Mountain clans

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Bronn, Tyrion Lannister, and his clansmen - by Sir Heartsalot©

The mountain clans are a culture, divided into clans of varying size and strength, who live in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon, in the Vale. Descendents of the First Men,[1] they are considered primitive by the Andals of the Vale. They should not be confused with the northern mountain clans.

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Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

While returning from King's Landing, Catelyn Tully considers visiting her sister Lysa at the Eyrie, but decides the passes through the Mountains of the Moon are too dangerous.[2] After seizing Tyrion Lannister in the inn at the crossroads, Catelyn decides to bring him east to the Eyrie rather than north to Winterfell. Their party is attacked by clansmen along the high road[3] before they reach the Bloody Gate.[4] After Tyrion wins his trial by combat at the Eyrie through his proxy, Bronn, Lysa has them leave the Vale through the dangerous high road. In return for promising them the Vale, Tyrion enlists them to fight for House Lannister.[5] The clansmen fight alongside Tyrion in the Lannister vanguard during the Battle of the Green Fork.[6]

A Clash of Kings

Serving as the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion brings the clansmen to King's Landing, where they reside in barracks below the Tower of the Hand.[7] Prior to the Battle of the Blackwater, he sends them into the kingswood to disrupt the army of Stannis Baratheon.[8]

A Storm of Swords

After the Blackwater, red cloaks and Kingslanders prevents the clansmen from returning to the capital. Some return to the the mountains, while others remain in the kingswood.[9]

Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane learn that the mountain clans in the Vale are bolder as of late and are carrying steel.[10]

Culture

The Mountains of the Moon are home to a population of people who have rejected the authority of the Eyrie and are independent from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms and its feudal society. They believe that every person's voice, regardless of gender, should be heard during councils.[11]

They are a poor people with poor quality of weapons and armor. They subsist by raiding local villages, small groups of travelers and will attack even the Lord of the Eyrie if he is not properly protected. They take all weapons, grain, and armor they can find, as well as all women, whether they are wedded or not. Some women participate in raids. However, it has been hundreds of years since the clansmen have threatened the Vale with anything more serious than raids.[11]

The clansmen ride small horses that are suited to the narrow mountain paths.[4]

The Clans

The mountain clans are divided in clans. However, the clans cooperate in many ventures, including raids, and some clans share close bonds. Conflicts between the clans are often resolved by payment of blood money and clansmen are quick to settle personal grievances through violence.

By the beginning of A Game of Thrones, there are at least three thousand warriors among the clans, but they have not been considered a significant threat for centuries. They have become more active since the death of Lord of the Eyrie, Jon Arryn.[4]

The Black Ears

The Black Ears
© Fantasy Flight Games

The Black Ears derive their name from their habit of cutting ears off of their prisoners to display them as trophies. They leave their prisoners alive as a show of bravery. They are led by Chella, daughter of Cheyk. The Black Ears have close ties with the Moon Brothers.[11]

The Black Ears are among the clans that join Tyrion Lannister. In preparation for Stannis Baratheon's arrival before the gates of King's Landing, Tyrion sends the Black Ears and the Moon Brothers into the kingswood to harass and harry Stannis's army on its march to King's Landing.[8] After the Battle of the Blackwater, Chella and the Black Ears attempt to return to King's Landing, but are chased off and mocked by the Kingslanders.[9]

The Burned Men

The Burned Men
© Fantasy Flight Games

The Burned Men are so named for their coming-of age ceremony, in which they mutilate themselves by burning off a body part of their choosing, usually a finger or nipple. The more important the body part burned, the more prestige the warrior gains. They are feared by the other clans because of this practice. They are led by a Red Hand, a type of chieftain. Timett son of Timett was chosen to be a Red Hand after he put out his own eye.

The Burned Men carried off the last daughter of Alys Arryn and Ser Elys Waynwood on her way to marry a Bracken.[12]

The Burned Men are among the clans that join Tyrion Lannister on the promise of weapons and armor.[11] In preparation for Stannis Baratheon's arrival at King's Landing, Tyrion sent the Burned Men into the kingswood to harass and harry his march.[8] After the Battle of the Blackwater, Timett and his clansmen took all the plunder they had captured and returned home to the Mountains of the Moon.[9]

The Milk Snakes

The Milk Snakes are another of the clans. Lharys claims it was either members of the Milk Snakes clan or the Moon Brothers clan that were the first to descend upon Catelyn Tully's party in the Mountains of the Moon.[3]

The Moon Brothers

The Moon Brothers are another clan with close ties with the Black Ears. Lharys claims it was either members of the Milk Snakes clan or the Moon Brothers clan that were the first to descend upon Catelyn Tully's party in the Mountains of the Moon.[3]

The Moon Brothers are among the clans that join Tyrion Lannister on the promise of weapons and armor. The party with Tyrion is led by Ulf, son of Umar.[11] In preparation for Stannis Baratheon's arrival before the gates of King's Landing, Tyrion sends the Black Ears and the Moon Brothers into the kingswood to harass and harry Stannis's army on its march to King's Landing.[8]

The Painted Dogs

The Painted Dogs
© Fantasy Flight Games

The Painted Dogs are another of the mountain clans.

The Sons of the Mist

The Sons of the Mist
© Fantasy Flight Games

The Sons of the Mist are another of the mountain clans.

The Stone Crows

The Stone Crows are led by Shagga, and presumably by Dolf before him.

A group of Stone Crows led by Shagga encounter Tyrion Lannister and Bronn in the Mountains of the Moon after they are leave the Eyrie. They threaten to kill Tyrion and Bronn, but Tyrion manages to win them over by promising them weapons, armor and glory, in return for their help. Gunthor stays behind to raise the other clans when the Stone Crows accompany Tyrion.[5] They fight in the Battle of the Green Fork under Tyrion.

The group continues with Tyrion to King's Landing and takes part in the city's defense during the Battle of the Blackwater, where Tyrion sends them into the kingswood to harass and harry Stannis Baratheon's army as it approaches the city. They are so effective at killing Stannis's scouts and outriders that he remains blind to the Lannister-Tyrell force that comes upon him from the kingswood.[8] After the Battle of the Blackwater, Shagga and his clansmen remain in the kingswood.[9]

Quotes

The mountain clans were lawless brigands, descending from the heights to rob and kill and melting away like snow whenever the knights rode out from the Vale in search of them.[2]
- thoughts of Catelyn Tully


He had more faith in their iron loyalties and sense of honor than in the greed of sellswords.[13]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

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