The Westerlands are all bounded by three natural defenses: mountain, sea and forest. Necessary boundaries when a land is as rich as the Westerlands. From its mines come the gold and silver that fuel the rest of Westeros. From Lannisport, its largest city, come the most skillful gold and silver smiths in the land. Yet geography alone is not strength. The Westerlands would have been sacked and pillaged for thousands of years if it had not been for the men who ruled it: House Lannister.
According to legend, the Lannisters trace their descent to Lann the Clever, a trickster of the Dawn Age who swindled the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock, their ancient castle. A childish story, but not without merit:
- A mind can and should be a weapon in a man's arsenal.
- Lann must have been clever enough not to rely solely on his wits. After all, where today is House Casterly?
- By keeping the Casterly name on the castle, Lann reminded the world of the price of getting in his way.
The Reynes ignored all of these lessons. Not content with being the second-richest family, they sought to challenge the first: The Lannisters. Tytos Lannister had put up with their insults and disrespect. When his son Tywin came of age, he led the Lannister army to teach the Reynes what they should have already known. Some people say he was too harsh, that eradicating every member of their family was not necessary. But now there are no bannermen as loyal to their lord as the Westerlands are to the Lannisters. If any lord bridles at their authority, Tywin has only to send a singer with a harp and he falls back into line.
Because Tywin will not have the lords of the Westerlands squabbling amongst themselves like the lords of the Riverlands or hide in their castles like the lords of the Vale, each of the Lannisters' bannerman contributes a unique skill that furthers the whole of the Westerlands. House Clegane, because every lord needs a beast from time to time. Ser Gregor strikes terror into the hearts of the Lannisters' enemies and their friends. So too does his disappointing brother Sandor, the traitor. House Payne provides the Lannisters loyal servants. Ser Ilyn Payne was once captain of Tywin's household guard until the Mad King heard him boast that Tywin ran the Seven Kingdoms, which he did. The Mad King tore out Ser Ilyn's tongue, making him especially well suited to later become the King's Justice. Tywin hears that these days a younger Payne also serves his degenerate son, Tyrion. House Lefford who guards the Golden Tooth, the eastern pass through the mountains and the all too frequent chaos of the Seven Kingdoms. Though after Robb Stark's recent incursions, perhaps they will need a new gatekeeper.
Fools look at the Westerlands and see gold. Fools see their wealth and call it strength. Gold is just another rock. The Westerlands are strong because of House Lannister. From strong leadership comes unity. From unity comes power.
- Lann the Clever
- Lord Tytos Lannister (mentioned)
- Lord Tywin Lannister
- Ser Gregor Clegane
- Sandor Clegane (mentioned)
- Ser Ilyn Payne
- King Joffrey Baratheon (not mentioned by name)
- Podrick Payne (mentioned)
- Tyrion Lannister (mentioned)
- King Robb Stark (mentioned)