A Song of Ice and Fire has many different archetypes that it uses for its characters. Many of these are tied to the Age of Heroes characters who he hear about in The World Book and main series from time to time. For example, Stannis with his flaming sword is playing the Azor Ahai archetype. Bran learns how to be a greenseer from the Children of the Forest just like his ancestor Bran the Builder learned how to speak the “true tongue” of the Children. I am going to go over the Lann the Clever archetype and some of the people who play it. When we see someone play this role and watch the things they do we can add to our understanding of the current story and make educated guesses about what the original did back thousands of years ago. Let’s start with the description of Lann we are given in the World of Ice and Fire.
That was when the golden-haired rogue called Lann the Clever appeared from out of the east. Some say he was an Andal adventurer from across the narrow sea, though this was millennia before the coming of the Andals to Westeros. Regardless of his origins, the tales agree that somehow Lann the Clever winkled the Casterlys out of their Rock and took it for his own.
The precise method by which he accomplished this remains a matter of conjecture. In the most common version of the tale, Lann discovered a secret way inside the Rock, a cleft so narrow that he had to strip off his clothes and coat himself with butter in order to squeeze through. Once inside, however, he began to work his mischief, whispering threats in the ears of sleeping Casterlys, howling from the darkness like a demon, stealing treasures from one brother to plant in the bedchamber of another, rigging sundry snares and deadfalls. By such methods he set the Casterlys at odds with one another and convinced them that the Rock was haunted by some fell creature that would never let them live in peace.
Other tellers prefer other versions of the tale. In one, Lann uses the cleft to fill the Rock with mice, rats, and other vermin, thereby driving out the Casterlys. In another, he smuggles a pride of lions inside, and Lord Casterly and his sons are all devoured, after which Lann claims his lordship’s wife and daughters for himself. The bawdiest of the stories has Lann stealing in night after night to have his way with the Casterly maidens whilst they sleep. In nine months time, these maids all give birth to golden-haired children whilst still insisting they had never had carnal knowledge of a man.
The last tale, ribald as it is, has certain intriguing aspects that might hint at the truth of what occurred. It is Archmaester Perestan’s belief that Lann was a retainer of some sort in service to Lord Casterly (perhaps a household guard), who impregnated his lordship’s daughter (or daughters, though that seems less likely), and persuaded her father to give him the girl’s hand in marriage. If indeed this was what occurred, assuming (as we must) that Lord Casterly had no trueborn sons, then in the natural course of events the Rock would have passed to the daughter, and hence to Lann, upon the father’s death.
There are a lot of different possibilities listed here for how Lann managed to take the Rock. The point is not necessarily to figure out which one was correct. Nothing like this may have ever even happened. The point is to use all these things that are said about him to spot people who are playing the Lann role and see what they have in common to learn more about the original. The best place to look for archetypes of someone who founded one of the Great Houses of Westeros is within the House itself.
Tyrion is the most important Lannister in the story. He is a great Lann figure in many ways. First of all, Lann was a foreign adventurer who came to Westeros from the east and took the Rock. When last we saw Tyrion he was off in the east and had just hired and joined the Second Sons with the mission of traveling to Westeros and reclaiming the Rock for himself. Knowing how clever Tyrion is I would expect some of trickery to be used to take the castle. To whatever extent we can trust the TV show Game of Thrones we do get Tyrion showing the Unsullied a secret way into the Rock to take it just like how Lann squeezed in through a hole in the Rock covered in butter.
Watching Tyrion retake the Rock with a sellsword army could turn out to be a great example of something we can watch to see what the important things we need to know about the original Lann are. However the Second Son situation shakes out, Tyrion will almost certainly be a part of Dany’s dragon invasion of Westeros later and I doubt he will have given up on his dream of owning the Rock by then, so we will be seeing Tyrion show up in Westeros with the intention of taking Casterly Rock just like Lann did.
