"You have to give it to the Lannisters – they may be the most pompous, ponderous cunts the gods ever suffered to walk the world, but they do have outrageous amounts of money."
House Lannister of Casterly Rock is one of the Great Houses of Westeros, one of its richest and most powerful families and oldest dynasties. It is also the current royal house of the Seven Kingdoms following the extinction of House Baratheon of King's Landing, which had been their puppet house anyway.
The Lannisters rule over the Westerlands. Their seat is Casterly Rock, a massive rocky promontory overlooking the Sunset Sea which has had habitations and fortifications built into it over the millennia. They are the Lords Paramount of the Westerlands and Wardens of the West. As the new royal house, they also rule directly over the Crownlands from their seat of the Red Keep in King's Landing, the traditional seat of the royal family. House Lannister's Heraldry consists of a golden lion on a crimson background, and their House words are "Hear me roar!", which is rarely mentioned. Their unofficial motto, which is as well known as the official one, is "A Lannister always pays his debts" - which is used much more often and mostly in negative context, though it can also be used in the original, literal sense.
The incestuous relationship of Cersei and Jaime has been concealed in a conspiracy. Their son Joffrey Baratheon has claimed the Iron Throne on the premise that he was actually fathered by the late King Robert Baratheon. Lord Tywin was a key supporter of his reign in the War of the Five Kings.
House Lannister is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. Their lands are in the far west of the continent. Their seat is Casterly Rock, a castle on a rocky promontory overlooking the Sunset Sea. It overlooks the thriving city of Lannisport and sits atop the most productive gold mine in the Westerlands. They are the wealthiest family in the realm. They once possessed a Valyrian steel sword called Brightroar, which was lost by King Tommen II Lannister.
Fair-haired, tall and handsome, the modern Lannisters are the blood of Andal adventurers who carved out a mighty kingdom in the western hills and valleys. Through the female line, they boast of descent from Lann the Clever, the legendary trickster of the Age of Heroes who swindled Casterly Rock from its previous rulers. They used to rule the Westerlands as the Kings of the Rock before swearing allegiance to the Targaryen family. The last King of the Rock, Loren Lannister, and the last King of the Reach, Mern Gardener, joined forces and fielded 60,000 men against Aegon the Conqueror. They were defeated by his dragons in a battle that came to be known as the 'Field of Fire' and lost 4,000 men. They have since served the Targaryens and now King Robert Baratheon as the Lords Paramount of the Westerlands and Wardens of the West. The gold of Casterly Rock and the Golden Tooth has made them the wealthiest of the Great Houses.
Tywin Lannister is the current head of the family. His father Tytos Lannister presided over a period of decline for the house. He frittered away much of their fortune on poor investments and allowed himself to be mocked at court creating a perception of weakness. Their vassals House Reyne of Castamere rebelled against Lord Tytos. Tywin put down the rebellion personally, extinguishing their house and re-establishing the fearsome reputation of House Lannister. His ruthlessness gave darker meaning to the common phrase "A Lannister always pays his debts" and was immortalized in the song "The Rains of Castamere".
Tywin has three children Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion by his wife Joanna Lannister. Joanna died after giving birth to Tyrion. Tyrion is a dwarf and has a troubled relationship with Tywin. Cersei and Jaime are fraternal twins. Cersei is Queen of Westeros since Tywin arranged for her marriage to King Robert Baratheon in exchange for his support in Robert's Rebellion. She has a longstanding incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime. The two conspire to conceal their love and have passed their children (Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen) off as being the product of Cersei's marriage.
Following the death of the Hand of the King Jon Arryn Queen Cersei Lannister meets with her brother Jaime Lannister in the throne room. They discuss their secret incestuous relationship and speculate that Jon may have known about it. Lysa Arryn writes to her sister Catelyn Stark claiming that Jon Arryn was murdered by House Lannister.
Cersei and Jaime travel north to Winterfell with her husband King Robert Baratheon. Robert plans to make Eddard Stark Hand of the King. They are accompanied by their brother Tyrion Lannister. Their son Joffrey Baratheon is betrothed to Sansa Stark. Cersei and Jaime continue liaise in a disused tower. They are interrupted by Bran Stark and Jaime pushes him out of the window of the tower to prevent him from revealing what he saw.
Cersei and Jaime are shocked to learn that Bran survived the fall. Cersei visits Catelyn at Bran's bedside and tells her that she once had a black-haired son who died young. Joffrey refuses to pay the Stark family the same courtesy and Tyrion violently rebukes him. The royal party leaves Winterfell and Tyrion splits from the group to go further north to see the Wall. He befriends Jon Snow, a bastard of House Stark and new volunteer to the Night's Watch. On the Kingsroad south Joffrey is attacked by Arya Stark and her direwolf Nymeria. Arya was attempting to defend her friend Mycah from Joffrey's cruel bullying, but Joffrey claims to Robert and Cersei that the attack was unprovoked. When the direwolf cannot be found Cersei demands that its sister wolf Lady be executed. An assassin attempts to kill Bran as he lies comatose at Winterfell but he is protected by his direwolf Summer. Catelyn discovers a blond hair in the disused tower and notes the fine blade the assassin used; she suspects the Lannisters of ordering the assassination.
Cersei counsels her son about the incident and warns him that anyone who is not a member of their House is an enemy. A raven arrives with news of Bran's recovery. Cersei fears that he will expose their secret and Jaime comforts her. Tyrion finds the Night's Watch undermanned and lacking voluntary recruits. He travels south with the recruiter Yoren. Catelyn goes to King's Landing to discuss the attack on Bran with Eddard. She is told by Petyr Baelish that the knife the assassin used belonged to Tyrion.
Tyrion is disturbed by a frosty reception from Robb Stark at Winterfell and notes the absence of Catelyn. He delivers plans for a saddle that will allow the paraplegic Bran to ride a horse but chooses to stay elsewhere because of Robb's rudeness. Much further south Tyrion chances across Catelyn in the Inn at the Crossroads. She calls upon the loyalty of the Tully bannermen present and has him arrested for the assassination attempt.
In King's Landing Eddard begins to investigate the movements of Jon Arryn prior to his death and uncovers a bastard son of Robert. Jaime refuses to deliver a message from Eddard to Robert but does reminisce with Eddard's Captain Jory Cassel about fighting during the Greyjoy Rebellion. Jaime is chagrined at having to guard Robert while he cheats on Cersei. Cersei attends the Tourney of the Hand thrown in Robert's honor but leaves when Robert's coarse behavior annoys her. She visits Eddard, questions his motivations and warns him that his service to Robert is futile. Lannister sworn sword Gregor Clegane kills Jon Arryn's former squire Hugh of the Vale during the jousts.
