Balon Greyjoy

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House Greyjoy.svg King
Balon IX Greyjoy
the Twice Crowned
House Greyjoy.svg
Balon Greyjoy.jpg
Balon Greyjoy by Amok ©
Reign 1st: 289 AC
2nd: 299 AC
Full name Balon Greyjoy, the Ninth of His Name since the Grey King
Predecessor Quellon Greyjoy (as Lord of the Iron Islands)
Heir Theon Greyjoy/Asha Greyjoy (disputed)
Successor Euron III Greyjoy (as King of the Isles and the North)
Personal Information
  • The wet king[4]
  • The kraken king[4]
  • The iron king[5]
  • Balon the Brave[5]
  • Balon the Bold[6]
  • Balon the Widowmaker[6]
  • Balon the Blessed[7]
  • Balon the Twice Crowned[7]
Born 255261 AC[8]
Pyke, the Iron Islands[9]
Died 299 AC
Pyke, the Iron Islands
Culture Ironborn
Dynasty Greyjoy
Queen Alannys Harlaw
Issue Rodrik Greyjoy
Maron Greyjoy
Asha Greyjoy
Theon Greyjoy
Father Lord Quellon Greyjoy
Mother Lady Sunderly
Played by Patrick Malahide
TV series Game of Thrones:
Season 2 | 3 | 6

Balon Greyjoy is the Lord of the Iron Islands and the head of House Greyjoy of Pyke. He is the father of Asha and Theon Greyjoy, as well as is the elder brother of Euron, Victarion, and Aeron Greyjoy.[10]

The captain of the Great Kraken,[11] Balon is a follower of the Old Way of the ironborn and desires to bring them back to prominence.[11] In 289 AC, Balon declared himself King of the Iron Islands and proclaimed the independence of the Iron Islands from the Iron Throne, but Greyjoy's Rebellion was defeated by King Robert I Baratheon's forces.[1]

In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, Balon is portrayed by Patrick Malahide.[12]

Appearance and Character

Balon had always been thin, but by 299 AC he is gaunt with a hard face. He has hard black eyes with long grey hair flecked with white that hangs past the small of his back.[11] He has a stoop in his shoulder.[5] Balon is not as tall or as strong as his father Quellon had been, but he is just as quick and skilled at arms.[13]

Lord Greyjoy wears musty sealskin robes.[11][14]

Balon has become bitter through age and grief.[5] According to Theon Greyjoy, Balon is not a heavy drinker.[14]


Early life

Balon is the eldest surviving son of Quellon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, and a lady of House Sunderly. It is not clear when he was born.

Balon learned to sail when still young and was a very skilled captain. Balon scaled the Flint Cliffs to the Blind Lord's haunted tower when he was ten. By his thirteenth year, he had become an expert oarsman. At fifteen he sailed with Dagmer Cleftjaw to the Stepstones on a reaving, killing his first man and taking his first two salt wives there. By seventeen he captained his own longship.[5] Later he often went raiding and was known for his fierceness and fearlessness.

Balon and two of his brothers, Euron and Victarion, wanted their father Quellon to join Robert's Rebellion. Quellon was peaceful and cautious, however, and desired neutrality. After Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen was slain in the Battle of the Trident, Quellon was convinced by his sons to join the rebellion or else gain nothing from the war. The ironmen's contribution to the war turned out to be minimal. Quellon was slain fighting the longships of the Shield Islands in a battle at the Mander, after which Balon brought the Greyjoy ships back to Pyke so he could claim the Seastone Chair.[13]

When Balon returned to Pyke he found out his younger brother, Urrigon, had died of gangrene after being injured in the finger dance. The maester at Pyke had tried to save the hand of the boy, but his potions had failed and the fourteen-year-old Urrigon lost his life instead. Balon commanded the same treatment be used on the maester, who died along with Balon's stepmother.[5]

Balon is married to Alannys Harlaw, who gave him three sons and a daughter: Rodrik, Maron, Asha, and Theon.

