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Lord of the Eyrie|
Defender of the Vale
Warden of the East
Hand of the King
Keeper of the Gates of the Moon
|Born||In or between 218 AC and 220 AC (roughly), at the Eyrie|
|Died||In 298 AC, at King's Landing|
1st: Lady Jeyne Royce|
2nd: Lady Rowena Arryn
3rd: Lady Lysa Tully
The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)|
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The Winds of Winter (mentioned)
|Played by||John Standing|
|TV series||Season 1|
Jon Arryn was a head of House Arryn whose titles included Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, and Warden of the East. He served as Hand of the King to Robert I Baratheon from 283 AC until his unexpected death in 298 AC.
Appearance and Character
Jon had broad shoulders. Half of his teeth had fallen out by the time he married Lysa Tully. As a younger man he resembled Harrold Hardyng, who has blue eyes, blonde hair, and an aquiline nose. Lysa resented his poor breath.
While in King's Landing, Lysa commissioned a double-edged longsword for Jon which he carried while sitting the Iron Throne in place of King Robert I Baratheon. Jon's blade has wings on its crossguard, a falcon-head pommel, and is engraved in silver to resemble mountain sky. Jon preferred functional armor, rather than jeweled and silvered plate.
Jon was born as the eldest son of Lord Jasper Arryn. Not much is known about his youth or his parents. He had a younger brother, Ronnel, and a sister, Alys, who married Ser Elys Waynwood. Jon was Keeper of the Gates of the Moon while his father lived, and after his father's death he named his brother Ronnel and later his cousin Denys to that position. Because of the Vale mountain clans, Jon always traveled in strength when crossing the Mountains of the Moon.
Jon's first wife was Jeyne Royce, but she died in childbed, their daughter stillborn. His second marriage was to Rowena Arryn, a cousin, who died of a winter chill during a childless marriage. Because he had no children, Jon's heir became his nephew, Elbert, the son of Ronnel.
Jon fostered Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon as his wards in the Vale of Arryn. As they grew, the two boys became close companions and regarded the childless Jon as a second father. The only blade used by Robert was a hunting knife he received from Jon as a boy. Jon declined to foster the grandsons of Lord Walder Frey.
Jon's heir, Elbert Arryn, was murdered by King Aerys II Targaryen in King's Landing, and the Mad King then demanded that Jon execute his wards, Eddard and Robert. Jon refused, however, and raised his banners in revolt, beginning what would become known as Robert's Rebellion.
While Ned Stark returned to the north to call his banners, Jon and Robert led the taking of Gulltown, allowing Robert to return to the stormlands. In order to gain Lord Hoster Tully for the rebels, Eddard and Jon agreed to marry Hoster's daughters, Catelyn and Lysa. Ser Denys Arryn, Jon's cousin and new heir, was slain by Lord Jon Connington during the Battle of the Bells. Because Lysa was proven fertile, Jon hoped to secure a new heir for the failing Arryn line, and so Jon and Eddard married the Tully sisters at Riverrun.
Jon participated in the Battle of the Trident, during which Robert killed Aerys's son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. During the Sack of King's Landing, not only the Mad King but also Rhaegar's wife, Elia Martell, and children, Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon, were killed. Eddard was appalled by the brutality of the acts but Robert's hatred for the Targaryens made him consider the murders necessary, creating a temporary rift between the two that even Lord Arryn was unable to breach. When Robert Baratheon ascended to the Iron Throne, he appointed Jon as his Hand.
Hand of the King
The first task Jon undertook was making peace with Dorne. The southern region was incensed by the deaths of Prince Lewyn and Princess Elia during the war, and Prince Oberyn Martell tried to raise the kingdom to support Viserys Targaryen, the surviving son of King Aerys II. The year after Robert I Baratheon took the throne (284 AC), Jon returned the bones of Lewyn to Sunspear and brokered a peace with Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne. However, Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch, who had killed Elia and her children, went unpunished by Robert, creating a persistent bone of contention between the Iron Throne and Dorne.
