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City state, one of the Free Cities
Free Cities.png
Location Free Cities, Essos
Government Council of Magisters
Population More populous than Astapor, and may be one of the most populous of the Free Cities
Religion Mixed religions
Founded Approx 1,000 years ago
Lys, known as Lys the Lovely. ©FFG

Lys, known as Lys the Lovely, is one of the nine Free Cities of Essos. It is a small city clinging to rocks surrounded by stormy seas.[1] The city lies off the southern coast of the eastern continent, to the southeast of Tyrosh and to the west of Volantis.[2] According to semi-canon sources the city is spread over several islands.[3]

Lys is known for the alchemists who work in the city, who are known to make poisons, the strangler[4] and the tears of Lys among them. Many men lose themselves in Lys and are never found – at least alive. When a man runs out of coin the Lysene may grant him their other specialty.


After the Doom of Valyria a Volantene fleet took Lys and a Volantene army took Myr, and for two generations all three cities were ruled from within the Black Walls. That ended when the tigers tried to swallow Tyrosh. Pentos came into the war on the Tyroshi side, along with the Westerosi Storm King Argilac the Arrogant. Lord Aegon Targaryen flew forth from Dragonstone on Balerion the Black Dread, and Myr and Lys rose up in rebellion. The war left the Disputed Lands a waste and freed Lys and Myr from the yoke of Volantis.[5]

Roughly a century later, along with Myr and Tyrosh, Lys formed the Kingdom of the Three Daughters. After they conquered much of the Stepstones, the three demanded tolls for safe passage, and the Lyseni took slaves for their pleasure gardens. Lady Johanna Swann was enslaved by the Lyseni, but she eventually became the ruler of Lys in all but name as the Black Swan.[6] The admiral of the Three Daughters' ninety-strong fleet during the Battle in the Gullet was a Lysene named Sharako Lohar.[7]

According to Grand Maester Pycelle, spymaster Varys was born a slave in Lys.[8] Tywin Lannister went to Lys during the reign of Aerys II Targaryen.[9] When Daenerys Targaryen was a girl she and her brother Viserys Targaryen spent some time in Lys when they were wandering from place to place.[10] Jon Connington supposedly drank himself to death in Lys after being driven from the Golden Company in disgrace for stealing from the war chest.[11]

After Lord Edgar Yronwood's death, Prince Oberyn Martell went to Oldtown, thence across to the narrow sea to Lys, though none dared call it exile.[12] By the time Ser Jorah Mormont returned to Lys after fighting the Braavosi on the Rhoyne during his exile, his second wife, Lady Lynesse Hightower, had taken Tregar Ormollen as a lover.[13][14]

Hizdahr zo Loraq has visited Lys.

People and Culture

A Lyseni noblewoman - by Magali Villeneuve ©

The blood of Valyria still runs strong in Lys, where even the smallfolk often have pale skin, silver-gold hair and the purple, lilac and pale blue eyes of the dragonlords of old. The Lysene nobility values purity of blood above all and have produced many famous (and infamous) beauties. Even the Targaryen kings and princes of old sometimes turned to Lys in search of wives and paramours, for their blood as for their beauty.[15] The people of Lys are know to curl and perfume their hair.[1]


Slavery is a big part of Lysene culture, so much so, slaves outnumber the freeborn three to one.[16] Slave breeding is widespread in Lys, mating beauty with beauty in hopes of producing ever more refined and lovely courtesans and bedslaves.[15]


According to semi-canon sources, one of the greatest temples of R'hllor stands in Lys. It is also home to a native love goddess;[3] it is unknown if she is the same as the Weeping Lady of Lys. This love goddess graces the Lysene coinage, naked and wanton.[16]

Commerce and Currency

A coin of Lys, as depicted by Nutchapol Thitinunthakorn in The World of Ice and Fire

Lysene coins are oval in shape and have a naked woman stamped on them.[17]

Lys makes a red wine and a white wine,[1] fine tapestries,[18] and the source of a lethal poison, the tears of Lys.

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Ser Davos Seaworth recalls that it was he who journeyed to Lys in order to recruit Salladhor Saan to King Stannis Baratheon's cause. [19]

A Storm of Swords

Tyrosh is on the verge of going to war with Lys.[20]

A Feast for Crows

Lys and Tyrosh are now on the verge of war with Myr.[21] It is later rumored that the Archon of Tyrosh has offered terms to Lys in an effort to end the trade war.[22]

A Dance with Dragons

Edric Storm is in hiding in Lys with his guardian and protectors.[23]

See also

References and Notes

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