Jon Arryn

Hand of the King


Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, Lord Paramount of the Vale, Warden of the East, Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon, is one of the most powerful Arryns the Vale and the Mountains of the Moon has ever known. He helped King Robert win his throne, fostered peace with Dorne, arranged Robert’s marriage to Lady Cersei of House Lannister, and has run the Seven Kingdoms as Robert’s Hand for over fourteen years. His powerful force of personality keeps everyone from his servants to his vassal lords loyal and his reputation for stern fairness means he wins respect from nearly everyone he meets.

Lord Jon is a middle-aged man of average height, with a stocky build and the typical dark eyes and hair of an Arryn of the Eyrie. His jetblack hair is worn long but meticulously trimmed and his well-coifed black beard helps fill out his jaw and sagging neck. Both his hair and beard are starting to see signs of grey. He always dresses like a lord, in black or his house colors of light blue and white.

Lord Jon Arryn is a strong-willed, charismatic man who makes people listen when he speaks. His skills at negotiation are firmly etched in the annals of history and he has a history of creating a great sense of loyalty in his vassals and servants. He possesses much of the skill and personality that a good king should have and he’s used these skills to run the realm on behalf of King Robert. Lord Jon is also a suspicious man and is quick to see when things are out of sorts and even quicker to determine how to make things right. Lord Jon is, at the very least, a man of incredible honor. His loyalty and dedication to those he’s sworn to protect is fierce—fierce enough to help kill a king that dared ask him to betray his vows.


Jon Arryn was born the eldest son of Lord Jasper Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie. Lord Jasper had two more children after Jon: a daughter, Alys Arryn, and a son, Ronnel Arryn. When Jon Arryn came of age, he was knighted and took up the duty of Keeper of the Gates of the Moon, the non-hereditary and symbolic lordship of the castle guarding the path to the Eyrie. Jon served in this role until his father’s death, when he took up the mantle of Lord of the Vale and took his place on the weirwood throne in the High Hall of the Eyrie.

From a young age, Jon Arryn was betrothed to Jeyne Royce, a daughter of a very powerful family in the Vale that is vassal and ally to the Lord of the Vale. When he took Lord Jasper’s place as Lord of the Vale Jon married Jeyne, making her Lady Arryn. Lady Jeyne died giving birth to their first child, who was stillborn. Some years later, Jon Arryn married again. This time he married his cousin, a soft-spoken woman named Rowena Arryn. Before Lady Rowena could produce an heir for her husband, she died of a winter chill.

It was during this time that Lord Arryn’s heir, his younger brother Ser Ronnel, would marry a daughter of House Belmore, but would later die of a bad belly one room away from his wife while she gave birth to their son, Elbert Arryn. Elbert was Lord Jon’s nephew and immediately upon his birth became the heir to the seat of House Arryn. It would be almost twenty years before Jon Arryn married again. In the interim, the childless Lord Arryn agreed to take as wards young Eddard Stark of Winterfell, and Robert Baratheon, heir to the seat of Storm’s End. The years Eddard and Robert were fostered at the Eyrie were years the seat of House Arryn rang with the mirth of children at play. Lord Jon’s relationship with his young wards grew strong and he became like a father to them, the result of their long years away from their own families and Lord Jon’s lack of children of his own. When Prince Rhaegar took Lyanna Stark away, Jon Arryn’s heir Ser Elbert Arryn joined Brandon Stark on his journey to King’s Landing to slay the Prince and demand Lyanna’s return. Ser Elbert was seized along with the others for treason, and was murdered by the Mad King.

After the murders, King Aerys sent orders to Lord Jon that he kill Eddard and Robert. Rather than betray the men he’d raised from boyhood and had sworn to protect as wards, Lord Jon raised his own banners in rebellion and joined with Robert Baratheon to remove King Aerys from the Iron Throne.

