Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Game of Thrones History: Invasion of the Andals

Who were the Andals?
The Andals were tall, fair-haired people from Andalos, a city between Braavos and Pentos, in Essos across the Narrow Sea. It is said that the God of Seven revealed itself to the Andals in the Hills of Andalos and from this they developed a new religion known as the Faith of the Seven. The symbol of this faith was a Seven Pointed Star.

The Invasion

Not long after this the Andals set sail across the Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros. They came ashore in the Fingers (what is now known as the Vale of Arryn). According to stories, Ser Artys Arryn (an Andal), who was known as "the Winged Knight" flew to the topmost mountain of the vale, on a giant falcon, and defeated the Griffin King, the last member of the First Men dynasty of the Mountain Kings.
From their initial landing the Andal's spread out in waves across Westeros. This process lasted centuries. During the time of the Invasion, Westeros was a mixture of hundreds of kingdoms of the First Men. As a result the First Men did not come together to resist against the Andals, making their conquest a lot easier. 

The Andals did intermarry with some of the First Men families but the gene pool is still predominantly from the Andals. 

The Andals introduced Iron and steel weapons to Westeros for the first time. Together with knights, who wore full suits of iron armour while riding into battle on a heavy horse, spurred on by the Faith of the Seven they defeated the First Men easily. As the Andals conquered the southern kingdoms of Westeros they stamped out the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest and forced them to convert to their worship of the Seven-faced God.

The Andals didn't conquer the North

The Andals conquered all of Westeros, except for the North. The Kings in the North, from the line of House Stark, were able to resist their advance due to the fact that any approach to the North has to go through the Neck. 

The Neck is a narrow piece of land filled with swamps. The fortress of Moat Cailin commands the only major road coming up from the south, which made it an ideal choke point for the First Men of the North. For centuries the Andals tried to conquer the North but smashed against Moat Cailin like water on rock. The North remained unconquered! 

The children of the Forest

To the Andals the Children of the Forest were an abomination before the God of Seven. Wherever they encountered them they slaughtered them and burned the sacred weirwood trees throughout southern Westeros. In the beginning the Children of the Forest were very numerous, however after the long night fighting against White Walkers, the Andal invasion drove them to extinction. After this the Children dropped out of history to the point that thousands of years later many believed they never existed. According to rumour and legend the remaining few surviving Children of the Forest fled to the Lands beyond the wall where they knew the Andals would not follow.

The Nights Watch

Due to a number of reasons the Night's Watch and the Wall never became involved in the Andal invasion. Partly due to the fact the Andals never reached that far north and the Night's Watch never marched south to fight against them and partly because the Andals saw value in supporting the Night's Watch, and also because the Night's Watch do not involve themselves in the wars and battle's of others. The Andals saw the use in the Night's Watch to defend against occasional wildling attacks but also as an outlet for their younger sons,criminals or the defeated soldiers in their own wars. The Night's Watch welcomed and Andals who volunteered to join the order. Overall they were not affected by the invasion and were probably the only one's who benefited from the Invasion as they gained new recruits.

The word Andal is pronounced AN-dal with the emphasis on the first syllable.