Greyjoy's Rebellion

Lord Quellon Greyjoy had desired stronger ties with the green lands, forbade most reaving, brought maesters to the Iron Islands, and outlawed the taking of thralls. His son Balon, however, wished to return to the Old Way, which he considered a better way for the ironborn. After becoming Lord of the Iron Islands, Balon reversed most of his father's reforms. Over five years he oversaw the construction of the Iron Fleet to serve the Seastone Chair.[13]

Balon kneels to Robert I Baratheon and Eddard Stark. Screencap from Game of Thrones Blu-ray.

Balon was quick to seize the chance to revert to the ways of old when he thought that King Robert I Baratheon's recently-gained rule, through conquest, was unstable. Believing Robert would not have the support, the men, or the will to resist, Balon launched his own rebellion and declared himself King of the Iron Islands.[15] Beneath the bones of the Grey King's Hall on Old Wyk, Tarle the Thrice-Drowned placed a driftwood crown upon Balon.[6]

Greyjoy's Rebellion won early success with the burning of the Lannister fleet at Lannisport, but Balon's triumph was short lived. His eldest son, Rodrik, died during the storming of Seagard and his fleet and forces were defeated, while his second son, Maron, died while defending Pyke.

When the defeated Balon was brought before Robert, Balon reminded the king that he had never sworn him an oath after Robert's Rebellion. In return for his allegiance now, Balon's life was spared by the generous Robert. Balon's sole surviving son, ten-year-old Theon, was taken by Lord Eddard Stark to Winterfell as a ward and hostage.[11] Balon and his wife, Alannys, grew apart after the deaths of Rodrik and Maron and the taking of Theon.

Recent History

In 297 AC one of Balon's brothers, Euron, seduced the third wife of another brother, Victarion. To prevent bloodshed between the brothers Balon sent Euron into exile and swore he would be killed if he returned. To keep his honor Victarion killed his wife.[6]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Balon Greyjoy's command, by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

Though defeated, Balon never gave up on his desire to become king.[16] With the death of King Robert I Baratheon and the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings, Balon assembles his fleet and orders all ships which visit Lordsport, including trading vessels, to remain so he will have the element of surprise.[14]

Robb Stark, the King in the North, sends Balon's surviving son, Theon, to Pyke as an envoy with an offer to ally with Balon against the Lannisters.[11] Insulted, Balon spurns the offer and instead declares himself King of the Iron Islands.[2] Balon hosts his lords and captains in the Great Hall of Pyke.[14]

Balon sends his brother Victarion, the Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet, to capture Moat Cailin. The ironborn's taking of the Neck cuts off Robb's army, which has been campaigning in the riverlands and the westerlands, from the north. Balon sends his daughter and preferred heir, Asha, to capture Deepwood Motte. Theon, Dagmer Cleftjaw, and Balon's brother Aeron Damphair are to harry the Stony Shore.[14] The ironborn forces are able to conquer a number of northern castles because most of their soldiers had left with Robb to fight in the south, and Balon styles himself King of the Isles and the North.[3]

Theon deviates from Balon's plan by sending Dagmer against Torrhen's Square.[17] With Ser Rodrik Cassel drawn away from Winterfell by Dagmer, Theon captures the seat of House Stark.[2] Asha encourages Theon to abandon Winterfell because it is too far inland, but the youth insists upon remaining.[18] Theon and Rodrik are both betrayed by Ramsay Snow, who orders the sack of Winterfell.[19]

A Storm of Swords

King Balon sitting on the Seastone Chair, by Amok ©

Balon styles himself the Ninth of His Name Since the Grey King, King of the Iron Islands and the North, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, and Lord Reaper of Pyke.[20]

In King's Landing, the small council discusses Balon's terms of alliance instead of a pledge of fealty. Lords Mace Tyrell and Paxter Redwyne urge that these terms be accepted in order to free up new resources for dealing with Stannis Baratheon. However, Tywin Lannister rejects them since Balon is already at war with House Stark.[21]

Balon dies in a fall while crossing a bridge at Pyke during a storm in 299 AC.[22][23] Some portents and the timely return of his exiled eldest brother, Euron, lead to speculation that Balon may have been murdered by an assassin at Euron's command.[24][25][16] Euron Crow's Eye claims the Seastone Chair after Balon's death.[22]

