Shadow Lands

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The Shadow Lands is a mysterious, mountainous area in far eastern Essos.


The city of Asshai is located at the southwestern tip of the Shadow Lands. To the north and northeast, the Shadow Lands meet the Mountains of the Morn. Leng and the Manticore Isles in the Jade Sea are to the west, and the Saffron Straits are to the south.[1] The river Ash travels from the Mountains of the Morn to the Jade Sea, mostly through the Vale of Shadows, a valley so narrow with such high cliffs that is is said to be always in shadow except at noon.[2][3]

Ghost grass grows throughout the Shadow Lands.[4] It is said that demons and dragons are among the creatures dwelling in cliff caves in the mountains. The ruined corpse city of Stygai, which even shadowbinders fear, lies at the heart of the Shadow.[2]

Ancient tales from Asshai claim that dragons first originated in the Shadow and were first tamed by a people so ancient they had no name.[5]

Some areas of the Shadow Lands are populated, as the maroon emperors of Yi Ti kept their court in Jinqi to better guard the borders of the empire from reavers from the Shadow Lands.[6] These people are known as Shadow Men, and are known for covering their bodies in tattoos and wearing red lacquered wooden masks.[7]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Illyrio Mopatis tells Daenerys Targaryen that the three dragon eggs he gifted her with as a wedding gift come from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai. Illyrio may have procured them from the Shadow Lands himself, but he does not tell Daenerys exactly how he went about obtaining them. Daenerys recalls hearing that the first dragons had come from the east, from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea.[8]

After entering Vaes Dothrak Daenerys rides her silver past plundered goods. Some of the statues she sees are so misshapen and terrible that she can scarcely bear to look at them. Ser Jorah Mormont tells her that they have likely come from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai.[9]


  1. The Lands of Ice and Fire, The East.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow.
  3. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Stygai.
  4. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  5. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, Yi Ti.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.