Across the narrow sea
The phrase across the narrow sea is used by people of Westeros to describe locations outside of it.
The narrow sea separates Westeros and the lands to the east. In the north of the sea lie the islands of Ibben and in the south the hot Summer Isles. The lands to the east of the narrow sea are mostly consolidated into a large eastern continent called Essos. Being roughly the size of Eurasia, this continent's geography and climate vary greatly. The western coastline is characterized by green rolling hills, the massive Forest of Qohor, and extensive island chains such as Braavos and Lys. The middle of the continent is covered by the flat grasslands of the Dothraki Sea and the arid red waste to the east. Beyond the red waste, the city of Qarth sits beside the straits that lead to the Jade Sea. The south is dominated by dry rolling hills and has a Mediterranean climate, with a coastline along the Summer Sea and Slaver's Bay.
The north coast of mainland Essos is separated from the polar cap by the Shivering Sea. To the south, across the Summer Sea, lies the uncharted continent of Sothoryos, containing the cities of Yeen and Zamettar. In the extreme east, past the Bone Mountains, sit Asshai, Yi Ti, and the mysterious region called the Shadow Lands.
Civilizations, nations and regions
The known continents in the world are:
- Westeros, a large landmass that lies west.
- Essos, a large landmass that lies east.
- Sothoryos, a mysterious landmass to the south.
- Ulthos, a continent densily populated by forests.
A mysterious port city beside the equally mysterious Shadow Lands, Asshai holds many secrets, including dragonlore and the prophecies of Azor Ahai. It is often called "Asshai-by-the-Shadow" or simply "the Shadow" when grouped with the Shadow Lands.
Ibben is an island nation in the Shivering Sea often referred to as Ib, after its largest island. Its major port and capital is the Port of Ibben. The Ibbenese are a hairy race of people who often wear sealskins and favor axes and shaggy brown shields in battle. They populate the island of Ib as well as colonies on Essos. The Ibbenese are predominantly whalers, sailing fat-bellied whaling ships covered in black tar. They chew blubber and use whale oil to light their lamps. Their trading range extends to the Iron Islands in Westeros.
The Shadow Lands
A land to the extreme east, the Shadow Lands reside at the edge of the known world, beside or around Asshai. In the western world, there are many tales about the Shadow Lands, though how much fact they hold is unclear. It is said that petrified dragon eggs come from the Shadow Lands, and that dragons themselves originated there. The Dothraki believe that ghost grass covers the land, with stalks that glow in the dark and grow taller than a man on horseback. Natives of this place, called Shadow Men, cover their bodies in tattoos and wear red lacquered wooden masks. They are described as "dour and frightening". Some of them practice bloodmagic, using spells that require blood sacrifices. The area of the Shadow Lands and Asshai are sometimes referred to simply as "the Shadow".
The Stepstones are a chain of islands in the narrow sea, to the east of Dorne and the Storm Lands. Once the Stepstones were part of the Arm of Dorne, which connected Westeros to the eastern continent. The First Men crossed the Arm of Dorne to begin their invasion of Westeros. Legends describe the greenseers of the children of the forest using magic to shatter the Arm into an archipelago. Various Free Cities engage in almost constant war over possession of the Stepstones. Several times in its history, the Seven Kingdoms have also fought for control of them.
The Summer Islands
The Summer Islands are a number of islands in the Summer Sea, to the south of Westeros, that form a single nation. The port of Tall Trees Town serves as its capital. The natives of the islands are a dark-skinned people who speak their own language and often wear capes of brightly colored feathers. Archery is an important cultural skill to the Summer Islanders. Their special bows have a longer range than most others, giving their merchant boats added defense against pirates. During the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, an exile prince of the Summer Islands, Jalabhar Xho, lives in Westeros. For many years he unsuccessfully attempts to convince the kings of the Seven Kingdoms to invade the Summer Islands and install him as their ruler.
Yi Ti is a coastal city on the Jade Sea, southeast of Qarth. The people of Yi Ti are said to be dark skinned and bright-eyed, and some wear monkey-tail hats. The jungles of Yi Ti are infested with basilisks. In Westeros, it is considered to be a fabulous city, though little is known about it. Somewhere beyond the city is thought to lie a "legendary dreaming city" of poets.
References and notes
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