House Greyjoy

House Greyjoy is one of the great houses in Westeros. With its seat on the Island of Pyke, it has rivaled many houses for power over centuries.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Sparking rebellions and trying to gain sovereignty, House Greyjoy became a crucial player in the War of the Five Kings. The house’s dream of becoming sovereign entered uncertainty as its leader, Lord Balon Greyjoy, died. Upon his death, House Greyjoy plunged into chaos as the position of the next King of the Iron Islands became a struggle among brothers.


  • Name: House Greyjoy.
  • Sigil: A golden Kraken on a black background.
  • House’s Seat of Power: Pyke.
  • Name of Highest Authority: Lord Reaper of Pyke.
  • Words: “We do not sow.”
  • Era Founded: The Age of Heroes.
  • House Founder: Son of the Grey King.
  • Religion: The Drowned God.
  • Culture: Ironborn.
  • Region of Power: Iron Islands.
  • Current Ruler: Euron III Greyjoy.
  • Titles: King of Salt and Rock, King of the Isles and the North, Son of the Sea Wind, Lord of the Iron Islands, Prince of Winterfell.
  • Prominent Skills: Sailing.


Pre-Aegon I Era

The Greyjoys believe their history to trace as far back as the Age of Heroes. They claim to be descendants of the Grey King who, as legend has it, slew the sea dragon Nagga and ruled for one thousand and seven years. When the ironborn began choosing their leaders through the kingsmoot, the Greyjoys, alongside House Greyiron and Goodbrother, became the top leaders, with the Greyjoys having the least amount of kings chosen.

When the Andals arrived in Westeros, they began a conquest that led to the Children of the Forest retreating beyond the wall. They became the dominant power on the continent, and the Greyjoys began intermarrying with them. They then allied with the new invaders and defeated the last Greyiron King, effectively destroying the title of High King of the Iron Islands.

Aegon I’s Conquest

After effectively ending the kingship on the Iron Islands, the Greyjoys became subservient to King Harren, the Black of House Hoare, who ruled all of the Riverlands, from the Neck to Blackwater Rush. During Aegon’s Conquest, King Harren and his sons perished after Targaryen flew over Harrenhal with his dragon, Balerion the Black Dread, and burned Harrenhal to deformation.

Following the extinction of House Hoare, Aegon I Targaryen granted the Riverlands to Lord Edmyn Tully of Riverrun, causing the Lords of the Iron Islands to begin a chaotic scramble for power. With the fighting over the Riverlands, Aegon marched on the Iron Islands and subdued them. Upon bending the knee to him, he allowed the Ironborn culture to continue and let the Iron Lords choose their leader. After an election in 2 AC, Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke became Lord of the Iron Islands, and since then, Greyjoys have been the primary ruling house.

Post Aegon I’s Conquest

After Aegon the Conqueror subdued the Iron Islands, he allowed the Ironborn to continue their culture. However, Lord Vickon allowed the Faith of the Seven to thrive in the region by letting Septons and Septas on the Iron Islands; this led to conflict. When Vickon’s son, Goren, became the next ruler, his participation in defeating the rebel known as Lodos the Twice Drowned led to him gaining favor with King Aenys I Targaryen. After asking for anything within his power, Goren requested for the Septoons and Septas in the Iron Islands to get chased out, effectively ending the Faith of the Seven’s influence on the Iron Islands.

The Dance of the Dragons

During the Dance of the Dragons, King Aegon II Targaryen offered Lord Dalton Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, the position of master of ships if he supported his cause. However, he sided with Rhaenyra instead, as he got a better offer. With the Greyjoys on the side of the blacks, they began raiding along the west coast of Westeros, and even when Aegon III’s regency ordered Dalton to stop, he paid no heed to their request. In response to his continued raiding, Lord Alyn Velaryon, of House Velaryon, got sent to the westerlands to deal with Dalton. The Lord eventually got killed at Faircastle by a woman named Tess. After his death, Dalton’s son, Toron Greyjoy, succeeded him.

After Toron Greyjoy, Lord Alton, known as the Holy Fool, became the next Lord of the Iron Islands. During his time, he tried to conquer the lands beyond the Lonely Light but failed as no one had ever crossed the Sunset Sea, a mysterious sea riddled with mysteries. After Alton, Lord Dagon Greyjoy became the next Lord. During Aerys I Targaryen’s reign, he raided the town of Little Dosk and destroyed half of the village; this led Lord Beron Stark and House Lannister to gather arms against him. Ultimately, he got defeated, and his son, Lord Quellon Greyjoy, took over but died supporting Robert Baratheon during Robert’s Rebellion.

Greyjoy Rebellion

After Robert Baratheon became King, Lord Balon Greyjoy rose in rebellion, declaring he wanted to return the Ironborn to the Old Way. He created the Iron Fleet and rebelled against the Iron Throne, calling himself King of the Iron Islands. Upon beginning his rebellion, his brothers, Victarion Greyjoy and Euron Greyjoy, burned the Lannisters’ fleet at Lannisport.

