House Arryn

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House Arryn of the Eyrie
House Arryn.svg
Coat of arms A sky-blue falcon soaring against a white moon, on a sky-blue field
(Bleu celeste, upon a plate a falcon volant of the field)
Words As High as Honor
Seat The Eyrie (summer)
Gates of the Moon (winter)
Current Lord Robert Arryn
Region Vale of Arryn
Title King of Mountain and Vale (formerly)
Lord of the Eyrie
Defender of the Vale
Warden of the East
Heir Ser Harrold Hardyng
Overlord House Baratheon of King's Landing
Cadet Branch House Arryn of Gulltown
Founder Ser Artys Arryn
Founded Coming of the Andals

House Arryn of the Eyrie is one of the Great Houses of Westeros, and is the principal noble house in the Vale of Arryn. Their main seat is the Eyrie, which is considered impregnable.[1][2] However, House Arryn has at least one other holding, their winter castle at the Gates of the Moon, which was once their main seat.[3] Both of these fortifications sit astride the Giant's Lance, the tallest mountain in the Vale, the Gates of the Moon at its foot, the Eyrie at its top.[2][4] The Arryn sigil is a sky-blue falcon soaring against a white moon on a sky-blue field, and their words are "As High as Honor".[5]

The Arryns of the Eyrie have a collection of distant relatives located throughout the Vale. Although they are much poorer than their cousins from the main branch, aside from the Arryns of Gulltown, they are described by Petyr Baelish as proud due to their name and heritage.[6]


Kings of Mountain and Vale

The Arryns are considered to come from the oldest and purest line of Andal nobility, which they say reaches back to Andalos and possibly Hugor of the Hill.[7]

When King Robar II Royce began to unite the First Men and defeat some of the petty Andal kings during the Andal invasion, the Andals of the Vale united behind Ser Artys Arryn, the Falcon Knight, a native Valeman esteemed amongst his peers as the finest warrior of his day. Robar was slain in the Battle of the Seven Stars, possibly by Artys. The First Men houses who remained bent the knee and swore fealty to Artys Arryn, the First of His Name, new-crowned King of Mountain and Vale. From that day, the Vale became known as the Vale of Arryn.[8] Songs of the Vale conflate Artys with the legendary Winged Knight, who is said to have slain the Griffin King atop the Giant's Lance.[6][7] The First Men who did not accept Artys as their king were forced into the Mountains of the Moon, becoming the Vale mountain clans.[9]

The Arryns initially lived at the Gates of the Moon, but over generations they constructed the Eyrie.[3] They often used the Eyrie as a summer pleasure palace,[10] descending to the Gates of the Moon before winter made the Eyrie inaccessible.[6]

The Arryn kings added Pebble, the Paps, and the Witch Isle to their realm. They battled with the Stark Kings of Winter over the Three Sisters in the War Across the Water, which featured King Osgood Arryn and his son and successor, Oswin Arryn, who burned the Wolf's Den. There were bloody battles wherein the Arryn fleet turned back slavers from Volantis, ironborn reavers, and pirates from the Stepstones and the Basilisk Isles.[8] Lady Alyssa Arryn gave her name to Alyssa's Tears, a waterfall on the Giant's Lance, when she did not shed a tear for her murdered husband, brothers and children.[3]

War of Conquest

During Aegon's Conquest the Arryn and Targaryen fleets fought in a battle in the waters off Gulltown, which resulted in the destruction of the Targaryen fleet and the death of its commanding officer, Daemon Velaryon. Visenya Targaryen, on her dragon Vhagar, burned the Arryn fleet in response. Since both fleets were destroyed, the battle was considered a tactical draw, but a strategic defeat for the Targaryens as they were unable to take Gulltown. For House Arryn the trouble did not end there, since the Sistermen on the Three Sisters revolted against them after the destruction of the Arryn fleet.[11]

In a later stage of Aegon's Conquest, Visenya was charged with subduing the Vale. Sharra Arryn, Queen Regent of the Vale, ruling in the name of her son, the boy-king Ronnel Arryn, amassed the Vale's army at the Bloody Gate. Visenya. however, flew on her dragon Vhagar up to the courtyard of the Eyrie to obtain the surrender of the Vale of Arryn. When Sharra returned to the Eyrie she found her son sitting on Visenya's lap asking if he could ride the dragon with her. Sharra yielded and bent the knee and Ronnel would get to fly with Visenya and Vhagar twice.[11] Since then, the Arryns remained Defenders of the Vale and were also named Wardens of the East, a title that they have held since.[12]

