Jon Arryn

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House Arryn.svg Lord
Jon Arryn
House Arryn.svg
970110 1331165364981 full.jpg
Allen Douglas © Fantasy Flight Games

Allegiance House Arryn
Culture Valemen
Born 218220 AC (roughly)[2]
the Eyrie, the Vale of Arryn[3]
Died 298 AC[2]
Red Keep, King's Landing
Father Jasper Arryn

Played by John Standing
TV series Game of Thrones: Season 1

Jon Arryn was the Lord of the Eyrie, the Defender of the Vale, the Warden of the East and the head of House Arryn during the reign of King Robert I Baratheon. He also served Robert as Hand of the King from his ascension to the Iron Throne in 283 AC until his unexpected death in 298 AC.[6]

Jon was the husband of Lady Lysa Arryn and father of Lord Robert Arryn, and he acted as a second father to Lord Eddard Stark and King Robert.[7]

Appearance and Character

Jon had broad shoulders.[6] Half of his teeth had fallen out by the time he married Lysa Tully.[8] As a younger man he resembled Harrold Hardyng, who has blue eyes, blond hair, and an aquiline nose.[9] Lysa resented Jon's poor breath.[10]

Jon had a reputation for being prudent,[11] calming and wise,[12] and kindly and trusting.[13] He was cordial but not friendly toward Lord Stannis Baratheon.[14]

While in King's Landing, Lysa commissioned a double-edged longsword for Jon which he carried while sitting the Iron Throne in place of King Robert I Baratheon. Jon's blade has wings on its crossguard, a falcon-head pommel, and is engraved in silver to resemble mountain sky.[15] Jon preferred functional armor, rather than jeweled and silvered plate.[14] Jon's favorite bird was a falcon gifted to him by Robert.[1]



Jon was born as the eldest son of Lord Jasper Arryn. He had a younger brother, Ronnel, and a sister, Alys, who married Ser Elys Waynwood. Jon was Keeper of the Gates of the Moon while Jasper lived, and after his father's death Jon named his brother Ronnel and later his cousin Denys to that position.[1] Because of the Vale mountain clans, Jon always traveled in strength when crossing the Mountains of the Moon.[16]

Jon's first wife was Jeyne Royce, she died in childbed, their daughter stillborn. His second marriage was to Rowena Arryn, a cousin, who died of a winter chill during a childless marriage.[4] Because he had no children, Jon's heir became his nephew, Elbert, the son of Ronnel.[17]

Jon fought for King Jaehaerys II Targaryen in the War of the Ninepenny Kings in 260 AC. During the war, he made alliances with Lord Rickard Stark of Winterfell and Lord Steffon Baratheon of Storm's End, which resulted several years later in Jon taking their sons, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon, as his wards at the Eyrie.[3] As they grew, the two boys became close companions and regarded the childless Jon as a second father.[7] The only blade used by Robert was a hunting knife he received from Jon as a boy.[18] Jon declined to foster the grandsons of Lord Walder Frey.[19]

Robert's Rebellion

Jon's heir, Elbert Arryn, was murdered by King Aerys II Targaryen in King's Landing,[20] and the Mad King then demanded that Jon execute his wards, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon. Jon refused, however, and raised his banners in revolt,[7] beginning what would become known as Robert's Rebellion.[21] While Ned Stark returned to the north to call his banners, Jon and Robert led the taking of Gulltown, allowing Robert to return to the stormlands.[22] Lyn Corbray fought against Jon at Gulltown, but submitted after the battle and joined Jon's host.[23]

Ser Denys Arryn, Jon's cousin and new heir, was slain by Lord Jon Connington during the Battle of the Bells.[24] In order to gain Lord Hoster Tully for the rebels, Eddard and Jon agreed to marry Hoster's daughters, Catelyn and Lysa.[25] Because Lysa was proven fertile, Jon hoped to secure a new heir for the failing Arryn line, and so Jon and Eddard married the Tully sisters in a dual ceremony at Riverrun.[25]

