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"The Kingsmoot" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Pilou Asbæk as King Euron Greyjoy.

Synopsis

Euron Greyjoy explains the tradition of the Kingsmoot, the Ironborn's way to elect a king.

Narration

Euron Greyjoy: Westeros has Seven Kingdoms, but the Iron Islands have hundreds. Every ship on the waves is a kingdom and every captain on his deck is a king. Mainlanders will bow to a man whose only claim is dropping out of the right cunt, but the ironborn spend their lives at sea. We know that if a captain is weak, his men drown. If he's foolish, his men drown. But if he's strong, his men carve their names into the world with blood, steel and song. Any man with a ship may claim the Salt Throne, but the rest of the ironborn have to give it to him in the kingsmoot.

Our priests claim the first king of the Iron Islands was the Grey King, who ruled over the sea itself in the dawn of days. He took a mermaid to wife and stole fire from the Storm God and carved the first ship from a demon tree that fed on human flesh. When he died, his hundred sons slaughtered each other until only sixteen remained. Since none could overpower the rest in battle, they came together and chose the strongest to be their king, and so began the tradition of the kingsmoot. (laughs) A good story for children who don't know the grey is what men become after their strength had fled, or that brothers do not easily submit.

Over the centuries, the kingsmoot has raised the greatest of the ironborn. Qhored Hoare, whose word was law whenever men could smell the salt air or hear the crash of waves. He sacked Oldtown and defeated the River King, taking three young sons as hostages. When their father's tribute was late, Qhored cut out their hearts with his own hands. When the father marched for vengeance, Qhored smashed his army and gave this River King to the Drowned God. Harwyn Hoare, born to a king who had a fleet he didn't sail and swords he didn't blood. As an unruly and worthless youngest son, Harwyn was sent away to the east to vanish, and so he did. But when his father died, Harwyn returned to the Iron Islands for the kingsmoot. An elder brother objected, so an elder brother fell off a horse and at the kingsmoot no man objected. Harwyn launched his father's ships for Westeros, and took ten times the Iron Islands from its weak lords who never expected to face an ironborn king as skilled on land as at sea, for Harwyn had reaved with eastern pirates and served with eastern sellswords and learned more of war than the ironborn could imagine.

After Aegon and his dragons burned our last king, Harren the Black, and broke our armies, the defeated ironborn chose my ancestor, Vickon Greyjoy, as Lord of the Iron Islands, not king. For centuries after, the kingsmoot was a joke that the ironborn didn't get. When a Lord Greyjoy died, the captains would meet and choose his eldest son to succeed him. Of course they argued over it just long enough to show they weren't now like the very mainlanders they despised. Once more we have a true king, my own brother Balon, who had the balls to seize the driftwood crown but not the brains to hold it. He's the first king the Iron Islands have had in centuries and the fool would be the last. The kingsmoot once chose him over me. They will not have that choice next time.

Notes

  • The artist for this video was Javier Bahamonde. He also drew the video on the Knights of the Vale.[1]
  • The video states that the kingsmoot was held from the time of the Grey King to the Targaryen Conquest, simplifying the violent ironborn history from the novels, in which the tradition of kingsmoot was abandoned after Urron Greyiron massacred all of his rivals and made the throne hereditary, about 5,000 years ago. House Greyiron would rule uncontested for a thousand years, until the Andal invasion, during which Harras Hoare allied with other houses as well as Andal warlords (the Andals came last to the Iron Islands because they were off the west coast). According to tradition, Harras won the throne through the tradition of the finger dance, but Archmaester Haereg states Harras became king by marrying the daughter of one of the invading Andal warlords. Either way, no one considers this to have been a kingsmoot. House Hoare also ruled as a hereditary dynasty.
  • In the novels, because the Hoares intermarried with the Andals and took Andal wives, they sought to strenghten the ties to the mainland: discouraging reaving, promoting trade and - while not "converting" - at least tolerating the presence of the Faith of the Seven in the Iron Islands. Thus, they earned the scorn of the Drowned Men, who gave them epithets such as "Horgan Priestkiller", "Othgar the Soulless", and "Othgar Demonlover". This policy was only abandoned during the brief rule of Hagon the Heartless - though it only resulted in an invasion from the Westerlands in which Hoare Castle was razed to the ground. The following Hoare kings continued promoting trade over the Old Way, including - as the video hints - King Qhorwyn Hoare. However, Qhorwyn was a shrewed ruler who, while avoiding war, also tripled the size of the Ironborn fleet and ordered the construction of weaponry to dissuade enemy attacks.
  • In the novels, Harwyn Hoare, called "Hardhand", became Qhorwyn's heir and successor after his eldest brother died of greyscale and the next allegedly fell off a horse, a matter of days before their ailing father died. Harwyn took the Riverlands from the rule of House Durrandon. His victory was possible not only thanks to his skill in warfare but also to the aid of the riverlords - no doubt lulled into a false sense security thanks to the trade-centered policies of previous Hoare kings.
  • The video doesn't explicitly state this, but Harwyn was none other than the grandfather of Harren the Black.
  • In the novels, after Aegon Targaryen wiped out House Hoare, he did let the ironborn pick a new family to be their rulers - at which they chose Vickon Greyjoy. There is no indication, however, that this was considered a formal Kingsmoot.
  • The video says that the kingsmoot continued after a fashion once the Targaryens conquered Westeros - though it was little more than an empty acclamation ceremony guaranteed to always "elect" the previous ruler's eldest son, just like mainland inheritance law. No mention of this has been made in the novels, though in the video Euron admits that they weren't real Kingsmoots and aren't really worth mentioning.
  • This video introduces the Heraldry of House Harlaw (a scythe) and House Drumm (a skeleton hand) into the TV continuity for the first time. They are two of the more prominent other noble Houses in the isles. Theon and Yara's mother Alannys Greyjoy was actually born a Harlaw, and in the novels, the Harlaws are Yara's primary supporters at the new Kingsmoot.

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