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House Lannister of Casterly Rock is the ruling house of the Westerlands. Their principal stronghold is Casterly Rock and their symbol is a roaring lion, gold on crimson. Their words are "Hear Me Roar!"

House Lannister[]

House Lannister is the principal house of the Westerlands. Their principal seat is Casterly Rock. Their sigil is a golden lion on a field of crimson and their unofficial motto states, "A Lannister always pays his debts." Their official house words are "Hear me roar!" Founded by the mythical character Lann the Clever during the Age of Heroes the Lannisters reigned as Kings of the Rock until the Targaryen conquest. The Lannisters surrendered and were allowed to remain the paramount lords of the Westerlands at Casterly Rock. At this time, the Lannisters had no close ties to Targaryens and very little influence at court despite their wealth. The most influential at the time were Velaryon, Baratheon, Tully, and some of the Crownlands houses. The Lannisters were too proud to get in close with the royals. In the 40s AC Prince Aegon and his sister-wife Rhaena took refuge at Casterly Rock from King Maegor. Lord Lyman Lannister protected them and gave them guest right, but would not pledge his sword. Aegon perished at his uncle’s hand at the Battle Beneath the Gods’ Eye. The Lannisters rallied to Aegon’s younger brother Jaehaerys I’s cause, thus becoming closer to the Targaryens, though still low in influence.

In 101, Lord Tymond Lannister attended the Great Council that named Viserys I king, bringing 200 in his retinue, only to be outdone by Matthos Tyrell, who brought 500. When Viserys I ascended, he made Jason’s twin brother Tyland (both were sons of Tymond) his master of ships. Under Aegon II, he became master of coin. Tyland brought Jason into the war on Aegon’s side, and hid the gold from the treasury. The Red Kraken, Lord Dalton Greyjoy, fell upon the Westerlands when Jason had marched to war, causing great damage. Lord Jason died to Pate of Longleaf, thereafter known as Lionslayer. His ally Lord Adrian Tarbeck was caught between three armies and crushed.

After King’s Landing was taken by the Blacks, Tyland refused to talk and say where the crown’s gold was when tortured by Rhaenyra’s people. He was blinded, mutilated, and gelded. He was retained as master of coin despite this, and sent to the Free Cities, even, to buy mercenaries to fight against Aegon III. However, the war ended with Aegon III’s ascension. As Aegon III was so young, there was a regency. Regents were taken from both sides, as neither was truly victorious, and the small council was comprised of people from both sides as well. Tyland became the hand to Aegon III. People thought that he would be weak, but he was not. He died of winter fever in 133 AC, two years after the war.

Johanna Westerling was Lord Jason’s widow. She reclaimed Lannister glory, fought against the Greyjoys, and lent gold to King’s Landing to help rebuild from the damage caused during the Dance of the Dragons (which was extensive).

During the First Blackfyre Rebellion, Ser Quentyn Ball (Fireball) killed Lord Lefford and sent the Grey Lion Damon Lannister in retreat. The Grey Lion’s son Lord Tybolt Lannister did not live long, and had no male heir of his body, just a three year old daughter named Sarelle when he died.

Gerold the Golden, Tybolt’s brother, became regent, only for Sarelle to die in 212. It was whispered that he murdered Sarelle, and also rumored that he had murdered Tybolt.

Gerold was an able lord, genial and clever. He ruled for 31 years, but there was no love for him, as he was still hated as a rumored kinslayer. People said that the tragedies he faced were proof enough that he was indeed a kinslayer. In 230 AC, Gerold lost his beloved second wife, Rohanne Webber, who simply vanished, and some of his sons within the year’s span.

Tybald and Tion were sons of Gerold, twins. Tybald was the eldest twin. In 232 AC, he died in battle, while a squire to Roger Reyne, the Red Lion. He died of a spear wound, in the arms of his twin Tion, who himself was a squire to Aegon V. Tybald became a knight on his deathbed. In this same battle, King Maekar I was crushed to death by a rock hurled from the battlements of Starpike (seat of House Peake, who fought in some Blackfyre Rebellions). Many Reynes died in the fighting as well.