Jon participated in the Battle of the Trident,[21] during which Robert killed Aerys's son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. During the Sack of King's Landing, not only the Mad King but also Rhaegar's wife, Elia Martell, and children, Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon, were killed. Eddard was appalled by the brutality of the acts but Robert's hatred for the Targaryens made him consider the murders necessary, creating a temporary rift between the two that even Lord Arryn was unable to breach.[12] When Robert Baratheon ascended to the Iron Throne, he appointed Jon as his Hand.[7]

Hand of the King

Jon as Hand for King Robert I Baratheon

The first task Jon undertook was making peace with Dorne. The southern region was incensed by the deaths of Prince Lewyn and Princess Elia during the war, and Prince Oberyn Martell tried to raise the kingdom to support Viserys Targaryen, the surviving son of King Aerys II. The year after Robert I Baratheon took the throne (284 AC), Jon returned the bones of Lewyn to Sunspear and brokered a peace with Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne.[26] However, Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch, who had killed Elia and her children, went unpunished by Robert, creating a persistent bone of contention between the Iron Throne and Dorne.[27]

To strengthen Robert's hold on the throne, Jon negotiated the king's marriage with Cersei Lannister[13] and advised that he retain her brother, Ser Jaime, on the Kingsguard, thereby opposing Lord Eddard Stark, who proposed sending Jaime to the Wall for his killing of King Aerys.[28] Robert also considered the assassinations of Viserys and Daenerys, believed to be the last two Targaryens and thus possible threats, but Jon dissuaded the king from the idea.[12]

Robert left Jon with much of the responsibility of running the Seven Kingdoms, but Jon could not stop Robert from spending huge amounts of coin on tournaments and excess, putting the realm in serious debt.[11] While he was at court, Lord Nestor Royce ruled as High Steward of the Vale.[5] Jon appointed Janos Slynt as Commander of the City Watch after the death of Manly Stokeworth.[29]

Jon and his son Robert, art by Juliana Pinho ©

Jon's marriage with Lysa was loveless, with Lysa finding Jon to be too old and hating his bad breath. After three girls and two boys miscarried, Lysa gave Jon a sickly son and heir, Robert Arryn.[8] Lysa organized for her childhood friend, Petyr Baelish, to administer the customs at Gulltown and later convinced her husband to bring him to the court in King's Landing. Petyr was made master of coin under Jon as Hand.[10] Hugh became Jon's squire.[13] Jon brought Ser Mandon Moore to King's Landing and King Robert made him a member of his Kingsguard, though neither of the two loved him very much.[30]


Jon was considered robust for his age, but he became ill the night after he borrowed Grand Maester Malleon's book, and quickly wasted away. Jon's maester, Colemon, tried treating an assumed stomach illness by purging the body. The moribund Jon kept mentioning the name Robert, and his final words to his wife Lysa Arryn and King Robert I Baratheon were "the seed is strong".[6][31] Lysa believes this to be a reference to their own son, Robert Arryn, but it is more likely that Jon was referring to what he had learned about the Baratheon lineage while studying Malleon's book.[32][31] Afterwards, his speech became too slurred to comprehend and he died the following morning.[6]

After Jon's death, King Robert suggested to Lysa that her young son Robert should become a ward of Lord Tywin Lannister and be sent to Casterly Rock, as he feared that being raised by his mother would make his namesake weak. Lysa refused the suggestion brusquely and, against the wishes of the king, one night fled from King's Landing with her son and returned to the Vale of Arryn.[33] She was accompanied by Maester Colemon, Jon's steward, the captain of the guard, and knights and retainers.[6]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Jon Arryn by TheMico ©

King Robert I Baratheon decides that Lord Eddard Stark should succeed Jon as Hand of the King, which angers both Queen Cersei Lannister, who had hoped her brother Ser Jaime would assume the position and fears that Eddard would move to curb Lannister influence, and Lord Stannis Baratheon, who thinks he is owed the position through his fifteen years of service on the small council.[34][35] Shortly after Robert and his entourage leave for Winterfell to ask Ned Stark to become his Hand, Stannis goes back to Dragonstone.[11]

