Game of Thrones, one of the most popular television shows in history (based on the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire), is coming back! To celebrate, we’ll take you through the history and geography behind both the show and the books. For a closer look at the sights and sounds of the Seven Kingdoms, check out our Travel Guide. If you’re interested in how the economy of the country functions, take a peek at our Currency Spotlight. We also have a guide that will take you across the narrow sea to Essos.
Spoiler Alert: While written just before the sixth season, this profile will detail the history of the Seven Kingdoms prior to the beginning of the first season (and first book). It will not reveal any major plot points, however some minor spoilers may be hinted at. When it comes to differences between the show and the books, we follow the show.
Explore millennia of history from the Dawn Age all the way to the reign of King Robert Baratheon. Welcome to the Seven Kingdoms…
- Capital (and Largest City): King’s Landing
- Population: In the millions
- Total Area: From the Wall to the Summer Sea
- Language: Common Tongue
- Currency: Mostly Gold Dragons, Silver Stags, and Copper Stars
The history of the Seven Kingdoms is long, and fraught with danger, betrayal, heroes, and warfare. While the ages have made it near impossible to distinguish fact from myth (especially in the distant past), we still know enough to tell a complete story.
The Dawn Age | Age of Heroes | The Andal Invasion | Valyria and the Seven Kingdoms | Aegon’s Conquest | The Targaryen Dynasty | Dance of the Dragons | Blackfyre Rebellions | Robert’s Rebellion | The Modern Era
The Dawn Age
Our story begins long before men ever set foot in Westeros. Instead, it was the mysterious children of the forest, giants, and other magical creatures that called the continent home. The children were a strange race, skilled in ancient magic’s and in touch with their old gods. It’s believed that some amongst them, known as greenseers, possessed the power to see events happening across the country, the distant past, or even the future. The specifics have been lost to time, but know that civilization and life thrived in the Seven Kingdoms before men ever arrived.
All this changed ca. -12,000 (12,000 years before Aegon’s Conquest) with the coming of the First Men. From the eastern continent of Essos, the First Men made their way to the southern tip of Westeros by way of the Arm of Dorne. While the children used their magic to try and stop the invasion, the First Men (who had with them more advanced weapons and ships) were not deterred. The First Men swept through the land, chopping down the holy trees of the children (many carved with faces in honor of their gods) and setting off a conflict that would last for generations.
As the war turned against the children, the Pact was eventually reached (ca. -10,000). After a historic meeting on the Isle of Faces, the children were given dominion over the deep woods, while the First Men claimed the rest of Westeros and agreed to leave the holy weirwood trees untouched. And so ended the Dawn Age and a new chapter began.
Age of Heroes
Over time, the two races grew close, with most of the First Men even adopting the children’s gods (known today as the old gods). This was a time of peace, prosperity, myths, and legends; an age of renowned figures such as Brandon the Builder, who would later raise the great Wall. Lann the Clever swindled the Casterlys out of their own keep with nothing more than his wits (if the tales are to be believed). Durran Godsgrief, the first Storm King, loved the daughter of the sea god and goddess of the wind. After the gods wroth destroyed each of his castles, he built a final keep, Storm’s End, and achieved his victory. Many more legendary heroes lived during this time, their deeds and adventures taking on a mythic quality, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. And then they came…
During a long winter, a terrible period known as the Long Night (ca. -8,000) began. As a darkness that would last a generation blanketed Westeros, there came the White Walkers. Demons with the powers of necromancy and wielding swords of ice, they led an army of the dead south – crushing the combined resistance of the children and the First Men. When all seemed lost, it was discovered that a substance called dragonglass could hurt the walkers. A lone hero of the First Men managed to reach the children, and together with the first Night’s Watch, the forces of light drove back the walkers at the Battle for the Dawn. The Wall was constructed, stretching 482 kilometres across the north (and a staggering 213 metres high). With this guard in place, the Night’s Watch took up their post on the Wall, determined to not let the forces of darkness come again.
