King's Landing

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King's Landing
capital of the Seven Kingdoms
Tomasz Jedruszek Kings Landing.jpg
King's Landing by Tomasz Jedruszek. © Fantasy Flight Games
Location Crownlands, Westeros
Government King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men , Feudal society.
Population 500,000 (approximately)[1]
Religion Faith of the Seven
Founded 2 BC - 1 BC
Named for Aegon I Targaryen, its founder.
Notable places Red Keep | Great Sept of Baelor | Dragonpit | Guildhall of the Alchemists
Organizations Kingsguard | Alchemists' Guild | City Watch
The crownlands and the location of King's Landing
The crownlands and the location of King's Landing
King's Landing
The crownlands and the location of King's Landing
1 Rosby road, 2 Dragon Gate, 3 Iron Gate, 4 Dragonpit, 5 Shae's manse, 6 Chataya's brothel, 7 Old Gate, 8 Flea Bottom, 9 Red Keep, 10 Street of the Sisters, 11 Gate of the Gods, 12 Cobbler's Square, 13 Guildhall of the Alchemists, 14 the Hook, 15 Great Sept of Baelor, 16 Muddy Way, 17 Fishmonger's Square, 18 River Gate, 19 Tobho Mott's shop, 20 Street of Steel, 21 harbor, 22 Lion Gate, 23 River Row, 24 fish market, 25 tourney ground, 26 King's Gate, 27 kingsroad

King's Landing is the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, located in the crownlands on the east coast of Westeros. It is situated along the kingsroad at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush and overlooks Blackwater Bay. King's Landing is the site of the Iron Throne and the Red Keep, which is the seat of the king, Robert I from House Baratheon of King's Landing.

The main city is surrounded by a wall, manned by the City Watch of King's Landing, also known as the gold cloaks. King's Landing is the most populous city in Westeros,[2] but unsightly and dirty compared to other cities. Poorer smallfolk build shanty settlements outside the city. The stench of the city's waste can be smelled far beyond its walls.

King's Landing, the principal harbor of the Seven Kingdoms, is rivaled only by Oldtown,[3] which is larger in area but less populous.[2] Nearby towns include Rosby and Duskendale to the northeast and Tumbleton to the southwest, while the kingswood is found south of the capital across the Blackwater. Driftmark and Dragonstone in the Gullet protect the bay from the narrow sea.[4]

Layout

See also: Images of King's Landing

King's Landing is roughly square-shaped, sprawling across several miles and defended by tall walls. It is dotted with manses, arbors, granaries, brick storehouses, timbered inns, merchant stalls, taverns, graveyards and brothels. There is a fish market. Hundreds of quays can be found in the harbor. Between buildings the roads are broad, lined with trees and branching alleys and streets.[5]

The city covers the north shore of the Blackwater Rush and covers three tall hills, named after Aegon and his two sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. Aegon's High Hill, surmounted by the Red Keep, the royal castle located in the south-eastern corner of the city, overlooks the bay directly, whilst Visenya's Hill to the west is crowned by the marble-walled Great Sept of Baelor and its seven crystal towers. The Hill of Rhaenys in the north is capped by the collapsed ruins of the Dragonpit dome, its bronze doors shut for a century and a half since the last dragon died.[5]

Behind the quays outside of the walls, there tend to be ramshackle buildings which extend to the walls. These include bait shacks, pot shops, warehouses, merchant's stalls, alehouses, and prostitution rooms.[6]

Poor smallfolk reside in the slums of Flea Bottom, a maze of narrow streets and alleys. They subsist on "bowls of brown", a mystery stew that can include the meat of rats and murder victims, among other things. The richest residents live on the other side of the Hill of Rhaenys from Flea Bottom.[citation needed] According to semi-canon sources the richer areas of King's Landing lie near the Old Gate.[7]

Large tourneys are held outside the city, beside the Blackwater[8] and near the King's Gate.[9]

City Gates

Seven is a sacred number for the Faith, thus the reason Aegon I Targaryen had seven huge gates built as the entrances into the capital of King's Landing.[10] Each is protected by portcullis, heavy doors, and armed guard.

