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Is there any canon description of who has the most money in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" universe?

Is it Xaro Xohan Daxos? Illyrio? The Lannisters? The Iron Bank? Petyr Baelish? or someone else?

How do they stack up against each other coin for coin?

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    There is no list or numbers in the books. The best anyone can do is guess.
    – TLP
    Feb 25, 2014 at 9:04
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    It is virtually impossible to work out. Some people have wealth in terms of land and objects which someone else might think is worthless. There is unlikely to be a constant foreign exchange rate between locations and cultures etc.
    – Stefan
    Feb 25, 2014 at 12:50
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    Maybe the Bank of Bravvos since it seems like everyone borrows from them.
    – Zoe
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:40
  • @Zoe - expanding your Bank of Braavos comment may make a good answer!
    – user8719
    Feb 25, 2014 at 23:28
  • @Richard Thanks for the pic, it really illustrates the question well
    – dspyz
    Feb 26, 2014 at 1:52

3 Answers 3

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Who has the most money is a difficult thing to say, there are no numbers to provide an answer to this question in the books after all. On top of that, money tends to be 'stuck' in land, loans, art and connections which are hard to express in true value.

So who is the wealthiest? That becomes a matter of supply and demand for the rarest and most desired resources. As far as I can tell, the most desired and rarest resource in a song of ice and fire is dragons.

There are only three in the world and they all belong to a single person. Were Daenerys willing to sell her dragons, she could surely ask a ludicrous amount of money.

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    I think in Daenarys mind she doesn't "own" her dragons any more than a mother "owns" her children. And of course, Daenarys doesn't condone slavery, so I don't think that counts.
    – dspyz
    Feb 25, 2014 at 21:17
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From the standpoint of finance and influence, the wealthiest entity in the Known World would appear to be The Iron Bank of Braavos. Every major house & government of the world has had financial dealings with the bank, and its authority in financial matters is respected by everyone across the board, regardless of political affiliation.

Much like the Lannister family of Westeros, well-known for paying their debts, the Iron Bank has a motto known throughout the Seven Kingdoms: "The Iron Bank will have its due." Its influence and power is summarized in this single statement by Tywin Lannister (GoT, S3E3):

One stone crumbles and another takes its place and the temple holds its form for a thousand years or more. And that's what the Iron Bank is, a temple. We all live in its shadow and almost none of us know it. You can't run from them, you can't cheat them, you can't sway them with excuses. If you owe them money and you don't want to crumble yourself, you pay it back.

If restricting ourselves to the continent of Westeros alone, then the wealthiest entity would no doubt be the Lannister family themselves, with House Lannister often being touted as the richest of the great houses.

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  • +1 This certainly seems to be who is perceived to be the richest and most influential. However it has to be said that in later books and series, they seem much less effective at actually enforcing their power as one might hope... Aug 12, 2016 at 10:07
  • Oooo, if Danaerys really wants to break the wheel for good maybe she can destroy the Iron Bank HQ :)
    – m1gp0z
    Feb 6, 2019 at 21:41
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The wealthiest family in Westeros, the Lannisters of Casterly Rock ruled as kings in their realm until the Targaryen dragons conquered the continent. Cersei Lannister's marriage to King Robert Baratheon brought the Lannisters to King's Landing, and now her son Joffrey's ascendance to the Iron Throne has solidified their power.

http://viewers-guide.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/season2/#!/guide/houses/lannister/

As for the richest in the entire series of books, is hard to say since many wealths are not comparable, and the balance of power is always changing. But since the series is mostly centered on Westeros, it is safe to say that The Lannisters were designed to be the wealthiest family of the series on the start up.

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    The Lannisters are the wealthiest family in Westeros, but Westeros is a poor continent compared with Essos, so it's likely that one of the eastern candidates is the richest of all. I would vote for the Iron Bank, but it's impossible to be sure.
    – Mike Scott
    Feb 25, 2014 at 13:19
  • The song of ice and fire is mostly about Westeros and the balance of power there. All other provinces are mentioned as referenced to Westeros somehow so I think it's fair to answer on a Westeros perspective of the matter.
    – agentsvr
    Feb 25, 2014 at 13:22
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    I for once do not agree that Westeros is a poor continent. As I see it Westeros is the richest in natural resources and man power. Essos might have some incredibly successful merchant cities, but the country land is mostly wasteland. Westeros is the continent that matters, and the Lannisters are the richest there, so the Lannisters are the wealthiest.
    – agentsvr
    Feb 25, 2014 at 13:34
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    The Lannisters are only rich so long as the court at King's Landing honors its debt. A lot of Lannister money has been borrowed by the crown and if the crown were to go to somebody who doesn't look kindly on the Lannisters, a large amount of their wealth will just vanish into thin air. Money invested in something is money that might not ever come back.
    – Theik
    Feb 25, 2014 at 19:12
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    I think the Lannisters are still the wealthiest house even if the crown defaults on its debt.
    – dspyz
    Feb 26, 2014 at 1:54

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