|Castle, regional capital|
Casterly Rock by Ted Nasmith ©
|Government||House Lannister, Feudal lord|
Lord Tywin Lannister (AGoT)|
Queen Cersei Lannister (ADwD)
|Religion||Faith of the Seven|
|Founded||Before the Age of Heroes|
|Named for||House Casterly|
|Notable places||Lion's Mouth, Golden Gallery, Stone Garden, Hall of Heroes|
Casterly Rock, nicknamed the Rock, is a castle and the seat of House Lannister. The capital of the westerlands, it is on the ocean road and overlooks the harbor of Lannisport and the Sunset Sea. Nearby strongholds include Kayce and Feastfires to the west, Sarsfield to the north, and Cornfield and Clegane's Keep to the south.
- 1 Layout
- 2 History
- 3 Recent Events
- 4 Quotes
- 5 Behind the Scenes
- 6 References
- See also: Images of Casterly Rock
Casterly Rock is carved out of a colossal stone hill beside the Sunset Sea. It is popularly believed to resemble a lion in repose at sunset. According to George R. R. Martin, the Rock is two leagues (six miles) long from west to east and has a width of two miles from north to south. Its peak is about 2,100 feet high which makes it three times as high as the highest point of the Wall and taller than the Hightower of Oldtown too.
The Casterlys of antiquity built a ringfort on the peak, and as millenia have passed its natural defenses have been expanded with walls, gates, and watchtowers. The base of the Rock contains large sea-carved caverns. The stone has been mined for thousands of years, so there are hundreds of mineshafts in the depths of the Rock, as well as yet untouched gold veins.
The face of the mount has windows and arrow slits scattered all over, they look small from the outside but it is only an illusion due to the huge size of the Rock. The entire stronghold—tunnels, dungeons, storerooms, barracks, halls, grand halls, stables, stairways, courtyards, balconies, gardens, a sept, passages, caves, mines, galleries, chutes, wells, barracks, armories, bedchambers, servant's quarters, etc.—lies within the Rock itself. The only exception being the watchtower on the top of the mount that is also used by the maesters as a rookery. According to George R. R. Martin, this particularity makes Casterly Rock the strongest and most impregnable seat in all of Westeros.
The Lion's Mouth, the main entry to Casterly Rock, is an enormous natural cavern reaching two hundred feet high located on the south face of the Rock. It is accessible via a great stone stairway with steps wide enough for twenty riders. There are sea gates at the base of the west face, large enough for galleys and cogs to sail into the caverns under the stone, where the Lannisters have their own protected docks, as well as wharves, and shipyards. However, the bulk of the Lannister fleet anchors in the harbor of Lannisport, the port city that lies close by to the south of the Rock. From below the Rock thunder can be heard, where the sea comes in.
The Golden Gallery contains treasures of the Lannisters, including gilded ornaments and walls. The Hall of Heroes is where the Lannisters and their close kin who have died valiantly are interred. The armor of Lannisters of old are also displayed in the hall. The Stone Garden is a godswood in a cave within the Rock. It contains a twisted weirwood, a tenth the size of Raventree Hall's, whose tangled roots have almost filled the cave, choking out all other growth.
Legend says that Casterly Rock is named for the family of First Men who ruled it in the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes, the Casterlys. After their founder, Corlos, discovered gold within the Rock, the Casterlys fortified the entrance and carved halls and tunnels deep into the stone.
The Lannisters trace their rule over the Rock back to Lann the Clever, who tricked the Casterlys out of their castle and claimed it for his own. Some claim that Lann still haunts the fortress, which has never fallen.
Kings of the Rock
The Kings of the Rock from House Lannister took their title from their seat, and members of the family founded nearby Lannisport. During the coming of the Andals to Westeros, the Lannisters eventually invited Andals into their realm and brought Andal youths to serve at Casterly Rock as wards and potential hostages. According to a lost scroll, Valyrian sorcerers believed their downfall would come from the Rock's gold.
King Gerold Lannister raided the Iron Islands and held one hundred captives in the Rock. Gerold the Great then hanged a captive whenever the ironborn threatened his lands. Before becoming King of the Iron Islands, Harmund II Hoare spent his youth at Casterly Rock as a ward.
During Aegon's Conquest, King Loren I formed an alliance at Casterly Rock with Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach, against Aegon the Conqueror. House Targaryen defeated the Lannisters and Gardeners at the Field of Fire, however. After the battle, Loren the Last surrendered his crown to Aegon and was confirmed as Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West. Queen Visenya Targaryen is said to have been grateful that Loren rode to war instead of seeking refuge in his castle, as the Rock may have withstood even dragonflame.