Cersei and Robert have a frank discussion about the threat of the alliance between the exiled House Targaryen and the Dothraki, their loveless marriage, and Robert's feelings for his dead first love Lyanna Stark. Catelyn takes Tyrion East through the Vale of Arryn and he is imprisoned in the sky cells of the Eyrie. News of his capture reaches King's Landing and Jaime confronts Eddard and kills several of his guards, including Jory before duelling him personally. Eddard is wounded by a Lannister Man-at-Arms and Jaime leaves him alive and rides out of the capital. Lord Tywin Lannister calls his banners and marches on the Riverlands (Catelyn's ancestral home) to punish her for Tyrion's abduction.
Cersei and Robert argue over punishing Eddard for the capture of Tyrion and Robert hits her. Robert goes hunting in the Kingswood leaving Eddard to rule in his absence. Refugees from the Riverlands report being attacked by Ser Gregor Clegane. Eddard dispatches a small force to bring Gregor to justice and calls Tywin to King's Landing to answer for Gregor's crimes. Tyrion wins his freedom in a trial by combat where the sellsword Bronn fights as his champion. Eddard's investigation leads him to realise that Cersei's children are all fathered by Jaime.
Jaime liaises with Tywin's forces at an encampment in the Riverlands. Tywin has gathered an army of sixty thousand men. He tells Jaime that the current conflict will decide the fate of their family. He orders Jaime to take thirty thousand men and besiege Riverrun, Catelyn's childhood home and the seat of House Tully. Jaime ponders why Tywin would risk so much for the ugly, stunted son that he hates, and Tywin explains that a Lannister is a Lannister and any affront must be punished.
Eddard confronts Cersei with his findings and warns her that he intends to tell Robert on his return. Robert's squire Lancel Lannister gives him plenty to drink during the hunt and Robert is gravely wounded by a boar in the Kingswood. He is brought back to King's Landing to die. Eddard holds his tongue and Robert declares him Protector of the Realm from his deathbed. Renly Baratheon appeals to Eddard to help him seize the throne but Eddard refuses because Stannis Baratheon is Robert's oldest brother and rightful heir. Eddard writes to Stannis to inform him of his findings and then recruits Baelish and the City Watch in an attempt to take Cersei and her children into custody. Renly flees the city. Eddard is betrayed by his allies and she instead has him arrested and destroys Robert's final proclamation. Cersei installs Joffrey as King and becomes Queen Regent.
Lannister forces massacre the remaining Stark retainers in King's Landing. Sansa is captured but Arya escapes. Cersei manipulates Sansa into writing to her brother Robb to convince him to swear fealty to Joffrey. Robb sees through the ploy and calls his banners to march south. Cersei dismisses Ser Barristan Selmy as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and installs Jaime in his place.
Tyrion is captured by the Hill tribes of the Vale but convinces them to join the Lannister cause in exchange for weapons and autonomy from the Lord of the Eyrie. Tyrion and his men link up with Tywin in the Riverlands as he prepares to battle Robb's army.
Robb sends a decoy force to fight Tywin's force and Tywin wins an easy victory against the much smaller force in the Battle of the Green Fork. Jaime is captured by Robb's army in the Battle of the Whispering Wood. Despite Cersei arranging for Eddard to confess in exchange for leniency, Joffrey has him executed for treason. Tywin receives word that both Stannis and Renly have declared claims on the throne and are gathering armies. These battles mark the opening exchanges of the War of the Five Kings.
Jaime is questioned by Catelyn and admits to pushing Bran from the tower but does not reveal why. Tywin is frustrated with Cersei's failure to control Joffrey and names Tyrion Acting Hand of the King and sends him to King's Landing. Tywin forbids Tyrion to take his lover Shae with him but Tyrion defies the order. Tywin moves his army to Harrenhal to avoid being pinned between the opposing forces. Cersei sleeps with Lancel for the first time.
Tyrion Lannister arrives at King's Landing during King Joffrey's nameday. He apologizes to Sansa Stark for the loss of her father and makes his way to the Small Council, where he informs them of his position as acting Hand of the King. Cersei Lannister is enraged by this, but nonetheless complies with their father's wishes. Tyrion scolds Cersei for letting Joffrey execute Eddard Stark, which in turn has led to the North rising up against them.
After Robert Baratheon's bastards are purged by the City Watch on Joffrey's orders, Tyrion dines with Janos Slynt, who personally killed one of Robert's infant bastards. There, he accuses Janos of having no honor and informs him that he has been replaced by Bronn as Commander of the City Watch. Janos protests and wants to complain to Joffrey, but Tyrion and Bronn instead have gold cloaks drag Janos to a ship to take him to the Wall to serve in the Night's Watch.
Tyrion tests the loyalty of his three fellow councilors by informing them that he plans to wed Princess Myrcella Baratheon to three different suitors: he tells Grand Maester Pycelle that it will be Trystane Martell, Varys that it will be Theon Greyjoy, and Lord Petyr Baelish that it will be Robin Arryn. Tyrion later discovers that Cersei believes that her daughter will be shipped off to Dorne, realizing that Pycelle is a spy for Cersei. Before confronting Pycelle, Tyrion gives Littlefinger the task of meeting with Catelyn Stark in Renly Baratheon's camp to discuss the possibility of exchanging his brother Jaime for her daughters, Sansa and Arya Stark. Afterwards, Tyrion and Bronn have Pycelle locked away.
Later, Ser Lancel Lannister, on behalf of Queen Cersei, commands Tyrion to have Pycelle released; during this meeting, Tyrion blackmails Lancel to become his spy, knowing that Cersei is bedding him. He agrees to release Pycelle but he will not have the Grand Maester on the small council. Lancel informs Tyrion that Cersei has commissioned the Alchemists' Guild to produce wildfire for the defense of King's Landing against Stannis Baratheon and his fleet, so Tyrion and Bronn meet with Wisdom Hallyne, where he tells the Wisdom that he will no longer be producing wildfire for Cersei but for him.
When Tywin Lannister arrives at Harrenhal to hold his war council, he commands that Gregor Clegane's prisoners be put to work, stopping Gendry, who informs Tywin that he is a smith, from experiencing a torturous death. He calls on Arya Stark to serve as his cupbearer, although he is unaware of her true identity.
When Tywin's cousin Reginald Lannister requests for the council to be concluded so that he may sleep, Tywin angrily dismisses him and tells him to ride to Lannisport before he sends his wife his head. As Arya serves them drink, Tywin asks where she is from. Arya attempts to lie, but he deduces that she is from the North and asks her what the Northmen say of Robb Stark. Arya praises her brother, and when Tywin asks if she believes that Robb can't be killed, Arya replies that anyone can be killed.
Tywin dismisses the illiterate Ser Amory Lorch from his war council after he sends a letter of Lannister troop movements to a Stark vassal accidentally. Afterwards, Littlefinger arrives to discuss the possibility of forging an alliance between House Tyrell and House Lannister after the untimely death of Renly Baratheon. He also informs Lord Tywin of Tyrion's proposal to Catelyn Stark to release Ser Jaime in exchange for her daughters.
Later, Tywin inquires about Arya's father, who Arya claims was a stone mason that taught her to read. While Tywin talks about his own father, she steals one of his letters from the table. While reading it, however, she is caught by Ser Amory Lorch. Arya tells Jaqen H'ghar to have him assassinated; Ser Amory collapses in front of Lord Tywin, who misinterprets it as an assassination attempt on his own life.
