Coming of the Andals

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Andal Invasion
Andals invade.png
The Andals invade the stormlands.
Art by Jordi Gonzales in The World of Ice and Fire

Location Westeros
Result Andals occupy all land south of the Neck.
First Men hold on to the North
Ending of the Pact
Disappearance of the children of the forest
AndalsFirst Men
children of the forest
Notable commanders
Argos Sevenstar
Ser Gerold Grafton
The Hammer of the Hills
Ser Artys Arryn
Vorian Vypren
Armistead Vance
Morgan Martell
King Theon Stark
King Yorwyck VI Royce
King Robar II Royce
King Tristifer IV Mudd
King Tristifer V Mudd
King Qarlton II Durrandon
King Qarlton III Durrandon
King Monfryd V Durrandon
King Baldric I Durrandon

The Andal invasion was a migration of the Andals from Essos to Westeros. The time when this occurred is disputed; some sources indicate six thousand years ago,[1] the True History states it was four thousand years ago, and some maesters claim it was two thousand years ago.[2] The migration was often violent. Many of the petty kingdoms of the First Men were destroyed and the children of the forest were pushed back to the north. However, sometimes the takeover was more peaceful with intermarriage between Andals and First Men.


The Andals were the first new invaders after the First Men had made their Pact with the children of the forest and lived in harmony with them for four thousand years. The Andals came from the hills of Andalos in Essos. They were tall and fair-haired warriors who carried steel weapons and the seven-pointed star of their gods painted on their bodies.[3][4] Their religion, the Faith of the Seven, teaches that the Seven promised Hugor of the Hill and his Andals kingdoms in a foreign land, which led to them sailing to Westeros. Maesters instead believe that the Andals traveled west under pressure from the expanding Freehold of Valyria. The Andals wielded iron in contrast to the bronze of the First Men, who worshipped the old gods. The First Men were gradually defeated in generational wars over hundreds of years.[5]


The Fingers in what is now the Vale of Arryn was where where the Andals first landed to wrest from the First Men.[6] The First Men of the Vale were ruled by numerous petty kings, some of whom allied with the Andals instead of resisting them. The Shells and Brightstones were betrayed by Andal allies, and the Andal Corbrays claimed the Fingers. The Shetts of Gulltown allied with the Andal Graftons against the Royces, but their conflict ended with Gulltown controlled by the Andals.

King Yorwyck VI Royce and his heirs led much of the resistance of the First Men to the Andals. King Robar II Royce gained the support of the Redforts, Hunters, Belmores, Coldwaters, and Upcliffs. These united First Men were able to successively defeat several Andal warlords, including the Corbrays, Graftons, and the Hammer of the Hills. However, Robar's army was routed in the Battle of the Seven Stars, and control of the Vale was claimed by the Andals of House Arryn.[7] Those First Men who did not submit to the Arryns fled into the Mountains of the Moon and became the Vale mountain clans.[5]


Tristifer IV Mudd is defeated in his hundredth and final battle.

After conquering the Vale, the Andal warlords continued west through the Bloody Gate or sailed up the Trident into the riverlands, where they established their own small kingdoms. Tales from the era include the Fall of Maidenpool and the death of its young king Florian V Mooton, the Widow's Ford where Lord Darry's three sons held off Vorian Vypren and his Andals for a day and a night, slaying hundreds before they were themselves slain, and the events of the night in the White Wood. The Blackwoods and Brackens allied to oppose the Andals, but were shattered by 777 charging Andal knights and seven septons, at the great Battle of Bitter River. The Andal Erreg the Kinslayer attacked High Heart, a sacred place to the children of the forest of the riverlands, and killed all the children and their First Men allies, and cut down its grove of weirwoods trees.[5]

The greatest of the river kings to oppose the Andals was King Tristifer IV of House Mudd. The Tullys fought alongside him in many of his campaigns. Tristifer is said to have fought one hundred battles, winning ninety-nine and losing only one. When Roland II Arryn, the King of Mountain and Vale, invaded the riverlands and won small victories over several petty kings, he found himself facing Tristifer, who smashed his forces and forced the Valemen into retreat. One of Roland's allies then betrayed him to the river king, and Tristifer beheaded Roland at the Mudds seat; Oldstones.[8] Tristifer was defeated in his hundredth and final battle, where seven Andal kings attacked simultaneously and defeated him; the greatest of these conquerors was Armistead Vance.[9] Tristifer's heir; Tristifer V Mudd was unable to stem the Andal tide and failed to hold his own people together, and so the Mudd's kingdom fell to the Andals. To avoid being slaughtered, many of the First Men houses submitted and intermarried with the Andals.[10]

During their conquest the Andals burned out all the weirwood groves and slew the children of the forest when they found them,[4] believing them abominations, although True History states the children had already fled the riverlands before the Andals invaded.[11]

After centuries of infighting between the Andal kings, House Justman was the first house to regain control over the riverlands.[11]


Andal Invasion.jpg

At the beginning of the Andal invasion, when the Andals first began crossing the Narrow Sea, Erich the Unready was Storm King of House Durrandon. He took little interest of the invaders as he was embroiled in his own wars at the time. He died while the Andals completed their conquest of the Vale.

