The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 6 – The Vale of Arryn

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Surrounded by the Mountains of the Moon, the Vale of Arryn is isolated from the rest of Westeros and is only accessible during the warmer seasons. Anyway, the Vale is where the Andals landed and spread out during their invasion. Ruled by House Arryn, it is currently ruled by a sheltered and creepy child as of Season 7. Since his father was assassinated at the beginning of Game of Thrones while Littlefinger put his mother through the Moon Gate after she caught him making advances on Sansa. Under Lysa’s regency after Jon Arryn’s death, the Vale followed a strict neutrality policy during the War of the Five Kings until the last stages. After he killed her, Littlefinger pretty much ran the place until Sansa and Arya executed him at Winterfell.

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Location: South of the North but north of the Riverlands.

Size: It’s fairly large if you look on the Westeros map.

Capital: The Eyrie, located beyond a long and treacherous road at a high mountain top. Has no regular executioner since it kills wrongdoers with the Moon Gate and sports open air prison cells with holes in the floors.

Climate: It’s quite temperate most of the time. Though the winters can be quite harsh.

Environment: The Vale is dominated and mostly covered by the Mountains of the Moon and its offshoot chains.

Resources: Well, the valleys are known to support agriculture. Other than that, there’s not much else.

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Population: Home to many barbaric hill tribes between the mountain fortresses and fertile river valleys, a problem that the Lords of the Vale haven’t really done much to combat it since they all have a seeming blindness to anything going on in the region and a very distinct sense of pride and honor regarding their mountains.

Key Cities: The port city of Gulltown. Towns include Wickendon and Sisterton.

Culture: Noble bastards have the surname of Stone.

Religion: Worship the Faith of the Seven.

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Great House: The House of Arryn, currently headed by a Lord Robin who’s only a kid. But the Vale Lords hold intense pride for their homeland has blinded them to any flaws within them. Whenever danger comes knocking at their door, they’re more than content to simply hole up in their mountains and ride it out relatively unscathed. In fact, their geographical defenses have kept the Vale Lords isolated from matters of real concern like making peace or destroying the Hill Tribes, feeding an unjustified sense of superiority and security. Lord Jon Arryn was the exception, however, since he took part in Lord Robert’s Rebellion and served as his Hand of the King. Until he got assassinated.

Vassal Houses: House Baelish (extinct), House Royce, and House Waynwood.

History: Once known as the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale before the Targaryen conquest, the Andals first landed in the region and spread out from there during their Westeros invasion. Though as settlement patterns became established, the Reach became the major Andal population and cultural center. Nonetheless, combined with the Vale’s isolated mountainous terrain, noble families from the area are said to have the purest Andal bloodlines within Westeros.

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Current Status: Aligned as part of the Kingdom of the North until Jon Snow bent the knee to Daenerys.

Best Known for: Being nigh impregnable compared to most of the rest of the kingdoms and mostly neutral on Westeros affairs.

Home of: Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, Jon Arryn, Robin Arryn, Hugh of the Vale, Yohn Royce, Vardis Egen, and Mord.

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Landmarks: Other than the Bloody Gate, I’m not sure.

What to Avoid: It’s best not to hike up the mountains since they’re home to hostile hill tribes.

For Those Who Want to Visit: The only way inside is The Bloody Gate, so named because during the Age of Heroes, 12 different armies beat themselves bloody against it trying to get in, all without success. Not to mention, the Vale is only accessible during the warmer months. Yet, once inside, watch out for the resident hill tribes who are dangerous to passing travelers. But their lack of organization and advanced weaponry means they pose no threat to the rest of the 7 Kingdoms.

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