The Reach is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms on the continent of Westeros. It was formerly a sovereign nation ruled by the Kings of the Reach before the War of Conquest. It is the second-largest of the kingdoms behind the north and is considered the most fertile and heavily-populated part of Westeros.
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 ruled from the castle of Highgarden by House Tyrell. Notable houses have included Ashford, Caswell, Crane, Florent, Fossoway, Gardener, Hightower, Merryweather, Mullendore, Oakheart, Redwyne, Rowan, Tarly, and Vyrwel. Noble bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.
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. The Reach proper is centered around the Mander. 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.
People and Economy
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.
Notable locations include:
- Highgarden, the castle and seat of House Tyrell, the Lords Paramount of the Mander.
- Oldtown, the most prominent city in the Reach. It is the oldest city in Westeros, home to the Hightower and the maesters' Citadel, and its Starry Sept was the previous seat of the Faith of the Seven.
- Ashford, a market town.
- Tumbleton, a market town.
- Cuy, a town.
While Petyr Baelish describes the military strength of the Reach to be fifty thousand swords, the Tyrells can field at least some seventy thousand soldiers. Of their bannermen, House Florent can field two thousand men at best, while House Hightower, at least during 129 AC-131 AC, was able to field much more than nine thousand men.
Plate armor is commonly used in the Reach.
The naval strength of the Reach is made up mostly out of the Redwyne fleet of the Arbor, which contains two hundred warships. Further naval strength can be found at the Shield Islands, and likely the coastal lords.
The beginnings of the Reach can be traced back to Garth Greenhand, the legendary High King of the First Men 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. What is now the Ravenry of the Citadel is said to have been a pirate stronghold during the Age of Heroes.
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. The greatest champions of the Reach became knights in the Order of the Green Hand.
Dornishmen have warred against the Reach for thousands of years; rivalries include the feud between House Oakheart and House Dayne. The Kings of the Reach also warred with the Storm Kings of House Durrandon, gradually conquering land from the western stormlands. However, King Garse VII Gardener was slain by King Argilac Durrandon in the Battle of Summerfield. 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 most of the marcher lords now owe 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 to Aegon the Conqueror. They were rewarded with both the castle and the position of overlords of the Reach. The High Septon and Lord Banfred Hightower did not oppose Aegon when he approached Oldtown, increasing the new king's legitimacy. Rather than being independent, the Reach was part of the Seven Kingdoms ruled by the Iron Throne.
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.
In the First Blackfyre Rebellion, several of Daemon I Blackfyre's greatest supporters were men of the Reach, including Ser Quentyn Ball and Lord Gormon Peake, while others supported Daeron II Targaryen.
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 unsuccessful siege of Storm's End.
A Clash of Kings
After King Robert I 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 taking of the Shields, 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.
House Appleton of Appleton
House Ashford of Ashford
House Beesbury of Honeyholt
House Blackbar of Bandallon
House Bulwer of Blackcrown
House Caswell of Bitterbridge
House Chester of Greenshield
House Cordwayner of Hammerhal
House Costayne of the Three Towers
House Crane of Red Lake
House Cuy of Sunhouse
House Florent of Brightwater Keep
House Footly of Tumbleton
House Fossoway of Cider Hall
House Fossoway of New Barrel
House Gardener of Highgarden
House Graceford of Holyhall
House Grimm of Greyshield
House Hewett of Oakenshield
House Hightower of the Hightower
House Manderly of Dunstonbury
House Meadows of Grassy Vale
House Merryweather of Longtable
House Mullendore of Uplands
House Oakheart of Old Oak
House Osgrey of Leafy Lake
House Osgrey of Standfast
House Peake of Starpike
House Redwyne of the Arbor
House Rowan of Goldengrove
House Roxton of the Ring
House Serry of Southshield
House Shermer of Smithyton
House Tarly of Horn Hill
House Tyrell of Highgarden
House Tyrell of Brightwater Keep
House Vyrwel of Darkdell
House Webber of Coldmoat
References and Notes
- So Spake Martin: Tourney Rules (April 29, 1999)
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- The World of Ice & Fire, House Tyrell.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions (July 22, 2001)
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Garth Greenhand.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Gardener Kings.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Highgarden.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Conquest.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.