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Lysa Arryn

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"What wife would do the things I've done for you? What wife
would trust you the way I trusted you? When you gave me
those drops and told me to pour them into Jon's wine. My husband's wine. And you told me to write a letter to Cat telling her it was the Lannisters...
"
―Lysa Arryn to Petyr Baelish, admitting her role in the death of her husband, Jon Arryn[src]

Lysa Arryn, née Tully, is a recurring character in the first and fourth seasons. She is played by guest star Kate Dickie and debuted in "The Wolf and the Lion." Lysa was the Lady Regent of the Vale, ruling on behalf of her young son Robin Arryn. She doted on her son and pursued a policy of isolationism following the death of her husband Jon Arryn.

BiographyEdit

BackgroundEdit

Lysa was born into House Tully and was the second child of Lord Hoster Tully. She had an older sister, Catelyn and a younger brother, Edmure. Petyr Baelish was fostered with the Tullys and Lysa grew up with him.[1]

Lysa Tully

Lysa shortly after her marriage to Jon Arryn.

Lysa married Jon Arryn during Robert's Rebellion. Lord Jon was the head of House Arryn and a leader of the rebel faction fighting to overthrow the Mad King. The rebels forged an alliance with House Tully through marriage, with Lord Eddard Stark married to Catelyn and the then-elderly Jon to the still young Lysa.[2][3]

After the rebel victory in the war, Robert Baratheon became King and appointed Jon as his Hand. Jon served the realm well for many years as Hand of the King. Lysa and Jon have a single son, Robin Arryn, whom she dotes on constantly.[1] Lysa and Jon spent the next seventeen years in the capital of King's Landing, never returning to the Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn.[4]

Jon died shortly before the events of the series, sparking King Robert's search for a replacement. Lysa fled King's Landing for the safety of the Eyrie with Robin, then six-years old.[2] Though Robin became the titular Lord Paramount of the Vale after his father's death, his mother in fact assumed rulership as the Lady Regent of the Vale until her son came of age. She is considered mentally unstable by Tyrion Lannister.

Season 1Edit

Lysa and Robin

Lysa dotes over her son.

Lysa's husband Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, dies of an apparent fever. Lysa flees the capital and returns to the Eyrie with her son Robin. She sends her sister Catelyn a letter claiming that the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn for unknown reasons. This news convinces Catelyn's husband, Lord Eddard Stark, that he must accept King Robert's offer to become the new Hand so he may investigate further. During the king's visit to Winterfell Catelyn's own son Bran Stark is injured in suspicious circumstances.[2]

Lysa

Lysa accuses Bronn of fighting without honor.

Catelyn apprehends Tyrion Lannister on suspicion of trying to kill Bran. She brings him to the Eyrie to be questioned. Lysa is furious with Catelyn for exposing her to the wrath of House Lannister. She and Robin hold Tyrion in contempt, ignoring his threats that his house will repay them for any harm they visit upon him. Lysa orders Tyrion sent to Mord, the castle jailer. Tyrion and Catelyn are both disturbed by Lysa's excessive coddling of Robin, including still breast-feeding him despite him being too old for it.[5]

Lysa

Lysa refuses to send knights to aid her sister.

Tyrion convinces Lysa to give him a trial, only to protest his innocence. He demands the right of trial by combat, supported by the mercenary Bronn. Bronn wins the battle, killing Lysa's champion, Ser Vardis Egen. Lysa chides Bronn for not fighting with honor, but reluctantly releases Tyrion.[6]

Lysa receives a letter from King's Landing announcing that Robert has died and Eddard has been arrested as a traitor. She delays showing the letter to Catelyn, to Catelyn's great annoyance. Catelyn asks that the knights of the Vale join House Tully and House Stark in fighting the Lannisters for his freedom, but Lysa refuses. Lysa insists that the Vale knights must remain at home to defend Robin. Catelyn leaves, frustrated and annoyed.[7]

Season 4Edit

Lysapetyr

Lysa is delighted by Petyr's arrival in the Eyrie.

