Astapor

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Astapor
Ghiscari city
Tom Garden Astapor.JPG
Astapor. Illustrated by Tom Garden © Fantasy Flight Games
Location Slaver's Bay, Essos
Government Good Masters
Religion Gods of Ghis
Founded Thousands of years ago
Organizations Good Masters, Graces, Sons of the harpy
Astapor is located in Slaver's Bay
Astapor
Slaver's Bay and the location of Astapor

Astapor, dubbed the Red City,[1] is the southernmost of the Slaver Cities on Slaver's Bay. It lies near the mouth of the Worm, north of Old Ghis[2] and one hundred leagues south of Yunkai by a coastal road.[1] Astapor is an old city, but not as populous as Lys, Pentos, or Qarth.[3] It is renowned for the special slaves it produces, the Unsullied. The city takes a tenth of the price whenever a slave changes hands.[4]

The Astapori emblem is a harpy: a woman's torso, wings of a bat instead of arms, legs of an eagle and a scorpion's tail. In its talons hangs a chain with open manacles at either end.[3] An old crumbling statue portraying the harpy of Ghis is located atop Astapor's harbor gate.

Layout

Astapor. © Fantasy Flight Games
See also: Images of Astapor

The bay shore is dominated by great stepped brick pyramids, the largest four hundred feet high. All manner of trees, vines and flowers grow on the pyramid terraces. At dusk the Good Masters light silk lanterns and the pyramids glow with colored lights. Pleasure barges sail up and down the Worm. The streets, pyramids, and ancient walls are all made of old and crumbling red brick. There is red dust everywhere, dancing down the gutters at each gust of wind. Astapor's streets are largely deserted in the heat of the day. Elephants are a common sight in the city, lumbering about with latticework litters on their backs.[3]

The Plaza of Pride is an open market where the slavers take their customers to view their purchases. In the centre of the plaza stands a red brick fountain with the a hammered bronze version of the Astapori harpy standing in its centre.[3]

The Plaza of Punishment, located inside the main gate of Astapor, is where new slaves are brought into the city. There they go past rebellious slaves who have been punished or executed.[5]

The fighting pits, dug deep and surrounded by descending rings of seats, are where all manner of entertainments are held. These include putting girls up against bulls and small boys rolled in honey and other foods against a bear so that viewers may wager on which child the bear will eat first. The pits are named after their owners. Two identified pits in Astapor are Douquor's Pit and Jothiel's Pit. [3]

Customs

Astapori women veil their faces to keep the brick dust from their eyes, as it stings worse than sand [3]. They wear gowns of sheer linen, often decorated with flakes of lapiz lazuli, and wear ivory combs in their hair. Free Astapori of high station wear tokars as a mark of high station. Their hair is teased, oiled, and twisted into fantastic shapes, and they have copper disks sewn to their cloaks of yellow silk, denoting their status. Their tunics are embroidered linen and below the waist they wear sandals and pleated linen skirts.[5]

Sons of the harpy, wealthy young men with old names and fat purses, play mock wars in the fighting pits. They pretend that the Old Empire of Ghis is still alive by dressing up as scourges of Old Ghis. Astapori slavers ride on white asses. Astapor has over a hundred slavers, but only the greatest are those who sell Unsullied, the last protection for Astapor. The city is poorly defended and even a modest khalasar could take it, but none have ever tried because of the Unsullied.[3]

History

Astapor was a colony of the Old Empire of Ghis. Although Astapor survived the destruction of Old Ghis at the hands of the Valyrian Freehold, it was conquered by the Valyrians, who learned slavery from the conquered Ghiscari and used slaves to expand their empire.[6] The Ghiscari tongue is largely forgotten now,[3] and the Astapori now speak a dialect of High Valyrian similar to that of Yunkai.[7] After the Doom of Valyria and the fall of the Freehold, the Ghiscari of Slaver's Bay took control of the slave trade.[8] According to an old saying, "Bricks and blood built Astapor, and bricks and blood her people."[3][8]

