The Citadel is a complex of buildings in Oldtown that serves as the central home to the order of the maesters. The name is also employed to refer to order of maesters as an institution, or the higher placed members. At the Citadel, the residing archmaesters teach and train new students, and convene in the Conclave. The Citadel is funded by taxes from Oldtown and payments from lords for the service of maesters. Maesters rigorously copy books at the Citadel. Leyton Hightower, the Lord of Oldtown, includes Protector of the Citadel among his titles.
- See also: Images of the Citadel
The Citadel lies on the Honeywine, where its towers and domes are connected with arching stone bridges. Houses and stalls sit on the bridges. It lies upriver compared to the Starry Sept and Battle Island. The gates are flanked by a pair of tall green sphinxes with the bodies of lions, the wings of eagles and the tails of serpents. One has the face of a man, the other a woman.
Just inside the gates of the Citadel lies the Scribe's Hearth. Here, the citizens of Oldtown come to hire scribes, usually acolytes, to write and read letters for them. The scribes wait in open stalls for their custom. Other stalls situated at the Scribe's Hearth include those where books are bought and sold. Others offer maps.
The path divides at a statue of King Daeron I Targaryen atop a tall stone horse; the king's sword is pointed toward Dorne. The Citadel also has a monument of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen; its plinth reads "He bound the land together, and made of seven kingdoms, one."
Outside the Seneschal's Court lies the stocks where acolytes and novices are punished for minor crimes, such as petty thievery. Inside the doors is a hall with a stone floor and high, arched windows. At the far end of the hall there is a raised dais where a gatekeeper greets all those who wish to make an appointment to see the Seneschal. Behind the dais is a turnpike stair.
Isle of Ravens
The Isle of Ravens is linked to the eastern bank of the Honeywine by a weathered wooden drawbridge. On the island is located the Ravenry, the oldest building of the Citadel. The walls of the Ravenry are covered in moss and vines and within its yard sits a weirwood tree on which the ravens like to perch. The white raven rookery is located in the west tower.
Library and Vaults
The Library of the Citadel is known to be a great repository of knowledge. The Citadel has a copy of Lives of Four Kings and a partial collection of The Fires of the Freehold. A locked vault beneath the Citadel is said to contain the sole remaining copy of 'Blood and Fire. The Citadel also has an account of Redwyn's journey to Lorn Point and the Frozen Shore, as well as a fragment of Unnatural History. Some of the oldest documents in the Citadel's archives are ancient ballads regaling Kings of Winter. Records at the Citadel describe the ancient rock and salt kings of the Iron Islands.
The Citadel has four glass candles, one green in color and three black. Before an acolyte says his vows, he spends the night prior in the darkness of the Citadel's vault. The acolyte can attempt to light an obsidian candle, but none have succeeded. The Citadel also has a stuffed Little Valyrian on display, but its fur fell out as students patted it for luck over the years.
The origin of the Citadel is disputed, but House Hightower is generally considered to have played an integral role in its foundation. Most accounts on the Citadel's origins credit its foundation to Prince Peremore the Twisted, the second son of King Uthor of the High Tower. The curious Peremore invited numerous scholars, including wise men, teachers, priests, healers, singers, wizards, alchemists, and sorcerors, to Oldtown. After Peremore's death, his brother, King Urrigon, granted land alongside the Honeywine to "Peremore's pets", who developed the tract into the maesters' Citadel. House Hightower continues to be a strong patron of learning.
There are reports of Aegon and Visenya Targaryen visiting the Citadel in their youth. During Aegon's Conquest, Lord Manfred Hightower submitted to the Conqueror to prevent the destruction of Oldtown by dragonflame.
Queen Alysanne Targaryen visited the Citadel in 54 AC, spending three days in the Library and attending lectures. Lyonel Strong, Lord of Harrenhal, studied at the Citadel in his youth, earning six links. While sailing to the Sunset Sea in 133 AC, Lord Alyn Velaryon visited the Citadel and studied ancient charts and Valyrian treatises about warships and maritime tactics. Ser Michael Manwoody studied at the Citadel when he was young, and Prince Oberyn Martell achieved six links while studying at the Citadel in his youth. Ser Gunthor Hightower has also studied at the Citadel.
Bones of giants found in the north have been sent to the Citadel for study. Archmaester Gyldayn's history of Aegon's Conquest was recently found in the papers of Archmaester Gerold in the vaults of the Citadel.
A Storm of Swords
The Conclave meets to choose the new Grand Maester after Pycelle's removal from the position. Although the deliberations are supposed to be secret, Varys learns from spies at the Citadel that Archmaester Gormon has been selected. The master of whisperers informs the Hand of the King, Lord Tywin Lannister, who quickly reinstates Pycelle.
A Feast for Crows
Jon Snow, the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, sends Samwell Tarly to the Citadel to study and become a maester. Maester Aemon brings a chest of rare books from the vault of Castle Black to gift to the Citadel, but Sam gives them to Quhuru Mo to pay for passage on the Cinnamon Wind at Braavos and the aged Aemon dies en route. After Sam arrives at Oldtown, he is forced by the gatekeeper Lorcas to wait for the Seneschal, Archmaester Theobald. Alleras brings Sam to meet Archmaester Marwyn at the Ravenry. Marwyn the Mage alleges that maesters of the Citadel helped to extinguish dragons, and the archmaester departs the Citadel to find Daenerys Targaryen.
There are so many books at the Citadel that no man can hope to read them all. You would do well there, Sam. I know you would.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- So Spake Martin: ConJose (San Jose, CA; August 29-September 2), August 29, 2002
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal under King Jaehaerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.