Petyr Baelish, acting under his own promises to both Lysa and her niece Sansa Stark, arrives at the Vale, bringing Sansa to the Eyrie with him. Lysa greets her enthusiastically, introducing Sansa to her cousin, Robin. She conveys her pity for Sansa's unfortunate marriage with the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, and asks if he ever forced himself on her, to which she replies "no". Lysa agrees not to refer to Sansa by her true name in the presence of anyone else, and has Robin show her around the castle. Once they leave, Lysa confesses poisoning her own husband's wine and framing the Lannisters, using these actions as proof of her love for Petyr. Sexually eager, Lysa has her and Littlefinger wed immediately, promising to scream loudly as he makes love to her. That night, she keeps her word, to Sansa's annoyance.[8]

Sansalysa

Lysa with her niece, Sansa Stark.

The following day, Lysa dotes over Sansa in petty conversation, and she shares her childhood memories about Catelyn. However, she grows angry when Sansa almost mentions Littlefinger's love-triangle with Catelyn, something which has irked Lysa for years. She starts grilling Sansa, wondering why Littlefinger cares so much for her, and if he has ever forced himself onto her. Sansa is shocked and denies this, and complains that Lysa, clenching her fingers tightly, is hurting her. Seeing Sansa scared, Lysa returns to a nurturing state, drawing her close and comforting her.[8]

Lysafall

Lysa falls to her death.

Lysa witnesses Littlefinger kissing Sansa in the Eyrie's gardens, and goes mad with jealousy. She summons Sansa to the High Hall of the Arryns, threatening to push her out the Moon Door to her death, but is interrupted by Petyr.[9]​Emotionally distraught and torn over Littlefinger's infatuation with Sansa, Lysa falls into a fit of tears, shoving her to the floor. Littlefinger feigns an apology, embraces her and reassures her that he only ever loved one woman. To Lysa's horror, he utters "your sister", and then shoves Lysa through the Moon Door to her death, as a shell-shocked Sansa looks on.[9] Later, with Sansa's help, Littlefinger convinces the lords of the Vale that Lysa committed suicide.[10]

PersonalityEdit

Lysa Arryn was characterised by her capacity for jealousy: she was unendingly jealous of her sister Catelyn for being the first choice in every matter that would have benefited either one of them, and for Lysa herself always landing with the second best option - her marriage to Jon Arryn, for instance, as opposed to Ned Stark. Her jealousy of her sister also led to her referring to Catelyn in diabolical terms. This led to Lysa being withdrawn, lonely, cold, apathetic, malignantly wilful and subjective to fits of anger that were often unjustified, to the extent that she saw enemies in anyone who disagreed with her. Lysa's jealousy of Catelyn was completely typical, if not entirely overgrown, of a sibling contempt of the younger sibling being jealous of the opportunities and fortunes afforded to the older sibling on the basis that she is the older sibling.

She was, however, extremely unstable and temperamental to a fault. She had psychological issues that were famed but never narrowed down in terms of origins or cause. The most likely cause of her instability was her life of solitude and being second-benefited by everyone. She tended to go to incredible extremes in terms of her actions because of her instability - she loved her son Robin to such a dangerous extreme that she had delusions about him being strong and diligent and gallant, when Robin was in fact weak, timid, spoiled and lacking in intellect or physical advantage (In stark contrast to the likes of Robb Stark). She wasn't as much protective of him, as she was protective over something that she could be proud of - proud, that is, for no logical reason other than her own delusions about his majesty.

The extremes of Lysa's emotions made her extremely violent and intensely aggressive, generally lightning-fast-to-anger. She was easily infuriated by any suggestion that intimidated her, or more accurately her peace of mind. She was so violent that she, in a fit of rage, tried to throw Sansa out of the Moon Door when Petyr kissed her, regardless of the logical evidence that Petyr kissed Sansa and Sansa was innocent in the matter, but Lysa's ego wouldn't let her accept this. She would also turn rather sadistic, to the point that she believed that throwing Tyrion (An inncoent man, whom she perceived to be guilty based on her prejudice and the fact that he was a Lannister, one of the most powerful and dangerous Houses in Westeros) out of the Moon Door, and call it elegance.

