Heroes of Lore and Legend: Part XI – Garth Greenhand (ASOIAF)

Heroes of Lore and Legend: Part XI – Garth Greenhand (ASOIAF)


Long before the rise of the Andal and Rhoynar
Kingdoms of Westeros, the First Men populated the continent, having migrated west across
the arm of Dorne, and warred with the Children of the Forest to claim the open lands. When the Peace of the Pact was declared, and
hostilities between the races ceased, Westeros entered into the Age of Heroes, a period renown
for the epic adventures of mythological figures who supposedly established many of the noble
families that would come to rule the continent. One of the most storied heroes of this age,
was Garth Greenhand of the Reach, a man often portrayed as a contemporary of other legendary
figures like Lann the Clever of the Westerlands, Bran the Builder of the North, the Grey King
of the Iron Islands and Durran’s Godgrief of the Stormlands. However, other stories describe Garth Greenhand
as a man who predated the other heroes of the age, with some claiming he was the High
King of the First Men, who led the original migration west, settling their people in the
south. This story however is disputed by the Northmen,
especially those of House Dustin, who claim that it was their ancestor the First King
who in fact led them into the continent and whose grave still remained in the Great Barrow
of Barrowton. Others still claim Garth Greenhand was actually
the first human to enter the western continent, and for a time lived and interacted with the
Children of the Forest and Giant race. Settling in the south, Greenhand taught the
First Men to plant crops and reap a harvest, known to give gifts of seed to the people,
and scatter them wherever he walked. He may even have attempted to teach the elder
races of the continent to work the land, but was unsuccessful as the Giants attacked him
and the Children mocked his efforts. Darker and more sinister stories, state that
the legendary hero of the reach made the land fertile though blood sacrifice, while others
claim he was a god who died every autumn, and was reborn in the spring. Garth Greenhand not only brought fertility
to the land but also to women young and old, with nobles and small folk offering him their
virgin daughters who then gave birth to valiant sons and beautiful daughters. Young girls were said to ripen in his presence,
and those under his blessing often gave birth to twins and triplets, all healthy and strong. As a result, Garth Greenhand was known to
have fathered a great many children, many of whom went on to found great noble houses
such as the Redwynes, Florents, Hightowers, Fossoways, Oakhearts and Rowans, as well as
the Gardeners of Highgarden who ruled as Kings of the Reach for thousands of years, seated
upon the Oakenseat, a thrown carved from a tree planted by their legendary ancestor. According to some tales in the South, even
House Stark was founded by a descendant of Garth Greenhand, as his son Brandon of the
Bloody Blade may have travelled North and fathered Bran the Builder, who later became
the first King of Winter. Legends in the Reach also claim that Lann
the Clever, founder of House Lannister was a descendant of Garth, said to be his bastard
born grandson through Florys the Fox or Rowan Gold-Tree. Yet within the Westerlands however, the story
is told differently, believing that Lann merely posed as one of the Greenhand’s grandsons
in make off with part of the families inheritance. Yet while many of these stories make grand
claims about this ancient figure, the Maesters of Westeros have proven sceptical, believing
that Garth Greenhand was likely a simple warchief or petty king who may have led the first wave
of Men across the Arm of Dorne.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

14 thoughts on “Heroes of Lore and Legend: Part XI – Garth Greenhand (ASOIAF)

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  2. "He liked to spread his seeds that Garth Greenhand,
    all houses of the reach claim descendants of him"
    Olenna Tyerell in Sansa II ASOS

  3. I like these character focus vids, I’d love to see a future one on other figures of lore, like Gaemon Targaryen, Aegon the conqueror, Samwell or Arthur Dayne, Artos the implacable stark and Brandon Ice Eyes and the emperors of the great empire of the dawn

  4. I believe he did blood sacrifice. Brandon of the Bloody Blade had sex with the children of forest trying predate them (did it work? no body knows)

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