With Game of Thrones coming to an end, we now have come to a point where we can no longer be excited by what’s going to happen next. The saga has come to a halt. The story has now reached the full circle. But the lore, that will still be there. Game of Thrones might have ended but HBO has already started work on creating prequels and spinoffs of the iconic series, which is considered to be the greatest TV Series of all time. The world of Westeros saw many wars and battles. With its blood-drenched history, the Westerosi have always been accustomed to the blades and arrows. Men have come and men have gone. What they have built in all these years to maintain their strongholds – their castles – they are their permanent legacy. Many such castles in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond have seen countless battles and they have lived to tell the tale. Presenting – 11 of the Most Impenetrable Fortresses in Game of Thrones – Ranked!!
The least defensive castle on the list also used to be the seat of House Tyrell – a House that used to be the most powerful in Westeros at one point of time. House Tyrell never needed to fortify Highgarden too much because they were already rich enough to muster up huge armies that could defend the walls. Highgarden was never known to have spiked barricades or iron-studded gates. They exchanged that for beauty and grace. The Tyrells control huge swathes of fertile land used to farm and feed the entire seven kingdoms. Their wealth and power are enough to deter any tyrant from trying to invade them. The Shield Islands to the west also ensured Highgarden did not need to have sea fortifications. Yet all that did not stop the Lannisters from destroying its defences when push came to shove.
10. Moat Cailin
Moat Cailin might be the oldest entry on this list. The Castle was created by the First Men, the original inhabitants of Westeros, who were trying to stop the Andals from invading their territory up north. Moat Cailin is constructed using an extremely strategic mindset. It is basically a collection of towers placed tactically in heightened locations and at fixed distances such that each tower can aid the other towers to repel an invasion. The ancient fortress of the First Men was then utilized by the Northmen under the leadership of House Stark when the former rebelled against the crown after the death of Ned Stark. It was said to be so impenetrable that Ramsay Bolton had to send in Theon Greyjoy to lure the occupants into opening the gate.
Sunspear is the castle that stands tall in the heart of the Dornish capital. It reflects the unique designs of the Dornish people, who are descendants of Queen Nymeria and the Rhoynar. The castle is not exactly known for its defense but a political center. In case of an invasion, Sunspear is well protected by the fact that there are only a handful of routes that lead into it. Protect those routes and there is no way to invade Sunspear. In addition to that, Sunspear can only be conquered by an amphibious assault, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.
Riverrun cannot compete with the other great castles in terms of size. It is quite small compared to behemoths like Casterly Rock or King’s Landing. But it is its defense where it scores phenomenally. Riverrun has a floatable moat that can be flooded with water in case of a siege. The Moat would then forbid any army from attacking in one direction and if the enemy does not have enough manpower to lead a three-pronged strike, then the battle is lost. Moreover, the location of Riverrun is such that a relief army will find it easily accessible to aid him since it is very well connected and strategically located in the heart of the Riverlands. It has enough supplies and space to feed an army and all of House Tully’s Vassal houses for more than six months.
There is still some doubt whether Pyke is one single castle or a collection of castles connected by rope bridges. The main castle known as Pyke is basically a small fortress built atop the largest rock island of the Iron Islands. There is a reason Pyke is considered the seat of the ruler of the Iron Islands. Pyke is practically unconquerable. The ring wall protects the occupants from outside attacks and the hidden rocks just underneath the sea surface means any ship that gets too close is sunk beneath the waves. The one downside of Pyke is that it was never built for a lengthy siege. All an invading army has to do is cut off supply lines and watch the Ironborn starve to death and finally give up.
It may be the most famous castle in all of Westeros, housing our beloved Stark saviours ever since Season one of the show. But Winterfell was never built keeping defence in mind. It does have fortified walls and is of such a huge size that it could field the entire North’s armies within it. It also has warm water fountains and springs underneath it that help keep the entire fort warm and liveable. And that is why it was built. Winterfell was built by Bran the Builder to house the entire population of the North when winter comes. The cold and harsh winter is unbearable and will probably kill you if you are not in Winterfell. The winter also provides a form of natural defense to the Stark Stronghold, deterring any army from conducting a lengthier siege.
5. Storm’s End
For over a year the Tyrells tried to get into Storm’s End. They failed. Stannis Baratheon, who led an army that was very small compared to the invading Tyrell army, managed to keep Storm’s End unconquered. It has remained that way. Its thick walls are able to withstand extremely powerful blows. Not even a stone thrown from a catapult can penetrate it. It is also said that Storm’s End is enchanted. Its walls have magic in it that prevent it from being broken through using magic. Ever since it was constructed, the Baratheon stronghold has remained unconquered.
Dragonstone was not built using Andal or First Men techniques. It is built using advanced Valyrian stonemason technology. The architecture and the way it is constructed makes in invincible in terms of a siege. It is located right at the heart of Black Water Bay, which makes it difficult to even get near Dragonstone, let alone invade it. It has multiple cave formations that the islanders could escape into in case of an invasion. An active volcano helps keep the Castle warm. Its reputation for its defense could be gauged by the fact that it housed two rightful rulers to the Iron Throne – Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen, who chose Dragonstone as their seat of power.
3. Casterly Rock
This castle is basically carved right out of an island mountain. It has several features which make it a legendary fortress. The Lannisters have created several caverns and tunnels within the walls the complete layout of which is only known to a few men. Casterly Rock has the ability to replenish its resources via sea routes, a trait it shares with Storm’s End. If besieging an island alone is not nightmarish enough, Casterly Rock has stone doors and not iron doors to block inland routes. In case an army still manages to lay siege on it, all it can do is hurl stones at it. You can throw stones at a mountain all you want, it won’t even flinch.
2. The Red Keep
The seat of power in all of the Seven Kingdoms, it took a dragon to conquer the Red Keep. It is fortified on all fronts with huge walls and a royal navy. It is also gifted with a loyal and talented Kingsguard, soldiers that are specially trained to defend the castle. It has numerous obstacles in place to stop an invasion. It is also well connected to major sea routes, meaning that it can be reinforced by allies at a very short notice. If not for Danny and her dragon, the Red Keep would have still stayed invincible.
1. The Eyrie
The Eyrie is a collection of five castles – the Gates of the Moon, the three way-castles Stone, Snow and Sky, and the Eyrie Proper. The Eyrie is surrounded by mountains on all sides and has only one way that could be even considered to be an access. It is built on such an impossibly remote location that it is easily discernable that the only way to build it was via magic. The Eyrie’s impossible architecture means that engineering has played no hand in its design. The best part about the Eyrie is that you can defend the castle with only a few hundred men even if the invading army is in thousands. The narrow passes and treacherous terrain mean the Arryns can completely cut off the castle from the outside world if need be, and live in peace since the Eyrie has a granary that can feed their army for at least two years.