Prince of Pentos
Chiefly, the Prince presides over balls and feasts. The prince rides about the city in a palanquin of ivory and gold. Three heralds go before him, carrying the golden scales of trade, the iron sword of war, and the silver scourge of justice. On the first day of every New Year, the Prince must deflower the maid of the fields and the maid of the seas. This ancient ritual, which may arise from the mysterious origins of pre-Valyrian Pentos, is meant to ensure the continued prosperity of Pentos on land and at sea.
It is a pleasant life, but when the Pentoshi believe the gods are angry at them — for example, a lost war or a famine — they sacrifice the prince, cutting his throat, to appease the gods. They then choose a new prince from amongst the forty families, who may bring more luck to the city.
Over the course of the last two centuries, Braavos and Pentos fought no less than six wars. Four of them ended in Pentoshi submission. The last one, that ended in 209 AC, 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 262 AC, a prince fled Pentos after being selected. He was twenty-three years old when the magisters of Pentos chose him to be their new prince, hours after they had beheaded the previous one. Instead of accepting their offer, he fled to the Disputed Lands and never returned to Pentos. He became known as the Tattered Prince, captain of the Windblown, a free company of sellswords.
Illyrio Mopatis, a merchant born in poverty, eventually grew so respectable that a cousin of the Prince of Pentos let him wed his maiden daughter. After Illyrio married his second wife, Serra, a slave from Lys, the palace gates were closed to him thereafter, but he did not care, as he considered the price small enough for her.
A Dance with Dragons
In Meereen, the Tattered Prince sends the Windblown to assist Prince Quentyn Martell, who intends to tame one of the dragons of Queen Daenerys Targaryen, for the promise of Pentos as his reward. After Quentyn's death, Ser Barristan Selmy sends Quentyn's remaining companions to negotiate with the Tattered Prince. Ser Barristan wants the mercenary captain to help him release the Meereenese hostages held by the Wise Masters; as a reward, the Tattered Prince will be given Pentos.
Known Princes of Pentos
- The Prince of Pentos before Aegon's Conquest, who hosted the young Aegon Targaryen when he visited Pentos on Balerion before his conquest of Westeros.
- The Prince of Pentos in 58 AC, who met the Sealord of Braavos in King's Landing to settle their differences.
- The Prince of Pentos in 116 AC, who hosted Prince Daemon Targaryen and Lady Laena Velaryon.[N 1]
- The Prince of Pentos in 129 AC, who agreed to foster Princes Aegon and Viserys Targaryen until Rhaenyra Targaryen took the Iron Throne.
- The Prince of Pentos in 133 AC, whose daughter was the first lady presented to King Aegon III Targaryen in the Maiden's Day Ball.
- Four Princes of Pentos executed in 209 AC.
- Nevio Narratys, the fifth Prince elected in 209 AC. He bribed the Braavosi to accept peace with Pentos after a victorious battle.
- The Prince of Pentos executed in 262 AC.
- The Tattered Prince, who fled Pentos to avoid being made a sacrifice.
- The cousin of Illyrio Mopatis's first wife.
- The current Prince of Pentos. He summoned the Magisters to a session when Tyrion is in Illyrio's manse. He has a menagerie that includes a pride of lions.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Pentos.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.