"The Rains of Castamere" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature from Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season. It is narrated by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Ser Jaime Lannister.


Jaime Lannister provides the gruesome backstory surrounding "The Rains of Castamere."


Jaime Lannister: When disciplining unruly vassals, most lords send armies. My father Tywin only had to send a singer. There's no faster way to dull a vassal's ambition or any festive occasion than hearing "The Rains of Castamere".

House Reyne of Castamere was an old and proud house that was slowly sinking back into the muck. Their mines had run dry. Without gold, they turned to a more common source of wealth: daughters. Lady Ellyn Reyne was betrothed to my great uncle, but when he fell in battle Lady Ellyn sought comfort in his twin brother's bed, beating out the other woman he had promised to marry. Then the husband who had shared his twin's wife shared his twin's death on a different battlefield. Lady Ellyn flung herself at the new (and married) heir to the Rock, but my grandfather Tytos was more kitten than lion. He ran away and told his wife of Lady Ellyn's designs and Lady Ellyn soon found herself married off to Walderan Tarbeck, Lord of another failing house.

The Reynes and Tarbecks should have sunk into obscurity together, and they would have if not for my grandfather becoming Lord of Casterly Rock. At first the Westerlands laughed with the "Laughing Lion", as the jovial Tytos was called. But when men realized this lion had neither teeth nor claws, they started to laugh at him. None laughed harder than the Reynes and Tarbecks. Though Lady Ellyn was no longer welcome at Casterly Rock, Tytos didn't refuse her brothers Roger and Reynard Reyne, not even when they asked for extravagant loans. Thanks to our family's gold, Lady Ellyn restored Tarbeck Hall to a splendor she hadn't known since being cast out of our home. When my grandfather broached the subject of repayment, Roger and Reynard only laughed and soon enough my grandfather was laughing along with them.

Then my father Tywin returned from the War of the Ninepenny Kings where he had seen how the rest of the realm sniggered at House Lannister. Determined to restore our proper place, my father demanded the immediate repayment of all debts to the Rock or a hostage from those who couldn't pay. Reynard Reyne merely laughed when he received the raven. Lord Walderan Tarbeck chose to ride to Casterly Rock, sure that he could cow Lord Tytos into rescinding my father's commands. He could have, except it wasn't Tytos who met him at the gates but my father, who had Lord Walderan thrown into a dungeon.

Lady Ellyn protested. The Reynes threatened war and finally my grandfather broke and released Lord Tarbeck with an apology, no less. As if bathing himself in shame, Tytos further forgave all the Tarbeck debts to our house. To celebrate the end of hostilities, Lord Roger feasted Tytos at Castamere and the two lords proclaimed their friendship for eternity.

My father allowed 'eternity' to last a year. When he summoned the Reynes and Tarbecks to Casterly Rock to answer for their crimes, they rose in revolt, exactly as he expected. Their defiance gave him a pretext to call his banners and ride for Tarbeck Hall and Castamere with an army behind him. He didn't even bother to inform my grandfather.

My father's army descended on the Tarbecks so quickly that Lord Walderan had no time to gather his forces, and rode against my father with only his household knights. Soon his head, his son's heads and the heads of any man with Tarbeck blood adorned the spears of the Lannister vanguard as it marched to Tarbeck Hall. At their approach, Lady Ellyn Tarbeck closed the gates and sent ravens to her brothers at Castamere. She assumed they'd have more than enough time to muster their armies and break what would be a long siege: my father had trebuchets up in a day and brought down the keep within hours. Lady Ellyn and her son were crushed in its fall. When the Tarbeck forces surrendered, my father put their castle to the torch.

Roger Reyne arrived with his army just in time to see the flames consuming his sister's home. He charged my father's camp, hoping surprise would win out over my father's great numbers. It didn't. With half his men dead on the field and a cross bolt in his back, Lord Roger fled back to Castamere. The Lannister host arrived at Castamere three days later.

Like Casterly Rock, the seat of House Reyne had begun as a mine. When the gold gave out, the mine shafts were widened into halls, galleries and bedchambers deep beneath the earth. The Reyne brothers didn't have the men to defend the castle walls and retreated into their underground stronghold. From this relative safety, they offered terms to my father to avoid a long siege.

My father didn't reply. Instead, he commanded that the mines be sealed with stone and soil until there was no way in and no way out. When that was completed, it took less than a day to dam the stream beside the castle and only two to divert it to the nearest mine entrance. The Reynes had taken more than 300 men, women and children into the mines. A few guards reported hearing faint screams and shouts below them one night, but come dawn the earth was silent once again.

