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Free City
by Marc Simonetti ©
by Marc Simonetti ©
Location Free Cities, Essos
Government Prince and Council of magisters
Religion Mixed religions
Nine Free Cities on the continent of Essos:
Pentos, Braavos, Lys, Qohor, Norvos, Myr, Tyrosh, Volantis, Lorath

Pentos is one of the Free Cities. It is a port located on the western coast of Essos.



Pentos is a large port city, more populous than Astapor on Slaver's Bay.[1] Located closest of all the Free Cities to King's Landing in Westeros, Pentos is one of the westernmost of the Free Cities.[2][3] The city lies on the Bay of Pentos off the narrow sea, with the Flatlands plains and Velvet Hills to the east.[2]


Even though Pentos has massive, high walls,[3][4][5] it is often regarded as the most vulnerable of the Free Cities.[3] The city has many square brick towers.[4][6] Most of the roofing is done in tiles. There is a large red temple in Pentos, along with the manse of Illyrio Mopatis,[6] and the Sunrise Gate allows the traveller to exit the city to the east, in the direction of the Rhoyne.[5] The fastest way to Volantis from Pentos is by sea.[5]

The Faith of R'hllor is practiced in Pentos, and the red priests light their night fires there.[4]


Like the Braavosi, and Lysene, Pentoshi are great lovers of song, and generous with those who please them.[7] Some of their men dye, oil, and fork their beards.[8] Pentos has a much higher population than Astapor.[1]

Pentos is a city where wealth equals power, ruled over by a prince with a council of magisters. The prince has a mostly ceremonial function while the council of rich magisters rule. The prince is chosen from the forty families, and presides chiefly over balls and feasts.[6] He is carried from place to place in a rich palanquin with a handsome guard. Each new year he must deflower two maidens: the maid of the sea, and the maid of the fields, to ensure prosperity on land and sea. However, if there is famine or war is lost, the magisters sacrifice the prince and slit his throat to appease the gods, then choose a new prince.[3][6]

Slavery used to be heavily practised in Pentos. However, in the past two centuries six wars were fought between Braavos and Pentos. After the last of these wars, in 209 AC,[9] a peace treaty was made, the terms of which, as imposed by the Braavosi, forbade the Pentoshi from both keeping slaves as well as taking part in the slave trade.[3][6] Pentosi ships flout these laws, however, by running Lysene or Myrish banners when challenged. Meanwhile, the city is full of "free bond servants", who are collared and branded much like slaves in Lys, Myr, or Tyrosh, and subject to similar savage disciplines. They are free men and women by law, with the right to refuse service if they so desire, provided they are not in debt to their masters. Almost all of these men and women are, however, as the cost of food, clothing and shelter is higher than the value of their service.[3][4][6]

Other outcomes of these peace accords are that Pentos is not allowed to have more than twenty warships, nor are they allowed to hire sellswords, make contracts with free companies, or maintain an army. As a consequence, Pentosi are notably less belligerent than cities like Tyroshi, Myrish, or Lysene. In response, the Pentoshi are friendly with the other Free Cities,[3] and are always generous with the Dothraki horselords.[1][3][4]

Some of the more notable Pentoshi include Magister Illyrio Mopatis,[4] and the Pentoshi nobleman known as the Tattered Prince, a sellsword captain who had once been elected as the Prince of Pentos, but who chose to flee from the honor instead.[3][10]

Bastard Valyrian is spoken in Pentos.[11]


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

The Pentoshi are involved in trade, with ships passing forth between Pentos and the Westerosi city King's Landing daily.[3] One of such galleys is the Storm Dancer.[12] Teeming bazaars can be found in Pentos as well.[13]

Despite the fact that slavery used to be heavily practiced in Pentos,[3] since the last war between Braavos and Pentos slavery has been forbidden. Nonetheless, there are plenty of people in Pentos who have servants that are slaves in all but name.[3][4][6]

One of the merchants from Pentos is Illyrio Mopatis, who deals in spices, gemstones, and dragonbone, as well as other, less savory things.[4]

According to semi-canon sources, the square brick towers are controlled by the spice traders of Pentos, who send off their ships to distant locations to trade for saffron and peppers. The poorer population of Pentos, however, struggles, and many become performers, training as singers or tumblers, for multiple generations, perfecting their art.[8][14]