Lann is said to have married a Lord’s daughter and claimed the Rock through his marriage to her. Tyrion emulates this when he marries Sansa so that he can make a claim on Winterfell. I am always on the lookout for different archetypes and ancient figures who seem to overlap. I just want to point out that Tyrion here seems to be doing a Bael the Bard impression by stealing a Stark maid. I cannot help but notice that both Bael and Lann do some sneaking around under the seat of a great House. Bael hides in the Winterfell crypts and Lann in the tunnels. All these archetypes and ancient stories are probably just different versions of the actions of a few or even one person we know as Azor Ahai, so we should expect overlaps like this.
Lann is also said to sneak around inside the Rock causing mischief to turn the Casterlys against each other. The sneaking around the Red Keep Tyrion does is a clear allusion to this behavior. Think about what things Tyrion uses the secret passages for. He uses them to sneak to Shae, or have her sneaked to him. This is just like the part of the Lann myth where he is said to have sneaked into the Rock to for sex. The most important thing Tyrion does from inside the walls is kill his father, Lord of the Rock. Lann is said to have killed the Casterly men by sneaking lions into the Rock. But Tyrion is a lion himself, so a Lord of the Rock being killed by a lion is really the same as being killed by Tyrion. It is Varys who releases Tyrion into the tunnels to murder his father. Maybe Varys is playing the Lann role. I am not sure, but I can say for certain that this major event is alluded to in the Lann legend and Tyrion is the main actor.
Lann is said to have used trickery to set the Casterlys against each other. Tyrion does not set anyone against each other directly by sneaking around in the walls, but there is something worth noting. George uses something I refer to as “symbolic culpabililty”. It basically means that for the purpose of fitting archetypal stories to the real events of the novels, it is acceptable to plug in people who are framed or widely believed to have committed a deed even if they did not actually do it. An example would be Tyrion killing Joffery. He didn’t do it, but all through Dance he refers to himself as Kingslayer and everyone believes he is guilty. Tyrion is now a symbolic Kingslayer just like Jaime, which may be something we should attach to Lann as well down the road. I would like to do this same thing with Varys and Tyrion. Varys frames Tyrion for Pycelle’s and Kevin’s deaths. As Varys tells the dying Kevin about how Tyrion will be blamed for his murder, Cersei and the Tyrells will blame each other and someone will find a way to blame the Dornish as well. Varys shatters the alliance and sets them all against each other even more than they already were, and it is all as if Tyrion did it. By sneaking around inside the walls. Lann would be proud.
Tyrion may be the most important Lannister, however he is not the picture of what a Lannister man typically looks like. Jaime is. Tall, blonde, handsome, dangerous, heartless, and arrogant with pride. That is the Lannister stereotype/archetype and Jaime wears it better than anyone. He has the curly golden hair, golden armor, and wields a golden sword (according to the stories). Honestly, it is a bit over the top. But, as we will see on some of later examples, being over the top is pretty common for Lann figures.
So, Jaime’s appearance and personality is an obvious match for the golden haired, seductive rogue described to us in the World Book. Now we ask what are the things that Jaime does that look like something from the Lann myth. For one Lann was said to acquire the Rock by impregnating the Lord’s daughter and marrying her. You can see that outline in Jaime’s act of having children with his royal sister and seeking to marry her. He asked her to marry him in Feast of Crows when he returned from battle. Had he gotten his wish he would have effectively been King.
In the original outline of A Song of Ice and Fire Jaime was going to kill everyone ahead of him in the line of succession until he became King. That would have fit Lann a little better. Jaime’s motivation doesn’t match his ancestor’s because Jaime doesn’t want to rule, but he sure takes a lot of actions that make it look like that is his goal. Even Ned thinks he killed Aerys to make a move for the throne and that causes a bit of a standoff in the throne room when Ned discovers Jaime’s kingslaying. When George originally wrote that scene it was probably his intention for Ned to have been right. We can still make do with a Jaime who has children with and seeks to marry a higher ranking woman motivated by love instead of thirst for power. The events are there.
