The Hightower or High Tower is the seat of House Hightower, one of the most powerful families of the Reach. The castle and lighthouse is located in the port of Oldtown atop Battle Island, where the Honeywine widens into Whispering Sound.
According to a semi-canon source, the Hightower stands in the center of Oldtown, the city having grown around it. It is a massive stepped tower with a beacon on top to guide ships into port. It is the tallest structure in the Seven Kingdoms, even higher than the seven-hundred-foot Wall. The people of Oldtown can tell the time of day by the tower's shadow, and some claim that the Wall can be seen from its top.
Black Stone Fortress
The foundation of the Hightower is a labyrinthine fortress of unadorned black stone of uncertain origin on Battle Isle. While some believe it to be Valyrian in origin, Archmaester Quillion suggests it was made by the mazemakers and Maester Theron suggests it was created by Deep Ones, citing its similarities to the Seastone Chair. Valyrian origin is supported by the claim of Maester Jellicoe that Oldtown began as a trading post for ships of Valyria, Old Ghis, and the Summer Isles, predating the arrival of the First Men to Westeros. Septon Barth also claimed Valyrians came to Westeros because their priests prophesied that the Doom of Man would come out of the land beyond the narrow sea.
Kings of the High Tower
House Hightower of the Hightower is an ancient and noble family of impeccable lineage, as they were First Men kings during the Dawn of Days. The first chronicles that mention a "high tower" describe it as made of wood and rising some fifty feet above the ancient fortress. Later records mention taller timber towers. All of these served as a beacon to light the path of trading ships passing through the fog-shrouded waters of Whispering Sound. The early members of House Hightower lived amidst the gloomy halls, vaults, and chambers of the black stone fortress. It was only with the construction of the fifth tower, the first made entirely of stone, that the Hightower became a seat worthy of a great house. The king who demanded it and paid for its construction is remembered as Uthor of the High Tower. Some say this first stone tower, which rose two hundred feet above the harbor, was designed by Bran the Builder, while others say it was by his son, another Brandon.
During Aegon's Conquest Lord Manfred Hightower heeded the High Septon, who prophesied that the Hightower would burn with the rest of Oldtown if the city resisted the Targaryens. When Aegon the Conqueror arrived at Oldtown on dragonback, Lord Hightower opened his gates. Aegon spared the city, and the High Septon anointed him and acknowledged Aegon's right to rule the Seven Kingdoms.
A Feast for Crows
While sailing on the Cinnamon Wind to Oldtown, Gilly is impressed with the size of Three Towers, but Samwell Tarly tells her to wait until she sees the Hightower. When they reach Oldtown, the morning fog is so thick that the Hightower's beacon is the only part of the city visible.
The distant beacon of the Hightower floated in the damp of night like a hazy orange moon.
- thoughts of Pate
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- So Spake Martin: The Arryns and the Hightower (May 9, 1999)
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Hightower.
- The Citadel: Which are the 16 wonders of the world?
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- The Rogue Prince.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.