House Lannister got formed by Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes who stole Casterly Rock from House Casterly with his wits. After House Lannister’s formation, the Andal invasion came, and to prevent war, intermarrying began; this led to the Lannisters becoming worshippers of the Faith of the Seven. Before Aegon I Targaryen, House Lannisters ruled as the Kings of the Rock. With the most productive gold mine in Westeros and the thriving city of Lannisport, their power spread throughout the continent. After Aegon the Conqueror, King Loren Lannister, the last King of the Rock, bent his knee and got demoted to Lord status; this ended the Kingship era of House Lannister.
House Lannister Details
- Name: House Lannister.
- The Seat of Power: Casterly Rock.
- Region of Power: Westerlands.
- Sigil: A golden lion on a crimson background.
- Words: “Hear Me Roar!”
- Year Founded: Age of Heroes.
- Founder: Lann the Clever.
- Titles: King of the Rock (formerly), Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Warden of the West.
- Current Overlord: House Baratheon of King’s Landing.
- Allegiance: House Baratheon of King’s Landing
- Branches: House Lannister of Darry, House Lannister of Lannisport.
- Current Head: Lady Cersei Lannister.
- Defining Features: Emerald-green eyes and fair golden hair.
- Greatsword: Brightroar.
The Era of the First Men
House Lannister appeared from nowhere. Though they claimed to be descendants of Lann the Clever, there is no historical record of when Lann tricked House Casterly of their possession. With their rise to power, a junior branch of House Lannister broke off to form the Lannisport, while the primary became the Kings of the Rock, with Loreon I Lannister becoming the first monarch. After defeating the Hooded King Morgon Banefort, House Reyne became the first vassal of the Lannisters.
When the Andals reached Westeros, they began a campaign against the First Men Kings on the continent. Though King Tybolt Lannister initially fought the invaders, his successors, Tyrion III and Gerold, created a policy allowing intermarriage between the First Men and Andals. They took in the wards of Andal warriors to prevent betrayal, and when King Gerold died, a council got held and crowned his daughter’s Andal husband, Ser Jerold Lydden King; this began the Andal line of the Lannisters.
The Lannisters kept increasing their territory as King Cerion Lannister expanded to the Golden Tooth, defeating three Kings. After his reign, King Tommen I Lannister gained Fair Isle. However, though King Lancel conquered as far as Old Oak, he got killed by the Kings of the Reach from House Gardener. Gerold the Great later raided the Iron Islands and captured one hundred ironborn. He took them to Casterly Rock and hanged one every time the Westerlands got raided by the Iron Islands. When King Tommen II went on a quest to Valyria, he got missing, never to be found again. His disappearance made the Lannisters lose their ancestral greatsword Brightroar.
When Aegon I Targaryen arrived in Westeros and began defeating the Kings on the continent, Loren I of Casterly Rock joined forces with Mern IX Gardener against the Targaryens. With an army of fifty-five thousand strong, the Lannisters and Gardeners rode against Aegon, who had only ten-thousand men. However, Aegon and his sisters used their dragons to destroy the opposition in what became the Field of Fire. King Mern and his heirs got killed, and Loren bowed to Aegon. He rose as the first Warden of the West, ending the Kingship titles of the Lannisters. House Targaryen initiated marriages between the Iron Throne and their vassals.
The Reing of the Lannisters
Though they remained wealthy after Aegon’s Conquest, the Lannisters had no presence in the royal court for the first hundred years of the Targaryens’ rule. They were never mentioned on the small council, as the closest houses to the Targaryens at the time were House Velaryon, Tully, Arryn, Hightower, and Baratheon.
When the Faith Militant uprising began, Lord Lyman Lannister got angry at House Lannister’s lack of influence on the Iron Throne. However, he helped Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena when they got trapped at Crakehall by the Poor Fellows of the Faith. He allowed them to remain as refugees and Casterly Rock and refused to surrender them to King Maegor I Targaryen. When Aegon led troops against his uncle, Lyman’s bastard son Tyler Hill commanded five hundred men. However, Aegon got killed during the Battle Beneath the God’s Eye.
