Age of the Hundred Kingdoms

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The Age of the Hundred Kingdoms was the broad period of Westerosi history set between the Andal Invasion and the Targaryen Conquest.[1][2]

The Andal Invasion was a lengthy process stretching across many centuries, starting in the east and reaching the west side of the continent more gradually. The Iron Islands were the last region to be invaded by Andal adventurers, about 4,000 years before Aegon's Conquest. Thus the exact beginning of this era varied from one region to the next, and even within a single region had no clear starting point - simply when the Andals had intermixed with the local First Men they ruled over enough over the generations that they stopped thinking of themselves as separate peoples.

Overview

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. According to Maester Yandel, "Hundred Kingdoms" is common term popularly applied for the era, but in truth Westeros was never divided into literally as many as one hundred realms at any specific time.[3]

Very broadly, each major region of Westeros may have had a dozen or more petty kingdoms in it during the earlier portions of this period. 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. Towards the later stages of this period (roughly 2,000-1,000 BC), these middle-sized kingdoms aggregated even more until the lands south of the Wall were consolidated into only "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".
  • ~400 BC - The Storm Kings of House Durrandon conquered the riverlands, and proceeded to hold it for three centuries. The Storm Kings also chipped away at the border territories of the Reach to the west and Dorne to the south. For a time this large Durrandon kingdom dominated the political landscape in southern Westeros, but the other kingdoms recognized the threat and increasingly allied against it. The Durrandons were also in a precarious position, due to conquering central Westeros, which now gave them hostile borders with all six of the other kingdoms. The Reach's mounted knights drove back the Storm Kings from the upper Mander, and in the south the Dornish pushed them back one mountain valley at a time. Meanwhile, the riverlanders chafed under the domination of the stormlands, with several local insurrections. The westerlands, the Vale, and the North also came into conflict with them, but it was from the Iron Islands that their downfall would ultimately come.
  • ~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 and Notes

  1. The World of Ice and Fire,The Stormlands, "As the centuries passed, the two races of men became as one...House Durrandon reached its greatest heights in the epoch that followed. During the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms, King Arlan I (the Avenger) swept all before him...".
  2. GRRM live-reading at Chi-Con 7, 2012, GRRM: "...The history of Westeros, and the ages before: the Dawn Age, and the Age of Heroes, and the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms..." -- the Age of the Hundred Kingdoms is not "everything before the Targaryen Conquest", but is a finite and distinct period.
  3. The World of Ice and Fire, The North.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands: Andals in the Stormlands.
  5. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne: Kingdoms of the First Men.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne: The Coming of the Rhoynar.
  8. The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne: The Andals Arrive.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  10. The World of Ice and Fire, The Iron Islands: The Iron Kings.
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  13. 13.0 13.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Garth Greenhand.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 The World of Ice and Fire, The Riverlands.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  17. The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands: House Durrandon.
  18. The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands: The Men of the Stormlands.
  19. 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale.
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands.

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