While the Night’s Watch have done their duties for years, there remains a dark stain on their history. The thirteenth lord commander abandoned his oath and took a mysterious woman whose skin was “cold as ice” for a wife. Using the Watch as an army, he declared himself the Night’s King and proceeded to commit unthinkable atrocities. He was only defeated thanks to an alliance between the Starks of Winterfell and Joramun, the King-beyond-the-wall. With this victory, the honor and purpose of the Watch was restored.
The Andal Invasion
Around ca. -6,000, a new force landed on the shores of Westeros. Known as the Andals, these men hailed from across the Narrow Sea in Essos. They brought with them steel weapons and a new religion – the Faith of the Seven. With fervent zeal and numbers, the Andals began a long conquest of the continent. What started in the Vale soon stretched across the entire south. While the First Men and children fought valiantly, they could not stem the tide. As the trees of their gods burned, the children began to retreat beyond the Wall while the First Men fought to retain the North. They succeeded, and the men of the North today are still descended from the First Men – unique in the Seven Kingdoms. Today, the Andal’s religion is found across the country – with the exceptions of the North (who keep the old gods) and the Iron Islands, where the Andals were assimilated into the local faith of the Drowned God.
Valyria and the Seven Kingdoms
While not a part of the history of the Seven Kingdoms, we have to touch on the freehold of Valyria. Far to the east in Essos, shepherds found dragon eggs amongst the volcanoes of the Fourteen Fires. After they tamed the creatures, the Valyrians set about creating the greatest empire the world has ever known. For thousands of years they conquered much of Essos, destroying formerly great rivals, raising cities, and building roads. After nearly 5000 years, it was ended in an instant during the Doom. This unknown disaster, believed to have something to do with the volcano’s, destroyed much of the capital – ending the great Freehold, save for one noble family that had migrated to faraway Dragonstone years earlier…
Heading back to Westeros, we find the Seven Kingdoms as we know it coming into being. Various lords still fought for supremacy (such as the Bolton’s and Starks in the North) while the borders constantly changed (especially in the centrally located Riverlands, where numerous other kingdoms laid claim to large tracts of land). Eventually, Harren the Black of the Iron Islands claimed the Riverlands and erected Harrenhal – the largest castle in the Seven Kingdoms – as his seat of power. By the end, these kingdoms would be known as; the Kingdom of the North, the Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale, the Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, the Kingdom of the Rock, the Kingdom of the Reach, the Kingdom of the Storm, and Dorne.
Dorne, the most southern kingdom, has a unique position in the Seven Kingdoms. Years earlier, a people known as the Rhoynar fled Essos at the behest of the warrior-queen Nymeria (in order to escape the Valyrian Freehold). They landed in Dorne and soon formed an alliance with the powerful House Martell. Bound by marriage, Nymeria and the Martell’s defeated the other powerful families and cemented dominion over Dorne. Today, there are many cultural differences between Dorne and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms – not least the adoption of equal primogeniture (the oldest child is the heir, regardless of gender).
Having escaped the fires of the Doom by settling on Dragonstone, the last remaining Valyrian family kept to themselves for nearly 100 years. Their house was led by Aegon Targaryen, who had the support of his sister-wives (Visenya and Rhaenys), a small amount of men (about 1,600)…and three fully grown dragons ridden by the three Targaryens. While it was expected he might attempt to go back east and reclaim some of the lost greatness of Valyria, Aegon instead turned his gaze to the west. Here was a large land, divided amongst seven different rulers. Seeing an opportunity, he took his forces to the mouth of Blackwater Rush in 2 BC (before conquest) and made landfall – beginning his invasion of Westeros.
With the support of a few nearby houses, Aegon and his forces quickly defeated many of the lords in what are now the Crownlands. He then sent his armies further afield, to stake his claim on Westeros. His fleet was defeated near Gulltown (in the Vale), however Visenya later burned the Arryn’s ships (rulers of the Vale) with her dragon, Vhagar.
