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Known world

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Map of the known world based on The Lands of Ice and Fire.

The known world[1][2] is composed of at least three continents (Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos), a large landmass (Ulthos), and a number of many smaller islands.[3] None of the four major landmasses have been completely mapped.[3] The known world is part of a round planet, which might be a little larger than Earth.[4] There might still be smallfolk who believe the world to be flat.[5]


Archmaester Perestan believes the world is forty thousand years old, while Archmaester Mollos instead suggests five hundred thousand years.[6]

The Known World

Location of Westeros within the known world.


Located in the far west of the known world, 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. The Wall, the border between the Seven Kingdoms and lands beyond the Wall to the north, is three hundred miles long,[7] indicating that Westeros is roughly nine hundred miles at its widest point, east to west. North of the Wall, a large amount of land remains uncharted.

Westeros contains the Seven Kingdoms south of the Wall, and the Lands of Always Winter in the lands north of the Wall. The Seven Kingdoms, first unified under Targaryen rule, are made up out of nine regions (the crownlands, Dorne, the Iron Islands, the north, the Reach, the riverlands, the stormlands, the Vale of Arryn, and the westerlands).[3][8] Bordering on Westeros lie the Sunset Sea (to the south), the narrow sea (to the east, southern half), and the Shivering Sea (to the east, northern half).[8][9]

Location of Essos west of the Bone Mountains within the known world.


Separated from Westeros by the narrow sea, Essos extends eastwards for many thousands of miles. It is larger than Westeros but less densely populated.[citation needed] The western edge of the continent is controlled by the nine Free Cities, while the city-states of Slaver's Bay are located in the south-central region. Much of the continental interior, known as the Dothraki sea, is grassland ruled by the tribal warriors known as the Dothraki. Further east is Qarth and the fabled Jade Sea. The mapped lands of Essos are divided by the Bone Mountains, which run from the Shivering Sea in the north to the Jade Gates in the south. East of the Bone Mountains are the Plains of the Jogos Nhai, Yi Ti, the Grey Waste, Mossovy, and the legendary Asshai in the foreboding Shadow Lands.[3]


Location of Sothoros within the known world.

Sothoryos, also written as Sothoros, is located south of Essos, on the far side of the Summer Sea. It is a large continent consisting of deserts and jungles. It is said to be a haven for plagues and dangerous animals, and has not been explored much beyond the northern coastal regions. Off the coast of northwestern Sothoryos are the Basilisk Isles, and to the west is Naath.[3]


Ulthos is a large landmass located to the southeast of Essos, across the Saffron Straits from the Shadow Lands. It may or may not be a continent, and its size is still unknown, as it is located on the edge of the known world.[10]


The largest island in the known world is Great Moraq, located between the Summer Sea and the Jade Sea to the south of Qarth. The second largest appears to be Ib in the Shivering Sea north of the Kingdoms of the Ifeqevron, followed by the largest of the Summer Isles, Jhala.[3] See also various other islands.


The largest seas appear to be the Shivering Sea, north of Essos, and the Sunset Sea, west of Westeros. The Summer Sea and Jade Sea lie between Essos and Sothoryos, and the narrow sea separates Westeros from Essos.[3]

Other lands

Lord Gylbert Farwynd of the Lonely Light, the island farthest west of the known world, speaks of lands farther to the west, across the Sunset Sea. According to him, this land has no winter and no death. These claims are not treated seriously.[11]

King Brandon the Shipwright of House Stark attempted to sail across the Sunset Sea, but never returned.[12]


It has long been accepted amongst the wise that our world is round. If this is true, it ought to be possible to sail over the top of the world and down its far side, and there discover lands and seas undreamed of. Over the centuries, many a bold mariner has sought to find a way through the ice to whatever lies beyond. Most, alas, have perished in the attempt, or returned south again half-frozen and much chastened.[13]

—Maester Yandel

Maester Nicol’s The Measure of the Days — otherwise a laudable work containing much of use — seems influenced by this argument. Based upon his work on the movement of stars in the firmament, Nicol argues unconvincingly that the seasons might once have been of a regular length, determined solely by the way in which the globe faces the sun in its heavenly course. The notion behind it seems true enough—that the lengthening and shortening of days, if more regular, would have led to more regular seasons—but he could find no evidence that such was ever the case beyond the most ancient of tales.[14]

—Maester Yandel

Wiser men suggest that somewhere beyond the waters we know, east becomes west, and the Shivering Sea must surely join the Sunset Sea, if indeed the world is round.[15]

—Maester Yandel

See also