Ser Gregor later tells Tywin that they believe it to be an infiltrator from the Brotherhood Without Banners. Tywin orders the Mountain to burn down nearby villages and farms. After Clegane leaves, Tywin offers the underfed Arya his mutton. While she dines on the food, he teaches Arya about legacy, mentioning how the once great fortress of Harrenhal was Harren the Black's legacy, and how everyone remembers Aegon Targaryen to present day because of his conquest of the Seven Kingdoms with dragons - which he had used to burn down Harrenhal and House Hoare. Arya mentions how Aegon also rode with his sisters who had dragons of their own. Tywin notes that Arya reminds him of his own daughter. When Tywin asks how she learned all of this history, she claims it was her father, who Tywin continues to believe was a stone mason. However, Tywin figures out that Arya is posing as a lowborn by her proper use of addressing him as my lord; she continues to lie to Tywin, saying that her mother served House Dustin, which Tywin believes.
With word of the impending attack on King's Landing by Stannis Baratheon from Ser Kevan Lannister, Tywin decides to abandon Harrenhal and march at nightfall. He commands Ser Gregor to maintain a garrison at Harrenhal and to track down and destroy the Brotherhood Without Banners.
The Battle of the Blackwater begins; Stannis's fleet sails into Blackwater Bay but is destroyed by wildfire, destroying many of his ships and killing many of his men. Nonetheless, he and his forces are able to row to the city gates, attacking the weak Mud Gate and using ladders to climb over the battlements. As the Baratheon troops overwhelm the Lannisters, Sandor Clegane retreats within the city walls and abandons his post within the Kingsguard. King Joffrey leaves the battle as well per his mother's wishes, leaving Tyrion to lead the attack through hidden tunnels beneath the city. They are able to flank Stannis's forces attacking the Mud Gate, but as they celebrate, more Baratheon troops arrive. During the ensuing chaos, Tyrion is slashed across the face by Ser Mandon Moore, a member of Joffrey's Kingsguard, but before Ser Mandon can kill him, Tyrion's squire, Podrick Payne, stabs Mandon through the back of his head with a pike. As Tyrion slips into unconsciousness, he watches as reinforcements from his father and House Tyrell arrive, forcing Stannis and his remaining troops to retreat. Loras Tyrell and Lannister and Tyrell troops enter the throne room of the Red Keep, where Cersei sits on the Iron Throne with Tommen. Tywin then enters the room, declaring that they have won the battle.
Tyrion awakens from his injuries to the sight of Pycelle, who mockingly gives him a silver coin and informs Tyrion that he is no longer acting Hand of the King due to the arrival of his father. Later, Varys comes to check on him and tells Tyrion that Bronn has been relieved of his command of the City Watch and his hill tribesmen have returned home to the Vale. As he and Podrick exit the room to leave Tyrion alone with Shae, he turns to Tyrion to say that, while the history books will not remember his saving of the city, he and many others will. Shae urges Tyrion to leave with her to Pentos, but Tyrion refuses as he wishes to remain in King's Landing.
At the next convening of court in the Red Keep, Tywin Lannister is formally appointed Hand of the King by King Joffrey and declared the Savior of the City. Joffrey also agrees to wed Margaery Tyrell after he is counseled to set aside his marriage with Sansa Stark and informed by Grand Maester Pycelle that the High Septon has assured him that this is acceptable in the eyes of the gods. Thus, House Tyrell is bounded to the royal family.
Cersei Lannister meets with Tyrion in his new chambers, inquiring as to what Tyrion wants to discuss with their father, Tywin, but Tyrion says that he simply wants to meet with his beloved father. At the aforementioned meeting, Tyrion asks his father why he did not visit his injured son, to which Tywin replies that Grand Maester Pycelle assured him that his injuries were not fatal. Tyrion then asks his father that he wants what is rightfully his: to become Tywin's heir and assume his position as Lord of Casterly Rock and Lord Paramount of the Westerlands. However, Tywin refuses, mocking Tyrion as an ill made creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. As Tyrion walks away, Tywin yells to him that he will hang the next whore he finds with Tyrion. Tyrion later meets with Bronn, who has been knighted and demands a double in his salary given that he is still a sellsword. Cersei, meanwhile, dines with her son, King Joffrey Baratheon, his intended Margaery Tyrell, and her brother Ser Loras Tyrell. Earlier, Margaery had stopped in Flea Bottom to visit an orphanage. Cersei warns her that Flea Bottom is dangerous, but Margaery expresses her love of the smallfolk. Joffrey takes Margaery's side, defending his betrothed and claiming his mother is growing old.
Cersei realizes that she is losing control of her son to Margaery. She tells Joffrey while he is being dressed that she believes Margaery's love of the smallfolk to be a farce meant to ramp up support for herself from the common people. However, Joffrey dismisses his mother, telling her the conversation has become boring and how the Tyrells are helping them to win the war. Elsewhere, Shae sneaks into Tyrion's chambers and asks him to protect Sansa Stark from Petyr Baelish at the behest of Ros. Tyrion says that he cannot due to his diminishing political power, and warns Shae of his father's threats. As the two bicker on, they begin to have sex.
Tywin calls the first Small Council meeting since his appointment as Hand of the King. He finds that none of the councilors are aware of where his son, Jaime Lannister, is since his release by Catelyn Stark. He then names Tyrion the new Master of Coin as Petyr Baelish is set to leave to the Vale of Arryn to marry Lysa Arryn. Tyrion drops by Littlefinger's brothel to gather the crown's ledgers. He and Bronn leave Podrick Payne there as reward for saving Tyrion's life at the Battle of the Blackwater. Tyrion later reveals to Bronn that the Iron Throne owes a tremendous debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and while teaching Bronn the basics of financing, Podrick returns with the money Tyrion provided him, informing the two that the prostitutes did not accept it. Astonished, Bronn and Tyrion sit Podrick down and ask for copious details on his performance.
Jaime, meanwhile, continues his journey with Brienne of Tarth. When they are crossing a bridge, however, Jaime steals one of her swords and challenges her to a duel, but due to his exhaustion and fatigue is eventually beaten. During the duel, they are found by soldiers of House Bolton led by Locke, Roose Bolton's best hunter, who were tipped off by a local peasant that had earlier seen them together. Later on, Locke prepares to force himself on Brienne but Jaime defends her, stating that her father, Lord Selwyn Tarth, will pay sapphires for her honor to be preserved. Jaime then asks to be freed from his constraints so that he may rest easy, and Locke tricks him into believing that he will be served food. Locke mocks Jaime for believing that he had fooled them and chops off his right sword hand. Beaten down, they are taken to Harrenhal where Roose Bolton holds the ruined fortress.