There are some subtle descriptors used for the appearance of certain people that are clues. One of them is the descriptions of Lann’s children. Lann the Clever’s children in the World Book and Jaime’s three with Cersei are described with the exact phrase “golden as the sun”, removing all doubt that we are meant to think of them as the same thing. Jaime is a Lann figure and those three children would have been used to make him the new King exactly like Lann became King of the Rock via his children. Lann is once said to possibly have been a Casterly family guardsman who had a child with and married the Lord’s daughter. Jaime is a kingsguard who sleeps with the woman he is supposed to be guarding and doesn’t that just fit perfectly.
Now for a non-Lannister who plays the Lann archetypal role we head across the Narrow Sea to Yunkai. Here is the first description we get of Daario Naharis.
Daario Naharis was flamboyant even for a Tyroshi. His beard was cut into three prongs and dyed blue, the same color as his eyes and the curly hair that fell to his collar. His pointed mustachios were painted gold. His clothes were all shades of yellow; a foam of Myrish lace the color of butter spilled from his collar and cuffs, his doublet was sewn with brass medallions in the shape of dandelions, and ornamental goldwork crawled up his high leather boots to his thighs. Gloves of soft yellow suede were tucked into a belt of gilded rings, and his fingernails were enameled blue.
Then when he reapprears a little later in the same chapter…
When the exile knight delivered him, she asked herself whether two men had ever been so different. The Tyroshi was fair where Ser Jorah was swarthy; lithe where the knight was brawny; graced with flowing locks where the other was balding, yet smooth-skinned where Mormont was hairy. And her knight dressed plainly while this other made a peacock look drab, though he had thrown a heavy black cloak over his bright yellow finery for this visit. He carried a heavy canvas sack slung over one shoulder
He has gold mustachios, all his clothes are yellow, and we find out later that his swords have golden women on them. He is even more over the top with making everything gold than Jaime was. Compare that second quote to the description of Lann’s children from the World of Ice and Fire.
Lann the Clever supposedly lived to the age of 312, and sired a hundred bold sons and a hundred lissome daughters, all fair of face, clean of limb, and blessed with hair “as golden as the sun.”
Lithe, smooth skinned, and with a fair complextion, Daario is specifically mentioned as having exactly every trait attributed to Lann’s children and not a single extra trait is mentioned. They are emphasized by contrasting them to Jorah’s. He lacks the golden hair. His is dyed in the fashion of Tyrosh and we don’t know what color it is. It is curly though, just like the Lannisters. He makes up for his lack of golden hair with his entirely golden clothing.
His personality is different from Jaime’s, but he has the Lannister traits of fearless overconfidence, dangerous, and does whatever he wants rules be damned. The quote I just used says Lann’s sons were bold, and that trait shows up on these two in spades. That is the personality that gives Lann the description “Rogue” that the World Book labels him with. Like Jaime, Daario seduces his queen. Daenerys in his case. But there is more than just his physical appearance, being golden, dangerous, and seductive. He does some very specifically Lannister actions. When Daario wants to prove his loyalty to his new ruler Daenerys, what does he do?
“Little.” Daario upended the sack, and the heads of Sallor the Bald and Prendahl na Ghezn spilled out upon her carpets. “My gifts to the dragon queen.”
He murders two of his former allies/political rivals and presents their remains to his new ruler in a sack. Not only does this help prove his loyalty to Dany, but it also makes him leader of the Stormcrows. These Lann types really like to kill their way up the social pyramid huh? How does Tywin Lannister behave in the same situation when he gets a new ruler?
