The maesters are an order of men trained at the Citadel sworn to the pursuit of knowledge, as well as educating and advising the nobility, who in turn help fund the Citadel by paying a fee for their maester's services.
The maesters hold great value in the power of knowledge, sometimes being called the "knights of the mind." Any man can study at the Citadel, whether he is high born, low born, or a bastard. When someone of noble birth earns his chain, they are stripped of their last name, though many continue to use it. After taking his vow, a maester is assigned to a noble house, and is to serve the lord of that house to the best of his ability. In theory, the maesters do not have a political allegiance, though in reality some will continue to hold on to previous loyalties.
The maesters have trained ravens to carry messages, allowing news to travel much faster than it would if sent by rider. The Citadel keeps white ravens, to be used for sending important information, such as the changing of seasons
Classes in the Citadel are taught in lecture form, with novices and acolytes free to attend as they wish.
The origin of the Citadel and the maesters is not known for certain, but most believe it to have been founded by King Urrigon Hightower, in honor of his brother Prince Peremore the Twisted, who greatly enjoyed the company of scholars and teachers. Since then, they have grown immensely, replacing the Alchemist's Guild as the chief advisors of Westerosi nobles at some point in the distant past.
The first rank of study at the Citadel is the novice. These are the men who have just entered the Citadel. Novices often take general classes under each of the different subjects. When they are proficient enough in a particular area, a novice is tested to earn a link of the corresponding metal for their chain.
Once a novice earns their first link, they are promoted to the rank of acolyte. Acolytes continue their studies, earning more links. They remain acolytes until they have enough links to where their chain around their neck. The night before they take their vows, an acolyte must stand vigil in a black room with only a glass candle.
After taking their vows, a maester is assigned to a keep, and must serve the lord of that keep. Their duties often include educating the lord's children, advising the lord, tending to the ravens, and general maintenance of the household in some cases.
The archmaesters are the masters of their respective fields of study. Each is given a mask, ring, and rod made of the corresponding metal. The archmaesters make up the Conclave, the ruling body of the Citadel. When an archmaester dies, a new one is chosen by those remaining. The Conclave elects the Grand Maester, and are the only ones that can remove his status. Each year, an archmaester is selected by lot to serve as the seneschal, who governs the everyday affairs of the Citadel. Most archmaesters dislike having the job, as it is tedious and distracts from real work.
Grand Maester Edit
The Grand Maester is the highest-ranking member of the order. He serves in the capital as the maester of the king/queen. The Grand Maester has a seat on the Small Council, serving as an adviser to the king. His chain is made of every link available, symbolizing his leadership in the order. However, these do not necessarily represent his actual studies. He does not officially have any say in governing the Citadel, but traditionally has a powerful influence on policies
(*- indicates subjects not established in the books)
- Black Iron (Ravenry)- Archmaester Humphrey
- Brass (The Arts)*- Archmaester Vincent Fossoway
- Bronze (Astronomy)- Archmaester Roland
- Copper (History)- Archmaester Bert Swann
- Electrum (Astrology)- Archmaester Hodor
- Yellow Gold (Economics)- Archmaester Gerion
- Iron (Warcraft)- Archmaester Torgon, formerly Ronnel Arryn
- Lead (Rhetoric)*- Archmaester Rossart
- Pale Steel (Smithing)- Archmaester Donnel Wylde
- Pewter (Stewardry)*- Archmaester Bennifer Cox
- Platinum (Engineering/Physics)*- Archmaester Albert
- Red Gold (Religion(not magic))*- Archmaester Barth
- Silver (Medicine and Healing)- Archmaester Baelor (deceased), Archmaester Edan Tallhart
- Steel (Geography)*- Archmaester Artys Hardyng (current Seneschal)
- Tin (Literature)*- Archmaester Willam
- Valyrian Steel (Magic, "the higher mysteries")- Archmaester Lucifer Wyl
Factions and Orders Edit
There are several factions and orders within the Citadel. These factions have their own ideas and philosophies on how the maesters should be governed, behave, and other things, and some perform specific tasks for the Citadel.
The Followers of Marwyn Edit
This group started grew from a small circle of young acolytes under the influence of Archmaester Marwyn around the time Queen Danaerys returned from exile. They believe that magic should be embraced by the Citadel instead of rejected, as it is by most maesters. It is rumored that Archmaester Lucifer is currently leading the Followers.
The Rationalists Edit
The Rationalists believe that magic never existed, unlike most maesters, who believe that magic was once a powerful force in the world, but has weakened in modern times. They want any reference to magic in the histories to be explained as physical phenomena or removed entirely. For overt signs of magic in modern day, such as dragons, they either explain it away or accuse the sources to be unreliable.
Worshipers of the Mind Edit
The Worshipers of the Mind came about at the same time as the Order of the Most Blessed and High Father. The Worshipers believe that the Citadel should remove all ties to the Faith and only teach what can be empirically observed. They are a relatively small group, and most members do not publicize their involvement.
The Librarians Edit
The Librarians are one of the few official orders of the Citadel. Their job is to copy and restore books, record histories, and, in a few cases, protect and maintain historical artifacts in the possession of the maesters. Many members of this order are also ordained septons of the Institute of the Wizened Mind, though it is not a requirement.
King Daeron's Knights Edit
The Knights look to King Daeron II as the pinnacle of leadership. They believe that all nobility should have to study at the Citadel for a time. They also want to found other schools throughout the Kingdoms in order to further educate the masses.
The Order of Prince Peremore Edit
The Order of Prince Peremore is the most prestigious group in the Citadel. It is made up of only the most intelligent and accomplished of maesters. In order to join, you must receive an invitation, which is only extended if the majority of members agree to it. They are given access to all areas of the Citadel. There are many traditions known only to members of the Order. Many Grand Maesters and Archmaesters have come from this Order. Often, if a new Archmaester or Grand Maester is not part of the Order already, an invitation will be extended to him out of respect.