John Doe

Why do the Arryns live in the Eyrie?

36 posts in this topic

I mean, it really isn't practical in any way. You can't have a large force up there, you can't live there during winter, and visits by your vassals or even going down by yourself is a pain in the ass and even life-threatening. I mean, sure, it may count as prestigious, but on the other hand it's the smallest castle of any great house in westeros, so what's the point? 

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14 minutes ago, John Doe said:

I mean, it really isn't practical in any way. You can't have a large force up there, you can't live there during winter, and visits by your vassals or even going down by yourself is a pain in the ass and even life-threatening. I mean, sure, it may count as prestigious, but on the other hand it's the smallest castle of any great house in westeros, so what's the point? 

I suspect it may be a caricature of the fantastical fantasy castles that sometimes prop up with no regard for logistics or comfort for the inhabitants.

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Their words are "high as honor"

maybe they want to prove how honourable they are,and to prove this they prop themselves up high in the Eyrie

2 hours ago, John Doe said:

I mean, it really isn't practical in any way. You can't have a large force up there, you can't live there during winter, and visits by your vassals or even going down by yourself is a pain in the ass and even life-threatening. I mean, sure, it may count as prestigious, but on the other hand it's the smallest castle of any great house in westeros, so what's the point? 

 

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The Starks, Hightowers, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Lannisters, Baratheons and Martells all derive some measure of their legitimacy as rulers by claiming as their seat some sort of repurposed object or structure from ancient times. A lot of the time the build around it, and the new structure takes on a new identity. Of the families in such places, I'd say only the Hightowers and Martells have any shot of knowing what the their ancient seat was originally for. The Starks may find something out in the Crypts, but otherwise the history of Winterfell is mostly bound up in whatever myths remain from the Long Night.

The Arryns aren't any different - theirs is just the least convenient. With the Eyrie sitting there, anybody who declared it their seat might be seen as more impressive or more powerful than other people in the area. Plus there might be such an old custom of somebody commanding from there that it's still ingrained in some relationships - or in the layout of roads or other infrastructure.

So the Arryns rule from it because being from it gives them the impression of rulership in the eyes of others. The Arryns are Andals, and they didn't put the Eyrie there, they just recognized its symbolic usefulness in human politics.

What was the original purpose of the Eyrie? It seems likely to have been a stronghold for leaders of the First Men. If I had to guess I'd say the rulers were skinchangers who commanded giant birds or other flying animals of some kind.

When you think of it that way, strange things about the Eyrie make a lot of sense.

Why is there a weirwood throne? Perhaps it was originally a living tree, or a seat for a greenseer, or perhaps like Jaime on the stump dead weirwoods can still connect people's minds to something.

Why are there big open rooms on the sides of the castle exposed to the elements, with no doors or walls? Perhaps they were homes for the giant birds (or flocks of ravens?). Casterly Rock has cages that supposedly used to be used for lions that are also used for humans prisoners.

Why is there a random door with a moon carved on it and a bronze bar across it? Maybe the crescent isn't a moon - maybe it's a sickle. We've seen the combination of weirwood, bronze, and a sickle through Bran in his vision of human sacrifice of the First Men - perhaps the First Men who ran the Eyrie sacrificed to the Old Gods by pushing people out the door. Or maybe they killed them in the throne room to feed a weirwood tree that grew there with human blood and the Moon Door was the disposal chute for their bodies.

Or maybe the moon is used as a satellite uplink/downlink for the weirwood net - and the weirwood in the Eyrie or anybody on the throne could communicate with the weirwood net by opening up the door and looking at the moon.

The point is that the Eyrie might potentially make more sense when used for its original purpose than it does now as a seasonal seat for an Andal kingdom.

And one of the sleeping potential plotlines in the story is that descendants of those old previous rulers of the Eyrie are still alive in the Mountain Clans, and Tyrion has promised to give them back control of the Eyrie and the Vale. So maybe it will at some point go back to its old purposes.

