|castle, regional capital|
The Eyrie by Ted Nasmith ©
|Location||Vale of Arryn, Westeros|
|Government||Seat of House Arryn , feudal society.|
|Religion||Faith of the Seven|
|Notable places||High Hall, Crescent Chamber, Maiden's Tower, Moon Door, sky cells|
The Eyrie is an ancient castle and seat of House Arryn, one of the oldest lines of Andal nobility, within the Vale of Arryn. It is situated in the Mountains of the Moon astride the peak known as the Giant's Lance, several thousand feet above the valley below. Although small compared to the seats of other Great Houses in Westeros, the Eyrie is considered impregnable to attack. During winter years, the Arryns seek refuge against the cold at the base of the mountain in the Gates of the Moon.
The Eyrie is the smallest of the great castles, consisting only of a cluster of seven slim, white towers bunched tightly together. They can hold up to five hundred men. The castle is made of fine white stone. The towers encircle a garden, which had been meant as a godswood, but no weirwood heart tree would take root in the stony soil. The garden, which is overlooked by Lady Lysa Arryn's apartments, instead contains grass, shrubbery, and statuary.
The barracks and stables are carved directly into the mountain. The granary is as large as those found in much larger castles, like Winterfell. The Eyrie also contains a sept. The waterfall known as Alyssa's Tears can be heard from the Eyrie. The castle's household guard wear sky-blue cloaks.
- The High Hall is a long and austere hall, with walls made of blue-veined white marble. At the end of it sits the throne of the Arryns, a seat carved of weirwood. It has narrow, arched windows, between which are torches mounted on high iron or silver sconces.
- The Moon Door is a narrow weirwood door that stands between two slender pillars in the High Hall. A crescent moon is carved into the door, which opens inward, and is barred by heavy bronze. The door opens into the sky. Most executions at the Eyrie use this door, which opens onto a six hundred foot drop to the stones of the valley below.
- The Crescent Chamber is the Eyrie's reception hall. Here, guests are given refreshments and warmed by the fire after making the climb up the Giant's Lance.
- A flight of steep marble stairs from the Crescent Chamber bypasses the Eyrie's undercrofts and dungeons and is protected by three murder holes. The portcullis atop the stairs leads to an arcade decorated with tapestries.
- The solar is located at the end of the arcade. The chamber is decorated with a Myrish carpet and has enough room for a trestle table and at least eight heavy oak-and-leather chairs.
- The Lower Hall is a hall in which food and wine can be served.
- The Morning Hall is located above the kitchens and is where people can break their fast.
- The Maiden's Tower is the easternmost of the seven towers of the Eyrie. From a balcony on the tower, one can see the Vale and the Giant's Lance.
- The Moon Tower contains the bedchambers of Lord Arryn.
- Sky cells are the Eyrie's infamous dungeons. They are shelves on the side of the mountain's sheer cliffs, left open to the cold sky, with slightly sloping floors to unnerve the prisoners. Many prisoners, driven mad by the cold and howling wind, commit suicide rather than remain imprisoned.
To reach the Eyrie, an invading army would have to overcome the Bloody Gate guarding the high road, then overcome the Gates of the Moon located at the bottom of the Giant's Lance and climb a narrow goat trail. Under normal circumstances this would take half a day, all the while being exposed to attack from the defenders in the Eyrie and its three waycastles along the path.
- Stone, the first waycastle. The path to it is surrounded by forest. It has a massive ironbound gate. The stone walls are crowned with iron spikes and its two fat round towers raise above the keep.
- Snow, the second waycastle. The trail to it is steeper than that of Stone. It consists of a single fortified tower, a timber keep, and a stable placed behind a low wall of unmortared rock. It is nestled into the Giant's Lance so as to command the entire pathway from Stone to Snow.
- Sky, the third waycastle. The path to it is treacherous. It is open to the wind and the steps are cracked and broken from the constant freezing. Sky is a high, crescent-shaped wall of unmortared stone raised against the side of the mountain. Inside the walls are a series of ramps and a great tumble of boulders and stones of all sizes, ready to throw down or even cause a minor avalanche. There is a cavern containing a long natural hall, stables, and supplies. Handholds carved into the rock lead to the Eyrie, while earthen ramps give access to the walls. The Eyrie is located six hundred feet above this point.
Kings of Mountain and Vale
Legends claim that the Winged Knight drove the First Men from the Vale and flew to the top of the Giant's Lance on a huge falcon to slay the Griffin King. Records indicate that the Andal king Artys I Arryn constructed the Gates of the Moon at the foot of the Giant's Lance, where he had defeated Robar II Royce's army of First Men in the Battle of the Seven Stars.