Perhaps one of the most well known events of the Conquest occurred at Harren the Black’s massive castle of Harrenhal, which had just been completed. Scoffing at Aegon’s forces, Harren remained in his castle, content to watch the Targaryen army smash itself on the strong walls. After sending a final warning, Aegon (atop his dragon, Balerion) took to the skies and let loose the mighty power of dragonfire on Harrenhal. The stone melted while Harren and all his sons burned alive within the walls he had built. With House Hoare gone and the support of many of the riverlords (including House Tully of Riverrun, who would be named Lords Paramount), the Riverlands now belonged to Aegon.
In the Stormlands, Aegon’s general (Orys Baratheon) defeated the last Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant. Baratheon took Argilac’s daughter as his wife and claimed his castle (the fabled Storm’s End) for himself. Aegon later named Baratheon Lord Paramount of the Stormlands.
Perhaps the biggest turning point in the Conquest occurred at what would forever be named the Field of Fire. The King of the Reach (Mern Gardener) and the King of the Rock (Loren Lannister) combined their forces and with about 55,000 men set off to take down this newcomer. As their army began to turn the tide against the Targaryens, Aegon and both his sisters mounted their dragons, decimating the army with fire and killing King Mern and his entire line. The Lannisters bent the knee and kept dominion over the Westerlands, while the Reach was given to the stewards of Highgarden – House Tyrell.
Only three kingdoms remained – the North, the Vale, and Dorne. Torrhen Stark marched his army south, planning to fight to preserve his kingdom’s independence. Wanting to avoid another Field of Fire however, he decided against it and yielded the North to Aegon – earning Torrhen Stark the moniker ‘the King Who Knelt’. In the Vale, the Arryn’s remained inside their tall and impregnable castle high in the mountains; the Eyrie. So Visenya flew her dragon straight up to the castle’s courtyard. The boy king, Ronnel Arryn, yielded to her in return for a ride on the dragon – a request that was granted. Dorne however, proved difficult. The Dornish disappeared into the harsh environment, abandoning castles, and refusing to meet the Targaryens in open battle. Despite strong words from Rhaenys, Meria Martell (the princess of Dorne) refused to back down – and Dorne remained independent for the time being.
Aegon’s Conquest ended on the beginning of the year 1 AC in Oldtown (then the largest city in Westeros) and the home of the Faith of the Seven. After considering what would happen if he opposed the Targaryens, the High Septon blessed Aegon in the light of the Seven and proclaimed him Aegon of House Targaryen, the First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.
The Targaryen Dynasty
And so began almost three hundred years of Targaryen rule upon the Iron Throne (made with the swords of Aegon’s enemies). It should be noted that the Targaryens were known for…keeping their bloodline pure. This meant that members of the family usually married other members of the family. It’s said that the gods flip a coin when a Targaryen is born to determine whether the offspring will be stable or insane as a result – and as you will see, insanity was a prevailing trait of many a Targaryen king.
Dorne remained independent for over 180 years. After the First Dornish War caused the death of Rhaenys, the idea of subduing the southern kingdom was abandoned for a time. Decades later, Daeron Targaryen successfully invaded Dorne. His rule was brief however as he was killed during the ensuing rebellions – leaving Dorne independent once more. Finally, in the year 187 AC, Dorne formally joined the Seven Kingdoms through marriage. The country was now whole.
But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. The early years of Targaryen rule saw many momentous events and different kings. There was Maegor the Cruel who brutally fought against a rebellion of the faithful (known as the Faith Militant). His successor, Jaehaerys the Conciliator ended the conflict, ushering in a peaceful and prosperous reign. Decades later however, the Targaryens would nearly destroy themselves.
Dance of the Dragons
In 129 AC, a dying king left orders for his first daughter (Rhaenyra, who he had named heir years prior) to be given the crown – despite having a son from a later marriage. When he died however, the small council (the king’s advisors) decided to give the crown to his son, Prince Aegon. When one spoke out against this, Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard killed him. Aegon II was soon crowned, while on Dragonstone Rhaenyra plotted with her own council. And so began the Dance of the Dragons.
Both sides (the blacks led by Rhaenyra and the greens led by Aegon) had dragons and knew they had to use them. The first dragon casualty occurred over Shipbreaker Bay when Rhaenyra’s son Lucerys and his dragon were killed by the large Vhagar (Visenya’s dragon from the conquest over a century ago). In response, two men known today only as Blood and Cheese broke into the Red Keep and killed Prince Jaehaerys (Aegon’s son) in front of his mother.
