If Balon Greyjoy has become something of a legend among the Ironborn, Rodrik is the embodiment Ironborn unity. Renowned as a powerful warrior, the Prince of Pyke's direct nature and personal magnetism have made him a popular figure among all the great houses of the Iron Islands.
When Balon Greyjoy named himself king, the war at sea was given over to Victarion and Euron, while the invasion of the mainland was entrusted to Rodrik. Although tremendous damage done to the western coast, and despite many early victories, the campaign foundered and was unable to resist the counterattack of Riverlords. In a last effort to capture Seagard castle, Rodrik challenged Jason Mallister to single combat, taking severe wounds in the course of defeating the Lord of Seagard.
His forces were driven out of Seagard shortly afterward, with less than half of his invasion force surviving to return to the Iron Isles.
When King Robert led an invasion of Pyke, Rodrik led the defense, together with Ser Harras Harlaw and his brother Maron Greyjoy. Although once again the Prince of Pyke prevailed in single combat, he was slain by a number of Westerosi knights in defending the Bloody Keep of Pyke. It is said among Ironborn that his last words were a challenge to the army against him, "I am the Iron Prince, Rodrik Greyjoy of Pyke! Who among you will win remembrance by my death?"
With his death, Greyjoy resistance to the assault collapsed, leading to the loss of the Bloody Keep, and the surrender of Balon Greyjoy, two days later.
Rodrik had a shared respect for his uncle Victarion, and works well with his brother Maron (something of a rare feat, given Maron's manner). As well, he is a close friend of Ser Harras Harlaw. He had held out hope of marriage to a prominent lady of Westeros, to secure Greyjoy claims on the mainland, and thus had never taken a "Stone wife", instead keeping several mistresses, taken on his various raids. ("Salt wives")
Tall and powerfully built, apart from the richness of embroidery, his common habit of dress does not stand out among his fellow Ironborn. He favors swords over the axes of his kinsmen, and when dressed for battle wears a black-enameled suit of full steel plate, ornamented by gilt edging and a cloth-of-gold cape .
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