Targaryen Era

In 80 AC, during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Lord Rodrik Arryn married Princess Daella Targaryen, the king's daughter. Aemma died in childbirth, giving birth to their only child, Lady Aemma Arryn.[13] Aemma was married to Prince Viserys Targaryen in 93 AC.[14]

By the time King Jaehaerys I called the Great Council in 101 AC, Lord Rodrik was deceased as well, and Lady Jeyne Arryn ruled the Eyrie. However, as she as in her minority in 101 AC, House Arryn played a small role in this council.[7]

Upon the death of King Jaehaerys I in 103 AC, Prince Viserys was crowned King, and Aemma Arryn his Queen.[14] During the early years of their marriage, Aemma gave birth to a stillborn son and suffered multiple miscarriages, though she also gave birth to a daughter, Rhaenyra, in 97 AC. Aemma herself died giving birth to her second son, Baelon, who followed her to the grave a few days later.[14]

Following the death of King Viserys I Targaryen in 129 AC, House Arryn became involved in the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons, where Aemma's daughter, King [Viserys I's elder child and proclaimed heir, Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Rhaenyra's younger brother, Aegon II Targaryen, King Viserys I's eldest surviving son, fought over their claims to the Iron Throne. Lady Jeyne Arryn, supported the blacks and her kinswoman Rhaenyra. At the start of the civil war, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, Rhaenyra's eldest son, travelled to the Eyrie to secure aid for his mother's cause. Jeyne kept true to her promise and sent men by sea by way of Gulltown to join Rhaenyra's hosts.[15][7][16]

Following the conclusion of the civil war, and the coronation of King Aegon III Targaryen, Rhaenyra's eldest surviving son, at the age of eleven, Lady Jeyne became one of seven regents of the young king. She died in Gulltown of illness in 134 AC.[7][17]

In 196 AC, during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, the Arryn's remained loyal to King Daeron II Targaryen. At the climactic Battle of the Redgrass Field Lord Donnel Arryn led the van, which was smashed by Daemon I Blackfyre. Lord Donnel's life was eventually saved by Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard.[7] Lord Donnel survived the war, and eventually fought in the tourney at Maidenpool in 208 AC, where he was defeated in the lists by Ser Humfrey Hardyng.[18] During the Great Spring Sickness, which began in 209 AC, Lord Donnel closed off the Vale from traffic, both from the high road and by sea. Because of this, the Vale was one of two Kingsdoms spared by the plague.[7]

Lady Alys Arryn was married to Prince Rhaegel Targaryen, the third born son of King Daeron II Targaryen. Together, they had three children: the twins Aelor and Aelora, and a second daughter, Daenora.[19] Daenora was eventually married to her cousin, Prince Aerion Targaryen, with whom the had a son in 232 AC, Maegor. Maegor's father died that same year. Following the death of Aerion's father, King Maekar I Targaryen, in 233 AC, Maegor's claim for the throne was considered during the Great Council of 233 AC. However, on account of Maegor's age, as well as Aerion's cruelty and madness, his claim was passed over.[20]

Following the rule of Lord Jasper Arryn, his eldest son, Lord Jon Arryn inherited the Eyrie. Having been the Keeper of the Gates of the Moon as a young man before his father's death,[21] Jon fought for King Jaehaerys II Targaryen in 260 AC during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. As a result of alliances made during this war, Jon would eventually foster Eddard Stark from Winterfell, and Robert Baratheon from Storm's End.[22]

While Lord Jasper, upon his death, left three children, his descendants experienced a variety of calamities that left the house with fewer heirs. Jasper's successor and eldest son, Lord Jon Arryn, married several times. His first wife, Lady Jeyne Royce, died in childbirth, their daughter stillborn. His second wife, Lady Rowena Arryn, a cousin, died childless of a winter chill. Jon's younger brother Ronnel married a womand from House Belmore. She became pregnant, but around the same time as she gave birth to their son, Elbert, Ronnel himself died of a bad belly. As Jon himself did not have any sons, his nephew Elbert became his heir. Jon and Ronnel's sister, Alys, was married to Ser Elys Waynwood, with whom she had eight daughters and one son. She died soon after her last childbirth. Alys's son, Jasper, died at a young age. Their eldest daughter was married to Ser Denys Arryn, a distant cousin, and their children would become the Arryn heirs following Elbert. Of the remaining seven daughters, two died, one became a septa, another a silent sister, one proved barren following her marriage, and the sixth was kidnapped by the Burned Men on her way to her marriage in the riverlands. The youngest of them all married a man from House Hardyng, with whom she had a son, Harrold.[6] Despite not having sons of his own, Jon Arryn had several heirs through who his house could continue.

