Casterly Rock

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Casterly Rock
Castle, regional capital
Casterly Rock by Ted Nasmith ©
Location westerlands
Government House Lannister , Feudal lord.
Religion Faith of the Seven
Founded Before the Age of Heroes
Named for House Casterly
The westerlands and the location of Casterly Rock
The westerlands and the location of Casterly Rock
Casterly Rock
The westerlands and the location of Casterly Rock

Casterly Rock, nicknamed the Rock, is a castle and the seat of House Lannister. The capital of the westerlands, it overlooks the harbor of Lannisport and the Sunset Sea. Nearby strongholds include Kayce and Feastfires to the west, Sarsfield to the north, and Cornfield and Clegane's Keep to the south.

The household of Casterly Rock includes Maester Creylen, Vylarr, Ser Benedict Broom, and Whitesmile Wat.[1]


Casterly Rock overlooking Lannisport by Feliche ©
See also: Images of Casterly Rock

Casterly Rock is carved out of a great stone hill colossal rock beside the Sunset Sea. It is popularly believed to resemble a lion in repose at sunset.[2]

The Casterlys of antiquity built a ringfort on the peak, and as millenia have passed its natural defenses have been expanded with walls, gates, and watchtowers.[3] The base of the Rock contains large sea-carved caverns. The stone has been mined for thousands of years, so there are hundreds of mineshafts in the depths of the Rock, as well as yet untouched gold veins.[3]

The Rock has been measured at three times the height of the Wall or the Hightower of Oldtown. It is almost two leagues long from west to east, and contains tunnels, dungeons, storerooms, barracks, halls, stables, stairways, courtyards, balconies, and gardens.[3] In the bowels of the Rock are rooms where caged lions were once kept,[4] and cells for the worst prisoners.[5] The castle contains a sept.[6]

The Lion's Mouth, the main entry to Casterly Rock, is an enormous natural cavern reaching two hundred feet high. Its steps are now wide enough for twenty riders. Its port has docks, wharves, and shipyards and is accessible by longships and cogs.[3] From below the Rock thunder can be heard, where the sea comes in.[7]

The Golden Gallery contains treasures of the Lannisters, including gilded ornaments and walls.[3] The Hall of Heroes is where the Lannisters and their close kin who have died valiantly are interred.[8] The armor of Lannisters of old are also displayed in the hall.[3] The Stone Garden is a godswood with a twisted weirwood a tenth the size of Raventree Hall's.[3][9][10]


House Casterly

The Hall of Heroes. - Illustrated by Thomas Denmark. © Fantasy Flight Games.

The region was probably inhabited by children of the forest and giants before the arrival of the First Men, and numerous animals have made it their home as well.[3]

Legend says that Casterly Rock is named for the family that ruled it in the Age of Heroes, the Casterlys, who no longer exist. The Lannisters trace their rule over it back to Lann the Clever, who tricked the Casterlys out of their castle and claimed it for his own.[11] Some claim that Lann still haunts the fortress,[12] which has never fallen.[3]

Kings of the Rock

The Kings of the Rock from House Lannister took their title from their seat, and members of the family founded nearby Lannisport. During the Andal invasion, the Lannisters eventually invited Andals into their realm and brought Andal youths to serve at Casterly Rock as wards and potential hostages.[13] According to a lost scroll, Valyrian sorcerers believed their downfall would come from the Rock's gold.[13]

Impressed by earlier visits to Casterly Rock and the Hightower, Roland I Arryn ordered the construction of the Eyrie as a replacement for the Gates of the Moon as the seat of House Arryn.[14]

King Gerold Lannister raided the Iron Islands and held one hundred captives in the Rock. Gerold the Great then hanged a captive whenever the ironborn threatened his lands.[15] Before becoming King of the Iron Islands, Harmund II Hoare spent his youth at Casterly Rock as a ward.[16]

During Aegon's Conquest, King Loren I formed an alliance at Casterly Rock with Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach, against Aegon the Conqueror. House Targaryen defeated the Lannisters and Gardeners at the Field of Fire, however. After the battle, Loren the Last surrendered his crown to Aegon and was confirmed as Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West.[17] Visenya Targaryen is said to have been grateful that Loren rode to war instead of seeking refuge in his castle, as the Rock may have withstood even dragonflame.[3]

Iron Throne

The young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen was once courted during a feast at Casterly Rock by the twins Jason Lannister and Tyland Lannister.[18] At the start of the Dance of the Dragons, Tyland sent a quarter of the royal treasury to the Rock.[19] The castle was left in disarray after the death of Lord Jason in the Battle of the Red Fork and the Lannister defeat in the Battle by the Lakeshore.[19] Although Dalton Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, was able to sack Lannisport, Casterly Rock was too strong for the ironborn once Lady Johanna Lannister barred its gates.[20]

Lady Ellyn Reyne, the wife of Ser Tion Lannister, held a splendid court at the Rock as Lord Gerold Lannister declined in health.[21] After the weak rule of Lord Tytos Lannister, his son Tywin restored the power of Casterly Rock.[21]

For much of 267 AC, King Aerys II Targaryen resided at Casterly Rock with Lord Tywin, his Hand of the King. Tywin repaid the late Jaehaerys II Targaryen's debts to Braavos with gold from the Rock.[22]

Shortly after the birth of Tyrion Lannister, the young Elia and Oberyn Martell accompanied their mother, the Princess of Dorne, to Casterly Rock when she met with Lord Tywin.[23]

Aeron Greyjoy was captured after the sea battle off Fair Isle, taken to Lannisport in chains, and spent the rest of Greyjoy's Rebellion imprisoned in Casterly Rock.[24]

When Tyrion Lannister became a man at sixteen, he was forbidden by Tywin from taking a tour of the Free Cities as his uncles Gerion and Tygett had done. Instead Tywin gave his son charge of the cisterns and drains at Casterly Rock.[12]

Following the tourney on Prince Joffrey's name day in King's Landing, Queen Cersei Lannister and her children accompanied her father, Tywin, during his return to Casterly Rock.[25]

Recent Events

The wealth of Casterly Rock - Illustrated by Daniele Bigliardo. © Fantasy Flight Games.

