Reach

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The Reach with the major strongholds

The Reach is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms on the continent of Westeros. It was formerly a sovereign nation ruled by the Kings of the Reach before the War of Conquest. It is the second-largest of the kingdoms behind the north and is considered the most fertile and heavily-populated part of Westeros.

The Reach is considered the home of chivalry in Westeros. It is the place where knighthood is looked upon with the greatest reverence and esteemed the most. It is also the place where the rules to tournaments are the most stringent and managed.[1]

The Reach is ruled from the castle of Highgarden by House Tyrell. Notable houses have included Ashford, Caswell, Crane, Florent, Fossoway, Gardener, Hightower, Merryweather, Mullendore, Oakheart, Redwyne, Rowan, Tarly, and Vyrwel.[2][3] Noble bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.

Geography

The Reach is the most fertile part of Westeros and has numerous and well-populated villages and towns. The Sunset Sea is found to the west, while the hills of the westerlands are to the northwest and the Blackwater Rush of the riverlands is to the north. The Reach borders the crownlands to the northeast, while to the east and southeast are the stormlands and their Dornish Marches. South of the Reach are the Red Mountains of Dorne and the Summer Sea. The Roseroad links Oldtown with King's Landing by way of Highgarden, while the Ocean Road links Highgarden with Lannisport.[4]

The Reach is watered by the immense river Mander and its tributaries, including the Blueburn and the Cockleswhent. The Reach proper is centered around the Mander.[5] Oldtown is located at the mouth of the Honeywine. The region also includes several islands, including the Shield Islands near the mouth of the Mander and the Arbor south of the Whispering Sound and the Redwyne Straits.

People and Economy

Oldtown, th oldest city in Westeros and center of commerce - FFG ©

The Reach is the second wealthiest region in the Seven Kingdoms behind the westerlands, but it is the most fertile region. Among the products it produces are melons, fireplums, peaches, apples, and grapes. The Arbor is said to make the finest of wines, from dry fruity reds to a rich golden vintage. Woodharps made in Oldtown are highly sought after.

Before the War of Conquest, the golden coins of the Reach were known as hands. They still exist in some number, with each hand coin roughly half the value of a dragon coin.[6]

Notable locations include:

Military strength

While Petyr Baelish describes the military strength of the Reach to be fifty thousand swords,[7] the Tyrells can field at least some seventy thousand soldiers.[8] Of their bannermen, House Florent can field two thousand men at best,[9] while House Hightower, at least during 129 AC-131 AC, was able to field much more than nine thousand men.[10]

Plate armor is commonly used in the Reach.[11]

The naval strength of the Reach is made up mostly out of the Redwyne fleet of the Arbor, which contains two hundred warships.[12] Further naval strength can be found at the Shield Islands,[13] and likely the coastal lords.

History

House Gardener

Castle Highgarden - by Zippo514©.

The beginnings of the Reach can be traced back to Garth Greenhand, the legendary High King of the First Men who lived in the Age of Heroes.[14] The royal line of House Gardener of Highgarden claimed descent from Garth as do many current houses in the region.[15][16] What is now the Ravenry of the Citadel is said to have been a pirate stronghold during the Age of Heroes.[17]

The Reach is the home of mythical warriors and knights such as Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, Davos the Dragonslayer, Roland of the Horn and the Knight Without Armor.[18]

The Reach is the heart of the chivalric tradition in the Seven Kingdoms, the place where knighthood is most universally esteemed. Tourneys here have the most elaborate and varied rules, and are the most likely to be held for knights only. The greatest champions of the Reach became knights in the Order of the Green Hand.[19]

Dornishmen have warred against the Reach for thousands of years; rivalries include the feud between House Oakheart and House Dayne.[20] The Kings of the Reach also warred with the Storm Kings of House Durrandon, gradually conquering land from the western stormlands. However, King Garse VII Gardener was slain by King Argilac Durrandon in the Battle of Summerfield.[21] The Dornish Marches, the lands just north of the Red Mountains of Dorne, have long been disputed. The lords of Highgarden count Defender of the Marches amongst their titles,[22] although most of the marcher lords now owe allegiance to House Baratheon of the stormlands.

House Tyrell

A large Tyrell ranging party rides across the Reach in a wide formation – by Tomasz Jedruszek. © Fantasy Flight Games

During the War of Conquest, King Mern IX Gardener led the army of the Reach against the invading House Targaryen, but he was killed at the Field of Fire and his line was ended. House Tyrell, the stewards of the Gardeners, surrendered Highgarden to Aegon the Conqueror. They were rewarded with both the castle and the position of overlords of the Reach. The High Septon and Lord Manfred Hightower did not oppose Aegon when he approached Oldtown, increasing the new king's legitimacy.[23] Rather than being independent, the Reach was part of the Seven Kingdoms ruled by the Iron Throne.

