House Lannister: The Golden Lions
House Lannister, simply put, is the golden family of Westeros. Most of the Lannisters are tall, blond, and beautiful. They also rule over the Westerlands, whose mountains are rich in gold and silver. As the wealthiest house, they command the best-equipped military force in Westeros, along with a modest fleet.
The profile of House Lannister is defined by their penchant for trickery and treachery. They trace their lineage back to Lann the Clever, a legendary hero who managed to swindle the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock without using any weapons. They pretended to be Aerys Targaryen’s ally during Robert’s Rebellion, only to turn against him and his family once the gates to King’s Landing were opened.
The Lannisters descend from the Andals, who hailed from the eastern continent. They invaded Westeros, killed the children of the forest, and conquered the kingdoms of the First Men. They married the daughters of the King of the Rock, who descends from Lann the Clever, an important figure from the Age of Heroes who managed to wrestle Casterly Rock from the Casterlys using only his wits. House Lannister remained as Kings of the Rock until the Targaryen invasion. They surrendered and swore fealty to Aegon the Conqueror, who allowed them to retain their rule over the Westerlands.
During King Aerys Targaryen’s reign, Lord Tywin Lannister, the current head of House Lannister, served as the King’s Hand. Tywin’s son, Jaime Lannister, joined the Kingsguard at the age of 15. Despite their support of the Targaryen rule, they did not raise their arms during Robert’s Rebellion until the very end. Thinking that the Lannister army was his salvation, King Aerys opened the gates of King’s Landing to welcome them. The Lannisters sacked the city in what was to be one of the bloodiest massacres in the history of Westeros. Jaime himself slit the king’s throat, earning him the reputation of a “Kingslayer”. This incident further defines the profile of House Lannister as the true descendants of the fierce Andal invaders.
In the aftermath of the civil war, the Lannisters yielded to House Baratheon and offered their allegiance through a marriage between King Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister, Jaime’s twin sister. Robert accepted and welcomed the Lannisters into the royal family.
The Lannisters were quick to take advantage of their newfound status within King’s Landing. Queen Cersei wasted no time in appointing several positions to her family members and allies, from the squires to the Kingsguard. With three children by King Robert, Queen Cersei’s place in the royal family and the power of House Lannister was secured. When Eddard “Ned” Stark came to King’s Landing as the King’s new Hand, however, the Lannisters claim to the throne through Robert and Cersei’s eldest son, Joffrey, was suddenly put in jeopardy. Ned’s investigations into the Queen and her family, whom he had never trusted since the gruesome events of Robert’s Rebellion, triggered events that would eventually lead to King Robert’s demise and the War of the Five Kings.
The profile of House Lannister is mainly portrayed as the villains of the series. Cersei, in particular, plays a strong role as a heartless manipulator. The character of Kingslayer, Jaime, takes a unique twist as he begins his road to redemption midway through the series. Both are used as point of view characters in the latest books. Although he has no chapters of his own, Tywin’s presence is felt in his reputed strength and skills as a military commander. The best and worst of the Lannister family is Tyrion, Tywin’s youngest son. He is known as the “Imp” due to his short stature and deformities. He is also the wittiest of the bunch and his chapters have proven to be the most entertaining ones in the series.
Sigil & Motto
The sigil of House Lannister is – quite fittingly – that of golden lion against a crimson field. Their official family motto is “Hear me roar!”, though Tyrion has also managed to popularize another saying “A Lannister always pays his debts”.