Notable Locations

King's Landing in Game of Thrones
  • The Red Keep, the royal castle located on top of Aegon's High Hill. Within the castle are Maegor's Holdfast and the Tower of the Hand.
  • The Great Sept of Baelor, where the Most Devout convene with the High Septon. It is the holiest sept of the Seven. It is located on Visenya's Hill.
  • The Dragonpit, a huge dome, now collapsed, that used to hold the Targaryen dragons. Its bronze doors have not been opened for more than a century.[5] It is found on the Hill of Rhaenys. The Street of Sisters runs between it and the Great Sept of Baelor.
  • The Guildhall of the Alchemists beneath the Hill of Rhaenys, stretching right to the foot of Visenya's Hill, along the Street of Sisters. Beneath it is where the Alchemists create and store the wildfire.[11]
  • Flea Bottom, slum area of King's Landing, a downtrodden area of town. It has pot-shops along the alleys where one can get a bowl of brown. It has a stench of pigsties and stables, tanner's sheds mixed in the smell of winesinks and whorehouses.[12]

Streets, Squares and other

The Street of the Sisters - by Franz Miklis. © Fantasy Flight Games
A street in King's Landing - by Marc Fishman ©
See also Map of King's Landing from A Clash of Kings.
  • The Street of the Sisters connects the Great Sept of Baelor to the Dragonpit.[13] One can find the Guildhall of the Alchemists upon it.[11] It runs straight as an arrow between the hills of Rhaenys and Visenya, from which it gets its name.[14]
  • The Street of Steel is where most smiths have their forges. It begins on the west of Fishmonger's Square inside the River Gate and climbs up Visenya's Hill. The higher up one goes, the more expensive the shops. At its top is the shop of Tobho Mott.[15]
  • The Street of Flour contains numerous bakeries. Below the street lies a maze of twisting alleys and cross streets.[12]
  • The Street of Silk is a street to the northwest of the Dragonpit lined with brothels of varying expense.[16][13]
  • Eel Alley is located on Visenya's Hill. An inn may be found here.[5]
  • Pigrun Alley is enclosed by tall timber-and-stone buildings whose upper stories lean out so far over the streets that they nearly touch those of the buildings across from them.[17]
  • Shadowblack Lane, a twisty lane that begins at the northern gate of the Red Keep and winds its way down to the foot of Aegon's High Hill.[18][19]
  • Reeking Lane is a street full of apprentices.[20]
  • Muddy Way, a street that begins at Fishmonger's Square.[20]
  • Sowbelly Row
  • Pisswater Bend is a street probably located in Flea Bottom.
  • Street of Seeds
  • Street of Looms[21]
  • Coppersmith's Wynd
  • River Row is a street along the southern wall, east of Fishmonger's Square, home to sea captains, fishmongers and others with interest in the harbor.[13]
  • The Hook is a long, curved thoroughfare connecting the River Gate to Aegon's High Hill.[13]
  • Cobbler's Square
  • Fishmonger's Square is a market square inside the Mud Gate.[13]

Population

Tyrion Lannister in King's Landing - by Marc Simonetti ©

King's Landing has the highest population in the Seven Kingdoms,[2] but it is smaller than towns in Essos such as Selhorys, Valysar, and Volon Therys,[22] let alone the Free Cities. George R. R. Martin has stated that King's Landing is larger than medieval London or Paris but smaller than medieval Constantinople or ancient Rome.[23]

Military

The City Watch of King's Landing, also called the gold cloaks, is King's Landing's main military formation, in charge of guarding and policing the town and its surroundings. Its men are two thousand strong,[24] the number being increased in times of need or war.[25][1]

The royal fleet guards the entrance to Blackwater Bay, patrolling it and the Blackwater Rush. On occasion royal fleets have been sent to deal with pirates from the Stepstones.[26]

History

Founding

Prior to Aegon's Conquest, the area around the future King's Landing was just hills and forests, with only a handful of fisherfolk living north of the Blackwater Rush.[5] The mouth of the river had historically been claimed by Blackwoods, Brackens, Darklyns, Fishers, Hooks, Masseys, and Mudds.[27] Three hundred years ago, Aegon the Conqueror from House Targaryen led his army from Dragonstone and landed at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, building his first fortress of wood and earth, the Aegonfort,[28] on top of the highest hill.

When Aegon finalized his conquest and was crowned Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, many expected that he would make Dragonstone or Oldtown his capital. He unexpectedly decided to build his capital in the new town growing around the Aegonfort,[29] since it was more centrally located than any other and not part of the former kingdoms, setting the king apart from his new vassals.[5] Aegon established the Kingsguard after he and Visenya were attacked in the streets in 10 AC.[10]

Aegon foresaw that King's Landing, which became a city in 10 AC, would surpass Oldtown or Lannisport. Trade shifted from Duskendale and Maidenpool, and by 25 AC King's Landing had become the realm's third-largest city, ahead of White Harbor and Gulltown. The following year Grand Maester Gawen and Ser Osmund Strong completed the city walls and seven gates.[10]

Maegor the Cruel

The city was expanded by Aegon's successors. The Red Keep, which replaced the Aegonfort, was completed during the reign of Maegor I Targaryen. During the Faith Militant uprising, Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows seized the Sept of Remembrance and the Red Keep, which was then under construction. Maegor the Cruel used Balerion's dragonfire to destroy the sept, and began construction of the Dragonpit atop its ruins.[30]

