Alchemists' Guild

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Two members of the Alchemist's Guild with wildfire, by Joshua Cairos © Fantasy Flight Games

The Alchemists' Guild,[1] also called the Guild of Alchemists,[2][3] is an old order of pyromancers. The guild was once powerful, though in the recent centuries, the maesters rose in prominence and pyromancers saw their influence dwindle.[4] The pyromancers claim to posses vast secret stores of knowledge.[4]

A full member of the Alchemists' Guild is called a wisdom. There are also apprentices and acolytes to assist them.[4] The order is led by a wisdom known as the grand master.[5]

Organization

In its earlier years, the guild was very powerful, but by the reign of King Robert I Baratheon their abilities and influence have been greatly diminished. Now only a few of the old order remain.[6] The pyromancers from the Alchemists' Guild in King's Landing are not the only pyromancers that can be found across the world; pyromancers can also found in the city of Asshai in Essos,[7] though it is unknown if they are connected with the Alchemists' Guild from Westeros.

The alchemists claimed to be able to transmute metals and create living creatures of flame, at the height of their power. In more recent times, they are still likely to hint at possessing vast secret stores of knowledge, though they only demonstrate the skill to create wildfire, which they call the substance. The wildfire is created in the Guildhall, located on the Street of the Sisters, close to Visenya's Hill in King's Landing.[4] The hall is an imposing labyrinth of cold, black stone.[3][4] Great care is taken when producing wildfire. Trained acolytes prepare the product in bare stone cells, and once a jar is ready, it is immediately removed by an apprentice and brought to the vaults.[4]

History

Aegon IV Targaryen

Pyromancer's apprentice, by Lauren Cannon © Fantasy Flight Games

King Aegon IV Targaryen, who dreamed of conquering Dorne, commanded the Guild of Alchemists to build him "dragons". Thus, the alchemists constructed massive devices fitted with pumps that shot jets of wildfire. One of the engines went up in flames in the kingswood and soon all seven burned, taking a quarter of the kingswood with them and forcing Aegon to abandon his scheme.[8]

Daeron II Targaryen

Because of the Great Spring Sickness, Lord Brynden Rivers, the Hand of the King, had the pyromancers burn the corpses that had been piled in the Dragonpit. A quarter of King's Landing burned in the aftermath.[9]

Aegon V Targaryen

Pyromancers are mentioned in the fragments of Gyldayn's writings which survived the tragedy at Summerhall.[10]

Aerys II Targaryen

The alchemists enjoyed a period of increased influence during the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen. The Alchemists visited court more frequently as Aerys's fascination with wildfire increased.[5] When the king tasked them with driving off winter at the start of 282 AC, the wisdoms burned green fires along the Red Keep's walls for a moon's turn.[11] A few years before his reign ended, King Aerys also began using fire to burn traitors, murderers, and plotters.[5] One such person to be executed in this way was Lord Rickard Stark.

Three wisdoms during Robert's Rebellion were Lord Rossart, Garigus, and Belis. King Aerys tasked them with creating a vast quantity of wildfire to potentially destroy King's Landing, should the war be lost. When Lord Qarlton Chelsted, the Hand of the King, opposed the plan and renounced his duties in disgust, Aerys had him burned to death with wildfire and made Rossart as his next and final Hand.[12] This was one of the reasons why Ser Jaime Lannister slew both Rossart and King Aerys during the Sack of King's Landing. Days after the sack of the city, Jaime hunted down Garigus and Belis and killed them.[12]

The acolytes who remained at the Guild were inexperienced in destroying the wildfire. Some jars remained in the vaults of the Guild, while others were lost and forgotten.[4]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

The Alchemist's Guild Hall, by Jonny Klein © Fantasy Flight Games

The alchemists found a cache of two hundred jars of wildfire under the Great Sept of Baelor in 298 AC,[4] and then three hundred jars under the Dragonpit in 299 AC.[13]

During the War of the Five Kings, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister commissions a great quantity of wildfire for the defenses of King's Landing. The alchemists report an unexplained increase in the effectiveness of their spells, where it is quickly noted that it had not been as easy since the time of the dragons, which allowed them to create the substance more quickly.[4]

A Feast for Crows

Lord Hallyne and his Guild of Alchemists are employed by Cersei to burn down the Tower of the Hand.[2]

Quotes

Wildfire is but one of the dread secrets of our ancient order. Many and wondrous are the things we might show you.[4]

King Aerys took a great interest in our work.[4]

His brother Jaime had told him a few stories of the Mad King and his pet pyromancers.[4]

Tyrion Lannister's thoughts

References

  1. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  3. 3.0 3.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Guild of Alchemists.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  6. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.

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