The crannogmen are the inhabitants of the swamps of the Neck, the southernmost part of the North which borders the Riverlands, in central Westeros. They are a unique offshoot of the First Men, and are ruled by House Reed as vassals loyal to House Stark.
The crannogmen are so-called because they live in small villages in the deep swamps, formed of reeds and thatch which sit atop artificial floating islands made out of logs, which are known as crannogs. Thus the villages of the crannogmen actually move around throughout the swamps and bogs of the Neck, and do not have a set physical location. Even Greywater Watch, the seat of House Reed, is built on a large crannog which can actually be moved deeper into the swamps to avoid invaders. Because their locations continually change, it is impossible to train messenger-ravens to deliver messages to them, and thus no Maesters are assigned to them.
Hardy and reclusive swamp-dwellers, the crannogmen are derisively referred to by outsiders as "mudmen" and "frog-eaters". They are a poor people, mostly subsisting on fishing and frogging, as well as eating any game they can hunt. By the standards of some of their neighbors their culture is somewhat primitive, but they are very woodcrafty, with great knowledge of their terrain as well as of poisons made by local plants and animals in the swamps, which they often coat their weapons with.
Due to their self-imposed isolation, the crannogmen culture remains mostly unchanged since the time of the First Men, before the Andal Invasion six thousand years ago (though they have learned the Common Tongue imposed on the continent by the Andals). Like their Northmen cousins, they still worship the Old Gods of the Forest, maintain a close connection to nature, and were rumored to be close to the Children of the Forest in past millennia.
In other respects, the crannogmen are something of a unique hybrid culture between what is normally found in the North and the kingdoms of southern Westeros. As the southernmost region of the North, the climate of their home is not as cold and desolate as most of the rest of the North, but is instead humid, swampy, and overgrown with fish and game. The surroundings of their home thus shaped their way of life to be quite different from that of their cousins in the main parts the North.
The crannogmen do not march into open battle, and if invaded rely on retreating their crannogs deeper into the swamps. The crannogmen will then use guerrilla tactics, poisoned weapons, and their superior knowledge of the difficult swampy terrain to bleed the invaders through attrition. For ten thousand years, the crannogmen have proven to be very difficult to conquer, though otherwise they usually seclude themselves in their swamps and do not trouble outsiders. They are embroiled in a centuries-old feud with House Frey, whose lands border the southern limits of the North, and who often try to encroach on the lands of the crannogmen.
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the crannogmen of the Neck were once a small independent kingdom, whose rulers were known as the Marsh Kings. Several centuries before the Targaryen Conquest, King in the North Rickard Stark finally managed to conquer the Neck, but cemented its incorporation into his domain by marrying the daughter of the last Marsh King. Ever since they have remained staunchly loyal vassals of House Stark, who provide aid whenever invaders try to encroach on their swamps, and in return they aid House Stark by harassing any invader that tries to pass through the swamps to circumvent the vital choke point of Moat Cailin on the Kingsroad.
Crannogmen live in conflict with House Frey, which rules the southern region of the Neck and constantly attempt to encroach on crannogmen lands.
Crannogmen are short of stature. They are derisively called "frog-eaters", "mud-dwellers", "mud-men", or "bog-devils", and are said to be able to breath in the mud and to have moss instead of hair. While they dislike being called "mud-men" or "bog-devils", the crannogmen actually do eat frogs, or any other wild game they are able to catch.
Besides House Reed, other clans or houses of crannogmen are House Marsh, House Fenn, House Peat, House Boggs, House Cray, House Quagg, House Greengood, and House Blacmyre
|Humans:||First Men · Andals · Ironborn · Dornishmen · Rhoynar · Hill tribes · Crannogmen · Free Folk· Dothraki · Lhazareen · Valyrian · Ghiscari · Qartheen · Summer Islanders|
|Sapient non-humans:||Children of the Forest · Giants · White Walkers (Wights)|
|Animals:||Direwolves · Dragons · Manticores · Ravens · Shadowcats|
|Legendary and magical creatures:||Grumpkins and Snarks · Harpies · Krakens · Mermaids · Nagga the Sea-Dragon · Shadow · Sphinxes|
|Plants:||Weirwood · Ghost grass|