The war spiraled out of control, with brothers killing brothers and dragons killing dragons. Significantly, Aegon II (the green’s king) was wounded and thought delirious and near death. Then, in one of the most well-known moments of the war, Vhagar and his rider (the one eyed) Aemond met their end at the hand of Rhaenyra’s husband, Daemon near the ruined castle of Harrenhal. The Battle Above the Gods Eye it was known, Prince Daemon leapt from his dragon and drove his sword through Aemond’s one good eye. A split second later, dragons and riders smashed into the water. Both dragons were dead, with Aemond’s corpse still attached to the saddle – while Daemon was never found (though he surely perished). There was to be further harm to the Targaryen’s stock of dragons later in the war, as angry citizens of King’s Landing stormed the Dragonpit, killing many of the beasts.
The war eventually ended on Dragonstone when Rhaenyra was betrayed and captured. Coming face to face with a hurt but still very much alive Aegon, the king had her burned alive while her son watched. However, Aegon II soon died himself and it was Rhaenyra’s son that would be crowned – known as Aegon III. Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Dance was the loss of most of the family’s dragons. While they continued to breed them for a few years, the dragons got smaller and weaker. Eventually, in the year 153 AC, the last dragon died – now forever gone from this world.
It wasn’t long before war gripped the Seven Kingdoms again. On his deathbed, King Aegon IV decided to legitimize all his bastard sons – which unsurprisingly muddied the waters when it came to succession. After a tense few years, rebellion broke out in 196 AC. Known as the Blackfyre Rebellion, it was named for the legendary sword, which had been given to Daemon Waters (the king’s bastard son and claimant to the Iron Throne – now known as Daemon I Blackfyre).
The entire country was wrapped up in the conflict, while the many bastard sons fought across both sides; some supporting Daemon, while others remained loyal to the king, Daeron II. The rebellion was ended at the Battle of the Redgrass Field. Daemon Blackfyre fought bravely, however it was another bastard that ended his claim. An arrow, fired by Brynden Rivers (known as Bloodraven), found its way to Daemon. Aegor Rivers (called Bittersteel) escaped to Essos, founding the Golden Company (a mercenary group) and keeping the seeds of rebellion alive.
Further Blackfyre rebellions took place over the years. The second ended before it even began, when Daemon II Blackfyre was unmasked after donning a ‘fiddler’ disguise during a tourney (an event the famous knight Ser Duncan the Tall could tell you more about). Bittersteel launched the third rebellion himself. Though he was captured and sent to the Wall, the Golden Company promptly rescued him en route. He tried again later, this time with Daemon III in tow. Ser Duncan slew the pretender and Bittersteel once more retreated across the sea with his company. A year before the last rebellion, King Aegon V, his son, and many of his supporters (including Ser Duncan) were killed during a great fire at Summerhall – a family tragedy that would affect the Targaryens for years to come. Moving on with a heavy heart, it all ended in 260 AC during the War of the Ninepenny Kings. In it, Ser Barristan Selmy singlehandedly killed Maelys the Monstrous – ending the Blackfyre line once and for all.
The beginning of the end for the Targaryens was at Harrenhal – the site of a great tournament attended by all the major families of the Seven Kingdoms. During this time, King Aerys II ruled the country. While initially wise and fair, ruling the land alongside the Hand of the King (Tywin Lannister), he had slowly descended into madness and cruelty – and was aptly known now as the Mad King. His son and heir, Rhaegar Targaryen, was well loved however and known for his skill in everything from fighting to singing.