Maegor’s ruthlessness continued until his nephew Jaehaerys rebelled against him. The great houses sided with Jahaerys, including the Lannisters. Left with no options, Maegor was found dead on the Iron Throne. In 49 AC, Lord Lyman Lannister took three hundred men to the Golden Wedding, after which they hosted Rhaena Targaryen and Androw Farman. However, Rhaena left after realizing Lyman wanted House Lannister to become the second house in the realm. The realization made King Jahaerys distrust Lyman, and the Lannisters never got any position in the royal court. In 59 AC, the Lord of Casterly Rock died from the Shivers Plague.
In 80 AC, King Jaehaerys’s daughter Princess Daella refused to marry Lord Tymond Lannister, Lyman’s heir. She disliked him because of his womanizing and drinking. Daella married Lord Rodrik Arryn instead. At the Great Council of 101 AC, the lords of the council voted for Viserys to be heir over Laenor Velaryon. Years later, Ser Jason and Tyland Lannister tried wooing Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen but failed.
The Dance of the Dragons
During King visery’s reign, the Lannisters aligned with House Hightower after Alicent Hightower’s wedding to the King. Though the Lannisters and their allies ruled massive port cities, they got cast away by the Targaryens in favor of the Baratheons and Velaryons; this led to resentment. Though Ser Otto Hightower served as the Hand of the King, he got removed by the King but later got reinstalled after Lord Lyonel Strong’s death. After becoming second in command for the second time, Ser Otto replaced most of the small council with loyalists, and Lord Tyland Lannister became the master of ships.
When King Viserys died, a Civil War broke out between Princess Rhaenyra’s faction, the Blacks, and Alicent’s faction, the Greens. Lord Jason Lannister sided with the Greens, and his twin brother Tyland became the master of coin. Rhaenyra’s supporters, the North, Vale, and Riverlands, started gathering their forces at Harrenhal to strike King’s Landing.
Prince Aemond Targaryen and the Lannister army attacked the Blacks from two fronts. The Lannisters came from the West and Aemond from the South. However, Lord Jason got killed by Ser Pate of Longleaf in the Battle of the Red Fork, and the Lannister host was destroyed in the Battle by the Lakeshore. It was the bloodiest conflict during the war.
King’s Landing fell to Rhaenyra, and many of Aegon II’s supporters got executed. However, Tyland got spared as the Princess wanted him to confess where he kept the treasures of the crown. The Lord refused to talk and got tortured. When Daemon suggested giving Casterly rock to Hugh Hammer, Lord Corlys Velaryon, the Hand of the Queen, rejected the idea. Meanwhile, the Westerlands got attacked by Lord Dalton Greyjoy of the Iron Islands. However, Casterly Rock resisted his attacks.
Aegon Ii later retook King’s Landing, and Lord Tyland got freed. However, the torture left him blind. Though many believed the suffering would break his mind, Tyland remained intact mentally. He got sent to the Free Cities of Essos to hire sellsword armies. However, Aegon II got killed. Rhaenyra’s son Aegon III became King, and Tyland served faithfully as the Hand of the King.
Though the Dance of the Dragon ended, the conflict between Lord Dalton Greyjoy and the Lannisters continued. After the Lord of the Iron Islands got killed by one of his saltwives Tess, the Ironmen began retreating from the Westerlands. Lady Johanna had Ser Leo Costayne invade the islands, and though he got killed, many ironborn nobles got killed. Meanwhile, Westeros got devastated by the Winter Fever. King’s Landing got affected, and many died from the plague, including Ser Tyland Lannister.
After Gerold Lannister’s death, Tytos Lannister became Lord of Casterly Rock. Though kind-hearted, he was weak, and corruption became rampant among his bannermen. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Lord Tytos’s children, Tywin Lannister, Kevan Lannister, and Tygett Lannister, brought honor to House Lannister. To restore the fearsome reputation of House Lannister, Tywin crushed the House Tarbeck and House Reyne’s Revolt, and a song, the Rains of Castamere, got created about the tales of the conflict.