Lysa writes a coded letter to her sister, Catelyn Stark, in which she claims that Jon was murdered by Queen Cersei. This convinces Catelyn and eventually Eddard, who had been inclined to refuse King Robert's offer, that he must assume the position of Hand, so that he can find out the truth about Jon's death and expose those responsible.[36][10]

However, when Eddard arrives at the Red Keep, he realizes that Lysa's return to the Eyrie with most of the Arryn household and Stannis's departure to Dragonstone prevent him from questioning crucial witnesses about the circumstances and background of Jon's death. Left without other options, he begins to rely on information provided by Lords Petyr Baelish and Varys. Petyr, known as Littlefinger, provides Ned with the names of Jon's former household remaining in the capital, and Jory Cassel speaks with Jon's serving girl, potboy, stablehand, and squire, the newly-knighted Ser Hugh of the Vale.[11][6] After Hugh is killed by Ser Gregor Clegane in the Hand's tourney,[37] Varys suggests that Jon might have been poisoned by his squire.[13]

Jon's former potboy tells Jory that Lord Arryn had visited a master armorer and commissioned plate armor wrought in pale silver with a blue jasper falcon and a mother-of-pearl moon on the breast.[14] When Eddard asks Tobho Mott if the armorer had made a falcon helm for Jon, Tobho says he did not receive Lord Arryn's patronage when Jon and Stannis visited Tobho's armory.[14] However, Eddard learns the two men asked about Tobho's apprentice, Gendry, one of Robert's bastards who bears a striking resemblance to his father. Jon and Stannis also visited Chataya's brothel, where Robert had fathered a girl, Barra, who also clearly has the king's features.[14][13] The increased contact with Stannis apparently also contributed to Jon's planning to send his son, Robert Arryn, to be fostered by Stannis at Dragonstone.[15]

Jon was seeking further proof that Cersei's children could not be Robert's in Grand Maester Malleon's book The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, a ponderous tome lent to him by Grand Maester Pycelle. The book would have informed him, as it later informs Lord Stark, that whenever members of houses Lannister and Baratheon wed, their offspring always bore clear Baratheon features (unlike Cersei's children Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, who more closely resemble the Lannisters).[6][32] Jon's investigation became known to a number of people at the court, including Pycelle, Varys, Cersei, and Littlefinger. Varys saw Jon's life in danger and begged him to employ a taster, but Jon dismissed the suggestion that anyone would try to poison him.[13]

Meanwhile, Eddard's wife, Catelyn, takes Tyrion Lannister captive at the crossroads inn for his assumed role in plotting her son Bran's death.[16] Catelyn brings Tyrion to the Eyrie, where her sister Lysa accuses him of having poisoned Lord Jon. Ser Vardis Egen wields Jon's falcon sword during Tyrion's trial by combat, but he is slain by Tyrion's representative, Bronn, and Tyrion is set free.[15] The widowed Lysa is courted by numerous nobles, but she intends to choose her own husband.[5]

Eddard learns that Queen Cersei's children had been fathered not by King Robert but by her brother Jaime, which would make the children illegitimate and Stannis therefore Robert's rightful heir.[38][32][39] It is too late to inform King Robert, however, as the king goes hunting in the kingswood and fighting breaks out in the riverlands in response to Tyrion's abduction by Catelyn.[40][41][32] Robert dies after being gored by a boar during his hunt.[39][42]

Stannis remains at Dragonstone,[43] which keeps him from directly challenging the legitimacy of Joffrey I when the youth assumes the Iron Throne.[42] Eddard, betrayed by Littlefinger,[42] is later executed by order of the new king.[44]

A Clash of Kings

Varys insinuates to Tyrion Lannister that an unnamed person had suggested to Stannis Baratheon that Queen Cersei Lannister and Ser Jaime Lannister were having an incestual relationship.[45] Concerned that such a suggestion coming from him would be seen as motivated by his own ambitions, Stannis reveals to Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark that he did not confide in King Robert I Baratheon but instead raised the issue with Jon Arryn, whom the king would be more inclined to believe.[46]