After the ascension of King Maegor I Targaryen, Lord Lyman Lannister hosted Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena Targaryen at Casterly Rock, where the princess gave birth to Aerea and Rhaella at the Rock. The son of Jeyne Westerling was sent to Casterly Rock to be Lyman's ward.
After being expelled from Faircastle during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Rhaena flew from Fair Isle to the Rock on Dreamfyre. Lyman gave the Four-Headed Beast a suite within his castle, but Rhaena eventually left after becoming convinced that the Lord of Casterly Rock wanted her dragon eggs. Rhaena visited the Rock during her search throughout the Seven Kingdoms for the missing Aerea. Ser Alastor Reyne, master-at-arms of the Rock, participated in the tourney for the completion of the Dragonpit. Jaehaerys visited Casterly Rock during his progresses in 55 AC and 88 AC.
Dalton and the Dance
House Lannister declared for the greens during the Dance of the Dragons. At the start of the civil war, Ser Tyland, master of coin to King Aegon II Targaryen, sent a quarter of the royal treasury from King's Landing to the Rock for safekeeping. The castle was left in disarray after the death of Lord Jason in the Battle of the Red Fork and the Lannister defeat in the Battle by the Lakeshore, however. Prince Daemon Targaryen, husband to Aegon's rival Rhaenyra, suggested that Casterly Rock be stripped from the Lannisters and granted to Ser Hugh Hammer, but the queen declined.
The ironborn declared for Rhaenyra's blacks during the Dance. Although Dalton Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, was able to sack Lannisport, Casterly Rock was too strong for the ironborn once Jason's widow, Lady Johanna Lannister, barred its gates. Johanna approved an expedition to recover Fair Isle from the ironborn, but the Red Kraken sent the heads of Ser Erwin Lannister and Lords Prester and Tarbeck to Johanna at the Rock after the plan was betrayed.
As the Dance wound down, Lord Cregan Stark considered marching to subdue Storm's End, Oldtown, and Casterly Rock. Lady Johanna agreed to peace terms previously sent by Lord Corlys Velaryon, however.
Dalton was slain at Faircastle in 133 AC. When the fleet of Lord Alyn Velaryon arrived in the westerlands, Johanna presented him with a seahorse wrought in gold. Ser Leo Costayne invaded the Iron Islands, and the captured Rodrik Greyjoy was made into a fool at Casterly Rock.
Lady Ellyn Reyne, the wife of Ser Tion Lannister, held a splendid court at the Rock as her good-father, Lord Gerold Lannister, declined in health. Ellyn's influence declined after Tion's death in the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion, however, and she left the Rock in 239 AC after Gerold had her wed Lord Walderan Tarbeck.
Gerold was succeeded by his ineffectual son Tytos, a lord easily taken advantage of and mocked at feasts and balls. When Lord Tytos announced at a feast that his daughter Genna would wed Emmon Frey, the second son of Lord Walder Frey, the western lords were shocked and Tytos's ten-year-old heir, Tywin, publicly denounced the betrothal.
After returning from the War of the Ninepenny Kings, young Ser Tywin sought to restore the power of Casterly Rock. Those who were unable to repay loans were required to send hostages to the Rock; Dorna Swyft was one such hostage. Lord Tarbeck rode to Casterly Rock to speak with Lord Tytos, but Tywin had him imprisoned in a dungeon before Walderan could meet with his father. Ellyn Tarbeck captured Stafford Lannister and two Lannisters of Lannisport, so Lord Tytos forced the feuding factions to release their hostages.
In 261 AC, Ser Tywin ordered Lord Roger Reyne, Ser Reynard Reyne, and the Tarbecks to present themselves at Casterly Rock. The bannermen refused, however, as Tywin expected. Without Tytos's leave, the Lannister heir gathered a host and quickly crushed the Reyne-Tarbeck revolt. Tywin was named Hand of the King by Aerys II Targaryen the following year.
House Clegane was founded after the kennelmaster of the Rock saved Tytos from a lioness attack. Late in his life, Tytos allowed his mistress to sit beside him in his hall. Tytos died in 267 AC while climbing the stairs to her bedchamber.
For much of 267 AC, King Aerys II Targaryen resided at Casterly Rock with Lord Tywin Lannister, his Hand of the King. Tywin repaid the late Jaehaerys II Targaryen's debts to Braavos with gold from the Rock. When Tywin's children, the twins Cersei and Jaime, were caught experimenting with each other by a maid, Lady Joanna Lannister had her children sleep in distant bedchambers within the Rock.
Shortly after the birth of Tyrion Lannister, the young Elia and Oberyn Martell accompanied their mother, the Princess of Dorne, to Casterly Rock when she met with Lord Tywin. The Dornishmen could hear the howling baby from the depths of the Rock. Tyrion and his elder brother, Jaime, played in the Hall of Heroes as boys.