There was no clear heir after Maekar’s death. Brynden Rivers himself led the Great Council that chose Aegon V the Unlikely. (though he soon departed for the wall with Aegon’s older brother Maester Aemon. Bloodraven may not have been forced to take the black). Gerold the Golden was said to be key in swaying things towards Aegon V.

Tybald had been betrothed to Ellyn Reyne, but he died before they married. Ellyn persuaded Tion to set aside his betrothal. In 235 AC, they had a double wedding, with Tion marrying Ellyn Reyne, and Tytos marrying Jeyne Marbrand. Gerold was twice widowed, and didn’t married again, so Ellyn was the Lady of Casterly Rock.

In 236 AC, the fourth Blackfyre Rebellion, helmed by Daemon III, landed at Massey’s Hook. The Blackfyres had very little support, however, as people thought the Blackfyres to be done, as tattered as their banners. Tion died at the Battle of Wendwater Bridge. At the same battle, Duncan the Tall slew Daemon III Blackfyre. Bittersteel retreated across the Narrow Sea again, and the war was quickly over.

In 243 AC, Gerold the Golden died of a bad bladder.

The House had fallen on hard times thanks to the terrible rule of Lord Tytos Lannister, who was amiable, eager to be liked and well-meaning, but weak, desperate to please, and effortlessly swayed by his bannermen. He had five children: Tywin, Kevan, Genna, Tygett and Gerion. After the War of the Ninepenny Kings, his eldest son Tywin, who had spent his entire life frustrated by Tytos' reputation, cemented his own and his house's reputation by destroying the insurgent Houses Reyne and Tarbeck. In the process, Tywin restored House Lannister to renown, power and wealth. The Lannisters are the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms, due in large part to the many gold mines under their control.

Tywin Lannister[]

Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport and Warden of the West, Tywin is a calculating, ruthless, and controlling man in his mid-fifties. His wife Joanna Lannister died in childbirth while delivering his dwarf son Tyrion, and he took no other wife. He loves his children Jaime and Cersei, but despises Tyrion for being deformed and causing his beloved wife Joanna's death.

During his youth, Tywin managed to single-handedly restore his family's honor and fortune, and dedicated himself to reinforcing Lannister prestige. He was an able and shrewd ruler who brought great prosperity during his two tenures as Hand of the King, However, King Aerys' increasing paranoia and jealousy drove the two into bitter disagreement. Tywin resigned as Hand and returned to his own lands. During Robert's Rebellion Tywin remained at Casterly Rock, taking no side until after Robert's decisive victory at the Battle of the Trident. Tywin then gathered his forces and rode for King's Landing. Aerys was convinced that Tywin had returned to aid him and opened the gates of the city. Tywin's forces promptly sacked the city, Jaime murdered Aerys, and Rhaegar's wife and children were slain.

After Robert Baratheon's death, Tywin became Hand of the King again, this time for King Joffrey, his grandson. For much of the next year he led his troops against House Stark and appointed his son Tyrion serve as Hand while he was away. As Hand, Tyrion displayed a pragmatic talent for intrigue and ingenuity. During the War of the Five Kings, Stannis Baratheon became a serious threat to the Lannisters, besieging King's Landing at the Battle of the Blackwater. Tywin Lannister delivered a strike that decimated Stannis' army. Many of Stannis' men switched sides. This was the final blow that ended the siege once and for all.

Tywin arranged the betrothal of Margaery Tyrell to Joffrey to secure an alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. An elaborate wedding was planned. Joffrey died from poison at the wedding feast, and Tyrion was blamed. Tywin presided at his trial. Tyrion chose trial by combat. Tyrion's champion was slain and Tyrion imprisoned to await execution. However, Tyrion was soon secretly freed by Jaime and Varys in the middle of the night. Tyrion used the secret tunnels of the Red Keep to make his way to the Tower of the Hand's bedchamber where Tywin slept. There, Tyrion killed Tywin.

Tywin is played by Charles Dance in the HBO adaption of the books.