Yet last night he had dreamt of Rhaegar’s children. Lord Tywin had laid the bodies beneath the Iron Throne, wrapped in the crimson cloaks of his house guard. That was clever of him; the blood did not show so badly against the red cloth. The little princess had been barefoot, still dressed in her bed gown, and the boy … the boy …
By doing the same exact thing with two children in a cloak. Notice how Ned says that was “clever” of Tywin. Any time you see the word “clever” attached to a Lannister you should know that some archetypal Lann stuff is going on and we should take a closer look. It is like when we see a Stark build something. This action could be something Lann the Clever did a version of and his representatives in the modern plot are copying. Or, it may just be something Tywin famously did and George had Daario copy it to help us figure out he is a Lann the Clever figure. I lean toward it being an echo of a real event which you can read a little more about in Bronsterys’ Twins essay on this site.
Daario has another very Lannister action.
“Then winkle them out of their pyramids on some pretext. A wedding might serve. Why not? Promise your hand to Hizdahr and all the Great Masters will come to see you married. When they gather in the Temple of the Graces, turn us loose upon them.”
Daario thinks that doing a Red Wedding is a great idea. Wow, he and Tywin sure do think a lot alike. Almost like it is intentional? That’s because it is. Take note of the all-important word “winkle”. Daario wants to winkle the Great Masters out of their pyramids. Way back at the beginning the quote from the World book says Lann “winkled” the Rock away from its previous owners. That is a key Lann word that you don’t see all that often. I assume there was some ancient equivalent of the Red Wedding because it is so important. But again, even if there was not, Daario is in favor of doing a famous Lannister action to solve a problem.
If Daario lives long enough he will be leading sellswords as a part of Dany’s dragon invasion of Westeros. Tyrion is also at the moment planning on leading sellswords to Westeros as part of Dany’s dragon invasion. Those types of similarities between different Lann figures are the type of things I said earlier we need to take note of. Could Lann have invaded Westeros at the head of a sellsword army as a part of dragon person invasion? For what it is worth, the Lannisters invade the Trident from a castle called the Golden Tooth. Daario has a trident beard and a golden tooth. Take from that what you will. It seems intentional to me.
Next up is another blue haired Tyroshi sellsword leader who wants to marry Queen Daenerys, Young Griff, aka Aegon, aka definitely fake Aegon. He has a few easy Lann parallels, then we have to work a little harder for the rest. Easy ones first.
Lann was a foreign adventurer who took the Rock by some trickery. We see the aftermath of Aegon’s landing in Westeros through Griff’s point of view. We watch him take his ancestral home with a bunch of sellswords. Notice how sellswords are becoming a repeating pattern already. Tyrion’s current mission is to do exactly this very same thing and retake his home with the Second Sons. After Griffin’s Roost is captured Jon states that he plans to take Storm’s End “by guile”. From the Winds of Winter sample chapters we know he succeeds. Storm’s End is not the Rock, but it is sort of like an east coast equivalent in that it is the seat of a Great House and is nearly impossible to take by siege. Why did Lann take a castle on the west coast instead? Wouldn’t he have had to walk all the way across Westeros from east to west to get there? That is an interesting question we should think about, but not quite yet.
It is Aegon rather than Griff who will lead the attack on Storm’s End. He demands it in the last sentence of this chapter where Jon Connington captures his former home. So it will in the end be Aegon who leads a dragon person invasion of Westeros with golden sellswords who takes this great castle by guile and trickery. Pretty Clever.
Aegon’s original plan was to marry Daenerys to aid his path to the throne. Of course by now we are well aware that Lann figures often use marriage to get their throne and that is mentioned in the original myth as well as all our examples so far in some way or another.
Putting it Together
Now we have four solid Lann figures to look at. What do we see? The first one that really jumps out is the reoccurring sellswords that come to Westeros or seem poised to come to Westeros, particularly as a part of a dragon person’s invasion. It seems very plausible that Lann did not come to Westeros alone as his myth suggests. But what about that part where they are part of a dragon invasion?
Daario had plundered himself a whole new wardrobe in Meereen, and to match it he had redyed his trident beard and curly hair a deep rich purple. It made his eyes look almost purple too, as if he were some lost Valyrian.
