Monday, April 4, 2016

Series: Lessons From the Citadel -- House Lannister
[Contributor: Melanie]

House Lannister is the wealthiest and most powerful house in the Seven Kingdoms. From their seat at Casterly Rock, to their presence in court in various fashions, they’ve managed to become a virtual shadow monarchy over the official Baratheon rulers. However, like the “Rains of Castamere” warn, power can be fleeting.

  • Words: Hear Me Roar
  • Sigil: A golden lion on a red field
  • Region: The Westerlands 
  • Seat: Casterly Rock
  • Titles: King of the Rock (formally), Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West
  • Bastard Names: Hill 
  • Members On Screen: Tywin Lannister (deceased), Joffrey Baratheon (deceased), Myrcella Baratheon (deceased), Tommen I Baratheon, Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister Baratheon, Tyrion Lannister, Sansa Stark Lannister 
  • Current head: Kevan Lannister
The Lannisters are descended from the Andals, though they note their ancestors did intermarry with many First Men, mixing their heritage slightly. Their founding ancestor, Lann the Clever, was believed to have been descended from the First Men. Lann tricked the Casterly family from their own seat and took up Casterly Rock. Though he was never called King of the Rock in his lifetime, he has been posthumously credited as the first one to use that title.

Before the Targaryens ever arrived, the Lannisters amassed an amazing amount of gold from their various lower seats and sworn bannermen. Casterly Rock itself was precariously positioned on top of a goldmine, giving them nearly unlimited access to funds. Later, through their efforts as lenders, they amassed more by way of their debtors, which would eventually included the crown of the Seven Kingdoms itself. When the Targaryens arrived, the Lannister king formed an alliance with the King of the Reach to attempt to fight them off. While the “Host of Two Kings” boasted over 50,000 men, Aegon and his sisters unleashed their three dragons at once (the only time they ever did so) and gave the battle its name: the Field of Fire. King Loren the Last survived the battle and bent the knee to the Targaryens.

During the Dance of the Dragons, the Lannisters backed Aegon for the throne. One Lannister, Lord Jason, already sat on the Small Council as Master of Ships and was named Master of Coin after declaring for Aegon. He secretly divided up the crown’s treasury and utilized a portion of it for bribes. He was killed in battle and his brother Tyland was imprisoned and tortured as punishment for the gold his brother lost. They would later side with the Tagaryens against their Blackfyre cousins during the Blackfyre Rebellion.

The Lannisters remained close and loyal friends to the Targaryens for some time. Tywin Lannister, after restoring the Lannisters from their hard times brought on by his father Tytos, was named Hand of the King by Aerys II. However, Tywin’s long and diplomatic approaches to resolving conflicts fueled Aerys’ paranoia, and the king’s desires for Tywin’s wife Joanna drove a wedge between the two. Tywin eventually resigned his position when Aerys called off the betrothal between Cersei Lannister and Prince Rhaegar and accepted Jaime’s oath to join the Kingsguard.

When the rebellion broke out, the Lannisters remained decidedly neutral for the majority of it. When Prince Rhaegar was finally killed, Tywin declared for Robert. Tywin helped orchestrate the Sack of King’s Landing by utilizing his loyalist, Maester Pycelle, who convinced the king to open the gates to the Lannisters who were there to declare for him. The result was the death of Aerys at the hand of Jaime Lannister, as well as Princess Elia and her children. Cersei was then wed to the new king Robert ,who continued to owe Tywin larger and larger amounts of money over the years. 

The children of the royal union were revealed to be in fact the result of Cersei’s illicit relationship with her twin brother, Jaime, making the Lannisters the technical ruling house. However, they’ve recently fallen from grace after their public image was blotched by the revelation about Cersei’s children, the assassinations of King Joffrey I and Princess Myrcella, the murder of Tywin by his own son, and Cersei’s imprisonment.

Traits and Customs

Unlike the Targaryens and houses of the North, the Lannisters do not adhere strictly to ancient customs. They do, however, have a strong and notable appearance. Members of the house are recognizable by their golden blonde hair and green eyes.

Check back here for more histories on the Seven Kingdoms!


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