Tyrion meets with Varys, who tells Tyrion the story of how he was cut and reveals to him his revenge: the Sorcerer, locked away in a container by Varys, who states that Tyrion will need "the stomach" for the revenge he seeks. While Joffrey tours Margaery around the Great Sept of Baelor, Cersei recalls to Olenna Tyrell how her son, Mace Tyrell, laid siege to Storm's End, the traditional seat of House Baratheon, during Robert's Rebellion. Joffrey and Margaery later walk out onto the steps of the Great Sept, where they wave to a crowd of smallfolk, much to Cersei's worry. She meets with her father and asks if they are doing everything in their power to get Jaime back. She then warns him about Margaery and the Tyrells, but Tywin retorts that he distrusts Cersei not because she is a woman but because she is not nearly as clever as she thinks she is. He proclaims that he will tame Joffrey where Cersei has failed and Margaery has succeeded.
At Riverrun, Martyn Lannister and Willem Lannister, who were taken hostage by Tully forces during the Battle of Stone Mill, are murdered by Lord Rickard Karstark as revenge for the deaths of his sons, one of which was at the hands of the Kingslayer. As a result, Robb Stark beheads Lord Rickard against the counsel of his advisors. Edmure Tully warns his nephew that word of their deaths cannot leave Riverrun or the Lannisters may seek revenge.
After meeting with Olenna Tyrell, who agrees to have House Tyrell pay for half the expenses of the royal wedding, Tyrion meets with his father and sister at the Tower of the Hand, where Tywin had moved the small council meetings too. There, he reveals that he has discovered (through Littlefinger and his spy, Olyvar) that the Tyrells are plotting to marry Sansa Stark to Loras Tyrell. In order to stop this, Tywin arranges for the marriage of Tyrion to Sansa and Cersei to Loras. Neither of the Lannister children are happy about this and try to argue back against it, enraging Tywin. Tywin later meets with Olenna to gain her approval, stating that if she doesn't approve, he will name Loras to the Kingsguard, thus removing the sole heir of the Tyrell main branch from the line of succession given that Loras is the only son of Mace Tyrell.
Tyrion and Cersei watch as Sansa and Loras discuss their wedding. As they wonder who has received the worst end of the arrangements, Tyrion asks Cersei if she was the one to order Ser Mandon Moore to kill him during the Battle of the Blackwater, but discovers it was in fact Joffrey, not his sister as he previously believed. He notes how impulsive and reckless the act was given that it was in public and live view of his own men. The two then hope for Jaime's return. Afterwards, Tyrion meets with Sansa and Shae in the former's chambers where he awkwardly informs the two of the recent marital arrangements made by Tywin.
Meanwhile, in the Riverlands, Jaime and Brienne are brought to Lord Roose Bolton at Harrenhal by Locke. Roose apologizes for the way his soldiers treated them, but isn't short of playing a mind game with Jaime, leading him on to believe that Stannis took King's Landing at the Battle of the Blackwater and killed his sister until he reveals the truth. He then has Jaime taken to former maester Qyburn, the only survivor of Ser Gregor Clegane after he had the castle put to the sword when he and his garrison abandoned it. Qyburn washes out Jaime's wound, who refuses Milk of the Poppy, leaving him agonizing in pain.
Jaime then meets with Brienne in a bathtub that he decides to share with her. At first, he insults Brienne for failing to keep him in one piece, comparing it to how she failed to protect Renly Baratheon, but he quickly apologizes for being rude and asks for a truce, stating that he trusts her. He then tells her the story of how he became the Kingslayer after she continues to glare at him, reminding him of the stares he has been given since the Sack of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion: the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen, had caches of wildfire placed beneath King's Landing, and when Tywin arrived and tricked Aerys into opening the city gates, but instead proceeded to sack the city in Robert's name, Aerys ordered Jaime to bring him his father's head and commanded his pyromancers, Wisdom Rossart among them, to burn them all. Jaime first killed the pyromancers and then Aerys when he had turned to flee. It was there that Eddard Stark had found Jaime, sitting on the Iron Throne with Aerys's corpse beneath it. Jaime, overwhelmed by the memories, falls over and nearly faints in the bathtub but is recovered by Brienne.
Jaime and Brienne dine with Roose Bolton, who says that he will return Jaime to King's Landing because of the abuses he endured from his men but that Brienne will not accompany them due to her treason. As he is about to leave, Jaime meets with Brienne one last time, the latter of which addresses him as Ser Jaime. Brienne asks that Jaime remember his vows to return Catelyn's daughters, Sansa and Arya Stark, home to her, to which Jaime says that he will. He then departs from Harrenhal with Bolton soldiers to protect them, as well as Qyburn. Before leaving, Jaime asks Roose Bolton to send the Lannisters' regards at Edmure Tully's wedding to a Frey girl, one of Walder Frey's daughters. However, on the journey back, Qyburn tells Jaime that Locke believes he is being cheated by Selwyn Tarth given that he has not offered sapphires for his daughter's safe return and says that Locke and the Boltons will likely hurt Brienne, prompting Jaime to force his protectors to return him to Harrenhal. There, he finds Brienne in a fighting pit with Locke's bear. He jumps down to protect her; Steelshanks shoots arrows into the bear while Bolton men bring the two out of the pit. Jaime then declares that he will be leaving with Brienne, and the two depart from Harrenhal, but not before apologizing to Locke about the sapphires.
Tyrion and Bronn discuss his marriage to Sansa, with Tyrion not looking forward to the wedding due to her being a child. Meanwhile, Tywin meets with his grandson after being summoned to the throne room in the Red Keep. Joffrey asks for a report on the small council meetings that he has missed, which Tywin responds that he is welcome to begin attending them. Joffrey complains how he hasn't been counseled, but Tywin replies that he is being counseled now. When Joffrey asks about Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons, Tywin remarks how the Targaryen dragon skulls were kept in the throne room during their reign, the last of which was the size of an apple. He states that Daenerys is the least of their concern, being nothing more than a curiosity in Essos, but Joffrey continues to remain worried over her growing power.
It is the day of the wedding of Tyrion and Sansa Stark. During the ceremony, Joffrey cruelly and mockingly takes away the chair Tyrion was to use to cloak Sansa and bring her under his protection, forcing her to kneel. During the feast, he continues to berate the two, threatening to rape Sansa and forcing the newly wed couple to partake in a bedding ceremony, but Tyrion, who is quite drunk much to the disapproval of his father, threatens Joffrey. Tywin and Tyrion cool down the situation, and he walks away with Sansa, returning to their chambers where he informs her that his lord father has commanded him to consummate the marriage. As she undresses, however, he refuses to do so and passes out on a nearby chair. Before she sleeps, Sansa tucks him in. The following morning, Shae notices how Sansa's sheets are not stained with blood and that she is still a virgin.