Daario dyes his hair and his eyes look purple. He looks like a “Lost Valyrian”. That is really interesting since Aegon says he is a lost Valyrian prince of sorts. Look at what Daario does and how Dany thinks of him.
If her dragons discomfited Daario Naharis, he hid it well. For all the mind he paid them, they might have been three kittens playing with a mouse.
This is as Dany’s dragons are eating the heads of Daario’s former friends. He is not scared of or impressed by them. Dany says that her dragons are like cats and right now I am trying to tell you that the lion people Lannisters are like dragon people, so thanks Dany. Here is her own thoughts when she is about to eat meat killed by Drogon in her last Dance chapter.
Hizdahr would be horrified, no doubt. But Daario …
Daario would laugh, carve off a hunk of horsemeat with his arakh, and squat down to eat beside her…
She knows Daario would love her dragon self and eat charred meat with her as if he were a dragon himself.
The point is that Daario has dragon person symbolism. He first gets that symbolism after Meereen when he dyes his hair purple. Remember Meereen was taken by sending people into the sewers in a very Lann-like way of taking a walled city by trickery. Dany is even more attracted to him because he looks like a “Lost Valyrian” and his eyes were “almost purple”. Daario says fucking queens is king’s work, but seducing them is definitely Lann work he is qualified for. Daario having blue hair and then changing its color and suddenly looking like a dragon is another thing he has in common with Aegon. Aegon had blue hair until he removes the dye and shows his true dragon colors to the world when he goes from Young Griff to King Aegon in Westeros. Which happens right around the time he takes Storm’s End “by guile” like good Lann figure would.
Ned says that Lann “stole gold from the sun to brighten his curly hair”. This implies that Lann also changed his hair color at one point in some sense. Here is what I think about that. Dragon people have very pale hair. They went through some sort of change to make them into what they are now and that included their appearance. I am in the boat that thinks Jon will come back from the dead with white hair and that is foreshadowed by Theon’s hair turning white and corpse-like from his transformation. Lann is some version of Azor Ahai like all the other ancient Age of Heroes folks. Azor Ahai had his hair color changed during a fiery transformation.
Tyrion is a Targaryen. At this point people have mostly made up their mind whether they accept this theory or not, so I am not going to argue it. I will say he has dragon dreams, so we are meant to think of him as a dragon person either way. His hair is so blonde it is almost white. Then we come to Jaime. Like Daario, he is probably not a dragon. However, his attraction to his sister is very dragon-like. There are theories about him as being the son of the Mad King, but there is not any good evidence in my opinion. However, in my experience most wrong theories hit on something very real and the theorist simply does not do the correct thing with that instinct. Lann was the founder of their House. In the magic way that genetics work in Westeros, it seems to mean that the traits of the House founder stay in the House forever. The major Houses keep the same look for thousands of years, and there really is no other explanation besides this. Jaime and Cersei act a little like Targaryens with their incestuous tendencies and Cersei’s madness and paranoia because their House’s founder was a dragon and some of his traits have stuck around. All four Lann figures we identified either were dragons or have undeniable dragon person symbolism or traits. Two of them are on team Dany for the upcoming dragon invasion of Westeros and a third already started a dragon-person invasion of Westeros. Lann was a dragon. That is the second thing that we can conclude about him.
The Rogue Prince
Now we are ready for my favorite Lann figure. He ties together everything we have identified as Lann characteristics, even the two new ones I proposed. He has his own little story all to himself. As if to slap us across the face George calls it the Rogue Prince. He refers to Lann as a rogue as I mentioned already. That is a key Lann word like “winkled” and “clever”. Almost everyone who is a rogue is Lann, the Rogue Prince most of all. He is dragon blooded, as we have established Lann was. As leader of the City Watch he gives them their gold cloaks. There are his golden followers like Aegon has in his Golden Company. They might be considered sellsword-like since you pay them, but Daemon Targaryen has a real sellsword army as well. He raises an army of nothing but sellsword’s to invade the Stepstones along with the Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon
Daemon invades the Stepstones with his real sellsword army. He commands the army while the Sea Snake commands the ships. This is his parallel to Lann invading Westeros. Daemon is specifically mentioned as attacking the island called Bloodstone. Let’s put a pin in that.