Cersei Lannister[]

Older than Jaime by mere moments, Cersei (a POV character) is the twin sister of Jaime Lannister with golden hair and bright green eyes. After Robert's Rebellion she married the new King, Robert Baratheon, and became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. A willful and ambitious woman, Cersei resents the restrictions put on her for her sex. She is always concerned for the safety of her children, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen. She has no respect for her husband, King Robert.

Cersei's three children were all fathered by her brother Jaime, rather than her husband. This secret was discovered by Jon Arryn, Eddard Stark and Stannis Baratheon. Being an honest man, Eddard offered Cersei an opportunity to flee before he broke the news to King Robert. Cersei, however, had no intention of leaving; ultimately, this led to Eddard's downfall.

Cersei has since climbed the ladder of power. She arranged for the death of her husband, King Robert. After that, she put her 13-year-old son Joffrey on the throne, ruling as Queen Regent. However, when leaving for battle, as Hand of the King, her non-twin brother Tyrion curtailed much of Cersei's policy. Several characters in the series state that Cersei wants power but does not wield it well.

When both her eldest son and father Tywin were murdered in quick succession Cersei believed that Tyrion was guilty of both. She resumed her regency over her younger son, the eight-year-old newly crowned King Tommen. As Tywin's eldest child, she was also acknowledged as the Lady of Casterly Rock. Thus empowered and unrestricted, Cersei began her regime by filling Tommen's Small Council with her own supporters and agents, disregarding previous arrangements. The changes she made to the Small Council along with some of the men she choose to fill it were not held in high regard by many of the lords and smallfolk.

Cersei grew to suspect that her powerful Tyrell allies, now relatives through Tommen's marriage to Margaery Tyrell, were trying to seize control of the kingdom. She began a campaign to remove the Tyrells in King's Landing from positions of influence and authority, including her son's wife Margaery, and Loras, a member of the Kingsguard. This alienated Jaime, who had begun drifting away from his family, even further and he abandoned her to her own political paranoia. Another potentially ill-fated decision was her refusal to honor the debts of the Crown, angering powerful institutions such as the Iron Bank of Braavos and the Faith. As a result the Faith refused to bless King Tommen and the Iron Bank of Braavos refused any new loans to Westeros but called in all the debts from their previous loans which caused economic chaos.

A plan to have Margaery Tyrell seduced failed as Margaery did not respond to seduction. Her henchman (Osney Kettleblack) confessed to the High Septon the complete and actual truth (Osney had slept with Cersei and smothered the previous High Septon with a pillow at Cersei's command). Cersei was arrested and detained to await trial in a tower cell at the Great Sept of Baelor. Her ministers abandoned her and seized control of the government while she was imprisoned. Accused of capital crimes, her only hope lay in a Kingsguard champion to stand for her in a trial by combat. She sent Jaime a letter begging for his help. Jaime threw her letter into a burning fireplace as snow began to fall on Riverrun, and winter descended on Westeros.

Cersei Lannister is played by Lena Headey in the HBO adaption of the books.

Jaime Lannister[]

Younger twin to Cersei, and son of Tywin and Joanna, Jaime Lannister (a POV character) is one of the most famous knights in all of Westeros. He became a knight and ascended to the Kingsguard. Two years after his induction he murdered the mad king during the sack of King's Landing, earning him the epithet "Kingslayer". He shares his sister's arrogance, amorality, and striking good looks. In A Storm of Swords he becomes a point-of-view character.

Jaime was an immensely talented warrior from his youth. He gained honors for valor in the field during the suppression of the Kingswood Brotherhood and was invited to join the Kingsguard at the age of 15, becoming its youngest ever member. It was a great honor; however, his true reason for accepting was to be closer to his lover, his own twin sister Cersei. The honor was tarnished when he realized that his appointment was a way for King Aerys to deprive the powerful Lord Lannister of his eldest son and heir, since knights of the Kingsguard renounce their lands and titles and take a vow of celibacy. Seeing Aerys's true purpose, Tywin resigned as Hand, and returned with Cersei to Casterly Rock. With his sister gone, and tasked with guarding a king he now realized to be insane and cruel, Jaime became increasingly disenchanted with his role.

