House Lannister

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House Lannister of Casterly Rock
House Lannister.png
Coat of arms Gules, a lion or
Words Hear Me Roar!
Seat Casterly Rock
Lord Queen Regent Cersei Lannister
Region the Westerlands
Title King of the Rock (formerly)
Lord of Casterly Rock
Shield of Lannisport
Warden of the West
Overlord House Baratheon of King's Landing
Cadet Branch House Lannister of Lannisport
House Lannister of Darry
Ancestral Weapon Brightroar (lost)
Founder Lann the Clever
Founded Age of Heroes

House Lannister of Casterly Rock is one of the Great Houses of Seven Kingdoms, and the principal house of the Westerlands. Their seat is Casterly Rock, though another branch exists that is based in nearby Lannisport. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson.[1] Their official motto is "Hear Me Roar!" However, their unofficial motto, equally well known, is "A Lannister always pays his debts."[2][3] The Warden of the West is traditionally a Lannister.

The Lannisters reigned as Kings of the Rock until they fell to the Targaryen conquest, but were allowed to remain the liege lords of the Westerlands. The House had fallen on hard times during the rule of Lord Tytos, but was restored to its former glory by Lord Tywin. His daughter Cersei is the queen of King Robert Baratheon, while her twin Ser Jaime is a knight of Robert's Kingsguard. Members of the family tend to have golden hair and emerald green eyes.


Fair-haired, tall, and handsome, the Lannisters are the blood of Andal adventurers who carved out a mighty kingdom in the western hills and valleys. Through the female line they boast of descent from Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes, who became the first King of the Rock, after tricking the members of House Casterly into giving him Casterly Rock.[4] The gold of Casterly Rock, Castamere, the Pendric Hills and the Golden Tooth has made them the wealthiest of the Great Houses, the keep at Casterly Rock sits literally on top of a gold mine, built into the very rock. From that lofty yet uncomfortable position, House Lannister rules over the Westerlands and influences all of Westeros, by virtue of the kingdom’s purse strings. House Lannister even possessed an ancestral Valyrian steel greatsword called Brightroar; but it was lost when King Tommen II Lannister went on a quest to Valyria and never returned.[5] The Lannisters have been looking for a replacement ever since, though they have not stopped looking for their own lost ancestral sword.[5]

When the War of Conquest began and Aegon the Conqueror swept through the land, King Loren I, the last King of the Rock, sided with King Mern IX of the Reach against the Targaryens. The two armies met in the Reach, where the combined might of the Reach and the Rock broke Aegon's army. Their army, dubbed by historians 'The Host of the Two Kings', numbered 55,000; five thousand of them mounted knights, while the Targaryens had only 10,000 men, many of uncertain loyalty and reliability. With their smaller force severely weakened and in danger of routing, Aegon and his sisters deployed all three dragons at once; the only time this happened during the war. Their combined fires scoured the battlefield, immolating more than four thousand men (including King Mern and his heirs) and giving the battle its name: The Field of Fire.[6] After he was captured, King Loren bent the knee and was allowed to remain Lord of Casterly Rock and became the first Warden of the West.

The Lannisters were also involved in the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. It was a contest of claims between Viserys I Targaryen's issue, Rhaenyra Targaryen, by his first wife Aemma of House Arryn and his issue, Aegon II Targaryen by his second wife Alicent of House Hightower. The head of House Lannister at that time, Jason Lannister, supported the greens, along with his brother Ser Tyland Lannister, the master of ships and a member of the small council during the reign of Viserys I Targaryen. Tyland was named master of coin at the start of the Dance, and he seized the royal treasury and divided crown's gold into four parts. One part was entrusted to the care of the Iron Bank of Braavos for safekeeping, another sent under strong guard to Casterly Rock and a third to Oldtown. The remaining wealth was used by the greens for bribes and gifts and hiring sellswords. However, the Lannister host under Lord Lefford was shattered in the Battle by the Lakeshore, the bloodiest battle of the Targaryen civil war. After the fall of King's Landing, Tyland Lannister was given to torturers in the hopes of recovering some of the crown's treasure. Lord Jason also died at some point during the conflict, leaving Casterly Rock in disarray.[7]

Several decades later, during the Blackfyre Rebellion, Lord Damon Lannister remained loyal to the Targaryens. The great rebel general Ser Quentyn Ball defeated him outside the gates of Lannisport. Damon and his heir Ser Tybolt participated in the Ashford Tourney. Damon was defeated in the first tilt by Lord Leo "Longthorn" Tyrell, while his son defeated his opponent to become a champion. Tybolt inherited the lordship from Damon when the latter died of the Great Spring Sickness. Gerold Lannister was a suitor to Lady Rohanne Webber but much preferred to remain at Casterly Rock with his brother Tybolt. When Lord Dagon Greyjoy was raiding the western coast during the early reign of Aerys I Targaryen, House Lannister built ships to fight him at sea.

