Nathaniel of House Arryn is the second born son of Lord Rumar Arryn and Lady Alyane Arryn. He served briefly as Master of Arms of The Vale for his brother, James Arryn, while the man ruled as Lord Paramount.
Nathaniel showed promise with a blade from a young age and became an excellent swordsman. His true gift, however, was his mind for military tactics which made him an excellent commander. During his time as Master of Arms in The Vale, he earned a reputation for dispensing justice harshly, but he saw himself as nothing more than an agent of the King's peace.
At the age of eighteen, Nathaniel fell in love with a smallfolk woman named Catelyn, though the romance was doomed. When Lord Rumar Arryn discovered his son's affair, he banished Catelyn and her family from the Vale. Nathaniel was informed years later that Catelyn had given birth to his daughter, Mya Rivers.
Near the beginning of the first era James Arryn was poisoned, an act attributed to Emmon Baelish during the Tourney at Harrenhal, but one which was actually planned by Rymar Royce. The lord's death left his unborn son, Theon, as heir to The Vale, and Nathaniel took the position of Regent Lord Paramount for his nephew. When the Lannisters made their bid for the throne, Nathaniel supported the usurpers, fighting alongside King Damon Lannister during the Battle of the Kingswood and accepting the position of Master of Laws for the Iron Throne following the Ascent of the Lion.
After the fall of the Stag, Nathaniel married Alyce Connington at Storm's End during the Winged Wedding, a pairing that brought House Arryn closer to the new Lord Paramounts of the Stormlands.
During the white walker battles in Riverlands, Nathaniel slayed a white walker with the dragonglass dagger Queen Danae Targaryen gifted him at his wedding, and after receiving permission from the Small Council, set out to find Orys Connington who was assumed to have been captured by outlaws. He found the Stormlord being held by the former Lord Spirtual, Laenor Velyaron. After a brief exchange between the two, during which Laenor revealed that it had been Hand of the King, Loren Lannister, who had maimed the man's face and sent him to the Wall, Nathaniel exchanged Orys for a large gold reward, most of which was recovered during a subsequent ambush of Laenor's men.
Nathaniel departed for The Eyrie soon after returning to King's Landing, where he ordered Emmon Baelish thrown from the Moon Doors in retrubution for the murder of his brother. He then presided over The Grand Tournament of The Eyrie, held on the valley floor of The GIant's Lance.
Shortly after arriving back at King's Landing, Nathaniel's wife Alyce gave birth to their first child, Shiera Arryn. Following the death of Loren Lannister, Nathaniel was named Hand of The King, and his family moved into the Tower of The Hand. The Tournament of the Hand was held in honor of his appointment in 502AL.
To protect his family from the threat of dragon attack after Queen Danae's flight, Nathaniel sent them from King's Landing to the safety of The Eyrie, though under the guise of protecting them from the war with false King Gylen Hightower. Nathaniel remained in King's Landing, and was soon informed by Damon that should he die during the war, the King intended the throne to pass to Nathaniel.
After the war's conclusion, Nathaniel became the Hand of the Crown. When his wife Alyce threw herself from the moon door, he struggled to fulfill his duties adequately, raising the ire of Queen Danae Targaryen, who urged King Damon to dismiss him. Nathaniel left King's Landing to return home, and Lord Aemon Estermont replaced him as Hand of the Crown.
Nathaniel ordered Bronze Gauntlet's campaign in the Mountains ended, as it became apparent that the costs of a prolonged fight would outstrip the befits gained. Soon after, as Nathaniel attempted to fulfill the betrothal between his sister Elyssa and Lord Ronnel Royce, she revealed that she was no longer a maiden to the attendees, in an attempt to antagonize him. These events, which have led to a rocky relationship between Arryn and Royce, and coupled with Nathaniel suspicions that Lord Marwyn Belmore may also be acting against him, have fueled Nathaniel's paranoia.
" Lord Arryn is as honorable as a Stark, and as stubborn as a Tully." - Damon Lannister
"... So they called in the cruel brother, The Falcon most grim, the justice, the cold one, to rule then for him!..." - Beren Merryweather, singing about Nathaniel Arryn
"I have 35,000 men outside your castle Baelish. I suggest you submit to Damon now, else we will come in and bend your knee for you" - Nathaniel's letter to Marq Baelish during the war
Rumar Arryn, father (deceased)
Alyane Arryn, mother (deceased)
James Arryn, brother (deceased)
Dake Arryn, brother
Elyssa Arryn, sister
Theon Arryn, nephew