Edited by GyantSpyder

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On 14.10.2016 at 7:40 AM, John Doe said:

I mean, it really isn't practical in any way. You can't have a large force up there, you can't live there during winter, and visits by your vassals or even going down by yourself is a pain in the ass and even life-threatening. I mean, sure, it may count as prestigious, but on the other hand it's the smallest castle of any great house in westeros, so what's the point? 

Forcing your vassals to take this life-threatening journey, makes it crystal-clear who is top of the food chain. My boss bureau for example is on the top floor of our building with a great view over the city...

Also it could be for psychological warfare, I mean you almost shit your pants by only visiting it,this makes every thought of storming it rather unlikely.

I grant you though that's not really practical and logic though. But a lot of the great castles don't seem to be, although to a lesser degree than The Eyrie.

I mean Pyke sits on rocks that erode and crumble, it doesn't even have a port even though the Ironborn are very much naval based.

Highgarden offers probably little in terms of protection, it seems more a palace than a castle. And that in region were there are few natural protections to begin with.

The Twins make way more sense IMHO than both of these.

 

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On 10/17/2016 at 4:21 PM, GyantSpyder said:

The Starks, Hightowers, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Lannisters, Baratheons and Martells all derive some measure of their legitimacy as rulers by claiming as their seat some sort of repurposed object or structure from ancient times. A lot of the time the build around it, and the new structure takes on a new identity. Of the families in such places, I'd say only the Hightowers and Martells have any shot of knowing what the their ancient seat was originally for. The Starks may find something out in the Crypts, but otherwise the history of Winterfell is mostly bound up in whatever myths remain from the Long Night.

The Arryns aren't any different - theirs is just the least convenient. With the Eyrie sitting there, anybody who declared it their seat might be seen as more impressive or more powerful than other people in the area. Plus there might be such an old custom of somebody commanding from there that it's still ingrained in some relationships - or in the layout of roads or other infrastructure.

So the Arryns rule from it because being from it gives them the impression of rulership in the eyes of others. The Arryns are Andals, and they didn't put the Eyrie there, they just recognized its symbolic usefulness in human politics.

What was the original purpose of the Eyrie? It seems likely to have been a stronghold for leaders of the First Men. If I had to guess I'd say the rulers were skinchangers who commanded giant birds or other flying animals of some kind.

 [I think you're right.  It's reminiscent of the 'Winged Knight' legend:

A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

"No," he said, "but I'm not going. I want to stay in bed. You could read to me about the Winged Knight."

The Winged Knight was Ser Artys Arryn. Legend said that he had driven the First Men from the Vale and flown to the top of the Giant's Lance on a huge falcon to slay the Griffin King. There were a hundred tales of his adventures. Little Robert knew them all so well he could have recited them from memory, but he liked to have them read to him all the same. 

Also, Robert Arryn is plagued by dreams which are eerily reminiscent of Bran's visitation by the three-eyed crow or Euron's hinted childhood initiation, in which Robert similarly hears an insistent 'singer' (sometimes used as a euphemism for 'greenseer') -- and I don't think that 'singer' is Marillion:

AFFC-Alayne I

Robert pushed his spoon across the bowl and back, but never brought it to his lips. "I am not hungry," he decided. "I want to go back to bed. I never slept last night. I heard singing. Maester Colemon gave me dreamwine but I could still hear it."

Alayne put down her spoon. "If there had been singing, I should have heard it too. You had a bad dream, that's all."

"No, it wasn't a dream." Tears filled his eyes. "Marillion was singing again. Your father says he's dead, but he isn't."

[perhaps whoever is responsible is 'undead' like a greenseer]

"He is." It frightened her to hear him talk like this. Bad enough that he is small and sickly, what if he is mad as well? "Sweetrobin, he is. Marillion loved your lady mother too much and could not live with what he'd done to her, so he walked into the sky." Alayne had not seen the body, no more than Robert had, but she did not doubt the fact of the singer's death. "He's gone, truly."