Daemon was master of coin like Tyrion. Tyrion compares Petyr as master of coin to known Lann figure Jaime in his golden armor. “If ever truly a man armored himself in gold, it was Petyr Baelish” is the exact quote which comes right after Tyrion thinks about how Jaime’s golden armor is just colored steel. Meaning we are meant to compare the two and golden armor is probably an important thing to take note of. Based on that I think Masters of coin gain several points of golden Lann symbolism. We may need to take a closer look at Petyr another day.
Daemon protects King’s Landing as a guardsman. Remember Lann was said to have possibly been a guardsman who knocked up the Lord’s daughter and we compared that to Jaime getting the Queen he was supposed to be protecting pregnant three times. Daemon spends half of the Rogue Prince trying and eventually succeeding to marry Rhaenyra. Rhaenyra is an obvious Dany analogue and Dany is a popular choice for the queen that Lann figures pursue. Daario and Aegon both want her, and Tyrion even seeks her out even though it is not to marry. There is Daemon as our seductive Lann, always fucking upward on the social ladder. Jaime wants to marry Cersei and throw all the rules out the window like only “gods and Targaryens” can. Daemon is the embodiment of the Targaryen who does whatever he wants. Even his marriage to Rhaenyra was not allowed similar to how Jaime’s would have been to Cersei, but Daemon does it anyway.
The “rogue” personality is important to grasping this archetype more so than I think than in most other symbolic analysis. This is the opening line of the Rogue Prince.
Over the centuries, House Targaryen has produced both great men and monsters. Prince Daemon was both. In his day there was not a man so admired, so beloved, and so reviled in all Westeros. He was made of light and darkness in equal parts. To some he was a hero, to others the blackest of villains. No true understanding of that most tragic bloodletting known as the Dance of the Dragons is possible without a consideration of the crucial role played before and during the conflict by this rogue prince.
He did great and terrible things. He basically did whatever he wanted, just like Jaime, just like Daario, just like Aegon, just like Tyrion. Jaime saves the biggest city in Westeros, King’s Landing, from going up in flames and he tosses kids from towers causing a huge war. Daemon ends Aemond’s reign of terror burning the Riverlands, and also sends guys sneaking into the Red Keep’s passageways to murder innocent children. Come to think of it, sneaking around castles killing people is Lann territory, so lets add that to the list of Lann things Daemon is associated with. Here is Jaime with Loras looking at the White book thinking about who he wants to be.
“Most deserve to be forgotten. The heroes will always be remembered. The best.”
“The best and the worst.” So one of us is like to live in song. “And a few who were a bit of both. Like him.” He tapped the page he had been reading.
“Who?” Ser Loras craned his head around to see. “Ten black pellets on a scarlet field. I do not know those arms.”
“They belonged to Criston Cole, who served the first Viserys and the second Aegon.” Jaime closed the White Book. “They called him Kingmaker.”
Jaime is really talking about himself here. He has done good and terrible things. Jaime has “made kings and unmade them” similar to the Kingmaker, an intentional inversion of Kingslayer. Daemon has made a king or two. Criston Cole may be a Lann figure too. He is charming, has pale green eyes like Tywin, and has some sort of romantic relationship with Rhaenyra. He is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard like Jaime too, but I don’t want to focus on him too much right now.
That is the rogue personality in a nutshell. Someone who fearlessly does whatever they want. They save people from some death, but cause other deaths.