And now the rain weeps o'er their halls, with no one left to hear.


  • This video is heavily based on the "Westerlands" chapter from The World of Ice and Fire. The print version of this chapter is slightly edited down from the longer original version that George R.R. Martin wrote: Martin later released the full, longer version of this chapter posted on his website as a free sample (Click here to read). This video omits several other characters and subplots from the full story.
    • This longer, earlier draft is slightly different from the finalized, official version of events - primarily, the detail regarding the manner of Ellyn Reyne's death during the fall of Tarbeck Hall. In the initial draft he wrote for TWOIAF, posted online as the free sample, Martin said that Ellyn Reyne was taken alive when Tarbeck Hall fell, but was then hanged with a noose from the castle's tower at Tywin's order. The editors of TWOIAF, however, pointed out to Martin that he'd already mentioned in passing in the fourth novel that Ellyn Reyne died during the assault on Tarbeck Hall itself, when the tower collapsed on her under a barrage of catapult fire. Realizing the error of this early draft, the final print version of The World of Ice and Fire revised this to say she died when the tower collapsed on her - and this video correctly matches this final, official version of events. Just keep in mind when reading the free sample that this detail was later changed - and one or two other minor details that aren't directly mentioned in the edited-down version appearing in TWOIAF are potentially subject to change (though they're generally taken as official until proven otherwise).
    • George R.R. Martin didn't specifically write this background about the Reyne Rebellion for The World of Ice and Fire: he said that, because Tywin's backstory is so important to the entire Lannister family (particularly Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion), he actually developed all of it many years before (possibly as early as the first novel, though certainly by the third). There simply hadn't been an opportunity to provide all of this backstory in the main novels (it would have been awkward to drop the narrative for a full chapter of someone explaining in great detail the Lannister/Reyne conflict). He only rounded out a few details here and there for the draft he submitted for The World of Ice and Fire - such as the specific manner of Ellyn Reyne's death, but he always knew she died when Tywin captured Tarbeck Hall. Otherwise, Martin had already developed the full backstory on Ellyn Reyne, her rivalry with Tywin's mother, and Tywin's eventual rise and destruction of the Reynes.
  • This video accurately introduces the Heraldry of House Tarbeck, from the novels - very specifically the design used in artwork for The World of Ice and Fire: an alternating blue and white seven-pointed star, counterposed. That is, the field is quartered horizontally and vertically, then again along the diagonals, to make eight separate sections, alternating blue and white: each of the bottom six sections has one of the points of the star in it (not centered), but in the contrasting color - in a blue section the star point is white, in a white section the star point is blue. Because it is a seven pointed star across eight sub-sections, the top middle point is directly on the dividing line between two sections - thus this top point is divided down the middle, counterposed (white on the blue field side, blue on the white field side). House Reyne's heraldry has appeared in previous Histories & Lore videos from prior TV seasons: a red lion, with a forked tail, on a silver background.
  • The video streamlines the story by not mentioning some specific details or names: it says that Tytos Lannister had two older brothers, who died on different battlefields. The eldest brother was named Tywald, and the next Tion. Tywald died in a localized rebellion known as the Peake Uprising, while Tion died in the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. The woman that Tion was already betrothed to but set aside for Ellyn, mentioned in the video, was a daughter of House Rowan. Ellyn tried to seduce Tytos even though he was already married: his wife, mother of all his children including Tywin, was Jeyne of House Marbrand.
    • The video only vaguely says that Ellyn tried to seduce Tytos while he was still "heir" to Casterly Rock, after Tion died: their father Gerold Lannister kicked Ellyn out of Casterly Rock, and is the one who arranged her marriage to Walderan Tarbeck to get rid of her. Gerold lived long enough to see his grandson Tywin Lannister as a baby, but died before Kevan Lannister was born.
    • Duncan the Tall and Aegon V Targaryen were present at both the Peake Uprising and the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion, and these events will probably appear in future installments of the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas. Aegon V's father Maekar Targaryen died during the Peake Uprising when, during the Siege of Starpike, a stone thrown from a tower crushed his skull - causing a succession crisis, which resulted in Aegon V being crowned king. Robert Reyne, father of Roger, Reynard, and Ellyn, died during that same battle - causing Roger to kill several Peakes taken prisoner, until Aegon V stopped him. Some years later, the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion was a short conflict in which less than 100 loyalists died, but one of them was Tion Lannister; meanwhile, Ser Duncan personally slew the new head of House Blackfyre in single combat.
