Image by Douglas Wheatley©
|Reign||In the Dawn Age|
|Full name||Garth Greenhand|
|Title||High King of the First Men|
Garth the Gardener|
John the Oak
Gilbert of the Vines
Florys the Fox
Maris the Maid
Foss the Archer
Brandon of the Bloody Blade
Harlon the Hunter
Herndon of the Horn
Bors the Breaker
Rose of Red Lake
Ellyn Ever Sweet
Garth Greenhand, also called Garth Greenhair and Garth the Green, was a mythical High King of the First Men and said to have been the common ancestor of numerous houses from the Reach. His firstborn son, Garth the Gardener, founded House Gardener, the Kings of the Reach.
According to some legends, Garth Greenhand was the High King who led the First Men across the Arm of Dorne. Other tales claim he predated the arrival of the First Men, making him not only the first human in Westeros but also the only human, and that he interacted with the children of the forest and giants. In some tales he is a god, and in a few of these, the oldest ones, he demands blood sacrifice from his worshippers to ensure a bountiful harvest; in some stories the green god dies every autumn, only to be reborn with the coming of spring. Some tales claim he had green hands, green hair or green skin overall, or antlers like a stag.
It is said Garth first taught men to farm, giving them the gift of seed and showing them how to plant and sow, how to raise crops and reap the harvest. Some tales indicate he tried to do the same with giants and children of the forest, but the giants pelted him with boulders and the children laughed, stating the woods provided them with all their needs. Where he walked, farms and villages and orchards sprouted. He carried a canvas bag, heavy with seed, which he scattered as he went along. Befitting a god, the bag was filled with seeds for all of the world's trees, grains, fruits and flowers, and its content was endless.
Garth Greenhand not only brought fertility to the land but also to women, making barren ones fruitful with a touch, even crones who no longer got their moon blood. Maidens ripened in his presence, mothers brought forth twins or even triplets when he blessed them and young girls flowered at his smile. Lords and common men alike offered up their virgin daughters to him wherever he went so their crops may ripen and trees grow heavy with fruit. Any maiden he deflowered delivered strong sons or fair daughters.
In some myths Garth is a contemporary of Bran the Builder or Durran Godsgrief, while in others he is the ancestor of them all. To the maesters, however, he was no more than a warchief or petty king who led the first wave of First Men across the Arm of Dorne. Legends in the north state that the First King led the First Men to Westeros, not Garth.
His numerous children are said to have included:
- Garth the Gardener, ancestor of House Gardener
- John the Oak, ancestor of House Oakheart
- Gilbert of the Vines, ancestor of House Redwyne
- Florys the Fox, ancestor of Houses Florent, Ball, and Peake
- Maris the Maid, an ancestor of House Hightower
- Foss the Archer, ancestor of House Fossoway
- Brandon of the Bloody Blade, ancestor of Brandon the Builder and House Stark (according to some tales)
- Owen Oakenshield
- Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, ancestors of House Tarly
- Bors the Breaker, ancestor of House Bulwer
- Rose of Red Lake, ancestor of House Crane
- Ellyn Ever Sweet, ancestor of House Beesbury
- Rowan Gold-Tree, ancestor of House Rowan
Garth liked to plant his seed in fertile ground, they say. I shouldn't wonder that more than his hands were green.