As House of the Dragon is in full swing, let’s turn our heads and look at the Hightower Family. When the civil war broke out that would tear the Targaryen dynasty against each other and cause the death of almost all dragons, the Hightower family was in the background. The series brings the brightness of Hightower green to our eyes. Their roles described in House of the Dragon are pretty significant. House Hightower is older than the Targaryen family. Even before the Targaryens, they were a sneaky and dangerous family, like in the show. They were ready to give up any stand for their own safety, calculating every step they took. The Hightowers chose their side for thousands of years until King Robert rebelled against the last Targaryen Aerys. So let me tell you about the history of this family and how they came to this day.
Westeros is a continent that has been home to many people for thousands of years. The Hightower family is also said to be among the first to arrive in Westeros. However, Maestar Yandel claims that they came before the first humans and were sailors and traders who settled in Whispering Sound bay. It is also thought that they established the first incarnation of Oldtown. We do not know which claim is true, but we accept that the Hightower family is a very old family, and they were there even before the Hightower tower. It is said that the famous stone tower of Hightower was built by Bran the Builder or his son Brandon at the request of the legendary king Uthor.
Oldtown has been overrun many times. Iron Islanders, Dornishmen, Reach’s armies, and more. The Hightower family builds high walls around the city to reduce the attacks. The Gardener family was also among those who attacked Oldtown. But they took the city not by fighting but by agreement. King Lymond Hightower and Garland II Gardener unite families by marriage. Garland II pushed his own wives aside and married Lymond’s daughter.
When Valyria was destroyed, a century-long civil war broke out in Esos. Many people in Esos got on their ships and crossed to Westeros. Thus, Westeros was invaded by the Andals. The Andals had more advanced equipment than the first humans in Westeros. While early humans used bronze, the Andals had steel weapons. Because of this, the Andals were able to take many places in Westeros. But some houses didn’t even feel the need to fight them at all. The Hightower and Gardener family is one of them.
The Hightower and Gardener family had never fought the Andals but had managed to keep their presence and place by making deals with them. Thanks to Highgarden’s advantage and the chaos caused by the Andal invasion in Westeros, the Hightower family turns into one of the wealthiest families in Westeros. For this reason, many families in the region line up to marry their daughters to them.
The Andals had also brought their own religion, the Seven, to Westeros. The Hightowers were one of the first families to accept the Seven. They chose a High Septon to reinforce their faith and built the Starry Sept in Oldtown. This religious icon, on which they laid the foundation, will be a trouble for the Targaryens in the future.
When Aegon and his sisters come to conquer Westeros, the Hightower family again does nothing. Following High Septon’s advice, Manfred Hightower does not follow Mern IX Gardener. The Gardener armies lose to the Targaryens at the Field of Fire, and Aegon chooses Tyrells over the Gardeners. Manfred Hightower is the one who opens the doors when Aegon arrives in Oldtown. Aegon also spares Oldtown for not resisting, and the High Septon declares Aegon the rightful leader of the 7 kingdoms.
After Aegon, his son Aenys takes the throne. Aenys marries Alyssa Velaryon. Aenys’ brother Maegor wanted to marry his sister, Rhaena. But this situation made the believers very uncomfortable. Believers who accepted Aegon now spoke out and forbade the Targaryens’ incestuous relationships. Taking this opportunity, Manfred Hightower proposes his niece Ceryse Hightower to Maegor. The two get married in the 25th year after the Conquest. But Ceryse can’t give a child to Maegor. For this reason, Maegor takes a second wife. This situation disturbs Manfred Hightower. Ceryse returns to Hightower after Maegor is banished to Esos.
Although Aegon never took Dorne, he was declared king of Westeros. He had no problems with the public and the High Septon during his time. However, with Aegon’s death, problems begin in Westeros. The Targaryens’ incestuous relationships disturbed the faithful and the people of Westeros. The Westeros uprisings that started during the reign of Aenys caused the council in King’s Landing to take a radical decision, and instead of giving the throne to rightful heir Aegon, they gave the throne to Maegor the Cruel, who could suppress the rebellions. Thus, Maegor returns from exile and sits on the throne. When he returns, Ceryse Hightower comes back to him.
When Maegor ascends the throne, Manfred’s son Martyn Hightower takes his father’s place. In the 47th year after the Conquest, Maegor sends Rhaella, the daughter of Aegon and Rhaena, to Oldtown to become Septa. After Ceryse, Maegor took 2 other wives. One of them was Rhaena, Aegon’s wife, whom he killed for claiming his right to the throne. Maegor had wanted Rhaena from the very beginning. But Rhaena could no longer stand Maegor. For this reason, she runs away and goes to Oldtown, her daughter. Already at this time, an uprising against Maegor was beginning. After Aegon was killed, Jaehaerys claimed the throne. Westeros, tired of Maegor’s cruelty, was also behind Jaehaerys.