After the Red Wedding occurs at the Twins, Tywin calls a small council meeting, which Podrick informs Tyrion of while he is bonding with Sansa. Joffrey plans to have Robb Stark's head served to Sansa during his wedding feast, but Tyrion retorts that she is no longer his to torment, being Tyrion's wife now. Joffrey replies that as king, everyone is his to torment. When Tyrion softly warns that kings are dying like flies, Joffrey petuantly declares that he is the king and will punish Tyrion for his remarks. Tywin then says that any man who must declare himself king is no true king and reminds Joffrey that he won his war for him. When Joffrey accuses his grandfather of hiding out under Casterly Rock during Robert's Rebellion, Tywin calmly but meanacingly declares the king is tired and sends Joffrey to bed, commanding Grand Maester Pycelle to give him some essence of nightshade to help him sleep. As the small council disperses, Tywin tells Tyrion to stay behind. Tyrion expresses his disgust over the Red Wedding, and Tywin reveals that he had a hand in it, promising rewards and titles to Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, seeking to protect their family and end the war. Tywin once more commands Tyrion to get Sansa pregnant, but Tyrion refuses to rape her. He then asks his father when he has ever made a decision solely for the benefit of his family to which Tywin replies it was the day he was born: he let Tyrion live because of his name and his status as Tywin's son, despite Tyrion being a dwarf and having killed his beloved Joanna Lannister when she gave birth to him. Tyrion later finds Sansa in her chambers crying.
Meanwhile, Jaime, Brienne, Qyburn, and their entourage finally arrive in King's Landing, where Jaime isn't even recognized due to his poor condition. He arrives at the Red Keep and returns to his sister.
Tywin Lannister has the Stark Valyrian steel ancestral sword, Ice, melted down and reforged into two new swords. He gifts one to Jaime Lannister, and prompts Jaime to leave the Kingsguard to resume his place at Casterly Rock as Tywin's heir. However, Jaime refuses, enraging Tywin. When Jaime asks if his father would like the sword back, Tywin tells him that a one-handed man with no family will need all the help he can get.
Qyburn outfits Jaime with a prosthetic golden hand, which Cersei believes is elegant despite Jaime stating a hook would be more practical. Jaime tells Cersei that he is staying in the Kingsguard to stay by her side, but Cersei snaps back about how Jaime took too long to return to King's Landing by her side and how everything has changed. They are interrupted by Cersei's handmaiden, who brings Cersei important news. Later, Jaime discusses Kingsguard positions during the royal wedding, stating he shall guard the king, much to Ser Meryn Trant's chagrin. King Joffrey Baratheon looks through The Book of Brothers and notices how Jaime's page is relatively empty, then points out how Jaime is old and has lost a hand, stating how Jaime cannot protect him. He leaves with Meryn Trant while Jaime closes the Book of Brothers.
Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister, along with his squire Podrick Payne and bodyguard Bronn, greets the nobility of Dorne outside King's Landing. When Tyrion inquires where Prince Doran Martell is, the Dornish lords reply that he has sent his brother, Prince Oberyn Martell, in his stead, while he remains at Sunspear due to his health. The Dornish lords inform Tyrion that Prince Oberyn arrived before dawn. Tyrion and his companions search the city for Oberyn, finding him in Littlefinger's brothel, where he had gotten in a brawl with two Lannister soldiers. Oberyn introduces them to his paramour, Ellaria Sand, and goes outside the brothel to discuss the death of his sister, Princess Elia Martell, with Tyrion, and tells Tyrion to inform his father that he has arrived at the capital for the royal wedding. Elia had been killed by Ser Gregor Clegane at the Sack of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion some seventeen years prior.
Before the wedding, Joffrey receives wedding gifts: a large goblet from Mace Tyrell, his father-in-law, a book from his uncle Tyrion, and the second Valyrian steel sword reforged from Ice from his grandfather Tywin. He names it Widow's Wail based on a suggestion from the crowd and destroys Tyrion's gift. Joffrey is then wed to Margaery Tyrell in the Great Sept of Baelor. Afterwards, the wedding feast takes place outside the Red Keep. During the celebration, Joffrey has five dwarfs mockingly reenact the War of the Five Kings, which greatly offends House Tyrell, Sansa Stark, and Tyrion. After Tyrion refuses to join in at Joffrey's behest, Joffrey pours wine on him and names him his cupbearer. Joffrey intentionally drops his goblet and kicks it under a nearby table, commanding Tyrion to pick it up. While he crawls under, Sansa picks it up and hands it to Tyrion. Joffrey tells Tyrion to fill it up; after he does, Joffrey commands that Tyrion kneel, which he refuses. The tension is broken when the bakers bring out the pigeon pie. Tyrion and Sansa try to leave, but Joffrey forces them to remain behind and tells Tyrion to pour him more wine. Joffrey drinks and suddenly begins coughing. He clutches at his throat and collapses on the ground, vomiting and convulsing. Within minutes, he dies. Cersei angrily accuses Tyrion of poisoning her son and has the Kingsguard arrest him while Sansa is secretly escorted away to Petyr Baelish by Ser Dontos Hollard, the former king's fool.
Cersei stands over the corpse of Joffrey with Tommen Baratheon. While Tywin takes Tommen away to discuss the duties of kingship, Jaime comes in to be with Cersei, sending the septons and septas away. He tries to comfort his sister and lover, but she backs away. Afterwards, Jaime becomes more aggressive and begins to force himself on her, and the two proceed to have sex despite Cersei stating it's an inappropriate place to perform. Later, Tywin visits Oberyn Martell at Littlefinger's brothel, where he requests that Oberyn join him and Mace Tyrell as a judge for Tyrion's trial and invites him to join the Small Council. Tywin points out how the Greyjoys are still in open rebellion and how Daenerys Targaryen has three dragons, which only the Dornish were able to defeat during the War of Conquest three centuries ago. In exchange, Tywin will arrange for a meeting between Oberyn and Gregor Clegane, telling Oberyn that if he helps him bring justice to the king's assassins, he will do the same for Oberyn and Elia's killer. Meanwhile, Podrick visits Tyrion in his cell, smuggling him food, and tells him how he was approached to testify against Tyrion in exchange for a knighthood. Podrick tells Tyrion that he refused, and Tyrion commands that Podrick leave the capital for his own safety. Tyrion tells Podrick that there has never lived a more loyal squire while Podrick emotionally leaves.
Jaime visits Tyrion in his cell after Bronn, who has been training Jaime to sword fight with his left hand at Tyrion's behest, implores him to. Jaime recalls how Cersei earlier asked Jaime to kill Tyrion and bring her Sansa's head, which he had refused to both. Tyrion also denies a part in Joffrey's murder, which Jaime believes. Jaime points out how Sansa had the most motive to kill Joffrey, but Tyrion doesn't believe that she did. Later, Jaime gives Brienne of Tarth new armor and his Valyrian steel sword so that she can bring Sansa to safety to fulfill her vows to Catelyn Stark. Outside King's Landing, he also gives her Podrick as a squire and asks what she will name the sword, to which she responds Oathkeeper. Jaime watches on as Brienne leaves on horseback, who also looks back to Jaime.
