Garth VII Gardener
Garth, by Magali Villeneuve
|Garth of House Gardener, the Seventh of His Name
|King of the Reach
|In unknown (aged 93)
|The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
As a boy, Garth turned back a Dornish invasion when King Ferris Fowler led ten thousand men through the Wide Way intent on conquest.  Soon after he drove the last of the ironborn from their strongholds on the Misty Islands. He then renamed them the Shield Islands, and resettled them with his own fiercest fighters and finest seamen, granting them special dispensations with the goal of turning them into a first line of defense against ironborn raiders. This proved a great success.
In his final and greatest war, Garth VII faced an alliance between the Storm King and the King of the Rock, who intended to divide the Reach between them. The Goldenhand defeated them both, and then with cunning words he sowed such strife between the two that they turned on each other with great slaughter at the Battle of Three Armies. In the aftermath Garth married his daughters to their heirs and signed a pact with each, thereby fixing the borders between their three kingdoms.
But Garth's greatest achievement was to give his kingdom and people three-quarters of a century of golden peace. During the long years of his reign, the Reach was at war for less than ten. Generations of boys were born, grew to manhood, and sired children of their own and died without ever having to know what it was to grasp a spear and shield and march away to war. And with this long peace came an unprecedented prosperity. This period became known as the Golden Reign, and was when the Reach truly flowered.
Garth VII died when he was ninety-three, frail of body but sound of wits, having reigned for eighty-one years. He was succeeded on the Oakenseat by a great-grandson. The golden peace of Garth Goldenhand never came again. Highgarden reached its apex of power during the reign of King Gyles III Gardener, however.
Behind the Scenes
George R. R. Martin may have been inspired by the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, when he created Garth the Goldenhand as they share many similarities: they became king during their minority, they had a very long and successful reign, they were succeeded by a great-grandson.