Lysa's arrogance and vicious inferiority complex was probably the most fatal element to her twisted and immoral character. She held such an amount of self-worth that she believed that she and Petyr Baelish would be a perfect couple based on her intense obsession with him. She believed that, though Petyr loved Catelyn, she loved him no more than the whores in his brothels and didn't even perceive him as an option for companionship. The almost poetic irony here is that Petyr held Lysa in precisely that same regard, in that he had no love for her and, when he confronted her at the Moon Door over the subject of who he loved, he was effortlessly able to lull her into a sense of security by claiming he loved only one woman all his life, and she believed it was her - her final expression before being thrown out of the Moon Door was shock and incredulity at it being Catelyn, before Petyr ruthlessly hurled her from her own Moon Door.

AppearancesEdit

Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children

Image GalleryEdit

Family treeEdit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Family tree Hoster
Hoster Tully
Deceased
 
Minisa family tree
Minisa Tully
née Whent Whent shield icon
Deceased
 
Family tree Blackfish

Brynden Tully

"The Blackfish"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eddard tree
Eddard Stark Stark shield icon
Deceased
 
Catelyn Tree
Catelyn Tully
Deceased
 
Jon Arryn tree
Jon Arryn Arryn shield icon
Deceased
 
Lysa tree
Lysa Tully
Deceased
 
Family tree Littlefinger
Petyr Baelish Baelish shield icon
 
Family tree Edmure
Edmure Tully
 
Roslin tree
Roslin Tully
née Frey Frey shield icon
 
House-Tully-heraldry
Unnamed son
Stillborn
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robb fam tree
Robb Stark Stark shield icon
Deceased
 
Family tree Talisa
Talisa Stark Stark shield icon
née Maegyr
Deceased
 
100px-Tyrion tree
Tyrion Lannister Lannister shield icon
 
100px-Sansa tree
Sansa Stark House-Stark-Main-Shield
 
Ramsay-Snow-family-tree-2
Ramsay Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
 
Arya family tree
Arya Stark Stark shield icon
 
Bran fam tree
Bran Stark Stark shield icon
 
Rickon fam tree
Rickon Stark Stark shield icon
 
Robin tree
Robin Arryn Arryn shield icon
"Sweetrobin"
 
 
 

QuotesEdit

Sansa Stark: "You wanted to see me, Aunt Lysa?"
Lysa Arryn: "Come here, Sansa. Do you know how far the fall is?"
Sansa Stark: "No."
Lysa Arryn: "Neither do I, precisely. Hundreds of feet. It's fascinating what happens to bodies when they hit the rocks from such a height. The impact breaks them right apart. Like eggs dropped on the floor. Sometimes pieces remain intact. You'll find the head sitting on its own. Every hair in place. Blue eyes staring at nothing."
— Lysa Arryn to her niece Sansa Stark on falling out the moon door.[src]
"I lied for you! I killed for you! Why did you bring her here? Why?"
―Lysa to Littlefinger[src]

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn) later said she hoped viewers were aware that she wasn't actually having Lino Facioli (Sweetrobin Arryn) suckle on her breasts, as Lysa disturbingly never weaned her son: she wore prosthetic breasts over her undergarments.[11]
  • After being cast, Kate Dickie quickly read through the novels until the point when Lysa dies (at the end of the third novel, corresponding to Season 4). As a result, even in Season 1, Dickie was fully aware of Lysa's secret backstory, that it was really Lysa who poisoned her own husband Jon Arryn, and that she was allied with Littlefinger against both the Starks and the Lannisters. Dickie was therefore able to play her scenes in Season 1 knowing full well that Lysa was secretly lying to Catelyn.[12]
  • Ironically, given that her character Lysa lived in a mountaintop castle high above the clouds, Kate Dickie said she is actually very afraid of heights.[13]

