Eyrie

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The Eyrie
castle, regional capital
The Eyrie-TN.jpg
The Eyrie by Ted Nasmith ©
Location Vale of Arryn, Westeros
Government Seat of House Arryn , feudal society.
Ruler Lord Jon Arryn (AGoT)
Lord Robert Arryn (ADwD)
Religion Faith of the Seven
Notable places High Hall, Crescent Chamber, Maiden's Tower, Moon Door, sky cells

The Eyrie is an ancient castle and seat of House Arryn, one of the oldest lines of Andal nobility, within the Vale of Arryn. It is situated in the Mountains of the Moon on a shoulder of the peak known as the Giant's Lance, several thousand feet above the valley below. Although small compared to the seats of other Great Houses in Westeros, the Eyrie is considered impregnable to attack. During wintertime, the Arryns seek refuge against the cold in the Gates of the Moon at the base of the mountain.[1]

Household

Ser Vardis Egen is the captain of the House Arryn guards at the Eyrie, and Colemon is the castle's maester.[2] Mord is the Eyrie's gaoler,[3] and servingwomen include Gretchel, Maddy, and Mela.[4] A master-at-arms and a plump septon, both unnamed, also serve at the castle.[5] Mya Stone brings fresh foodstuffs from the valley below.[6]

Layout

The Eyrie by Thomas Denmark © Fantasy Flight Games

The Eyrie is the smallest of the great castles,[1] being no larger than Maegor's Holdfast.[7] The castle is made of fine white stone.[8] Its seven slim, white towers are bunched tightly together and can hold up to five hundred men.[2] The waterfall known as Alyssa's Tears can be heard from the Eyrie,[6] and falcons fly near the castle.[2][6]

The Eyrie lacks stables, smithys, and kennels, but its granary is as large as those found in much larger castles, like Winterfell.[2] The Eyrie also contains a sept.[8] The castle's household guard wear sky-blue cloaks.[9]

  • The High Hall is a long and austere hall, with walls made of blue-veined white marble.[3] The High Hall is decorated with rows of slim fluted pillars and a blue silk carpet.[7] At the end of it sit two thrones carved of weirwood, one the high seat of the lord and the other a lesser throne for a consort.[3][7] It has narrow, arched windows, between which are torches mounted on high iron[7] or silver[9] sconces. Feasts can be held in the High Hall.[10] Entrance to the High Hall is through carved wooden doors.[7]
  • The Moon Door is a narrow weirwood door that stands between two slender pillars halfway in the High Hall. A crescent moon is carved into the door, which opens inward and is barred by three heavy bronze bars. The door opens into the sky. Most executions at the Eyrie use this door, which opens onto a six hundred foot drop to the stones of the valley below.[3]
  • The Crescent Chamber is the Eyrie's reception hall. Here, guests are given refreshments and warmed by the fire after making the climb up the Giant's Lance.[6]
  • A flight of steep marble stairs from the Crescent Chamber bypasses the Eyrie's undercrofts and dungeons and is protected by three murder holes. The portcullis atop the stairs leads to an arcade decorated with tapestries.[6]
  • The solar is located at the end of the arcade. The chamber is decorated with a Myrish carpet and has enough room for a trestle table and at least eight heavy oak-and-leather chairs.[6]
  • The Lower Hall is a hall in which food and wine can be served.[9]
  • The Morning Hall is located above the kitchens and is where people can break their fast.[6]
  • The Maiden's Tower is the easternmost of the seven towers of the Eyrie. From a balcony on the tower, one can see the Vale and the Giant's Lance.[9]
  • The Moon Tower contains the bedchambers of Lord Arryn,[9] which is protected by an oaken door four inches thick and has curtains of plush blue velvet. The bedchamber's window has small diamond-shaped panes.[8]
  • The garden is encircled by the castle's towers. It was intended to be a godswood, but no weirwood heart tree would take root in the stony soil.[5][7] The garden, which is overlooked by Lady Lysa Arryn's apartments, instead contains blue flowers, grass, shrubbery, thin dark trees, and statuary, including a depiction of a weeping Alyssa Arryn in its center.[5][7]
  • Sky cells are the Eyrie's infamous dungeons. They are shelves on the side of the mountain's sheer cliffs, left open to the cold sky, with slightly sloping floors to unnerve the prisoners. Many prisoners, driven mad by the cold and howling wind, commit suicide rather than remain imprisoned.[3]
  • The Eyrie is located six hundred feet above a waycastle, Sky. Using handholds carved into the rock within the Giant's Lance, visitors can climb a ladder-like chimney[2][6] which leads from Sky up to the castle's undercellar.[8] Alternatively, wicker baskets and six great oaken buckets are drawn on long iron chains between the Eyrie and Sky.[2] Supplies can thus brought from Sky to the Eyrie's winch room, as can visitors unable or unwilling to climb the chimney ladder.[2][6] Oxen are used to turn the winches, and the animals are slaughtered and left for falcons when the Arryns descend to the Gates of the Moon before winter. When the court returns to the Eyrie after winter, unspoiled meat is served in a spring feast.[8]