"But I hear him every night. Even when I close the shutters and put a pillow on my head. Your father should have cut his tongue out. I told him to, but he wouldn't."

He needed a tongue to confess. "Be a good boy and eat your porridge," Alayne pleaded. "Please? For me?"

"I don't want porridge." Robert flung his spoon across the hall. It bounced off a hanging tapestry, and left a smear of porridge upon a white silk moon. "The lord wants eggs!"

[what kind of eggs..?  dragon?  gigantic falcon?!]

"The lord shall eat porridge and be thankful for it," said Petyr's voice, behind them.

Alayne turned, and saw him in the doorway arch with Maester Colemon at his side. "You should heed the Lord Protector, my lord," the maester said. "Your lord's bannermen are coming up the mountain to pay you homage, so you will need all your strength."

Robert rubbed at his left eye with a knuckle. "Send them away. I don't want them. If they come, I'll make them fly."

['flying' is another euphemism for greenseeing, a power inextricably bound up with human sacrifice-- both actual and symbolic.  It's also noteworthy that Robert Arryn is so sickly considering Leaf informed us that 'the chosen ones are not robust']

When you think of it that way, strange things about the Eyrie make a lot of sense.

Why is there a weirwood throne? Perhaps it was originally a living tree, or a seat for a greenseer, or perhaps like Jaime on the stump dead weirwoods can still connect people's minds to something.

Why are there big open rooms on the sides of the castle exposed to the elements, with no doors or walls? Perhaps they were homes for the giant birds (or flocks of ravens?). Casterly Rock has cages that supposedly used to be used for lions that are also used for humans prisoners.

[that's a brilliant observation!]

Why is there a random door with a moon carved on it and a bronze bar across it? Maybe the crescent isn't a moon - maybe it's a sickle. We've seen the combination of weirwood, bronze, and a sickle through Bran in his vision of human sacrifice of the First Men - perhaps the First Men who ran the Eyrie sacrificed to the Old Gods by pushing people out the door. Or maybe they killed them in the throne room to feed a weirwood tree that grew there with human blood and the Moon Door was the disposal chute for their bodies.

Or maybe the moon is used as a satellite uplink/downlink for the weirwood net - and the weirwood in the Eyrie or anybody on the throne could communicate with the weirwood net by opening up the door and looking at the moon.

The point is that the Eyrie might potentially make more sense when used for its original purpose than it does now as a seasonal seat for an Andal kingdom.

And one of the sleeping potential plotlines in the story is that descendants of those old previous rulers of the Eyrie are still alive in the Mountain Clans, and Tyrion has promised to give them back control of the Eyrie and the Vale. So maybe it will at some point go back to its old purposes.

I enjoyed reading your informative and imaginatively speculative post!  Have you seen the following thread yet?  I have a feeling you'd have many useful insights to contribute over there, especially in regards to the 'repurposed ancient structures' and the likelihood of them representing the seats of greenseers:

P.S. @Wizz-The-Smith:  I thought you might enjoy @GyantSpyder's insights!

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On 10/17/2016 at 5:21 PM, GyantSpyder said:

The Starks, Hightowers, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Lannisters, Baratheons and Martells all derive some measure of their legitimacy as rulers by claiming as their seat some sort of repurposed object or structure from ancient times. A lot of the time the build around it, and the new structure takes on a new identity. Of the families in such places, I'd say only the Hightowers and Martells have any shot of knowing what the their ancient seat was originally for. The Starks may find something out in the Crypts, but otherwise the history of Winterfell is mostly bound up in whatever myths remain from the Long Night.

The Arryns aren't any different - theirs is just the least convenient. With the Eyrie sitting there, anybody who declared it their seat might be seen as more impressive or more powerful than other people in the area. Plus there might be such an old custom of somebody commanding from there that it's still ingrained in some relationships - or in the layout of roads or other infrastructure.