Pentos was founded by Valyrians as a trading outpost,[3] though there are some who claim that Pentos already existed before and that the original inhabitants decided to pay homage to the Valyrians, citing Gessio Haratis's Before the Dragons as their source.[15] In any case, Pentos soon absorbed the hinterlands surrounding it. Its domains stretch from the Velvet Hills and the river Little Rhoyne to the sea, and include almost the whole of the ancient realm of Andalos. The first Pentoshi did not include many nobles; many were merchants, traders, seafarers, and farmers. They were less protective of their Valyrian blood, and therefore, as a consequence, there is considerable Andal blood among the Pentoshi, as they were willing to breed with the original inhabitants of their lands.[3]

Century of Blood

Main article: Century of Blood

As the Century of Blood slowly came to an end, Pentos joined Tyrosh in their resistance to bring down Volantis, as this Free City was attempting to seize control of all Old Valyria had left behind. Pentos and Tyrosh reached out to Lord Aegon Targaryen on Dragonstone, and the Prince of Pentos met with Lord Aegon, after which Aegon flew to Lys to set afire a fleet from Volantis who was about to try and take the city.[16][17]

Recent History

In Westeros, in 39 AC, Prince Maegor Targaryen was exiled by his brother, King Aenys I Targaryen[18] to Pentos.[19] When Aenys I died in 41 AC, Dowager Queen Visenya Targaryen flew to Pentos to retrieve Prince Maegor. Maegor’s second wife, Queen Alys Harroway, remained in Pentos, arriving in Westeros only later. With her came a Pentoshi beauty called Tyanna, who was rumored to have been the bastard daughter of a Pentoshi magister, and who would become Maegor’s third wife.[19]

In 115 AC, Prince Daemon Targaryen married Lady Laena Velaryon, and since Daemon realized his brother, King Viserys I Targaryen, would not be pleased when he heard about the marriage, Daemon and Laena left Westeros and travelled to Pentos instead. The Prince of Pentos entertained them, as the Pentoshi were fearing the increasing strength of the Kingdom of the Three Daughters, and Pentos saw Prince Daemon as a valuable ally. Though Daemon and Laena travelled elsewhere as well, they had returned to Pentos by the time Laena learned she was pregnant. They remained in Pentos as guests of a Pentoshi magister, where their twin daughters, Baela and Rhaena Targaryen, were born in 116 AC. Daemon and Laena remained for another half a year, after which they travelled back to Driftmark.[20]

During the civil war in Westeros known as the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon decided that his younger half-brothers Aegon and Viserys would be fostered with the Prince of Pentos until their mother, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, had secured the Iron Throne. The two young princes departed on the Pentoshi cog the Gay Abandon towards the end of 129 AC, but the ship never made it to its destination.[21] After the Dance of the Dragons had concluded, Pentos joined an alliance with Braavos and Lorath in order to bring down the Kingdom of the Three Daughters.[22]

During the reign of Westerosi King Daeron I Targaryen, Pentos and Lys were at war with Braavos.[23] Grand Maester Kaeth discusses at length in his book, ‘’Lives of Four Kings’’, that because King Daeron had entered talks regarding a marriage alliance with Braavos,[22] concerning the Sealord of Braavos and one of Daeron's sisters,[22] this emboldened the other Free Cities to lend aid to the Dornish rebels.[22]

During the past two centuries, six wars have been fought with Braavos, over slavery, and control of the lands and waters between the two cities. The Braavosi were victorious in four of these. The sixth and last of them ended in 209 AC,[9] The war had gone so badly for the Pentoshi – four princes were elected and sacrificed within a year – that Nevio Narratys, the fifth Prince of Pentos within a year, convinced the magisters to sue for peace, after a victory that, as it was rumoured, Narratys had bought with bribes. In the peace accords agreed upon between the two cities, Pentos had to abolish slavery and withdraw from the slave trade. In addition, Pentos is no longer allowed to have more than twenty warships, or hire sellswords, contract free companies, or maintaining an army.[3] Thus, the magisters have become friendly with the Dothraki khals, showering them with gifts whenever they are near the city.[1][3][4]

In 262 AC, a man now known as the Tattered Prince, 23 years old at the time, was chosen by the magisters of Pentos to be their new Prince of Pentos – shortly after beheading the previous one. [3][10] Instead of accepting their offer, the Tattered Prince fled to the Disputed Lands, later forming the free company called the Windblown.[3]

