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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
Founded Approx 1,000 years ago
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, and may be one of the most populous of the Free Cities.[1] It lies on the Bay of Pentos off the narrow sea, with the Flatlands plains and Velvet Hills to the east.

The city has many square brick towers, controlled by the spice traders.[2] Most of the roofing is done in tiles. There is a large red temple in Pentos, along with the manse of Illyrio Mopatis,[3] and the Sunrise Gate allows the traveller to exit the city to the east, in the direction of the Rhoyne.[4] The fastest way to Volantis from Pentos is by sea.


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 rich magisters rule. The prince is chosen from the forty families, and presides chiefly over balls and feasts,[3] is carried from place to place in a rich palanquin with a handsome guard and 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.[5]


There are laws forbidding slavery in the city, in accordance with the terms imposed by Braavos one hundred years ago.[3] Pentos flouts these laws however, by running Lysene or Myrish banners when challenged, whilst 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. In law, these bond servants are free men and women, with the right to refuse service if they will, provided they are not in debt to their masters. All of them are, however, for the value of their labor is often less than the cost of food, clothing, or shelter provided to them by those they serve.[5]

Like the Braavosi, and Lysene, Pentoshi are great lovers of song, and generous with those who please them.[6] Some of their men dye, oil, and fork their beards.[7]

Some of the more famous Pentoshi include:


Pentos was founded by Valyrians as a trading outpost, and soon absorbed the hinterlands surrounding it, from the Velvet Hills and the Little Rhoyne to the sea, including almost the whole of the ancient realm of Andalos. The first Pentoshi were merchants, traders, seafarers, and farmers, with few nobles among them. They were less protective of their Valyrian blood, willing to breed with the original inhabitants of the lands they ruled. As a consequence there is considerable Andal blood among the Pentoshi.[5]

Several decades after the Doom, Pentos came to the defense of Tyrosh in a war against Volantis, along with Aegon Targaryen, House Durrandon, and the rebellious Lys and Myr.

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

After being stripped of his office in 39 AC for taking a second wife Maegor Targaryen was exiled to Pentos by King Aenys. The beautiful Tyanna became Maegor's lover during his exile. After the death of King Aenys Visenya Targaryen flew to Pentos on the back of her dragon Vhagar, to bring her son Maegor back to Westeros.[8]

Ladies Rhaena and Baela Targaryen, daughters of Prince Daemon Targaryen and lady Laena Velaryon, were born in Pentos, in 116 AC. They remained there for half a year, and then sailed back to Driftmark on a ship with their mother, whilst their father flew the dragons Caraxes and Vhagar back to Westeros.[9] During the civil war in Westeros, known as the Dance of the Dragons, it was decided by Prince Jacaerys Velaryon that his half-brothers Aegon and Viserys would be fostered with the Prince of Pentos until his 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 Pentos.[10]

When the Tattered Prince was 23 years old the magisters of Pentos chose him to be their new prince soon after they beheaded the previous one. Instead of accepting their offer he fled to the Disputed Lands, later forming the Windblown.

Over the course of the last two centuries, Braavos and Pentos fought no less than six wars over the issue of slavery, as well as control of the rich lands and waters between the two cities. Four of this ended in Pentoshi submission. The last one, that ended a century ago, went so poorly that Pentos had no fewer than four princes chosen and sacrificed within a single year. The fifth one, Prince Nevio Narratys, convinced the magisters to sue for peace after a rare victory - one rumored to have been purchased by Nevio himself through bribery. In the peace accords Pentos was forced to abolish slavery and withdraw from the slave trade.

Another provision in the accords limits the Pentoshi to no more than twenty warships and prohibits them from hiring sellswords, contracting free companies or maintaining an army beyond the city watch. For this reason, Pentos is sometimes seen as the most vulnerable of the Free Cities, despite its massive walls. Thus, its magisters have adopted a conciliatory attitude toward the other cities as well as the Dothraki horselords, cultivating friendships with strong khals over the years and showering them with lavish gifts and chests of gold whenever a khalasar approaches.[5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

A Dothraki khalasar led by Khal Drogo arrives at the city, leading Magister Illyrio Mopatis to double the city guard.[11] Later Illyrio brokers a marriage between his guest, Princess Daenerys Targaryen, and Drogo. Daenerys is presented to Drogo at his nine-towered mansion in the city. Their wedding ceremony is held in a field outside the city. Drogo, his new bride, and his khalasar depart the city shortly after the ceremony, heading for Vaes Dothrak.[2]

A Clash of Kings

Arstan Whitebeard and Strong Belwas sail from Pentos to New Ghis and then on to Qarth,[12] where they meet Daenerys with the intent to give her transportation back to Pentos. Less than a fortnight after her departure from Qarth Pyat Pree and three of his fellow warlocks set out for Pentos seeking Daenerys .

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.

A Dance with Dragons

When Tyrion Lannister arrives from his voyage across the narrow sea, he stays in Illyrio's manse during his brief sojourn in Pentos.[3] Illyrio tells Tyrion that he, Illyrio, can serve Daenerys best in Pentos, smoothing the way for her return.

In Meereen the Tattered Prince, commander of the Windblown, offers Prince Quentyn Martell to bring his sellsword army over to him if Quentyn grants him Pentos. Quentyn agrees and they make marks on a paper.

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.

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.[13].


I will not come to Pentos bowl in hand.[14]
- Daenerys Targaryen to Arstan Whitebeard

What I want is Pentos.[15]
- the Tattered Prince to Quentyn Martell

Chapters that take place at Pentos

References and Notes

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