At the great tourney, Rhaegar found himself the victor – and was given the opportunity to crown a queen of love and beauty. He rode past his own wife (Elia Martell of Dorne) and gave the honor to Lyanna Stark of the North – who was already betrothed to Robert Baratheon. Soon after, Lyanna was seemingly abducted by Rhaegar who took her far and away. Lyanna’s oldest brother, Brandon, rode down to King’s Landing to confront Rhaegar. The Mad King quickly had him arrested, and summoned his father to court. Rickard Stark rode south and was arrested as well. In full view of the royal court, the Mad King had Lord Rickard burned alive while Brandon was killed attempting to save his father. Aerys then demanded the heads of Rickard’s other son, Eddard, as well as Robert Baratheon. The two young men were at the Vale with Lord Jon Arryn, who refused the order and instead raised his banners in rebellion.
Rallying behind Robert (who had some semblance of Targaryen blood and was the strongest candidate), the rebel forces quickly gained momentum with three victories at Summerhall. With the combined might of the North, the Stormlands, and the Vale, the rebels presented the greatest threat to Targaryen power yet. Most of the Riverlands were soon added to the fold, with the marriage of Catelyn Tully (daughter of the Lord of the Riverlands) to Eddard Stark. On the royal side were the Targaryen forces, the Martells of Dorne, and the Tyrells of the Reach. All the while, Lord Tywin Lannister (the wealthiest lord in the country, who also commanded one of the largest armies) remained neutral in the conflict – despite the fact that his son Jaime was a member of Aerys’ Kingsguard.
Robert then lost to Tyrell forces at the Battle of Ashford, following which the Tyrells laid siege to his castle of Storm’s End – held by Robert’s brother Stannis – where they would remain until the end of the war. After evading capture during the Battle of the Bells, Robert was able to regroup with Eddard’s northern forces and turned towards King’s Landing. Rhaegar himself took the royal forces out to meet Robert at the Battle of the Trident. There, in single combat, Robert struck down the prince with a mighty blow of his warhammer.
All that was left was the capital. Robert, having been wounded at the Trident, sent Eddard ahead with his army. Before they reached King’s Landing however, the Lannisters arrived. They pledged loyalty to the crown, and so Aerys opened the gates. Tywin’s forces then proceeded to sack the city. During the brutal violence, Ser Gregor Clegane (one of Tywin’s knights, known as the Mountain due to his immense size) killed Elia Martell (Rhaegar’s widow) as well as her two Targaryen children. When the Mad King ordered his Kingsguard Jaime to kill his father, Jaime turned on the king, stabbing him through the back. By the time Eddard arrived, the Lannisters held the city in the name of King Robert and Aerys lay dead at Jamie’s feet. Eddard was furious at the brutality of the sack and killing of Rhaegar’s children – however Robert viewed as a necessary act.
The war ended soon when Eddard rode to Storm’s End to lift the siege. Stannis Baratheon still held the keep, and the Tyrells immediately surrendered. Eddard then travelled to the remote Tower of Joy in Dorne – where he found his sister Lyanna and two members of the Kingsguard; the renowned Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower. Eddard and his five men defeated the knights, with only Eddard and one other surviving. Despite this, Lyanna succumbed – and her death reunited Eddard and Robert in their shared grief. Robert was crowned king, he married Tywin Lannister’s daughter Cersei, and Jon Arryn was named the Hand of the King. His victory was now complete. The Targaryens were defeated (only Rhaegar’s younger brother and newborn sister survived, hidden away across the sea in Essos) and the Baratheons reigned. Robert took his seat on the Iron Throne in the year 284 AC.
The Modern Era
While Robert’s Rebellion and reign brought stability to the land, there were still those who sought to use the situation to their advantage. Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands (home of seafarers famous for reaving and pillaging) thought Robert lacked the support of other houses, and rose in rebellion, proclaiming himself King of the Iron Islands. After burning the Lannister fleet at anchor, they began attacking keeps and cities along the coast.
Robert’s brother, Stannis, took his own fleet with support from other lords and smashed the ironborn off the coast. This paved the way for an invasion of the Iron Islands. After a great victory for the royals, Balon Greyjoy was forced to swear fealty to Robert while his last remaining son, Theon, was sent away with Eddard Stark as a ward – to keep Balon in line.
