Reach

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The Reach with the major strongholds

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 Aegon's 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 for tourneys are the most stringent and managed.[1]

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.[2][3] Noble bastards born in the Reach are given the surname Flowers.

Geography

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.[4]

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.[5] 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

Oldtown by Franz Miklis © Fantasy Flight Games

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.[6] The Arbor is said to make the finest of rich wines, from reds[7] to a golden vintage.[8] Woodharps made in Oldtown are highly sought after.[9] Bride and groom traditionally exchange gifts on the morning of their wedding in the Reach.[10]

Before Aegon's Conquest, the golden coins of the Reach were known as hands. They still exist in some number, with each hand coin roughly half the value of a dragon coin.[11]

Notable locations include:

Military strength

While Petyr Baelish describes the military strength of the Reach to be fifty thousand swords,[12] the Tyrells can field at least some seventy thousand soldiers.[13] Of their bannermen, House Florent can field two thousand men at best,[14] while House Hightower, at least during 129 AC-131 AC, was able to field much more than nine thousand men.[15]

Plate armor is commonly used in the Reach.[16]

The naval strength of the Reach is made up mostly out of the Redwyne fleet of the Arbor, which contains two hundred warships.[17] Further naval strength can be found at the Shield Islands,[18] and the coastal lords.[19]

History

House Gardener

Highgarden by Zippo514 ©

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.[20] The royal line of House Gardener of Highgarden claimed descent from Garth as do many current houses in the region.[21][22] What is now the Ravenry of the Citadel is said to have been a pirate stronghold during the Age of Heroes.[23] Beginning from the Reach proper, the Gardener Kings of the Reach expanded north to Old Oak, Red Lake, and Goldengrove, and south to Oldtown, the Arbor, and Horn Hill.[24]

The Reach is the home of mythical warriors and knights such as Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, Davos the Dragonslayer, Roland of the Horn, and the Knight Without Armor.[24]

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.[25] House Peake expelled House Manderly from the Reach during the reign of King Perceon III Gardener.[26]

Dornishmen have warred against the Reach for thousands of years; rivalries include the feud between House Oakheart and House Dayne.[27] Ser Wilbert Osgrey fell defending against an invasion of the Reach by Lancel IV Lannister, King of the Rock.[28] 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.[29] 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,[30] although most of the marcher lords now owe allegiance to House Baratheon of the stormlands.[31]

House Tyrell

Wardens of the Reach by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

During Aegon's 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 title of Lord Paramount of the Mander. The High Septon and Lord Manfred Hightower did not oppose Aegon when he approached Oldtown, increasing the new king's legitimacy.[32] Rather than remain independent, the Reach became 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 First and Second Tumbleton were fought in the Reach.[15]

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.[28] The Reach suffered from a terrible drought in 211 AC.[28] The ironborn have not raided the Reach since the time of Dagon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands.[17]

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.[33] After Ashford, Mace led the unsuccessful siege of Storm's End.[3]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Highgarden's Finest by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

With the death of King Robert I Baratheon and the ascension of his supposed son, Joffrey I Baratheon, Lord Renly Baratheon and Ser Loras Tyrell flee King's Landing for Highgarden, where Renly weds Margaery Tyrell and claims the Iron Throne.[34]

A Clash of Kings

The lords of the Reach join the Tyrells in declaring for Renly, aside from the neutral Redwynes.[35] Lord Mace Tyrell closes the roseroad and Renly holds a melee at Bitterbridge during his slow march on King's Landing.[36]

Some lords join Stannis Baratheon after Renly's death at Storm's End,[12] although there is fighting at Bitterbridge between Florents and Tarlys.[37] Lord Petyr Baelish hurries from King's Landing to Bitterbridge to meet with Ser Loras Tyrell,[12] continuing on to Highgarden to negotiate with Mace and Olenna Tyrell.[38] The Tyrells join with Lord Tywin Lannister to defeat Stannis in the Battle of the Blackwater.[39]

A Storm of Swords

Hundreds of wayns deliver food from the Reach to King's Landing.[40] The lords of the Reach provide much of the Iron Throne's manpower, under the uneasy alliance between Houses Lannister and Tyrell.[40][33]

A Feast for Crows

Olenna returns to Highgarden, while Ser Garlan Tyrell marches on Brightwater Keep to claim it from the Florents.[41]

The Reach remains untouched by the war until the taking of the Shields by Euron Greyjoy, King of the Isles and the North.[18] The ironborn raiders then invade the Arbor, attack Whispering Sound, and sail up the Mander.[42][43] Ser Baelor and Ser Gunthor Hightower lead the defense of Oldtown,[43] while Garlan Tyrell gathers men to retake the Shields.[17]

Samwell Tarly sails on Cinnamon Wind from Braavos to Oldtown to study at the Citadel. Archmaester Marwyn departs Oldtown for Slaver's Bay after hearing Sam's story.[43]