Tyrion forces Grand Maester Pycelle, a staunch supporter of House Lannister's interests, to confess he believed that Cersei wanted Jon dead. The queen considered Jon a threat to her plan of putting her son Joffrey on the Iron Throne after her husband, Robert, had been disposed of.[47] Pycelle believed that Jon was about to act on his knowledge by making preparations to send his wife, Lysa Arryn, to the Eyrie and his son, Robert Arryn, to Dragonstone.[31] Although Cersei had not given him explicit orders in this regard and was not even in King's Landing at the time, Pycelle assumed responsibility for the treatment and thereby assured that Jon died, despite the efforts by Maester Colemon—whom Pycelle sent away—to save him.[31]

A Storm of Swords

Jon's widow, Lysa Arryn, weds her childhood friend, Lord Petyr Baelish, at his tower on the Fingers.[8] Lysa names Petyr as Lord Protector of the Vale, angering Jon Arryn's bannermen.[10] At the Eyrie, Sansa Stark learns that unbeknownst to Jon, Lysa and Petyr had maintained a relationship since their youth.[10]

Upset at having witnessed a kiss between Petyr and Sansa, Lysa reveals she had convinced Jon to bring Petyr to court in King's Landing so that they could be close together.[10] Littlefinger had persuaded Lysa to poison Jon's wine with tears of Lys, suggesting to her that this would both remove the obstacle to their marriage and prevent Jon from sending Robert Arryn to Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone. Lysa did as she was bidden. Petyr had also encouraged Lysa to write the letter to her sister, Catelyn Stark, claiming the Lannisters were behind Jon's death, which contributed to the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings. Littlefinger pushes Lysa through the Moon Door and blames her death on the singer Marillion.[10]

A Feast for Crows

A Waxley knight states that Lysa had given Jon's favorite falcon to Marillion.[1]


2 stillborn
6 daughters

Quotes about Jon

I need good men about me. Men like Jon Arryn.[33]

Jon Arryn was a wise man and a good Hand.[12]

I loved that old man, I swear it, but now I think he was a bigger fool than Moon Boy.[13]

Lord Arryn was a dutiful husband, but their marriage was made from politics, not passion.[5]

The seed is strong, Jon Arryn had cried on his deathbed, and so it was.[32]

—thoughts of Eddard Stark

Stannis: I believed Robert would be more disposed to listen if the charges came from Lord Arryn, whom he loved.
Renly: Ah. So we have the word of a dead man.[46]

Lysa's match with Lord Arryn had been hastily arranged, and Jon was an old man even then, older than their father. An old man without an heir. His first two wives had left him childless, his brother's son had been murdered with Brandon Stark in King's Landing, his gallant cousin had died in the Battle of the Bells. He needed a young wife if House Arryn was to continue ... a young wife known to be fertile.[25]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

The death of the noble Hand, Jon Arryn, has unleashed a madness on the land, a madness of pride and violence.[48]

—writings of Yandel

Behind the scenes

In a 1993 draft of A Game of Thrones, King's Landing was ravaged by plague at the time of Jon Arryn's death, and he was believed to have died of the disease. In a 1994 draft, it was Jon Arryn, not Howland Reed, who accompanied Eddard Stark to the tower of joy and found him after Lyanna died.[49]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 See the Jon Arryn calculation.
  3. 3.0 3.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jon Arryn.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  9. The Winds of Winter, Alayne I
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  16. 16.0 16.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  18. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
  20. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  24. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
  30. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  33. 33.0 33.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  35. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  36. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  37. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  38. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
  39. 39.0 39.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  40. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  41. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  43. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  45. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  46. 46.0 46.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  47. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  48. The World of Ice & Fire, Afterward.
  49. Secrets of the Cushing Library: A Game of Thrones - gsteff on Reddit
Unknown Keeper of the Gates of the Moon Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord of the Eyrie
Defender of the Vale

?–298 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by Warden of the East
?–298 AC
Succeeded by
Preceded by Hand of the King
283298 AC
Served under: Robert I Baratheon
Succeeded by