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Another excerpt, about the Vale and the start of the Andal Invasion:
- The Vale was lightly populated, and the different valleys divided into their own petty kingdoms, so they didn't present a united front.
- Much like the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, the First Men actually never presented a united front against the Andals - one petty kingdom would ally with the invaders to use against their rivals, give them some lands as rewards, then a generation later alliances would shift. Just like Ireland - though that's actually a very common pattern in migrations/invasions. Same could sort of be said for the Anglo-Saxon invasions of post-Roman Britain.
- The Vale's isolated location made it the perfect place for seaborne invaders to establish a foothold on the continent, without being easily thrown back into the sea. Not clear if the Andals planned this, or if it was a natural selection process (i.e. any idiot attempting to land in the wide flat plains of the Trident river valleys probably got swept back into the sea fairly quickly - and the Andals succeeded where others might fail because they picked the best starting point).
- As stated in A Storm of Swords, the Andals first landed in the Fingers. There are officially "Five Fingers" - I had thought there were only four. Apparently that short nub of a "thumb" between Pebble Island and Little Sister island is the smallest of the Fingers, and therefore, location of the meager lands of House Baelish.
- Again much like Ireland, or even the Anglo-Saxons, two rivals fought over the title of King of the Five Fingers, Dywen Shell and Jon Brightstone. Both actually hired Andal warriors as mercenaries to use against the other, but eventually their Andal mercenaries turned on them both and killed them. Corwyn Corbray married the daughter of one (and kept the wife of the other as a mistress), and made himself Lord of the Five Fingers (modestly not calling himself a king - later Andal adventurers would call themselves this when they conquered new areas).
- Gulltown existed at the time of the Andal Invasion, ruled by House Shett. The Shett kings were fighting against the Royces, then Bronze Kings of Runestone. The Shetts were losing so their king turned again to Andalos - learning from the fate of the Shetts and Brightstones, he realized that gold doesn't buy loyalty as well as blood, so he tried securing their loyalty by offering them marriage-alliances. An Andal warband led by Gerold Grafton came: the Shett king married Grafton's eldest daughter, while Shett's son and heir married Grafton's younger daughter. Grafton himself married Shett's eldest daughter (not clear if this was polygamous or if both were widowers). The marriages were performed by Andal septons and Shett even agreed to confert to the Faith. They fought the Royces together and won, but the Shett king fell in the battle - many whispered that Gerold Grafton had killed him himself, to take his crown (uncertain if this was true). Whatever the case, on returning, Gerold had Shett's son confined to his bedchambers, along with his wife Gerold's younger daughter, and wasn't allowed to leave until he had successfully impregnated the girl - after that Shett's son simply disappears from history. Thus House Grafton came to rule Gulltown; there were protests in the streets but Gerold cut them down brutally, man, woman, and child. Gerold and his successors all proved to be wise and effective rulers, however, and under their rule Gulltown soon grew from a "town" into an actual city.
- After losing the Fingers and Gulltown, the First Men were usually wise enough to stop outright inviting Andals into their households anymore. But they had enough of a toe-hold that they contined to figh tin the Vale for about three generations. The Royces successfully defended Bronzegate numerous times from Andals coming by land and sea.
- The Bronze King who fought against the Shetts and Gerold Grafton was Yarwyck VI Royce. By the time of his grandson Robar II Royce, the Andals had come to dominate three quarters of the Vale -- again apparently by manipulating alliances, or simply new groups of Andals mountaing new offensives from the footholds they already had. But the Andals had grown overconfident and fractious, and their petty kingdoms were fighting amongst themselves just as the First Men had. Robar II saw opportunity in this disunity, and set out to unite the remaining First Men kingdoms of the Vale: apart from the Royces of Runestone, the major ones were the Redforts of Redfort, the Hunters of Longbow Hall, the Belmores of Strongsong, and the Coldwaters of Coldwater Burn. House Upcliff also joined them. All four survived to modern times along with the Royces and are major noble Houses of the Vale, except for the Coldwaters, who are noble vassals sworn directly to the Royces. Realizing all was lost if they didn't unite, and in return for gold and marriage-alliances, the remaining First Men petty kings set aside their crowns and hailed Robar II as the High King of the Vale.
- Robar II wisely turned the Andals' divide and conquer strategy against them: he didn't try to attack each of them, but focused on one petty Andal kingdom at a time, even allying with rival Andal petty kings. They won many victories and started taking land back away from the Andals. The first they attacked was the kingdom of the Fingers, where Robar II personally killed Qyle Corbray, who was wielding Lady Forlorn...