Now, the Seven Kingdoms are united under the rule of King Robert Baratheon. He has three children with Queen Cersei, ensuring his line will continue long after his death. However, winning a throne and keeping one are two very different things. While a ferocious warrior, it has been said that the death of his great love Lyanna wears on Robert – who likes to content himself with drinking, feasting, and other pursuits in lieu of governance. Still, with the aid of his Hand Jon Arryn and Stannis, Master of Ships, the first Baratheon king should continue to rule a peaceful realm for years to come.
The culture of the Seven Kingdoms varies wildly throughout the land. With migrations of different peoples from Essos over the years, there are a variety of ethnic groups and customs across the country. We’ll take a peek at some of the most well known groups and where you can find them.
Most of the country is influenced by the Andals and the Andal culture. This includes a strong adherence to the Faith of the Seven. In this faith, a single god with seven aspects is worshiped: the Father, the Mother, the Warrior, the Maiden, the Smith, the Crone, and the Stranger.
Andal culture is found in the Vale, the Riverlands, the Reach, the Westerlands, and the Stormlands (as well as the Crownlands around King’s Landing). The Vale is especially steeped in Andal tradition, as the first place of their landfall so many years ago. Honor and faith are paramount to the people of the land. The Riverlands sit at the crossroads of the country, with trade and conflict a constant part of life. The Reach is often considered the home of chivalry and other knightly values and codes in the Seven Kingdoms. The Westerlands make their living from the mines, and are fiercely loyal to their overlords – the Lannisters. In the Stormlands, martial culture is important thanks to the centuries of Baratheon and Storm King rule.
Throughout these kingdoms, feudal culture remains relatively unchanged. Great lords accept the fealty of lesser lords, knights are knighted in the light of the Seven, and the smallfolk live on the lord’s land – farming and doing what smallfolk do.
The North remains distinct from the kingdoms to the south, in more ways than one. Most of the people here are descended from the First Men (though not all), and they largely keep to the old gods of the children of the forest, rather than the Seven. Knighthoods (an institution with religious undertones) are rare given the lack of new gods up here. The Night’s Watch is also held in much higher regard here than anywhere else. It’s said that northmen have long memories, so perhaps they remember when the order was truly needed?
The people of the Iron Islands are known as Ironborn – and follow an entirely different way of life than the rest of Westeros. They adhere to what is known as ‘the Old Way’ meaning they take what is theirs – or “pay the iron price” as they say. This, combined with their location and long history of seafaring, has resulted in the ironborn often being considered raiders and pirates by the other kingdoms. They sail upon longships, and are both feared and highly regarded for their aptitude in naval warfare. Unique from the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, they follow the faith of the Drowned God, a local religion in line with their maritime culture.
Finally, Dorne, is strongly influenced by the culture of the Rhoynar, who came across the sea and mixed with the local Andal population. This includes a more liberal and relaxed way of life. Women are granted the same rights as men when it comes to inheritance, while the Dornish are more forgiving with regards to sexual liaisons and bastard children. Due to centuries of warfare with neighboring kingdoms and their unique customs, others often mistrust the Dornish.
The Seven Kingdoms are big and diverse, covering most of the continent of Westeros. From the Wall in the north, all the way to the Summer Sea south of Dorne, the Seven Kingdoms includes mountains, deserts, forest, plains, frozen wastes, and more. Seasons are unique here, with long summers that can last years and even longer winters. In order to get a better grasp of the country’s geography, we’ll briefly run through each of the regions.
Lord: House Stark | Sigil: Direwolf | Words: Winter is Coming | Seat: Winterfell
The North is a massive area of land north of the Neck that extends all the way to the Wall. It covers about a third of the entire kingdom, however it is sparsely populated. The land is harsh, with snowy mountains, forests, and barren moors the most common features. The Starks rule the land from their castle Winterfell, while the only city is White Harbor on the coast.
The Iron Islands
Lord: House Greyjoy | Sigil: Kraken | Words: We Do Not Sow | Seat: Pyke
The Iron Islands to the west are harsh and unforgiving, numbering about 31 if you include all the main ones. The largest is Great Wyk, while the seat of the Greyjoys is on Pyke. Storms are commonplace, and the lack of natural resources is likely what led to a focus on reaving and stealing in centuries past. It is the smallest of the kingdoms.