Lord Tywin Lannister
After King Aerys II Targaryen became King, he made Lord Tywin Lannister the Hand of the King. With his father Tytos Lannister dead, Tywin became Lord of Casterly Rock. King Aerys got captured by Lord Denys Darklyn in the Defiance of Duakendale, and though it took six months, Ser Barristan Selmy retrieved him from captivity. The incident led to Aerys becoming paranoid. His mistrust made their relationship sour. Meanwhile, at Casterly Rock, an incestuous relationship between Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister began. Joanna Lannister died while giving birth to her third child Tyrion Lannister, who turned out to be a dwarf.
When Jaime joined the Kingsguard, Tywin resigned with bitterness as King Aerys robbed him of his heir. However, unknown to him, Cersei asked Jaime to become a member of the Kingsguards so they could continue their sexual relationship.
When King Aerys killed Lord Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark, Robert Baratheon, and Lord Eddard Stark started a rebellion against the throne. Tywin refused the calls of King Aerys II for help and remained neutral. However, after Prince Rhaegar Targaryen died in the Battle of the Trident, Tywin took twelve thousand men to King’s Landing. After convincing Aerys to open the gates, the Lannister troops sacked the city, and Jaime killed the King, earning himself the name Kingslayer. After the conflict, Cersei Lannister married King Robert Baratheon and became the Queen of Westeros.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
When Lord Jon Arryn suddenly dies, King Robert Baratheon travels to Winterfell and asks his friend Lord Eddard Stark to become the new Hand of the King. The Lannisters are part of the King’s entourage as Cersei and her siblings, Jaime and Tyrion, tag along, while Ser Lancel Lannister and Tyrek Lannister serve as squires for Robert. When Bran Stark sees Cersei and her brother sleeping together, as they had a longstanding incestuous relationship, he gets thrown off a tower. On the way to King’s Landing, Cersei’s son Joffrey Baratheon gets involved in an accident with Arya Stark.
With Bran in a coma, an assassin tries to kill him, forcing Catelyn Stark to travel to King’s Landing. She learns from Lord Petyr Baelish that he lost the knife to Tyrion Lannister, who traveled to the Wall. On returning from Castle Black, Catelyn captures Tyrion and takes him to the Vale. On learning of his son’s arrest, Tywin Lannister tasks Ser Gregor Clegane with raiding the Riverlands. After attacking Ned Stark because of his brother, Jaime heads for Casterly Rock.
Ned Stark learns that Joffrey and his siblings are the product of Cersei’s relationship with her brother. On confronting her, she plots her husband’s murder. Ned tries to make Stannis, the brother of the late King Robert Baratheon, ascend the Iron Throne, but he gets betrayed, and Cersei orders the gold cloaks to kill the Starks. On learning of his father’s arrest, Robb Stark calls his banners and marches to war. Though Tywin repels Robb’s forces, Jaime gets captured in the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Ned gets executed, and Robb becomes King in the North.
A Clash of Kings
With the War of the Five Kings at full throttle, Lord Tywin Lannister orders his son Tyrion to return to King’s Landing as the acting Hand of the King while a new Lannister force gets trained in the Westerlands. The royal house of the Seven Kingdoms, House Baratheon, gets broken into three as Renly and Stannis contest for the throne. In King’s Landing, Tyrion gives Princess Myrcella Baratheon to Prince Tyrstane Martell of Dorne, and after her send forth, a riot occurs.
Jaime remains in the dungeons of Riverrun, and Cersei begins sleeping with Lancel Lannister. Robb destroys Stafford Lannister’s army in the Battle of Oxcross. Later, Tyrion learns that Stannis is marching on King’s Landing. He successfully allies with the Tyrells, and when all hope is almost lost, Lord Tywin and the Tyrells arrive and save the day.
A Storm of Swords
When Catelyn learns of Theon Greyjoy killing Bran and Rickon, she frees Jaime and tasks Brienne with taking him to King’s Landing in exchange for Sansa and Arya. However, Lord Rickard Karstark learns of her actions and kills Robb’s hostages. For his actions, he gets executed, and the Karstarks abandon Robb’s cause.
Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, Joffrey breaks his engagement to Sansa to marry Margaery Tyrell. When Tyrion gets better from his wounds, he asks his father for Casterly Rock, but Tywin refuses and later forces his son to wed Sansa Stark. Vargo Hoat captures Jaime and cuts his sword hand.