To strengthen Robert's hold on the throne, Jon negotiated the king's marriage with Cersei Lannister and advised that he retain her brother, Ser Jaime, on the Kingsguard, thereby opposing Lord Eddard Stark, who proposed sending Jaime to the Wall for his killing of King Aerys. Robert also considered the assassinations of Viserys and Daenerys, believed to be the last two Targaryens and thus possible threats, but Jon dissuaded the king from the idea.
Robert left Jon with much of the responsibility of running the Seven Kingdoms, but Jon could not stop Robert from spending huge amounts of money on tournaments and excess, putting the realm in serious debt. While he was at court, Nestor Royce ruled as High Steward of the Vale.
Jon's marriage with Lysa was loveless, with Lysa finding Jon to be too old and hating his bad breath. After three girls and two boys miscarried, Lysa gave Jon a sickly son and heir, Robert Arryn. Lysa organized for her childhood friend, Petyr Baelish, to administer the customs at Gulltown and later convinced her husband to bring him to the court in King's Landing. Petyr was made master of coin under Jon as Hand. Hugh became Jon's squire. Jon brought Ser Mandon Moore to King's Landing and King Robert made him a member of his Kingsguard, though neither of the two loved him very much.
Jon was considered robust for his age, but he became ill the night after he borrowed Grand Maester Malleon's book, and quickly wasted away. Jon's maester, Colemon, tried treating an assumed stomach illness by purging the body. The moribund Jon kept mentioning the name Robert, and his final words to his wife Lysa Arryn and King Robert I Baratheon were "the seed is strong". Lysa believes this to be a reference to their own son, Robert Arryn, but it is more likely that Jon was referring to what he had learned about the Baratheon lineage while studying Malleon's book. Afterwards, his speech became too slurred to comprehend and he died the following morning.
After Jon's death, King Robert suggested to Lysa that her young son Robert should become a ward of Lord Tywin Lannister and be sent to Casterly Rock, as he feared that being raised by his mother would make his namesake weak. Lysa refused the suggestion brusquely and, against the wishes of the king, one night fled from King's Landing with her son and returned to the Vale of Arryn.
A Game of Thrones
King Robert I Baratheon decides that Lord Eddard Stark should succeed Jon as Hand of the King, which angers both Queen Cersei Lannister, who had hoped her brother Ser Jaime would assume the position and fears that Eddard would move to curb Lannister influence, and Stannis Baratheon, who thinks he is owed the position through his fifteen years of service on the small council. Shortly after Robert and his entourage leave for Winterfell to ask Eddard to become his Hand, Stannis goes back to Dragonstone.
Lysa writes a coded letter to her sister Catelyn Stark, in which she claims that Jon was murdered by Queen Cersei. This convinces Catelyn and eventually Eddard, who had been inclined to refuse King Robert's offer, that he must assume the position of Hand, so that he can find out the truth about Jon's death and expose those responsible.
However, when Eddard arrives at the Red Keep, he realizes that Lysa's return to the Eyrie with most of the Arryn household and Stannis's departure to Dragonstone prevent him from questioning crucial witnesses about the circumstances and background of Jon's death. Left without other options, he begins to rely on information provided by Lord Petyr Baelish and Varys. Petyr, known as Littlefinger, feeds Eddard largely useless information, while Varys suggests Jon might have been poisoned by his squire, the now-knighted Ser Hugh of the Vale, who is killed in the Hand's tourney.
Eddard learns that Stannis began to suspect Queen Cersei's children had been fathered not by King Robert but by her brother Ser Jaime, the Kingslayer, which would make them illegitimate and Stannis therefore Robert's rightful heir. Concerned that such a suggestion coming from him would be seen as motivated by his own ambitions, Stannis did not confide in the king but rather raised the issue with Jon Arryn, whom Robert would be more inclined to believe.
Jon and Stannis began to investigate the matter secretly by seeking out bastards Robert had begotten. Together they visited the armory of Tobho Mott where Gendry was employed, one of Robert's offspring who bore a striking resemblance to his father. They also visited Chataya's brothel, where Robert had fathered a girl, Barra, who also clearly had the king's features. The increased contact with Stannis apparently also contributed to Jon's planning to send his son Robert Arryn to be fostered by Stannis at Dragonstone.