Artys's grandson, Roland I Arryn, believed that the Gates of the Moon was both inferior to Casterly Rock and the Hightower and strategically vulnerable to raids from the Vale mountain clans. Allegedly inspired by Teora Hunter, Roland decided to build a new royal palace high in the mountain above the Gates of the Moon.
Construction of the Eyrie took place intermittently over generations, and marble was imported from Tarth in the narrow sea, as Roland disliked the appearance of stone available in the Vale. The first maester to serve at the Eyrie was Quince. The Eyrie was inhabited as a pleasure palace for the Kings of Mountain and Vale during spring, summer, and autumn. The Arryns descend to the larger Gates of the Moon for winter and host a feast when they return to the Eyrie in the spring.
During Aegon's Conquest, Queen Regent Sharra Arryn fortified the Bloody Gate and the boy king Ronnel Arryn used the Eyrie as a refuge. Visenya Targaryen, however, flew upon Vhagar to the Eyrie's inner courtyard. Realizing that the Eyrie's location could not protect them against dragons, the Arryns submitted to House Targaryen and the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Aegon I Targaryen.
Jonos Arryn usurped his brother, Lord Ronnel, and took control of the Eyrie during the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen. Once Lord Royce began hunting the rebels, Jonos threw Ronnel through the Moon Door. Prince Maegor Targaryen rode the dragon Balerion to the Eyrie, where he hanged Jonos.
Eddard Stark and Lord Robert Baratheon were fostered at the Eyrie by Lord Jon Arryn. When King Aerys II Targaryen called for the boys to be sent to King's Landing, Lord Arryn refused and raised his banners in revolt, thus beginning what would become Robert's Rebellion. After winning the war, Jon was named Hand of the King to the new monarch, Robert I. In Jon's absence, the Eyrie was ruled by Nestor Royce, acting as High Steward of the Vale.
A Game of Thrones
After Lord Jon Arryn's death in King's Landing, his widow Lysa travels to the Eyrie with their son, Lord Robert Arryn. Lysa's sister, Catelyn, captures Tyrion Lannister and brings him to the Eyrie, where Lysa imprisons him in the sky cells, although he escapes after demanding trial. The captain of the guards, Ser Vardis Egen, is killed in trial by combat against the sellsword Bronn.
A Clash of Kings
Stannis Baratheon rejects Maester Cressen's suggestion to have Shireen Baratheon fostered at the Eyrie. Robb Stark, the King in the North, sends ravens to the Eyrie seeking assistance from his aunt, Lysa, but there is no response.
A Storm of Swords
The widowed Lady Lysa marries her childhood friend and lover, Petyr Baelish, at the Fingers. Petyr takes Sansa Stark in the guise of "Alayne Stone" with them to the Eyrie. Sansa finds the castle an empty and lonely place, and Lady Arryn keeps the High Hall closed most of the time. Petyr later throws Lysa from the Moon Door and places blame on Marillion.
A Feast for Crows
Lord Baelish is left as Lord Protector of the Vale, ruling in the name of the child Lord Robert Arryn. When Nestor Royce visits the Eyrie, Petyr informs him he is now the Lord of the Gates of the Moon.
The Lords Declarant encamp with six thousand men before the Gates of the Moon. Petyr meets with the six lords in his solar, rather than the High Hall, and they agree to grant Petyr a year to bring order to the Vale.
With the arrival of winter, the court leaves the Eyrie for the Gates of the Moon.
The Eyrie is impregnable. You saw for yourself. No enemy could ever reach us up here.
Sansa: Not the High Hall?Petyr: No. Gods forbid they glimpse me near the high seat of the Arryns, they might think that I mean to sit in it. Cheeks born so low as mine must never aspire to such loft cushions.
In winter this will be a cold white prison.—thoughts of Sansa Stark
Chapters that take place at the Eyrie
- A Game of Thrones: 34. Catelyn VI
- A Game of Thrones: 38. Tyrion V
- A Game of Thrones: 40. Catelyn VII
- A Storm of Swords: 80. Sansa VII
- A Feast for Crows: 10. Sansa I
- A Feast for Crows: 23. Alayne II
- A Feast for Crows: 41. Alayne III
Behind the Scenes
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I, page 615.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I, page 150.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II, page 606.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, The Eyrie.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- So Spake Martin: Frankfurt Bookfair (October 17-23), October 17,2000
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