Shortly after the Andals conquered the Vale, they began sailing to Blackwater Bay and the stormlands. The Andal Togarion Bar Emmon allied with the First Men of House Massey and expelled the stormlanders from Massey's Hook and established Andal control over the peninsula. The grandson of Erich the Unready, King Qarlton the Conqueror, was the first Storm King to face the Andals in battle, and his reign and the reigns of his successors, Qarlton III and Monfryd V, would be spent continually warring against the Andals. The Storm Kings of House Durrandon won at least six major battles against the Andals, including the great Battle of Bronzegate when King Monfryd V Durrandon defeated the Holy Brotherhood of the Andals at the cost of his own life, but the Andals continued to invade, conquering Tarth and Estermont.

When the Andals conquered part of Cape Wrath, to prevent them conquering all of the the rainwood, King Baldric the Cunning manipulated the petty Andal kings and warlords into attacking each other. King Durran XXI allied with the children of the forest, and this Weirwood Alliance achieved victories over the Andals at Black Bog, the Misty Wood, and the Howling Hill, and helped to check the decline of the Kingdom of the Storm for a time. A generation later, King Cleoden I allied with three Dornish kings and defeated the Andal Drox the Corpsemaker.[12]

Eventually the Durrandons and Andals came to an accord when the Andals failed in a seventh attempt to conquer the great castle of Storm's End. The Andals instead intermarried with the First Men storm lords; King Maldon IV and his son, Durran XXIV, married Andal maidens. The Andals swore to serve the Storm Kings, while King Ormund III and his queen converted to the Faith of the Seven.[12]

The North

The Andals attacked the eastern shores of the north much as they were the lands of the narrow sea, but they were aggressively met by the Kings of Winter; House Stark of Winterfell, and their First Men bannermen.

The Hungry Wolf, King Theon Stark, turned back the greatest of these threats, making common cause with the House Bolton to crush the warlord Argos Sevenstar and his Andals at the Battle of the Weeping Water. In the aftermath of his victory, King Theon raised his own fleet and crossed the narrow sea to the shores of Andalos, with Argos's corpse lashed to the prow of his flagship. There he took a bloody vengeance, burning scores of villages, capturing three tower houses and a fortified sept putting thousands to the sword in the process. The heads of the slain the Hungry Wolf claimed as prizes, carrying them back to Westeros and planting them on spikes along his own coasts as a warning to other would be conquerors.[13]

After the conquest of the Trident and the riverlands, the Andals began to attack the north from its south over land. However, every attack was thrown back by the crannogmen of the Neck or the strong fortifications of Moat Cailin; it is unknown how many Andal armies were destroyed in the Neck.[4][5] Eventually, the Andals relented and the north was allowed to remain in peace,[4] although over succeeding millennia Andal blood entered the kingdom through dynastic marriages.


The influence of the Andals was less in Dorne than in the other southern kingdoms of Westeros. Most Andals focused on the nearer lands on the narrow sea, rather than the Dornish sands. Some, such as the Ullers, Qorgyles, and Vaiths, adventured into more inhospitable regions of Dorne. The Allyrions, Jordaynes, and Santagars also established their own realms. The Martells defeated two First Men houses, the Wades and Shells, claiming territory near the mouth of the Greenblood.[14]


The Andals began to invade the westerlands after they conquered the Vale and the riverlands. Tybolt Lannister, the King of the Rock, defeated the first Andal warlord, and the next few attacks were also successfully defended by House Lannister.[15]

As the Andals continued to march west, however, Kings Tyrion III and Gerold II arranged marriages between their bannermen and the most powerful of the warlords. The children of the Andals were brought to Casterly Rock to serve as wards but also hostages. After the death of King Gerold III, his daughter's husband, the Andal Ser Joffrey Lydden, took the Lannister name. Other houses formed by the intermarriages included Houses Brax, Drox, Jast, Kyndall, Lefford, Marbrand, Parren, Sarsfield, and Serrett. In contrast to most native kings, the support of the Andals allowed the Kings of the Rock to expand their power.[15]

The Reach

The Andals arrived late in the Reach, after the invasions of the Vale, the riverlands, and the stormlands, as they were previously prevented from sailing there by the fleets of House Hightower of Oldtown and Redwyne of the Arbor. The Gardener kings of Highgarden observed from afar the fighting in the Vale and then as it spread to the stormlands and riverlands. In the meantime, they prepared the defenses of the Kingdom of the Reach.[16] King Gwayne IV sought aid from the children of the forest, while King Mern II constructed a new curtain wall around Highgarden and encouraged his bannermen to see to their own defenses. King Mern III bestowed honors on a woods witch who claimed she could raise armies of the dead to repulse the Andals. The anticipated Andal attacks never occurred, however.[16]