So much so that Maegor sends a message to Martyn Hightower asking Rhaella to be beheaded for his wife’s betrayal. However, Lord Hightower refuses and becomes part of Jaehaerys’ claim to the throne. The Hightower family had chosen their stance well once again because, after a while, Maegor is found dead while sitting on his throne, and Jaehaerys takes his place.
Sunset Sea Adventure
After Maegor’s death, Rhaena allegedly had an affair with a woman named Elissa Farman. The duo was spending time at Dragonstone. But one day, Elissa stole 3 dragon eggs found on the island and escaped to Pentos. Elissa, who sold the eggs and built a unique ship called the Sun Chaser with her money, changed her name to Alys Westhill. Taking her ship, Alys set sail for the never-before-explored Westeros, where Arya sailed in the Game of Thrones finale. Eustace Hightower and his ships join in this dangerous adventure of Alys. Alys and her pursuers reached some islands in the west that no one had achieved before. Alys wanted to continue, but Eustace Hightower found the journey dangerous and turned back. Alys is never heard from again. Hightower manages to return to Oldtown unharmed.
If you read my article on the Targaryen civil war, you can find the whole story that will be told in House of the Dragon. To summarize briefly, the king chose Rhaenyra, the heir to the throne, when Viserys could not have a son, and his wife died during childbirth. But upon the council’s insistence, the king marries the daughter of his hand, Otto Hightower. Alicent Hightower gives the king 3 sons who can sit on the throne. But the king keeps his word and declares that Rhaenyra will remain the heir to the throne. But one day, when the king dies, Alicent and the council secretly meet and decide that Alicent’s son, Aegon, should come to the throne. And they declare Aegon king without telling anyone. Hearing this, Rhaenyra declares war on Alicent and everyone who supports her. Thus, two sides are formed, greens and blacks, and a war that will last for years begins.
The Greens, Alicent’s biggest supporter, of course, were his own family, the Hightowers. The Hightower family fights families that support blacks many times during the civil war. Ormund and Hobert Hightower fought many battles for the greens, losing their lives at the end of the events.
Rhaena Targaryen, the daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon, who died at the end of the civil war, marries Garmund Hightower, and they have 6 daughters.
The Hightower family, who knew well where to stand until today, also used their political stance well in the Blackfyre rebellion. Before he dies, Aegon IV gives a final order and declares all four living bastards official. Although the throne rested with his eldest and principal son, Daeron, many lords in Westeros felt that the principal king should remain with Daemon. Before he died, Aegon IV gave his sword, Blackfyre, to Daemon. From that day forward, Daemon, and everyone else after him, was known as Daemon Blackfyre.
With the support of his bastard brother Bittersteel and some lords, Daemon challenged the Targaryen king Daeron and started an uprising. Although Daemon Blackfyre dies in his first uprising and the revolt fails, this was only the beginning of what is to come. The Blackfyre family tree revolts 5 times in 64 years, fighting for the throne and losing in all of them.
In the first 4 of these riots, the Hightower family played a double. On the one hand, they support the revolts, on the other hand, they maintain their loyalty to the kings. However, they are also forced to join the war in the fifth rebellion from Esos. Gerold Hightower, whose name you will hear in the following title, takes part in the War of the Ninepenny Kings and plays a role in the destruction of the Blackfyre forever.
Hightower, who always managed to make the right decisions in the early stages of Westeros, begins to take wrong steps as time progresses. Not knowing where to stand in the Blackfyre rebellion, the Hightower family preferred to take the king’s side in Robert Baratheon’s rebellion. They must have thought that this revolt, like the previous revolt, would be suppressed.
When Robert Baratheon rebels against Aerys II, the Hightower family remains surprisingly loyal to the Targaryens. But Hightowers are not part of the wars again. Gerold Hightower, then Commander of the Kingsguard, is sent by King Aerys to find Rhaegar Targaryen. It seems that Gerold Hightower manages to find Rhaegar. And at Rhaegar’s request, he moves to the Tower of Joy to protect Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar cannot return to the Tower of Joy after being killed by Robert Baratheon himself. But Ned Stark and his men had managed to find Lyanna.
Ned Stark and his men fight Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent, including Gerold Hightower, in front of the Tower of Joy. Having succeeded in overthrowing them, Ned finds his sister Lyanna Stark, who has given birth, in the tower. You already know the rest of the story; the point is the Hightowers, who chose their side from the Targaryens, lose and are forced to kneel before the new king, Robert Baratheon.
No matter who the new king Robert is, the Hightowers remain lords of Oldtown. Their wealth is nearly the same as the Lannisters.