Illyrio Mopatis was a bravo in Pentos in his youth. There he met the eunuch Varys, whom he befriended. They began to work together,[5] and have done so until the present day.[6][24] When they were still young, Varys would steal items from nobles, and Illyrio would get them back for these people, for a fee. After a while, Illyrio grew to be so respected in Pentos due to his ability to return stolen goods, that a cousin of the Prince of Pentos offered him the hand of his daughter in marriage.[5] Meanwhile, no longer trusting in his Hand of the King, Queen or son, Westerosi King Aerys II Targaryen sent across the narrow sea to Pentos for Varys, who he named his spymaster, sometime after the death of Lord Steffon Baratheon in 278 AC.[5][25] Varys would serve Aerys for the remainder of his reign, and would be pardoned by King Robert I Baratheon after Aerys's death in the rebellion fought in 282 AC/283 AC, after which he served King Robert I during his entire reign as well, continueing in this position under Robert’s son Joffrey I, and for a short time under Robert’s younger son Tommen.[26][27][28][29][30]

Eunuch slave Belwas was sold from Meereen to Qohor, and afterwards to Pentos.[31]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

A Dothraki khalasar led by Khal Drogo arrives at the city, leading the magisters of Pentos to double the city guard.[32] Magister Illyrio Mopatis brokers a marriage between his guest, Princess Daenerys Targaryen, and Khal Drogo. Daenerys is presented to Drogo at the nine-towered mansion Drogo has been given in the city.[4] Their wedding ceremony is held in a field outside the city.[32] Drogo, his new bride, and his khalasar depart the city shortly after the ceremony, heading for Vaes Dothrak.[33]

A Clash of Kings

Arstan Whitebeard and Strong Belwas sail from Pentos to New Ghis and then on to Qarth,[34] where they meet Daenerys with the intent to give her transportation back to Pentos.[31] Less than a fortnight after her departure from Qarth Pyat Pree and three of his fellow warlocks set out for Pentos seeking Daenerys.[35]

A Storm of Swords

Illyrio 's three ships are sailing for Pentos with Daenerys, her people and her three dragons aboard them. During their journey Ser Jorah Mormont counsels Daenerys to sail for Astapor and buy Unsullied, the best trained fighting force in the world. Daenerys heeds his counsel and decides to sail for Astapor, turning away from the original plan to sail to Pentos.[11]

While in Pentos, Groat and Penny are approached by a man who wishes to hire them for the wedding of King Joffrey Baratheon and Lady Margaery Tyrell, on the orders of Lord Petyr Baelish.[36]

A Dance with Dragons

When Tyrion Lannister arrives from his voyage across the narrow sea, he stays in the manse of Illyrio Mopatis during his brief sojourn in Pentos.[6] Illyrio tells Tyrion that he, Illyrio, can serve Daenerys best in Pentos, smoothing the way for her return, sending Tyrion to her instead.[5]

A trading galley out of Pentos travelling in the Bay of Seals is commandeered by the commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Cotter Pyke, on the orders of Lord Commander Jon Snow.[37].

In Meereen, Pretty Meris, one of the members of the Windblown, the sellsword company led by the Pentoshi nobleman known as the Tattered Prince, is imprisoned when Prince Quentyn Martell reveals that Meris had not deserted Yunkai as she had claimed.[38] When Ser Barristan Selmy goes to speak with her, to see if the Windblown would be willing to come over to Meereen, Meris tells him that the Tattered Prince had been planning to do so all along, if his price was met; as payment, he wants Pentos. Daenerys Targaryen refuses.[39]

Prince Quentyn Martell meets with the Tattered Prince after Queen Daenerys Targaryen has left Meereen. Quentyn requires his assistance in stealing the remaining two dragons locked in the dragon pit, and the Tattered Prince again requests Pentos as his payment. Quentyn agrees and they make marks on a paper.[40]

After the death of Quentyn, Ser Barristan Selmy, the Hand of Queen Daenerys Targaryen, guesses that Pentos is what the Tattered Prince wants, and hatches a plan to bring him over to Daenerys's side in her absence.[41]


I will not come to Pentos bowl in hand.[1]
- Daenerys Targaryen to Arstan Whitebeard

What I want is Pentos.[40]
- the Tattered Prince to Quentyn Martell

Chapters that take place at Pentos

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Lands of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Pentos.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Game of Thrones: d20-based Open Gaming RPG.
  9. 9.0 9.1 91 years prior to 300 AC as per The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Pentos
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  14. A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
  15. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  16. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  17. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  18. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  19. 19.0 19.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  20. The Rogue Prince.
  21. The Princess and the Queen.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  23. Possibly one of the six wars between Pentos and Braavos
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  25. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
  28. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  30. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  32. 32.0 32.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  34. The Lands of Ice and Fire, Journeys.
  35. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 16, Daenerys III.
  36. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  38. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  39. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  40. 40.0 40.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 60, The Spurned Suitor.
  41. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.

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