House Greyjoy is one of the great houses of Westeros and rules over the Iron Islands from the seat of Pyke. Prior to Aegon’s Conquest, it was House Hoare, not House Greyjoy that ruled as kings over the Kingdom of the Iron Islands. However, after the Conquest, House Durrendon was defeated by Aegon and House Greyjoy was appointed as overlords of the Iron Islands. Their sigil is a golden kraken upon a black field and their words are “We Do Not Sow.”
Unlike many other great houses of Westeros, House Greyjoy did not rule over the Kingdom of the Iron Islands prior to Aegon’s Conquest. Rather, House Hoare had ruled over the Kingdom of the Iron Islands and had expanded their kingdom from the Iron Islands to the Riverlands. At the time of Aegon’s arrival to Westeros, Haren Hoare, otherwise known as Haren the Black, was the king of the Iron Islands. Cementing the expansion of his kingdom, Haren the Black constructed Harrenhal, the largest castle Westeros had ever known. However, in less than one day, Aegon flew his dragons over the walls of Harrenhal and set it aflame, killing King Haren and all the heirs of House Hoare. With the eradication of House Hoare, House Greyjoy was elected as overlords of the Iron Islands and have ruled ever since from the castle of Pyke.
However, with the new realm of Westeros established under King Aegon Targaryen, the Ironborn were prohibited from their traditional practices of raiding and pillaging neighboring lands. They were constrained by the king’s peace and forced to live off the Iron Islands, an infertile and baron landscape. Fed up of obeying Targaryen rule and wanting to return to the “old way,” in 289AL, Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands and launches the Greyjoy Rebellion. However, King Robert Baratheon and his men crush the rebellion and Balon’s youngest son, Theon, is held as assurance that Balon will not attempt another rebellion. Ever since the failed rebellion, House Greyjoy, and the rest of the ironborn have grown bitter animosity towards the rest of mainland Westeros.
SIGNIFICANT GREYJOY CHARACTERS
Vickon Greyjoy is the first overlord of the Iron Islands following Aegon’s Conquest nearly 300 years ago.
Balon Greyjoy is the head of House Greyjoy and overlord of the Iron Islands at the onset of the GoT series. He is a fierce man that desperately wants to return the Iron Islands to the “old way,” which ignores any rules and laws and teaches its people to raid and conquer. In an attempt to achieve independence, Balon launched the Greyjoy Rebellion, a failed effort that resulted in the death of two of his sons and the capture of his third.
Rodrik Greyjoy was the eldest son of Balon. He was killed during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Maron Greyjoy was the next eldest son of Balon; he was also killed during the Greyjoy Rebellion.
Yara Greyjoy is the only daughter of Balon and older sister to Theon. She is a fierece woman and in the absense of any other heirs, Yara has becomes a strong commander of the Greyjoy fleets.
Theon Greyjoy is the youngest son of Balon and was taken by King Robert Baratheon after the failed Greyjoy Rebellion. King Robert gave Theon to House Stark to be raised as one of their own, a move that would insure that Balon did not attempt any future rebellions. During the War of the Five Kings, Theon returns home to Pyke and attempts to convince his father to join the forces of Robb Stark in revolt against King Joffrey. However, Balon scorns his son and turns him against House Stark.