Defenses

The Gates of the Moon with the Eyrie above, by Paolo Puggioni ©

To reach the Eyrie from the west, an invading army would have to first overcome the Bloody Gate guarding the high road. Within the Vale, the stout Gates of the Moon guards the base of the Giant's Lance.[2]

Steep stone steps carved into the Giant's Lance creep up the mountainside from the Gates of the Moon;[6] they are too narrow for horses, but are accessible by mules.[2] Travelers on the staircase are exposed to defenders in three waycastles.[2]

  • Stone, the first waycastle, is on a path surrounded by forest.[2]
  • Snow, the second waycastle, is on a trail steeper than that of Stone. It is nestled into the Giant's Lance so as to command the entire pathway from Stone to Snow.[2]
  • Sky, the third waycastle, is on a treacherous path. Handholds carved into the rock lead up to the Eyrie.[2] Baskets and oaken buckets can transport supplies and travelers up to the Eyrie as well.[8]

History

Kings of Mountain and Vale

The Eyrie by Lino Drieghe © Fantasy Flight Games

Legends claim that the Winged Knight drove the First Men from the Vale and flew to the top of the Giant's Lance on a huge falcon to slay the Griffin King.[9][8] Records indicate that Artys I Arryn, the first King of Mountain and Vale, constructed the Gates of the Moon at the foot of the Giant's Lance, where he had defeated King Robar II Royce's army of First Men in the Battle of the Seven Stars.[11]

Artys's grandson, Roland I Arryn, believed that the Gates of the Moon was both inferior to Casterly Rock and the Hightower and strategically vulnerable to raids from the Vale mountain clans. Allegedly inspired by Teora Hunter, Roland decided to build a new royal palace high in the mountain above the Gates of the Moon.[1]

Construction of the Eyrie took place intermittently over generations, and marble was imported from Tarth in the narrow sea, as Roland disliked the appearance of stone available in the Vale. The first maester to serve at the Eyrie was Quince.[1]

The Eyrie was inhabited as a pleasure palace[12] for the Kings of Mountain and Vale during spring, summer, and autumn. The Arryns descend to the larger Gates of the Moon for winter[1] and host a feast when they return to the Eyrie in the spring.[8]

The Conquest

During Aegon's Conquest, Queen Regent Sharra Arryn fortified the Bloody Gate and had her son, the boy king Ronnel Arryn, take refuge in the Eyrie. The fleet of House Arryn defeated that of House Targaryen in a battle in the waters off Gulltown.[13]

The Moon Door in the High Hall, by Thomas Denmark © Fantasy Flight Games

After the Field of Fire and the submission of the north, Queen Visenya Targaryen, bypassed the Eyrie's lower defenses by flying upon her dragon, Vhagar, to the castle's inner courtyard. Realizing that the Eyrie's isolated location could not protect against dragons, Sharra submitted to Visenya.[14] Visenya flew Ronnel thrice around the Giant's Lance, and the boy became Warden of the East for King Aegon I Targaryen, the new Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.[13]

Early Targaryens

King Aegon I Targaryen visited the Eyrie during his royal progresses.[15]

During the reign of Aegon's successor, King Aenys I Targaryen, Jonos Arryn imprisoned his brother, Lord Ronnel, and took control of the Eyrie. When Lord Allard Royce's host of loyal bannermen defeated Jonos's rebels below, the self-proclaimed King of Mountain and Vale threw Ronnel to his death through the Moon Door. Aegon's younger son, Prince Maegor Targaryen, rode the dragon Balerion to the Eyrie. To avoid being burned by Balerion's dragonflame, the Eyrie's garrison captured Jonos and threw him through the Moon Door. Maegor hanged all of Jonos's followers from the walls of the Eyrie.[16]

After Elinor Costayne was forced to wed King Maegor I, one of her sons from her first marriage was sent to the Eyrie to be raised.[16]

