Lys

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Lys
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
Notable places Temple of Trade, Perfumed Garden

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]

City

Location and Layout

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. The city is known for its pillow houses[1] and pleasure gardens.[10]

Temples and shrines can be found in the streets and waterfronts of the city,[1] including the Temple of Trade,[1] the temple of Yndros,[11] and a red temple of R'hllor.[5] The hulls of Lysene galleys are often striped in bright hues.[12][13]

People

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.[14] George R. R. Martin has described the Lysene dialect to be a musical, flowing, liquid tongue.[15] Like the Braavosi and Pentoshi, the Lyseni are great lovers of song.[16]

Lys is ruled by conclaves of magisters, chosen from amongst the wealthiest and noblest men of the city,[1] with the first magister preeminent.[11] The gonfaloniere is an elected military leader.[11]

Lys is a port city with no established faith. Pantera, Yndros of the Twilight, Bakkalon, Saagael, and R'hllor are some of the manifold deities of Lys.[11][5] The city is home to a love goddess[17] whose naked figure is on Lysene coinage;[1] it is unknown if she is the same as the Weeping Lady of Lys.

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]

Economy

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

Lys is deeply involved in the slave trade, with slaves outnumbering freeborn Lyseni 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 bed slaves.[1]

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.[12]

History

Foundation

Lys the Lovely, by Martina Pilcerova © Fantasy Flight Games

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.[24][25] Founded by wealthy merchants and nobles, Lys was mostly a trading colony.[25] 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]

After the Doom

Some dragonlords in Lys survived the Doom of Valyria, but the citizens killed the dragons and their dragonriders.[26] 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. When Volantis tried to take Tyrosh, however, Pentos came into the war on the Tyroshi side and Lys and Myr rose in rebellion. The Storm King, Argilac Durrandon, led a host which defeated Volantenes threatening Myr. Lord Aegon Targaryen flew forth from Dragonstone on his dragon, Balerion, and defeated a Volantene fleet attacking Lys.[26] The Bleeding Years left the Disputed Lands a waste and freed Lys and Myr from the yoke of Volantis.[27]

Seven maidens and twoscore other beauties traveled from Lysene pleasure houses for the Golden Wedding to entertain Lord Rogar Baratheon and his entourage.[28] Some tales claim Coryanne Wylde became the mistress of a Lysene pillow house.[29] Saera Targaryen served in a Lysene pleasure garden after fleeing the Seven Kingdoms.[30] Prince Daemon Targaryen, brother to King Viserys I Targaryen, had a paramour from Lys, a dancer named Mysaria.[31] Corlys Velaryon visited Myr during his voyages.[32]

The Triarchy and the Daughters' War

After the defeat of Volantis in the Battle of the Borderland 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, whose uncle refused to pay her ransom. Johanna rose to become the Black Swan, a powerful courtesan who practically ruled Lys. The Triarchy fought with Prince Daemon Targaryen during his war for the Stepstones.[32]

During the Dance of the Dragons, the High Council of the Triarchy accepted Ser Tyland Lannister's offer of alliance with the greens. Because most of the Triarchy's losses during the Battle of the Gullet came from Myrish and Tyroshi ships, their admiral, Sharako Lohar of Lys, was accused by widows of having held back his own Lysene ships.[33] Sharako took Prince Viserys Targaryen into his custody after the battle, but the embattled admiral eventually sold his captive to Bambarro Bazanne, a Lysene magister.[34]

The death of Sharako led to the collapse of the Triarchy in 131 AC. Although the admiral had actually been killed by a rival for the affections of the Black Swan, it was believed that Sharako had been assassinated by Myr. When Lys declared war on Myr, Tyrosh sent Racallio Ryndoon to claim the Stepstones. Racallio declared himself King of the Narrow Sea instead. An alliance between Braavos, Lorath, and Pentos also joined the Daughters' War in the narrow sea and the Disputed Lands.[35] Many ancient Lysene houses and noble magisters fell or were killed in the fighting. The war eventually ended with the Disputed Lands divided between Lys, Myr, and Tyrosh.[11]

