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The Iron Islands is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms, and was formerly a sovereign nation under the same name, until the War of Conquest. The Iron Islands are home to a fierce people who call themselves the ironborn and are ruled by House Greyjoy from the castle of Pyke.
The Iron Islands is an archipelago in Ironman's Bay, located on the western coast of Westeros, roughly west of the Riverlands, northwest of the Westerlands, and south of the North. The seven major islands are Pyke, Great Wyk, Old Wyk, Harlaw, Saltcliffe, Blacktyde, and Orkmont. The Lonely Light, located eight days sail northwest of Great Wyk, is the most distant of the islands. The Iron Islands is the smallest and least populous of the regions of the Seven Kingdoms.
The Iron Islands are small, barely-fertile rocks with few safe harbours. The seas around the islands are stormy, frequently wreaking havoc with their considerable force.
The islands are ruled from the island of Pyke, the seat of House Greyjoy. Pyke bears an ancient fortress built atop several natural rocky towers jutting out of the sea. Connected by treacherous rope bridges, it would be a major challenge for any invading army. Pyke once extended as a spur of land like a sword out of the sea, but that outcropping has long since shattered, and it is now in essence three separate isles.
- Main article: Ironborn
The inhabitants of these harsh isles are known as ironmen to the rest of Westeros, but call themselves the ironborn. They are men of the sea, and their naval supremacy was once unmatched. They are considered independent, fierce and sometimes cruel. They live in a harsh land and they hold no love for the peoples of the mainland and their soft green ways. The Faith of the Seven of the Andals and the Old Gods find small favor with the ironborn, as their allegiance is given to their native Drowned God.
The islands are sparse and rocky with a thin, stony soil that makes it hard for the smallfolk to farm, often having to do without the animals that might make their job easier, such as oxen or horses. Their mines do not produce the precious metals of the Westerlands; iron can be obtained, but only through backbreaking labour. With so little wealth on the islands themselves, it is not difficult to understand why the ironborn of old turned to raiding.
The Iron Islands were settled by the First Men many thousands of years ago. Legends claim that the First Men discovered what would be called the Seastone Chair upon the shores of Old Wyk. For much of their history, each island was its own kingdom and had its own two kings: a rock king (who ruled the land) and a salt king (who commanded at sea), with a High King chosen at kingsmoot by these petty kings. This changed 5,000 years prior to Greyjoy's Rebellion, when King Urron Greyiron slaughtered the assembled kings and established a hereditary throne. His dynasty lasted a thousand years, until the Andals swept over the Iron Islands.
Under the rule of House Hoare, the ironborn managed to bring the Riverlands and much of the western coast of Westeros under the rule of the Iron Islands. Their line ended with the death of King Harren the Black and his sons at Harrenhal, the monstrous castle he had built on the shores of the Gods Eye. Aegon I came to Harrenhal intending to make Harren bend the knee. Harren refused to yield and the castle was too strong to storm, so Aegon rode his dragon Balerion over the walls and roasted King Harren and his sons in their tower. With Harren's death the River lords rose in rebellion, led by House Tully, throwing the ironborn back to their islands, where the ironborn elected House Greyjoy of Pyke to rule over them, submitting to Aegon and the Iron Throne.
In 289 AL Lord Balon Greyjoy led an uprising of the Iron Islands against the Iron Throne in a bid for independence. The Greyjoy Rebellion was crushed by King Robert Baratheon, however. Balon's only surviving son, Theon Greyjoy, was taken to the North as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark.
A Clash of Kings
When warfare erupts in Westeros after the death of Robert Baratheon, Balon Greyjoy takes advantage of the instability and declares independence for the Iron Islands. Rather than ally with King Robb Stark against House Lannister, Balon sends the ironborn to occupy key positions in the North and declares himself King of the Iron Islands and the North.
A Feast for Crows
Aeron Greyjoy declares a kingsmoot as the proper way to raise the next King of the Iron Islands after the death of King Balon. This move is made by Aeron to end a potential civil war between the ironborn and to prevent Euron Greyjoy from taking the Seastone Chair. However, Euron is chosen king despite the efforts of Aeron, Victarion Greyjoy, and Asha Greyjoy.
Euron promises to conquer all of Westeros for the ironborn and expands their war. The castellan Erik Ironmaker rules the Iron Islands in Euron's absence while he is on campaign.
References and Sources
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Westeros. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Westeros. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.