- ...a Valyrian steel blade, apparently implying that the Valyrians were active nearly 6,000 years ago, not just 5,000 years ago when the last Valyrian-Ghiscari war ended. But hey, "Valyria wasn't built in a day"...the last of FIVE major wars ended with the destruction of Ghis 5,000 years ago...the first of which might not even have been fought 6,000 years ago.
- After they took back the Fingers, they encouraged an uprising by the surviving Shetts within Gulltown that took the city back. They also defeated the petty Andal king of Ironoaks. The First Men had taken out the strongest and oldest Andal footholds in the Vale, though a few others still remained (before Robar II, they did control *three quarters* of the Vale). For a moment, it looked like they would truly roll the Andals back into the sea.
- But just as the First Men united behind one leader when they were losing, now it was the Andals who realized they needed to use the same tactic. The man they chose wasn't a king or a lord, but the Falcon Knight, Ser Artys Arryn, who while of full Andal blood had been born in the Vale, at the foot of the Giant's Lance (where the Arryns later built the Eyrie).
- Robar II and Artys Arryn, both of the same age, united their followers into great armies and headed for a climactic battle that would decide the course of the invasion: the Battle of the Seven Stars, so-called because when the clouds parted at dawn the Andals saw a constellation of seven stars over the First Men camp and took it as a sign.
- Both sides had a roughly equal number of men, but the Andals had ten times as many mounted warriors, and they had steel weapons and armor while the First Men had only bronze. The First Men did arrive before them, claimed the high ground, and dug trenches lined with sharpened stakes. The Andals charged and were repulsed multiple times (seven in all, according to legend) in a battle as bloody as any other later fought in the Vale's history. On the seventh charge the Andals broke through, led by a huge giant berserker of a man named Torgold Tollett, sarcastically called Torgold the Grim because he always charged into battle laughing, naked above the waist with no armor, a seven-pointed star carved into his chest, and an axe in each hand. Torgold tore through the First Men lines, killing many lords including Redfort, but as the battle seemed lost Robar II led a counter-charge that checked their advance. Robar II had taken Lady Forlorn from Qyle Corbrary's corpse, and buried it deep in Tollett's skull. Then he saw Artys Arryn in his gleaming steel armor. Robar II had only bronze armor, but steel armor is no match against Valyrian steel, and he killed his opponent...only to then turn and see 500 fresh Andal knights charging down the mountain from *behind* his own lines, led by the *real* Artys Arryn in his distinctive Falcon armor. Artys had given a spare set of armor to one of his retainers to fool Robar II. Meanwhile, because Artys had grown up around this very site, he led 500 knights up a narrow goat path he knew about to strike the First Men from behind. After that the battle turned into a rout. King Robar II killed dozens of men before finally being killed himself. Sources disagree on who actually killed him: many say that the real Artys actually did, others Lord Ruthermont or Lord Templeton. The Corbrary's insist that Jaime Corbrary did, to avenge Ser Qyle, and point to the fact that they obviously have Lady Forlorn after the battle (though others explain that Artys simply *gave* them back Lady Forlorn, after he personally took it out of Robar II's dead hand). Suspect we've got a situation here like Lyn Corbray and the Kingsguard Ser Lewyn Martell (uncle of Doran and Oberyn). Lewyn Martell was a great warrior and Ser Lyn won fame by killing him at the Battle of the Trident with Lady Forlorn itself...though it's pointed out that Lewyn was *already* mortally wounded by the time Ser Lyn even faced off against him, so killing him wasn't really much of an accomplishment - though Lyn did lead the counter-charge after his father died, stemming the Dornish advance. But let's be honest, Lyn Corbray is a liar and a confirmed pedophile).
- The First Men of the Vale never recovered from the Battle of the Seven Stars.
- So there never actually was a "Griffin King" whom Ser Artys slew by riding a giant eagle to the top of the highest mountain in the Vale. That's one of the many legends that grew up around him. What really happened was that Ser Artys was a very skilled, impressive, paragon knight, who united the Andal petty kingdoms against the remaining First Men united by Robar II Royce. Artys didn't "fly" to the top of the mountain, he skillfully scaled it using previously-though impassible goat tracks, to attack the First Men position from the rear. He probably killed Robar II in single combat (and if not, he was still a very effective commander and warrior). Over 6,000 years legends distorted this until it was remembered as Ser Artys killing the Griffin King (just as King Arthur may have a kernel of historical truth behind it - surviving Romano-British and Welsh banding together to stave off Anglo-Saxon advances - but later centuries distorted this with magic and myths.
Confirmed on Westeros.org that there are some errors in this first edition of the World book which will need to be fixed in subsequent editions. One of these specifically is that Lady Forlorn is not a Valyrian steel sword. --The Dragon Demands (talk) 05:09, October 27, 2014 (UTC)