The Reach is ruled from the castle of Highgarden by House Tyrell. It is the second-largest of the kingdoms behind the North and is considered the most fertile and heavily-populated part of Westeros. Bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.
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.
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.
The Reach is watered by the immense river Mander and its tributaries, including the Blueburn and the Cockleswhent. 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.
- Highgarden, castle and seat of House Tyrell, the center of the regional power.
- Oldtown, The most prominent city in the Reach is Oldtown. It is the oldest city in Westeros, home to the maesters' Citadel, and the previous seat of the Faith.
- Ashford, a market town.
The beginnings of the Reach can be traced back to Garth Greenhand, the legendary King of the Reach who lived in the Age of Heroes. The royal line of House Gardener of Highgarden claimed descent from Garth, as do many current houses in the region.
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. Dornishmen have warred against the Reach for thousands of years; rivalries include the feud between House Oakheart and House Dayne. 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, although the marcher lords now allegiance to House Baratheon of the Stormlands.
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 Aegon. They were rewarded with both the castle and the position of overlords of the Reach.
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.
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 Siege of Storm's End.
A Clash of Kings
After King Robert 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
A Feast for Crows
The Reach itself remains untouched by the war until the Battle of the Shield Islands, 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.
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.
References and Notes
- Tourney Rules. (April 29, 1999) So Spake Martin
- The Lands of Ice and Fire
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.