont Scowl is giving me a lot of joy. You have to chase your dreams. I accept this as truth.

House Weal words: Starting fresh
Rejected words: The real deal

Dale Weise: House Frey

Dale Weise honestly scares me a little. He strikes me as the type of man who has nothing to lose. He will just check the absolute shit outta you. He doesn’t care if it’s clean. He doesn’t care if it’s legal. He’s out for blood, and he’s trying to earn that damn contract. He will fucking flay you. Uh. Dale. On the off chance that you read this, please know that I am a fan of yours. Please don’t block me on twitter. I think you’re super cool.

House Weise: When terror’s afoot
Rejected words: Cool contract, bro

And there you have it, the most unnecessary thing you’ve ever suffered through, but you did suffer through it! Flyers hockey will be over soon, Game of Thrones will be back, and life will be fine. We’ll all survive the long night (probably).