Two lesser characters deserve honorable mention before I get to the closing. First I want to mention the sellsail pirate who rules the Stepstones, Salladhor Saan. Davos describes him as an “old rogue” early and often. If anyone in the series could make Daario’s dress look drab, it would be Saan’s. Saan does not wear gold, but we can forgive that. Daario would “make a peacock look drab”, but Saan is actually wearing peacock feathers when we meet him. His ship is called Valyrian. So, when he attacks Westeros with it he is like an invading dragon sellsword, just like almost all our Lann figures are. Saan is Prince of the Narrow Sea which gives him even more in common with Daemon the Rogue Prince who ruled the Stepstones. Saan in his first conversation with Davos has a large interest in Cersei Lannister. Saan wants to attack the city quickly and take her for himself. Why is that? Because Lann is always after a queen. Usually not in such a rape-oriented way but still. Sann’s ancestor was one of the Ninepenny Kings who took part in a dragon person invasion of Westeros to put a Blackfyre on the throne. Aegon is really a Blackfyre (we all know that right?) and the Golden Company was made to help them. There appears to be a similarity between the Lann and Blackfyre archetypes.
Second, I need to mention Bronn, the insolent, black-hearted rogue. Yet another sellsword. I look at him as an extension of Tyrion. They share a lot of symbolism in my opinion. Bronn leads the city watch just like the Rogue Prince. He marries above himself as most good Lann figures do. He uses dirty tricks to become Lord of his wife’s castle after killing the Lord, what more could you ask for really? He helps save King’s Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater. I think that might be his saving action that is comparable to Jaime’s “finest act” of saving King’s Landing and Daemon’s saving of the Riverlands from Aemond and Vhaegar. Saan deserves some credit for saving the Wall from Wildlings. The Hightowers are heading for Lys to hire sellsails to protect Oldtown, so maybe Saan will get a chance to save them too. Oldtown is probably screwed though. Bronn also says he would be happy to kill a child for money, and killing children is Jaime and Daemon’s worst attribute as well as Tywin’s.
Conclusion and Speculation
Now we are ready to wrap up. What have we learned? Being able to locate the characters that George has given strong Lann traits, we can see what things they have in common and conclude that Lann himself also probably had those traits. Tyrion, Daario, Aegon, Daemon, Bronn, and Saan are all sellswords and lead armies of sellswords. So, we can be pretty sure that Lann led an army that was similar. He led that army to Westeros when he took the Rock, however he did that. I want to raise a possibility. When Lann took the Rock, was he taking a castle new to his family, or was he reclaiming his ancestral home? The obvious answer would be that it is new to his family because he is like a foreign adventurer. But, maybe the obvious answer isn’t the right one this time.
“Not yet. Let King’s Landing think this is no more than an exile lord coming home with some hired swords to reclaim his birthright. An old familiar story, that.
That is Jon Connington. His sigil features a griffin. When Tyrion is first talking to him he lists all sorts of creatures that are said to exist and do not. After a hesitation, Tyrion ends with “winged lions” giving us a clue who Griff really is. In hindsight we are supposed to think that Tyrion is calling out Jon Connington here right now for being who he really is, a griffin. A winged lion is not exactly what a griffin is, but I think we are meant to think it is close enough. There is another example of this comparison. This is Brienne when she is tripping after getting attacked by Biter…
Finally the doors opened, and her betrothed strode into her father’s hall. She tried to greet him as she had been instructed, only to have blood come pouring from her mouth. She had bitten her tongue off as she waited. She spat it at the young knight’s feet, and saw the disgust on his face. “Brienne the Beauty,” he said in a mocking tone. “I have seen sows more beautiful than you.” He tossed the rose in her face. As he walked away, the griffins on his cloak rippled and blurred and changed to lions. Jaime! she wanted to cry. Jaime, come back for me! But her tongue lay on the floor by the rose, drowned in blood.