A Game of Thrones

King Robert I Baratheon tells Lord Eddard Stark that he wanted young Robert Arryn to foster at Casterly Rock with Lord Tywin Lannister, but the boy's mother took him to the Eyrie after the death of Lord Jon Arryn.[26]

After the capture of Tyrion Lannister by Eddard's wife, Lady Catelyn Stark, Tyrion's brother Jaime wounds Ned in the streets of King's Landing and then rides for the westerlands.[27] Jaime raises a host at Casterly Rock[28] and Tywin raises another,[29] beginning a conflict which develops into the War of the Five Kings. After the Battle of the Camps, Ser Marq Piper suggests attacking Casterly Rock but receives little support from the rebel nobles at Riverrun.[30]

A Clash of Kings

Ser Stafford Lannister begins raising a new host at Casterly Rock,[31] but these westermen are later defeated by Robb Stark, King in the North, in the Battle of Oxcross.[32]

Expecting the ironborn to ally with the northmen, Theon Greyjoy desires to conquer Casterly Rock and claim it for himself. His father, Lord Balon Greyjoy, states the Rock is too strong, however, and instead attacks the north.[33]

A Storm of Swords

Tyrion demands his birthright of the lordship of Casterly Rock from his father, Tywin, and is harshly rejected.[34]

Tyrion suggests to his new wife, Sansa Stark, that they visit the Rock, wanting to show her where he and Jaime grew up, but also desiring to keep her away from the abuses of his nephew, King Joffrey I Baratheon. She remains impassive, however, so Tyrion withdraws his offer.[7]

Resting on a weirwood stump en route to King's Landing, Jaime dreams of watery caverns beneath the Rock.[35]

Lord Tywin intends to remove his son Jaime from the Kingsguard so he can again be heir to Casterly Rock, and also send his daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, back to the Rock so she cannot interfere with the education of the new king, Tommen I Baratheon.[36] Tywin is killed in the Tower of the Hand by Tyrion, however.[37]

A Feast for Crows

Tywin's brother, Ser Kevan Lannister, advises Cersei to return to the westerlands to take her place as Lady of Casterly Rock. Cersei insists on remaining in King's Landing and refuses to name Kevan as Tommen's regent,[38] and she names Ser Damion Lannister, a distant cousin of the main branch, as castellan of the Rock instead of Kevan.[39] Tywin's body is escorted back to Casterly Rock by an honor guard of western knights and nobles.[40]

After Cersei's arrest by the Faith of the Seven, Ser Harys Swyft and Grand Maester Pycelle invite Kevan to return from the Rock and assume the regency.[41]

As a condition of Jaime's ending of the siege of Riverrun, Lord Edmure Tully is to become an honored captive at the Rock. His pregnant wife Roslin is to join him from the Twins once she gives birth.[42][43]

A Dance with Dragons

An exile in Essos, Tyrion considers hiring the Golden Company to help him gain Casterly Rock, but the sellswords follow Prince Aegon Targaryen.[44] Tyrion instead joins the Second Sons and gains their support by promising them gold from the Rock.[5]


Lord Tywin looms as large as Casterly Rock, and no king has ever had so diligent or capable a Hand.[22]

- writings of Pycelle

The Lannisters were an old family, tracing their descent back to Lann the Clever, a trickster from the Age of Heroes who was no doubt as legendary as Bran the Builder, though far more beloved of singers and taletellers. In the songs, Lann was the fellow who winkled the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock with no weapon but his wits, and stole gold from the sun to brighten his curly hair.[11]

- thoughts of Eddard Stark

They say there is naught but stone at the heart of Casterly Rock.[29]

Catelyn Stark to Robb Stark

Stone, I must be stone, I must be Casterly Rock, hard and unmovable.[45]

- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion: What do I want, you ask? I'll tell you what I want. I want what is mine by rights. I want Casterly Rock ... I want you to stand up before the realm and proclaim that I am your son and your lawful heir.
Tywin: Casterly Rock. Never ... neither gods nor men shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.[46]

- Tyrion Lannister and Tywin Lannister

Extravagance has its uses. We must demonstrate the power and wealth of Casterly Rock for all the realm to see.[47]

- Tywin Lannister to Tyrion Lannister

My father's seat is mine by rights. Swear me your sword, and once I win it back I'll drown you in gold.[44]

- Tyrion Lannister to Jorah Mormont

References and Notes

  1. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, Casterly Rock.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: Casterly Rock.
  4. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 31, Jaime IV.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  8. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  9. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
  13. 13.0 13.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: The Eyrie.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  18. The Rogue Prince.
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Princess and the Queen.
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Red Kraken.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
  22. 22.0 22.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  24. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  38. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  40. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  41. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
  43. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  44. 44.0 44.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  45. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.
  46. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
  47. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.