Upon arrival in Westeros, the Andals invaded and conquered the First Men and started destroying weirwood trees, a sacred relic of the Children of the Forest; this led to another war between humans and the Children. However, the war ended in the humans’ favor, and the Children retreated beyond the Wall. After the Andal Invasion, the laws of Westeros changed as the Andals brought a new religion and advanced technology. The arrival of the Andals began a formal system of separation of power from religion. Soon, the Rhoynar arrived in Westeros, sparking more conflict.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven.
- The Continent of Origin: Essos.
- Notable Features: People of Andal origin are fair-haired.
Though there are speculations on the origin of the Andals, it is widely believed they sprang up in the Axe of Northern Essos. However, others believe the information to be false and claim the Andals came from the South of the Silver Sea.
After migrating to the northwestern region of Essos, the Andals established Andalos, a massive kingdom located north of the modern Free City of Pentos. It stretched as far as the Velvet Hills and Flatlands and reached the Hairy Men, a race of warriors. With the rise of their empire, the Andals interacted with the Rhoynar and learned the art of iron-making.
Migration to Westeros
With the rise of the Valyrian Freehold, the Andals faced a threat to their survival. Realizing Valyria would eventually overrun their empire with the might of the dragons, they migrated from Essos to Westeros. Sources placed the time of the Andal migration between two and six thousand years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. Before migrating, the Valyrians intermarried with the Andals as their colonies expanded.
Arrival in Westeros and Andal Invasion
Upon reaching Westeros, the Andals attacked the First Men in the Vale. They burned down the weirwood trees sacred to the Children of the Forest and proclaimed the Faith of the Seven. With some warriors even carving the Seven-Pointed Star onto their skin, the Andals destroyed everything in their wake.
Though the First Men and the Children fought, they were no match for the fanatics with advanced iron weapons. During the invasion, Erreg the Kinslayer cut down thirty-one weirwood trees in the sacred forest of the Children; this led to more conflict.
After centuries of warring, the Andals destroyed the Children of the Forest. They conquered Westeros, reaching as far as the Iron Islands, except for the Kings of Winter, who stopped their advances at Moat Cailin.
In 2 BC, before the Doom of Valyria, Aegon Targaryen landed in Westeros with fewer than 1,600 men at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. Upon his arrival, he began conquering and subduing cities in the Seven Kingdoms.
After burning Harrenhal with his dragons, his conquest intensified, and he led a successful campaign against the various Andal Kings of the seven kingdoms. By the end, House Targaryen had subdued Westeros, and Aegon became the King of the Andals, The Rhoynar, and the First Men and Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Though he conquered most of Westeros, Aegon failed to defeat Dorne, ruled by the Martells, due to their Guerilla fighting style.
Andal culture is deeply rooted in its religion, the Faith of the Seven. Within the culture lies a warrior tradition that divides fighters according to their level of expertise and titles; this warrior tradition is called Knighthood. Alongside Knighthood, the order of the Maesters sprang up from the same belief.
Before the arrival of the Andals in Westeros, the First Men had primitive bronze technology that got supplanted by the iron technology of the Andals. Also, with a superior writing system, the Andals wrote the events of the Andal Invasion from their perspective.
According to records from the early days of the Andal Invasion, knights carved the seven-pointed star unto their flesh and stones of the Fingers when they reached Westeros.
Even after successfully defeating the First Men, the Andals remained outnumbered. To prevent religious crisis, Andal Kings allowed the First Men to worship the Old Gods of the Forest in the godswoods. However, the Faith of the Seven became the dominant religion in the kingdoms of Westeros, except in Winterfell.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
After the death of Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King, Daenerys, and her brother Viserys flee to Essos. They meet Magister Illyrio Mopatis, who takes them in. To restore Viserys to the Iron Throne, Illyrio arranges a marriage between Daenerys and Khal Drogo, a Dothraki warlord.
While in the company of the Dothraki, Daenerys learns about the nomad culture and meets Ser Jorah Mormont. She discovers that the Dothraki call Westeros Rhaesh Andahli, meaning the land of the Andals.
Meanwhile, in Westeros, House Stark raises its banners against House Lannister when Lord Eddard Stark gets arrested after the death of Robert Baratheon. After he gets killed, Robb Stark becomes King in the North.
With the War of the Five Kings intensifying, Tywin Lannister defeats Stannis Baratheon after his brother, Renly Baratheon, Lord of Storm’s End, gets killed by Melisandre. Later, Theon travels to the Iron Islands to negotiate an alliance with his father on behalf of Robb.
However, Balon Greyjoy refuses the offer and declares himself King. The ironborn captures Moat Cailin, but Theon gets greedy. He gets arrested by Ramsay Bolton. In King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister becomes the acting Hand of the King and fights Stannis in the Battle of Blackwater.
After the Battle of Blackwater, House Tyrell becomes a crucial supporter of the Lannisters. They plan to marry King Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell. However, on the wedding day, Joffrey dies. Tyrion gets blamed for his death.
After getting betrayed by Shae, Tyrion demands Trial by combat but loses. He later gets freed by his brother, Jaime Lannister. During the commotion of Joffrey’s wedding, Sansa escapes from King’s Landing.
After the death of her son, Joffrey, Cersei becomes Queen Regent for Tommen. She begins destroying King’s Landing and sends the economy into chaos. She reinstates the Faith Militant, a faction of the Faith of the Seven banned in Westeros. Later, the Faith Militant arrests her on charges of fornication and conspiracy to commit murder.
On the Wall, Jon Snow becomes the commander of the Night’s Watch. To prevent the death of the wildlings, he agrees for them to pass through the Wall. When Alys Karstark arrives, he marries her to Sigorn to include the Free Folk in Westerosi society.
The Andals: A Real-World Reference
As the Andals were a migratory people that moved from one continent to another to establish their dominance, they are a reflection of the history of Europe. Having similarities to the Andal Invasion, the Anglo-Saxons raided Britain and conquered it. They brought their religion, culture, and language, which got assimilated by the locals. The Anglo-Saxons’ invasion of Britain gave rise to the modern-day United Kingdom, just like the Andal Invasion led to the formation of the Seven Kingdoms.
Are the Targaryens Andals?
No, the Targaryens are Valyrians who came from the Valyrian Freehold. The Andals originated from Andalos and migrated to Westeros during the expansion of the Valyrian Empire.
Were the Andals better than the First Men?
Yes, the Andals were superior to the First Men in almost every way. They had a better writing system, technology, and culture. However, the First Men were less fanatic than the Andals.
What happened to the Andals when Aegon arrived?
When Aegon the Conqueror arrived in Westeros, he began subduing the Andal Kings. Upon defeating them, he demoted them to lords. After conquering most of Westeros, he declared himself King of Andals, Rhoynar, and First Men.
Were the Lannisters Andals?
Though Casterly Rock got built by the First Men, the Lannisters are Andals and trace their roots to Lann the Clever.