Part 6: Hear Me Roar.
House Lannister is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. Their lands are in the far west of the continent. Their seat is Casterly Rock, a castle on a rocky promontory overlooking the Sunset Sea. It overlooks the thriving city of Lannisport and sits atop the most productive gold mine in the Westerlands. They are the wealthiest family in the realm. They once possessed a Valyrian steel sword called Brightroar, which was lost by King Tommen II Lannister.
Fair-haired, tall and handsome, the modern Lannisters are the blood of Andal adventurers who carved out a mighty kingdom in the western hills and valleys. Through the female line, they boast of descent from Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes who swindled Casterly Rock from its previous rulers. They used to rule the Westerlands as the Kings of the Rock before swearing allegiance to the Targaryen family. The last King of the Rock, Loren Lannister, and the last King of the Reach, Mern Gardener, joined forces and fielded 60,000 men against Aegon the Conqueror. They were defeated by his dragons in a battle that came to be known as the ‘Field of Fire’ and lost 4,000 men. They have since served the Targaryens and now King Robert Baratheon as the Lords Paramount of the Westerlands and Wardens of the West. The gold of Casterly Rock and the Golden Tooth has made them the wealthiest of the Great Houses.
Tywin Lannister is the current head of the family. His father Tytos Lannister presided over a period of decline for the House. He frittered away much of their fortune on poor investments and allowed himself to be mocked at court creating a perception of weakness. Their vassals House Reyne of Castamere rebelled against Lord Tytos. Tywin put down the rebellion personally, extinguishing their House and re-establishing the fearsome reputation of House Lannister. His ruthlessness gave darker meaning to the common phrase “A Lannister always pays his debts” and was immortalized in the song The Rains of Castamere.
Tywin has three children Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion by his wife Joanna Lannister. Joanna died after giving birth to Tyrion. Tyrion is a dwarf and has a troubled relationship with Tywin and Cersei, who blame him for Joanna’s death. Cersei and Jaime are fraternal twins. Cersei is Queen of Westeros since Tywin arranged for her marriage to King Robert Baratheon in exchange for his support in Robert’s Rebellion. She has a longstanding incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime. The two conspire to conceal their love and have passed their children (Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen) off as being the product of Cersei’s marriage.
Due to its wealth, House Lannister is capable of fielding thousands of troops. As the richest House, the Lannisters’ forces are among the best-equipped in the Seven Kingdoms.
However, the military strength of the Westerlands has been badly depleted due to the War of the Five Kings (half of it was destroyed in the Battle of the Whispering Wood alone), as well as Daenerys Targaryen’s War for Westeros. Battles against the armies of the North, the Baratheons, and later Daenerys’s forces, have cut their numbers down to size.
Lannister armies seem to be more well-equipped than any other armies that Westeros could muster. This is particularly evidenced by the high quality arms and armor forged directly in the Crownlands and Westerlands, by skilled smithies and armorers. An advanced degree of standardization and role differentiation between cavalry, heavy infantry, archers and sappers is clear.
Lannister soldiers are typically outfitted in excellent quality armor. Sturdy, red-dyed leather coated over augmented steel armor plates, in a striking combination. This smart design, is not only aesthetically impressive – as per Lannister lavishness – but also ergonomically practical, with the segmented armor allowing for ample mobility and flexibility for the wearer.
They also have crested steel and leather helmets, with uniquely designed cheek visors which overlap when locked shut, forming a broad facial plate with small eye slots which still give good visibility. The horizontally arrayed crests on their helmets, are a kind of defensive feature to deflect blade strikes. When the facial visors are opened, the soldier can get a better view of their surrounding vicinity, as well as talk with or to civilians more personally in their patrol duties or guard duties. The closed visors also give a deliberate resemblance to the face of a lion, looking directly forward towards it. Arguably, the design is as much for show, as for practical effectiveness.
Lannister armour and robes, also use vast quantities of scarlet red and blood red dye, across the Lannister military forces, universally. Cloaks, robes and under layers padding the armour, the best that money could buy. They are well-protected by ovate and rounded kite shields. Adorning these are intricately carved lions, and painted blazons/sigils of House Lannister; red and yellow-gold being the main colour palette. The ubiquitous style of the Lannister garments and armour and the spectacular marching formations as seen at Highgarden indicates a well-organized system of military procurement, to militarily efficient standards.
The Lannisters also command a modest fleet, berthed at Lannisport.
Coming soon……..Part 7: House Lannister on the table top.