Coming of the Andals
The coming of the Andals, crossing of the Andals, or arrival of the Andals refers to the migration of Andals from Essos to Westeros. The time when this occurred is disputed; some sources indicate six thousand years ago, the True History states it was four thousand years ago, and some maesters like Denestan claim it was two thousand years ago. Many of the petty kingdoms of the First Men were destroyed by Andal invaders and the children of the forest were pushed back to the north. The takeover was sometimes peaceful, however, with intermarriage between Andals and First Men.
Generational warfare had occurred in Westeros between the First Men and the children of the forest, but the Pact between the two peoples led to four thousand years of peace and worship of the old gods by the First Men. The Andals, the first new people of Westeros since the Pact, came from the hills of Andalos in western Essos. They were tall and fair-haired warriors who carried steel weapons and the seven-pointed star of their gods painted on their bodies. Their religion, the Faith of the Seven, teaches that Hugor of the Hill and his Andals were promised kingdoms in a foreign land by the Seven, which led to the Andals sailing to Westeros. Maesters instead believe the Andals traveled west under pressure from the expanding Valyrian Freehold, which conquered with dragons and forced subjugated peoples into slavery. The Andals wielded iron in contrast to the bronze of the First Men, who were gradually defeated in generational wars over hundreds of years.
The Fingers in what is now the Vale of Arryn was where the Andals first landed to wrest land from the First Men. The First Men of the Vale were ruled by numerous petty kings, some of whom allied with the Andals instead of resisting them. The Shells and Brightstones were betrayed by Andal allies, and the Andal Corbrays claimed the Fingers. The Shetts of Gulltown allied with the Andal Graftons against the Royces, but their conflict ended with Gulltown controlled by the Andals.
King Yorwyck VI Royce and his heirs led much of the resistance of the First Men to the Andals. King Robar II Royce gained the support of the Redforts, Hunters, Belmores, Coldwaters, and Upcliffs. These united First Men were able to successively defeat several Andal warlords, including the Corbrays, Graftons, and the Hammer of the Hills. However, Robar's army was routed in the Battle of the Seven Stars, and control of the Vale was claimed by the Andals of House Arryn. Those First Men who did not submit to the Arryns fled into the Mountains of the Moon and became the Vale mountain clans. The legend of Alyssa Arryn and Alyssa's Tears is said to be between six thousand and two thousand years old.
After conquering the Vale, the Andal warlords continued west through the Bloody Gate or sailed up the Trident into the riverlands, where they established their own small kingdoms. Tales from the era include the Fall of Maidenpool and the death of its young king Florian V Mooton; the Widow's Ford where Lord Darry's three sons held off Vorian Vypren and his Andals for a day and a night, slaying hundreds before they were themselves slain; and the events of the night in the White Wood. The Blackwoods and Brackens allied to oppose the Andals, but were shattered by 777 charging Andal knights and seven septons, at the great Battle of Bitter River.
The greatest of the river kings to oppose the Andals was King Tristifer IV Mudd, whom the Tullys fought alongside in many of his campaigns. Tristifer is said to have fought one hundred battles, winning ninety-nine and losing only one. When Roland II Arryn, the King of Mountain and Vale, invaded the riverlands and won small victories over several petty kings, he found himself facing Tristifer, who smashed his forces and forced the Valemen into retreat. One of Roland's allies then betrayed him to the river king, and Tristifer beheaded Roland at House Mudd's seat, Oldstones. Tristifer was defeated in his hundredth and final battle, when seven Andal kings attacked simultaneously and defeated him; the greatest of these conquerors was Armistead Vance. His heir, Tristifer V was unable to stem the Andal tide and failed to hold his own people together, and so the Mudd kingdom fell to the Andals. To avoid being slaughtered, many of the First Men houses submitted and intermarried with the Andals.
The Andals had mixed results when they invaded Crackclaw Point, which is now part of the crownlands. While the native Crackclaws had success fighting in their valleys and bogs, eventually, the Andals learned that what they could not conquer with swords they could through marriage.
During their conquest the Andals burned weirwood groves and slew the children of the forest when they found them, believing them abominations, although True History states the children had already fled the riverlands before the Andals invaded. The Andal Erreg the Kinslayer attacked High Heart, a sacred place to the children of the forest of the riverlands, killing the children and their First Men allies and cutting down High Heart's grove of weirwood trees.