A Dance with Dragons

With the Reach preoccupied with the ironborn, Obara Sand wants Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, to attack the Reach as well.[44]

Quotes

Growing Ambition by Paolo Puggioni © Fantasy Flight Games

You need to come south. You need a taste of summer before it flees. In Highgarden there are fields of golden roses that stretch away as far as the eye can see. The fruits are so ripe they explode in your mouth-melons, peaches, fireplums, you've never tasted such sweetness.[6]

He was a man of the Reach, and the Dornish were his ancient foes, as the tapestries at Old Oak bore witness.[45]

—thoughts of Arys Oakheart

Nute: What rose can harm the krakens of the deep? We have taken their shields from them, and smashed them all to pieces. Who will protect them now?
Rodrik: Highgarden. Soon enough all the power of the Reach will be marshaled against us, Barber, and then you may learn that some roses have steel thorns.[18]

Even after a century, some of us still have friends in the Reach. The power of Highgarden may not be what Mace Tyrell imagines.[46]

Houses

House Ambrose.svg House Ambrose
House Appleton.svg House Appleton of Appleton
House Ashford.svg House Ashford of Ashford
House Ball.svg House Ball
House Beesbury.svg House Beesbury of Honeyholt
House Blackbar.svg House Blackbar of Bandallon
House Bridges.svg House Bridges
House Bulwer.svg House Bulwer of Blackcrown
House Bushy.svg House Bushy
House Caswell.svg House Caswell of Bitterbridge
House Chester.svg House Chester of Greenshield
House Cockshaw.svg House Cockshaw
Arms unknown House Conklyn
House Cordwayner.svg House Cordwayner of Hammerhal
House Costayne.svg House Costayne of the Three Towers
House Crane.svg House Crane of Red Lake
House Cuy.svg House Cuy of Sunhouse
Dunn.png House Dunn
Arms unknown House Durwell
House Florent.svg House Florent of Brightwater Keep
House Footly.svg House Footly of Tumbleton
House Fossoway.svg House Fossoway of Cider Hall
House Fossoway (New Barrel).svg House Fossoway of New Barrel
House Gardener.svg House Gardener of Highgarden
House Graceford.svg House Graceford of Holyhall
House Graves.svg House Graves
House Grimm.svg House Grimm of Greyshield
House Hastwyck.svg House Hastwyck
House Hewett.svg House Hewett of Oakenshield
House Hightower.svg House Hightower of the Hightower
Hunt.png House Hunt
House Hutcheson.svg House Hutcheson
House Inchfield.svg House Inchfield
House Kidwell.svg House Kidwell
House Leygood.svg House Leygood
House Lowther.svg House Lowther
House Lyberr.svg House Lyberr
House Manderly.svg House Manderly of Dunstonbury
House Meadows.svg House Meadows of Grassy Vale
House Merryweather.svg House Merryweather of Longtable
House Middlebury.svg House Middlebury
House Mullendore.svg House Mullendore of Uplands
House Norcross.svg House Norcross
House Norridge.svg House Norridge
House Oakheart.svg House Oakheart of Old Oak
House Oldflowers.svg House Oldflowers
House Orme.svg House Orme
Arms unknown House Osgrey of Leafy Lake
House Osgrey.svg House Osgrey of Standfast
House Peake.svg House Peake of Starpike
House Pommingham.svg House Pommingham
House Redding.svg House Redding
House Redwyne.svg House Redwyne of the Arbor
House Rhysling.svg House Rhysling
House Risley.svg House Risley
House Rowan.svg House Rowan of Goldengrove
House Roxton.svg House Roxton of the Ring
House Serry.svg House Serry of Southshield
House Shermer.svg House Shermer of Smithyton
House Sloane.svg House Sloane
Arms unknown House Stackhouse
House Tarly.svg House Tarly of Horn Hill
House Tyrell.svg House Tyrell of Highgarden
House Tyrell (Garlan).svg House Tyrell of Brightwater Keep
House Uffering.svg House Uffering
House Varner.svg House Varner
House Vyrwel.svg House Vyrwel of Darkdell
House Webber.svg House Webber of Coldmoat
House Westbrook.svg House Westbrook
House Willum.svg House Willum
House Wythers.svg House Wythers
House Yelshire.svg House Yelshire

References

  1. So Spake Martin: Tourney Rules, April 29, 1999
  2. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: House Tyrell.
  4. The Lands of Ice and Fire.
  5. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  7. The Mystery Knight.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  10. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
  13. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  14. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Princess and the Queen.
  16. So Spake Martin: Yet More Questions July 22, 2001
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  19. So Spake Martin: The Lannister Fleet, September 26, 1999
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Garth Greenhand.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
  22. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  23. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  24. 24.0 24.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Highgarden.
  26. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  27. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 The Sworn Sword.
  29. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: The Men of the Stormlands.
  32. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  33. 33.0 33.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  35. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  36. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  37. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  39. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
  40. 40.0 40.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
  41. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  42. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  45. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  46. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.