Lord: House Tully | Sigil: Trout | Words: Family, Duty, Honor | Seat: Riverrun
The Riverlands sit in the centre of the Seven Kingdoms, in a heavily populated and fertile land. The rivers from which it gets its name snake through, and are integral to commerce and the people’s way of life. Its central location comes with drawbacks however. Most, if not every war fought in the Seven Kingdoms ravaged the Riverlands in some way.
The Vale of Arryn
Lord: House Arryn | Sigil: Falcon | Words: As High as Honor | Seats: The Eyrie/Gates of the Moon
Located in the east, the Vale is slightly removed from the rest of the continent. The land is fertile, consisting of plains and lakes, but the mountains make it tricky to enter and navigate. The city of Gulltown is a major trading centre on the coast, while the sky-high castle of the Eyrie is a worthy seat for a lord.
Lord: House Baratheon of King’s Landing | Sigil: Crowned Stag | Seat: Red Keep, King’s Landing
The Crownlands aren’t really a kingdom, but instead consists of King’s Landing (the capital and largest city) and the land surrounding it. Set around Blackwater Bay, the Crownlands also includes nearby islands – namely the royal castle of Dragonstone.
Lord: House Lannister | Sigil: Lion | Words: Hear Me Roar! | Seat: Casterly Rock
The Westerlands is not one of the more fertile kingdoms in Westeros, however the hills and mountains here hold many natural resources. The gold mines in particular have made the kingdom and its rulers (the Lannisters) very wealthy. In the shadow of their massive castle, Casterly Rock, you can find the thriving port city of Lannisport.
Lord: House Baratheon | Sigil: Stag | Words: Ours is the Fury | Seat: Storm’s End
The Stormlands are an unsurprisingly harsh land, though there is still a degree of fertile land to be found. It is named for the constant rain and pounding storms that come in from the sea, particularly around the notorious Shipbreaker Bay. There are no cities here, but the imposing castle of Storm’s End is a worthy seat for the Baratheons – especially with their new royal pedigree.
Lord: House Tyrell | Sigil: Rose | Words: Growing Strong | Seat: Highgarden
The Reach is densely populated and the most fertile part of the Seven Kingdoms – with many fields, farms, and rivers. Besides the elegant castle of Highgarden, the Reach is also home to Oldtown – formerly the largest city on the continent and home to both the renowned Hightower and Order of Maesters.
Lord: House Martell | Sigil: Sun and Spear | Words: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken | Seat: Sunspear
Dorne is a southerly peninsula that is considerably different than the rest of the country. It is hot and dry, with barren desert commonplace. The Martells control both the capital Sunspear as well as the beautiful Water Gardens.
Did you know?
- Bastards are given a surname depending on where they are from: Snow in the North, Stone in the Vale, Pyke in the Iron Islands, Rivers in the Riverlands, Waters in the Crownlands, Hill in the Westerlands, Storm in the Stormlands, Flowers in the Reach, and Sand in Dorne
- The faith of R’hllor (the Red God) is gaining popularity in Westeros
- Ravens are used to send messages around the Seven Kingdoms
- There are hill tribes in the Vale that still fight against the Arryn’s
- Swords made of Valyrian steel are highly prized, and still held by some of the major houses of Westeros
- The Kingsguard wear white cloaks and are a sworn brotherhood loyal to the king
That’s all for now! Check back later as we explore the Seven Kingdoms in our Travel Guide and learn more about the economy with our Currency Spotlight.
Stay tuned to the Current for our Country of the Week. We’ll explore the familiar and the foreign, plus uncover some hidden gems (see them all HERE).
If you’d like to journey throughout the entire Seven Kingdoms, we’ve got a Travel Guide for you! There’s also our Currency Spotlight, where we take a look at the currency and economy of the land. We also have a Travel Guide just for Essos!
Sources: ‘The World of Ice & Fire’ by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. García Jr. and Linda Antonsson as well as ‘A Wiki of Ice and Fire’. In addition, knowledge of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.
Stay informed. Stay Current.