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Westeros

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Westeros location on the Map of the known world
A map of Westeros with the internal borders

Westeros is one of the four known continents in the known world, the others being Essos, Sothoryos, and Ulthos. Most of the area of Westeros is covered by a political entity known as the Seven Kingdoms, while the far north beyond the Wall includes the free folk. The closest foreign nations to Westeros are the Free Cities, a collection of independent city-states across the narrow sea in western Essos. To the south of Westeros lie the Summer Islands.

Contents

Geography

See also: Seven Kingdoms
Topographic Map by Tear ©

The continent of Westeros is long and relatively narrow, extending from Dorne in the south to the Lands of Always Winter in the far north, where a large amount of land remains uncharted, due to the extremely cold temperatures and hostile inhabitants known as wildlings. Although no scale appears on the maps in the books themselves, George R. R. Martin has stated that the Wall is a hundred leagues long, or three hundred miles. Thus the continent stretches for about 3,000 miles from north to south and for some 900 miles at its widest point east to west.

Its eastern coast borders on the narrow sea; across those waters lies the eastern continent of Essos and the island chain known as the Stepstones. To the south is located the Summer Sea, and within it the Summer Islands.

The northern lands of Westeros are less densely populated than the south despite their roughly equivalent size. The five major cities of Westeros are, in order of size: King's Landing, Oldtown, Lannisport, Gulltown, and White Harbor.

Westeros was originally divided into several independent kingdoms before the consolidation of the War of Conquest. After this war and the eventual incorporation of Dorne, all the regions south of the Wall were united under the rule of House Targaryen into a nation that is known as the Seven Kingdoms.

Beyond the Wall

Main article: Beyond the Wall

The northernmost region of Westeros, stretching from the Wall north to the lands beyond the edge of the known map, known as the Land of Always Winter. For the most part it is covered by the haunted forest and comprised of many lakes and rivers, and shelters strange beasts among the mountains of the Frostfangs. The far north presents an extremely harsh climate, allowing only small numbers of inhabitants in small villages, in those primarily wild and uncharted lands.

The North

Main article: The North

The North is the largest region, nearly as large as the rest of the regions combined. It is sparsely populated, with vast wilderness, forests, pine-covered hills and snowcapped mountains, although it also is home to one of the five Westerosi cities, White Harbor. The Northern climate is cold and harsh in the winter, and occasionally it snows even in the summer. Its northern border is the Gift, the lands of the Night's Watch. Its southern frontier lies along the Neck, a marshy isthmus separating it from the southron kingdoms. The narrowness of the region and the difficulty of the terrain make it a natural border for the North, protecting it from invasion.

It has been ruled by House Stark from Winterfell, first as Kings in the North and later as lords, for thousands of years. It is colder and much less populated than the south part of Westeros. Most of its residents still follow the old gods, but some, mainly around the area of White Harbor, have taken the Faith of the Seven. Bastards in the North are given the surname Snow.

The Iron Islands

Main article: Iron Islands

The Iron Islands are a group of islands lying off the western coast of Westeros in Ironman's Bay. There are seven main islands, including Pyke, Great Wyk, Old Wyk, and Harlaw. The soil is infertile, but mines of several types, including iron and lead, exist. The inhabitants of these harsh isles are known as ironmen in the rest of Westeros, and the ironborn among themselves.

The Iron Islands are ruled by House Greyjoy of Pyke, chosen to rule the ironmen after Black Harren's line was extinguished during the Conquest. Prior to the arrival of Aegon the Conqueror, the ironmen ruled over the Riverlands and much of the western coast of Westeros. The ironmen are men of the sea, and their naval supremacy was once unmatched. The Faith of the Seven of the Andals find small favor with the ironborn, as their allegiance is given to their native Drowned God. Bastards in the Iron Islands are given the surname Pyke.

The Riverlands

Main article: Riverlands

The Riverlands are the fertile areas between the forks of the Trident. They are the domain of the Tullys of Riverrun. At the time of the Conquest, the Riverlands were ruled by House Hoare of the Iron Islands, and thus the Tullys were never kings of the Riverlands, but were rebel riverlords who left Harren the Black in favor of Aegon the Conqueror. Bastards in the Riverlands are given the surname Rivers.

The Vale of Arryn

Main article: Vale

The Vale lies to the east of the Riverlands, surrounded almost completely by the Mountains of the Moon. It consists of vast mountain ranges with the people living in valleys between them and along the coast.

The Vale is under the rulership of House Arryn, one of the oldest lines of Andal nobility who once were called King of Mountain and Vale. Their seat, the Eyrie, is a castle high in the mountains, small but unassailable. The only way to the top is a treacherous goat path. Due to the Vale's harsh winters, travel is only possible through the mountains during certain seasons. Rebellious mountain clans make travel even more dangerous. Bastards born in the Vale are given the surname Stone.

The Westerlands

Main article: The Westerlands

The Westerlands are the lands to the west of the Riverlands and north of the Reach. It is a small region, but is home to some of the richest gold and silver mines on the continent.

