- "Anyway, it's not my father I'm worried about. It's the Iron Bank of Braavos. We owe them tens of millions. If we fail to repay these loans, the Bank will fund our enemies. One way or another, they always get their gold back."
- ―Tyrion Lannister
The Iron Bank of Braavos is a bank in the Free City of Braavos. It is arguably the most powerful financial institution in the Known World, with clients across Essos and Westeros, including the government of the King of the Andals and the First Men who rules over the Seven Kingdoms.
Just as a common saying about House Lannister is "A Lannister always pays his debts", there is also a common saying that the bank often reminds its clients who fail to repay their loans: "the Iron Bank will have its due".
Known members and representativesEdit
After taking over the role of Master of Coin from Petyr Baelish, Tyrion Lannister discovers that Baelish has been funding the Iron Throne's budget by borrowing massive amounts of money from several sources, including the Iron Bank of Braavos, to which the crown owes millions of Gold Dragons. Tyrion is concerned because the Iron Bank has a tradition of funding the enemies of rulers who fail to repay their debts.
At the royal wedding between King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell, Tywin Lannister remarks to Olenna Tyrell about the expense of the festivities, even though House Tyrell is paying half the costs. Olenna wryly says that she is glad to help, but expects that the Lannisters will require their financial support again soon: wars are expensive, and even with the Starks defeated, the War of the Five Kings had added to the Iron Throne's already massive debts to foreign banks. She notes that there is a common saying, "the Iron Bank will have its due", which the bank reminds its clients almost as often as Tywin's family reminds its enemies that "a Lannister always pays his debts". Tywin tries to brush this aside by saying that he isn't afraid of the Iron Bank, but Olenna chides him that he is lying, as they both know that he's smart enough to realize he should fear running afoul of the Iron Bank of Braavos.
Reacting to the news of Joffrey's death at his own wedding, Stannis Baratheon is still discouraged because he does not have sufficient remaining soldiers to seize on this opportunity. His Hand Ser Davos Seaworth suggests that they could attempt to hire mercenary companies from the Free Cities, but Stannis scoffs that they don't have any gold left either. Later, while reading a book about Braavos given to him by Stannis's daughter Princess Shireen, Davos remarks to her that he has been to Braavos in his old days as a smuggler, but that he nearly lost his life at hands of First Sword of Braavos when he ran afoul of the well-guarded ships transporting a nation's worth of gold for the Iron Bank. Realization suddenly dawns on Davos, and he begins to dictate a letter to Shireen in the name of King Stannis , asking for an audience with the Iron Bank.
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Iron Bank of Braavos is the most powerful banking institution in the known world, richer and more powerful than the banks of all the other eight Free Cities combined, and with a fearsome reputation when collecting debts. When princes or kings default on their debts or are foolish enough not to honor their agreements with the Iron Bank, new princes and kings appear with the Iron Bank's support. These new princes and kings then honor the previous debt along with paying back the money the bank loaned them in claiming their new power, lest they suffer the same fate as their predecessors. "The Iron Bank will have its due" is a common saying among Braavosi.
At the beginning of the novels, the Iron Throne is an astonishing six million Gold Dragons in debt. In the TV series, Eddard Stark discovered this in Season 1 episode 3, "Lord Snow", and was also informed that half of this debt was to House Lannister. The episode's dialogue did not, however, break down who the remaining debt was owed to. In the books, it is explained that the crown owes about two million Gold Dragons to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and nearly another million to the leadership of the Faith of the Seven. As Bronn points out in Season 3's "Walk of Punishment", King Robert can't pay Tywin back now that he's dead, and with Tywin's own grandson Joffrey as a puppet-king, the Lannisters can't pay themselves back the three million they lent to the crown. While the Lannisters were victorious after the Red Wedding, the massive costs of fighting such a large-scale war only added to their already substantial debts.
|Places of note:|