An impressive structure in the city of Oldtown, The Citadel is the home of all maesters. Here they undergo all of their training from the time they arrive as novices until they have achieved the status of maester. Green marble sphinxes lie at the entrance of the Citadel.
The maesters are scholars, scientists, learned advisers to the nobility, and occasionally pseudo-religious researchers in the occult. Only males can enter the order; females are forbidden. The maesters, like the brothers of the Night's Watch, make vows of celibacy and to live a life of service, and are considered servants of Westeros and its people. Upon completing their schooling and training in specific fields, they receive links in a chain. Each link is made of a different metal and represents a different skill, including healing, astronomy, and economics. A man who earns his chain is stripped of his family name, therefore they must forget all his history from before the chains.
Once the novices receive their chains, they are assigned to a castle, and the become loyal to this folk as an assister, healer and adviser, regardless of changes in control of that holding. To this end a man who earns his chain is stripped of his family name and from that time on is known only by his title and first name. In practice, some maesters hold over old allegiances and loyalties. In theory, maesters have no political allegiance, but some maesters do not follow this idea, including the Grand Maester Pycelle.
The Grand Maester is considered the senior member of the order, and presumed as the most skillful. He lives in King's Landing, sitting in the Small council as a personal adviser of the King of the Seven Kingdoms. At the beginning of the story, the Grand Maester was Pycelle, who is known to be a maester who works for the Lannisters.
An Archmaester is a member of the organisations who is known to be greatly proficient in any area. They receive a mask, ring and rod in the corresponding metal to display his expertise.
Tradition and CultureEdit
Every maester begin his study as a novice at The Citadel. Once he becomes proficient in a determined area, he gains a link of a chain. During the time the student does not have a full chain, he is called "acolyte". Despite the rumours that maesters profoundly dislike magic, they study it in the Citadel. Maester Luwin of Winterfell once told Bran Stark that its valyrian steel link is the link relative to the study of magic.
A maester always carries his chain collar, he never takes it off, not even to sleep. The collar is the proof the maester does not work for himself, but for all Westeros. Every single link is made of a different kind of metal, and every kind of metal corresponds to a determined field of study.
The metals used in a Maester's collar includes:
- Black Iron (Ravenry)
- Bronze (Astronomy)
- Copper (History)
- Electrum (Astrology)
- Gold (Economics)
- Iron (Warcraft)
- Lead (Poison)
- Pale Steel (Smithing)
- Red Gold
- Silver (Medicine)
- Steel (Construction)
- Valyrian Steel (Magic)