King of the Iron Islands

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House Greyiron, first Kings of the Iron Islands

King of the Iron Islands, alternatively King of the Isles[1] and Iron King,[2] was a title claimed by ironborn monarchs who hereditarily ruled the Iron Islands, in contrast to the earlier High Kings who were chosen through kingsmoots. The first Iron Kings came from House Greyiron, and they were supplanted by House Hoare during the coming of the Andals to the isles.[3] When the last Hoares ruled the Iron Islands at the same time as the riverlands, they instead used the title King of the Isles and the Rivers.[4] Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, also briefly claimed to be King of the Iron Islands during Greyjoy's Rebellion.[5]



In antiquity each of the Iron Islands was ruled by two petty kings, a rock king who ruled the land and a salt king who led that island's ships, with each chosen by the island's captains through a kingsmoot.[6] When Galon Whitestaff called all of the minor kings and captains to a kingsmoot at Nagga's Hill on Old Wyk, Urras Greyiron was chosen to rule all of the ironborn as the first High King of the Iron Islands.[7]

After centuries of elected rulers, the kingsmoot tradition ended thousands of years ago after the controversial successions of several High Kings. Urrathon IV Goodbrother was chosen to succeed King Urragon III Greyiron while Urragon's eldest son Torgon was away raiding. When Torgon the Latecomer returned to the isles, the cruel Urrathon was overthrown and Torgon became High King without having been chosen in a kingsmoot. King Torgon was succeeded by his own son and advisor, Urragon IV Greyiron, who was also chosen without a kingsmoot. Priests of the Drowned God then insisted that a kingsmoot be held to choose Urragon's successor. Urras Greyiron, Urragon's great-nephew and preferred successor, let loose his axemen during the meeting, with numerous petty kings and priests slaughtered at Old Wyk.[7]

House Greyiron

Rather than as High King of the Iron Islands, Urras Redhand styled himself simply King of the Iron Islands and made the throne hereditary within House Greyiron. The choosing of salt and rock kings in local kingsmoots ended, with the petty kings reduced to vassal lords. Rather than the personalized crown of driftwood worn by each High King, the hereditary kings donned a crown of black iron.[3]

The Greyirons ruled the Iron Islands for a thousand years,[N 1] during which they faced six rebellions from rival ironborn and two uprisings by thralls. The ironmen also lost control of their remaining conquests from the green lands, including the Shield Islands.[3]

The Greyirons eventually fell during the coming of the Andals to the islands.[8] Houses Drumm, Hoare, Greyjoy, and Orkwood, supported by Andal warriors, all helped to overthrow the last Greyiron king, Rognar II.

House Hoare

Harras Stump-hand by Magali Villeneuve ©

The ironborn are said to have played the finger dance to choose their next king, with Harras Hoare emerging as the victor. Archmaester Haereg, however, believes that Harras Stump-hand, who had married an Andal maiden, became king with the support of her family.[3]

Kings from House Hoare allowed septons and septas to preach the Faith of the Seven and build septs in the Iron Islands, which outraged priests of the Drowned God. Hoare kings also encouraged the trading of iron ore for resources lacking in the archipelago, which angered proponents of the iron price.[9]

A priest known as the Shrike led an uprising against King Harmund III Hoare, and the fallen king's younger brother, King Hagon, expelled the Faith from the islands. When the brothers' mother, Queen Lelia Lannister, was mutilated and sent back to Lannisport, her nephew, the furious King of the Rock, called the banners of the westerlands against the ironmen. Ser Aubrey Crakehall, leader of the westermen, eventually defeated Hagon and conquered Great Wyk after seven years of war. Instead of returning to the green lands, Aubrey declared himself king and remained in the isles. Lacking the support of House Lannister of Casterly Rock and opposed by his would-be subjects, Aubrey was eventually drowned by the Shrike.[9]

Centuries later, ironborn power began to be restored as daring traders ventured to Lannisport, Oldtown, and the Free Cities. Deterred from raiding the powerful kingdoms of the green lands, ironborn went reaving instead in the Stepstones, the Basilisk Isles, and the Disputed Lands.[9]

Recent History

Balon Greyjoy, by Ryan Barger © Fantasy Flight Games

King Harwyn Hoare extended ironborn rule over the riverlands by taking the Trident from a Storm King, Arrec Durrandon.[6] Rather than as Kings of the Iron Islands, the last three Hoares ruled as Kings of the Isles and the Rivers until the deaths of King Harren Hoare and his family in the burning of Harrenhal during Aegon's Conquest.[10]

The destruction of the Hoares led to chaos in the Iron Islands. Qhorin Volmark of Harlaw claimed the kingship through his blood ties to House Hoare, priests of the Drowned God crowned Lodos on Old Wyk, and other claimants rose on Great Wyk, Orkmont, and Pyke. King Aegon I Targaryen killed Qhorin and defeated the other claimants during his invasion of the Iron Islands, and Lodos walked into the sea with his followers. Aegon allowed the ironborn to choose Vickon Greyjoy as his new Lord of the Iron Islands.[11]

In 37 AC, Lodos the Twice-Drowned rebelled against King Aenys I Targaryen. Lord Goren Greyjoy defeated Lodos's followers and sent the head of the would-be priest-king to King's Landing as a gift to Aenys.[12]

In 289 AC, Lord Balon Greyjoy rebelled against King Robert I Baratheon and declared himself King of the Iron Islands.[13] Rather than an iron crown, Tarle the Thrice-Drowned placed a driftwood crown on Balon's head at Nagga's hill.[1] Greyjoy's Rebellion was defeated by Robert, however, and the ironborn were again made subjects of the Seven Kingdoms.[5]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

During the War of the Five Kings, Lord Balon Greyjoy again crowns himself King of the Iron Islands.[14] Sending his ironborn reavers to attack the north, he then declares himself King of the Isles and the North.[15]

A Storm of Swords

Euron Greyjoy by Henning Ludvigsen © Fantasy Flight Games

King Balon is reported to have fallen to his death at Pyke during a storm.[16] His exiled younger brother, Euron Crow's Eye, returns to the Iron Islands and claims the Seastone Chair.[16]

A Feast for Crows

Balon's youngest surviving brother, Aeron Greyjoy, opposes Euron's actions and calls for a kingsmoot to select Balon's successor.[17] Against Aeron's intentions, Euron is chosen by the lords and captains who gather at Nagga's hill for the kingsmoot on Old Wyk. Euron intends to conquer all of Westeros with the dragons of Daenerys Targaryen.[18]

A Dance with Dragons

Although most of the ironborn have withdrawn from the north, Euron continues to style himself King of the Isles and the North.[19]

Known Kings of the Iron Islands

Claimants after Aegon's Conquest:


When last the salt kings and the rock kings met in kingsmoot, Urron of Orkmont let his axemen loose among them, and Nagga's ribs turned red with gore. House Greyiron ruled unchosen for a thousand years from that dark day, until the Andals came.[8]


  1. Rodrik Harlaw and Yandel say that House Greyiron ruled for "a thousand years" (A Feast for Crows, The Kraken's Daughter, and The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals). It is unknown if this means one thousand years or if George R. R. Martin is being figurative.


  1. 1.0 1.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Iron Kings.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
  10. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  11. Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  12. Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Old Way and the New.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  15. 15.0 15.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  17. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.