Orwyle, art by Enife
|In 133 AC, King's Landing
|House of the Dragon: Season 1
Appearance and Character
Orwyle's writings on the Dance of the Dragons have been used by Grand Maester Munkun as a source for his work The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling. However, Orwyle's accounts were written down as he sat imprisoned, awaiting his own execution, and according to Archmaester Gyldayn were therefore written in such a way that showed Orwyle as favorable as possible. As a result, Munkun's True Telling speaks too positively of Orwyle, according to Gyldayn.
Dance of the Dragons
Archmaester Orwyle was chosen by the Conclave of Oldtown as the new Grand Maester after the passing of Mellos in 127 AC. Under Orwyle's care, the ailing King Viserys I Targaryen regained some of his former vigor.
Upon the death of King Viserys I in 129 AC, a struggle began for the succession to the Iron Throne, known as the Dance of the Dragons. Immediately following Viserys's death, Orwyle was summoned for a session of the small council in the chambers of Queen Alicent Hightower. According to Munkun's True Telling, Orwyle protested when Ser Otto Hightower spoke of crowning their new king, although other accounts insist the protest was made by Lord Lyman Beesbury.
Orwyle pleaded with King Aegon II Targaryen to send him with terms of peace to Rhaenyra Targaryen on Dragonstone after news arrived of her rival coronation, and his idea of offering diplomatic terms were supported by Dowager Queen Alicent and Aegon's wife, Queen Helaena Targaryen. Aegon agreed to make an offer that if Rhaenyra acknowledged him as king and made obeisance before the Iron Throne, she would to remain as lady of Dragonstone and for her son Jacaerys to inherit the castle and island after her death, for her son Lucerys to inherit Driftmark, for her son Aegon the Younger to become his squire and for her son Viserys to become his cupbearer, with pardons being offered to all knights and lords who conspired in favor of Rhaenyra. On Dragonstone, he presented the terms to Rhaenyra, to whom he acknowledged that King Viserys I had indeed named her, and not Aegon II, as his successor. When Rhaenyra demanded to know why he served Aegon instead of her, Orwyle gave a long and detailed answer according to Munkun. According to The Testimony of Mushroom, however, Orwyle only stammered and lost control of his bladder. Rhaenyra had Orwyle's chain of office stripped from his neck and gave it to Maester Gerardys. She then ordered Orwyle and his fellow envoys to depart the island.
When Prince Aemond Targaryen, in charge of the armies of Aegon II after the king had been severely injured at Rook's Rest, decided to bring battle to Prince Daemon Targaryen, who resided at Harrenhal, Orwyle was in favor of asking Storm's End for help. Aemond ignored Orwyle's idea, as well as all other calls for caution. During the fall of King's Landing to Rhaenyra, Orwyle was tasked by Alicent to send out ravens asking for help, but he was arrested by four gold cloaks when he arrived at his chambers. He was subsequently escorted to the black cells.
After Rhaenyra's flight from the capital in the aftermath of the Storming of the Dragonpit, Orwyle was released from the dungeons by Ser Perkin the Flea, who had taken the Red Keep to install his squire, Trystane Truefyre, as king on the Iron Throne. When Lord Borros Baratheon's army reached the shores of the Blackwater Rush, Orwyle and Queen Alicent accompanied Lord Larys Strong to treat with him. After Aegon II was restored to the Iron Throne, Orwyle remained in office as Grand Maester until the king's death.
Imprisonment and execution
Orwyle was one of the members of the small council who gathered in the Red Keep to welcome the Lads and their host. During the Hour of the Wolf, Orwyle was among those arrested and sent to the dungeons by Lord Cregan Stark, on the charge of having played a part in the death of Aegon II Targaryen. There, Orwyle began to write his confessions. Under torture, he confessed to having given the poison used to kill the king to Lord Larys Strong. Although Orwyle claimed that he had not known what the poison would be used for, Cregan judged him complicit in the king's death and sentenced him to die. However, during the morning of the executions, Orwyle followed the lead of Ser Perkin the Flea, who declared he wished to join the Night's Watch.
Before he was to take ship to the Wall, Orwyle bribed a guard and fled, dressed in a beggar's rags. The guard who had freed him was charged to take his place. Orwyle shaved his hair and beard and took the name "Old Wyl". As Old Wyl, he began working in a brothel called Mother's, located on the Street of Silk. There, he swept and scrubbed floors, inspected patrons for pox, and mixed contraceptions such as moon tea and potions of tansy and pennyroyal for the whores in the brothel. He was discovered after he had taught some of the girls how to read. When one of these girls demonstrated her new skill to a serjeant of the City Watch of King's Landing, he grew suspicious and questioned Old Wyl. When Orwyle's identity was discovered, he was arrested once again.
The small council considered Orwyle an oathbreaker and sentenced him to die. However, the blind Ser Tyland Lannister, the Hand of the King, insisted that, as the office of King's Justice had not yet been filled, the execution should be put on hold as he himself was not able to perform the execution. Instead, Tyland had Orwyle confined to a large, airy, comfortable tower cell, where he would remain for two years. He was even provided with ink and parchment so he could continue to write his confessions.
During the Winter Fever in 133 AC, Orwyle was released from his cell after many of the maesters in the city had died from the ailment. Orwyle worked tirelessly on treating those who had fallen ill.
When Tyland died from the disease, the young King Aegon III Targaryen ordered Orwyle to dispatch a raven to Goldengrove, summoning Lord Thaddeus Rowan to take the office of Hand of the King. Orwyle, possibly hoping for a royal pardon, was quick to obey his orders. He was later seized by the men of Lord Unwin Peake, one of Aegon III's regents, who installed himself as the new King's Hand. Orwyle was sent back to his cell to await execution. After Ser Victor Risley had been named as the King's Justice, Orwyle was finally executed as a traitor and a deserter of the Night's Watch. Due to his age, high birth and long service, he was granted the honor of dying by the sword.
Elio García explained:
George noted that his account was written up while he sat in a prison cell uncertain if he was going to end up executed or not and wanting to lay down "his side" of the story to try and paint himself in the best possible light. (Yep, Orwyle actually has quite an interesting little story that unfortunately we really had trim almost entirely out of the world book. Definitely will be one of the many highlights of Fire and Blood, IMO.)
Orwyle's prison-cell account of what happened was therefore probably slanted in Rhaenyra Targaryen's favor, in contrast with how Septon Eustace's history was slanted in Aegon II Targaryen's favor. Grand Maester Munkun then based his The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling on Orwyle's already somewhat biased account.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- WarnerMedia Pressroom: House of the Dragon | Character Descriptions
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
- So Spake Martin: Stockholm and Archipelacon Report (June 28, 2015)