The Vale of Arryn or the Vale is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It was formerly a sovereign nation ruled by the Kings of Mountain and Vale before Aegon's Conquest. The Mountains of the Moon surround the smaller Vale proper, although the valley's name is often applied to all of House Arryn's realm.
The Vale is ruled by the Arryns from the castle known as the Eyrie. Notable houses of this region include Baelish, Belmore, Corbray, Egen, Grafton, Hersy, Hunter, Melcolm, Redfort, Royce, Templeton, and Waynwood. Bastards of noble origin raised in the Vale are given the surname Stone.
The borders of the Vale are held to be the Bite to the north, the Bay of Crabs to the south, the Mountains of the Moon and then the Riverlands to the west, and the Narrow Sea to the east. The Vale consists of various regions: the Vale of Arryn itself; the Mountains of the Moon; the snakewood; the Fingers; and the islands of the Three Sisters, the Paps, and Pebble.
The Vale is located on the eastern shore of Westeros, a land of fertile soil, rivers, and lakes, protected by its largely impassable Mountains of the Moon. The Vale tends to be slightly isolated from the rest of Westeros. Its harsh winters make travel only possible through the mountains during warmer years, and rebellious mountain clans make travel even more dangerous. The Vale can be reached through the High Road, which connects the Vale and the Riverlands, and is protected by the Bloody Gate.
The mountainous border of the Vale of Arryn proper includes the Bloody Gate in the west and the Eyrie and Longbow Hall to the north. The fertile lands within the valley include Ironoaks, Old Anchor, Redfort, and a peninsula containing the city of Gulltown and Runestone. The town of Wickenden is located along the Bay of Crabs, in the mountains south of the valley. Castles north of the Vale proper in the valleys of the Mountains of the Moon and the snakewood forest include Coldwater, Heart's Home, Snakewood, and Strongsong.
Third Century AC
The Second War of Conquest
Lysa Arryn kept the armies of the Vale behind the Bloody Gate and took no part in the War of the Five Kings. Lord Protector Petyr Baelish was not expected to continue this policy of isolation as news of her death spread throughout the Realm. Lord Baelish tread a careful path in corresponding with King's Landing, offering assurances of the Vale's loyalty to the Iron Throne while making no concrete promises to commit troops to her cause. Still, commanders on all sides of the conflict tried to anticipate where and when Littlefinger might intervene in the war.
The deepening winter saw Lord Baelish's the carefully laid plans thrown into disarray by young Robin Arryn's fragile health failing. Seeing an opportunity, Sansa Starks worked upon her betrothed, Harold Hardyng, using many of the same tricks she had learned in the past few years to secure the brash, head-strong boy to her cause. With Hardyng's loyalty secured, Sansa waited for the gods to provide her with an opportunity. In late 300AC, Robin Arryn's cough took him. The very night that Robin took his last rattling breath, Harrold Hardyng -- now Harrold Arryn -- ordered the arrest of Lord Petyr Baelish. Littlefinger's attempts to flee were thwarted by the Lords Declarant after Lady Sansa gave proof of her true identity.
Sansa leveled several accusations against the Lord Petyr Baelish, including the murder of her aunt, Lady Lysa. Despite begging for mercy, offering bribes and threats and pleas, Littlefinger was found guilty. Lord Harrold Arryn asked his bride what punishment Lord Baelish should suffer, and she said he ought to suffer the same fate as Lysa Arryn. When no one stepped forward to act as Lord Petyr's champion in a trial by combat, he was cast through the Moon Door.
The new Lady of the Vale persuaded Lord Harrold and the Lords Declarant that their honor demanded that they act against House Bolton. A Vale army set forth from Gulltown and landed at White Harbor, and proved the decisive factor in the downfall of House Bolton and the restoration of House Stark as Wardens of the North. At Winterfell, Sansa convinced her husband and half-brother Jon to bend the knee to the Targaryens.
The Winter of Wolves
The winter of 326-329 AC made many of the mountain passes through the Vale impassible at its height, cutting the region into pieces during the deepest parts of winter. At least one village was completely swept away by an avalanche tumbling down the mountains. As the worst of the snows began to recede, the starving Mountain Clans swept down into the Vale in large numbers to pillage any foodstuffs they could find. House Arryn mounted a major offensive once the spring thaw came to subdue them once more.
Unrest in Gulltown
Refugees fleeing the conflicts in Essos began arriving in port cities throughout Westeros in the year 335. The Septons of Gulltown banded together to denounce the Red Priests and their efforts to spread the faith of R'hllor. After several months of escalating tensions, riots broke out in Gulltown as followers of the Faith of the Seven attacked worshippers of the Red God. A third of the city was burned by fires set by the rioters, and House Grafton needed to request aid from Runestone to pacify the city and get the port open once more.
The Southern Schism
The Vale had long been known for its piety its worship of the Seven, and was nearly unanimous in siding with the Starry Sept during the schism. The excesses of the Mummer were decried from septs throughout the length and breadth of the Vale. Even today, the Vale hews to the austerity of the Starry Rites and septons of the Vale have produced many eloquent theological works in defense of the Southern Observances.
The Hammer Uprising
After the Song of Sword and Steel, or, as its sometimes called, the Battle of the Kingsbridge, the survivors of Brynden's band fled to the corners of the realm. Word of the deaths of Brynden Hammer and Tomas Hew spread dissent among the populace, who had begun to view them as heroes following their larger-than-life adventures and storybook beginnings. Many of their original criticisms of the crown, namely the desire for better rights and lower taxes for the commonfolk, began to resonate with those who still suffered under that yoke. In the Vale, groups of smallfolk abandoned their homes in protest against the crown and the Arryns, but the roving bands of unarmed peasants proved easy prey for the mountain clans. Eventually the uprisings quieted down, but sparked renewed violence between the clansmen and the Andals.