During Robert's Rebellion, Aerys kept Jaime out of the fighting to secure the continued loyalty of the Lannisters. However, after the Battle of the Trident, Jaime discovered that Aerys planned to burn King's Landing and all of its inhabitants rather than let Robert Baratheon take them. When Tywin Lannister tricked Aerys into letting his troops into King's Landing and began to sack the city, King Aerys attempted to put this plan into action. Jaime responded by killing the king, earning him the epithet "Kingslayer" and a reputation as an evil and dishonorable man. Jaime later reflected that he is often reviled for what he considers to be his finest act.

Jaime is arrogant, impulsive and amoral. He attempted to protect the secret of his incestuous relationship with Cersei by throwing the seven year old Bran Stark from a high window at Winterfell. He was captured by Robb Stark and spent much of the War of the Five Kings imprisoned at the Tully stronghold of Riverrun. He was freed by Catelyn Stark in exchange for the freedom of her daughters Sansa and Arya and his oath to never take arms against the Starks or Tullys again.

During his journey back to King's Landing, Jaime's sword hand was cut off by his father's former sell-swords. Having lost his identity-defining martial prowess and with the example of the honorable Brienne of Tarth, Jaime began to re-evaluate his life. He managed to defeat the Tullys without actually taking up arms against them, and has dispatched Brienne to rescue the Stark girls and keep them safe from his family. Since leaving King's Landing, Jaime has also been training with Ser Ilyn Payne. While he hopes to eventually learn to fight left-handed, his progress has been very slow.

Jaime Lannister is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the HBO adaption of the books.

Kevan Lannister[]

Kevan is Tywin's younger brother and most trusted captain, known for his reliability and loyalty. Kevan recognized the superiority of his brother at an early age and is comfortable doing his duty to realize his brother's wishes, though this means perpetually living in his shadow. It is said that Kevan never had a thought that Tywin hadn't had first.

After Tywin's death, Cersei offered him the position of Hand of the King. However he did not trust Cersei's leadership and said he would only take the position if she returned to Casterly Rock and gave him the regency. After her refusal he refused the position of Hand and accused Cersei of being both a poor leader and mother. He quickly became alienated to his immediate family. He returned to the West, After Cersei's imprisonment, the Small Council named him Regent.

He took things back in hand, restoring alliances and fixing grievances Cersei created. The new council he created had 3 people for House Tyrell, 3 people for House Lannister, and was expected to welcome one of the Sand Snakes, Lady Nymeria, in replacement for her dead father. He was killed with a crossbow bolt by Varys, after Varys had already killed Pycelle in the same room. The reason being that Varys wants the kingdom available to the taking by the Targaryens children (Daenerys and Aegon), and Kevan risked uniting the kingdom again. With him dead, more discord is created and Aegon Targaryen will be more likely to gain friends without a united front to act against him, and a kingdom in discord will make the Targaryens more welcome by the people of the seven kingdoms.

Lancel Lannister[]

Lancel is the oldest son of Ser Kevan. At King's Landing, he served as squire to King Robert. He is described as sandy-haired, with a wisp of a mustache and emerald green eyes, looking much like a younger Jaime.

Lancel idolized his cousin Jaime to the point that he participated in Cersei's plans to kill Robert so that he too could become a Kingslayer. After Robert's death, Lancel was knighted. Cersei took him as a lover while Jaime went to war due to his resemblance to her brother. He guarded Joffrey until Cersei ordered Joffrey to be taken away during the Battle of the Blackwater. Lancel took a serious wound in the fighting and later chastised Cersei for the damage her action caused to morale.

Lancel lingered near death for a long time and he never fully recovered from his wound. During his recovery, Lancel experienced a spiritual reawakening, spending most of his time in the sept doing penance for his sins. His behavior angered his father greatly. When word reached Lancel of the resurgence of the Warrior Sons, an order of holy knights, he renounced his castle, lands and wife and traveled to King's Landing to join them.

Tyrion Lannister[]

Tyrion Lannister, (a POV character from the start of the series) is Tywin's third child, a highly intelligent dwarf mockingly nicknamed "The Imp" and "Halfman". Though Tyrion shares his father's talent for political maneuvering, he receives little respect from Tywin because of his deformity, sharp tongue, penchant for whoring, and the death of his mother during his birth. He is capable of cruelty to his enemies, but also has great sympathy for fellow outcasts and the mistreated. Overall, Tyrion is a classical quick-witted trickster figure.

