House Hightower

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House Hightower of the Hightower
House Hightower.png
Coat of arms Cendrée, a tower argent with a beacon on fire gules
Words We Light the Way
Seat The Hightower, Oldtown
Current Lord Leyton Hightower
Region The Reach
Title Lord of the Hightower
Lord of the Port
Voice of Oldtown
Defender of the Citadel
Beacon of the South
King of the High Tower (formerly)
Heir Ser Baelor Hightower
Overlord House Tyrell
Ancestral Weapon Vigilance
Founder Uthor of the High Tower
Founded Age of Dawn

House Hightower of the Hightower is one of the most important and powerful vassals of House Tyrell (and before them of House Gardener). Their seat is the Hightower in the city of Oldtown within the Reach. The sigil of House Hightower is a stone white watchtower, with a fire on the top.[1][2] Their words are "We Light the Way".[3] They possess a Valyrian steel sword called Vigilance.[4]

The Hightowers are among the oldest and proudest of the Great Houses.[3] Members of the house are considered loyal and stalwart.[Citation Needed] They have often preferred trade instead of war,[3] and have also avoided many wars because of their support for the Faith of the Seven.[5] The Hightowers can be legitimately referred to as being either "of Hightower" or "of Oldtown." [6]


Hightower Kings

The family is very old, existing since the dawn of days when they were petty-kings. While most scholars believe they descend from the First Men, Maester Yandel posits the question if perhaps they actually descend from the seafarers and traders that settled at the top of the Whispering Sound in an earlier time, the men who came to Westeros before the First Men and seem to have founded the original incarnation of Oldtown. Whatever the truth, the Hightowers resided in the ancient black stone fortress of Battle Isle at the mouth of the Honeywine before the "Hightower" of stone was built.[5]

The ancient Hightowers built four successive wooden beacon towers atop the fortress. The legendary King Uthor of the High Tower is said to have commissioned Bran the Builder or his son Brandon to design the fifth tower, one built entirely of stone. Uthor's sons, King Urrigon and Prince Peremore the Twisted, were integral in the foundation of the Citadel.[5][3]

During these early days Oldtown was threatened and sacked for many times, by various opponents, such as ironborn raiders, Dornish invaders and the armies of the Kings of the Reach, House Gardener of Highgarden. The Kings of the High Tower raised strong walls and higher towers to keep any further invaders out. Oldtown was not brought into the realm of the Gardeners by conquest, but by marriage, during the reigns of King Lymond Hightower and Garland II Gardener. Lymond the Sea Lion wed the daughter of King Garland, while Garland put aside his own wives to marry Lymond's daughter.[7]

During the Andal invasion, the Hightowers and the Gardeners allied with the newcomers. Thus they were able to keep their wealth, lands and privileges. Protected by the might of Highgarden, the lords of Oldtown turned their eyes to trade and commerce and grew with every generation to become one of the richest and most powerful noble families in Westeros. The Hightowers were also one of the first great lords to accept the Faith of the Seven and thus gave their patronage to the establishment of the office of High Septon and the building of the Starry Sept as the center of the Faith.

Targaryen Era

During the Wars of Conquest by the Targaryens, Lord Manfred Hightower heeded the High Septon and did not join his liege lord, King Mern IX, on the march to the Field of Fire. Soon, Mern was dead and Highgarden surrendered, with the Tyrells replacing the Gardeners. When Aegon the Conqueror arrived at Oldtown on dragonback, Manfred Hightower opened his gates. Aegon spared the city, and the High Septon anointed him and acknowledged Aegon's right to rule all Seven Kingdoms.

The Hightowers were strong supporters of the greens against the blacks during the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. King Aegon II Targaryen was supported by his mother, the Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower, and his grandfather, the Hand of the King Ser Otto Hightower. Ser Gwayne Hightower served as second-in-command of the City Watch of King's Landing. Lord Ormund Hightower commanded the greens' army from the Reach, which also included the knights Bryndon and Hobert Hightower. Three of the Hightowers' bannerhouses (the Costaynes, Mullendores and Beesburys) fought for the blacks, however.[4]

Perhaps because of their heavy losses during the Dance of the Dragons, House Hightower gave strong support to neither side during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, keeping a foot in both Targaryen and Blackfyre camps.