Lord Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister - by Nacho Molina ©

In more recent times, during the lordship of Tytos Lannister, the house fell on hard times. Tytos' weakness allowed him to be bullied by his vassals. Eventually his son Tywin brought the wayward bannermen to heel and restored the house to its former glory. Soon thereafter, Tywin was made Hand of the King by Aerys II Targaryen, holding that position for many years. When Aerys was held hostage by Denys Darklyn, Tywin's conservative approach took six months to resolve the conflict. This instigated Aerys's paranoia and drove a wedge between the two, along with the king's lusting after Tywin's wife, cousin and trusted confidante Joanna. Tywin was never a jovial man, but when Joanna died birthing their third child, Tyrion, he was much saddened and his brother Kevan became his right hand. Their sister Genna took a maternal role over the children. His second brother Tygett died of a pox, and their brother Gerion sailed off on a journey to Valyria, never to be seen again.

Despite Tywin's attempts to ensure a strong legacy, life at Casterly Rock was dysfunctional at best. His twin children Cersei and Jaime began an incestuous relationship at an early age. Cersei, while a young maid, visited a woods witch called Maggy the Frog, who shared portents of Cersei's future that planted seeds of her paranoia. Cersei murdered her friend Melara Hetherspoon, who had witnessed the prophecy. Tyrion, when thirteen years old, was out with Jaime when he met and married a girl named Tysha, a match which was quickly and savagely ended by Lord Tywin. Tywin offered Tyrion to Houses Martell, Hightower, Royce, Florent and Tully, but he was rejected by all. Jaime was a promising young knight, dubbed by Ser Arthur Dayne. Tywin was devastated when Jaime joined King Aery's Kingsguard, breaking off a betrothal to Lysa Tully. Upon this action (which he perceived as the Mad King "stealing" his heir), coupled with the Mad King's refusal to wed Prince Rhaegar Targaryen to Cersei, Tywin resigned the Handship. This flew in the face of Jaime's plan, which was to be closer to Cersei: he was kept in King's Landing while Cersei returned to Casterly Rock.

During Robert's Rebellion, the Lannisters stayed neutral for the majority of the war. Only after the defeat of Prince Rhaegar at the Trident did Lord Tywin bestir himself to join Robert Baratheon against the Targaryen dynasty, perpetrating the Sack of King's Landing when the Lannister loyalist Grand Maester Pycelle suggested the gates be opened. There Ser Jaime Lannister, still a Kingsguard, slew Aerys, the last crowned Targaryen king. Meanwhile Tywin's knights killed the rest of the Targaryens in the capital to prove their commitment to Robert's cause.[8] Afterwards, Tywin's daughter Cersei was wed to King Robert; Tya Lannister was the last Lannister to marry a member of House Baratheon, Gowen Baratheon, before the marriage of Robert and Cersei. The royal marriage and the increasing amount of gold Robert owes to Tywin have only increased Lannister power. Much of Lord Tywin's energy is directed inward, ensuring all of his relatives do their part to uphold the family name.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Jaime Lannister leads a Lannister army - by Amok ©

Unbeknownst to most, Lord Tywin's children Queen Cersei and Ser Jaime have, for most of their lives, carried out an incestuous love affair. All three royal children, supposedly King Robert's, are actually Jaime's. Lord Eddard Stark and his wife Catelyn Tully suspect the Lannisters of murdering Eddard's predecessor as Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, and also of attempting to kill their son Bran. The latter is true, as the boy was a witness to their fornication.

Lady Catelyn captures Tyrion Lannister at the crossroads inn to bring him to trial, prompting Lord Lannister to send raiders to Tully lands in an attempt to draw Lord Stark into the field, hoping to capture him for an exchange. Eddard, however, is waylaid on the streets of King's Landing by Ser Jaime and is injured in the melee, sending other men in his stead.

