Age of the Hundred Kingdoms

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The Age of the Hundred Kingdoms was a broad period of Westerosi history which occurred before the Targaryen Conquest.

Definition

The term "Age of the Hundred Kingdoms" has thusfar only been mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire. While writing the book, Martin spoke of the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms as if it was distinct from the Age of Heroes. In a 2012 panel at World Con, George R. R. Martin spoke of: "...The history of Westeros, and the ages before: the Dawn Age, and the Age of Heroes, and the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms..."[1] It is known that the Dawn Age ended with the signing of the Pact, and that the Age of Heroes began afterwards. The Age of heroes in turn ended with the Andal invasion.

Though The World of Ice & Fire does not specify the start and end of this time period, several indications are given. King Arlan I Durrandon extended the domains of his kingdoms as far as the Blackwater Rush and the headwaters of the Mander during the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms.[2] Arlan's grandson, Arlan III Durrandon, conquered the riverlands, which the Storm Kings held for three centuries before losing it to King Harwyn Hoare during the century before Aegon's Conquest. This usage indicates that the term "Age of the Hundred Kingdoms" was still applied even during the past four to five centuries before the Targaryen Conquest.

The Darklyns of Duskendale are known to have been kings of Duskendale in days of the Hundred Kingdoms[3][4] before the Andals came to Westeros, during the Age of Heroes.[5] The usage of the Darklyns having been kings both in the days of the Hundred Kingdoms and during the Age of Heroes leads to the possibility that the two time periods overlap.

The terms "Age of the Hundred Kingdoms" or "Hundred Kingdoms" have thus far not been used in any other material from A Song of Ice and Fire. At least, they were never capitalized as a distinct proper name the way "Age of Heroes" has been from the start. However, several references to this time period might be found in A Game of Thrones. Old Nan refers to "the hundred kingdoms" of the First Men spread across Westeros when the Long Night occurred.[6] Similarly, Maester Aemon states that the Night's Watch was formed after the Long Night by men from "a hundred quarrelsome kingdoms".[7] If meant to indicate the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms, they would place the start of this time period before the Long Night, and indicate an overlap between the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms and the Age of Heroes. However, it has not been confirmed whether these statements refer to the specific time period known as the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms or not.

Importantly, according to Maester Yandel, "Hundred Kingdoms" is just a broad common usage; Westeros was never literally divided in a hundred independent kingdoms.[8]

History

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During the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms, Westeros was divided into numerous realms, both powerful and petty, and with fluctuating borders. Some monarchs used royal titles, while others used titles such as lord but were still sovereign.

As time went on, larger kingdoms aggregated from smaller ones, through conquest or marriage-alliance. For example, the Reach was for some time divided between four smaller kingdoms: the lands north of the Mander River ruled by House Gardener of Highgarden, the lands south of the Mander ruled by House Hightower of Oldtown, the eastern marches in the foothills of the Red Mountains ruled by House Tarly of Horn Hill, and the large off-shore island of the Arbor, ruled by House Redwyne. These "hundred kingdoms" were eventually consolidated into "Seven Kingdoms" - to the point that "the Seven Kingdoms" became a byword for the entire geographic region.

Consolidation into seven large kingdoms did not bring peace to Westeros - it simply meant that wars were fought on larger scales. The Seven Kingdoms were embroiled in constant petty wars for land, wealth, and glory. The Valyrians in Essos, then at the height of their power, considered Westeros a backwater at the edge of the world filled with quarrelsome barbarians.

The great waves of ironborn conquests which had once defined the western coasts before the Andal Invasion were no longer a major factor for most of this era: the ironborn went into a sharp decline after House Hoare allied (and intermarried) with Andal war bands to seize rule over the Iron Islands, and lost all of their possessions on the mainland. Religious wars between followers of the Drowned God and the new Faith of the Seven weakened the ironborn so much that it took thousands of years for them to recover.

Meanwhile, Dorne was officially the last of the "Seven Kingdoms" to be unified, only around 700 BC during the Rhoynar migration. Up until that point it remained a heavily divided region filled with feuding petty kings.

While overall events from this era are subject to the various local histories, several notable wide-scale events began to occur towards the end of the period:

  • 2,000 BC - 1,000 BC - - The War Across the Water. The North invades the Three Sisters, and in response the sistermen offer allegiance to the Vale in return for driving out the northmen. Once the valemen drove out the northmen, the sistermen were not satisfied with foreign rule by the Vale either, and switched sides to ally with the defeated northmen to drive the valemen back out. The fighting see-sawed back and forth in this fashion for about one thousand years, until ultimately the North simply lost interest in ruling the Three Sisters and let the Vale keep them.
  • Between ~1,000 BC to ~700 BC - House Manderly is exiled from the Reach and flees to the North, where they are awarded with rule of the Wolf's Den at the mouth of the White Knife, to ward off future attacks against the east coast. In time the Manderlys grow the settlement into White Harbor, the North's only city. White Harbor is the youngest and smallest of the four major cities in Westeros at this time (Oldtown, Lannisport, and Gulltown each originated much earlier in the Age of Heroes).
  • ~700 BC - The Rhoynar refugee fleet led by Nymeria migrated to Dorne, and allied with House Martell to conquer and unify the entire region for the first time. In the style of the Rhoynar, however, unified Dorne was named a principality, not a "kingdom".
  • The stormlands under King Arlan I Durrandon conquers the riverlands after his decisive victory at the Battle of Six Kings and annexes its territory (which includes the future crownlands). The Storm Kings hold the riverlands for three centuries, up until the time of Harwyn Hoare, some three generations before the Targaryen Conquest. The Storm Kings also expand west into the territories of the Reach and south into the Red Mountains of Dorne. For a time the Durrandon kingdom stretches across practically half of southern Westeros, but holding such a large and disparate realm proved another matter. Their possessions now bordered all six of the other kingdoms, with no natural barriers of mountains or rivers to aid their defense. Moreover, the subject lords of the riverlands chafed under their rule and launched frequent rebellions. Towards the end of these three centuries the large Durrandon kingdom increasingly declined, until such weakness invited attack by the ironborn, hungry for new conquests.
  • ~300 BC - The Valyrians colonize several islands in Blackwater Bay, including Driftmark and later Dragonstone. These far-flung settlements become trading outposts, selling prized Valyrian steel to the hungry local lords.
  • 114 BC - The Doom of Valyria plunges Essos into chaos. Westeros is comparatively unaffected, though indirectly this drastically alters the large-scale political and trade landscape. Twelve years before, in 126 BC, however, House Targaryen had relocated to Dragonstone after heeding the warning of prophetic dreams that foretold Valyria's impending destruction. The Targaryens survive the Doom and the subsequent Century of Blood that engulfs Essos at their refuge on Dragonstone - along with the only dragons in the world to survive the Doom. Technically this small Targaryen realm among the isles of Blackwater Bay was its own sovereign entity, but (as Yandel points out) it was anachronistically never counted as one of the full "Seven Kingdoms".
  • ~Roughly three generations before the Targaryen Conquest - The Iron Islands, having finally recovered from the fallout of the Andal Invasion, explode into their second great age of conquest.  Though far shorter than their earlier period of conquering the western coasts during the Age of Heroes, the ironborn under Harwyn Hoare rapidly spread far beyond the coasts, pushing inland and taking the riverlands from the stormlands, all the way to the Gods Eye.  Harwyn's son pushes these conquests farther east, taking the rest of the riverlands down to the mouth of the Blackwater Rush.  The ironborn soon prove to be even crueler rulers to the local rivermen than the storm lords were, and the rivermen are reduced to thralldom.  Harwyn's grandson Harren is an infamously cruel tyrant, who spends decades building a grand new castle seat at the north coast of the Gods Eye to rule these conquests from, the largest castle in Westeros: Harrenhal.

By region

Crownlands

The crownlands were only created after Aegon's Conquest. Prior to House Targaryen's victory, the region contained local petty kings and was also disputed by kings from afar, such as the Storm Kings and river kings.

Dorne

Dorne was a patchwork of kingdoms until its unification by House Nymeros Martell during Nymeria's War.

Iron Islands

In antiquity, each of the Iron Islands had its own rock king and salt king. A high king wearing a driftwood crown was eventually chosen through kingsmoots. House Greyiron eventually made the title King of the Iron Islands hereditary, which was continued by House Hoare. The Hoares later became Kings of the Isles and the Rivers.

North

Over thousands of years the Kings of Winter from House Stark subdued the other kingdoms of the north. In later centuries the Starks were known as Kings in the North.

Reach

The Reach once consisted of various kingdoms which were consolidated by the Kings of the Reach from House Gardener.

Possibly once-sovereign houses include:

Riverlands

The riverlands of old were divided by numerous petty monarchs, although some river kings grew to become Kings of the Trident or Kings of the Rivers and the Hills. The riverlands eventually passed first to the Storm Kings from House Durrandon and then the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers from House Hoare.

Stormlands

The Storm Kings of House Durrandon conquered what is now the stormlands, although their rule was threatened by petty kings during the Andal invasion.

Vale

The Vale of Arryn consisted of a score of petty kingdoms which were conquered during the Andal invasion, after which they were ruled by the Kings of Mountain and Vale from House Arryn.

Possibly once-sovereign houses include:

Westerlands

The westerlands were gradually consolidated by the Kings of the Rock from House Lannister.

Possibly once-sovereign houses include:

References

  1. GRRM live-reading at Chi-Con 7, 2012
  2. The World of Ice & Fire,The Stormlands: Andals in the Stormlands.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
  6. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: Andals in the Stormlands.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Kingdoms of the First Men.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Coming of the Rhoynar.
  12. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Iron Kings.
  15. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  17. 17.0 17.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Garth Greenhand.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 19.8 The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Durrandon.
  21. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: The Men of the Stormlands.
  22. 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  23. 23.00 23.01 23.02 23.03 23.04 23.05 23.06 23.07 23.08 23.09 23.10 23.11 The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.

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