After Tommen's coronation, Cersei visits Margaery and asks if she still wants to be Queen, which Margaery replies that she will have to ask her father. Later, Cersei visits Oberyn. Oberyn inquires if Cersei really believes Tyrion is the killer, to which she replies that she knows it (however, it was in fact Olenna Tyrell and Petyr Baelish). She asks him about her daughter, Myrcella Baratheon, and her safety. Oberyn replies that they do not hurt little girls in Dorne, but Cersei doesn't believe it. She asks that Oberyn bring her a ship as a gift for her name day, which Cersei missed. Cersei then visits her father, who refuses to discuss the trial with her. Tywin informs Cersei that they are in tremendous debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos due to Robert Baratheon's outrageous and reckless spending. Tywin tells Cersei that they need the Tyrells by their side due to their wealth, noting how their gold mines in the Westerlands have run dry.
It is the day of Tyrion's trial. At a small council meeting, Varys informs the bureaucrats that Sandor Clegane has slaughtered Lannister soldiers in the Riverlands, so Tywin places a large bounty of 100 silver stags on him. He goes on to say that Daenerys Targaryen has conquered Slaver's Bay and rules Meereen as its Queen. What's more, she has acquired an army of Unsullied, has both Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy as loyal advisors, and that her three dragons are growing larger. Tywin has Varys's little birds smuggle a message into the city.
The trial of Tyrion Lannister begins. King Tommen sits out as a judge with Tywin serving in his stead, along with Mace Tyrell and Oberyn Martell, as Tywin had previously arranged. Tyrion does not confess to the accusations placed on him by Cersei, so the Crown calls forward a number of witnesses who speak out against Tyrion. Many of these witnesses were previously made enemies of Tyrion during his tenure as acting Hand of the King, including Meryn Trant, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Cersei herself. Varys also speaks out against Tyrion; when Tyrion asks him if Varys remembers their conversation after the Battle of the Blackwater, Varys replies that he has not forgotten.
During the recess, Jaime confronts Tywin, believing that the whole trial is a farce manipulated by Cersei. He strikes a deal with his father: he will leave the Kingsguard and assume his place at Casterly Rock if Tywin lets Tyrion live. Tywin agrees, promising to send Tyrion to join the Night's Watch. As the court reconvenes, Jaime tells Tyrion to plead guilty and for mercy. However, when Shae is brought forward as the Crown's final witness and lies that Tyrion is guilty, Tyrion loses it and lashes out at the court, stating that he should have let Stannis Baratheon kill them all. He then demands a trial by combat, much to Cersei and Tywin's chagrin and Jaime's disappointment.
Jaime confronts Tyrion in his cell. He tells Tyrion that he is unable to fight for him in his trial, so Tyrion asks that he send for Bronn. Before leaving, he tells Tyrion that Cersei plans on naming Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, as her champion. Later, Bronn comes to visit Tyrion, who is surprised to find Bronn in more noble clothing. Bronn tells Tyrion that he is to wed Lollys Stokeworth. Bronn refuses to fight for Tyrion, believing that the Mountain would defeat and kill him. However, he wishes Tyrion good luck. Finally, Oberyn visits Tyrion and tells him the story of how they first met: when Tyrion had been born, their father took him and his sister, Elia, to Casterly Rock, where Cersei expressed her anger over her new baby brother due to the death of their mother, Joanna Lannister, and her hope for his death, which wounds Tyrion. Oberyn then declares his intentions to Tyrion once more to get justice for the death of his sister at the hands of the Mountain, and tells Tyrion that he will be his champion.
It is the day of the trial by combat of Tyrion. Jaime visits his younger brother in his cell, bringing him wine, and the two discuss their simple cousin Orson Lannister. Tyrion ponders why Orson loved smashing beetles, expressing his dismay that so many innocent beetles had been smashed to death and returned to the dirt. However, the two are unable to come to a conclusion as to why Orson did it. When the bells ring, an emotional Jaime leaves, but not before wishing Tyrion good luck. Tyrion is escorted to the arena, where he finds Oberyn and Ellaria Sand, the former of which is wearing light armor, no helmet, and is drinking wine while his squire, Daemon Sand, polishes Oberyn's spear; secretly, he is outfitting the spear with manticore venom. As Oberyn walks out into the arena, Ellaria grabs him, telling him not to die, to which Oberyn replies that he won't.
Oberyn and the Mountain clash, during which Oberyn demands that Ser Gregor admits to the rape and murder of his sister, Elia, and her children that she bore with her husband, Rhaegar Targaryen, Rhaenys and Aegon. Though Oberyn severely injures the Mountain, cutting him on his leg and piercing him through his stomach and chest, he refuses to kill him given that the Mountain has not confessed. As he walks around the Mountain's body demanding that he admit who gave him the order to kill his sister, niece, and nephew, all the while pointing at Tywin, the Mountain suddenly knocks the Red Viper to the ground. He punches him, knocking out his teeth, and climbs on top of him, where he puts his fingers through Oberyn's eye sockets and confesses to Elia's rape and murder as well as the murder of her children. He then tells Oberyn how he did it: by crushing her skull, and does the same to Oberyn. The crowd is shocked while Ellaria screams in horror. Jaime and Tyrion look on with disappointing and nervous looks while Cersei smirks. Tywin then stands and proclaims that Tyrion is sentenced to death.
Afterwards, Cersei looks over the Mountain's body in Pycelle's laboratory with Qyburn and Pycelle. Pycelle notes how the poison used is manticore venom and that he cannot be saved, by Qyburn says there is a way that no maester is aware of. Pycelle states that Qyburn is arrogant and dangerous, but Cersei instead dismisses Pycelle, giving the laboratory to Qyburn. Qyburn warns Cersei that the process may change the Mountain somewhat but will certainly not weaken him. Later, Cersei meets with her father, again telling Tywin that she does not wish to marry Ser Loras Tyrell. She goes on to say how she does not want to be removed from King's Landing and shipped off to Highgarden away from her son, Tommen, which Tywin and the Tyrells will fight over to control. When Tywin asks how she will stop him, she says that she will expose the truth about her and Jaime, and that Tywin's legacy is a lie, which leaves Tywin in denial. Tywin says that he does not believe her, but Cersei knows that he does, leaving her father. She meets her brother in the White Sword Tower. Jaime is angered that she has allowed Tyrion to die, but Cersei says that she chooses her family and that she does not love Tyrion nor Tywin, only him, all the while seducing Jaime. Jaime then throws Cersei onto the table, where they proceed to have sex.
