House Hightower

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House Hightower of the Hightower
House Hightower.svg
We Light the Way
Coat of arms A white tower topped with flames on smoke grey
(Cendrée, a tower argent, beacon inflamed gules)
Seat The Hightower, Oldtown
Head Lord Leyton Hightower
Region The Reach
Heir Ser Baelor Hightower
Overlord House Tyrell
Ancestral weapon Vigilance
Founder Uthor of the High Tower
Founded Dawn Age

House Hightower of the Hightower, also known as House Hightower of Oldtown,[2] is one of the most powerful of the noble houses in the Reach. Their seat is the Hightower, located in the city of Oldtown. The sigil of House Hightower is a stone white watchtower, with a fire on the top.[3][4] Their motto is "We Light the Way",[1] and they possess a Valyrian steel sword called Vigilance.[5]

The Hightowers are among the oldest and proudest of the Great Houses.[1] They have often preferred trade instead of war,[1] and have also avoided many wars because of their support for the Faith of the Seven.[6]


A proud family,[7] some Hightowers are said to have dabbled in alchemy and necromancy.[1] Members of House Hightower thus far described tend to have silver or golden hair.[N 1]


Hightower Kings

Urrigon Hightower, from Game of Thrones: Histories & Lore

The family is ancient, existing since the dawn of days when they were petty-kings. While most scholars believe they descend from the First Men, Maester Yandel posits they descend from the seafarers and traders that settled at the top of the Whispering Sound in an earlier time, men who came to Westeros before the First Men and seem to have founded the original incarnation of Oldtown. Whatever the truth, the Hightowers resided in the ancient black stone fortress of Battle Isle at the mouth of the Honeywine before the "Hightower" of stone was built.[6]

The Hightowers built four successive wooden beacon towers atop the fortress. The legendary King Uthor of the High Tower is said to have commissioned Bran the Builder or his son Brandon to design the fifth tower, one built entirely of stone. Uthor's sons, King Urrigon and Prince Peremore the Twisted, were integral in the foundation of the Citadel.[6][1]

During these early days Oldtown was threatened and sacked many times, including by ironborn raiders, Dornishmen, and the armies of the Kings of the Reach, House Gardener of Highgarden. The Kings of the High Tower raised strong walls and higher towers to keep any further invaders out. Oldtown was not brought into the realm of the Gardeners by conquest, but by marriage, during the reigns of King Lymond Hightower and King Garland II Gardener. Lymond the Sea Lion wed the daughter of Garland, while Garland put aside his own wives to marry Lymond's daughter.[8]

Gardener Era

During the coming of the Andals, the Hightowers and the Gardeners allied with the newcomers. Thus they were able to keep their wealth, lands and privileges. Protected by the might of Highgarden, the lords of Oldtown turned their eyes to trade and commerce and grew with every generation to become one of the richest and most powerful noble families in Westeros. The Hightowers were also one of the first great lords to accept the Faith of the Seven and thus gave their patronage to the establishment of the office of High Septon and the building of the Starry Sept as the center of the Faith.[6]

Through the centuries of the Kingdom of the Reach, the Peakes and Osgreys boasted about marrying their daughters to Hightowers.[9][10]

Targaryen Era

The Hightower at Oldtown by Ted Nasmith ©

During Aegon's Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Lord Manfred Hightower heeded the High Septon and did not join his liege lord, King Mern IX Gardener, on the march to the Field of Fire. Soon, Mern was dead and Highgarden surrendered, with the Tyrells replacing the Gardeners. When Aegon the Conqueror arrived at Oldtown on dragonback, Manfred opened his gates. Aegon spared the city, and the High Septon anointed him and acknowledged House Targaryen's right to rule all Seven Kingdoms.[11][12]