Tyrion escapes of his own volition, but the war continues along with intrigue in the capital, where Cersei has Eddard arrested. Tywin and Jaime win several victories over the river lords, but the Tullys are soon joined by Eddard's son Robb and a host of northmen.

Tywin repels one Stark army under Lord Roose Bolton in the Battle of the Green Fork, but this force turns out to have been a feint: with Tywin distracted, Robb captures Jaime in a surprise attack at the Whispering Wood, and breaks his siege of Riverrun.

Meanwhile Cersei fears for her children if Stark informs Robert of her childrens' parentage. She has her cousin Lancel Lannister, Robert's squire, supply the king with strongwine during a boar hunt, resulting in Robert receiving a mortal wound.

Soon Cersei's and Jaime's son Joffrey has become king, and orders the execution of Lord Stark, ruining any chance of peace. Jaime, despite his absence, is named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Tywin, having been named Hand, sends Tyrion to take up his duties while he campaigns in the Riverlands. Meanwhile Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly Baratheon have each contested Joffrey's right to the Iron Throne. So begins the War of the Five Kings.

A Clash of Kings

Tyrion and Cersei compete for influence at King's Landing, with Tyrion constantly outmaneuvering her. Desperate for allies, he makes moves to ally with House Martell. Part of this involves betrothing Princess Myrcella to Trystane Martell. When her ship leaves port, the royal party is caught up in the Riot of King's Landing provoked by King Joffrey. Jaime languishes in the dungeon of Riverrun, despite attempts to free him. Meanwhile Cersei has replaced him in her bed with their cousin Ser Lancel Lannister. When the Stark forces invade the Westerlands, Tywin's army marches from Harrenhal, but are prevented access to their homelands by Ser Edmure Tully at the Battle of the Fords. As a result, King Robb's army destroys a third Western host under Ser Stafford Lannister at the Battle of Oxcross and raids the Westerlands, but Tywin is close enough to King's Landing to defend the city when he hears of King Stannis's impending attack. Due to Tywin's presence, Tyrion's defensive preparations, and a new alliance with House Tyrell, the Lannisters are able to defeat Stannis in the Battle of the Blackwater, despite nearly suffering a rout of the gold cloaks when Cersei withdraws King Joffrey from the city walls. Most of Stannis's bannermen declare for Joffrey, and Lord Tywin takes up rule in his own right. Meanwhile Catelyn Stark, having heard of the supposed deaths of two of her sons at the hands of the turncloak Theon Greyjoy, releases Jaime from captivity in an attempt to covertly exchange him for her daughters Sansa and Arya. Unknown to most is that Arya escaped King's Landing long ago.

A Storm of Swords

Tywin refuses to appoint Tyrion as heir to the Rock, instead making him Master of Coin and wedding him to Sansa Stark for her claim to Winterfell and denying the Tyrells the chance to wed her to Willas. His brother and right hand, Ser Kevan Lannister, is named Master of Laws. Tywin also betroths Joffrey to Margaery Tyrell, and tries to re-wed Cersei, this time to Willas Tyrell, but Lord Mace refuses under pressure from his mother. Cersei is shunned from the council, and her regency over King Joffrey is ended. Tywin also restores the title of Warden of the East to House Arryn, it having been given to Jaime after Jon Arryn's death, and reinstates Pycelle as grand maester when he hears the Citadel plans to grant the title to a Tyrell uncle, Gormon Tyrell.

When Tywin discovers that Robb Stark has wed a daughter of one of his minor bannermen, Jeyne Westerling, he begins plotting with Jeyne's mother, the slighted Lord Walder Frey and the opportunistic Lord Roose Bolton to overthrow the northern king. This treachery is accomplished in the wedding at the Twins of Edmure Tully to one of the Frey women, when Robb, Lady Catelyn, and many others are murdered under guest right. The Starks and Tullys are ousted from power, replaced respectively by Lannister-backed House Bolton and House Baelish of Harrenhal. Most of their bannermen grudgingly return to the king's peace. With Renly and Robb dead, Stannis repelled and with few followers, and the Greyjoys concentrating on the North, Lannister power is at its zenith.