When the Andals first began crossing the narrow sea, Erich the Unready was the Storm King from House Durrandon of Storm's End. He took little interest in the invaders as he was embroiled in his own wars at the time, and he died while the Andals completed their conquest of the Vale.
Shortly after the Andals conquered the Vale, they began sailing to Blackwater Bay and the stormlands. The Andal Togarion Bar Emmon allied with the First Men of House Massey and expelled the stormlanders from Massey's Hook and established Andal control over the peninsula. The grandson of Erich the Unready, King Qarlton the Conqueror, was the first Storm King to face the Andals in battle, and his reign and the reigns of his successors, Qarlton III and Monfryd V, would be spent continually warring against the Andals. The Storm Kings won at least six major battles against the Andals, including the great Battle of Bronzegate when King Monfryd V Durrandon defeated the Holy Brotherhood of the Andals at the cost of his own life, but the Andals continued to invade, conquering Tarth and Estermont.
To prevent the Andals from conquering all of the rainwood, King Baldric the Cunning manipulated the petty Andal kings and warlords of Cape Wrath into attacking each other. King Durran XXI allied with the children of the forest, and this Weirwood Alliance achieved victories over the Andals at Black Bog, the Misty Wood, and the Howling Hill, and helped to check the decline of the Kingdom of the Storm for a time. A generation later, King Cleoden I allied with three Dornish kings and defeated the Andal Drox the Corpse-Maker in a battle on the river Slayne.
Eventually the Durrandons and Andals came to an accord when the Andals failed in a seventh attempt to conquer the great castle of Storm's End. The Andals instead intermarried with the First Men storm lords; King Maldon IV and his son, Durran XXIV, for instance, married Andal maidens. The Andals swore to serve the Storm Kings, while King Ormund III and his queen converted to the Faith of the Seven.
The Hungry Wolf, King Theon Stark, was supported by House Bolton when the Andal warlord Argos Sevenstar attacked and was slain in the Battle of the Weeping Water. Theon then sailed east, raided Andalos, and displayed the heads of his Andal victims along the shore's of the north.
After the conquest of the Trident and the riverlands, the Andals began to attack the north from its south over land. However, every attack was thrown back by the crannogmen of the Neck or the strong fortifications of Moat Cailin; it is unknown how many Andal armies were destroyed in the Neck. King Sherrit is said to have called down a curse upon the Andals while at the Nightfort, which is also where the legendary Rat Cook served "bacon-and-prince" pie to an Andal king.
Eventually, the Andals relented and the north was allowed to remain in peace, although over succeeding millennia Andal blood entered the kingdom through dynastic marriages.
The influence of the Andals was less in Dorne than in the other southern kingdoms of Westeros. Most Andals focused on the nearer lands on the narrow sea, rather than the Dornish sands. Some, such as the Ullers, Qorgyles, and Vaiths, adventured into more inhospitable regions of Dorne. The Allyrions, Jordaynes, and Santagars also established their own realms. The Martells defeated two First Men houses, the Wades and Shells, claiming territory near the mouth of the Greenblood.
The Andals began to invade the westerlands after they conquered the Vale and the riverlands. Tybolt Lannister, the King of the Rock, defeated the first Andal warlord, and the next few attacks were also successfully defended against by House Lannister.
As the Andals continued to march west, however, Kings Tyrion III and Gerold II arranged marriages between their bannermen and the most powerful of the warlords. The children of the Andals were brought to Casterly Rock to serve as wards but also hostages. After the death of King Gerold III, his daughter's husband, the Andal Ser Joffrey Lydden, took the Lannister name. Other houses formed by the intermarriages included Houses Brax, Drox, Jast, Kyndall, Lefford, Marbrand, Parren, Sarsfield, and Serrett. In contrast to most First Men kings, the support of the Andals allowed the Kings of the Rock to expand their power.
The Andals arrived late in the Reach, after the invasions of the Vale, the riverlands, and the stormlands, as they were previously prevented from sailing there by the fleets of House Hightower of Oldtown and Redwyne of the Arbor. The Gardener kings of Highgarden prepared the defenses of the Kingdom of the Reach. King Gwayne IV sought help from the children of the forest, while King Mern II focused on fortification. King Mern III bestowed honors on a woods witch who claimed she could raise armies of the dead. The anticipated Andal attacks never occurred, however.
