Nerd School: “The Reynes of Castamere”

by Joe on April 26, 2013



Along with such great rebellions as Robert’s and the Blackfyre’s, smaller rebellions can have long lasting effects on the continent of Westeros. One such rebellion was the inspiration for the song “The Rains of Castamere”.

The Rains of Castamere is the song of the Lannisters, and for good reason. It was written about Tywin Lannister’s crushing victory over House Reyne of Castamere during their rebellion.  But as we know Rebellions are not spontaneous, usually there is an impetus which sparks disobedience. It begins with the Lannisters.

Before Tywin ruled Casterly Rock, His father Tytos ruled. Unlike his son, Lord Tytos was a kind man and trusting man.

the approximate reach of the Westerlands, excluding Pyke

the approximate reach of the Westerlands, excluding Pyke

So much so he was considered weak.  He loaned money to lords who never bothered to repay him and his vassals openly ignored his orders. He had imprisoned one of his vassals, Lord Tarbeck, for such disobedience. This caused Tarbeck’s wife to seize three Lannisters in recompense.

Luckily for Tytos, he had a son, Tywin, who was the exact opposite of him. Where Tytos was kind, Tywin was Harsh. Where Tytos was meak, Tywin was strong.

the symbol of house Tarbeck

the sigil of House Tarbeck

When Lady Tarbeck took Lannister hostages Tywin suggested cutting Lord Tarbeck in three, one piece for each hostage. However Tytos was still head of the House, and he ordered Tarbeck free.

A few years later, around seven years before Tytos’ death, the Reynes and Tarbecks rose in rebellion. The Reyenes and Tarbecks were the largest and most influential of the houses loyal to the Lannisters. Tytos was seen as weak for his capitulation to the Tarbecks, along with a long list of weak actions such as lending money without asking for returns and marrying his daughter under her station (to a Frey). Because of Tytos’ weakness and Lord Reyne’s prowess as a warrior, the Rebels thought they could win an easy victory. They did not count on young Tywin Lannister though.

The sigil of House Reyne

The sigil of House Reyne

Tywin took command of the Lannister armies, and after a quick succession of victories He besieged the seat of House Reyne, Castamere. Tywin put a torch to the hall and burnt it to the ground. After the defeat of the rebellion the line of the Reynes and Tarbecks had been wiped out.

This victory won Tywin the love of the Westerlands, and prepared him for his ascent to the Lord of the Rock.


Note the shields for the Reynes and Tarbecks are inverted showing their destruction. Art by Other-in-Law.

Tytos however did little to ingratiate himself to his son and heir. In his last few years he took a mistress, a common born woman, daughter of a candlemaker. This woman helped herself to Tytos’ deceased wife’s jewels and clothes. She also began ordering about the household knights, dismissed servants and sat in attendance when Tytos was absent. In 267AL Lord Tytos died of a heart attack while climbing stairs to see her.

Tywin had the woman paraded through the streets naked as punishment. Tywin grew to hate all that his father was and began to mistrust laughter. However he did love the song “The Rains of Castamere” written about his victory over the rebels.

And who are you, the proud lord said,

that I must bow so low?

Only a cat of a different coat,

that’s all the truth I know.

In a coat of gold or a coat of red,

a lion still has claws,

And mine are long and sharp, my lord,

as long and sharp as yours.


And so he spoke, and so he spoke,

that Lord of Castamere,

But now the rains weep o’er his hall,

with no one there to hear.

Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall,

 and not a soul to hear.

The lyrics represent Lord Reyne confronting the Lannisters, as each house used a lion as their sigil, the golden lion of Lannister, and a red lion of Castamere. The “rain” has duel meaning, as it both represents the Reynes themselves, and the tears shed over the destruction of both their castle and line.

The song quickly became an unofficial anthem of the Lannisters. Tywin himself loved the song so much, that whenever a lord would disagree with him, he would send a bard to play it for them.  


Read some other stuff from Joe, hear him on the Game Classy/ Comic Book Logic podcasts, or follow him on Twitter @planetarbitrary


Game of Thrones:

Battles and Wars of Westeros

The War of Conquest                                    The Blackfyre Rebellion                   The Greyjoy Rebellion

Robert’s Rebellion Pt.1,                              Robert’s Rebellion Pt.2                     Robert’s Rebellion Pt. 3

The People and Places of Westeros

The Religions of Westeros                         The Races of Westeros                       Tyrion and Richard

The Targaryen Curse

Game of Thrones

Casting Roundup 1 and 2                             Inn at the Crossroads Interview

Game of Thrones Primer I                           Season 1 recap

Game of Thrones Primer II                         Game of Throne Boardgames,

S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4, S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

S2E1, S2E2, S2E3, S2E4, S2E5, S2E6, S2E7, S2E8, S2E9, S2E10


Read Joe’s other articles:

Doctor Who: Doctor Who Season 6 Round Up, An Alternate History of the DoctorDoctor Who Season 6 primer, Psychology, and Regeneration, The Pitfalls of Paradoxical Storytelling, The Missing Episodes

Star Trek: Evening the OddsStar Trek Blu-rays 1 and 2 Trek in your Queue 1 and 2, Obama TrekStar Trek: A Different Generation, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs

Misc: Sci-Fi ComposersThieving Sci-Fi, Paranormal Activi3The Walking Dead Primer, The Genre Problem, Conan Primer, Mutant Fatigue, Sci-Fi A-Team, A Love Letter to Natalie PortmanThor Primer



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