Narrow sea

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Autumn storms are common - by Marc Fishman ©

The narrow sea is the sea between the continent of Westeros to its west and the continent of Essos to its east. The sea is relatively narrow and easy to cross, but large enough to make large-scale invasions and military incursions between the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities difficult. There is regular trade across the narrow sea between the two continents.[1]

The narrow sea can be rough in autumn, when storms are common. In winter, the storms are worse but less frequent.[2] The stormlands are especially hit hard by storms which develop in the warmer waters of the Summer Sea to the south.[3] It is suggested that a journey from the Shield Islands to the far side of the narrow sea is so hazardous in autumn that two-thirds of a fleet might be lost in the attempt.[4] Trading galleys are sometimes better off crossing in the safety of the Stepstones.

Westerosi nobles—such as Bradamar Frey, Oberyn Martell, Aerion Targaryen, and Laena Velaryon—are sometimes fostered or seek refuge in the cities across the water.

Geography

The narrow sea separates Westeros from Essos.

The narrow sea connects the Shivering Sea in the north, the Sea of Dorne in the west, the Sea of Myrth in the east, and the Summer Sea in the south, which it is separated from by the island chain known as the Stepstones.

Westeros

The narrow sea begins along the eastern coast of northern Westeros. The nearby Shivering Sea is generally held to begin north of the Wall,[5] but it is also described as reaching Skagos in the Bay of Seals and the Grey Cliffs.[6] Settlements near the two seas along the eastern coast of the north include Eastwatch-by-the-Sea,[7] Widow's Watch,[8] and Ramsgate.

Located in or near the Bite are the Three Sisters, White Harbor, and Oldcastle. Settlements of the Vale of Arryn along the sea include Old Anchor, Runestone, and Gulltown. Across the Bay of Crabs to the south is Crackclaw Point with the Whispers in the crownlands.

The Gullet separates the narrow sea from Blackwater Bay, upon which are located King's Landing and Duskendale. Lords of the narrow sea sworn to Dragonstone include House Celtigar of Claw Isle, House Velaryon of Driftmark, House Sunglass of Sweetport Sound, and House Bar Emmon of Sharp Point.[9] Further south is Massey's Hook with Stonedance.

The isle of Tarth and the Straits of Tarth separate the narrow sea from Shipbreaker Bay. Located on Tarth is Evenfall Hall. South of Tarth on Cape Wrath in the stormlands are Rain House near the rainwood and the Weeping Town, and nearby is Greenstone on the isle of Estermont.

South across the Sea of Dorne is Ghost Hill in Dorne. East of the Sea of Dorne are the Stepstones.

Essos

The Free City of Braavos is located in a lagoon in northwestern Essos, where the narrow sea meets the Shivering Sea. South of Braavos is the Braavosian Coastland, which stetches to Andalos.

East from Massey's Hook across the narrow sea is the Bay of Pentos, with the Free City of Pentos. Further south is the Sea of Myrth with the Free City of Myr.

The Free City of Tyrosh is located on an island near the Stepstones and the Disputed Lands of southwestern Essos.

Stepstones

The Stepstones, including Bloodstone, and Grey Gallows, divide the narrow sea from the Summer Sea to the south. Tyrosh is on the northeasternmost of the Stepstones.[10]

History

Cliffs along the narrow sea. Illustrated by Trevor Cook. © Fantasy Flight Games

The First Men of antiquity crossed the Arm of Dorne from Essos to Westeros. According to legend, however, the hammer of the waters shattered the land bridge and created the Stepstones between the narrow sea and the Summer Sea.[11] During the Andal invasion, Andals sailed in longships across the narrow sea from Andalos to the east coast of Westeros.[12] When Andals attacked the north, King Theon Stark retaliated by raiding the coast of Andalos.[13] The Wolf's Den was built to protect the White Knife from raiders from the east.[14]

After conquering the Old Empire of Ghis, the Valyrian Freehold expanded west and established several colonies, which are now called the Free Cities.[15] These included Pentos and Myr along the narrow sea and Tyrosh, which was founded to control trade in the Stepstones.[10] Refugees from Valyrian slavery founded Braavos where the narrow sea meets the Shivering Sea.[16]

Princess Nymeria led ten thousand ships of the Rhoynar across the narrow sea to Dorne after the Valyrians defeated them in the Rhoynish Wars.[17][18]