The reputation of Astapor's Unsullied was solidified when the Three Thousand of Qohor fended off a Dothraki khalasar four centuries ago.[9] Astapor's eunuch soldiers are often hired by the rulers of the Free Cities.[9]

Recent Events

A crowd of recently freed slaves, rampaging through a wealthy neighborhood in Astapor - by Tomasz Jedruszek. © Fantasy Flight Games

A Clash of Kings

Khal Pono's khalasar rides to the Slaver Cities to sell thousands of slaves.[10] The Sunblaze sails from Astapor to Qarth.[11]

A Storm of Swords

Daenerys Targaryen lands near Astapor and purchases all the Unsullied within its walls. After the Unsullied have been transferred to her ownership, Daenerys releases all slaves and orders the killing of most Good Masters in the fall of Astapor.

Upon Daenerys's departure from Astapor for Yunkai, she leaves a council of three men, a healer, a scholar and a priest to rule. They are deposed by Cleon, a former butcher, who leads the people to believe that the three intend to return the Good Masters to their positions of power. Naming himself king after he has the council executed, he has all the highborn boys seized to begin training new Unsullied. Each pyramid within Astapor is now an armed camp and the dead lie in the streets and the markets of devoid of food and slaves to purchase.[4]

A Dance with Dragons

Lord Ghael brings news to Daenerys, now the queen in Meereen, that the Yunkai'i have attacked Astapor.[12] He requests the queen aid them with her Unsullied warriors, but she refuses and tells him that the freed city must defend itself.[12] Yunkai besieges Astapor and Cleon is killed by a rival who called himself Cleon the Second. Cleon the Second in turn is killed and a civil war erupts between Cleon the Second's murderer, King Cutthroat, and his concubine, Queen Whore.[13]

In an attempt to break the siege of Astapor, the city's new and inferior Unsullied march against the forces of Yunkai and its allies and sellswords but are defeated.[1] The bloody flux breaks out in the city and when people open the gates to escape, the Yunkai'i and their armies are able to get in. Queen Whore dies fighting and King Cutthroat is ripped apart by dogs. To prevent the dead and dying and the flux they carry from escaping, the Yunkai'i seal Astapor's gates.[14]

Quentyn Martell reflects that the sights he saw riding down the red brick streets of Astapor will haunt him forever and that the Red City is the closest thing to hell he ever hopes to know. Astapor's burning pyramids are larger than any castle he has ever seen.[15] Sellswords hunt the hills north of Astapor for those who escape the city.[14] Two Ghiscari legions land at Astapor in preparation for the second siege of Meereen.[14]

According to the peace treaty between Meereen and Yunkai, Astapor is to be restored in its old form as a slaver city.[16] Daenerys provides some food and shelter to Astapori refugees who reach Meereen, but her city's gates are sealed in an attempt prevent the bloody flux from spreading.[14][17]

Quotes

Astapor is most beautiful at dusk, Your Grace. The Good Masters light silk lanterns on every terrace, so all the pyramids glow with colored lights. Pleasure barges ply the Worm, playing soft music and calling at the little islands for food and wine and other delights.[3]
Missandei, to Daenerys Targaryen


From here it looks almost beautiful, but it is dark below, in the streets and plazas and fighting pits. And it is darkest of all in the barracks , where some little boy is feeding scraps to the puppy they gave him when they took away his manhood.[3]
Daenerys Targaryen's thoughts


Even a modest khalasar could crack this Astapor like a nut and spill out the rotted meat inside.[3]
Daenerys Targaryen, to Jorah Mormont


Daenerys: Many of my freedmen were slaves in Astapor. Perhaps some will wish to help defend your king. That is their choice, as free men. I gave Astapor its freedom. It is up to you to defend it.

Ghael: We are all dead, then. You gave us death, not freedom.[12]

- Daenerys Targaryen and Ghael


Brick and blood built Astapor, and brick and blood its people. The old rhyme rang in her head. Ash and bone is Astapor, and ash and bone its people.[14]
Daenerys Targaryen's thoughts

Chapters which take place at Astapor

References and Notes

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