House Greyjoy of Pyke is one of the Great Houses of Westeros. It rules over the Iron Islands, a harsh and bleak collection of forbidding islands off the west coast of Westeros, from the castle of Pyke on the island of the same name. Their sigil is a golden kraken on a black field, and their house motto is "We Do Not Sow." Members of the family tend to be attractive and well-built, with black hair.
Pyke is an ancient stronghold. It was originally built on a cliff jutting out into the sea, but over time the cliff has eroded, leaving the castle's towers standing on series of small, barren rock stacks, surrounded by water. Since there is no safe anchorage at Pyke, those who wish to travel there have to sail to a nearby Lordsport.
The towers are connected by swaying rope bridges. The keep, its towers, walls and bridges are made of the same grey-black stone of which the rest of the island is composed. In the thousands of years the keep has stood, it has become covered with green lichen. A curtain wall encloses the headland of fifty acres and the cliffs around the foot of the wide stone bridge which extended out to the largest islet. The stables, kennels and livestock are located on the headland. The Great Keep, Kitchen Keep and the Bloody Keep each sit on their own islands. Towers and outbuildings are located on stacks beyond them, linked to each other by covered archways where the pillars stood close and by long, swaying walks of wood and rope when they did not. To get to the Sea Tower, one must cross three bridges, the last of which is made of rope.
Prior to the First Era
The Greyjoys of Pyke claim descent from the Grey King of the Age of Heroes. Legend says the Grey King ruled not only the western isles but the sea itself, and took a mermaid to wife.
For thousands of years, raiders from the Iron Islands—called "ironmen" by those they plundered—were the terrors of the seas, sailing as far as the Port of Ibben and the Summer Isles. They prided themselves on their fierceness in battle and their sacred freedoms. Each island had its own "salt king" and "rock king". The High King of the Isles was chosen from among their number during the kingsmoot. In ancient times The Old Kraken was chosen as the King of the Iron Islands. He was said to be a member of House Greyjoy.
The Iron Kings extended their rule far beyond the isles themselves, carving kingdoms out of the mainland with fire and sword. King Qhored could truthfully boast that his writ ran "wherever men can smell salt water or hear the crash of waves". In later centuries, Qhored's descendents lost the Arbor, Oldtown, Bear Island, and much of the western shore. Still, come the Wars of Conquest, King Harren the Black ruled all the lands between the mountains, from the Neck to the Blackwater Rush.
When Harren and his sons perished in the fall of Harrenhal, Aegon Targaryen granted the riverlands to Edmyn Tully of House Tully, and allowed the surviving lords of the Iron Islands to revive their ancient custom and chose who should have the primacy among them. They chose Lord Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke. Thus relegated to their dismal homeland and constrained by the king's peace, the Greyjoys have kept themselves distant from the other Great Houses, rarely taking part in events on the mainland (which they call the "green lands"), even when asked.
House Greyjoy staged several rebellions in the last two centuries, each unsuccessful. Because of this, the Iron Islands were held in little esteem by the Baratheon crown. The last rebellion was the Second Greyjoy Rebellion, which resulted in the death of the Lord and his heir, Damron and Merryk Greyjoy. After the war, the sister of Damron wed into House Lannister, forming a surprising and unlikely alliance.
Lord Aeron Greyjoy was falsely accused of raiding in the Riverlands at the start of the first era, which led to a trial held in King's Landing. Lord Durran Harlaw took advantage of tensions between the crown and House Greyjoy and staged a revolt which started a civil war in the Iron Islands. He was ultimately defeated, and House Greyjoy maintains the Lord Paramouncy.
In the Second Era, House Greyjoy led an assault on the Riverlands at the behest of King Damon Lannister, forcing the Baelishes to eventually flee their castle and abandon the Lord Paramouncy.
In the Third Era, Alannys Greyjoy was asked by Loren Lannister to provoke the North and her daughter Gwin led several raids along the western coast before being captured by Dacey Mormont. She was later freed by her mother.
"Why are the Greyjoys always so sure of themselves? How many wars does one have to lose before gaining a sense of caution or prudence?" - thoughts of Damon Lannister
Damron Greyjoy (deceased)
Merryk Greyjoy (deceased)