So the Arryns rule from it because being from it gives them the impression of rulership in the eyes of others. The Arryns are Andals, and they didn't put the Eyrie there, they just recognized its symbolic usefulness in human politics.

The Eyrie isn't a repurposed ancient structure.  It was initiated by the fourth Arryn king, who felt the Gates of the Moon wasn't grand enough.  There wasn't anything there before that.

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Really the only great castles that make actual sense imho are Winterfell, Casterly Rock, Riverrun and Storm's End. All four are big enough to support sizeable garrisons, and in a good economical and militrary position as well, just as medieval castles ought to be. Highgarden seems more like a city or a palace than a stronghold and, as somebody mentioned above, the others are really impractical. 

I mean, I get that the Eyrie is prestigious and pretty much impenetrable, but it is so hard to reach that governing from it is almost impossible. They depend on one girl and a mule for their whole food supply, and what happens when a high ranking noble falls off a cliff? How do you explain that to his relatives? It makes kinda sense as a refuge castle for the high nobility and maybe as a prison, but apart from that it would be way more logical to have the Arryn's regular seat be situated at the foot of the mountain, at the Gates of the Moon. 

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Is the Eyrie not used only during the summer months, so it's only a temporary seat of power for the Arryns. I got the impression that they moved to warmer climates when the winter months arrives.

And to be honest the Vale is practically impenetrable as it is so they don't need to worry about having some massive castle fortress to defend. I feel as if it's merely a status thing, they hold court up there because it's impressive and intimidates anyone heading to visit them. The whole idea is just a set up to impress any outsiders. The Moon Door, Sky Cells, the journey up there; it's all going to make you in awe of the place before you even get up there. 

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There is also the fact that the Eyrie would be almost impregnable to the White Walkers.  Do we know how old it is?  Was it in existence during the Long Night? 

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As Colonel Green pointed out here, Roland I Arryn, the fourth Arryn king, commissioned the construction of the Eyrie and it was built over a series of "generations." The Eyrie is old, but not nearly as old as the First Men fortresses that Roland envied.

Edited by psychogobstopper

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It's one of the safest castles in Westeros once you reach it. It has never been taken by force, flying a dragon up to it doesn't count. And it doesn't require a lot of men. 500 men can hold it easily because it impossible for a hostile force to reach without massive casualties in the attempt.

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On 14/10/2016 at 6:55 AM, LionoftheWest said:

I suspect it may be a caricature of the fantastical fantasy castles that sometimes prop up with no regard for logistics or comfort for the inhabitants.

It's based very closely on Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, which was built in the 19th Century as an impressive but rather impractical residence.

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The Eyrie is a summer castle. It is hardly surprising that kings have more than one castle and actually a huge mistake on George's part that the Targaryens haven't residences all over the Seven Kingdoms and the Gardeners, Starks, Durrandons, Lannisters, etc. not also many castles all over their domains. Such castles usually were the backbone of the power of real medieval kings.

Originally the Eyries seems to have been the only castle of the Arryns (as Ned and Robert allegedly 'came down' from the Eyrie in the Year of the False Spring to attend the tourney at Harrenhal when in fact they must have been merely at the Gates of the Moon. The Eyrie is closed in winter and one should assume that even in a mild winter the Arryns wouldn't be as stupid as to reopen their summer seat when spring had not yet officially begun - assuming spring and not only summer was a time to hang out at the Eyrie. I mean, if you just think winter is over you risk being trapped at the Eyrie without sufficient provisions after winter returned - something you most likely don't want to happen to you.

Thus it makes no sense to believe Ned and Robert were at the Eyrie prior to the Harrenhal tourney (and certainly not thereafter).

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

It's based very closely on Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, which was built in the 19th Century as an impressive but rather impractical residence.

Didn't know that. Thanks for the information.