Tyrion joined the royal family on their fateful trip to Winterfell, after which he visited The Wall. Jon Snow and Tyrion came to be unlikely friends during this time, brought together by their common lot in life as outcasts.

On Tyrion's return south, Catelyn Stark arrested him as the attempted murderer of her son Bran Stark and brought him to the Eyrie, seat of the deceased Jon Arryn and his widow, Lysa, Catelyn's sister. There Lysa Arryn put him on trial for that crime, as well as the murder of her late husband Jon Arryn. Tyrion escaped punishment with the victory of his champion, the sellsword Bronn, in a trial by combat. After leaving the Eyrie, he recruited the fierce and undisciplined mountain clans of the Vale with promise of steel and glory. Back at court in King's Landing, Tyrion suspected that he would need protectors against his family members, including possible assassination attempts from his sister, Cersei.

Tywin made Tyrion his temporary replacement as Hand of the King. Tyrion entered a bitter power struggle with Cersei, and consistently outplotted her. He also arranged for wildfire-filled ships and a massive chain boom that eventually devastated Stannis Baratheon's fleet during the Battle of the Blackwater, contributing greatly to the victory against Stannis. Stannis' men attempted to breach a major city gate. Tyrion alone seemed to appreciate the gravity of the situation and led a sortie beyond the walls to secure the gate area. Riding a horse and wielding an appropriately sized battle-axe, Tyrion led his men, unexpectedly experiencing the adrenaline-fueled high of "battle fever". He then took a severe facial wound (the loss of most of his nose) in an assassination attempt during the fighting. During recovery, he (correctly) suspected that Cersei was to blame.

Forced into a political marriage with Sansa Stark, Tyrion took pity on his unwilling bride and did not force consummation. The two were wrongfully accused of the murder of King Joffrey; however, Sansa fled, and only Tyrion stood trial. Cersei's champion was the formidable Gregor Clegane. The notoriously skilled duelist Prince Oberyn Martell volunteered to champion Tyrion. Gregor Clegane managed to kill Oberyn, and Tyrion was condemned to death. However, he was secretly freed from his prison cell by his brother Jaime and a reluctant Varys. Before leaving the castle, Tyrion visited his father's room via the secret tunnels, and killed him in cold blood.

Tyrion has since fled across the narrow sea, his motives unknown even to himself.

Tyrion is played by Peter Dinklage (the top choice of many of the fans and the series author George R. R. Martin as well)[1] in the HBO adaptation of the books.[2]

Houses Sworn to Casterly Rock[]

Extinct Houses of the Westerlands[]

Lannister characters in the book[]

Gerion's bastard[]

Historical Lannister characters[]

  • Lann the Clever, founder of the House
  • King Tommen I Lannister
  • King Tommen II Lannister
  • King Lancel V Lannister
  • King Loren Lannister, last King of the Rock
  • Lord Lyman Lannister, Head of the House during the reign of Maegor Targaryen
  • Lord Jason Lannister, head of the House during the reign of Viserys I Targaryen
    • Ser Tyland Lannister, younger twin brother of Jason Lannister
  • Tya Lannister, married into House Baratheon
  • Lord Damon Lannister, called the Grey Lion, head of the House during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen
  • Lord Tybolt Lannister, eldest son of Damon Lannister
    • Lady Sarelle Lannister, only daughter of Tybolt, died when she was three
  • Lord Gerold Lannister, younger brother of Tybolt, called the Golden, father of Tybald, Tion, Tytos and Jason Lannister
    • Tybald Lannister, eldest son of Gerold
    • Tion Lannister, second son of Gerold, younger twin brother of Tybald
  • Lord Tytos Lannister, third son of Gerold, called the Toothless Lion
    • Jason Lannister, fourth son of Gerold, married to Marla Prester, father of Stafford and Joanna Lannister.
  • Tygett Lannister, third son of Tytos
  • Gerion Lannister, fourth son of Tytos