King Jaehaerys I Targaryen visited the Eyrie on Vermithor during his royal progress in 52 AC.[17] Princess Daella Targaryen died at the Eyrie after giving birth to Aemma Arryn in 82 AC. Lord Rodrik Arryn wanted his wife to be buried in the Vale of Arryn, but Queen Alysanne Targaryen insisted that her daughter be burned and her ashes interred at Dragonstone.[18]

The Dance and Regency

The Eyrie in Game of Thrones

During the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon flew to the Eyrie on Vermax to secure an alliance between Jeyne Arryn, Lady of the Eyrie, and the blacks of his mother, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen. According to Grand Maester Munkun, Jacaerys and Jeyne agreed to an alliance in the castle's High Hall, with Jacaerys promising to have dragonriders sent to the Vale to help protect the Eyrie from enemy dragons.[19]

Jeyne had her first cousin, Ser Arnold Arryn imprisoned in the sky cells of the Eyrie and in the dungeons of the Gates of the Moon after two failed rebellions. After Jeyne died, her preferred heir, Ser Joffrey Arryn, was contested by Arnold's son, Ser Eldric Arryn, and by Isembard Arryn of Gulltown. After a civil war in the Vale of Arryn, Joffrey eventually emerged as Lord of the Eyrie during the regency of Aegon III.[20]

Recent History

Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon were fostered at the Eyrie for years by the childless Lord Jon Arryn. On one occasion while having breakfast, a food fight ensued when Robert struck Dacks in the face with an orange.[10] When King Aerys II Targaryen demanded the heads of the wards,[21][22] Lord Arryn refused and raised his banners in revolt, thus beginning what would become Robert's Rebellion.[23] After winning the war, Jon was named Hand of the King to the new monarch, Robert I. With Jon serving in King's Landing, the Vale has been ruled in his absence by Lord Nestor Royce, High Steward of the Vale.[2]

The singer Tom of Sevenstreams was once sent from the Eyrie by Jon's wife, Lady Lysa Arryn, and forced to take the high road.[24] Before giving birth to Robert Arryn, Lysa miscarried five times, twice at the Eyrie and three times in King's Landing.[25]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Ser Vardis Egen dueling Bronn in the garden, by © Marc Simonetti

After the death in King's Landing of Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie and Hand of the King to Robert I Baratheon, his widow Lysa travels to the Eyrie with their young son, Lord Robert Arryn.[23] Numerous suitors from throughout the Vale of Arryn come to the Eyrie to woo Lysa.[2]

Lysa's sister, Lady Catelyn Stark, arrests Tyrion Lannister at the crossroads inn[26] and brings him to the Vale of Arryn. Mya Stone aids Catelyn with a night ascent to the Eyrie upon Lysa's insistence.[2] The rest of Catelyn's party stays at the Gates of the Moon overnight and spends the next day ascending the Giant's Lance; Tyrion falters near the end of their journey and is carried the rest of the way by a sellsword, Bronn.[3] Catelyn sends a raven from the Eyrie to Winterfell to inform her son, Robb Stark, of Tyrion's capture.[27]

In the High Hall of the Eyrie, Lysa accuses Tyrion of having murdered her husband, and she has the dwarf imprisoned in the sky cells.[2] When he is eventually returned to the High Hall, Tyrion publicly demands trial by combat.[3] The captain of the guards, Ser Vardis Egen, is killed by Tyrion's champion, Bronn, in their duel in the Eyrie's garden,[5] so Lysa reluctantly releases Tyrion. She expects the dwarf and Bronn to be killed on the high road, however.[28]

A Clash of Kings

Ser Marwyn Belmore becomes the new captain of the guards at the Eyrie after Vardis's death.[29] Marillion has become the court singer for Lady Lysa.[29]

Stannis Baratheon, Lord of Dragonstone and claimant to the Iron Throne, rejects Maester Cressen's suggestion to have his daughter, Shireen Baratheon, fostered at the Eyrie.[30]

Robb Stark, now King in the North, sends multiple ravens to the Eyrie seeking assistance from his aunt, Lysa, during the War of the Five Kings, but there is no response.[31]

A Storm of Swords

The Eyrie continues to disregard Robb's messages.[32]

After Robb's death at the Twins in the Red Wedding, Sandor Clegane intends to ransom Arya Stark to her aunt Lysa at the Eyrie. They are forced to turn back in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon, however, as, the high road to the Eyrie has become too dangerous because of snowfall, wild animals, and mountain clans.[33]