Dance of the Dragons

A tourney at King's Landing during the Targaryen era - by Marc Simonetti ©

In 98 AC King's Landing held a great tourney to celebrate the fiftieth year of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's reign. Aided by Septon Barth, Jaehaerys the Conciliator encouraged the building of drains, sewers, and wells in the city, which also became connected with other regions via the kingsroad, Goldroad, and roseroad.[31]

At the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons, King's Landing was held by King Aegon II Targaryen, but in 130 AC the city fell to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen and her blacks. Later in the same year, riots broke out against the rule of Rhaenyra. These culminated in the mass Storming of the Dragonpit, the deaths of five Targaryen dragons and thousands of smallfolk, and the ruination of the Dragonpit.[32] Rhaenyra abandoned the city, which fell into chaos during the Moon of the Three Kings, and met her doom at Dragonstone. The civil war ended with Aegon III Targaryen succeeding Aegon II, and Lord Cregan Stark briefly held court during the Hour of the Wolf.[33][34]

Baelor the Blessed

King Daeron I Targaryen, brought hostages to King's Landing after his conquest of Dorne and the Submission of Sunspear.[35] Daeron, the Young Dragon, was killed trying to subdue Dornish rebellions, however. His successor, King Baelor I Targaryen, pardoned the hostages and walked barefoot to Sunspear. After recovering from his journey, Baelor the Blessed attempted to outlaw prostitution in the capital and began construction of the Great Sept, which was completed after his death.[36]

First Blackfyre Rebellion

During the First Blackfyre Rebellion in 196 AC, the army of Daemon I Blackfyre, the bastard half-brother of King Daeron II Targaryen, threatened King's Landing, but they were stopped at the Battle of the Redgrass Field.[37]

Great Spring Sickness

When the Great Spring Sickness engulfed Westeros in 209 AC, four in ten inhabitants were killed by the outbreak. Funeral pyres which took place in the ruins of the Dragonpit burned nonstop, painting the night sky in the unnatural green of wildfire.[37]

A Great Council was held in King's Landing in 233 AC after the death of Maekar I Targaryen. Lord Brynden Rivers ordered the execution of Aenys Blackfyre after the pretender arrived, despite having been given safe conduct.[38]

The Mad King

In 265 AC King Aerys II Targaryen, disgusted with King's Landing, considered building a new marble city on the southern shore of the Blackwater Rush. The Mad King largely remained within the Red Keep after the Defiance of Duskendale.[39]

During Robert's Rebellion, also called the War of the Usurper, Aerys sent Queen Rhaella Targaryen—pregnant with Princess Daenerys—with Prince Viserys to Dragonstone after King's Landing was informed of Prince Rhaegar's death at the Trident.[1] Grand Maester Pycelle advised Aerys to open the gates to the king's former Hand, Lord Tywin Lannister, but the westerlands host instead began the Sack of King's Landing.[40][1] The Mad King ordered his pyromancers to destroy the city with caches of wildfire, but Tywin's son, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard, stopped the wildfire plot and killed Aerys.[40] Robert I Baratheon became the new king on the Iron Throne, forming House Baratheon of King's Landing.[41]

Robert Baratheon

Robert I has held multiple tourneys in King's Landing during his reign, including a tourney on Prince Joffrey's name day.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Following the sudden death of Lord Jon Arryn, Lord Eddard Stark travels to King's Landing to become the new Hand of the King to Robert I Baratheon. Robert's brother, Lord Stannis Baratheon, leaves the capital to return to his seat of Dragonstone.[42] The Hand's tourney is held at the city to honor Ned Stark, who does not approve of the extravagance.[41]

Ned investigates Jon Arryn's death and learns that Queen Cersei Lannister's children were fathered not by Robert, but by her twin brother, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard.[24] When Robert is mortally wounded while hunting in the kingswood, his youngest brother, Renly Baratheon, flees the city with Ser Loras Tyrell.[43] Following Robert's death, Cersei has Ned imprisoned for plotting against Prince Joffrey Baratheon, now Robert's successor as king.[43][44]

To the surprise of his small council, Joffrey orders Ned's execution at the Great Sept of Baelor rather than allow him to join the Night's Watch.[12] Sansa Stark is held captive by the Lannisters,[45] but Arya Stark escapes the city with the wandering crow Yoren.[12] Because Lord Tywin Lannister is campaigning against Robb Stark, he sends Tyrion Lannister to act as Hand to Joffrey.[46]

A Clash of Kings

Tyrion Lannister rallying the defenses during the Battle of the Blackwater by zippo514 ©

