|Location||Free Cities, Essos|
|Government||Sealord of Braavos|
|Founded||between ~400 BC and 1436 BC[N 1]|
Titan of Braavos, Drowned Town, |
House of Black and White,
Purple Harbor, Ragman's Harbor
Temple of the Moonsingers,
Patternmaker's Maze, Stones of the Silent God, sweetwater river
|Organizations||Faceless Men, Iron Bank, Moonsingers|
Braavos is the wealthiest and likely the most powerful of the Free Cities. It is located in a lagoon on the northwestern end of Essos, where the narrow sea and the Shivering Sea meet. Braavos is also known as Braavos of the Hundred Isles and the Secret City, a name also attributed to the city Nefer, the last remaining city of N'ghai. Additionally, Braavos is sometimes referred to as the bastard daughter of Valyria.
- 1 City
- 2 History
- 3 Recent Events
- 4 Chapters that take place at Braavos
- 5 Quotes
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
Braavos sprawls across a hundred islands in a vast lagoon. The Volantenes are fond of boasting that the hundred isles of Braavos can be dropped and drowned in their own harbor at the mouth of the Rhoyne.
The nearby mainland is mostly marshland, whilst the seaward sides of Braavos are protected by tall, mountainous islands which form a semi-circle around the city, such as Sellagoro's Shield. Firewood is brought in by barge, while pines on the islands surrounding the city are left to act as windbreaks to protect the harbors, and are illegal to cut down.
There is a stretch of land to the south claimed by Braavos, the Braavosian Coastland. The western coast of Lorath Bay is also under Braavosi control. The Braavosi fleets dominate the seas northwest of Essos, protected by the warlords belonging to the Sealord. To enter the lagoon in which Braavos is located, one must pass beneath the Titan of Braavos, a stone fortress in the shape of a huge warrior. The Titan roars every dawn and every sunset, and appears to roar every hour as well, as well as when a ship is approaching. Its roar can be heard across the city, faint, but capable of waking the sleeping city. Just beyond the Titan is located the Arsenal, a vast shipyard where a warship can be built in a day and which is warned by the Titan.
In autumn, Braavos generally knows three types of weather: fog, rain, and freezing rain. However, there are also days that are clear, crisp, and bright. Close to winter, the canals can have ice on them.
Braavos is comprised of a hundred islands linked together by small stone bridges spanning the many canals throughout the city. The houses in the humbler regions are tightly packed together, even over the canals. One of the bigger canals is the Canal of Heroes, located closest to the Titan of Braavos, the Chequy Port, and the Arsenal. Multiple bridges cross the Canal of Heroes, and along both sides are rows of statues of deceased Sealords. The canal leads directly to the center of the city, where the Isle of the Gods is located. The Green Canal leads from the Palace of Truth to the east side of the lagoon, and the Black Canal can be crossed when traveling to the Ragman's Harbor.
Also of note is the Long Canal, the broadest of the major waterways, leading from the center of the city to the south of the lagoon, where a fishmarket is located. The First Law of Braavos has been engraved in stone on an arch spanning this canal. Along the Long Canal, the Palace of Truth can be found, as well as the tall square towers of the Prestayns to the west and the Antaryons to the east. South of these towers, the large grey aqueduct of the sweetwater river crosses the Long Canal, after the Silty Town is passed on the east side of the canal. Here, the houses are smaller, and less grand.
There are no trees to be found within the city (except in the courts and gardens of the mighty) making Braavos a flat city of stone architecture and granite monuments. The streets are lined with houses made of grey stone, built so close that they lean upon one another. Some houses are built above waterways. They are usually slim buildings with peaked tile roofs, raised four to five stories tall. Braavos has no walls. The islands like Sellagoro's Shield surrounding Braavos are covered with soldier pines and black spruce, which act as windbreaks to protect the harbor. It is illegal to cut these trees down. Because of this, and the lack of wood in the remainder of the city, the price of firewood, which has to be brought in by barge, is high.