  • The video says that both House Reyne and House Tarbeck were old and distinguished but also impoverished families in decline, before extensive loans from Tytos allowed them to rebuild their powerbase. The novels do state that the Tarbecks were in decline before Ellyne Reyne married Lord Walderan and arranged loans for him - but the same hasn't been explicitly said about the Reynes themselves. The Reynes did side with the Blackfyres during the First Blackfyre Rebellion 60 years before, and this may have resulted in them losing lands and wealth as punishment after the Blackfyres lost (as happened to others who joined the rebels). Either way, the exorbitant loans they took from Tytos with no intention of ever paying him back certainly made them much more powerful than they had been, threatening to eclipse the Lannisters.
  • There were other minor members of the Reyne and Tarbeck families, mentioned in passing:
    • Ellyn had "cousins, nephews, and nieces" from House Reyne while still married to Tion Lannister.
    • Walderan Tarbeck was 55 years old when he married Ellyn Reyne, and had older sons from two prior marriages. From the first marriage there was one surviving son, and from the second there were at least two more. The eldest son died in the short clash with Tywin's host as they advanced towards Tarbeck Hall - Walderan and his two other sons were actually captured alive, and assumed they could pay a ransom in gold. Tywin pointed out that it would be with the Lannisters own gold that the Tarbecks had swindled, declined the request, then bitterly watched as Walderan and his sons were beheaded at his command. Walderan had other Tarbeck cousins, nephews, and his daughters' sons in law, all of whom Tywin had put to the sword (down to the last male child).
    • Ellyn went on to produce three children with Walderan: daughters Rohanne and Cyrelle, and then a son named "Tion" (born the same year as Tywin Lannister, and known as "Tion the Red" for his red hair). All three were deliberately named after recently deceased Lannister relatives, to spite and give pain to Tytos's old father Gerold (Rohanne was his late wife, Cyrelle a niece who died in the cradle, and of course, Tion was his second son and Ellyn's late husband). Tywin spared the women of the Reynes and Tarbecks (he killed every "man" of House Tarbeck when their castle fell), but forced Rohanne and Cyrelle to join the Silent Sisters. This time after Ellyn left the Lannisters for the Tarbecks was featured a bitter rivalry as Ellyn and Tytos's wife Jeyne Marbrand each tried to outdo each other in fertility, each of them producing new children every few years - an acrimonious period darkly known as the "War of the Wombs".
  • The video mentions that Tywin returned home emboldened by his combat experience in the War of the Ninepenny Kings (the Fifth Blackfyre Rebellion): Tywin was just a teenager at the time and he was first blooded in the war, along with his brother Kevan. He was knighted on the eve of the conflict and served in the retinue of Prince Aerys (who would soon come to the throne as King Aerys II). Tywin was too young to be a major leader in the war, though all were impressed with how well the Lannister brothers acquitted themselves in it. Meanwhile, old and fat Tytos didn't go to the war at all, but remained at Casterly Rock dallying with a mistress he had taken, while Ellyn Tarbeck ruled the Westerlands in all but name for a year.
  • When the Reynes duped Tytos once again into forgiving their crimes and hosted a peace feast, the video says that Tytos came to Castamere. Actually, he'd stopped leaving his own castle by that point (having grown fat, old, and feeble), while Tywin refused to enter Castamere (probably for his own safety - given that the Reynes had just killed his mother's father Denys Marbrand but claimed they mistook him for a bandit on the road): thus it was actually Kevan Lannister who attended that feast (to exchange hostages each side had taken).
  • The video says that "Reynard Reyne" only laughed when Tywin sent out demands for repayment: the books actually just say "Lord Reyne" laughed, which would refer specifically refer to the older brother, Roger.
  • Roger Reyne was known as "the Red Lion" (for the Reynes' heraldry) and was one of the best warriors of his generation, while younger brother Reynard was the cunning, charming one better at politics.
  • The video leaves out the detail about how the song The Rains of Castamere got its core lyrics: when Kevan Lannister came to offer Ellyn Reyne surrender terms once Tarbeck Hall was surrounded, she only laughed that her brothers would be coming soon from Castamere with the Reynes' army, and said, "You are not the only lions in the west, ser. My brothers are coming, and their claws are just as long and sharp as yours." The song quotes this line, though it says the "proud lord" said it, when it was actually the Lady of the house who said this (apparently it just rhymes better that way).
  • The Reynes and Tarbecks used the loans they took from Tytos to build up their own forces: before Walderan Tarbeck married Ellyn Reyne - and through her brothers squeezed new loans from Tytos - House Tarbeck had dwindled to the point that it only commanded 20 fully equipped household knights. With the new loans, this number swelled to 500 knights.