When the disunited Andals eventually reached the realm of the Gardeners generations later, however, they were welcomed by the Three Sage Kings; Garth IX, his son Merle I, and grandson Gwayne V, who each followed one another on the Oakenseat. In order to integrate the newcomers, Merle I and Gwayne V took Andal brides, and all Three Sage Kings accepted Andal knights and retainers into their service; Ser Alester Tyrell, the founder of House Tyrell, was made Gwayne V's champion and sworn shield.[17] The Three Sage Kings also granted lands, wives, and lordships to the most powerful Andal petty kings and adventurers, and converted from worship of the old gods to the Faith of the Seven. Garth IX brought a septon to his court and made him part of his councils and the first sept at Highgarden was built during Garth's reign. Merle I helped fund the construction of septs, septries, and motherhouses all over the Reach. Gwayne V was the first Gardener born into the new Faith, as well as the first to be made a knight. [16]

House Hightower of Oldtown were amongst the first lords to welcome the Andals.[18] Lord Dorian Hightower, set aside his wife for an Andal princess and the stability of trade. Lord Damon Hightower, was the first to accept the Faith of the Seven and, after his premature death, his son Lord Triston Hightower was raised and trained by Septon Robeson who ruled Oldtown in all but name for twenty years, and ultimately became the first High Septon. Triston's son, Lord Barris Hightower, gave the High Septon his first crystal crown.[18]

The Gardeners also encouraged Andal craftsmen, specially blacksmiths and stonemasons, to settle throughout the Reach, supplying their bannermen with iron instead of bronze and strengthening their castles with Andal masonry.[16]

Families formed by the intermarriage of First Men and Andal nobles include Houses Cuy, Graceford, Leygood, Orme, Roxton, Uffering, and Varner. As the centuries passed the noble houses of First Men and Andals intermarried so freely that it become impossible to tell them apart. Though some of the new-made lords broke their vows in later years, most remained loyal and helped their kings and liege lords put down the rebels and also defend the Reach from later invading Andal petty kings and warbands.[16]

Maester Yandel writes that seldom had a conquest been achieved with less bloodshed.[19]

Iron Islands

It was a thousand years after first landing on the fingers in the Vale that the Andals finally turned their attention to the Iron Islands.[5] As the Andals invaded and settled in the riverlands, westerlands, and the Reach, they began constructing new settlements and stout castles. These stronger defenses, combined with the Andals' sailing ability, weakened the grip of the ironborn on the Sunset Sea. The Andals then began to invade the Iron Islands, often with the support of rival ironborn lords.[20]

King Rognar II Greyiron was defeated by an alliance of Andals with Houses Orkwood, Drumm, Hoare, and Greyjoy. According to legend, Harras Hoare was chosen as king through the finger dance, but Archmaester Haereg states Harras became King of the Iron Islands by marrying the daughter of an Andal warlord. The Hoare dynasty were often denigrated by the ironborn, especially by the drowned men, for marrying and allying with Andals and tolerating the Faith.[20] The new religion never took hold in the Iron Islands, however, and most families of Andal origin eventually converted to the Drowned God.[5]


The Andals were a conquering people, but they were greatly outnumbered by the First Men. In order to consolidate their control, the Andal warlords and kings often married the wives and daughters of the defeated First Men kings. Although most of the First Men eventually converted to the Faith of the Seven, godswoods with heart trees were retained in many castles to prevent religious wars.[5] An exception to the spread of the Faith is the Iron Islands, where the native worship of the Drowned God was adopted by the invading Andals.

The Andals introduced writing, as before that time the First Men only used runes for carving on stone. Everything since written about the Age of Heroes, the Dawn Age, and the Long Night originates from stories written down by septons. The Andals also introduced weapons of steel[4][11] and the concept of chivalry to Westeros.

One of the major, if largely forgotten, consequences of the invasions is the ending of the Pact;[4] the children of the forest abandoned Westeros and slowly disappeared over succeeding generations.

During and following the Andal invasions, six Andal-controlled southron kingdoms of Westeros were consolidated: the realms of the King of Mountain and Vale, the King of the Rock, the King of the Reach, the King of the Iron Islands, the King of the Trident, and the Storm King. At this time Dorne was left as a confederation of bickering, feuding states of First Men and Andal origin, and the north remained under control of the First Men King in the North.[21]

See Also

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book, Guardians of Order
  2. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  3. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 The World of Ice & Fire, The Arrival of the Andals.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Eyrie.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, House Tully.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Arrival of the Andals..
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
  12. 12.0 12.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Andals in the Stormlands.
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Andals Arrive.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 The World of Ice & Fire, Andals in the Reach.
  17. The World of Ice & Fire, House Tyrell.
  18. 18.0 18.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Oldtown.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Andals in the Reach.
  20. 20.0 20.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Kings.
  21. A Song of Ice and Fire Campaign Guide