Lysene Spring

Wine in a pillow house is poisoned with the tears of Lys, from Game of Thrones Blu-ray

Of ancient lineage, House Rogare rose to power during the Daughters' War. Lysandro Rogare, patriarch of the family and head of the Rogare Bank, acquired Prince Viserys Targaryen after the death of his captor, Bambarro Bazanne, in 132 AC. Lysandro wed the prince to his beautiful daughter, Larra Rogare. While in Sunspear during his return from the westerlands, Lord Alyn Velaryon was informed by Lysandro's brother, Drazenko, of Viserys's captivity. Alyn Oakenfist sailed Lady Baela to Lys and negotiated with Lysandro for the prince's release. Viserys, the younger brother of King Aegon III Targaryen, returned to King's Landing with Larra and three of her brothers.[34] Drazenko eventually married Aliandra Martell, Princess of Dorne, and was named Lord of the Stepstones by her.[11]

The Rogares' connections with the Iron Throne and Dorne essentially made them princes of Lys, and the Rogare Bank grew more influential than the rival Iron Bank of Braavos. Lysandro named himself First Magister for Life. Trade flourished in the cities of the Seven Kingdoms during the so-called Lysene Spring and the "velvet tyranny" of Lysandro the Magnificent.[11] Despite living in King's Landing, Larra refused to speak the Common Tongue. She wore Lysene fashions and was surrounded by Lysene ladies, servants, and protectors, including Sandoq the Shadow.[11]

When Lysandro and Drazenko abruptly died one day apart, the Faceless Men were widely held responsible. The magisters and merchant princes of Lys began infighting, with Torreo Haen, Silvario and Pereno Pendaerys, Moreo Dagareon, and Matteno Orthys all falling. Lysandro's eldest son, Lysaro, attempted to rule Lys, but he was less effective than his father. When rumors spread that the Rogare Bank was unsound, Lysaro fled with its wealth and a thousand Unsullied. The emptied bank was seized by Lys's magisters, as were the Rogare palace, manses, wharves, storehouses, the Perfumed Garden, and most of their galleys. Several Rogares were sold into slavery, and Lysaro was scourged to death in Lys after being caught in Volon Therys.[11]

Disliked by many Westerosi, the Rogares in the Seven Kingdoms also lost power. Lotho lost his right hand after having been found guilty of stealing from the King's Landing branch of the Rogare Bank, but he went on to help establish the Bank of Oldtown. Roggerio established the cog Mermaid's Daughter as a seaborne pillow house. After receiving gold from the Iron Bank, Moredo Rogare hired mercenaries in Tyrosh for an attack on Lys. He eventually buried the remains of Lysaro in the family crypt.[11] Larra gave birth to Prince Aemon and Princess Naerys Targaryen in Westeros, but eventually returned to her native Lys.[36]

Recent History

Lyseni Captain, by Raymond Bonilla © Fantasy Flight Games

King Aegon IV Targaryen, half-Lysene through his mother Larra, had a Lysene mistress towards the end of his reign: Serenei of Lys, the last daughter of an ancient but impoverished noble family of Valyrian blood. Serenei bore the king one child, the famously beautiful Shiera Seastar, whom Aegon IV legitimized on his deathbed as one of his Great Bastards.[37]

In 209 AC, Prince Aerion Targaryen was temporarily exiled to Lys, following his role in the tourney at Ashford Meadow which indirectly resulted in the death of his uncle, Prince Baelor Breakspear. Aerion brightflame stayed in Lys for a few years, and it is possible that he fathered some children while staying there.[38]

Lord Tywin Lannister went to Lys during the reign of Aerys II Targaryen.[39] Prince Oberyn Martell was sent to Lys after being suspected of using poison on Lord Edgar Yronwood, but no one dared call it exile.[40]

