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Melisandre is from Asshai - © 2012 John Picacio

Asshai is a port city located in the far south-east of the Essos continent on the Jade Sea at the entrance to its eastern exit, the Saffron Straits.[1] Asshai is on the southernmost edge of a mountainous peninsula known as the Shadow Lands, thus the city is often called Asshai by the Shadow and to go to Asshai can be described as to "pass beneath the shadow". The area of the Shadow Lands and Asshai are sometimes referred to simply as "the Shadow".


Trading Destination

Asshai is a popular trading destination for ships traders' circle in the Jade Sea, and it exports such goods as amber and dragonglass. The city is usually travelled to by ship, but it can also be reached overland by caravans.[2] Westerosi trading ships bound for Asshai go east through the Summer Sea and the Jade Sea, which are connected by the straits at Qarth, the Jade Gates.[3] Aside from merchant traders, few from Westeros visit Asshai and little is known about it. Lomas Longstrider may have visited Asshai.

People of Asshai

Asshai and its people have an ominous reputation in other lands. Asshai'i are described as having a dark and solemn appearance.[4] The Dothraki believe that Asshai'i are "spawn of shadows".[5]


The Asshai'i are well versed in witchcraft and wizardry and have a language of their own, used in their spells (as done by the Valyrians). Mirri Maz Duur, who learned in Asshai, sang in a foreign tongue as a knife appeared in her hand, her voice described as "shrill" and "ululating".[6] Furthermore Melisandre has been noted to pray to R'hllor once in the speech of Asshai, once in High Valyrian, and once in the Common Tongue."[7]

Esoteric Knowledge

Asshai holds a significant amount of arcane knowledge. Of any current location, it is the most likely to have dragonlore. Ancient books of Asshai also record the Azor Ahai prophecy followed by members of the R'hllor faith.[8] It is rumoured the spellsingers, aeromancers and warlocks practice their arts openly in Asshai.[9]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

In the Eastern Market of Vaes Dothrak Daenerys Targaryen spies dark and solemn Asshai'i people. [4]

During Tywin Lannister's council meeting, after news of Jaime Lannister's capture at the Whispering Wood reaches them, talk eventually turns to Stannis Baratheon. Among other reports he has received from Varys of Stannis's activities on Dragonstone, Tywin mentions that one of them is that Stannis is bringing a shadowbinder from Asshai.[10]

A Clash of Kings

Melisandre of Asshai is on Dragonstone to serve Stannis Baratheon.

Quaithe of the Shadow is one of the three representatives from Qarth who return to Vaes Tolorro with Jhogo in search of dragons. Later in Qarth Quaithe urges Daenerys to leave the city as soon as possible. When Daenerys what she means Quaithe gives a cryptic answer,

To go north, you must journey south, to reach the west you must go east. To go forward you must go back and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.[5]

Daenerys takes the word "shadow" to be a reference to the Shadow Lands and, by implication, Asshai. Concluding that Quaithe wants her to head towards Asshai, she asks whether the Asshai'i would offer her an army, gold, or ships. She further asks what could be available for her in Asshai that is not in Qarth. Quaithe offers a laconic answer, "Truth." She then bows and fades back into the crowd. Daenerys later heads west of Qarth, ending up in Slaver's Bay.

A Feast for Crows

Euron Greyjoy tells his brother Aeron that from Ib to Asshai when men see his sails, they pray.

A Dance with Dragons

In Illyrio's manse in Pentos Tyrion Lannister finds wines from Asshai in his stock. Illyrio Mopatis later assures Tyrion that the galley that delivered him to Pentos is on her way to Asshai. It will be two years before she returns, if the seas are kind.

Prince Quentyn Martell notes that there are even masked shadow-binders from Asshai by the Shadow at the Merchant's House in Volantis.

In Meereen Xaro Xhoan Daxos informs Daenerys Targaryen that when she smashed the slave trade, the blow was felt from Westeros to Asshai.

At the Wall Melisandre notes that she is stronger there, stronger even than in Asshai. She also recalls a lesson she had learned long before Asshai - the more effortless the sorcery appears, the more men fear the sorcerer.

Notable Characters from Asshai

Quotes about Asshai

Crows Eye, did you leave your wits at Asshai?[11]
Asha Greyjoy to Euron Greyjoy

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Across the narrow sea. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Across the narrow sea. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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