As the water from the lagoon is brackish and briny and the canal water is not drinkable without first boiling it, the Braavosi have build the sweetwater river to supply themselves with clean water. A grey stone roadway supported by three tiers of arches traveling from the south, looming above the canals and houses, it brings fresh water from the mainland across the mudflats and the briny shallows. Rich men pipe it directly into their homes, while commoners fill buckets at public fountains. The sweetwater river ends at the Moon Pool.
The Drowned Town is the eldest part of the city. It is located in an area in the north-west of the city, directly north of the Ragman's Harbor, where the town has fallen into the lagoon and only the domes and towers of the old buildings are visible above the surface of the water. In the higher part of the half-submerged buildings, some of the poorer people still live. The Spotted Cellar is located near the gates to the Drowned Town. There, eel fights are held. East of the Drowned Town, the Gate can be found.
Scattered throughout the city are small wharves and landings for fishermen and ferries. Some of the wharves are located below the Drowned Town. Further, the city is served by three main harbors: the Chequy Port, located directly behind the Arsenal, where ships arriving in Braavos have to submit to inspection by the Sealord's customs officers upon arrival in the city; the Purple Harbor, located in the north of the city beneath the towers and domes of the Sealord's Palace, a harbor for Braavosi ships only; and the Ragman's Harbor, also called the Outer Harbor, located in the west of the city, where all foreign ships are allowed to dock. Ragman's is poorer, rougher, dirtier, and noisier than the Purple Harbor.
All gods are honored in Braavos, and therefore, there are many temples and shrines to be found in the city. Most of the temples are located on the Isle of the Gods in the center of the city. Amongst them is the Temple of the Moonsingers, who led the original Braavosi refugees to the islands. Theirs is the biggest temple, built of white marble capped with a silvered dome, milk glass windows showing all the phases of the moon, and a pair of marble maidens flanks its gates. Other temples of note are the temple of the Father of Waters, which is rebuilt whenever he takes a new bride, the House of Black and White, where homage is done to the Many-Faced God, the Temple of the Lord of Light, and the Sept-Beyond-the-Sea, where only Westerosi come to pray.
Other sites include the shrine of the Weeping Lady of Lys, the Gardens of Gelenei, the wooden hall of the Lord of Harmony, the house of the Great Shepherd, a three-turreted tower honoring Trios, the Stones of the Silent God, the Patternmaker's Maze, the temple of Aquan the Red Bull, and twin temples honoring Semosh and Selloso, and the temple of the Cult of Starry Wisdom. Even gods that have no more followers are honored in a temple called the Holy Refuge or, colloquially, the Warren.
The best inns, alehouses and brothels lie near the Purple Harbor or the Moon Pool. Bravos fight at night at the latter. Healers for hire are found at the House of the Red Hands. The Blue Lantern and the Dome, two mummers' playhouses, are located near the Purple Harbor. Near Ragman's Harbor, one can find the Inn of the Green Eel, the Black Bargeman, Moroggo's, the Foghouse the Outcast Inn, the House of Seven Lamps, the Satin Palace, the Sailmender and the Cattery, the Happy Port, across from the Mummer's Ship, Pynto's, and beneath the second arch of Nabbo's Bridge lies a winesink, a small, cramped, dirty establishment with barely enough space to fit ten people.
By and large, Braavosi are a kind people, great lovers of song. Wealthy Braavosi dress in charcoal grey, purple, blues so dark that are almost black, and blacks as dark as moonlight. Sword-wielding bravos, in contrast, dress in flamboyant colors. Instead of traveling by horse, the Braavosi use boats.