After the High Septon objected against the suggested match between Prince Maegor Targaryen and Princess Rhaena Targaryen, he suggested instead his own niece as Maegor's bride: Ceryse Hightower, the daughter of Lord Manfred Hightower.[13] Ceryse and Maegor were wed in 25 AC. Maegor took a second bride in 39 AC, claiming that Ceryse was infertile. Lord Manfred objected to Maegor's second wedding. After Maegor had left Westeros in exile, and Septon Murmison had failed to make Ceryse fertile, Ceryse returned to the Hightower.[13]

In 41 AC, Lord Martyn Hightower succeeded his father Manfred. In 43 AC, Martyn's brother Ser Morgan was the sole Warrior's Son pardonned by Maegor, following the mysterious death of the High Septon and the yielding of Oldtown by Martyn to the Targaryens. That same year, Maegor and Ceryse were reunited, and Ceryse eventually returned to King's Landing with her husband, where she remained until her death in 45 AC.[13]

In 47 AC, Princess Rhaella Targaryen, the younger daughter of the deceased Prince Aegon Targaryen and Queen Rhaena Targaryen, was sent to Oldtown by King Maegor I Targaryen to be raised as a septa. When her mother Rhaena fled from Maegor in the night the next year, Maegor sent a rider to Oldtown commanding Lord Hightower to behead Rhaella as punishment for her mother's betrayal. Lord Hightower refused, however, and imprisoned the messenger instead. He then declared his support for Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen.[13]

Eustace Hightower's ship was the only one of the three in Alys Westhill's expedition of 56 AC across the Sunset Sea to return.[14]

In 85 AC, the ruling Lord Hightower sent his men to search for the escaped Princess Saera Targaryen.[15]

In 89 AC, the ruling Lord Hightower staged a tourney at Oldtown in honor of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, who was visiting the city during one of his royal progresses.[15]

The Dance of the Dragons

The greens, by Naomimakesart ©

The Hightowers were strong supporters of the greens against the blacks during the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. King Aegon II Targaryen was supported by his mother, the Dowager Queen Alicent Hightower, and Aegon's grandfather, Ser Otto Hightower, served as his first Hand of the King. Ser Gwayne Hightower, one of Otto's sons, served as second-in-command of the City Watch of King's Landing. Otto and Gwayne were killed amid the fall of King's Landing, however, and Alicent was taken captive by Aegon's rival, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.[5][16]

Meanwhile, Lord Ormund Hightower, Otto's nephew, commanded the greens' army from the Reach, which also included Ormund's cousins, Ser Bryndon and Ser Hobert Hightower. Three of the Hightowers' bannerhouses (the Costaynes, Mullendores and Beesburys) fought for the blacks, however.[5] Ormund knighted Prince Daeron Targaryen after the Battle on the Honeywine,[5] and the Hightower host fought at Longtable and Bitterbridge.[16] Ormund and Bryndon were both killed by Lord Roderick Dustin at First Tumbleton.[16] Although he was an ineffective leader, Hobert sacrificed himself during his poisoning of Ser Ulf White after Second Tumbleton. Lord Unwin Peake led the remnants of the Hightower host in retreat after the battle.[17]

Later History

Lord Ormund was succeeded by his son, Lord Lyonel Hightower, who caused relations to sour when he announced his intent to marry his widowed step-mother, Lady Samantha Tarly, denounced by the High Septon as a form of incest.[18] After the Rogare Bank collapsed in 136 AC, she founded the Bank of Oldtown.[19]

Following the death of her first husband, Lady Rhaena Targaryen married Garmund Hightower and had six daughters by him.[20]

House Hightower gave strong support to neither side during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, keeping a foot in both Targaryen and Blackfyre camps.[10]

Ser Abelar Hightower challenged Prince Valarr Targaryen in the first tilt of the tourney at Ashford Meadow and was defeated.[3]

Recent History

Ser Gerold Hightower, by Tiziano Baracchi © Fantasy Flight Games

Prince Oberyn Martell and Princess Elia Martell visited Oldtown on their way to Casterly Rock where their mother was to broker their marriage to the Lannister twins, Cersei and Jaime. While in Oldtown they met Baelor Hightower, whom Elia fancied but Oberyn mocked after he farted in their presence.[21] Lord Tywin Lannister later offered his youngest son, Tyrion, as a match for a Hightower daughter, but Lord Leyton Hightower declined.[22]

During Robert's Rebellion, the Hightowers remained loyal to King Aerys II and the Targaryen dynasty.[7] Ser Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, was killed at the tower of joy.[23] The Hightowers knelt to the new king, Robert I Baratheon, after the defeat of the Targaryens.

