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City state, one of the Free Cities
Free Cities.png
Location Free Cities, Essos
Government Conclave of magisters
Population More populous than Astapor, and may be one of the most populous of the Free Cities
Religion Mixed religions

Lys, known as Lys the Lovely,[1] and according to semi-canon sources as the Perfumed Sister,[2] is one of the nine Free Cities of Essos. It is a small city clinging to rocks surrounded by stormy seas.[3] The city lies off the coast of the Disputed Lands, to the southeast of Tyrosh and to the west of Volantis.[4] George R. R. Martin usually uses "Lyseni" as a noun, both singular[5] and plural,[6][7] and "Lysene" as an adjective.[8][9]


Location and Layout

See also: Images of Lys

A mercantile city, Lys is built on a fertile island considered a paradise by Valyrian dragonlords. The sunny island is fertile with palm and fruit trees, and the surrounding blue-green waters are filled with fish.[1]

Lys is protected by high walls and hired sellswords. A city dominated by wealth rather than by birth, Lys is where trade is considered a profession more honorable than arms. Lys is ruled by conclaves of magisters, chosen from amongst the wealthiest and noblest men of the city. Slaves in Lys outnumber free men three to one.

Lys is a port city with no established faith. Temples and shrines to many different gods can be found in the streets and waterfronts of the city,[1] including a temple of R'hllor.[5] The hulls of Lysene galleys are often striped in bright hues.[10]


A Lysene noblewoman - by Magali Villeneuve ©

More than anywhere else in the known world, the blood of Old Valyria still runs strong in the Lyseni, who are regarded as beautiful. Even the smallfolk in Lys have the pale skin, silver-gold hair, and purple, lilac, and pale blue eyes of the dragonlords of old. Many of the nobility in Lys have produced infamous beauties, and Targaryen kings and princes are known to have looked at Lys for wives and paramours.[1] The people of Lys are know to curl and perfume their hair.[3]

The Lysene tongue is a corruption of High Valyrian.[11] George R. R. Martin has described the Lysene dialect to be a musical, flowing, liquid tongue.[12]

Prince Daemon Targaryen, brother to King Viserys I Targaryen, had a paramour from Lys, a dancer named Mysaria.[13][14] King Viserys II Targaryen had been married to Lady Larra Rogare from Lys in his youth, and had three children by her, including the later King Aegon IV, and the famous Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.[15][16] King Aegon IV's last mistress, Serenei, came from Lys as well, and bore him a daughter named Shiera, whilst dying in childbirth.[17]

The red priests have a red temple in honor of R'hllor in Lys.[5] It is also home to a love goddess, worshipped by many Lyseni;[1] it is unknown if she is the same as the Weeping Lady of Lys. This love goddess graces the Lysene coinage.[1]

The Lyseni fight often with Tyrosh and Myr over the Disputed Lands, though they will not risk the lives of their citizens in this, preferring to hire free companies instead.[1] Lysene pirates often have nests in the Stepstones.[18][19]


Lys is deeply involved in the slave trade. In the city, slaves outnumber the freeborn three to one. Lys is most famous for their bed-slaves, and Lyseni are known to be famously voracious in their search for comely young boys and fair maids with their pillow houses. Lys is also known for the breeding of slaves, mating beauty with beauty, hoping to produce the most lovely courtesans and bedslaves.[1] Aptly, many Lyseni worship a love goddess whose naked, wanton figure graces their coinage.

Lysene coins are oval in shape and have a naked woman stamped on them,[20] the native love goddess of Lys.[1]

Lys makes red and white wine,[3] as well as fine tapestries.[21] The alchemists of Lys are known to make poisons, including the strangler[22] and the tears of Lys.[23] Heady sweet perfumes also come from the city.[3] The Lyseni also make fine long dirks.[24]



Lys the Lovely, by Martina Pilcerova ©FFG

Lys was founded as a colony of the Valyrian Freehold on an island in the Summer Sea, near the Broken Arm of Dorne and the Orange Shore of Essos.[25][26] Founded by wealthy merchants and nobles, Lys was mostly a trading colony.[26] Due to its climate, Lys soon became a resort destination of sorts for the dragonlords of old Valyria. The sunny island is fertile with palm and fruit trees, and the surrounding blue-green waters are filled with fish.[1]

