Gates of the Moon

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Gates of the Moon
Gates large.jpg
Location Vale, Westeros
Government House Arryn & House Royce, Feudal lord
Ruler Lord Nestor Royce (keeper for House Arryn)
Religion Faith of the Seven
Named for Mountains of the Moon
Notable places East Tower, Falcon Tower
The Vale and the location of the Gates of the Moon
The Vale and the location of the Gates of the Moon
The Gates of the Moon
The Vale and the location of the Gates of the Moon

The Gates of the Moon, also known as the Gates,[1] is a castle at the base of the Giant's Lance in the Vale of Arryn. It is held by Lord Nestor Royce, High Steward of the Vale and Keeper of the Gates of the Moon, on behalf of House Arryn.[2]


Larger than the Eyrie,[3] the Gates of the Moon is a stout castle with a moat, a gatehouse, a yard,[2] and a well.[4]

The castle has square towers,[2] include the East Tower and the Falcon Tower.[4] When viewed from the Eyrie above, the towers and keeps of the Gates of the Moon appear the size of children's toys.[5] The back of the castle's Great Hall has a pillared gallery which leads to tower stairs and to the inner ward.[4] The castle's vaults contain granaries and dungeons.[4] Prisoners can also be kept in tower cells.[2] Guardsmen at the Gates of the Moon wear sky-blue cloaks.[2]

At night torches flicker at the castle's ramparts and the moon is reflected in its moat. Beyond the upper bailey's postern gate is a dense forest of pine and spruce, as well as the steep, carved steps along the Giant's Lance.[2] Mules are kept at the Gates of the Moon to help transport travelers up the mountain to Stone, Snow, and Sky.[2]


The Gates of the Moon was the first seat of House Arryn in the Vale. After the Battle of the Seven Stars, Artys I Arryn, the first King of Mountain and Vale, began construction of the large castle where his host had encamped below the Giant's Lance the night before his victory. The two eldest sons of Artys who followed him on the throne expanded the castle.[6]

While formidable, the Gates of the Moon was considered by some to not be suitable for kings, and the fourth Arryn monarch, Roland I, found it lacking in comparison to grand Casterly Rock and the Hightower. Roland considered dismantling his seat and starting anew, but he instead decided to build the Eyrie high on the Giant's Lance after wild clansmen descended from the Mountains of the Moon.[6]

The Gates of the Moon has since been used by House Arryn as their seat during winter, but when summer comes they return to the Eyrie.[1] The Keepers of the Gates of the Moon have since held the castle for the Arryn kings and, after Aegon's Conquest, for the Arryn Wardens of the East.

King Jaehaerys I Targaryen visited the Gates of the Moon during a royal progress in 52 AC. Queen Alysanne Targaryen held a women's court at the castle.[7] After hearing that Princess Daella Targaryen was pregnant, Alysanne flew to the Gates of the Moon and then to the Eyrie in 82 AC.[8]

During the Dance of the Dragons, Lady Jeyne Arryn gathered soldiers to the Gates of the Moon on behalf of the blacks.[9] Jeyne, the Maiden of the Vale, resided at the Gates of the Moon during winter.[10] After twice failing to depose Jeyne, Ser Arnold Arryn was imprisoned for years in the sky cells of the Eyrie and the dungeons of the Gates of the Moon.[11]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

En route to the Eyrie, Catelyn Stark and her companions visit the Gates of the Moon and are welcomed by Lord Nestor Royce, Keeper of the Gates of the Moon. While Lysa Arryn, Lady of the Eyrie, has sent word for Catelyn to continue on to the Eyrie in a night ascent, the rest of the travelers remain behind at the Gates of the Moon until daybreak. Mya Stone helps Catelyn during her journey up the Giant's Lance.[2]

A Storm of Swords

Lysa rarely allows visitors to ascend past the Gates of the Moon. The castle is maintained by Myranda Royce, the daughter of Nestor.[3]

A Feast for Crows

Sansa Stark recalls that the wedding party of Lord Petyr Baelish and Lysa stopped at the Gates of the Moon before ascending to the Eyrie.[1]

Nestor ascends to the Eyrie to investigate the death of Lysa, whose murder has been blamed by Petyr on the singer Marillion. Claiming it was Lysa's desire before she passed, Petyr grants the castle and the title of Keeper of the Gates of the Moon to Nestor in perpetuity, thus forming House Royce of the Gates of the Moon.[1]

The Lords Declarant gather six thousand men about the Gates of the Moon, while Lord Nestor has a garrison of three hundred to oppose them. Petyr is able able to negotiate a truce with the Lords Declarant during a parley at the Eyrie, however.[5]

With the onset of winter, Lord Robert Arryn's court descends from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon. Within, Petyr introduces Sansa, who is disguised as "Alayne Stone", to three hedge knights he has taken into his service, Ser Byron the Beautiful, Ser Morgarth the Merry, and Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen. After the knights leave, Petyr tells Sansa of his plan to marry her to Ser Harrold Hardyng, Robert's heir.[12]

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.

Nobles from throughout the Vale, including Harry the Heir, travel to the Gates of the Moon to attend the tourney for the Brotherhood of Winged Knights. Lord Nestor shows Lady Waxley his prize tapestries which had belonged to King Robert I Baratheon. Nestor holds a feast for the competitors, and "Alayne" dances with Harrold.[4]


The Gates of the Moon was much larger than the Eyrie, and livelier as well. Lord Nestor Royce seemed gruff and stern, but his daughter Myranda kept his castle for him, and everyone said how frolicsome she was.[3]

—thoughts of Sansa Stark

The Arryns raised the Gates, in the days when they still wore the Falcon Crown and ruled the Vale as kings. The Eyrie was their summer seat, but when the snows began to fall the court would make its descent. Some would say the Gates were as royal as the Eyrie.[1]

Nestor: Whilst Lord Jon ruled the realm as Hand, it fell to me to rule the Vale for him. I did all that he required of me and asked nothing for myself. But by the gods, I earned this!
Petyr: You did, and Lord Robert sleeps more easily knowing that you are always there, a staunch friend at the foot of his mountain. So ... a toast, my lord. To House Royce, Keepers of the Gates of the Moon ... now and forever.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Winds of Winter, Alayne I
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
  7. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  8. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  9. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  10. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  11. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.