Braavos is renowned worldwide for its courtesans. Every courtesan has her own barge and servants to work them. Songs are sung about them, and they are showered with gifts from goldsmiths and craftsmen beg for their custom. Additionally, pugnacious bravos fill the city, frequently dueling to display their skill. Visibly wearing a sword at night means that you can be challenged to a fight, but the bravos do not bother anyone who does not wear a sword. Bravos are known to kill each other in the name of courtesans, and some take it as a challenge when another claims that another woman than the Nightingale is the most beautiful woman in the world. The Black Pearl is considered by some to be the most famous courtesan.
Braavosi culture has created a unique form of sword fighting, the water dance. The style is a refined form of fencing in which the practitioner stands sideways and wields a slender blade. The greatest of the bravos call themselves water dancers, and they always duel at night. They take their name from the custom of dueling on the Moon Pool, near the Sealord's Palace.
The ruler of the city is the Sealord, who lives in the Sealord's Palace in the northeast of the city. Instead of hereditary succession, the Sealord is chosen by Braavosi magisters and keyholders through a convoluted process, and he serves for life. The selection of his successor can be highly contested and can resort to violence. The Sealord's personal guard is commanded by the First Sword of Braavos. The exact position of the Third Sword is not known. Tormo Fregar is believed by some to become the next Sealord if Ferrego Antaryon passes away.
The anniversary of the Uncloaking is celebrated annually. The masked feasts last for ten days, and culminate in the midnight of the tenth day, when the Titan roars and all of the celebrants remove their masks at the same time.
Braavos is the wealthiest and most powerful of the Free Cities, in part due to the wealth and influence of the Iron Bank. The Iron Bank lends money to foreign nations, including the Seven Kingdoms. Braavosi coins are square and made from iron.
During the years when Braavos was as of yet undiscovered, the city prospered. The Braavosi discovered a sea snail similar to those that could be found at Tyrosh, and whose dyes had made the city famous. The snail found by the Braavosi yielded dark purple dye, which the Braavosi used to color the sails of the ships the founders had stolen from the Valyrians. They paint their hulls purple too. At first, Braavos began to trade with Ib, and later the Seven Kingdoms.
Braavos has a seafaring trade culture. Much of the city's early wealth came from the brackish waters of the lagoon. These waters yielded oysters, eels, crabs, crawfish, clams, rays, and many sorts of fish. Braavosi ships paint their hulls purple and their merchant ships sail to many distant lands and bring their trade and wealth back home. One hears of purple sails as far away as Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea. In the present, Braavos is one of the greatest ports of the world, where all but slavers are allowed to dock. Even ships from Qarth and the Summer Isles come to Braavos to trade.
Unlike the other Free Cities, Braavos was never part of the Valyrian Freehold. The youngest of these cities, Braavos was founded by escaped slaves, fleeing the grasp of the Freehold. The slaves rebelled on their way from Valyria to a new colony in Sothoryos, took control of the ships, and turned north instead of south, travelling as far as they could. According to the histories of Braavos, it was a group of slave women from the lands of Jogos Nhai, the moonsingers, who predicted where shelter could be found. Thus, the slaves travelled to the distant lagoon, hidden away from sight of the dragonlords by the wall of hills covered with pine trees and the fog covering the lagoon. The founders of Braavos risked their lives for freedom, and swore a vow that no one in their city would ever be a slave, thrall, or bondsman. This vow became the First Law of Braavos, and is engraved on the arch spanning the Long Canal.
The city's exact founding date is unknown.[N 1] The existence of the city was a secret for a century. While Maester Yandel states that Sealord Uthero Zalyne had sent forth his ships to every corner of the world in order to proclaim the existence and location of Braavos during the Uncloaking (or Unmasking) of Uthero at the 111th festival celebrating the city's founding, the city's location remained hidden for another few centuries.[N 2] Settlements were paid to the descendants of the former masters of the escaped slaves to compensate for the ships that had been stolen, though the Braavosi refused to pay for the value of the slaves.