Some dragonlords in Lys survived the Doom of Valyria, but the citizens killed the dragons and their dragonriders.[27] During the Century of Blood, Volantis took Lys and Myr, and for two generations all three cities were ruled from within the Black Walls of Volantis. That ended when Volantis tried to take Tyrosh. Pentos came into the war on the Tyroshi side, along with the Westerosi Storm King Argilac Durrandon. Lord Aegon Targaryen flew forth from Dragonstone on the dragon Balerion, and Myr and Lys rose in rebellion.[27] The Bleeding Years left the Disputed Lands a waste and freed Lys and Myr from the yoke of Volantis.[28]

The Triarchy

Roughly a century later, in 96 AC, Lys united with Myr and Tyrosh to form the Triarchy, also known as the Kingdom of the Three Daughters. While the Triarchy was initially appreciated for subduing pirates from the Stepstones, Lysene captains became particularly resented for claiming women and comely children from passing ships to serve in pillow houses. These victims included Johanna Swann, a Westerosi member of House Swann whose uncle refused to pay her ransom. Johanna rose to become the Black Swan, however, a powerful courtesan who practically ruled Lys.[13]

The Triarchy fought with Prince Daemon Targaryen over the Stepstones and supported the greens during the Dance of the Dragons. The Lysene captain Sharako Lohar took Prince Viserys into his custody after the Battle of the Gullet.[29]

The Triarchy faltered after a Lysene admiral was murdered by a rival for the affections of the Black Swan.[13][1] An alliance between Braavos, Pentos, and Lorath helped bring an end to the Kingdom of the Three Daughters.[1]

Lyseni Spring

A coin of Lys, as depicted by Nutchapol Thitinunthakorn in The World of Ice and Fire

Around the same time as the Dance of the Dragons in the Seven Kingdoms ended, the Lysene Rogare Bank had grown more influential than the Iron Bank of Braavos. During this Lyseni Spring, Lady Larra Rogare married Prince Viserys Targaryen, the younger brother of the young King Aegon III, and House Rogare became involved in the plots to control the king. Larra's uncle, Drazenko Rogare was wed to Aliandra Martell, the Princess of Dorne, resulting in this influential Lyseni family having ties through marriage alliances to the Iron Throne and independent Dorne.

Lysandro Rogare, Larra's father and head of the family, and his brother Drazenko, died within a day of each other, beginning the fall of the Rogares in both Lys and the Seven Kingdoms.[1] Lysandro's heir,Lysaro, was scourged to death at the Temple of Trade by rival magisters. His siblings were punished less harshly, and one of them, Moredo Rogare, a soldier carrying the Valyrian sword Truth, eventually led an army against Lys.[1][15]

Recent History

King Aegon IV Targaryen, half-Lysene through his mother Larra, had a mistress from Lys towards the end of his reign: Serenei of Lys, the last daughter of an ancient but impoverished noble family of Valyrian blood. Serenei bore Aegon IV one child, the famously beautiful Shiera Seastar, whom Aegon IV legitimized on his deathbed as one of his Great Bastards.[17]

In 209 AC, Prince Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen was temporarily exiled to Lys, following his role in the tourney at Ashford Meadow which indirectly resulted in the death of his uncle, Crown Prince Baelor "Breakspear" Targaryen. Aerion stayed in Lys for a few years, and it is possible that he fathered some children while staying there.[30]

Lord Tywin Lannister went to Lys during the reign of Aerys II Targaryen.[31] Prince Oberyn Martell was sent to Lys after being suspected of using poison on Lord Edgar Yronwood, but no one dared call it exile.[32]

Jon Connington supposedly drank himself to death in Lys after being driven from the Golden Company in disgrace for stealing from their war chest.[33] When Daenerys Targaryen was a young girl she and her brother Viserys spent some time in Lys when they were wandering from place to place.[34]