In the Vale, Ser Denys Arryn became the heir to the Vale. Ser Denys had the good fortune to marry the eldest daughter of Lady Alys Arryn, Lord Jon’s sister. Ser Denys himself hailed from a lesser branch of House Arryn in Gulltown that had intermarried with merchants and, as a result, had become quite wealthy. Ser Denys was a renowned jouster, handsome, gallant, and full of courtesy and was known as the Darling of the Vale.

Not all of Lord Jon’s bannermen joined his rebellion, though. The chief among them was Lord Randyll Grafton of Gulltown, who encouraged all of the loyalists in the Vale to unite and aid him in barring Lord Jon and Robert Baratheon from entering his port. Robert personally led the attack on Gulltown and crushed its defenses, killing Lord Grafton in the process, and this allowed Robert to return home to summon his banners to war.

During the War of the Usurper, Ser Denys was killed at the Battle of the Bells by Lord Jon Connington, the then Hand of the King. When Ser Denys’ wife heard of his death, she died of grief and their newborn son died soon after. This left Jon Arryn with no living heir to the Vale. Lord Jon proved his ability to negotiate on behalf of Robert while raising banners for the young man’s rebellion. To get Lord Hoster Tully to attach the Tully men-at-arms to Robert’s cause, Lord Arryn agreed to wed Tully’s youngest daughter, Lady Lysa. Although Hoster revealed that Lysa had been pregnant with a (subsequently aborted) bastard out of wedlock, Lord Jon never learned who her dalliance had been with. Lord Jon was more concerned about his wife’s ability to produce an heir than any concerns he might have about her checkered past. Jon wed Lysa and became the good-brother of Eddard, who married Lysa’s elder sister Catelyn on the same day.

Once the war was finished, Lord Jon agreed to become Robert’s Hand. He immediately began working to set things right in the Seven Kingdoms. Since Robert’s betrothed, Lyanna, had died during the war, Arryn negotiated with Lord Tywin Lannister to marry his daughter Cersei to King Robert, making a tenuous peace between House Lannister and House Baratheon into a strong alliance. This also eliminated the chance House Lannister might themselves rise and try to claim the Iron Throne. Jon also negotiated with Robert and convinced him to forgive Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard for murdering King Aerys. Eddard insisted Robert strip Jaime of his white cloak and send him to the Wall, but Robert chose to listen to Lord Arryn’s council. Arryn also traveled to Dorne to return the bones of Prince Lewyn Martell of the Kingsguard, and to meet with his nephew, Prince Doran Martell, to answer questions about the death of the young Queen of Dorne and her children who had all perished during the sack of King’s Landing. He eventually negotiated a lasting peace with Doran that stayed the hand of Prince Oberyn Martell, called the Red Viper, who was plotting to raise Dorne’s spears in revolt on behalf of Viserys Targaryen, the heir to House Targaryen and, one could say, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

During the Greyjoy Rebellion, Lord Arryn ruled the realm in King Robert’s stead as Robert and Eddard led the assault on Pyke to end Greyjoy’s folly. After that war, King Robert became less and less interested in the day-to-day running of his realm and it increasingly fell to Lord Arryn to make the important decisions for the Seven Kingdoms.

Six years ago, Lord Arryn’s union with Lady Lysa produced an heir. Named to honor the king his father serves, Robert Arryn is a sickly youth, weak of spirit and afflicted with a shaking sickness. Lord Arryn hopes to foster his son at Dragonstone with King Robert’s younger brother Lord Stannis, but Lady Lysa fears for his health and has prevented his attempts to send Robert from King’s Landing.

Four years ago, Lord Arryn took a squire named Hugh of the Vale. Hugh has been a faithful and loyal servant of Lord Jon, who looks forward to the day when he can bestow a knighthood upon the young man. Recently, Lord Arryn has become aware of grievous truths about the children of King Robert, and fears if these truths were to come to light war between House Baratheon and House Lannister would erupt.

Jon Arryn

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