Robert's Rebellion

Robert's Rebellion changed all. The war began when Lord Jon refused to surrender his wards, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, to King Aerys II Targaryen, who had demanded their heads following the executions of Lord Rickard Stark and his eldest son, Brandon. The battle against Marq Grafton at Gulltown saw Jon defeat his royalist bannermen. During the war, Jon was one of the principal leaders and his marriage to his third wife, Lysa Tully, helped secure Lord Hoster Tully as an ally. Unfortunately, casualties mounted among the few remaining Arryns. Jon's nephew and heir, Elbert Arryn, had been part of Brandon Stark's group of companions who accompanied him to King's Landing. In addition to Brandon's execution, most of his companions were killed as well, Elbert among them.[23][24] Jon's distant cousin, Ser Denys Arryn, the "darling of the Vale", was killed by Hand of the King Jon Connington during the Battle of the Bells.[25] Denys's newborn son died shortly after.[6] This left Harrold Hardyng, Lord Jon's cousin through his sister's youngest daughter, as his heir for several years.

Following the conclusion of the war in 283 AC, Jon Arryn played a large role in the reign of the newly formed Baratheon Dynasty. He was named Hand of the King, while Nestor Royce ruled as High Steward of the Vale in his absence. In the year following Robert's coronation, Jon traveled to Dorne to return the bones of Prince Lewyn Martell, the uncle of Doran Martell, the ruling Prince of Dorne, and negotiated a peace. Additionally, Jon convinced Robert to take Cersei Lannister to bride, following the death of Robert's previous betrothed, Lyanna Stark.

Jon's own marriage, to Lysa Tully, remained a distant one. Jon had been aware of the fact that Lysa had been pregnant with a child which had been aborted by Lord Hoster Tully, before their marriage. Catelyn Tully, Lysa's elder sister, believes that it would have been hard for Jon to love Lysa, knowing she had come to him soiled and unwilling.[26] Additionally, Jon's marriage to Lysa resulted in several miscarriages. In 292 AC, Lysa gave Jon a son, Robert. However, due to her history, Lysa has always been very protective of Robert, and spoiled him despite Jon's effort.

When Lord Stannis Baratheon, King Robert I's younger brother, begins to suspect that Queen Cersei's children are not fathered by Robert, he approaches Lord Jon, who aids Stannis in his investigation. However, Jon is poisoned, and dies suddenly before they can reveal their revelation. On his deathbed, Jon repeated the words "the seed is strong", referring to the secret he had uncovered.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

After Jon's death, King Robert I Baratheon hopes to have Jon's young heir Robert Arryn fostered by Lord Tywin Lannister at Casterly Rock, and Tywin accepts to foster the boy.[12] However, Jon's widow, Lysa Tully, flees with young Robert to the Eyrie.[12] Because of young Robert's age and health, King Robert I grants the traditional Arryn title of Warden of the East to Jaime Lannister, rather than to young Lord Robert Arryn,[12][27] which incenses many lords sworn to the Eyrie.[2] Many of these lords court Lady Lysa; she strings them along to keep them vying for her favor.[2]

Despite overtures from her sister, Catelyn Tully, Lysa keeps the knights of the Vale from joining the war against the Lannisters. Lysa gains the custody of Tyrion Lannister,[2] but soon loses it when her captain of guards, Ser Vardis Egen, loses a trial by combat.[4] When Catelyn leaves the Eyrie she offers to foster Robert at Winterfell, which provokes Lysa to threaten to throw her sister from the Moon Door.[28] Lysa declines to provide escort for Tyrion as he leaves the Vale, hoping he will be killed by the Vale mountain clans, but Tyrion turns the clansmen to his side.[4]

Lady Lysa and Lord Robert are among the nobles King Joffrey I Baratheon commands to swear fealty to him or be branded traitors to the realm.[29]

A Clash of Kings

King Stannis Baratheon's maester, Cressen, counsels him to send his heir, Shireen, to the Eyrie. Stannis considers it, until his wife, Selyse Florent, informs him that it is equal to begging Lysa for her support, which Stannis strongly opposes.[30]

In an attempt to discover who is spying on him for Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister lies to Petyr Baelish, telling him that he wishes to offer Princess Myrcella Baratheon in marriage to Lord Robert Arryn, at the same time offering to restore Robert to the title of Warden of the East.[31] Baelish learns about Tyrion's deceit before he brings the offer to Lysa.