Ser Abelar Hightower challenged Prince Valarr Targaryen in the first tilt of the tourney at Ashford Meadow and was defeated.[1] House Hightower is among the houses that Ser Eustace Osgrey mentioned as part of his litany of great houses that Osgrey maids once married into.[8]

Prince Oberyn Martell and Princess Elia Martell visited Oldtown on their way to Casterly Rock where their mother was to broker their marriage to the Lannister twins, Cersei and Jaime. While in Oldtown they met Baelor Hightower, whom Elia fancied but Oberyn mocked after he farted in their presence. Lord Tywin Lannister later offered his youngest son, Tyrion, as a match for a Hightower daughter, but Lord Leyton Hightower declined.

Baratheon Era

During Robert's Rebellion, the Hightowers remained loyal to King Aerys II and the Targaryen dynasty.[9] Ser Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, was killed at the Tower of Joy.[10] The Hightowers knelt to the new king, Robert Baratheon, after the defeat of the Targaryens.

Lord Leyton attended the tourney at Lannisport to watch his sons joust. Lynesse accompanied her father, meeting and marrying Lord Jorah Mormont. Mormont's hall on Bear Island proved underwhelming, and she eventually became the chief concubine of Tregar Ormollen in Lys.

House Hightower continues to be patrons of both the Citadel and the Faith of the Seven.[3] They are as rich as House Lannister and can field three times as many swords as other Tyrell bannermen, as well as the manpower of Oldtown.[11] The four-decked Honor of Oldtown is the flagship of the Hightower fleet.

The current head of the house, Lord Leyton, has not descended from the High Tower in over a decade. His fourth and current wife is Rhea Florent. Besides her family, the Hightowers are connected to several prominent Reach houses; Leyton's second daughter, Alerie, is wed to their liege, Mace Tyrell.

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

At the start of the War of the Five Kings, the Hightowers follow the Tyrell lead, declaring for Renly Baratheon on the outbreak of the conflict. Alerie Hightower's daughter, Margaery Tyrell, marries Renly. The Hightowers do not change to Stannis Baratheon's side after Renly's assassination.

A Storm of Swords

Once the Tyrells ally with House Lannister, Alerie travels to King's Landing, where she attends the wedding of Margaery to King Joffrey Baratheon and the funeral of Lord Tywin Lannister.

A Feast for Crows

Alerie attends the funeral of Lord Tywin Lannister and Margaery's wedding to King Tommen Baratheon. For much of the war, despite Lord Leyton Hightower's granddaughter Margaery being married to three kings, Hightower support for causes is largely nominal, as the House continues its cautious approach.

House Hightower’s caution changes in response to the Greyjoy attacks on the Reach. Old Lord Leyton stays in his tower with Malora the Mad Maid, supposedly researching books of spells, and sends forth his sons with varying tasks. Baelor is building ships, Gunthor is building up the harbor's defenses, Garth Greysteel is training men, and Humfrey is traveling to his sister Lynesse in Lys, where he hopes to hire sellsails. The ironborn have conquered parts of the Arbor and are attempting to blockade the Honeywine. One attack on the harbor has already been repulsed by the defenders, but Oldtown remains under serious threat.

House Hightower at the end of the third century

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

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch:

Unknown Hightower
Gerold Hightower
Rhea Florent
Malora "Mad Maid"
Garth "Greysteel"
Jon Cupps
Arthur Ambrose
Jorah Mormont
Baelor "Brightsmile"
Rhonda Rowan
Mace Tyrell
Desmond Redwyne
Jeyne Fossoway
Willas Tyrell
Garlan Tyrell
Loras Tyrell
Margaery Tyrell
Denys Redwyne

Historical Members

Sworn Houses

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Hedge Knight.
  2. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses in the Reach
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 The Princess and the Queen.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The World of Ice and Fire, Oldtown.
  6. So Spake Martin: The Arryns and the Hightower, May 1999
  7. The World of Ice and Fire, The Gardener Kings.
  8. The Sworn Sword.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  10. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  12. Reading from The World of Ice and Fire. Notes from George R.R. Martin's reading and Q&A at the Bubonicon 44 in Albuquerque by Trebla.
  13. Ran's comment [1]
  14. The World of Ice and Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  15. The World of Ice and Fire, Aegon IV.

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