|Father||Lord Gulian Swann|
Appearance and Character
Young Balon is big across the chest, with arms thick with muscle. He is burlier but not as tall nor handsome as his Sworn Brother, Ser Arys Oakheart. Balon is courtly, modest, obedient, and valiant.
Balon's great-helm is decorated with wide white wings. The trappings of his horse display battling black-and-white swans. The silver brooch which clasps his cloak is decorated with ivory and onyx swans. Balon is good with a lance, better with a morningstar, and exceptional with a bow.
A Game of Thrones
Ser Balon attends court in King's Landing with a retinue of knights and sworn swords. He participates in the Hand's tourney, where he defeats Alyn, but is later beaten by Ser Gregor Clegane. Anguy outshoots Balon and Jalabhar Xho in the archery competition.
Balon participates in the hunt for a hart in the kingswood with King Robert I Baratheon. He returns to the capital before the king is wounded by a boar, however. Balon is suggested by Lord Petyr Baelish as a possible ally for Lord Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King, in a power struggle against Queen Cersei Lannister, but Ned chooses to recruit the gold cloaks instead.
A Clash of Kings
Ser Balon takes part in the tourney on King Joffrey's name day, unhorsing Morros Slynt in the second tilt of the day. Sansa hopes that a mysterious note summoning her to the Red Keep's godswood came from Balon, but the ally turns out to be Dontos.
During a dinner given by Lady Tanda Stokeworth, Lord Gyles Rosby raises his glass "to the health of the king", and Balon replies that three glasses would be needed (for Joffrey, his uncle Renly, and Robb Stark, the new King in the North). The joke is meant to raise the spirits of the guests, but Lord Varys reports it to Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand. Tyrion decides not to follow up on it as he believes Balon made a harmless jest.
Balon supports Joffrey in King's Landing during the War of the Five Kings. His older brother, Ser Donnel, first serves Renly, but he then joins Stannis Baratheon after Renly's death at Storm's End. Their father, Lord Gulian Swann, pleads illness while remaining at Stonehelm.
Balon is among the party that sees Princess Myrcella Baratheon off to Dorne, watching the ceremony in the company of Queen Regent Cersei, and he bears a Lannister lion banner alongside the Baratheon stag carried by Ser Aron Santagar. Balon survives the riot when the party is attacked by a raging mob. Balon is chosen for the Kingsguard by Cersei to replace Ser Preston Greenfield, who was killed in the riot. Tyrion approves of the choice.
Tyrion plans for three Kingsguard knights—Balon, Ser Mandon Moore, and Sandor Clegane—to lead sorties during the Battle of the Blackwater. Wielding his mace, a gore-spattered Balon leads Lannister forces alongside Tyrion and Mandon. He makes it back inside the city walls once Stannis's forces overwhelm them temporarily.
A Storm of Swords
Balon is called as the first witness against Tyrion in the death of King Joffrey. Balon praises Tyrion's bravery at the Blackwater and does not believe he killed Joffrey. Balon does admit that Tyrion had struck the king after the riot of King's Landing. Prince Oberyn Martell remarks that Kingsguard of old would have removed Tyrion's hand for striking the royal personage.
Jaime notes that Balon is well suited to the white cloak. When the Lord Commander holds a meeting of the Kingsguard, Balon is ashamed for not having prevented Joffrey's death. Balon promises to defend his king even if it were to mean fighting his family. When Jaime is met by Cersei in White Sword Tower, Balon is away guarding the new king, Tommen I Baratheon.
A Feast for Crows
Ser Balon stands vigil with Jaime over the corpse of his father, Lord Tywin Lannister. He is later assigned by Jaime as Tommen's primary Kingsguard, and he dutifully guards the boy king every morning.
Balon is abruptly re-assigned by Queen Regent Cersei Lannister to bring Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, the skull of Ser Gregor Clegane, though Cersei also commands him to carry out another secret assignment.
At the Greenblood, Ser Arys Oakheart is killed by Areo Hotah and Princess Myrcella is wounded by Ser Gerold Dayne. Doran orders the noble houses of Dorne to delay Balon's arrival. The Wyls keep him hunting and hawking for eight days on one end of the Boneway, and he is feasted for a fortnight by the Yronwoods at Yronwood on the other. Lady Jordayne arranges games in his honor at the Tor, with Lady Nymella Toland intent on outdoing her at Ghost Hill.
A Dance with Dragons
Ser Balon arrives at Sunspear with three knights, eight squires, twenty men-at-arms, sundry grooms, and servants. When Balon presents the Mountain's skull to Doran Martell at a feast held in his honor, also present are Princess Arianne Martell, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, a dozen lords, and three Sand Snakes, Obara, Nymeria, and Tyene. The confident Areo is prepared to fight the knight if need be. Balon tells Tyene of Gregor's death by poison, which he considers shameful. Balon eats little of the feast and resists the flirtations of Arianne.
Balon was previously ordered by Queen Cersei to bring Myrcella back to King's Landing under the guise of visiting her brother, King Tommen. As part of the plan, Doran or a retainer will accompany them to fill the vacant Dornish seat on the small council left by Prince Oberyn Martell, who had been killed by Gregor. Prince Trystane Martell is invited as well to see the city. Doran states that traveling by ship might be easier, but an unnerved Balon replies that a voyage by sea would be too dangerous.
In a private chamber, Doran reveals to his family that friends in King's Landing informed him that Queen Cersei plans to have the party ambushed during the journey to the capital. The attack will be led by brigands shouting "halfman", and Trystane is to be killed in the fighting. Balon is to falsely claim that he saw Tyrion Lannister during the ambush, placing the blame for Trystane's death on Tyrion. Balon's aversion to Doran's suggestion of a trip by sea proves Doran's suspicions. Doran states that though Balon does not like his orders, he is compelled to obey. Obara is willing to kill the Kingsguard, but Doran refuses because of guest right.
To stop Cersei's scheme from coming to fruition, Doran has Myrcella meet Balon at the Water Gardens and lie about the Greenblood, placing responsibility for her wounds and the death of Ser Arys Oakheart solely on Ser Gerold Dayne. Obara will then lead Balon to Gerold's seat in western Dorne, High Hermitage. Balon sends a letter informing King's Landing of Myrcella's claims, and he hunts for the rogue knight Darkstar.
Quotes by Balon
Jaime: It's not Ser Donnel the Constant who concerns me. It's you. What will you do if brave Ser Donnel gives his sword to yet another usurper, and one day comes storming into the throne room? And there you stand all in white, between your king and your blood. What will you do?
Balon: I ... my lord, that will never happen.Balon: My lord. On my sword, on my honor, on my father's name, I swear ... I shall not do as you did.
Jaime: It happened to me.
—Jaime Lannister and Balon
Nymeria: Ser Gregor was a bloody brute, all men agree. If ever a man deserved to suffer, it was him.
Balon: That is as it may be, my lady, but Ser Gregor was a knight, and a knight should die with sword in hand. Poison is a foul and filthy way to kill.—Nymeria Sand and Balon
Quotes about Balon
He would serve with honor and courage.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
His two white shadows were always with him; Balon Swann and Mandon Moore, beautiful in their pale plate. Surrounded by a circle of Velaryon spearmen, they fought back to back; they made battle as graceful as a dance.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
—thoughts of Areo Hotah
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Balon Swann.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 61, Tyrion XIV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 8, Tyrion II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 54, Tyrion XII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.