When the disunited Andals eventually reached the realm of the Gardeners generations later, they were welcomed by the Three Sage Kings: Garth IX, son Merle I, and grandson Gwayne V. Rather than resist, they granted lands, wives, and lordships to the most powerful Andals. Garth IX brought a septon to his court and built the first sept at Highgarden. Merle I, a convert to the Faith of the Seven, promoted the construction of septs, septries, and motherhouses across the Reach. Gwayne V was the first Gardener born into the new Faith and the first to be knighted. In order to integrate the newcomers, Merle I and Gwayne V took Andal brides, and all three kings accepted Andal knights and retainers into their service. For instance, Ser Alester Tyrell, the founder of House Tyrell, was made Gwayne V's champion and sworn shield.
House Hightower of Oldtown were amongst the first lords to welcome the Andals. Lord Dorian Hightower set aside his wife for an Andal princess and the stability of trade, and Lord Damon was the first Hightower to accept the Faith. After Damon's premature death, his son, the young Lord Triston, was raised and trained by Septon Robeson, who eventually became the first High Septon. Triston honored Robeson by building the Starry Sept, while Triston's son, Lord Barris Hightower, gave the High Septon his first crystal crown.
The Gardeners encouraged Andal craftsmen, aspecially blacksmiths and stonemasons, to settle throughout the Reach, supplying their bannermen with iron instead of bronze and strengthening their castles with Andal masonry.
Families formed by the intermarriage of First Men and Andal nobles include Houses Cuy, Graceford, Leygood, Orme, Roxton, Uffering, and Varner. The Andals and First Men of the Reach became closely integrated, and most of the newcomers aided the Gardeners against future Andal invaders. Maester Yandel writes that "seldom has a conquest been achieved with less bloodshed."
The Andals turned their attention to the Iron Islands a thousand years after their landing on the Fingers. As the Andals invaded and settled in the riverlands, westerlands, and the Reach, they began constructing new settlements and stout castles. These stronger defenses, combined with the Andals' sailing ability, weakened the grip of the ironborn on the Sunset Sea. The Andals then began to invade the Iron Islands in waves, often with the support of rival ironborn lords.
Rognar II Greyiron, King of the Iron Islands, was defeated by an alliance of Andals with Houses Drumm, Greyjoy, Hoare, and Orkwood. According to legend, Harras Hoare was chosen as king through the finger dance, but Archmaester Haereg states Harras became king by marrying the daughter of an Andal warlord. The Hoare dynasty were often denigrated by the ironborn, especially by the priests of the Drowned God, for marrying and allying with Andals, tolerating the Faith and promoting trade instead of reaving. The new religion never became popular in the Iron Islands and most families of Andal origin eventually converted to the native Drowned God.
The Andals were a conquering people, but they were greatly outnumbered by the First Men of Westeros. In order to consolidate their control, the Andal warlords and kings often married the wives and daughters of the defeated First Men kings. Although most of the First Men eventually converted to the Faith of the Seven, godswoods with heart trees were retained in many castles to prevent religious wars. An exception to the spread of the Faith is the Iron Islands, where the native worship of the Drowned God was adopted by the invading Andals.
The Andals introduced writing, as before that time the First Men only used runes for carving on stone. Everything since written about the Age of Heroes, the Dawn Age, and the Long Night originates from stories written down by septons. The Andals also introduced weapons of steel. Knighthood and chivalry spread through most of Westeros, especially in the Reach.
One of the major, if largely forgotten, consequences of the invasions is the ending of the Pact. The children of the forest abandoned Westeros and slowly disappeared over succeeding generations, aside from beyond the Wall.
During and following the Andals' arrival, six Andal-controlled southron kingdoms of Westeros were consolidated: the realms of the King of Mountain and Vale, the King of the Rock, the King of the Reach, the King of the Iron Islands, the King of the Trident, and the Storm King. Dorne remained a peninsula of bickering, feuding states of First Men and Andal origin, and the north remained under control of the First Men King in the North.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book, Guardians of Order
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: Andals in the Stormlands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Andals in the Reach.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: House Tyrell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Iron Kings.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Highgarden.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals.
- So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions, July 22, 2001