- "Kraken: strong, as long as they're in the sea. When you take them out of the water, no bones. They collapse under their proud weight, and slump into a heap of nothing. You'd think they'd know that."
- ―Ramsay Snow
Krakens are legendary, massive cephalopods that are said to stalk the world's oceans. They are largely held to be mythical, though sailors occasionally report seeing them.
In the books
There have only been unconfirmed reports of krakens. Some say that they're just the figments of the wild imaginations of drunken sailors, similar to wild reports of "mermaids" by sailors who have been out at sea too long, which turn out to just be sea cows. Others adamantly insist that in a world where dragons once stalked the skies, krakens might live in the deep oceans. If krakens do really exist, they are extremely rare.
Lord Ardrian Celtigar of Claw Isle is rumored to have a magical horn which can summon krakens from the deep.
On the third novel, when the Small council meets to discuss the progress of the War of the Five Kings, Varys tells the attendees that a kraken had been seen off the Fingers. It reportedly attacked an Ibbenese whaler ship and pulled it under. Hearing that, Tywin Lannister scoffs that Dragons and krakens do not interest him, regardless of the number of their heads.
On "Arianne I" sample chapter of the sixth novel, lady Valena Toland tells Arianne Martell about rumors of krakens, off the Broken Arm, pulling under crippled galleys. The maester of House Toland claims that blood draws them to the surface.
Exact descriptions of what "krakens" look like in real-life legends vary greatly, but the mythological kraken in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels is specifically said to resemble a real world giant squid, a detail preserved in the series' depictions of the Greyjoy sigil.
There is some debate over the correct way to pronounce the word "kraken" in real-life, and this has carried over into the TV series. In Season 3's "And Now His Watch Is Ended", Olenna Tyrell pronounces it as "Krah-ken", with the hard "K" sound in the second syllable. In Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper", Ramsay Snow pronounces it as "Crack-en", with the hard "K" sound in the first syllable. "Kray-ken" with a hard A is also sometimes heard in real life. The actual word "Kraken" is of Old Scandinavian/Norwegian origin, and is closer to "Krah-ken", but both the "Crack-en" and "Kray-ken" variants have appeared after the word was incorporated into English.
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