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Tyrion Lannister: "Is this how justice is done in the Vale?! You accuse me of crimes, I deny them, so you throw me into a cell to freeze and starve?"
Great House of the Vale, the highest, most mountainous region in Westeros. Its lord holds the title of Warden of the East.
As suggested by the name of the kingdom, it consists of a large valley surrounded by mountains. This makes it both relatively fertile and
easily defensible, with natural choke points everywhere. The ancestral seat of House Arryn is the Eyrie, a castle built literally into the side of a mountain. The ascent is perilous, whether by foot or by mule, and there are primitive elevators used to bring up foodstuffs. Though we don't see much of it, this kingdom was very important to our characters: Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark grew up here together, and consider each other more brothers than friends.
- Animal Motifs / Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Their sigil is the falcon and their seat is The Eyrie (lit. "The Eagles Nest"). The throne of the Eyrie main hall is made out from a tree
- Disney Villain Death: The Eyrie has no executioner. Instead, convicted criminals are thrown off a trapdoor in the ground (The Moon Door) or left in the open Sky Cells to do the job themselves.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As noted by Harry Lloyd in the DVD audio commentary. The Vale being the most mountainous part of Westeros and its ethnic division between fortress-dwelling Andals (i.e. Anglo-Saxons) and restive mountain tribes that descend from the First Men (i.e. Celts) likens it to Wales. Coincidentally, Ser Vardis Egen speaks with a Welsh accent in the show.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: The intro depicts Robert's Rebellion, where the the Targaryen dragon is being defeated by the Stark wolf, Baratheon stag and Lannister lion. The falcon of Arryn is nowhere despite being the one that started the conflict that eventually became Robert's Rebellion, when Jon Arryn refused to hand over his wards (Ned and Robert) to the Mad King.
- Picked Last: While officially their neutrality keeps them out of the war, one could infer that the main reason they've been left alone by the Lannisters is because unlike the Riverlands or the Neck, there's precious little in the Vale of strategic value that they would want to seize. The Starks don't seem particularly bothered that the Vale refuses to join under their banner either.
- Team Switzerland: Due to Lysa's leadership, the Vale remains neutral in the war between Starks and Lannisters, despite her family connection and the fact that Lysa goaded her sister for action against the Lannisters in the first place. From the books...
Lord Jon Arryn
Played By: John Standing
The recently deceased Hand of the King and Lord of the Vale. Jon was Eddard Stark's mentor and was married to Catelyn's sister Lysa.
- Demoted to Extra: The reason he is "played" by an established actor rather than an extra is because the original pilot opened with a scene featuring Arryn's discovery and his subsequent murder because He Knows Too Much. This scene was cut when a new pilot was filmed, instead using the white walker attack north of the Wall as the first scene in the episode, like in the book series.
- The Good Chancellor
- He Knows Too Much: He was killed when he found out that Joffrey was an inbred bastard that Cersei had with her twin brother.
- Like a Son to Me: Eddard, as well as King Robert. From the books...
- Number Two: To King Robert as Hand of the King.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Catelyn receives word from her sister that her husband was not a victim of a fever but of murder.
- The Mentor: To Robert and Ned.
- Plot Triggering Death: His death is what causes Eddard Stark and his family to become tangled in the game of thrones and, essentially, launches the War of the Five Kings.
- Posthumous Character
Lady Lysa Arryn, née Tully
"The Sky Cells always break them."
"These men are Knights of the Vale! Everyone of them loved Jon Arryn, everyone of them would die for me!"
Jon Arryn's widow, and sister to Catelyn Stark.
Lord Robin Arryn
"Mummy, I want to see the bad man fly."
Jon and Lysa's only son, and technically Lord of the Vale despite being eight.
Arryn bannermen, retainers and household
Ser Vardis Egen
"My Lady, I would gladly fight the Imp's champion, for you."
Played By: Brendan McCormack
A knight serving House Arryn.
Played By: Jefferson Hall
Also known as "Ser Hugh of the Vale". A young knight and the former squire of the late Jon Arryn.
- The Apprentice: To Jon Arryn's Old Master.
- Asshole Victim: Gruesome as his death is, it's hard to feel sorry for him given how much of a dick he was to Jory.
- He Knows Too Much: It's implied that he had something to do with Jon Arryn's death and the other conspirator(s) silenced him by making sure he would be pitted against Ser Gregor.
- Jerkass: Refuses to talk to Jory because the latter isn't a Knight.
- Promoted to Scapegoat: He's knighted almost immediately after Jon Arryn's death, even though its clear he's neither ready or deserving of knighthood. To Ser Hugh, its payment for his role in the murder, to the people who promoted him, its just one step closer on his way to Gregor Clegane's lance.
- Red Shirt
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed to show how much of a monster Ser Gregor Clegane actually is.
- Too Dumb to Live: In addition to the questions about the suspicious nature of Jon Arryn's death, it's implied Jory was going to warn him that someone might have tampered with his armor. However, since Ser Hugh decided to be an asshole towards Jory, he didn't stick around long enough to hear the warning that might have saved his life.
"Short man making noise again!"
Played By: Ciaran Birmingham
The jailor in charge of the sky cells in the Eyrie.
Lord "Bronze" Yohn Royce
Played by: Rupert Vansittart
Lord of Runestone, and head of House Royce, the second-most powerful house in the Vale.
Lady Anya Waynwood
Played by: Paola Dionisotti
Lady of Ironoaks, and head of House Waynwood, one of the most powerful houses in the Vale.