In the booksEdit

In A Song of Ice and Fire, Lysa is Catelyn's sister, who is distrustful of the Lannisters. She dotes on her son excessively. In the books her son's name is "Robert Arryn", but this was changed for the TV series to avoid confusion with Robert Baratheon and Robb Stark. Lysa married Lord Jon Arryn to tie three of the Houses involved in Robert's Rebellion - the Starks, Tullys, and Arryns - more closely together. Given the large age difference between her and Jon, their marriage was not a happy one.

She is noted as overweight in the books, as a result of suffering two stillbirths and four miscarriages. The stress from these many pregnancies which ended in tragedy, combined with her distant relationship with her elderly husband, wore heavily on Lysa's mental state. This is also why she dotes so excessively on Sweetrobin, her only surviving child.

In her youth, Lysa fell in love with Littlefinger, but her feelings were not reciprocated. One night Petyr tried to kiss Catelyn, and she rejected him, laughing. Petyr got drunk because of this, and Lysa climbed into his bed that night to "give him comfort". Petyr took her virginity that night, telling her he loved her, but called her "Cat" before falling asleep. Lysa became pregnant with Petyr's child as a result of this. Her father forced her to abort the child instead, that he could marry her to Jon Arryn. The whole episode had great negative effect on Lysa's spirit.

Lysa's marriage to Jon Arryn was very unhappy. She did not love the much older man she was forced to marry; she had five miscarriages, twice in the Eyrie and three at King's Landing; the only child who was born alive turned to be mentally and physically ill.

During the War of the Five Kings, Robb Stark sent letters to Lysa, asking her to let his army pass through the Vale and provide ships at Gulltown to take them north. Had Lysa agreed, Robb could have landed at White Harbor, flanked Moat Cailin and driven the Ironmen from the north in half a year. But Lysa did not respond, and kept the Bloody Gate closed.

When Lysa drags Sansa to the Moon Door, she blurts out the whole truth about her first pregnancy, the abortion, and Jon Arryn's death. The singer Marillion is present when Lysa struggles with Sansa (and he sings loudly to drown out Sansa's screams). Littlefinger appears and consoles her before telling her he only ever loved Catelyn (in the books, he says "only Cat" instead of "your sister"), shocking Lysa so much that when Littlefinger pushes her out she does not even scream but continues to look at him in disbelief as she falls. Littlefinger blames the murder on Marillion, who confesses after being tortured by Mord. Since the singer is despised throughout the Vale for his mocking songs and obnoxious behavior, the Vale bannermen readily believe his guilt.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Lysa Arryn" is pronounced "LIE-ssa AIR-in", as opposed to "Liss-ah" or "Lee-suh".

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

v  d  e
Lord: Robin Arryn Heir:
House-Arryn-Main-Shield
Seat: The Eyrie Lands: The Vale of Arryn
Title(s): Lord of the Eyrie · Lord Paramount of the Vale · Warden of the East
Ancestors:Artys Arryn · Sharra Arryn · Ronnel Arryn
Deceased members:Jasper Arryn · Jon Arryn · Alys Arryn · Ronnel Arryn · Lysa Arryn
Household:{Ser Vardis Egen} · {Ser Hugh of the Vale} · Mord · Petyr Baelish
Overlord:House Baratheon of King's Landing
v  d  e
Lord: Edmure Tully Heir: Bran Stark
House-Tully-Main-Shield
Seat: Riverrun Lands: The Riverlands
Title(s): Lord Paramount of the Riverlands · Lord of Riverrun
Ancestors:Edmyn Tully
Current members:Brynden Tully · Roslin Tully
Deceased members:Catelyn Stark · Hoster Tully · Minisa Tully · Lysa Arryn
Household:Brienne of Tarth

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