In the heat of the rebellion, Balon lost both his sons. Rodrik Greyjoy, his eldest son, got slain during the storming of the Seagard, and Maron got killed during the siege of Pyke. Victarion’s fleet got crushed by Stannis Baratheon in a sea battle off Fair Isle, and Aeron, Balon’s youngest brother, got captured. With his fleet destroyed and his troops subdued, Balon bent the knee to Robert, and his last son, Theon Greyjoy, was given to Lord Eddard Stark as a hostage.

After his son Theon got sent to Winterfell, Balon raised his daughter, Asha, to be his heir. He exiled his brother, Euron, after he raped and impregnated Victarion’s wife.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After Lord Jon Arryn passes away, King Robert Baratheon travels to Winterfell and asks Eddard Stark to become the new Hand of the King. Upon accepting, he leaves Winterfell and his son, Robb Stark, who becomes Lord of Winterfell. Theon Greyjoy remains at Winterfell and becomes Roob’s adviser. When Bran Stark gets cornered by some wildlings and deserters of the Night’s Watch, Theon saves his life.

When Ned Stark gets arrested, Theon marches to war with Robb and becomes his trusted companion. He becomes one of Robb’s guards and fights the battle in the Whispering Woods. He travels to Riverrun with Robb, where the latter gets named King in the North.

A Clash of Kings 

With the North at war, Robb sends Theon to Pyke to ally with his father, Balon Greyjoy. However, on reaching the Iron Islands, he learns that many things have changed, including his position as heir, as Balon made Asha his heir. Upon delivering Robb’s message to his father, Balon rejects the offer and declares himself the self-proclaimed King of the Iron Islands. Balon sends his brother, Victarion, to capture Moat Cailin and his daughter to capture Deepwood Motte. To make his father proud, Theon harries the Stony Shore with supervision from Aeron and Dagmer Cleftjaw. Jealous of his sister, he plans to capture Winterfell.

Theon succeeds in taking over the sparsely guarded Winterfell and captures Rickon and Bran. He declares himself the Prince of Winterfell, but Bran and his brother escape. Theon stages a ruckus where he kills two boys and rebrands them as the two little princes of Winterfell. News of his action spreads, and when Asha reaches the castle, she insults him for his actions and takes most of her men away. Ser Rodrik Cassel reaches Winterfell and demands Theon surrender. However, soldiers from House Bolten step in, and Rodrik gets killed by Ramsay Snow, who arrests Theon.

 A Storm of Swords

Ramsay frames Theon for burning Winterfell and delivers a piece of his flayed skin to Robb Stark. With Balon calling himself King of the Iron Islands, he sends terms of an alliance to King’s Landing, asking for the lands above the Neck. Though the small council tries to agree on his terms, Lord Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, rejects the offer, stating that marrying his widowed daughter, Cersei, to either Balon or Theon will be a better solution. However, Balon falls from a bridge in Pyke during a storm and dies.

A Feast for Crows

With Balon’s death, Aeron assembles a kingsmoot, and Asha attends, hoping to get chosen as the next King. Her claim gets overshadowed by Victarion. However, Euron, who returns with a horn from the Doom of Valyria called Dragonbinder, gains massive support and becomes King. After Euron becomes King, he sends Victarion to sail to Daenerys Targaryen and deliver his marriage proposal. Unknown to him, Victarion, who secretly hates him for raping his wife, plans on marrying the Targaryen queen himself.

A Dance with Dragons

Victarion sails for Meereen to meet Daenerys. Along the way, he meets Moqorro, a red priest, who heals his injured hand. The priest tells him that Dragonbinder can control dragons no matter who they are loyal to and explains that he will need to claim it with blood. Meanwhile, Theon becomes Reek, a lapdog of Ramsay. He meets Arya Stark, who was Jeyne Poole, and gives her off during her wedding to Ramsay. He later plans an escape with help from Mance Rayder. Meanwhile, Asha returns to Deepwood Motte but learns that Stannis’s men are planning to take over the town. She gets taken as Stannis’s captive, who marches on Winterfell against the Boltons.

House Greyjoy: Kings of the Sea

As a house that lived in one of the harshest regions of Westeros, the Greyjoys were resilient. Though they were a small force with few resources, they still led a campaign against many regions in Westeros. However, their disadvantage made them weak. Because they had little tactical reasoning, they usually lost when intellect got applied. As they believed in brute strength and sailing skill, they did not understand the politics of Westeros; this led to their defeat on several fronts.


Why is House Greyjoy popular in A Song of Ice and Fire?

House Greyjoy became popular because Balon Greyjoy became a claimant to the throne during the War of the Five Kings. His claiming of the throne created many events that reshaped the North.

Was Balon Greyjoy a great leader?

Even though Balon seemed like a great leader, he did not have the pride other leaders had. He firmly believed in bending the knee when it suited him. He passed down the mentality to his daughter, Asha, who knelt to Stannis after getting captured.

Were the Greyjoys weak?

Though the Greyjoys were not tactically skilled, they had resilience and were a formidable foe on the sea. Their fleet might made them a worthy contender during the War of the Five Kings.

Why is House Greyjoy popular in A Song of Ice and Fire?

House Greyjoy became popular because Balon Greyjoy became a claimant to the throne during the War of the Five Kings. His claiming of the throne created many events that reshaped the North.

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