Robb Stark marries Jeyne Westerling, breaking the pact between the Starks and Freys. To atone for his actions, Edmure gets promised to Roslin Frey. However, during the wedding, Robb and his men get killed by the Boltons and Freys. The event becomes the Red Wedding.
In King’s Landing, the royal family prepares for Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding. However, Joffrey gets poisoned and dies. Cersei Lannister accuses Tyrion of killing her son, and he gets arrested and tried. After losing the trial by combat, Jaime, safely returned by an entourage from Roose Bolton, frees his brother. Before leaving King’s Landing, Tyrion sneaks into the tower of the hand and kills his father.
A Feast for Crows
After her father’s death, Cersei becomes Queen Regent for Tommen. She tries to appoint Jaime as the Hand of the King, but he refuses her offer. He advises her to put in a better-skilled person, but his advice falls on deaf ears as she appoints many incompetent people to the small council. To build a new fleet for the crown, she refuses to pay the debt owed to the Iron Bank, and the institution retaliates, causing economic hardship throughout the Seven Kingdoms.
Tommen grows close to Margaery, and with Cersei’s increasing paranoia, she looks for a way to get rid of the young Queen. To frame Margaery, Cersei allows the High Sparrow to revive the Fith Militant. She then frames the young Queen and has her arrested. However, Ser Lancel comes forward and confesses about killing King Robert Baratheon; this leads to Cersei’s arrest. With Jaime in the Riverlands, she sends him a letter begging for his help. However, he ignores her.
A Dance with Dragons
Kevan Lannister becomes Lord Regent after his niece’s arrest. He appoints Lord Mace Tyrell as the Hand of the King and places the Tyrell bannermen in strategic positions. Cersei performs a walk of atonement to the Red Keep to aid her sentencing. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister meets Aegon VI Targaryen and learns how he got switched before the Sack of King’s Landing. Jaime occupies Riverrun after Brynden surrenders, and Kevan fixes Cersei’s mess. He gets called to Grand Maester Pycelle’s chambers, and Lord Varys, who reveals his plans to reinstall the Targaryens, shoots him. Varys then orders his little bird to kill Kevan.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, House Lannister was crucial to the events in Westeros. As one of the most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms, the Lannisters have the blood of Andal adventurers, and from their female line, they trace to Lann the Clever. In Game of Thrones, they became the rulers of Westeros for a short time after Cersei became Queen. However, Daenerys destroyed King’s Landing, killing the Queen and her lover Jaime.
In House of the Dragon, the Lannisters will play a crucial part in the conflict between the Blacks and Greens. Because support lies with the Greens, they will be necessary for the upcoming war the Seven Kingdom plunges into.
House Lannister: A Mighty House
In A Song of Ice and Fire, House Lannister is a mighty house whose influence goes far. However, though it has riches, its influence began dwindling because of Cersei’s reign as Queen. As a terrible ruler who made decisions with her emotions, she brought down the fierce image Tywin Lannister suffered to build for his family.
Why is House Lannister such an ambitious house?
House Lannister’s thirst for power stems from their wealth. Because they are the wealthiest house in Westeros, they crave to become unstoppable. The Lannisters’ thirst for power started during the Andal and Targaryen invasion, and because of their ambition, the Targayens despised them.
Why does Cersei think she is as competent as her father?
Cersei thought she was the female version of Tywin Lannister as she wanted to be the most powerful Queen in Westeros. However, she failed to realize she was incompetent and made decisions based on jealousy and anger.
What are the words of the Lannisters?
Though most fans think the words of the Lannisters are: ‘A Lannister always pays his debt,’ in the novel series, the great house’s phrase is: ‘Hear Me Roar.’
What happened to the Lannisters in the books?
After Cersei’s son Joffrey became King, he got poisoned on his wedding day. The Queen blamed her brother Tyrion for his death, and he got arrested. After his champion Prince Oberyn Martell got killed, Tyrion got locked up. However, his brother Jaime freed him and explained what happened to his first wife, Tysha. Tyrion got furious, and before leaving King’s Landing, he snuck in and killed his father, Tywin Lannister.