Finally, my last assessment of the World of Ice and Fire. As I mentioned in Part 1, the format of this blog differs from that of my previous posts. Mainly, I’ve decided to compile a list of observations, questions, and discussions regarding the World of Ice and Fire and how it might tie into the Game of Thrones series. Due to the complexity and detail of George R. R. Martin’s writing style I’ve decided to break my assessment of The World of Ice and Fire into various parts. Part 1 comprises Ancient History to the conclusion of Robert’s Rebellion. Part 2 is an overview of the Seven Kingdoms and their founding. Part 3 is a closer look at the nine Free Cities and their history. This final section looks closer at the fascinating world beyond the Free Cities. Of note, there are many, many SPOILERS throughout the following text, alongside several of my own theories. I’ve highlighted in RED several of my theories, as well as interesting insights garnered from the novel. Please let me know what you think! I’m early looking forward to hearing your theories, however you’d better be able to back them up with references to the text.
Beyond the Free Cities
The Summer Isles
- Comprised of over 50 islands south of Westeros, with Jhala being the largest.
- Rich in spices, gemstones and hardwoods
- The hardwoods are coveted for their use in making tall bows of goldenheart, which only bows made from dragon bone can outdistance. Trade of goldenheart wood is forbidden in the Summer Isles and the weapon is to be never used against their own people. The hardwoods are also used to make their daunting Swan ships.
- Overall the people of the Summer Isles are, for the most part, peaceful, with having never invaded other lands.
- The people of the Summer Isles, especially the Summer Island of Koj are world renowned for their detailed maps, however they rarely let strangers inspect their guarded maps.
- Known as the Isle of Butterflies, located northwest of Sothoryos.
- Inhabited by a peaceful people that refuses to kill even beasts. They worship a Lord of Harmony and believe that the numerous butterflies of the island are messengers from god.
- Interestingly, outsiders do not survive on the island for more than a year. They contract a disease called Butterfly Fever and die a horrible death. It is thought that the disease is passed to humans from the butterflies but the natives are not affected.
The Basilisk Isles
- Located east of Naath, the Basilisk Isles are an evil place filled with corsairs, pirates, slavers, sellswords, etc. The largest of the islands is the Isle of Tears. Valyria once sent their worst criminals to the aforementioned island. It is said that the islands became such a place of evil that the gods send the Red Plague eradicate the vile inhabitants.
- The Isles remained abandoned until recent centuries they have been resettled by the current abhorrent population.
- Ruins on the islands indicate ancient civilizations dating back to before the Dawn Age.
- Another Basilisk Isle of note is the Isle of Toad. On the island there is an ancient idol 40’ high of a Toad, comprised of a ‘greasy, black stone.’ The people of this island have webbed hands and could potentially be the surviving people of an ancient race.
- The continent, south of Essos and Westeros, which has been little explored and the true size unknown. During Valyrian times, Belaerys and her dragon Terax flew south and returned three years later without reaching the end of Sothoryos.
- Several ancient civilizations, e.g., Valyrian Freehold, Ghiscari, attempted to settle on Sothoryos, however the cities all failed after a generation or two. Diseases, giant crocodiles, stinging flies, Basilisks, Wyverns, etc., all make inhabitation of Sothoryos difficult for humans.
- The natives of Sothoryos are called the Brindled Men and are big boned, muscled, sloped foreheads, huge square teeth and black hair.
- There is an ancient city of Yeen, rumored to be cursed, which even the jungle seems reluctant to reclaim. The city is built with a strange, oily black stone. In the Basilisk Isle of Toad there was an idol made of ‘greasy black stone’. Could these two mysterious stones be made by similar civilizations? Other mentions of strange black stones also are the Sea Chair in the Iron Isles and the foundation of the Oldtown. We will encounter a few more of these black stones before we reach the end of the World of Fire and Ice.
- Arguably, civilization was born in this vast region east of Qohor. There use to be a great Silver Sea, which has disappeared to the point of there being three lakes.
- Fisher Queens, First Men, and Andals likely originated in this region. Legends also lay claim to Kingdoms of Centaurs, with some skeletons existing of the extinct race.
- The Kingdom of Sarnor was the rich, race of the Tall Men, who are traced to the Hero King called Huzhor, born of the last Fisher Queen. The greatest city of this Kingdom was the Sarnath of the Tall Towers, which included the Palace with a Thousand Rooms. Lomas Longstrider named this palace one if his Wonders Made by Man. Unfortunately, this Palace was burned by one of the Dothraki Khal Loso.
- The Dothraki is a young race, which came from the east. They despise towns, fields and farms and wish to return the lands back to the earth, which is their Mother.
- The Dothraki conquest west was halted at Qohor by 3,000 Unsullied. One specific quote from the book, “Wisemen know that it is only a matter of time before the Khalasars unite under some great Khal and turn West once more in search of conquests.,” insinuates the Dothraki will leave their grasslands once again. Will Daenerys be the one to unite the Khalasars?
- The only Dothraki settlement is Vaes Dothrak, which lies between the shadow of the Mother of Mountain, and the bottomless lake, Womb of the World. The city is ruled by women who are the widows of dead Khals. In the city, bloodshed is forbidden. It is prophasised that all of the Kalasars will unite under the banner of the great Khal, “The Stallion who mounts the World,” who will conquer all. Since Daenerys’ child died, will she be this great Khal?
The Shivering Sea
- The northern most sea, which the northern most edge has never been reached. Ships attempting the journey eventually become stuck in the ice, in an area called the White Waste. In Cannibal Bay, it is rumored that over a thousand ships have become trapped, with the children and grandchildren of the trapped crews still surviving in the desolate area.
- Others legends claim the existence of mermaids, drowned spirits, and ice dragons, which shatter upon death. Maybe the Others will wield ice dragons in the upcoming war!
