Across the narrow sea
The term Across the Narrow Sea is used to describe locations outside of Westeros.
The narrow sea separates Westeros and the lands to the east. In the north of the sea lies the icy island 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 of unknown name. 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 wastes known as the Red Lands to the east. Beyond the Red Lands, 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 the mainland 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, across the Jade Sea, sit Asshai, Yi Ti, and the mysterious region called the Shadow Lands. It is a matter of speculation whether these easternmost regions are physically attached to the mainland or are separated from it by the Jade Sea.
Civilizations, Nations and Regions
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.
The Disputed Lands
An area on the mainland of the eastern continent, located between the Free Cities of Tyrosh, Myr and Volantis, with Lys sitting just off the coast. The River Rhoyne marks its eastern border. Myr and Lys fight constantly over control of the territory, frequently drawing Tyrosh and Volantis into the struggle as well. The war over the Disputed Lands is often lumped in with the similar struggle over control of the Stepstones.
The Dothraki Sea
The Dothraki Sea is a vast, flat grassland inhabited by the Dothraki people, a copper-skinned race of warlike nomads with their own language and unique equestrian culture.
The Free Cities
The nine Free Cities are Lys, Myr, Pentos, Braavos, Lorath, Norvos, Qohor, Volantis, and Tyrosh. They are independent city-states that, with the exception of Braavos, were all originally founded as colonies of Valyria. The Free Cities are located on the western edge of the eastern continent: along the coast, further inland, or on islands in the narrow sea. Citizens of the Free Cities speak a distinct form of Valyrian, though the Common Tongue of Westeros is also used.
South of the Dothraki Sea is Slaver's Bay, which holds three port city-states called Yunkai, Meereen, and Astapor. The cities were built from the rubble of Old Ghis, an ancient rival of Valyria that was crushed by that nation thousands of years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. Present inhabitants of the bay are a mongrel race that speak a bastardized version of High Valyrian. The economies of the cities are largely based on slave labor and the slave trade. Treatment of slaves is often harsh, while citizens live in relative luxury. The city of New Ghis sits on an island in the Bay, but little has been revealed about it.
Ibben is an island nation in the Shivering Sea often referred to as "Ib". 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 Ibben as well as colonies on the eastern continent. 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.
Lhazar is a land to the south of the Dothraki Sea inhabited by the Lhazareen, a peaceful people with bronze skin, flat faces, and almond eyes. They are predominantly shepherds, called the Lamb Men by the Dothraki, who frequently prey on them. They worship a god called the Great Shepherd and believe that all of humanity is part of a single flock.
A vastly rich city in the far east, home to warlocks and merchant princes. Situated in a central location, Qarth is a gateway of commerce and culture between the east and west, and the north and south. Brimming with wealth, the city's architecture makes a grand display. It is surrounded by three walls of thirty, forty, and fifty feet in height, respectively engraved with portraits of animals, war, and lovemaking. The city's buildings, are of many different colors, including rose, violet, and umber. Slender towers rise throughout the city and fountains adorn every square.
The Qartheen are a tall and pale people, called the Milk Men by the Dothraki for their complexion. They pride themselves on their sophistication and consider weeping in times of strong emotion to be a mark of civilization. Husbands and wives retain their possessions after marriage, though newlyweds are allowed by law to take one possession from their spouse as their own. Qarth is governed by the Pureborn, descendants of the city's ancient kings and queens, who rule the city from the Hall of a Thousand Thrones. The Pureborn also command the city's defenses: the Civic Guard, which includes camelry, and a great military fleet. There are three principal merchant groups that battle amongst themselves and against the Pureborn for dominance of the city. They are known as the Thirteen, the Ancient Guild of Spicers, and the Tourmaline Brotherhood.
Qarth is most famous for its warlocks, who are feared and respected throughout the East. Like the Alchemists of Westeros, however, the warlocks' power and prestige have waned over the years. Qarth is also home to a guild of assassins known as the Sorrowful Men, who whisper, "I am so sorry," just before they kill their victims.
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 has 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 Tree 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.
A long-dead city of wonderment, Valyria was once the capital of a great empire called the Valyrian Freehold, but has since fallen into ruin. Valyria was the only nation to field trained dragons in war, and also invented a magical alloy called Valyrian steel. After the Doom of Valyria, Valyria shattered into a smoking ruin, and the Freehold collapsed.
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 very little is known about it. Somewhere beyond the city is thought to lie a "legendary dreaming city" of poets.
References and Sources
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Across the narrow sea.