House Arryn: The Mountain Kings
The profile of House Arryn is defined by two words: “duty” and “loyalty”. The men and women of House Arryn set themselves apart from the ostentatious ways of the other great Houses of Westeros by upholding their true worth through the values they exude, such as wisdom and honesty.
During the reign of the King Aerys Targaryen II, Jon Arryn exemplified the honor of his House by refusing to turn over his wards, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, knowing that the “mad” King was intent on their execution. Jon’s loyalty was rewarded after the subsequent success of Robert’s Rebellion. Under King Robert Baratheon’s reign, Jon was given the honor to serve as the King’s Hand, thereby elevating the position of House Arryn in terms of influence and power.
Since the birth of its House, the Arryn family has always ruled over the Vale, relishing the isolation and natural defenses of its mountainous terrain.
As with House Lannister, the history of House Arryn goes back to the time of the Andal invasion, when the Mountain Kings still ruled over the Vale. Ser Artys Arryn, the “Winged Knight”, slew the last of the Mountain Kings and began the Arryn’s reign as Kings of the Mountain and Vale. The Arryn Kings wore the Falcon Crown until the Targaryen invasion led by Aegon the Conqueror. House Arryn submitted to the Targaryen rule and became Lords of the Vale and Wardens of the East.
During Jon Arryn’s rule as Lord of the Vale, he fostered two boys, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark. The three formed a close bond and the younger men regarded Jon as their second father. When King Aerys II demanded the heads of his wards, Jon lived up to their faith in him and raised his banners in rebellion. Upon gaining control of the Iron Throne, Robert Baratheon named Jon as his Hand. Jon secured his newfound power and position by subjecting himself to a loveless, political marriage with Lysa Tully, whose family rules over the Riverlands. Her sister, Catelyn, married Eddard Stark, further cementing the Arryn family’s alliance with both the Tully and Stark Houses.
As Robert’s Hand, it was Jon who took on the responsibility of running the Seven Kingdoms and keeping Robert in line, though even he could not stop the wayward, extravagant king and his court from sinking the kingdom further into debt and potential ruin. Still he continued to serve Robert faithfully until his untimely passing. His successor and former ward, Eddard “Ned” Stark, would uncover the conspiracy that Jon was investigating at the time of his death. Ned’s findings will spark a conflict among the great Houses that would eventually lead to the War of the Five Kings. Now, more than ever, the support and strength of the Vale is needed, but the responsibility may prove to be too great for Jon’s widow, Lysa, and their six-year-old son, Robert, who is the last of the Arryn line.
The noble name of House Arryn may very well die out with Lysa and her six-year-old son, Robert. Lysa has transformed into a bitter woman through the course of her loveless marriage to an elderly man. Paranoid and overprotective of her only son, she prefers for her and hers to remain in the Eyrie, the Vale stronghold that sits atop a mountain and is thought to be impregnable to attack. Robert Arryn is portrayed as little more than a whiny, spoiled, and sickly brat who is given in to tantrums. Despite his untimely demise, it is still Jon who upholds the true profile of House Arryn through the memories of Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, and all who knew and respected the former Hand.
Sigil & Motto
The sigil of House Arryn is that of a blue falcon soaring high against the backdrop of a white moon. Their motto is “As High As Honor”, as befitting the noble profile of House Arryn. Whether Jon’s sole son and heir can live up to his family’s good name remains to be seen.