  • In terms of numbers, Tywin's main army in the rebellion consisted of 500 knights, 3,000 men-at-arms, and 3,000 crossbowmen - he struck quickly, so this relatively small force was primarily composed of the Lannisters' direct forces, plus those of their closely allied vassals, House Marbrand and House Prester (both related to them through intermarriage), plus half a dozen other minor lords. Many more joined for the siege at Castamere, but by that point the real fighting was over. Roger Reyne, meanwhile, arrived at Tarbeck Hall with just 2,000 men - only one in ten of them a knight - which were all he could muster on short notice before rushing to try to save his sister.
  • Stated to be outnumbered three to one, Roger Reyne's men were also exhausted from the forced march - but (like Tywin's army) they were seasoned veterans of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, and did manage to take Tywin's army completely by surprise and out of formation (still arrayed for the castle siege that had just ended hours before). This main battle wasn't a quick and easy victory (as the video might imply), and Roger Reyne might have carried the day if not for Tywin's great leadership: instead young Tywin heroically rallied his host from the initial assault, then personally led the counter-attack, after which the Lannisters' advantage in numbers came into full effect.
    • It is ironic that Tywin scoffed at young Robb Stark while facing off against his armies in the Riverlands during the War of the Five Kings, as a brave but headstrong boy-leader new to war - because Tywin was actually very much like Robb in his own youth. Tywin was only 19 years old during the Reyne Rebellion. Tywin's heroism and leadership during the Reyne Rebellion won him the loyalty of his bannermen much in the same way that Robb's Northern bannermen hailed him for his victories.
  • Jaime says that after the fall of House Reyne, all his father Tywin Lannister had to do to bring unruly vassals into line was to send a singer to perform The Rains of Castamere as a tacit threat, as the song is about how Tywin totally wiped out the Reynes to the last child. This actually refers to a specific incident from the novels: some years ago, Lord Farman of Fair Isle grew "truculent" with his overlord Tywin (apparently over some local matter), and in response, Tywin sent as an envoy a musician whose only message was to play The Rains of Castamere. This was enough to frighten Lord Farman into backing down.
  • The entire Reyne Rebellion apparently lasted under two weeks, and all of the fighting was at or near Tarbeck Hall (plus the subsequent flooding of neighboring Castamere). Fighting Walderan Tarbeck's household knights took one day, the siege of Tarbeck Hall a single day, then the single day of the main battle at Tarbeck Hall between the Lannister and Reyne armies: it took another three days to march to Castamere, and only three more after that to flood it. Altogether this was only nine days, plus however long it took at the beginning for Tywin's army to rush from Casterly Rock to Tarbeck Hall (which wasn't long, given that he'd prepared his men in advance and provoked the Reynes and Tarbecks into revolting just to have an excuse to strike while he was more prepared than they were).
  • The Reyne Rebellion occurred late in the year 261 AC, and Tywin acquitted himself so well that the next year, when King Aerys II Targaryen succeeded to the throne, he named Tywin as his new Hand of the King. Tywin was only twenty years old at the time, the youngest Hand in history, but he had proved himself such a forceful and effective leader that no one openly complained, and indeed, he excelled in the office for nearly twenty years. One year after he was made Hand, in 263 AC Tywin married his first cousin Joanna Lannister (for love, as she brought no new wealth or alliances). Tywin's three children weren't alive during the Reyne Rebellion: Cersei and her twin Jaime were born in 266 AC, five years after the fall of Castamere. As for Tywin's feeble old father Tytos, he died a few years later in 267 AC, of a heart attack when he was climbing some stairs to reach his new mistress (whom Tywin despised).
    • The earlier, brief description of the Reyne Rebellion given by Cersei Lannister in Season 3 of the TV series conflicts with the version given here - possibly because The World of Ice and Fire hadn't been published yet, with the full backstory of the conflict. In Season 3, Cersei spoke of the Reynes as if she lived through the revolt as a child, and she remembered seeing the Reyne (and Tarbeck) corpses on public display "all summer" (granted, a "summer" in Westeros can last for several years, as the corpses rotted away to skeletons). Cersei was actually born five years after the Reyne Rebellion, so there's really no way she could have been old enough to remember any corpses left in gibbets. This is therefore a minor retcon, and the version of events given in this video will be treated as official - though of course, Cersei's Season 3 scene only gave a vague description, didn't have as much public information to go on, and in context of that scene, it might be said that Cersei was simply exaggerating, given that at the time she was trying to intimidate Margaery Tyrell (by making an allusion to another House, the Reynes, who had previously tried to rival the Lannisters).



Noble houses