"The first lords of the Vale didn’t have much, but they had these mountains, and they knew how to use them. And the fortress they built here has never been overcome, not once, in a thousand years."
The Vale of Arryn, often referred to simply as the Vale, is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. Prior to the Targaryen Conquest, it was a sovereign nation known as the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale. It is ruled by House Arryn, from the Eyrie. Protected and surrounded by the Mountains of the Moon, the Vale is isolated from the rest of Westeros and is accessible only during warmer seasons.
Bastards born in the Vale are given the surname Stone.
The Vale is where the Andals first landed and spread out from during their invasion of Westeros six thousand years ago, though as settlement patterns became established, the Reach became the main population center and cultural heartland of the Andals. Still, combined with its isolated mountainous terrain, noble families from the Vale are said to have among the purest Andal bloodlines within Westeros. A few noble families from other regions can match them for this, but no other region taken as a whole.
There are many small tribes who inhabit the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon. These tribes are commonly known as hill tribes, and they reject the rule of House Arryn. Although they are dangerous to passing travelers, their lack of organization and less advanced weapons means they pose no real threat to the rest of the Seven Kingdoms.
During the War of the Five Kings, under the regency of Lady Lysa Arryn after the death of Jon Arryn, the Vale followed a strict policy of neutrality until the very last stages, and was thus able to keep its army, the formidable knights of the Vale, and resources nearly intact. The young Lord Robin Arryn, under the wing of the manipulative Lord Protector Petyr Baelish, consented to join the fray at last when they came to the aid of their old allies of House Stark in their campaign to take back Winterfell and the North from House Bolton at the Battle of the Bastards. In the aftermath of the battle, the lords of the Vale and the North hailed Jon Snow, a bastard of House Stark, as their King in the North, thus seceding from the sovereignty of the Iron Throne and joining the Kingdom of the North until Jon pledged himself to Daenerys Targaryen during her invasion.
A Game of Thrones
After Lord Jon Arryn's sudden death, his widow Lysa flees with their son, Robert Arryn, from King's Landing to the Eyrie. Her sister, Catelyn Stark, abducts Tyrion Lannister at the crossroads and brings her captive to Lysa in the Vale instead of Winterfell, which leads Lord Tywin Lannister to begin warfare in the sisters' homeland of the riverlands.
A Clash of Kings
Lysa refuses to lend the Vale's strength to any side of the War of the Five Kings.
A Storm of Swords
After the death of King Joffrey I Baratheon, Petyr Baelish helps Sansa Stark escape King's Landing and brings her to the Vale. Lysa marries Petyr at the Fingers, but he later pushes her through the Eyrie's Moon Door.
A Feast for Crows
Petyr rules as Lord Protector of the Vale and the guardian of the orphaned Lord Robert, to the consternation of the Lords Declarant. The court descends from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon.
A Dance with Dragons
Lord Davos Seaworth washes up on Sweetsister, but Lord Godric Borrell allows Davos to continue to White Harbor instead of turning him over to Lord Triston Sunderland.
People and Economy
The Valemen, the people of the Vale, are known as reliable warriors steeped in honor and the worship of the Faith of the Seven. The knights of the Vale consider themselves the finest in the Seven Kingdoms, and the Valemen consider the Eyrie to be the most beautiful castle of the realm. The island people of the Three Sisters are known as Sistermen.
Some of the people living in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon have rejected the authority of the Eyrie and live by their own rules. These mountain clans, such as the Black Ears and the Burned Men, are descendants of the First Men who raid unwary travelers and skirmish with the knights of the Vale.
Wheat, corn, and barley is grown in the Vale. Not even in Highgarden do the pumpkins grow any larger nor is the fruit any sweeter. House Waxley is known for producing scented candles in Wickenden. The candles can be scented with nutmeg and other costly spices.
According to a semi-canon sources from 2005, the Vale can raise perhaps as many as forty-five thousand men. Their strength is comparable to the North and Dorne, according to George R. R. Martin. The houses Royce of Runestone, Waynwood, Hunter, Redfort, Belmore and Templeton together are able to raise twenty thousand men, while House Royce of the Gates of the Moon can field only three hundred.
The Vale also has a fleet. It is said that the Kings of Mountain and Vale did not neglect their fleets when they still reigned, which might have counted hundreds of ships at Gulltown. The Arryn fleet has fought in several more recent battles; however, it's current size is unknown.
Unlike the Westerlands, which have gently rolling mountains, the mountains of the Vale are much less hospitable and more difficult to traverse. Further, while the mountains of the Westerlands are filled with precious metals such as gold, the mountains of the Vale are not particularly rich in resources. The valleys scattered between the harsh mountains, however, are as fertile as any in the Riverlands. The main advantage of the Vale's mountains is easy defense.
The Eyrie, the regional capital and the seat of House Arryn.
Bloody Gate, a stronghold on the road to the Eyrie.
Runestone, the seat of House Royce.
Ironoaks, the seat of House Waynwood, located east of the Eyrie on the coast of the Narrow Sea.
Baelish Keep, the seat of House Baelish, located northeast of the Eyrie on the smallest of The Fingers.
Redfort, a castle located southeast of the Eyrie.
Towns and cities
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the term "Vale" refers to the entire region ruled by the Arryns, as well as the Vale itself, which runs from the foot of the Giant's Lance almost to the sea,. The Arryns rule the Vale from the castle known as the Eyrie. Before the Andal Invasion, the region was originally known as the the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale. During the time the Arryn dynasty ruled the Vale, the region was also alternatively known as the Kingdom of Vale and Sky.
The people of the Vale, popularly called "valemen", are known as honorable, reliable warriors steeped in honor and the worship of the Faith of the Seven.
Some of the valemen living in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon have rejected the authority of the Eyrie and exist as little more than clans and tribes of savage warriors, such as the Black Ears and Burned Men. While dangerous to passing travelers, they lack the number and equipment to properly invade or trouble the Vale.
The borders of the Vale are held to be the Bite to the north, the Bay of Crabs to the south, the Mountains of the Moon to the west and the Narrow Sea to the east.
The Gates of the Moon, a fortress which guards the foot of the Giant's Lance, held by a cadet branch of House Royce.
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