A Game of Thrones • A Song of Ice and Fire NWN2 Persistent World • Low Magic Role Play

History of the Ironborn

World of Westeros - History
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 15:54

The origins of the Ironmen are lost to the mists of time. They claim descent from the Grey King, the mighty mariner of the Age of Heroes. The Grey King’s people have always been people of the sea, revering the Drowned God and plying the oceans on swift longships. They have no patience for farming, fishing, or mining (as the Greyjoy words say, “We Do Not Sow”) — such lesser work is left to the thralls taken in raids. For the folk of the Iron Islands, the only true occupation is war.

The people of the Iron Islands have always valued their freedom. Their earliest known cultures were as separate island kingdoms. It was the first Grey King who united the islands, a legendary figure who reportedly married a mermaid. Each island would retain local leaders, and thus they kept a tradition of a rock king and a salt king. The High King of the Isles was chosen from these petty island kings.

5,000 years ago, King Urron Redhand of House Greyiron murdered all the rival kings at a choosing, and made the throne hereditary. The Greyiron dynasty would be destroyed by the Andals who conquered Westeros, however. The subsequent Iron Kings would carve out a great kingdom with fire and sword. King Qhored boasted that his dominion ran “wherever men can smell salt water or hear the crash of waves.” For a time, the Iron Kings held the Arbor, Oldtown, Bear Island, and most of the western coast, though all would be lost over time.

Sometime prior to Aegon’s Conquest, House Hoare rose to rulership of the Iron Islands. Harwyn Hardhand was the king who began the construction of Harrenhal, his territory stretching out to the Riverlands, from the Neck to the Blackwater Rush. His son, Harren, would complete the grand castle, but it would be his doom.

During the Wars of Conquest King Harren the Black ruled from the islands, and called the entire Riverlands his domain. Reavers from the Iron Islands made their presence known in coastal waters much further abroad, even reaching the Port of Ibben and the Summer Isles. As centrepiece to this kingdom, the impressive Harrenhal was completed just as Aegon the Dragon landed upon Westeros. Aegon would burn the hall and slay Harren the Black’s line. Aegon let the surviving ironborn lords choose their own overlord, and they chose Lord Vickon Greyjoy.

During the War of the Usurper, Balon Greyjoy did not stir for either side, ignoring both royalists and rebels. Nine years after Robert’s Rebellion, the current lords of the Iron Islands revolted against the kingdom in an attempt to restore the Old Way, led by Balon Greyjoy. Lord Greyjoy proclaimed himself King of the Iron Islands. His brothers, Euron Crow’s Eye and Victarion, Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet, sailed into Lannisport and burned the Lannister fleet. Balon lost one son, Rodrik, at the battle of Seagard; a second son, Maron, was killed when siege collapsed the wall of a south tower at Pyke. In the end, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark raised the banners, captured the islands’ fortress capital at Pyke, and put the rebellion down. Balon’s remaining son, Theon, was taken ward by Lord Stark. With his remaining heir hostage and much of his forces defeated, Lord Greyjoy was allowed to retain his office of Lord of the Iron Islands.

During the War of the Five Kings, Balon Greyjoy mysteriously fell to his death from a bridge atop Pyke just prior to his exiled brother Euron's return to the Iron Islands. In the subsequent choosing (the Kingsmoot), Euron emerged as the new King of the Iron Islands amid promises to restore the Ironborn to their former glory.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 January 2010 13:45