Aerys's decision to name Ser Jaime to the Kingsguard in 281 AC angered Tywin, who resigned as Hand and returned to Casterly Rock with his daughter, Cersei. During Robert's Rebellion, Tywin led a host from the Rock to King's Landing following the Battle of the Trident, and Jaime slew Aerys during the Sack of King's Landing.
When Tyrion became a man at sixteen, he was forbidden by Tywin from taking a tour of the Free Cities as his uncles Gerion and Tygett had done. Instead Tywin gave his son charge of the cisterns and drains at Casterly Rock. Tyrion learned a few of the customs of Tyrosh from a sellsword at the Rock.
A Game of Thrones
King Robert I Baratheon tells Lord Eddard Stark that he wanted young Robert Arryn to foster at Casterly Rock with Lord Tywin Lannister, but the boy's mother took him to the Eyrie after the death of Lord Jon Arryn.
After the capture of Tyrion Lannister by Eddard's wife, Lady Catelyn Stark, Tyrion's brother Jaime wounds Ned in the streets of King's Landing and then rides for the westerlands. Jaime raises a host at Casterly Rock and Tywin raises another, and they invade the riverlands after the death of King Robert.
A Clash of Kings
Ser Stafford Lannister begins raising a new host at Casterly Rock during the War of the Five Kings, but Stafford and his westermen are defeated by Robb Stark, King in the North, in the Battle of Oxcross.
Expecting the ironborn to ally with the northmen, Theon Greyjoy desires to conquer Casterly Rock and claim it for himself. His father, Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, states the Rock is too strong, however, and instead attacks the north.
A Storm of Swords
Tyrion demands his birthright of the lordship of Casterly Rock from his father, Tywin, and is harshly rejected.
Tyrion suggests to his new wife, Sansa Stark, that they visit the Rock, wanting to show her where he and Jaime grew up, but also desiring to keep her away from the abuses of his nephew, King Joffrey I Baratheon. She remains impassive, however, so Tyrion withdraws his offer.
King Joffrey dies at his own royal wedding. Lord Tywin intends to remove his son Jaime from the Kingsguard so he can again be heir to Casterly Rock, and Tywin wants the new king, his grandson Tommen I Baratheon, to serve as Jaime's ward and squire at the Rock where he can learn to be a Lannister. Jaime opposes the plan, however. Tywin's daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, believes she is to be sent to the Rock so she cannot influence her royal son. Tywin is killed in the Tower of the Hand by Tyrion.
A Feast for Crows
Tywin's brother, Ser Kevan Lannister, advises Cersei to return to the westerlands to take her place as Lady of Casterly Rock. Cersei insists on remaining in King's Landing and refuses to name Kevan as Tommen's regent, and she names Ser Damion Lannister, a distant cousin of the main branch, as castellan of the Rock instead of Kevan. Tywin's body is escorted back to Casterly Rock by an honor guard of western knights and nobles.
As a condition of Jaime's ending of the siege of Riverrun, Lord Edmure Tully is to become an honored captive at the Rock. His pregnant wife Roslin is to join him from the Twins once she gives birth.
A Dance with Dragons
An exile in Essos, Tyrion considers hiring the Golden Company to help him gain Casterly Rock, but the sellswords follow Prince Aegon Targaryen. Tyrion instead joins the Second Sons and gains their support by promising them gold from the Rock.
—writings of Pycelle
They say there is naught but stone at the heart of Casterly Rock.
Stone, I must be stone, I must be Casterly Rock, hard and unmovable.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion: What do I want, you ask? I'll tell you what I want. I want what is mine by rights. I want Casterly Rock ... I want you to stand up before the realm and proclaim that I am your son and your lawful heir.
Tywin: Casterly Rock. Never ... neither gods nor men shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.
Extravagance has its uses. We must demonstrate the power and wealth of Casterly Rock for all the realm to see.
Sansa: I shall go wherever my lord husband wishes.Tyrion: No, it was a foolish notion. Only a Lannister can love the Rock.
Tyrion: I had hoped it might please you, my lady.
Sansa: It will please me to please my lord.
Behind the Scenes
According to George R. R. Martin, the Rock of Gibraltar is an inspiration for Casterly Rock. While creating his worlds, Martin said he often takes real-life locations and events and magnifies them. Though the Rock of Gibraltar is three miles long, Casterly Rock is six miles long and 700 feet higher than Gibraltar at its highest point.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Casterly Rock.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: Casterly Rock.
- Not A Blog: A Couple of Rocks, December 23, 2022
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 31, Jaime IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
- A Dance with Dragons, Map of the South
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne – Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens].
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfirst.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 21, Jaime III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 42, Tyrion VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- So Spake Martin: A Dinner with GRRM (Madrid, Spain), July 02, 2001