mrmagnanimous asked: It seems like every house is on the brink of extinction because they didn't have enough kids. Except the Freys (AHH). I find that a bit foolish, though not sure if it was any different during the time in Europe that Martin draws much inspiration. You?
I don’t know anything about medieval Europe other than what I learned in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I think that we’re dealing with fairly unusual circumstances right now, and that’s much more to blame for any potential house extinction than a failure to have a sufficient number of kids. Few of the houses anticipated another ruinous civil war with a generation of the last one, let alone one that would be far, far worse, and on the cusp of winter to boot. I mean, the Starks had five kids, including three sons, and Catelyn was hoping for a sixth at the time Ned was called away to King’s Landing. It’s a fluke of history and a facet of the brutality of the War of Five Kings that the Starks are (as far as anyone knows) all but kaput.
That said, it’s really only Arryn and (again, just going by what is publicly believed) Stark that are in danger of extinction among the great houses — and Tully, I suppose, should the Lannisters go back on their word about protecting Edmure and his kid. Tyrell, Martell, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, and even wannabe great houses like Frey and Bolton are all reasonably secure right now.