When King Joffrey unexpectedly dies at his wedding feast, Cersei wrongfully accuses Tyrion of the deed. Tywin is a judge at the trial, along with Mace Tyrell and Prince Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne. After a bevy of witnesses defame Tyrion, including those he thought his friends, the Imp demands a trial by combat. Since Ser Gregor Clegane is appointed the royal champion, Prince Oberyn fights for Tyrion in an effort to avenge his sister Princess Elia, killed during Tywin's sack of King's Landing. Oberyn loses and Tyrion is condemned to die. Jaime, meanwhile, has made his way to King's Landing with Brienne of Tarth, sworn sword of Lady Catelyn. On the way, he lost his hand by order of Vargo Hoat, the sellsword holding Harrenhal who now serves House Stark. His return to the capital finds a changed man, increasingly at odds with his family. He quarrels with Lord Tywin, refusing to resign from the Kingsguard to become heir to Casterly Rock. Before Tyion can be executed Jaime frees him from his cell; Tyrion reveals Cersei's infidelity and accepts false responsibility for Joffrey's death. During his escape, Tyrion kills Lord Tywin with a crossbow.

A Feast for Crows

After Tywin's death Cersei resumed her regency, now over the newly crowned Tommen I - by Magali Villeneuve. © Fantasy Flight Games

Dead soldiers with bearing the colors of House Lannister have washed up on the Quiet Isle. According to the Elder Brother, they are buried next to their enemies.

Tywin's death lingers over the Lannister landscape. Cersei resumes her regency, now over the newly crowned Tommen I and sets out to prove herself a better ruler than her father. Ignoring her father's plans, she fills the small council with her own lackeys. As Queen Regent, she tries to appoint Jaime as Hand of the King, but he refuses - she responds by saying she was a fool for ever having loved him. After Tywin's funeral, Cersei charges Jaime with the mopping-up campaign in the Riverlands, beginning with lifting the Siege of Riverrun. While on campaign, Jaime tries to hone his left-handed swordsmanship and confronts his cousin Lancel at Darry, where the latter is lord but has sworn himself to the Faith Militant (see below).

Kevan Lannister acknowledges Cersei as Lady of Casterly Rock. She offers him the position of Hand of the King, which he declines unless he can also assume the regency. Cersei refuses to give up her power and appoints Ser Daven Lannister as the new Warden of the West to slight Ser Kevan, and Ser Damion is named castellan of the Rock. Finally she makes Ser Harys Swyft the Hand, because he is a tractable man and he is a hostage against Ser Kevan. Cersei puts out a bounty for Tyrion's head, resulting in the deaths of many innocent dwarfs throughout the kingdoms as men try to cash in, but she refuses to rescind the offer for fear someone might stay his hand. Despite Tommen's marriage to Queen Margaery, Cersei begins to plot against the Tyrells, whom she suspects of intrigue. She gives one maid she suspects of espionage to Lord Qyburn, her sinister ex-maester Master of Whisperers, for his twisted experiments in necromancy, along with the corpse of Gregor Clegane (dead from the Red Viper's poisoned spear). Queen Margaery wants her brother Loras Tyrell to become King Tommen's master-at-arms; an offer which Cersei staunchly refuses. When Euron Greyjoy's ironmen invade the Reach, Cersei grants Ser Loras his wish to take command of the Siege of Dragonstone, hoping that he would rashly storm the castle to free up the Redwyne fleet. Her hopes are fulfilled, as the Knight of Flowers was reportedly maimed by boiling oil.

To "raise" funds to build a new royal fleet, Cersei freezes all crown debts, angering the Iron Bank of Braavos and the Faith of the Seven, and also has the High Septon chosen by Tyrion assassinated. She tries to mollify the church by allowing the return of the Faith Militant, but the new High Septon has her arrested for her fornications, murders, and other myriad sins. She writes an impassioned letter to Jaime, imploring him to defend her in a trial by combat, but he burns the letter without response. Lord Orton Merryweather, having replaced Harys Swyft as Hand, flees the capital as Swyft (now Master of Coin) and Grand Maester Pycelle take control of King Tommen and request that Kevan Lannister return to King's Landing as Lord Regent.

A Dance with Dragons

Ser Kevan, as Lord Regent, begins trying to undo Cersei's political bumbling. To placate House Lannister's Tyrell allies, he appoints Lord Mace as Hand of the King, and his bannermen Paxter Redwyne and Randyll Tarly to the small council. He also visits the imprisoned Cersei, confronting her about her affair with Lancel and telling her that, regardless of her trial, her rule is at an end. When she undergoes her walk of shame across the city, shaven and benuded, he ensures that King Tommen does not witness the event.