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On 10/13/2016 at 10:40 PM, John Doe said:

I mean, it really isn't practical in any way. You can't have a large force up there, you can't live there during winter, and visits by your vassals or even going down by yourself is a pain in the ass and even life-threatening. I mean, sure, it may count as prestigious, but on the other hand it's the smallest castle of any great house in westeros, so what's the point? 

It is impenetrable. That is why. Geography makes it impossible for an army to maintain a siege on the castle therefore the royal family would always have shelter, defense and refuge as long as the way up was clear.  Plot wise, the point is the Arryn;s ruled uncontested from the Eyrie as kings of the Vale for thousands of years. the only thing that changed was the arrival of A Targ Queen who easily bypassed the entire defensive system by flying to the courtyard. 

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On 12/21/2016 at 6:18 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Eyrie is a summer castle. It is hardly surprising that kings have more than one castle and actually a huge mistake on George's part that the Targaryens haven't residences all over the Seven Kingdoms and the Gardeners, Starks, Durrandons, Lannisters, etc. not also many castles all over their domains. Such castles usually were the backbone of the power of real medieval kings.

Originally the Eyries seems to have been the only castle of the Arryns (as Ned and Robert allegedly 'came down' from the Eyrie in the Year of the False Spring to attend the tourney at Harrenhal when in fact they must have been merely at the Gates of the Moon. The Eyrie is closed in winter and one should assume that even in a mild winter the Arryns wouldn't be as stupid as to reopen their summer seat when spring had not yet officially begun - assuming spring and not only summer was a time to hang out at the Eyrie. I mean, if you just think winter is over you risk being trapped at the Eyrie without sufficient provisions after winter returned - something you most likely don't want to happen to you.

Thus it makes no sense to believe Ned and Robert were at the Eyrie prior to the Harrenhal tourney (and certainly not thereafter).

The Targs did have multiple castles: The Red Keep, Dragonstone, and Summerhall

the Starks had Winterfell, The Karhold, and The Wolf's Den,

The Baratheon held Storms End, The Red Keep, and Dragonstone,

 

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Posted (edited)

 

On 17-10-2016 at 10:21 PM, GyantSpyder said:

The Arryns are Andals, and they didn't put the Eyrie there, they just recognized its symbolic usefulness in human politics.

Doubtful and contradicting extensive world book information. On top of that it's doubtful that greenseers would build anything where a weirwood can't grow.

The throne and moon door can be repurpossed from the petty kings they conquered in the lower valleys. Several First Men houses were slaughtered and had gone extinct during the Andal conquering of the Vale. Their lands were appropriated and so would have been anything the Andals regarded as a status symbol, and then relocated. Since the Vale was a multitude of petty kings rather than a united kingdom, except when the First Men chose to gather behind a Royce to fight the Andals, the moon door could come from one extinct house and the throne from another and then moved.  

That's not to say that there may not have been pre-Andal and First Men Arryns. Very likely there were Arryns somewhere in the Vale who were First Men, in possession of a weirwood throne and weirwood door (btw the moon door is vertical, not horizontal). Then some Andals conquered them  or the house went extinct even long before that and an Andal sworn-sword appropriated the name, not unlike we see sellswords of the GC do with names of Westerosi extinct houses. Heck, he might have appropriated a female descendant of the FM Arryns as a wife and then adopted the name, especially if the FM Arryns were petty kings, while the Andal may have been no more than a lowborn sworn-sword/hedge knight. By the time the final battle between the First Men and Andals is fought, led by the Falcon Knight (which likely was a title appropriated from olden times, not dissimilar as the Sword in the Morning concept), the Arryn name becomes to be fully equated with Andals, its First Men origin forgotten.

But the records that would have been kept to get the marble from Tarth to build the Eyrie and such things would make it unlikely that the claim that it was built by the 4th Andal Arryn king is a falsification of history.  

Edited by sweetsunray

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Posted (edited)

On 21/12/2016 at 3:31 AM, The Broke Howard Hughes said:

It's one of the safest castles in Westeros...