The Westerlands are ruled by House Lannister of Casterly Rock, formerly the Kings of the Rock. People of this region are often called "Westermen". Lannisport, lying hard by Casterly Rock, is the chief town of the region and one of the great ports and cities of Westeros. Bastards in the Westerlands are given the surname Hill.

The Crownlands

Main article: Crownlands

The Crownlands are lands ruled directly by the king on the Iron Throne. These lands include King's Landing and the surrounding areas, including the town of Rosby. Going north, one finds Crackclaw Point and several islands in the Narrow Sea, including Dragonstone. The Crownlands are south of the Vale, southeast of the Riverlands, east of the Westlands, and north of the Reach and Stormlands. Bastards in the Crownlands are given the surname Waters.

The Reach

Main article: The Reach

The Reach is the largest region except for the North; it encompasses a region of the most fertile part of Westeros and numerous well-populated villages and towns.

It is ruled by House Tyrell from Highgarden. The Tyrells were stewards to House Gardener, the Kings of the Reach before Aegon's conquest. After the last Gardener king was killed on the Field of Fire, the Tyrells surrendered Highgarden to Aegon and were rewarded with both the castle and the position of overlords of the Reach. Bannermen of the Tyrells frequently fight with the Dornishmen of the south. The borderlands between the two regions, called the Dornish Marches, are populated on the north side by marcher lords loyal to the Tyrells. The most prominent city in the Reach is Oldtown. It is the oldest city in Westeros, home to the maesters' Citadel, and the previous seat of the Faith. Bastards in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.

The Stormlands

Main article: Stormlands

The Stormlands, located south of King's Landing, stretch down to the Sea of Dorne, bordered by Shipbreaker Bay in the east and the Reach in the west. It is one of the smaller regions of Westeros, a land of harsh mountains, stony shores, and verdant forests.

Before Aegon's conquest they were ruled by the Storm Kings, and afterwards by the Baratheons, bastard relatives to the Targaryens. The Dornish Marches are located within this region, having been conquered by the Storm Kings, and are ruled by House Caron and lesser marcher lords. The marches were common battlegrounds between the Stormlands, the Reach and Dorne until the last century, when Dorne joined the Seven Kingdoms. Bastards in the Stormlands are given the surname Storm.

Dorne

Main article: Dorne

Dorne, the southernmost region of Westeros. It stretches from the Red Mountains of the Dornish marches to the southern coast of the continent. It is the hottest kingdom in Westeros and features the only desert on the continent. Dornishmen have a reputation for hot-bloodedness as well. They differ both culturally and ethnically from other Westerosi due to the historical invasion of Rhoynish people. Their food, appearance, and architecture resemble those of Mediterranean cultures such as Greece and Turkey more than the Western European feel of the other kingdoms. They have adopted many Rhoynish customs as well, including equal primogeniture.

Dorne was the only kingdom in Westeros to successfully resist Aegon's conquest. It joined the Seven Kingdoms through marriage over a century after the Targaryen invasion. This accomplishment has allowed Dorne to retain a small measure of independence. Lords of the ruling House Martell still style themselves "Prince" and "Princess" in the Rhoynish fashion. Bastards in Dorne are given the surname Sand.

Seasons and climate

Westeros's climate shifts from arid and dry desert climate in the furthest south to cold and harsh winters in the north and icy wasteland in the Lands of Always Winter in the farthest north.

Westeros and Essos both experience extremely long seasons of varying length, usually lasting at least a couple of years each. The maesters try to predict the length of the seasons, monitoring the temperature and days length, to advise on when to plant and when to harvest and how much food to store. However, given the random nature of the seasons, this is not something that can be relied on.

At the beginning of A Game of Thrones Westeros has enjoyed an unusually long decade-long summer of peace and plenty and many fear that an equally long and harsh winter will follow. The end of the long summer comes at the outset of A Feast for Crows, with the arrival of the White Ravens from the citadel. The official announcement of winter comes at the very end of A Dance with Dragons.

Winter means that the days grow shorter. George R. R. Martin has stated that the explanation for the world's unusual climate is magical in nature and will be revealed at the end of the series.

Known season dates

Biology and Anthropology

Sentient species

Animals

Main article: Beastiary

Some species of animals inhabiting the planet are very similar to Pleistocene megafauna of Earth or even historical animals.

Other animals appear to be altered versions of contemporary animals or have no real-world equivalent.

History

Main article: Timeline of major events

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Westeros. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Westeros. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

  1. The Princess and the Queen.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Sworn Sword.
  3. The Mystery Knight.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime.
  6. During the Winter Tourney, Barristan Selmy was 16 years old. Barristan was born in 237AC (see source), meaning he would turn 16 in 253AC
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion.
  8. "False" Spring means that, though people believed the season was spring, in truth it wasn't, which in turn suggests that winter weather returned after a short period of "false spring"
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys.
  10. Daenerys Targaryen was born during a raging "summer storm"
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
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