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‘Game of Thrones’ 101: What Is Casterly Rock?

Jul 24, 2017

The ancestral home of House Lannister is getting some serious attention in Season 7 as war brews in Westeros Phil Hornshaw | July 24, 2017 @ 3:37 PM HBO (Spoiler alert: Please don’t read on if you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”) Although it’s incredibly important to the politics of “Game of Thrones,” there’s a major location we have yet to see in the HBO show: Casterly Rock. The seat of House Lannister, Casterly Rock was referred to by Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) as the true seat of power in Westeros. The Lannister homestead is the site of Lannister wealth, and House Lannister has been lending all kinds of money to King’s Landing for years. With Cersei crowned queen in Season 6, Lannisters effectively control the continent, even if they have trouble consolidating their power. Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' 101: Who's Left in House Lannister? In Season 7, Tyrion laid out a plan to send Daenerys’ forces to attack Casterly Rock and capture it from the Lannisters, cutting off a key component of their empire. But what makes Casterly Rock important, and more importantly, where is it? Casterly Rock is located on the western shore of Westeros, due west and a little north of Dragonstone. The castle is literally built on a big rock that overlooks the Sunset Sea. The castle is, also literally, a gold mine — one of the best-producing mines in the country, in fact. That gold mine is where the Lannisters get all their money from. Legend has it that Casterly Rock was previously held by House Casterly thousands of years ago, long before the conquering of the Seven Kingdoms by the Targaryen dynasty. Lann the Clever , one of the legendary figures during the Age of Heroes thousands of years ago, managed to swindle House Casterly into giving him the house, so the stories go. Accounts vary on how exactly he did that, but he’s the guy House Lannister claims to descend from. Also Read: All 49 'Game of Thrones' Main Characters, Ranked Worst to Best (Photos) Like Winterfell in the North, Casterly Rock is the location from which the Warden of the West governs the entire region. That warden was Lord Tywin Lannister until he was killed. (There are two other wardens: the Warden of the East has traditionally been the leader of House Arryn, Lord Promentory and Defender of the Vale, and the Warden of the South has traditionally been the leader of House Tyrell in Highgarden.) The location of Casterly Rock on the western coast of Westeros is important in Season 7. Part of the war plan Tyrion laid out in Episode 2, “Stormborn,” was to capture Casterly Rock from Cersei to undercut her power in King’s Landing. The plan is to send the Unsullied to attack the Rock and capture it — but the distance between Casterly Rock and Daenerys’ base on Dragonstone on the eastern coast of Westeros is significant, the width of the entire continent. ( Here’s what you need to know about Dragonstone .) The plan Tyrion explains has the Unsullied sailing for Casterly Rock to attack it, rather than marching over land, which would take them all the way around the southern end of Westeros. That long trip is presumably safer and maybe even be quicker than an overland march, but Casterly Rock is still pretty far way, and it’ll probably take days or weeks for the Unsullied to arrive. Also Read: Every Important Dead 'Game of Thrones' Character You Forgot About (Photos) Taking Casterly Rock would offer Daenerys the Lannisters’ gold, while cutting off at least some of Cersei’s ability to pay the people who work for her family. Since so much Lannister power derives from their wealth, that could be a pretty powerful blow to the Cersei’s power as the war for the Iron Throne ramps up. “Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. 21 Big 'Game of Thrones' Fan Theories for Season 7 and Beyond (Photos) In this list, we take a look at what kind of fan theories, both wacky and realistic, folks have come up with that might reveal both the past and the future. Spoilers for all of "Game of Thrones" thus far and maybe the remainder of the show. HBO Tyrion Targaryen The idea here is that the Mad King Aerys raped Joanna Lannister (in the books it's said that he had a thing for her) and that's where Tyrion came from. So Tywin's total hatred for the dude has deeper motivations than just that Joanna died giving birth to him or that he's a dwarf. HBO Jon Snow and Sansa Stark Are Gonna Get Married The idea here is that since Jon's parents are actually Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen -- meaning Ned Stark is NOT his father -- Jon and Sansa are cousins instead of siblings and nobody would think it's weird if they got together to solidify their hold on the North. Or maybe even to lay claim on all of Westeros. HBO Jon Snow is Azor Azhai aka the Warrior of Light aka the Prince That Was Promised It seems obvious (too obvious?) at this point that Jon and his Valyrian steel sword is the one who will lead human forces into battle, and to victory, against the White Walkers. And even Melisandre believes it -- though only after years of claiming it was Stannis and accidentally leading him to ruin. So "Game of Thrones" may yet pull another "Game of Thrones" on us in that regard by proving this theory wrong. HBO Actually, Jaime Lannister is the real Prince That Was Promised This one involves the assumption that some words were translated wrong in the prophecy of the one who would save the world from the White Walkers -- according to the intrepid fan who came up with this theory , the Valyrian words for "lord" and "light" are curiously similar to the words for "gold" and "hand." And who's the only character on "Game of Thrones" with a gold hand? None other than Ser Jaime. HBO Or Wait, Maybe Davos is the Prince Who Was Promised There's an argument to be made that it's Davos Seaworth who's actually Azor Azhai. One eagle-eyed Redditor put together a theory suggesting that Davos fulfills at least a good chunk of the prophecy. A big part comes from the argument that it's Davos, and not Melisandre, who revives Jon Snow. If you interpret a lot of the prophecy as metaphorical, Davos matches up to with a lot of it. HBO The Night's King is one of the dragon riders Fans are expecting two other people to ride Dany's dragons into battle alongside her, much like the Targaryens did when they first conquered Westeros, and there's much speculation as to who those two other riders will be. But one fan theory suggests that the third rider will be the leader of the White Walkers, the Night's King. This one might be more leaked spoiler than theory (and maybe a fake leak at that), but "Game of Thrones" fans on Reddit have it that Viserion, one of Dany's