Tyrion, aided by Varys, has been whisked across the Narrow Sea. There Varys's ally Illyrio Mopatis arranges for him to travel with a misfit band to seek out Daenerys Targaryen. En route, he realizes that one of the group is actually the exiled Hand Jon Connington, and that his "son" is Rhaegar's son Prince Aegon, long thought to be dead. At a brothel in Selhorys, Tyrion is captured by another exiled lord, Jorah Mormont, who aims to go to Daenerys for his own reasons. On the way to Meereen, Tyrion befriends a dwarf woman called Penny, who had performed at Joffrey's wedding. After a shipwreck, they are captured and sold into slavery. They are nearly killed by lions in the fighting pit before Queen Daenerys puts an end to it. When their master dies of the pale mare, the trio joins the Second Sons, as Tyrion plans to have Ben Plumm switch sides again back to Daenerys's cause.

Jaime brokers peace at the siege of Raventree Hall, the last southron stronghold loyal to Robb Stark's lost cause. While riding back to Riverrun he unexpectedly meets Brienne of Tarth, who tells him that he must go with her to honor his oath to retrieve Sansa Stark.

Kevan, while trying to deal with the resurgent Faith Militant and the apparently living and Golden Company-backed Aegon VI, is murdered in his chambers by Varys. The Spider hopes that the Lord Regent's death will cast suspicion between Highgarden and Casterly Rock and prevent Kevan from closing the rifts created during Cersei's rule. These problems, combined with the mounting threats toward the Lannister-backed House Bolton in the North, the continuing Greyjoy threat, and the uncertain loyalty of Dorne mean that Lannister power is anything but secure.

Known Members at the end of the third century

The known Lannisters during the timespan of the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire are:

Family Tree



At Casterly Rock:

In King's Landing:

Historical Members

  • Lann the Clever, legendary founding ancestor of House Lannister during the Age of Heroes.
  • King Lancel Lannister, the Fourth or Fifth of his name, invaded the Reach during the reign of Gyles III Gardener.
  • King Tommen II Lannister, disappeared with the ancestral greatsword Brightroar during an expedition to Valyria.
  • King Loren I Lannister, last King of the Rock at the time of Aegon's Conquest.
  • Lord Lyman Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock during the Faith Militant uprising
  • Lord Jason Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock during the reign of King Viserys I and Aegon II and the older twin brother of Tyland Lannister.[7][9]
  • Ser Tyland Lannister, Master of Ships during the reign of Viserys I and the younger twin brother to the Lord of Casterly Rock.[7][9]
  • Tya Lannister, last Lannister to wed a Baratheon before the reign of Robert I Baratheon.
  • Lord Damon Lannister, known as "the Grey Lion", a participant at the Ashford Tourney and head of house during the reign of Daeron II.
    • Lord Tybolt Lannister, son and heir of Damon, succeeded as Lord of Casterly Rock during the reign of Aerys I.
      • Lady Sarelle Lannister, daughter and only child of Lord Tybolt, the child-Lady of Casterly Rock. Rumored to have been murderd by her uncle Gerold.
    • Lord Gerold Lannister, known as "Gerold the Golden", younger brother, and adviser to Lord Tybolt. Regent for Lady Sarelle and her successor

Sworn Houses and Former Sworn Houses


The Lannisters are proud. [10]

- Jon Snow

The Lannisters never declined, graciously or otherwise. The Lannisters took what was offered. [6]

- Tyrion Lannister

A very ambitious family. [11]

- Eddard Stark

Tyrion: We Lannisters do have a certain pride.

Catelyn: Pride? Arrogance, some might call it. Arrogance and avarice and lust for power.

Tyrion: My brother is undoubtedly arrogant. My father is the soul of avarice, and my sweet sister Cersei lusts for power with every waking breath. I, however, am as innocent as a little lamb. Shall I bleat for you? [12]

- Tyrion Lannister to Catelyn Tully

No man sheds Lannister blood with impunity.[2]

- Tywin Lannister

The Lannisters of Casterly Rock were a damnably large and fertile house. [13]

- Catelyn Tully

By what right does the wolf judge the lion? By what right? [14]

- Jaime Lannister

My lady, has no one told you? Lannisters lie. [14]

- Roose Bolton to Brienne of Tarth

Not every Lannister is fool for glory. [15]

- Kevan Lannister to Jaime Lannister

The Lannisters make enemies easily but have a harder time keeping friends.[16]

- Haldon Halfmaester

The Lannisters have no honor. [17]

- Jorah Mormont

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at House Lannister. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of House Lannister. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.