The night before Tyrion's trial, Jaime has the guards knocked out and frees his little brother, telling him that he is working with Varys, who has secured a galley in the harbor. The two embrace before Jaime departs, but Tyrion first takes another path: he sneaks into the Tower of the Hand, where he finds Shae in his father's bed. She grabs a knife, but Tyrion rushes onto the bed and chokes his lover to death, weeping and apologizing afterwards. He then stares at Joffrey's crossbow on the wall, taking it and finding his father on the privy. Tyrion confronts Tywin over wanting him dead all his life, and Tywin admits to it, but states that he would never let Ilyn Payne take his head because of his Lannister name. Tyrion tells his father that he loved Shae and has just murdered her, much to Tywin's surprise, but he simply passes her off as a whore. When Tywin insists that they return to his chambers, Tyrion says that he cannot: Shae is still in there. Tywin asks mockingly if his son is afraid of a dead whore, triggering Tyrion to fire an arrow into his father's chest. Tywin, in complete shock, declares that Tyrion is no son of his, to which Tyrion replies that he has always been his son before firing another arrow into his father's heart, killing him. Tyrion then goes to Varys, who suspects that Tyrion has done something. Varys places him into a crate with food, and the crate is placed no the galley. He initially walks towards the Red Keep, but when the bells begin to ring, he instead returns to the galley and sits by Tyrion's crate.
Cersei and Jaime discuss their strategy and their enemies. Jaime points out their lack of allies and questions Cersei's power. He expresses his will to discuss Tommen's suicide, but she refuses calling their youngest children a traitor. She later reveals that she has considered a new ally, Euron Greyjoy. Euron arrives to ask Cersei to marriage, but she denies stating that she cannot trust him. Jaime then reminisces about Euron's primary role in the Greyjoy Rebellion, including the Sack of Lannisport and is less then impressed when Euron proposes to Cersei, but is relieved when she refuses his proposal.
In response to the threat of the Dragon Queen Daenerys, Queen Cersei summons Lord Randyll Tarly and other noblemen from the Reach. Using the threat of Daenerys and her Dothraki hordes, Jaime attempts to convince Lord Tarly and his fellow lords to cast aside their allegiance to their liege lord Lady Olenna Tyrell, who has sided with Daenerys. Lord Tarly is reluctant to do so due to his distrust of Cersei. However, Jaime convinces him that Cersei is the "lesser of the two evils" and offers him a position as a general. Later, Maester Qyburn presents a scorpion to Cersei, which he claims can neutralize Dany's dragons. The Queen tests the weapon on the skull of Balerion the Black Dread.
A vast Lannister army of 10,000 men - containing most of the forces assembled by Tywin Lannister - abandons Casterly Rock on Queen Cersei's orders. Instead of defending the Lannister's ancient seat, they swoop down on the Tyrell seat Highgarden which they take with ease, thus eliminating House Tyrell and its forces. However, much of the Lannister army is later annihilated in a surprise ambush by Daenerys and her Dothraki horde.
After the battle, Daenerys rounds up the surviving Lannister soldiers, only a few dozen men. She attempts to persuade them that she is a just and gracious queen, causing some men to submit and kneel, though the majority stay silent and remain standing, defiantly. Drogon roars at the crowd of men, causing most to kneel, but some men remain standing, including Randyll and Dickon Tarly. Daenerys demands that Randyll bend the knee, but Randyll refuses, calling her a foreign invader with an army of savages. Daenerys orders Randyll to be burnt alive, but his son decides to die beside his father. Drogon breathes fire on the two men, quickly reducing them to piles of ash. The remaining Lannister men are terrified and bend the knee out of complete fear. Meanwhile, Jaime is saved from drowning by Bronn, and the two look over the charred battlefield and realize that the war is completely lost. Jaime returns to Kings's Landing and informs Cersei of the catastrophic casualties his army suffered. Cersei remains stubborn and states she will hire mercenaries to reinforce their armies. Jaime and Tyrion later meet up beneath the Red Keep and discuss a potential cease fire, though Jaime is still sour towards Tyrion for the death of their father. Cersei later reveals to Jamie that she is pregnant with their child and that she is no longer afraid to let her kingdom know of it.
House Lannister can raise approximately 60,000 men in a relatively short period of time. As the richest house, the Lannisters' forces are among the best-equipped in the Seven Kingdoms, though House Tyrell commands larger numbers. However, the strength of House Lannister has been badly depleted due to the War of the Five Kings, between the Battle of Blackwater and the battles with Robb Stark, such as the Battle of Oxcross. Nevertheless, It is clear that House Lannister is still able to field tens of thousands of men, even after the losses suffered against Robb Stark. Casterly Rock alone has a garrison of 10,000 Lannister soldiers, showing that the Lannisters still command a considerable amounts of men. However, much of this army is later annihilated by the Targaryen forces at the Battle of the Goldroad, dealing a crippling bow to the already massively depleted Lannister forces.
Lannister soldiers seem to be more well-equipped than any other army that Westeros could muster. This is particularly evidenced by the high quality swords forged directly in the Crownlands and Westerlands, by skilled smithies and armorers, and other high quality infantry and cavalry weapons such as spears, supplied to the Lannister soldiers. An advanced degree of standardization is clearly displayed, to an extent which outmatches even the Tyrell forces. The weapons of House Lannister even include Scorpion ballistae as of Season 7.
Not only this, but commonly it is seen that the Lannisters are outfitted in excellent grade armor. Many of them protected by sturdy, red-dyed leather coated over augmented steel armor plates, in a striking combination. This smart design, is not only aesthetically impressive - as per Lannister lavishness - but also ergonomically practical, with the segmented armor allowing for ample mobility and flexibility for the wearer. This makes them more nimble than other soldiers who might be wearing basic plates of armor (with minimal if any segmentation), while retaining the strong defensive properties. They also have crested steel and leather helmets, with uniquely designed cheek visors which overlap when locked shut, forming a broad facial plate with small eye slots which still give good visibility.
The horizontally arrayed crests on their helmets, are a kind of defensive feature less often seen in most other military forces, being designed to block all but the most brutal strikes to their heads, denying contact to the surface of the helmet, and wearer's head underneath it (at least in theory) When the facial visors are opened, the soldier can get a better view of their surrounding vicinity, as well as talk with or to civilians more personally in their patrol duties or guard duties. The design allows more options than you'd get in a simple helmet. The closed visors also give a deliberate resemblance to the face of a lion, looking directly forward towards it. Arguably, the design is as much for show, as for practical effectiveness. The intricacy required for manufacturing tens of thousands of the small parts for the helmets, indicates a superior level of metalworking and craftsmanship. As seen at Highgarden, the forward marching Lannister army is visually spectacular in full battle formation, as witnessed by the solemnly onlooking Queen of Thorns.
Lannister armor and robes, also use logically vast quantities of relatively expensive amounts of scarlet red and blood red dye, across the Lannister military forces, universally. Cloaks, robes and under layers padding the armor in these colors, make for fine looking soldiers dressed in the best that money can buy. Moreover, they are well protected by ovate and rounded kite shaped shields, constructed of thick wood in multiple layers. Adorning these are intricately carved lions, and painted blazons/sigils of House Lannister, red and yellow-gold being the main color palette. The ubiquitous style of the Lannister garments and armor, indicates an organised system of military procurement, to militarily efficient standards.
However, while most Lannister soldiers indeed seem to have the classic red-dyed leather and steel segmented plate armor, some even having golden embellishments over their shoulder plates and helmets (perhaps indicating high ranks among certain units), it would be untrue to suggest all Lannister foot-soldiers are as fortunate as to possess such high quality armor. Elite Guards units and what we may hold to be the professional full-time regular infantry majority, are supplied with the high-end equipment we typically see Lannister soldiers wearing.