Lord Leyton attended the tourney at Lannisport to watch his sons joust. Lynesse accompanied her father, meeting and marrying Jorah Mormont, Lord of Bear Island. Mormont's hall proved underwhelming, however, and Lynesse eventually became the chief concubine of Tregar Ormollen in Lys.[7]

House Hightower continues to be patrons of both the Citadel and the Faith of the Seven.[1] They are as rich as House Lannister and can field three times as many swords as other Tyrell bannermen, as well as the manpower of Oldtown. The four-decked Honor of Oldtown is the flagship of the Hightower fleet.[24]

Lord Leyton has not descended from the High Tower in over a decade.[25] His fourth and current wife is Lady Rhea Florent. Besides her family, the Hightowers are connected to several prominent Reach houses; Leyton's second daughter, Lady Alerie, is wed to their liege lord, Mace Tyrell.[1]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Alerie Hightower's daughter, Margaery Tyrell, marries Renly Baratheon at Highgarden.[26]

A Clash of Kings

At the start of the War of the Five Kings, the Hightowers follow the Tyrell lead in supporting Renly.[27] The Hightowers do not change to Stannis Baratheon's side after Renly's assassination.

Daenerys Targaryen reminds the exiled Ser Jorah Mormont of his second wife, Lynesse Hightower.[7]

A Storm of Swords

Lord Leyton Hightower, by Anna Christenson © Fantasy Flight Games

Following the Battle of the Blackwater, the small council of King Joffrey I Baratheon grants some lands from the defeated to Lord Leyton Hightower.[22]

With the Tyrells allied with House Lannister, Alerie travels to King's Landing, where she attends the royal wedding of Margaery to Joffrey, during which the king dies.[28]

A Feast for Crows

Alerie attends the funeral of Lord Tywin Lannister[29] and Margaery's wedding to the new king, Tommen I Baratheon.[30]

House Hightower's caution changes in response to the taking of the Shields and attacks on the Reach by House Greyjoy. Old Lord Leyton stays in his tower with Malora the Mad Maid, supposedly researching books of spells, and sends forth his sons with varying tasks. Baelor Brightsmile is building ships, Gunthor is building up the harbor's defenses, Garth Greysteel is training men, and Humfrey is traveling to his sister Lynesse in Lys, where he hopes to hire sellsails. The ironborn of King Euron Greyjoy conquer parts of the Arbor, however, and attempt to blockade the Honeywine. One attack on Oldtown's harbor is repulsed by the defenders, but the city remains under serious threat.[24]

House Hightower at the end of the third century

The known Hightowers during the timespan of the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire are:

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch:


Historical Members

Before the Conquest

After the Conquest

Sworn Houses


The Hightowers are an ancient family, very rich and very proud.[7]


  1. Alerie Hightower has silver hair, despite being in her late thirties, early forties. Lynesse Hightower has golden hair and resembles Daenerys Targaryen. And in the end of his life, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen confused Alicent Hightower with his daughter Saera, who, although her appearance has not been described, was a Targaryen.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  2. So Spake Martin: The Arryns and the Hightower, May 8, 1999
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Hedge Knight.
  4. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses in the Reach
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Sworn Sword.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: Aegon's Conquest.
  12. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  14. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  17. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  18. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  19. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  20. 20.0 20.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.
  21. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  25. A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  30. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Andals in the Reach.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  33. Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  34. [SPOILERS] Family trees and successions - "Addam Hightower is indeed the father of Manfred #2."
  35. Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  37. Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  40. Ran's comment [1]
  41. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.