Century of Blood & Aegon's Conquest
During the Century of Blood following the Doom of Valyria, Volantis attempted to take control of Valyria's daughters. The Volantenes managed to take control over Myr and Lys, but when they attempted to take Tyrosh they met with resistance. In the rebellion against Volantis, the Sealord of Braavos sent a hundred warships to the aid of Lys.
During Aegon's Conquest, a dozen Braavosi warships helped the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale in battle against the Targaryens in the Gullet. Shortly after the Conquest, the north hired a Braavosi fleet; Queen Marla Sunderland was disposed of when the fleet came into sight, and her brother yielded the Three Sisters peacefully.
During the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, Lady Laena Velaryon was betrothed to the son of the Sealord of Braavos. The Sealord died before the marriage could take place, however, and his son had proven to be a wastrel and fool, who spent all of his father's wealth and remained on Driftmark permanently. Laena's father, Lord Corlys Velaryon, repeatedly postponed the wedding, as he did not want it to continue, yet saw no way to gracefully rid himself of the man. Thus, they were betrothed for a decade, until Prince Daemon Velaryon in 115 ᴀᴄ spoke privately with Corlys about a marriage to Laena, provoked her betrothed until he demanded single combat, and then killed the Braavosi man.
Over the past two centuries, Braavos has fought six wars against Pentos concerning the practice of slavery and the lands located in between the two cities. Four of these wars were won by Braavos. The last war ended in 209 ᴀᴄ, after Nevio Narratys, Prince of Pentos, convinced the magisters of Pentos to sue for peace after winning a rare victory. In the peace accords, Pentos was forced by Braavos to make several concessions, including the termination of slavery in Pentos and their withdrawal from the slave trade.
After Princess Naerys Targaryen almost died in labor in 161 ᴀᴄ, her brother and husband, Prince Aegon Targaryen was sent on a diplomatic mission to Braavos. There he met Bellegere Otherys the daughter of a Sealord's son and a princess from the Summer Isles, with whom he started an affair that would last for a decade and yield three children. Bellegere was called the Black Pearl of Braavos, and her daughter Bellenora became the first courtesan by that name; her descendants have been Black Pearls until the present.
In 276 ᴀᴄ, King Aerys II Targaryen announced he was going to "bring the Titan to its knees" after a dispute with the Iron Bank. However, Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, settled the dispute by repaying the loans made by Aerys's father, King Jaehaerys II, with his own money. After Robert's Rebellion, the last two surviving children of Aerys, Prince Viserys and Princess Daenerys, were taken to Braavos by Ser Willem Darry and four other loyal men, where they lived in a house with a red door. While they were staying there, Willem signed a secret marriage pact with Oberyn Martell. This betrothed Arianne, the daughter of Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, to Viserys, in return for Dorne supporting Viserys's claim to the Iron Throne. However, Willem fell ill around 289 ᴀᴄ and died soon after. After his death, servants stole the money remaining to the Targaryens, who were forced to leave the house. Daenerys and Viserys began to wander the Free Cities, although they visited Braavos at least once more during later years.
The great-grandfather of Petyr Baelish was born in Braavos. He came to the Vale as a sellsword in hire of Lord Corbray. His son, upon receiving knighthood, took the Titan of Braavos for his sigil.
Ser Jorah Mormont once visited Braavos with his second wife, Lynesse Hightower. While there, he borrowed heavily from moneylenders from the city. When he was exiled from Westeros several years later, he wanted to return to Braavos, but as per his wife's request of a warmer location, he went to Lys instead, and as a sellsword, fought on the Rhoyne against the Braavosi. Allard Seaworth has a girl in Braavos.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
Stannis Baratheon plans to send letters to Braavos and the other Free Cities, announcing his claim to the Iron Throne, and telling them about Cersei Lannister's infamy. A moneylender from Braavos arrives at the court of King's Landing, asking to see King Joffrey I Baratheon about payments on some loans. He is send to Petyr Baelish, the master of coin. In order to get her to Dorne safely, Princess Myrcella Baratheon is to travel to Braavos from King's Landing, and from Braavos to Dorne.