Yet during the War of the Five Kings, as well as Daenerys Targaryen's Invasion of Westeros, we see prime examples of what we might refer to as, "levies" or "regional/local militia", dressed in far more basic leather armor and simple garments. The form this boiled, dark brown or black leather body armor takes, is apparently an interlocking lamellar armor of a simple yet reasonable quality, hard-wearing enough for active duty in both the field and in guard duty, but far cheaper and lighter. It represents a quality hierarchy in military forces, with reserve/conscript levies thrown into the line of duty with, by Lannister standards, relatively poor equipment. Though still clearly a minority among the Lannister forces, as the wars have severely depleted the Lannisters, there seems to be somewhat more of these men being drafted in to save money. This makes sense, as House Lannister is far weaker now in Season 7, than it once was (particularly after the devastation of the Host of Casterly Rock, by the Dothraki and Drogon)
This form of levy/militia level armor, can be seen in the Battle of Oxcross, where King Robb Stark devastated a local Westerlands army hastily thrown together by Ser Stafford Lannister. The battle was extremely one sided, with the Northmen being better fighters, better armed and achieving complete surprise, tearing the Lannister men apart. Tyrion later points out, that the Lannister army at Oxcross, was mostly formed by inexperienced, green conscripts, scraped together from Lannisport and the surrounding areas, to try to make up for the shattering loss of Jaime's regular field army at Whispering Wood.
While training the new raw recruits in their camp near the village of Oxcross, Stafford Lannister, cousin of Tywin Lannister and brother of his late wife, felt so confident that he was safe from Stark attack in the heart of the Westerlands that he didn't even bother to post sentries. Stark soldiers inflicted a 5:1 ratio of kills at Oxcross, virtually annihilating the Lannister force with minimal losses of their own to do so. Lightly armored Lannister levies are also seen throughout the Siege of Casterly Rock; with at least as many lesser armored Lannister soldiers, to be seen as the plate armored regulars. Jaime left only 1,000 doomed soldiers to put up a token defense there, emulating Robb's strategy at Whispering Wood and the Green Fork, with the 8,000 elite Unsullied utterly overpowering the badly outnumbered defenders.
Completely wiped out, the diversion force at Casterly Rock, likely included many levies from Lannisport and Casterly Rock, with the only high quality infantry regulars being interspersed among these, along with the even lighter armored Lannister archers. The Unsullied under Greyworm, are shown to defeat large numbers of these light infantry, with one of the Lannister men being easily skewered to a door, something probably impossible to do with a short range manual throw, to a fully armored Lannister regular/elite guardsmen, unless hitting through the neck. Clearly, these levies are weaker combatants, with Greyworm killing dozens on his own. The Host of Casterly Rock, taken to sack Highgarden, also had unknown numbers of lighter Lannister infantry, but clearly very many (thousands) of top quality guardsmen too, comprising the backbone of the army under Jaime, at a glance. Lannister guards are corruptible in King's Landing and have been seen accepting bribes, though they are not as corrupted as the Gold Cloaks, who even had split loyalties to either Cersei or Tywin, in the wake of Tyrion's injuries at the Blackwater, whereas the Lannister soldiers generally followed Tywin or Cersei simultaneously, unlike the Gold Cloaks who were rather more preferential to one or the other, man to man. Lannister soldiers also had an openly low regard and disdain for many commoners in King's Landing, seeing them as scum. This opinion was shared by many of the Gold cloaks too, in the way they are shown to talk to civilians. They even spoke rudely to Yoren, a Night's Watchman no less.
The Lannisters also command a modest fleet, berthed at Lannisport. The original fleet belonging to Lord Tywin directly, was largely destroyed at anchor during the Greyjoy Rebellion in a preemptive strike, led by Balon Greyjoy's brothers, Euron and Victarion. It is indicated in the books that this fleet was eventually rebuilt by the embarrassed Tywin, though it has not been seen in the television series; not even in the Siege of Casterly Rock - and whether or not the Lannisport fleet remained at Lannisport, leaving Euron's Iron Fleet to do all the work, or instead whether it was sent elsewhere, is as yet unknown.
In summary, the Lannister military is best suited/strongest on land when led properly, as shown at the Green Fork, and fields the best equipped infantry and potentially the best cavalry on paper (though the Knights of the Vale probably rival any cavalry the Lannisters have, on quality if not numbers as well now) It is dangerous in open field battles and ambushes, but has proven vulnerable to attacks from the North, the Stormlands (and Dragonstone) and now the Dothraki and Unsullied. Notably, even the Lannisters are no match for dragons, though it is unknown how many scorpion ballistae they have thanks to Qyburn now (the only known artillery piece shown, being lost to dragon-fire in battle) The Lannisters have held sway with the threat of their potent military since shortly after Robert's Rebellion ended. However, depleted by wars and hardships, the glory days of House Lannister's army is by now already long gone. Queen Cersei wishes to enlist 10,000 Golden Company mercenaries from Essos, to help augment and boost their forces back up to a healthy level. Whether or not the Lannister military can survive the coming turmoil yet to unfold, is unknown.
House Lannister is a very old and wealthy family, dating back to the Age of Heroes and the Andal invasion 6,000 years ago. As a result it has produced numerous cadet branches and distant cousins of the main line, who have prospered as members of the minor nobility in the Westerlands for many years. In contrast, while House Stark is even older than House Lannister, due to the harsh conditions of the North (both low economic output and threat of Wildling attacks) by the time of the War of the Five Kings, the Starks possess few if any cousins, and only one major cadet branch, House Karstark. Therefore, there are numerous minor members of the extended "House Lannister" which exist in the background of the narrative, but they are so numerous and distantly related that members of the main line wouldn't think to mention them any more than they would their other vassals.
Ser Alton Lannister, a cousin to Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion from a lesser branch of the family. A prisoner of House Stark. Killed by Jaime as part of an escape attempt. He stated that his mother is Cynda Lannister.
Lyman Lannister, a third cousin to the main line of the house.
House Lannister of Lannisport - a cadet branch of House Lannister, formally organized as a distinct House. They directly rule the city of Lannisport for the main branch, while the main branch rules the gold-mine rich area of Casterly Rock in the nearby mountains above Lannisport.
Reginald Lannister, a bannerman of Lord Tywin fighting for House Lannister in the War of the Five Kings.
Sworn to House Lannister
Household and sworn men
Sigil: A golden lion rampant on a crimson field.
Words: "Hear Me Roar!", "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts"
Seat: Red Keep, King's Landing (royal), Casterly Rock (ancestral)
Region:The Crownlands, The Westerlands
Lord:Queen Cersei I (disputed), Lord Tyrion Lannister (disputed)
Heir:Ser Jaime Lannister
Allegiance:Sovereign (under Cersei), House Targaryen (under Tyrion), House Baratheon of King's Landing
Houses and races of Game of Thrones Lore
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