Three Sage Kings
The Three Sage Kings were a trio of wise and cunning Kings of the Reach from House Gardener who followed one another on the Oakenseat and who dealt with the Andal invasion of the Reach long after the fall of the Vale and the riverlands and stormlands. Instead of armed resistance they took a policy of accord and assimilation toward the Andals. They were Garth IX Gardener, his son Merle I Gardener, and his grandson - Merle's son - Gwayne V Gardener.
Garth IX brought a septon to his court and made him one of his counselors, also building the first sept at Highgarden, though he continued to worship the old gods. Merle I converted to the Faith of the Seven and helped fund the construction of septs, septries, and motherhouses all over the Reach. Gwayne V was the first Gardener born into the Faith and the first to be made a knight.
Both Merle I and Gwayne V took Andal maidens as their wives to bind their fathers to the Gardener realm, and all three took Andals into their service as knights and retainers; Ser Alester Tyrell, the founder of House Tyrell, was made Gwayne V's champion and sworn shield. All Three Sage kings bequeathed lands and wives and lordships for the more powerful of the Andals descending on the Reach in exchange for pledges of fealty. Families formed by the intermarriage of First Men and Andal nobles include Houses Cuy, Graceford, Leygood, Orme, Roxton, Uffering, and Varner. As the centuries passed the noble houses of First Men and Andals intermarried so freely that it become impossible to tell them apart.
The Gardeners sought after Andal craftsmen, especially blacksmiths and stonemasons, and encouraged their lords bannermen to do the same. Thus the First Men of the Reach learned to arm and armor themselves in iron instead of bronze and strengthen their castles with Andal masonry.
Though some of the new-made lords broke their vows in later years, most remained loyal and helped their kings and liege lords put down the rebels and also defend the Reach from invading Andal petty kings and warbands.
When a wolf descends upon your flocks, all you gain by killing him is a short respite, for other wolves will come. If instead you feed the wolf and tame him and turn his pups into your guard dogs, they will protect the flock when the pack comes ravening.
- King Garth IX Gardener
They gave us seven gods, we gave them dirt and daughters, and our sons and grandsons shall be as brothers.
- King Gwayne V Gardener