During the Dance of the Dragons, the Reach was split between the greens and the blacks, with the Hightowers providing much of the support for the greens (along with the Redwynes), but with the Rowans, Tarlys, Costaynes, Mullendores, and Grimms supporting the blacks. The Battle on the Honeywine and the First and Second Battles of Tumbleton were fought in the Reach.

In the First Blackfyre Rebellion, several of Daemon I Blackfyre's greatest supporters were men of the Reach, including Ser Quentyn Ball and Lord Gormon Peake, while others supported Daeron II Targaryen.

Robert's Rebellion saw the Reach provide much of the pro-Targaryen strength. Lord Randyll Tarly led the van of Lord Mace Tyrell to victory against Lord Robert Baratheon in the Battle of Ashford. After Ashford, Mace led the unsuccessful siege of Storm's End.

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

After King Robert I Baratheon's death, most lords of the Reach join the Tyrells in declaring for Renly Baratheon. Some join Stannis Baratheon after Renly's murder, but most are idle for a time before marching with Tywin Lannister to defeat Stannis in the Battle of the Blackwater.

A Storm of Swords

The lords of the Reach provide much of the Iron Throne's manpower, under the uneasy alliance between Houses Lannister and Tyrell.

A Feast for Crows

The Reach itself remains untouched by the war until the taking of the Shields, which marks the beginning of King Euron Greyjoy's campaigns in the south. Since then Oldtown and the Arbor have been threatened by ironborn raiders.

Quotes

{{Quote|In Highgarden there are fields of golden roses that stretch away as far as the eye can see. The fruits are so ripe they explode in your mouth-melons, peaches, fireplums, you've never tasted such sweetness.[24]|Robert I Baratheon to Eddard Stark

Houses

House Ambrose.svg House Ambrose
House Appleton.svg House Appleton of Appleton
House Ashford.svg House Ashford of Ashford
House Ball.svg House Ball
House Beesbury.svg House Beesbury of Honeyholt
House Blackbar.svg House Blackbar of Bandallon
House Bridges.svg House Bridges
House Bulwer.svg House Bulwer of Blackcrown
House Bushy.svg House Bushy
House Caswell.svg House Caswell of Bitterbridge
House Chester.svg House Chester of Greenshield
House Cockshaw.svg House Cockshaw
Arms unknown House Conklyn
House Cordwayner.svg House Cordwayner of Hammerhal
House Costayne.svg House Costayne of the Three Towers
House Crane.svg House Crane of Red Lake
House Cuy.svg House Cuy of Sunhouse
Dunn.png House Dunn
Arms unknown House Durwell
House Florent.svg House Florent of Brightwater Keep
House Footly.svg House Footly of Tumbleton
House Fossoway.svg House Fossoway of Cider Hall
House Fossoway (New Barrel).svg House Fossoway of New Barrel
House Gardener.svg House Gardener of Highgarden
House Graceford.svg House Graceford of Holyhall
House Graves.svg House Graves
House Grimm.svg House Grimm of Greyshield
House Hastwyck.svg House Hastwyck
House Hewett.svg House Hewett of Oakenshield
House Hightower.svg House Hightower of the Hightower
Hunt.png House Hunt
House Hutcheson.svg House Hutcheson
House Inchfield.svg House Inchfield
House Kidwell.svg House Kidwell
House Leygood.svg House Leygood
House Lowther.svg House Lowther
House Lyberr.svg House Lyberr
House Manderly.svg House Manderly of Dunstonbury
House Meadows.svg House Meadows of Grassy Vale
House Merryweather.svg House Merryweather of Longtable
House Middlebury.svg House Middlebury
House Mullendore.svg House Mullendore of Uplands
House Norcross.svg House Norcross
House Norridge.svg House Norridge
House Oakheart.svg House Oakheart of Old Oak
House Oldflowers.svg House Oldflowers
House Orme.svg House Orme
Arms unknown House Osgrey of Leafy Lake
House Osgrey.svg House Osgrey of Standfast
House Peake.svg House Peake of Starpike
House Pommingham.svg House Pommingham
House Redding.svg House Redding
House Redwyne.svg House Redwyne of the Arbor
House Rhysling.svg House Rhysling
House Risley.svg House Risley
House Rowan.svg House Rowan of Goldengrove
House Roxton.svg House Roxton of the Ring
House Serry.svg House Serry of Southshield
House Shermer.svg House Shermer of Smithyton
House Sloane.svg House Sloane
Arms unknown House Stackhouse
House Tarly.svg House Tarly of Horn Hill
House Tyrell.svg House Tyrell of Highgarden
House Tyrell (Garlan).svg House Tyrell of Brightwater Keep
House Uffering.svg House Uffering
House Varner.svg House Varner
House Vyrwel.svg House Vyrwel of Darkdell
House Webber.svg House Webber of Coldmoat
House Westbrook.svg House Westbrook
House Willum.svg House Willum
House Wythers.svg House Wythers
House Yelshire.svg House Yelshire

References