King's Landing hosts a tourney on King Joffrey's name day.[47] During the War of the Five Kings, the capital is cut off from trade and food supplies by the blockade of Lord Mace Tyrell, a supporter of Renly.[48] This leads to mass famine and a massive riot in which the High Septon is killed.[20] Lollys Stokeworth is found wandering Sowbelly Row after she had been raped half a hundred times behind a tanner's shop.[20] The bloody flux spreads through the stews of Pisswater Bend.[20]

Just within the Mud Gate lie the three great trebuchets called the Three Whores, a new addition to the defense of the city.[6][3]

The city is besieged by Stannis during the Battle of the Blackwater,[49] but Joffrey's reign is secured by the timely arrival of Lord Tywin Lannister and his new ally, Mace.[50]

A Storm of Swords

The armies of Lords Tywin and Mace encamp at King's Landing, and other nobles arrive for the upcoming nuptials of King Joffrey I.[51] Hundreds of wayns bring food from Highgarden in the name of Mace's daughter, Lady Margaery Tyrell.[51] The city's master armorer, Tobho Mott, smiths two Valyrian steel swords from Ned Stark's Ice for Lord Tywin.[3] Tyrion welcomes a delegation from Dorne, and he tells Prince Oberyn Martell that there are half a million people in the stinking city, including tens of thousands of soldiers from various hosts.[1]

Joffrey weds Margaery at the Great Sept of Baelor, but he dies during the reception at the Red Keep.[52] He is succeeded by his younger brother, Tommen I Baratheon. Sansa flees the capital with the assistance of Lord Petyr Baelish.[53] Tyrion is condemned to death after Ser Gregor Clegane defeats Oberyn in a trial by battle,[54] but he escapes King's Landing with the assistance of Jaime and Lord Varys.[55]

A Feast for Crows

Queen Cersei serves as the regent for young King Tommen. With Tyrion and Varys missing after the death of Tywin, Cersei uses wildfire to burn the Tower of the Hand.[56] Pious sparrows travel to the capital in support of the Faith of the Seven.[57]

Amidst growing unrest after the arrest of Queen Margaery by the Faith, Cersei allows Lord Aurane Waters, the master of ships, to launch new dromonds in a show of force. However, Aurane sails from King's Landing when Cersei is herself arrested.[58]

A Dance with Dragons

Traveling in Essos, Tyrion is told that the pisswater prince came from Pisswater Bend.[59]

As atonement for her confessed sins, Cersei walks from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep amidst the smallfolk of King's Landing.[60]

Quotes

Is everyone someone's informer in this cursed city?[61]
- Eddard Stark to Petyr Baelish


Walton: What's that awful stink?

Jaime: Smoke, sweat, and shit. King's Landing, in short. If you have a good nose you can smell the treachery too. You've never smelled a city before?
Walton: I smelled White Harbor. It never stank like this.
Jaime: White Harbor is to King's Landing as my brother Tyrion is to Ser Gregor Clegane.[62]

Steelshanks Walton and Jaime Lannister


Roro Uhoris, the Cobblecat's cranky old master, used to claim that he could tell one port from another just by the way they smelled. Cities were like women, he insisted; each one had its own unique scent. Oldtown was as flowery as a perfumed dowager. Lannisport was a milkmaid, fresh and earthy, with woodsmoke in her hair. King's Landing reeked like some unwashed whore. But White Harbor's scent was sharp and salty, and a little fishy too.[63]
- thoughts of Davos Seaworth


King's Landing is a pit of snakes.[64]
- Doran Martell to Nymeria Sand


The morning air was thick with the old familiar stinks of King’s Landing. She breathed in the scents of sour wine, bread baking, rotting fish and nightsoil, smoke and sweat and horse piss. No flower had ever smelled so sweet.[60]
- thoughts of Cersei Lannister

Chapters that take place at King's Landing


References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  4. The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  7. A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book, Guardians of Order
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Lands of Ice and Fire, King's Landing.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire.
  14. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
  17. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 29, Tyrion VII.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  21. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  22. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: Volantis.
  23. So Spake Martin: Geography, February 07, 1999
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  25. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 8, Tyrion II.
  26. The World of Ice and Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  27. The World of Ice and Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  28. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, King's Landing.
  29. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings.
  30. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  31. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  32. The Princess and the Queen.
  33. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  34. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  35. The World of Ice and Fire, the Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
  36. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  37. 37.0 37.1 The Sworn Sword.
  38. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  39. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  40. 40.0 40.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  43. 43.0 43.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
  45. Bad reference param1.
  46. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  47. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  48. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  49. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 59, Tyrion XIII.
  50. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  51. 51.0 51.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
  52. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  53. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 61, Sansa V.
  54. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
  55. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
  56. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  57. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 4, Brienne I.
  58. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  59. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 22, Tyrion VI.
  60. 60.0 60.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
  61. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  62. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
  63. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  64. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.

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