Jon was seeking further proof that Cersei's children could not be Robert's in Grand Maester Malleon's book The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, a ponderous tome lent to him by Grand Maester Pycelle. The book would have informed him, as it later informs Lord Eddard Stark, that whenever members of houses Lannister and Baratheon wed, their offspring always bore clear Baratheon features (unlike Cersei's children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, who more closely resemble the Lannisters). Jon's investigation became known to a number of people at the court, including Pycelle, Varys, Cersei, and Littlefinger. Varys saw Jon's life in danger and begged him to employ a taster, but Jon dismissed the suggestion that anyone would try to poison him.
Meanwhile, Eddard's wife Catelyn takes Tyrion Lannister captive at the crossroads inn for his assumed role in plotting her son Bran's death. Catelyn brings Tyrion to the Eyrie, where her sister Lysa accuses him of having poisoned Lord Jon. Ser Vardis Egen wields Jon's falcon sword during Tyrion's trial by combat, but he is slain by Tyrion's representative, Bronn, and Tyrion is set free.
By the time Eddard finds out what Jon had been investigating and what had provided the likely cause for his death, it is too late to inform King Robert, as the king goes hunting in the kingswood and fighting breaks out in the riverlands in response to Tyrion's abduction by Catelyn.
Stannis remains at Dragonstone, which keeps him from sharing his suspicions about Cersei's children with Lord Eddard and from directly challenging the legitimacy of Joffrey when he assumes the throne after King Robert dies from being gored in the kingswood. Eddard, betrayed by Littlefinger, is later executed by order of the new king.
A Clash of Kings
Tyrion Lannister forces Grand Maester Pycelle, a staunch supporter of Lannister interests, to confess he believed that Queen Cersei Lannister wanted Jon dead. Cersei considered Jon a threat to her plan of putting her son Joffrey on the Iron Throne after her husband, King Robert I Baratheon, had been disposed of. Pycelle believed that Jon was about to act on his knowledge by making preparations to send his wife, Lysa Arryn, to the Eyrie and his son, Robert Arryn, to Dragonstone. Although Cersei had not given him explicit orders in this regard and was not even in King's Landing at the time, Pycelle assumed responsibility for the treatment and thereby assured that Jon died, despite the efforts by Maester Colemon - who Pycelle sent away - to save him.
A Storm of Swords
Sansa Stark learns that unbeknownst to Jon, Lysa Arryn and Petyr Baelish had maintained a relationship since their youth. She had convinced Jon to bring Petyr to court in King's Landing so that they could be close together. Littlefinger had persuaded Lysa to poison Jon's wine with tears of Lys, suggesting to her that this would both remove the obstacle to their marriage and prevent Jon from sending Robert Arryn to Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone. Lysa did as she was bidden. Petyr also encouraged the widowed Lysa to write the letter to her sister Catelyn Stark claiming the Lannisters were behind Jon's death, which contributed to the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings. Littlefinger's motivations are not clear, but he evidently saw the chance of exploiting the death of Jon to increase the animosity between the Lannisters and the Starks for his own ends. It is also possible that he saw Queen Cersei and her tendency to act hastily and irrationally as crucial to his own strategy in the "game of thrones" and wanted to prevent her untimely removal from the game.
|daughter||six other daughters|
and a son
I need good men about me. Men like Jon Arryn.
The seed is strong, Jon Arryn had cried on his deathbed, and so it was.
– thoughts of Eddard Stark
Lysa's match with Lord Arryn had been hastily arranged, and Jon was an old man even then, older than their father. An old man without an heir. His first two wives had left him childless, his brother's son had been murdered with Brandon Stark in King's Landing, his gallant cousin had died in the Battle of the Bells. He needed a young wife if House Arryn was to continue ... a young wife known to be fertile.
– thoughts of Catelyn Stark
– writings of Yandel
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- See the Jon Arryn calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jon Arryn.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- The Winds of Winter, Alayne I
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Afterward.