Castle, regional capital
Pyke by Lino Drieghe © Fantasy Flight Games
- This article is about the castle in the Iron Islands. For the island, see Pyke (island). "Pyke" is also a traditional bastard surname.
Pyke is a castle located on the island of the same name, which is one of the eight major Iron Islands. It is the seat of House Greyjoy, whose lord is known as the Lord Reaper of Pyke. The Greyjoys have been Lords of the Iron Islands since Aegon's Conquest. The Greyjoys claim the island is named after the castle.
The household for Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, includes Helya, who keeps the castle, Maester Wendamyr, and Dagmer Cleftjaw, the master-at-arms. The late Sylas served as steward. Guards wear black iron breastplates and pothelms, and thralls act as servants.
- See also: Images of Pyke
Ancient Pyke was originally built on a cliff jutting out into the sea, but over time the cliff has eroded, leaving the castle's keeps and towers standing on three barren islands and a dozen small stacks of rock, surrounded by water. The towers are connected by swaying rope bridges. The keep, its towers, and walls are made of the same grey-black stone of which the rest of the island is composed. In the thousands of years the castle has stood, it has become covered with green lichen. Since there is no safe anchorage at Pyke, ships sail to nearby Lordsport.
A curtain wall encloses the headland of fifty acres and the cliffs around the foot of the wide stone bridge which extend out to the largest islet. The stables, kennels and livestock are located on the headland. The Great Keep, the Kitchen Keep, and the Guest Keep each sit on their own islands. Towers and outbuildings are located on stacks beyond them, linked to each other by covered archways where the pillars stood close and by long, swaying walks of wood and rope when they did not.
- The Great Keep is massive and caps the largest islet. It is connected to the mainland by the great stone bridge and to the Bloody Keep by a covered stone walkway. The long, smoky Great Hall contains the Seastone Chair.
- The Guest Keep or Bloody Keep is one of the largest sections of the castle. It lies on its own island, further out than the Great Keep. Its halls are larger and better furnished, with some suites having high and gloomy ceilings. The Bloody Keep received its name a thousand years ago when the sons of the river king, Bernarr II Justman, were slaughtered within it and their pieces returned to their father on the mainland. To get to the Great Keep one must use a covered stone walkway.
- The Kitchen Keep sits on its own island. It lies further out from the mainland than the Great Keep. Dishes include fish stews, black bread, spiceless goat, and onion pie. Ale, mead, and wine are served at Pyke.
- The Sea Tower rises from the outermost stack, which is sheer and crooked. It is the oldest part of the castle, round and tall. The base of the tower is white from centuries of salt spray, the upper stories are green with lichen, and the top is black with soot from nightfires. To get to the Sea Tower, one must cross three bridges, the last of which is made of rope. The tower's door is moldy grey wood with rusted iron studs. Twisting stairs lead to the damp and drafty solar of Lord Greyjoy, which is warmed by a brazier.
- The gatehouse is separated from the Great Keep by the high bridge. The walls of Pyke run in a crescent moon from cliff to cliff, with the gatehouse providing entry, located in the center portion of the wall and including an iron portcullis to provide additional protection should the wall be attacked. There are three towers to either side; the southernmost tower is new, made of a paler grey stone, after the old southern tower had been destroyed during Greyjoy's Rebellion when King Robert I Baratheon breached the walls.
Pyke is so old that its original builders and lords are unknown. The castle was once larger and located on the island of Pyke, but unstable earth led to some portions of the cliff falling into the sea. The surviving structures are built upon stone stacks.
Lord Balon Greyjoy killed Pyke's maester after the man failed to heal his brother Urrigon, although Balon then requested another maester from the Citadel, possibly Qalen. Balon's youngest surviving brother, Aeron, sang reaving songs atop the Great Keep's tables.
During Greyjoy's Rebellion, the siege of Pyke was the final battle. King Robert I Baratheon, along with Lord Eddard Stark, mustered thousands of men and invaded the island of Pyke thorough Lordsport. They captured the castle after bringing down the southern part of the outer wall of Pyke using siege engines. Theon, the last surviving son of Lord Balon, was taken from Pyke to Winterfell as a hostage by Lord Stark.
Having had two sons, Maron and Rodrik, killed in the rebellion and Theon taken away, Balon's wife, Alannys Harlaw, brought five boys to Pyke as wards. One of them, Tristifer Botley, was sent to Blacktyde after Maester Qalen found him kissing Lord Balon's daughter, Asha Greyjoy. After wandering the halls of Pyke in search of her dead sons, Alannys now lives with her brother, Lord Rodrik Harlaw, at Ten Towers, which is less raw than Pyke. Asha has felt more at home at Ten Towers than at Pyke.
A Clash of Kings
Theon returns to Pyke for the first time since being taken away as a child after Greyjoy's Rebellion. Instead of an honor guard led by Dagmer, Theon is escorted from Lordsport to Pyke by his uncle, Aeron Damphair. Instead of staying in the Sea Tower, where he slept as a child, Theon is given a suite in the Bloody Keep. Within the Sea Tower, Balon rejects Robb's offer of alliance.
From the Seastone Chair, Greyjoy hosts a feast in the Great Keep for his assembled captains. He then discusses his plans for independence and invading the north with his family in the solar of the Sea Tower.
A Storm of Swords
It is reported that Balon, King of the Isles and the North, fell to his death when a bridge of Pyke was torn to pieces by the wind. His exiled brother, Euron Greyjoy, returned to Pyke the day after and claimed the Seastone Chair.
A Feast for Crows
Euron Crow's Eye has Maester Wendamyr summon the ironborn captains to Pyke to pay homage to their new king, but his brother Aeron instead calls for a kingsmoot on Old Wyk. Despite the efforts of Aeron, Euron is confirmed king at the gathering.
All that remained were three bare and barren islands and a dozen towering stacks of rock that rose from the water like the pillars of some sea god's temple, while the angry waves foamed and crashed among them.
- thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
It is as if I were a stranger here, Theon thought. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has changed.
- thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
Chapters that take place at Pyke
- The World of Ice & Fire, Map of the Iron Islands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Pyke.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Dagmer.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- A Song of Ice and Fire Campaign Guide
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Coming of the First Men.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Greyjoys of Pyke.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Old Way and the New.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.