Overcoming the resistance of the local lords of the narrow sea, Dragonstone was raised as the westernmost outpost of the Valyrian Freehold.[19] The Targaryens controlled the skies above the narrow sea with their dragons, while the fleets of their Valyrian allies, the Velaryons and Celtigars, controlled the middle region of the sea.[20]

King's Landing, which was built after Aegon's Conquest, surpassed Duskendale as the largest Westerosi port of the narrow sea.[21]

Prince Daemon Targaryen claimed to be King of the Stepstones and the Narrow Sea, but he was opposed by the Kingdom of the Three Daughters.[22] King Viserys II Targaryen encouraged greater trade across the narrow sea during his brief reign.[23] Exiled in Essos, the Blackfyre Pretenders plotted to cross the narrow sea and claim the Iron Throne.

In the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion, the fleet of House Targaryen at Dragonstone was destroyed by a fierce storm. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen were smuggled across the narrow sea by Ser Willem Darry before the assault on Dragonstone.[24] Daenerys spent much of her childhood fleeing across the sea from one city to the next.[25]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Ser Rodrik Cassel is seasick while traveling on the rough narrow sea from White Harbor to King's Landing.[26]

Lord Tywin Lannister brings the Brave Companions across the narrow sea.[27]

A Clash of Kings

Stannis Baratheon hires sellswords from the Free Cities across the narrow sea.[28] Stannis sends Ser Davos Seaworth on Black Betha and Allard Seaworth on Lady Marya to spread word of his claim to both coasts of the sea.[29] The pirate and sellsail Salladhor Saan styles himself Prince of the Narrow Sea.[29]

Stannis's royal fleet sails from Storm's End to King's Landing before the Battle of the Blackwater, but the ships are scattered and delayed by a storm in the narrow sea.[30]

Tyrion Lannister sends his niece, Princess Myrcella Baratheon, to Dorne via Braavos.[31]

A Storm of Swords

Stannis grants the title of Admiral of the Narrow Sea to Davos.[32] Davos sends Edric Storm from Dragonstone to the Free Cities to protect him from Melisandre.[33] Stannis's remaining ships carry him from Dragonstone north to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea for the defense of the Wall.[34]

A Feast for Crows

Arya Stark sails on the Titan's Daughter from Saltpans to Braavos.[35]

Word spreads across the narrow sea that Queen Regent Cersei Lannister seeks her brother, Tyrion Lannister, and will reward his captor with a lordship.[36]

The raid on Saltpans occurs when some of the Brave Companions are unable to find transport across the sea.[37]

A Dance with Dragons

Varys smuggles Tyrion from King's Landing to Pentos.[38]

Eastwatch at the Wall[7] and Arnolf Karstark of Karhold[39] report of savage storms in the narrow sea. Salladhor's Lysene fleet is scattered by storms in the narrow sea while sailing south from Eastwatch.[40] Storms also scatter the sellsword fleet of Aegon Targaryen during the landing of the Golden Company in the stormlands.[41]

Quotes

Robert: This Khal Drogo is said to have a hundred thousand men in his horde. What would Jon say to that?

Eddard: He would say that even a million Dothraki are no threat to the realm, so long as they remain on the other side of the narrow sea. The barbarians have no ships. They hate and fear the open sea.[42]

- Robert I Baratheon and Eddard Stark


Autumn in the narrow sea could often be wet and rainy, he remembered from years past.[43]
- thoughts of Davos Seaworth


Tyrion: In Westeros, the word of a Lannister is considered good as gold.

Inkpots: This is not Westeros. On this side of the narrow sea, we put our promises on paper. Debts written on the wind tend to be ... forgotten, shall we say?[44]

- Tyrion Lannister and Inkpots


Words are wind, and the wind that blows exiles across the narrow sea seldom blows them back.[45]
- Stannis Baratheon to Justin Massey

References and Notes

  1. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities.
  2. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  3. The World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands.
  4. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver, 440.
  5. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Shivering Sea.
  6. The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Shivering Sea.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  8. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Widow's Watch.
  9. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  11. The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne: The Breaking.
  12. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals.
  13. The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  15. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  18. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships.
  19. The World of Ice and Fire, The Doom of Valyria.
  20. The World of Ice and Fire, The Conquest.
  21. The World of Ice and Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  22. The Rogue Prince.
  23. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  28. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  30. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  32. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
  35. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
  36. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  37. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  38. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  39. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
  40. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  41. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  43. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 5, Davos I.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
  45. The Winds of Winter, Chapter , Theon.

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