Arya Stark receives a coin from the Lorathi Jaqen H'ghar. He tells her that, if she would ever wish to find him again, she has to give the coin to any man from Braavos, and say to him the words "valar morghulis".
A Storm of Swords
The Braavosi Mero, also called the Titan's Bastard, is the commander of a sellsword company, the Second Sons, hired by Yunkai when Daenerys arrives at the city with her host. Mero flees during the battle near Yunkai and hides in the gathered refugees that follow Daenerys to Meereen, shaving his beard to disguise his appearance. When Daenerys rides through the refugee camps, Mero attempts to kill her but is stopped by Arstan Whitebeard and torn apart by the freedmen in the camps.
Tyrion Lannister considers taking his wife, Sansa Stark to go see Braavos. When Sansa hides in the Vale, she pretends to be Alayne Stone, the bastard daughter of Petyr Baelish by a Braavosi gentlewoman, a daughter of a merchant prince. Petyr claims to Sansa that he had found the dwarves Penny and Oppo in Braavos. However, according to Penny, they had been contacted by Petyr's man in Pentos.
A Feast for Crows
Samwell Tarly is send to Braavos by Lord Commander Jon Snow, together with Gilly, Mance Rayder's son, Maester Aemon, and Dareon. They sail to Braavos on the Blackbird. They encounter storms on their way, however. Aemon falls ill during the journey, and is weak once they arrive in Braavos. They stay in Braavos for a while, and Dareon decides to desert the Night's Watch, preferring to remain in Braavos instead. After crossing paths with "Cat", Samwell meets Xhondo from the Cinnamon Wind, and manages to get him, Aemon, Gilly, and the babe passage to Oldtown. Arya kills Dareon after learning of his desertion.
Cersei Lannister decides to end all payments to the Iron Bank until the war is over. She also receives a report that her brother Tyrion has been spotted in Braavos, though she does not believe it to be true. The Iron Bank begins to refuse new loans, and starts demanding repayments on their outstanding debts.
A Dance with Dragons
Tycho Nestoris, an emissary from the Iron Bank, arrives at Castle Black, where he agrees upon a loan with Lord Commander Snow. He is later sent on to Stannis Baratheon. Melisandre has a vision of a girl coming to Castle Black; thinking that it will be Arya, Jon considers asking the Iron Bank to settle her with a noble family in Braavos.
The Winds of Winter
|| Warning |
This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.
Chapters that take place at Braavos
- A Feast for Crows: 6. Arya I
- A Feast for Crows: 22. Arya II
- A Feast for Crows: 26. Samwell III
- A Feast for Crows: 34. Cat of the Canals
- A Dance with Dragons: 45. The Blind Girl
- A Dance with Dragons: 64. The Ugly Little Girl
- The exact founding date of Braavos is unknown. However, Braavos is the youngest of the Free Cities (The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis)(The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos), meaning it was founded before Lorath, which was founded in 1436 BC (The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath). Harwyn Hoare visited Braavos in his youth, placing his visit near the start of the Century of Blood (i.e., ~100 BC). As Braavos revealed its existence no earlier than three hundred years after its founding (A Feast for Crows, Cat of the Canals), Braavos was founded no later than ~400 BC.
- Either two or three more centuries, depending on how the reader interprets "Its very existence had been a secret for a century, the girl had learned; its location had been hidden thrice that long." (A Feast for Crows, Cat of the Canals).
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Pentos.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Map of the Free Cities
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Shivering Sea.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
- The Winds of Winter, Mercy
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 64, The Ugly Little Girl.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Braavos.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Braavos.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Conquest: The Reign of the Dragons.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
- The Rogue Prince.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- Not a Blog: Wars, Woes, Work
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 61, Sansa V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions (July 22, 2001)