A Feast for Crows

When Aeron Greyjoy is informed of his older brother's death, he thinks back to the last time he saw Balon upon returning from the Stony Shore. Aeron Damphair recalls while Balon's grey hair had turned half-white and the stoop in his shoulder more pronounced, his king had not seemed ill.[5]

After Balon's death, his daughter, Asha, and his brothers, Victarion and Euron, are among the candidates to succeed him.[5][16][6] His surviving son, Theon, had been taken prisoner by the Boltons and is not able to press his claim.[19][26] Euron Crow's Eye returns to the Iron Islands the day after Balon's death, but his claim is vehemently opposed by Aeron. Balon's favored successor was Asha, but Aeron does not believe a woman can rule the ironborn. Aeron instead supports Victarion.[5]

The matter is decided during a kingsmoot at Nagga's Hill on Old Wyk organized by the Damphair.[6] Despite the efforts of Asha and Victarion, Euron is chosen as Balon's successor after he promises to conquer the whole of Westeros with the power of dragons.[7]

A Dance with Dragons

Euron abandons Balon's conquests in the north, leaving the ironborn remaining there to fend for themselves.[27]

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

Euron admits to the captive Aeron that he was responsible for Balon's death, although he did not personally slay the king.[28]

Quotes by Balon

Balon standing near Pyke, by Amok ©

Balon: You may take my head, but you cannot name me traitor. No Greyjoy ever swore an oath to a Baratheon.
Robert: Swear one now, or lose that stubborn head of yours.[13]

—Balon and Robert I Baratheon

Balon: The pup says nothing about a reward. Only that you speak for him, and I am to listen, and give him my sails and swords, and in return he will give me a crown. He will give me a crown...

Theon: A poor choice of words, what is meant is–

Balon: What is meant is what is said. The boy will give me a crown. And what is given can be taken away.[11]

—Balon and Theon Greyjoy

I am the Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, and no man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price. I will take my crown, as Urron Redhand did five thousand years ago.[11]

—Balon to Theon Greyjoy

Did Ned Stark dress you like that? Was it his pleasure to garb you in velvets and silks and make you his own sweet daughter?[11]

—Balon to Theon Greyjoy

No man has ever died from bending his knee. He who kneels may rise again, blade in hand. He who will not kneel stays dead, stiff legs and all.[29]

—Balon to Asha Greyjoy

Quotes about Balon

Captain: The way I heard it in Lordsport, there was a blow coming in from the west, rain and thunder, and old King Balon was crossing one of them bridges when the wind got hold of it and just tore the thing to pieces. He washed up two days later, all bloated and broken. Crabs ate his eyes, I hear.
Jon: King crabs, I hope, to sup upon such royal jelly, eh?[22]

—The captain of the Myraham and Jon Umber

My brother Balon made us great again, which earned the Storm God's wrath. He feasts now in the Drowned God's watery halls, with mermaids to attend his every want. It shall be for us who remain behind in this dry and dismal vale to finish his great work.[5]

A brave man but a bad lord.[16]

Asha Greyjoy's thoughts


Lady Stonetree
Lady Piper
Lady Sunderly
Alannys Harlaw
three wives


  1. 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  8. See the Balon Greyjoy calculation
  9. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Balon Greyjoy.
  10. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  12. HBO: Game of Thrones: cast and crew
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Old Way and the New.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
  15. So Spake Martin: Forum Chat, July 27, 2008
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  17. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 37, Theon III.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  20. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  21. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
  28. The Winds of Winter, The Forsaken
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.

External Links

Preceded by Lord of the Iron Islands
King of Salt and Rock
Son of the Sea Wind
Lord Reaper of Pyke

283289 AC, 289299 AC
Title last held by
Harren Hoare
as King of the Isles and the Rivers
King of the Iron Islands
289 AC
Succeeded by
as King of the Isles and the North
New title 1st King of the Isles and the North
299300 AC
Succeeded by