On 22/12/2016 at 5:18 PM, Dorian Martell's son said:

It is impenetrable. That is why.

What are you guys talking about? It's got to be one of the easiest castles to take in the realm.

It's not that big, and resupply is such a pain in the arse, that we can assume it doesn't have too much food put away. And there's only one way up or down. So all you need to do is besiege it, and the people up top are trapped and starving and totally fucked. Meanwhile the narrow descent and small garrison means that the besieging army doesn't actually have to worry about the Eyrie's forces sallying forth and attacking them, so they're free to second some troops to resupplying themselves from the incredibly rich and fertile lands they've camped in.

The Eyrie's only hope is that someone else will break the siege, and quickly. That's the big danger that a besieging army has: luckily, they have a defence mechanism in place. If they can take the Gates of the Moon, then they're able to simultaneously besiege the Eyrie whilst withstanding a siege from the Eyrie's defenders.

In other words, a relatively small force can be left in the Gates of the Moon that can completely neutralise the Eyrie, and probably last a lot longer, the Gates almost certainly having larger food stores.

And if the forces that now control the Gates of the Moon defeat the Eyrie's allies elsewhere, then the Eyrie is totally fucked. Frankly I'm surprised there aren't more instances of the lord that controls the Gates betraying the Arryns. It must be so tempting - like taking candy from a baby.

Plus, a small force can easily bypass the Gates of the Moon and cut some bridges etc and trap people in the Eyrie without even laying siege to the place.

The whole thing's totally ridiculous, unless the original holders of the castle had magic powers and/or could fly. Perhaps the Vale was a sort of Varymyr Sixskins type situation writ large.

P.S. More like Varymyr Dickskins

Edited by Illyrio Mo'Parties

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On 1/5/2017 at 6:28 AM, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

What are you guys talking about? It's got to be one of the easiest castles to take in the realm.

It's not that big, and resupply is such a pain in the arse, that we can assume it doesn't have too much food put away. And there's only one way up or down. So all you need to do is besiege it, and the people up top are trapped and starving and totally fucked. Meanwhile the narrow descent and small garrison means that the besieging army doesn't actually have to worry about the Eyrie's forces sallying forth and attacking them, so they're free to second some troops to resupplying themselves from the incredibly rich and fertile lands they've camped in.

The Eyrie's only hope is that someone else will break the siege, and quickly. That's the big danger that a besieging army has: luckily, they have a defence mechanism in place. If they can take the Gates of the Moon, then they're able to simultaneously besiege the Eyrie whilst withstanding a siege from the Eyrie's defenders.

In other words, a relatively small force can be left in the Gates of the Moon that can completely neutralise the Eyrie, and probably last a lot longer, the Gates almost certainly having larger food stores.

And if the forces that now control the Gates of the Moon defeat the Eyrie's allies elsewhere, then the Eyrie is totally fucked. Frankly I'm surprised there aren't more instances of the lord that controls the Gates betraying the Arryns. It must be so tempting - like taking candy from a baby.

Plus, a small force can easily bypass the Gates of the Moon and cut some bridges etc and trap people in the Eyrie without even laying siege to the place.

The whole thing's totally ridiculous, unless the original holders of the castle had magic powers and/or could fly. Perhaps the Vale was a sort of Varymyr Sixskins type situation writ large.

P.S. More like Varymyr Dickskins

The road up to the Eyrie is eminently defensible. It would require an extremely small garrison to hold off an huge army trying to capture the Royal family. Even if the gates of the moon are taken, there is still the climb up to the peak, which is designed to bleed an invading dry. 
Also, this is a fantasy novel, with 8000 year family lines, characters who are incredibly sexy after generations of inbreeding, fire/blood and shadow magic, giants, networked trees, an afterlife of semi god people, Ice demons, their undead thralls and Dragons. So nitpicking details of a castle built at the peak of a mountain seems kinda weak at best. Magic enhanced manticore poison? Ok, but a castle built on a mountain peak? No way! 

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