In this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Laws of Gods and Men,” fans of the series will get to know the Iron Bank of Braavos. Though mentioned, ominously, in the books and the series, the Iron Bank mostly is a force to be feared rather than dealt with directly. But, in Sunday’s episode, Stannis and Davos visit the bank to strike a deal in hopes of reviving Stannis’ war efforts. Here’s what we know about the bank so far, from the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
The Iron Bank of Braavos is just one bank of many in the free cities of Essos, but it is the most notorious. The Iron Bank has more money and more power than all of the other free city banks combine and a fierce reputation for collecting debts. If a reigning king refuses to pay back his throne’s debt, the Iron Bank will support a rebel king. That king will pay both the old debt and whatever new debt he accrued to gain power, or he won’t stay in power very long.
The Braavosi have a saying: "The Iron Bank will have its due."
The Iron Bank has been involved in Westerosi history before. During the civil war known as The Dance with Dragons. the greens, the faction that supported Aegon II, entrusted much of the Iron Throne’s gold to the Iron Bank.
The Iron Throne is currently deep in debt to the Iron Bank. Things in the show are happening a bit out of order compared to the books, but the same basic ideas apply. In the books, Cersei refuses to pay any more on the crown’s debt to the Iron Bank until the rebellion is quelled once and for all. As a result, the Iron Bank throws Westeros into economic chaos by calling in debts from around the country. Meanwhile, the Bank gives Stannis – the rebel king – a loan to hire sellswords to his cause, as well as giving a loan to the Night’s Watch to help them through the winter.
In a preview to The Winds of Winter, Stannis is seen signing a final contract with the Bank and sending one of his men to hire sellswords.0comments
As the books have progressed, the Iron Bank has become more and more directly involved in the events of the series. We’ll have to see how a big a role they play as things move forward.
Game of Thrones, “The Laws of Gods and Men,” airs Sunday, May 11 at 9 PM ET on HBO.