The Kingsguard is a prestigious order that has been on going for hundreds of years. Their service is invaluable and has undeniably changed the course of history in Westeros. Here are fifteen facts about them that you may or may not know, but will certainly enjoy.
Who Formed The Kingsguard?
The Kingsguard was formed during the reign of Aegon ‘The Conqueror’ Targaryen, the first Targaryen king to sit upon the Iron Throne. It was the suggestion of Visenya Targaryen, his sister and wife, that a group of royal bodyguards were formed after a Dornish assassin made an attempt on her and Aegon’s lives whilst they walked the streets of Kings Landing in 10 AC. She consciously modelled the vows of the Kingsguard on those of the Nights Watch, an ancient order hat was formed during the Age of Heroes.
The Seat of The Kingsguard
The White Sword Tower of the Red Keep, in Kings Landing, that sits upon Aegon’s Hill is where the Kingsguard resides. It is made up of four stories and is a slender building that overlooks the bay. The undercroft holds their armour ad their weapons. It has a meeting room for the Kingsguard in which a large table, carved from a weirwood tree into the shape of a shield, and seven chairs. The Lord commander has his apartments on the top floor and the other Kingsguard members have small living chambers on the second and third floors.
A Oath For Life
To become a member of the Kingsguard, the man must kneel or bend the knee before the king and swear his vows. Once they have been spoken, either the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard or the Hand of the King present him with his white cloak.
The Kingsguard are sworn for life, despite physical and mental injuries and illnesses or age, which is why the vows are not made so lightly. As their vows dictate, the Kingsguard members have to give up their lands, claims and titles – if they have them or are to inherit them. They can no longer have any rights to them, unless they are discharged from the service of the king.
The Various Roles Of The Kingsguard
As their vows state, the Kingsguard are not allowed to marry, father children or hold land. They are, however, allowed to retain and hold certain titles. The Lords Commander Criston Cole and Ryam Redwyne acted as Hand of the King to their respective kings, while Lewyn Martell Aemon Targaryen still used the style of ‘prince.’
Protect The Royal Family
The Kingsguard have to prioritize the royal family above anyone else. The wives, children, family – and sometimes even mistresses and bastard children – of the king have the protection of the Kingsguard.
This is why Arthur Dayne and the other Kingsguard members were at the Tower of Joy, protecting Lyanna Stark – the wife of Rhaegar Targaryen – and her newly born son Aegon Targaryen – whom we all know better as the norther bastard, Jon Snow.
Dismissal Of A Kingsguard
Only a king can dismiss a member of the Kingsguard; when Joffrey was king, he dismissed Ser Barristan Selmy because he was too ‘old’ and when Tommen was king he dismissed his biological father, believed to be uncle, Jaime Lannister in order to lead his army and regain Riverrun.
Transfer Of Tasks And Duties
If a member of the Kingsguard cannot perform any of their tasks or duties because of age or mental or physical health reasons, the other members of the Kingsguard take them up.
Sometimes the Kingsguard have to rely on other people in order to protect the king and royal family. Prince Joffrey has Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane as his sworn shield, Queen Cersei Lannister has Vylarr and his Red Cloaks to protect her.
The Lord Commander Of The Kingsguard
The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard has a seat on the Small Council by virtue of his office. It is his role on the council to give the king military advice concerning warfare. Other members of the Kingsguard must guard the Small Council, one must stand outside the door whilst the council is in session and another at the end of the bridge on Maegor’s Holdfast.
The Kingsguard’s Cloak And Sigil
Only a member of the Kingsguard can use an unblazoned, pure white shield. No one else in the Seven Kingdoms can. The Kingsguard have their own standard; it is a golden grown, encircled by seven silver swords on a white background.
The White Book
Created during the reign of Aegon I Targaryen, the White Book is an uninterrupted history of all of the members of the Kingsguard. Each member has a page which dictates who they are and what deeds they have done in service to their respective kings. It is keep in the White Tower and it is up to the Lord Commander to update the book.
In the entire history of the Kingsguard order, only one member of the prestigious order has ever turned on their king and killed him; Jaime Lannister. Though he had good reason to, as Aerys ‘The Mad King’ Targaryen was planning to burn the entire city of Kings Landing and its residents to the ground.