- Ib is the second largest island in the known world and resides in the Shivering Sea, and is home to the Ibbenese. The island use to inhabit Giants and still has mammoths roaming its plains, with unicorns rumored to inhabit the mountains.
- The Ibenese are heavy, broad shouldered, short, sloping brows, long arms, huge square front teeth, and black haired. Similar to the Brindled Men in both description and in the fact that they are unable to reproduce with the other races of men.
- With a chief trade in whale hunting, Ib is ruled by a Shadow Counsel, which is chosen by The Thousand, comprised of guildsmen, nobles, priests and priestesses.
- Far Ib is the second largest Ib island and where Ib sent their worst criminals. Today it is still a poor and terrible place to live.
- The densely wooded forest, on the mainland south of Ib was once home to shy small forest folk and there are reported carvings on the trees. The Dothraki once called them “Those who walk through the woods.” Could these forest individuals be related to the Children of the forest?
East of Ib
- East of Ib lies the Bone Mountains, followed by the nomadic race of the Jagos Nhai, which we will talk about further. Beyond them are the Thousand Islands in the Shivering Sea, which is a rumored drowned Kingdom. The hostile people of these islands are hairless, with green tinged skin, who worship a fish-headed god. Very few outsiders venture as far as the Thousand Islands.
- Beyond the Thousand Islands, the only port of note is Nefer, the Secret City of the Kingdom of N’ghai. A unique city, due to 9/10th of the city existing underground. Overall it is an foul city, which houses necromancers and torturers.
- Further East from N’ghai lie the forests of Mossovy.
The Bones and Beyond
- The Bone Mountains is the tallest mountain range in the known world, which spans from the Jade Sea to the Shivering Sea and has three main routes through. The Steel Road is names for the battles that have taken place along its route. The Steel Road begins in Vaes Dothrak and ends in Kayakayanaya, whereas the Stone Road also beginning in Vaes Dothrak ends in Samyriana. The Sand Road is the farthest south route, with its start in Qarth and ends in Bayasabhad the City of Serpents. The three cities, which the road ends, use to be part of the Patrimony of Hyrkoon. The fierce warriors of these three cities are all women, whereas their 99% of their men are gelded at manhood and given other jobs.
East of the Bones
- The Kingdom of Yi Ti was legendary for its wealth and is the other location credited with the birth of civilization. In ancient times, Yi Ti was ruled by a God-Emperor, who was more powerful and wealthy than Valyria at its height, and had the largest army ever known.
- It is said that the realm was initially ruled by a God-on-Earth, who was the only son of the Lion of the Night and the Maiden of Light. The God-on-Earth ruled for ten thousand years before returning to the stars. Rule passed to his son, the Pearl Emperor who ruled for a thousand years. Every following Emperor, e.g., Jade, Onyx, Tourmaline, Topaz, and Opal, had successively shorter rules. However, upon the Daughter of the Opal Emperor taking the throne after her father’s death, her was betrayed and slain by her younger brother who named himself the Bloodstone Emperor.
- The Bloodstone Emperor was the first high priest of the Church of Starry Wisdom.
- His act of betrayal started the Long Night (See Part 1). The dialogue in this section makes it sound certain that a hero had a part in the ending of the Long Night, whereas in the Long Night section the beginnings and endings had various legends surrounding them. In this section, five heros are named, e.g., Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferon, Eldric Shadowchaser, which all have been associated with the Hero of the Long Night. All of the stories were said to agree that the Hero wielded the sword, Lightbringer and restored, courage, love and light to mankind.
- On the east side of the Yi Ti realm there are five mysterious forts which predates the Golden Empire of the God-on-Earth. The structures are single slabs of black stone. This is yet another example of the strange stone works, which are similar to Valyrian but doesn’t add up to their involvement. The Forts are a thousand feet tall and can house ten thousand men.
Plains of Jogo Nhai
- The plains lie north of Yi Ti and contain mounted warriors which are shorter than their Western counterparts. The Jogo Nhai bind the heads of their youth to give them a cone shape and ride striped Zorses. Their customs strictly forbid them from warring upon themselves.
- The slave priestesses were from Jogo Nhai who prophesized the location to build Braavos after their escape from the Valyrian slavers.
- Leng is an island south of Yin, which contains massive ruins and underground labyrinths extending hundreds of feet into the earth. The Gods of the native Lengs, The Old Ones are said to still reside in the labyrinths below the city. The native Lengs are the most beautiful and tallest known people, with their height reaching seven to eight feet.
- When Leng first opened to trade the Empress of Leng still spoke to the Old Ones and four times killed all strangers in the city at their request. After Yi Ti conquered the island warriors would descend into the labyrinth to either disappear or return mad. Now the labyrinths are sealed off and forgotten, with the penalty of death to return. I would not be surprised to find out that the labyrinth creators were similar to those of Lorath or that their walls were made of black stone.
- Currently, Yi Ti descendants live in the northern most two thirds of the island, while the natives live in the bottom third.
Asshai by the Shadow
- Asshai lies at the edge of the known world and is the southern most and easternmost city. The origins of the city are lost, however the people of the city claim that it has existed since the beginning of time. The city itself is large enough to contain Volantis, Qarth, King’s Landing, and Oldtown within its boarders. However, the population is quite small.
- There are no children in Asshai, and only veiled, masked people walk the streets. No animal, e.g., horses, livestock, can survive in Asshai.
- It is an evil city with no limitation on sorcery, torture, or religion.
- The city relies on trading its gold and gemstones for fresh food and water.
- The city is built entirely of black stone, which has a greasy unpleasant feel. Again, we encounter the black stone! I feel as though this stone or their builders will somehow come into play. Who? Why? How? And where did they go? I have so many questions!