Lord Petyr Baelish brings a disguised Sansa Stark to the Vale of Arryn after the death of King Joffrey I Baratheon. Lysa departs the Eyrie with a small escort to meet Petyr, her childhood friend and lover, on the Fingers. Petyr wants to publicly wed Lysa at the Eyrie, but Lysa insists upon an immediate wedding at his small castle, as she brought her own septon. They agree to present Sansa as Petyr's bastard, "Alayne Stone", and Lysa privately tells the girl that she can be betrothed to her son Robert, Lord of the Eyrie.[34]

Sansa Stark sculpts a snow castle of Winterfell, her childhood home, by akizhao ©

After the party arrives at the Eyrie, Sansa finds the castle an empty and lonely place, and Lysa keeps the High Hall closed most of the time.[7] Lord Baelish dismisses Marwyn and names Ser Lothor Brune as his replacement.[7] The plump septon is no longer in attendance.[8]

When heavy snow falls on the castle, Petyr aids Sansa in building a snow castle of Winterfell in the Eyrie's garden. He then kisses the girl, an act secretly witnessed by Lysa. Young Lord Robert destroys Sansa's snow castle.[7] A frantic Lysa summons Sansa to the High Hall, accuses her of having tried to seduce Petyr, and threatens to throw the girl through the Moon Door. Petyr, however, throws Lysa herself through the door and places blame on her court singer, Marillion.[7]

A Feast for Crows

Lord Baelish is left as Lord Protector of the Vale, ruling in the name of the child Lord Robert. Because the boy wanders the castle to sleep in the beds of others, Sansa has Ser Lothor Brune lock Robert in his room at night.[9] Petyr has Marillion imprisoned in the sky cells, and the prisoner's constant singing haunts Sansa and upsets Robert.[9]

When Lord Nestor Royce visits the Eyrie to investigate Lysa's death, Sansa lies about Lysa's death. A tortured Marillion is brought to the High Hall and confesses to having pushed Lysa. In the solar, Petyr grants Nestor the Gates of the Moon, ostensibly according to Lysa's wishes.[9] Petyr later says that Marillion ended his life by walking from the sky cell, but Robert insists he can still hear the musician's singing.[6]

Objecting to Petyr's rule over the Vale,[35] the Lords Declarant encamp with six thousand men before the Gates of the Moon. Petyr meets with the six lords in his solar, rather than the High Hall, and they eventually agree to grant Petyr a year to bring order to the Vale.[6]

With the arrival of winter, the court leaves the Eyrie for the Gates of the Moon at the foot of the Giant's Lance.[8]

The Winds of Winter

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Lord Robert fears that his heir, Ser Harrold Hardyng, is waiting for him to die so that Harry can claim the Eyrie. At the Gates of the Moon, the cooks of Lord Nestor prepare a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant's Lance with the Eyrie depicted in sugar.[36]

Quotes

Tyrion Lannister in a sky cell by Tim Teiiku ©

The most splendid work ever built by the hands of men, a palace worthy of the gods themselves. Surely even the Father Above does not have such a seat.[1]

Those years we spent in the Eyrie ... gods, those were good years.[37]

Above the Vale, the Eyrie stood high and impregnable, its towers reaching for the sky.[26]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

Seven towers, Ned had told her, like white daggers thrust into the belly of the sky, so high you can stand on the parapets and look down on the clouds.[2]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

The Eyrie is impregnable. You saw for yourself. No enemy could ever reach us up here.[2]

The older servants said these halls rang with laughter when her father and Robert Baratheon had been Jon Arryn's wards, but those days were many years gone.[7]

—thoughts of Sansa Stark

The Eyrie boasted a sept, but no septon; a godswood, but no heart tree. No prayers are answered here, she often thought, though some days she felt so lonely she had to try. Only the wind answered her, sighing endlessly around the seven slim white towers and rattling the Moon Door every time it gusted. It will be even worse in winter, she knew. In winter this will be a cold white prison.[8]

—thoughts of Sansa Stark

Chapters that take place at the Eyrie

Behind the Scenes

According to George R. R. Martin, Neuschwanstein is an inspiration for the Eyrie.[38]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  4. A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  12. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, The Eyrie.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  15. Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  17. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  18. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  19. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
  20. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  23. 23.0 23.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  24. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 42, Tyrion VI.
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
  30. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  32. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  35. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  36. The Winds of Winter, Alayne I
  37. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  38. So Spake Martin: Frankfurt Bookfair (October 17-23), October 17,2000

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