There is definitely some sort of connection we are supposed to find between the Conningtons and the Lannisters. Griffins and lions. Both are suitors for Brienne in different ways. Both frequently play the Lann the Clever role. Jaime hits a Connington really hard once for insulting Brienne at Harrenhal. I am not sure yet what I am supposed to take from that, but it is really interesting knowing about this symbolic connection between the Houses and their sigils. Anyway, the speculation about Lann being a reclaimer…
Legend tells us the first Casterly lord was a huntsman, Corlos son of Caster, who lived in a village near to where Lannisport stands today. When a lion began preying upon the village’s sheep, Corlos tracked it back to its den, a cave in the base of the Rock. Armed only with a spear, he slew the lion and his mate but spared her newborn cubs—an act of mercy that so pleased the old gods (for this was long before the Seven came to Westeros) that they sent a sudden shaft of sunlight deep into the cave, and there in the stony walls, Corlos beheld the gleam of yellow gold, a vein as thick as a man’s waist.
If there is anything to this line of thought then we probably have to assume that the “lions” that the dastardly Casterlys killed were actually lion people, meaning Lann’s family. The cub that was spared would then be Lann’s ancestor or maybe Lann himself. I mean it is interesting that the Casterlys spare a lion cub and in one version of the story are killed by Lann sneaking in a bunch of lions into the Rock. It is like the lions are reclaiming it. I hate to bring up the HBO show A Game of Thrones again, but Arya does say to the Freys right before she kills them that if you leave one wolf alive the sheep are never safe. Then she kills them all in revenge. Maybe the same principal applies to lions. If you leave one alive, it will come for you. I am tempted to say that maybe the Lannister tradition of not leaving any enemies left alive whatsoever is because that is the mistake the Casterlys made.
Next question, why does Lann take a castle on the west coast of Westeros if he came from the east. Why not an east coast castle like Aegon and Jon Connington. I told you that Daemon Targaryen attacks the Stepstones with his sellsword army. Daemon is specifically mentioned as being on Bloodstone Isle when he learns his wife who was a Royce of Runestone has died. He immediately heads to the Vale to lay claim to her castle and land. We are meant to think of the Bloodstone Emperor when we read this. He casts down his sister and usurps her in what is clearly some sort of version of Azor Ahai and his wife Nissa Nissa’s story. Daemon is doing something that we can see is vaguely similar trying to take over his dead wife’s land.
The Great Empire of the Dawn is the original homeland of all dragon people. This has been established elsewhere, so I am not going to get into proving that. That is where most of them would be living before the Long Night. Because any dragon person who invaded Westeros that long ago would have been originally from the Great Empire of the Dawn anyway, any clue that points toward him being the same as the most important person from there should be taken pretty seriously.
Lann and the Bloodstone Emperor likely are the same person, or at least very similar like relatives. Aegon has correctly been tagged as a Bloodstone Emperor figure. His whole role is to take the Iron Throne that we are meant to think belongs to Dany. Dany of course is an Amethyst Emperess figure. Euron even describes her as having eyes like amethysts. We have already labeled Aegon as a Lann figure, so it all seems to add up. Another Aegon, Aegon the Second from the Dance of Dragons, is another Bloodstone Emperor figure. He usurps Rhaenyra who is a strong Dany parallel as well as an Amethyst Emporess figure. Aegon the Second also rides the dragon Sunfyre the Golden. Yet another person with both Bloodstone Emperor and gold symbolism going on. In Dany’s very first chapter she is told that the blood of Valyria is “golden”. In Westeros gold coins are called dragons. It really seems that gold and dragons are connected at a very deep level. Because Lannisters are the masters of all things gold, I don’t think we should be surprised to find out that their House was founded by a dragon person. Probably a very bad dragon person at that. The Lannisters are some of my favorite characters, but they are all the bad guys.
Archmaester Fomas’s Lies of the Ancients—though little regarded these days for its erroneous claims regarding the founding of Valyria and certain lineal claims in the Reach and westerlands…
This little quote from the World Book even seem to be saying that some scholar concluded some House in the Westerlands was founded in some way that is connected to Valyria. The answer to the question is that the people from the Great Empire of the Dawn founded both House Lannister as well as Valyria.
So there you have it. We learned a few things about Lann the Clever and established a new archetype. In later essays we will use our new archetype and see what we can do with it.