House Greyjoy resides on the Iron Islands, west of the Neck and the Westerlands. It stands apart from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms not only geographically, but also religiously — the ironborn worship the Drowned God — and culturally, for they choose to follow a custom of piracy and make enemies of all the lords of Westeros by doing so. Though traditionally a land of maritime raiders, the ironborn had their freedoms curtailed with their defeat in Greyjoy’s Rebellion. With the stability of the Seven Kingdoms teetering, however, the Greyjoys of Pyke may have a chance to reclaim their former glory.
Following the mysterious death of Balon Greyjoy in the midst of the War of the Five Kings, his brothers Euron, Victarian, and Aeron, as well as his niece Asha, jostled for power at a kingsmoot to become the new king. Euron ultimately prevailed despite the misgivings of many ironborn and succeeded Balon as the next King of the Iron Islands. With him, he carried an ancient Valyrian horn that he claimed would bind dragons to his will and help restore the ironborn to glory.
The lineage of the Greyjoys is said to extend from the Age of Heroes — the mythical Grey King was the progenitor of the line. This primeval King of Salt and Rock ruled not only the Iron Islands, but also the very sea, and was said to have taken a mermaid as a bride.
The raiders from the Iron Islands, who call themselves “ironborn” (while other Westerosi call them “ironmen”) spent thousands of years terrorising the surrounding coastlines in their quest for plunder and glory. For much of their history, each island had its own two kings — a rock king (who ruled the land) and a salt king (who commanded at sea). A High King was chosen by a council of these petty kings. This changed 5,000 years prior to Greyjoy’s Rebellion, when King Urron slaughtered the assembled kings and established a hereditary throne. His dynasty lasted a thousand years, until raiding Andals killed his descendants and intermarried with the island lords.
King Harren the Black, the last of the Iron Kings, extended his rule from the Neck to the Blackwater Rush. He had finally completed his grand castle of Harrenhal when Aegon the Conqueror landed in the Seven Kingdoms. Harren was such a tyrant, however, that many of his lords deserted him to support the Targaryen invader. The last Iron King was killed when Harrenhal burned.
After the fall of Harrenhal, the riverlands were given to House Tully. The remaining lords of the Iron Islands were allowed to decide who would become chief among them. Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke was chosen, thus establishing the Greyjoys as the ruling bloodline. The Lords Greyjoy title themselves Kings of Salt and Rock, Sons of the Sea Wind, and Lord Reapers of Pyke.
When Robert Baratheon overthrew Aerys Targaryen, Lord Balon Greyjoy took advantage of the weakened state of the monarchy to declare himself King of the Iron Islands and return his people to the Old Way — the ancient tradition of the ironborn, a life of raiding and pillaging along the mainland coast, or the “green lands” as they called it. King Robert crushed the Greyjoy uprising with the assistance of Lord Eddard Stark. In the end, Lord Balon lost his two eldest sons in the fighting. His youngest, Theon, was taken hostage by Lord Stark as part of the terms of surrender and served as his ward until Eddard’s death leading up to the War of the Five Kings. Theon eventually razed Winterfell with the help of the Bastard of the Dreadfort in an effort to restore his rightful place among the ironborn.
Greyjoys are, if possible, even more blunt and direct than the Starks. Existence on the islands is a meagre one; raiding the mainland is the only true hope for prosperity. Ironborn only own what they earn, even in the case of lords. The people of the Iron Islands are not the type to gladly bend their knees for sake of a title, but they pay proper respect to those who warrant it. Lord Balon and his brothers are all steeped deeply in the Old Way and disdain the “womanly” behaviour common to those of the green lands. They prize that which is bought with iron (taken by force) rather than that which is bought with gold (money), and have no use for those not willing or able to take what they desire. Greyjoys who grow up away from the islands, like Theon, may forget the Old Way and become comfortable in the customs of Westeros, though.
The island of Pyke and its eponymous keep is the seat of Greyjoy’s power. The fortress is stretched between jagged stacks of stone that, over the last thousand years, formed a rocky spur into the sea before breaking apart. The castle and its associated lands share the island with House Wynch and House Botley. Other islands under Greyjoy control include Old Wyk, Great Wyk, Harlaw, Saltcliffe, and Orkmont.
The primary martial force of the Iron Islands is the Iron Fleet. Though it does not have extensive military holdings, the Iron Fleet has long mastered the techniques of raiding and piracy.
Presently, the ironborn also hold the ports of Seagard on the west coast and White Harbor on the east coast, and they hold the ruined stronghold of Moat Cailin that controls passage through the Neck.
Greyjoy is an insignificant house compared to the other great houses of Westeros. It has few resources at its disposal and is well removed, both socially and geographically, from the politics of King’s Landing. Furthermore, the whole area has been under probation since Lord Balon’s attempted rebellion, and is in no position to curry favour with the royal court. To the Greyjoys, however, this matters little. What Greyjoy desires most is a return to the Old Way. Its last attempt proved fruitless, but it waits patiently for another opportunity to arise.
ALLIED HOUSES: None
ENEMY HOUSES: All Great Houses of Westeros
With the death of Robert Baratheon and no less than three mainland lords declaring themselves king in some fashion, Balon Greyjoy bides his time, testing to see which way the wind will blow. Although a minor power in the machinations of the great houses, Greyjoy knows that the Iron Fleet can play a significant role in the days to come, especially along the coasts of the Neck and the Westerlands.
Conversely, Theon fights beside Robb Stark in his battles against the Lannisters. Raised by the Starks, he hopes to advance his own position while helping Robb’s cause.
Balon Greyjoy is the Lord of Pyke during the reign of King Robert Baratheon. His wife is Alannys of Harlaw. Balon’s two surviving children are his son, Theon (currently in fosterage with House Stark), and his daughter, Asha. His three brothers are Victarion, Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet; Euron, an outlaw and pirate; and Aeron, a priest of the Drowned God.
FEATS: Able Body; Blood of the Iron Born; Stubborn; Tradesman; We Do Not Sow