Ser Jorah Mormont fled in exile to Lys with his wife Lynesse Hightower, after which he began to sell his sword to make coin. By the time Jorah returned to Lys after fighting the Braavosi on the Rhoyne, his wife had taken Tregar Ormollen as a lover. She now rules as his concubine.[35][36]

Hizdahr zo Loraq has visited Lys.[37] Varys, master of whisperers for King Robert I Baratheon, originates from Lys,[38], and according to Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys was born a slave there.[39] Petyr Baelish, Robert's master of coin, trades for Lysene lace.[40]

Asha Greyjoy lost her virginity when she was sixteen to a beautiful blond Lysene sailor.[41]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

One of Daenerys Targaryen's servants is Doreah, whom Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos had found in a Lysene pillow house.[8]

A Clash of Kings

King Stannis Baratheon brings sellswords from Lys and Myr to Dragonstone.[9] Ser Davos Seaworth recalls that it was he who journeyed to Lys in order to recruit Salladhor Saan to Stannis's cause. Salladhor commands the Valyrian and two dozen smaller Lysene galleys.[5]

A Storm of Swords

A pale Lyseni, one of the Brave Companions, is killed by Nymeria's wolfpack.[42]

Khorane Sathmantes, captain of Shayala's Dance, rescues Davos from Blackwater Bay.[24] Davos later smuggles Edric Storm from Dragonstone aboard a Lysene galley.[43]

Tyrosh is on the verge of going to war with Lys.[44]

To prove the discipline of the Unsullied to Daenerys, Kraznys mo Nakloz mutilates a Lysene slave in Astapor.[45]

A Feast for Crows

Taena Merryweather tells Cersei Lannister that she has friends in Lys.[46] In Braavos, Arya Stark meets fair-haired Lyseni who try to strike hard bargains.[47]

Lys and Tyrosh are now on the verge of war with Myr.[48] Myr is then said to be supportive of Tyrosh against Lys,[49] but the Golden Company breaks its contract with Myr before war begins.[50] It is rumored that the Archon of Tyrosh has offered terms to Lys in an effort to end the trade war.[49]

Ser Humfrey Hightower travels to Lys to recruit sellsails, hoping for assistance from his sister Lynesse against the ironborn attacks against the Reach.[51]

A Dance with Dragons

Edric is in hiding in Lys with his guardian and protectors.[52] Quentyn Martell's party stops in Lys during their voyage to Meereen,[53] and the Golden Company takes on water in Lys before continuing on to the stormlands.[54] Young Griff is fluent in the low dialect of Lys,[28] and Arya also attempts to learn the city's dialect.[20]

The Elephant and the Goodheart capture free folk slaves at Hardhome, but the Lysene pirate ships are damaged by storms. While the Goodheart is impounded in Braavos, the Elephant may have returned to Lys.[20] Victarion Greyjoy sends his slowest and heaviest ships to sell slaves from the Shield Islands in Lys.[55]

Magister Illyrio sends a bedwarmer trained in Lys to serve Tyrion Lannister while he is in Pentos.[56] Daenerys sees a youthful Lyseni killed in Daznak's Pit.[57]

References and Notes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  2. A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  4. A Dance with Dragons, Map of the Free Cities
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 31, Jaime IV.
  7. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
  12. Not a Blog: A New Daenerys (May 21st, 2010), answer to question (June 1st, 2010)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 The Rogue Prince.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  16. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  17. 17.0 17.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
  19. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  22. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
  25. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Lys.
  26. 26.0 26.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  27. 27.0 27.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  28. 28.0 28.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  29. The Princess and the Queen.
  30. So Spake Martin: Many Questions (October 14, 1998)
  31. The Winds of Winter, Mercy
  32. The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  35. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  36. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  38. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Varys.
  39. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  40. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  41. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  42. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
  43. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
  44. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  45. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  46. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  47. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
  48. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  49. 49.0 49.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  50. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  51. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  52. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  53. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  54. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  55. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  56. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  57. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.