Jon Connington supposedly drank himself to death in Lys after being driven from the Golden Company in disgrace for stealing from their war chest.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43][44]

Hizdahr zo Loraq has visited Lys.[45] Varys, master of whisperers for King Robert I Baratheon, originates from Lys,[46] and according to Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys was born a slave there.[47] Lord Petyr Baelish, Robert's master of coin, trades for Lysene lace.[48]

Asha Greyjoy lost her virginity when she was sixteen to a beautiful blond Lysene sailor.[49]

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] Daenerys smells sweet perfumes from Lys while at the Western Market of Vaes Dothrak.[3]

A Clash of Kings

Salladhor Saan, by Rafal Hrynkiewicz © Fantasy Flight Games

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's sellsails to Stannis's cause. Salladhor, the self-styled Prince of the Narrow Sea, 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.[50]

Khorane Sathmantes, captain of Shayala's Dance, rescues Davos from Blackwater Bay.[12] Davos later smuggles Edric Storm from Dragonstone aboard a Lysene galley.[51]

Tyrosh is on the verge of going to war with Lys.[52]

Ser Osmund Kettleblack claims to have fought with the Gallant Men in the Disputed Lands, serving Lys and then Tyrosh.[53]

To prove the discipline of the Unsullied to Daenerys, Kraznys mo Nakloz mutilates a Lysene slave in Astapor.[54]

A Feast for Crows

Taena Merryweather tells Cersei Lannister that she has friends in Lys.[55] In Braavos, Arya Stark enjoys the fair-haired Lyseni who try to strike hard bargains.[56]

Lys and Tyrosh are now on the verge of war with Myr.[57] Myr is then said to be supportive of Tyrosh against Lys,[58] but the Golden Company breaks its contract with Myr before war begins.[59] It is rumored that the Archon of Tyrosh has offered terms to Lys in an effort to end the trade war.[58]

Ser Humfrey Hightower travels to Lys to recruit sellsails, hoping for assistance from his sister Lynesse against the ironborn attacks against the Reach.[60]

A Dance with Dragons

Edric is in hiding in Lys with his guardian and protectors.[61] Quentyn Martell's party stops in Lys during their voyage to Meereen,[62] and the Golden Company takes on water in Lys before continuing on to the stormlands.[63] Young Griff is fluent in the low dialect of Lys,[27] 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.[64]

Magister Illyrio sends a bedwarmer trained in Lys to serve Tyrion Lannister while he is in Pentos.[65] Daenerys sees a youthful Lyseni killed in Daznak's Pit.[66]

Quotes

To this day, Lys remains "a feast for the senses, a balm for the soul." Its pillow houses are famed through all the world, and sunsets here are said to be more beautiful than anywhere else on earth.[1]

—writings of Yandel

Amongst the Lyseni, it is truly said, wars are fought with plots and poisons rather than with armies.[11]

—writings of Gyldayn

The Lysene girl had hair the color of honey, and eyes like the summer sky.[8]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

Clever, craven Lyseni.[59]

She was trained in Lys, where they make an art of love.[65]

References

  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 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 3.4 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 8.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
  13. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities.
  15. Not a Blog: A New Daenerys (May 21st, 2010), answer to question (June 1st, 2010)
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa 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. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Lys.
  25. 25.0 25.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Valyria's Children.
  26. 26.0 26.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  28. Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
  29. Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
  30. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  33. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
  35. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  36. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  37. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  38. So Spake Martin: Many Questions (October 14, 1998)
  39. The Winds of Winter, Mercy
  40. The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
  41. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  43. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  44. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  45. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  46. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Varys.
  47. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  48. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  49. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  50. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
  51. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
  52. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  53. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  54. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  55. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  56. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
  57. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  58. 58.0 58.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  59. 59.0 59.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  60. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  61. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  62. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  63. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  64. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  65. 65.0 65.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  66. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.