dragons, will fall in battle, only to be resurrected as an undead ice dragon to ride for the side of darkness. If that's the case, it would certainly even the odds a bit, since no matter how big an army of undead wights the Night's King has, fire-breathing air superiority seems like it'll win out. HBO Missandei is a Faceless Man The Faceless Men are surely going to have a big part to play in the endgame of "Game of Thrones" considering Arya's whole arc these past two seasons, but they haven't been directly involved at all so far. Or maybe they have? Missandei has ridiculous language skills and a nearly-always-consistent tone of voice -- these are Faceless Men traits. HBO Littlefinger will marry Cersei Like Cersei, dear ole Petyr Baelish probably feels like he has nothing to lose now, with Catelyn long since dead and her daughter apparently spurning his advances after he got her into that horrific mess with Ramsay. But he still has one huge ambition -- to rule Westeros. After that face he made at Sansa in the season 6 finale, it would likely surprise exactly no one if he marched the Knights of the Vale south and attempted to form a union with Cersei. And she'll need the help with Daenerys knocking at her door. HBO Sam is the one who will figure out how to beat the White Walkers There's gotta be a reason why Sam is going to start season 7 down at the Citadel instead of any of the places where stuff happens. Our guess is he's going to figure out what the Walkers' thermal exhaust port is. That's not a butt joke -- it's a "Star Wars" reference. HBO Bran will accidentally let the White Walkers through the Wall There's a line of thought that when the Night's King touch Bran in his dream while he was up at the Three-Eyed Raven's cave, it made it so the Walkers could pass any magical barrier separating him from them. And guess what the largest magical barrier of them all is? The Wall, according to Uncle Benjen. HBO Cersei, the Mad Queen With no children left to protect and war looming with Daenerys, it sure is easy to envision Cersei going full psycho this year. So much of what happens on "Game of Thrones" is history repeating itself -- and with Dany working very hard to avoid fulfilling her father's Mad legacy, Cersei, by contrast, probably isn't going to hold naything back anymore. HBO Jaime will kill Cersei Way back in the day, Cersei and a pal visited a witch who told her she would be queen until a younger and more beautiful woman cast her down (Margaery? ), after which she would be killed by "the valonqar," which translates to "the little brother." That could be Tyrion, or her twin Jaime, who was born moments after Cersei. Others previously also thought it might be Tommen, as a very delicious "Game of Thrones" twist -- but obviously Tommen isn't going to be killing anybody after jumping out that Red Keep window. HBO Euron Greyjoy is a warlock A lot of little details in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books that make rising Westeros supervillain Euron Greyjoy even spookier haven't made their way into the show yet, but they still could. One is a series of clues that suggests Euron could be a warlock like those that Dany encountered in Qarth at the House of the Undying. In the book, Euron is described as having pale blue lips because he's been drinking Shade of the Evening, the favorite drink of the warlocks. He also says some cryptic lines that suggest he might be controlling, or think he's controlling, storms. If he does indeed have some cool magical powers from his time spent in Qarth, it would make Euron a more formidable enemy -- especially because it would give him incentive to try to take the dragons from Dany, since the warlocks previously said the presence of dragons amplifies their powers. HBO Jorah is gonna go find that masked lady from Qarth to fix his Greyscale problem You remember this lady, right? She knew a lot of things she seemingly wasn't supposed to and gave Ser Friendzone some important words of wisdom at a key moment. The speculation is the reason she wore the mask is because she was infected with Greyscale, but found some means to control it -- and that she'll help Jorah in his time of need once again. HBO Bran made the Mad King go mad When Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven traveled back to the events outside the Tower of Joy in the May 8 episode, Bran was apparently able to shout and be heard by the younger version of his father, Ned Stark. What if, going back further, the "whispers" that the Mad King Aerys Targaryen heard were simply Bran trying to talk to him and it was actually he who set in motion the events of the show? The events of season 6, episode 5 -- in which Bran sees a fleeting vision of the Mad King -- seem to indicate this is very possible. HBO Bran travels to the past and is Bran the Builder, who built the Wall and founded House Stark. Bran the Builder is a legendary figure who led the effort to put up the Wall 8,000 years before the events of the show, after the Long Night in which the White Walkers invaded the first time.The particulars of how this would work are not known, but this is a good one. Especially since Bran the Builder is who the present day Bran Stark was named after. HBO Lady Stoneheart coming It's thought that the resurrected Catelyn Stark was not included in previous seasons so that the return of Jon Snow would have weight -- if resurrections are going on all over the place then it sorta takes away from the novelty of it. But now that Jon is back and the Brotherhood without Banners is again making its presence felt on the show, we might finally see what the they've been up to the last few years and whether Lady Stoneheart is with them -- remember that group of renegades who murdered all the Hound's friends who were building that sept? Fits the bill, even thou there remains zero evidence. HBO Arya will become Lady Stoneheart The idea here being that in a bit of creative license in the adaptation, Arya will function as Lady Stoneheart, the vengeful leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, rather than resurrect Catelyn. It would be a nice payoff on all that time Arya spent with them back in season 2. HBO Sansa is pregnant with Ramsay Bolton's child "I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now,” Sansa told Jon Snow about the residual effect of Ramsay's horrific sexual abuse of Sansa. The thought, according to some fans, is that she's not simply referring to the trauma, but that she's saying she's pregnant. HBO #CleganeBowl The younger Clegane, known as the Hound, really hates his older brother, the Mountain. Both were thought dead, but both are again alive. And fans believe that before the story of "Game of Thrones" ends the two will meet and finally have it out in a battle to the death.

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