King Robb Stark sends four ravens to the Eyrie, asking the Arryn's for aid in the war. Lysa does not reply to them, however.[32]

A Storm of Swords

The Vale's neutrality is a cause of contention for all sides. Lysa's sister Catelyn writes her a letter when their father, Lord Hoster Tully, lies dying,[26] but Lysa never answers.[33] Lysa's nephew, King Robb Stark, bemoans his inability to march through the region.[34] Lord Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King for King Joffrey Baratheon, sends Petyr Baelish, Lysa's lover from her youth, to the Eyrie to convince Lysa to swear loyalty to the Iron Throne. An He agrees to restore Lord Robert to the position of Warden of the East if she agrees to keep the King's peace. Lysa marries Petyr, but later sees him kissing her niece, Sansa Stark, and flies into a jealous rage, revealing that she secretly plotted with Littlefinger to murder her husband, Lord Jon, after Jon had revealed to her that he was going to send young Robert away to be fostered by Stannis Baratheon on Dragonstone. Lysa is killed when Petyr shoves her through the Moon Door.[35]

A Feast for Crows

The frail Robert Arryn remains the ward of Lord Petyr Baelish, who rules as Lord Protector of the Vale. Following the death of his mother, Robert begins to see Sansa Stark as a mother-figure.[21] Several powerful nobles array themselves against Baelish's rule, calling themselves the Lords Declarant. As the Vale has been untouched by the war, they command a sizable military force of twenty thousand men. They agree to five Baelish one year to proof his worth.[36] Robert's heir presumptive is Harrold Hardyng, also called Harry "the Heir", a recently knighted young man and the great-nephew of the late Lord Jon Arryn. Petyr plots to wed Sansa to Harry the Heir, promising her the marriage, the Eyrie, and Winterfell.[6]

As winter is approaching, Lord Robert Arryn and his household descend from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon.[6]

A Dance with Dragons

As winter approaches, Jon Snow, the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, ponders possibilities to gather food. As the Eyrie is fertile, and has been untouched by the War of the Five Kings, he wonders, unaware of Lysa's death, whether Lysa would be willing to feed the bastard son of her sister's husband.[37]

House Arryn at the end of the third century

The known Arryns during the timespan of the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire are:

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch there are also:

  • Ser {Denys Arryn}, known as "the Darling of the Vale", married a distant cousin who descended from the main Arryn branch. As such his future children were considered to be heirs to the Vale after Elbert Arryn.

3rd: Lysa Tully
2nd: Rowena Arryn
1st: Jeyne Royce
Elys Waynwood
Lady Belmore
Denys Arryn
Unknown Hardyng
Six other daughters
Jasper Waynwood
Harrold Hardyng
Alys Stone


Historical Members

Sworn Houses

Arms unknown House Arryn of Gulltown.
OldBaelish.png House Baelish of the Fingers.
House BelmoreHouse Belmore of Strongsong.
House CorbrayHouse Corbray of Heart's Home.
House Donniger House Donniger.
House Egen House Egen.
House Elesham House Elesham of The Paps.
House Grafton House Grafton of Gulltown.
House Hersy House Hersy of Newkeep.
House Hunter House Hunter of Longbow Hall.
House Lynderly House Lynderly of Snakewood.
House Melcolm House Melcolm of Old Anchor.
House Moore House Moore.
House Pryor House Pryor of Pebble.
House Redfort House Redfort of Redfort.
House Royce House Royce of Runestone.
House Royce (Moon) House Royce of the Gates of the Moon.
House Ruthermont House Ruthermont.
House Sunderland House Sunderland of Sisterton.
House Templeton House Templeton of Ninestars.
House Upcliff House Upcliff.
House Waynwood House Waynwood of Ironoaks.
Wydman.png House Wydman.
House Waxley House Waxley of Wickenden.

The following are not directly sworn to House Arryn: Borrell, Longthorpe, Torrent, Shett, Coldwater, Tollett, Hardyng.

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  5. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale.
  9. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Mountains of the Moon.
  10. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Eyrie.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  13. 13.0 13.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 The Rogue Prince.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  17. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  18. The Hedge Knight.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The World of Ice and Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  20. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  22. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jon Arryn.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
  24. Ethan Glover is, thus far, the only known survivor
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  30. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  36. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
  38. 38.0 38.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  39. 39.0 39.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The North.
  40. The Sons of the Dragon reading (LonCon 2014)

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